John McCain gave over five years of his life as a Vietnam POW. The sacrifice he made and the horror he endured has rightfully earned the nation’s gratitude. Then he became a US Senator and gave us the Keating Five, McCain-Feingold, the Obama Presidency, and his namesake Meghan. That pretty much cancels things out in the plusses and minuses columns. The principles of freedom and liberty this man fought for so heroically on the battlefield continue to be undermined by the bewildering politics he practices and the preposterous actions he takes.
In keeping with this game plan, this week Team McCain has announced another stellar addition to its squad of big government all-stars. Who is this new acquisition? Her name is Elizabeth O’Bagy, and one thing that’s certain is she is not a Tea Partier. Senator McCain has very high standards and he’s made it abundantly clear that “Tea Party Hobbits” won’t find a spot on his roster.
The Arizona Senator’s newest teammate seems to prefer the professional name “Dr. O’Bagy” – though she has not actually earned a doctorate. She told her soon-to-be-boss “that she had successfully defended her dissertation in May 2013” – though she had not actually even written one, because she’s not actually a doctoral student. She also stated that she was accepted in a joint Master’s and Doctoral Program at Georgetown – though she actually had not. It’s the George Costanza theory of truth telling, “It’s not a lie, if you believe it’s the truth.” After all, what’s a big non-white lie between fellow Progressives? Coincidentally, from now on I would like for Senator McCain to refer to me as “Your Royal Highness” even though Prince Harry and I haven’t officially announced our engagement yet. Actually I’ve never really met the prince, but I have seen him on television and I do believe I could pick him out of a lineup. I also plan on going to England someday. So, just as in “Dr.” O’Bagy’s case, I’m sure Senator McCain would agree that whole title thing is virtually a minor technicality.
Though “Dr.” O’Bagy may have, ahem, “misrepresented” her credentials, other statements she has made have helped John McCain form his own worldviews on matters of national importance. Those other statements have to do with the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. Until very recently Ms. O’Bagy served as a senior analyst at the Institute for the Study of War. She wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in which she argued that it is possible for the US government to arm the ‘good’ rebels in the Free Syrian Army without inadvertently arming the ‘bad’ ones, namely, Al Qaeda. Though it is estimated that 7 out of 9 Syrian “rebels” are actually Islamist terrorists, O’Bagy concludes her piece by stating:
The U.S. must make a choice. It can address the problem now, while there is still a large moderate force with some shared U.S. interests, or wait until the conflict has engulfed the entire region. Iran and its proxies will be strengthened, as will al Qaeda and affiliated extremists. Neither of these outcomes serves U.S. strategic interests.
Both Secretary of State John Kerry and Senator McCain cited her research as evidence for the possibility and necessity of interceding into the Syrian civil war on behalf of the FSA. Despite Ms. O’Bagy’s past looseness with the truth and knack for embellishment, ISW President Dr. Kim Kagan says we can really, truly, honestly believe everything “Dr.” O’Bagy is saying in regards to her Syrian research. Despite the lie, Kagan said she is “confident” in the work O’Bagy produced for the institute, because she and other research officials for the institute validate any research and argumentation that is published. Also, O’Bagy never had the administrative power to enter data into the institute’s resource database, she said.
“I do trust her work,” Kagan said.
Well, if it’s good enough for Dr. Kim Kagan of the Institute for the Study of War, then it should be good enough for the American people. But, come to think of it, I’ve never seen Dr. Kim Kagan’s PhD diploma either…
Then the plot thickens. As it turns out, Elizabeth O’Bagy not only does research for the Institute for the Study of War, she also works primarily for the Syria Emergency Task Force. The SETF focuses on “Organizing and empowering Syrians and Americans to bring the conflict in Syria to a peaceful and democratic end.”
O’Bagy goes on to insist she does not receive a salary from the organization, but is paid through “a number of contracts with the United States Department of State to provide an evaluation of the current aid and assistance programs inside Syria and provide guidance on how to better implement these programs.”
PJ Media called such descriptions “word games,” adding, “In Washington-speak, political director usually means lobbyist. Not an unbiased observer and dealer of facts, but an advocate for hire to push a point of view.”
So, Senator McCain, as well as Secretary of State John Kerry, cited the “research” of a paid lobbyist for American intervention in Syria as evidence of the need for American intervention in Syria.
Elizabeth O’Bagy seems to serve as a friendly American face on an Islamist organization. Some of the leadership of the Syrian Emergency Task Force includes:
– Bassam Estwani, appears to have been the Imam of the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, also known as Al-Qaeda leader Anwar Al-Awlaki’s former mosque. The mosque was considered a front for Hamas and other “Islamic extremists” by the Treasury Department.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, Ms. O’Bagy arranged for Senator McCain to make a trip to Syria to meet with genuine rebels of the Free Syrian Army and see her “research” firsthand. The LA Times reported:
McCain, for his part, asked the rebels how they planned to reduce the presence of Islamic extremists in rebel ranks, O’Bagy said.
The rebels told the senator that one of their biggest problems was protection against government air raids.
“In an ideal situation, they would have a no-fly zone, and anything that would stop the bombing from the air would be a huge benefit to them,” O’Bagy said.
She added, “One commander said one real importance of a no-fly zone or a safety corridor was they could actually move the transitional government into Syria and build a real viable alternative to Assad’s government.
The rebel military leader Idriss told the Daily Beast that McCain’s visit was “very useful” and that the rebels needed American help.
So, when McCain asked the “rebels” for their plan to reduce the number of terrorists in their group (roughly 77% of their forces), no answer was provided. Instead the “rebels” changed the focus to the creation of an American enforced no-fly zone, which would provide greater opportunity for FSA leaders such as Abu Sakkar to continue his practice of battlefield cannibalism. Wikipedia describes one such ‘military action’ thusly:
In May 2013, a video was posted on the internet showing a rebel cutting organs from the dead body of a Syrian soldier and putting one in his mouth, “as if he is taking a bite out of it”. He called rebels to follow his example and terrorize the Alawite sect, which mostly backs Assad. Humans Rights Watch (HRW) confirmed the authenticity of the footage, and stated that “The mutilation of the bodies of enemies is a war crime”. The rebel was Abu Sakkar, a commander of the “Independent Omar al-Farouq Brigade”. The BBC called it an offshoot of the FSA’s Farouq Brigades, while HRW said it is “not known” whether the Brigade is part of the FSA. The incident was condemned by the FSA’s Chief of Staff and the Syrian National Coalition said that Abu Sakkar would be put on trial. Abu Sakkar said the mutilation was revenge. He said he found a video on the soldier’s cellphone in which the soldier sexually abuses a woman and her two daughters, along with other videos of Assad loyalists raping, torturing, dismembering and killing people, including children.
Forget about ‘winning hearts and minds,’ the Free Syrian Army is eating the hearts and other organs of their enemies. Ms. O’Bagy does not make mention of this incident in her official research, though Russian President Putin was quick to make use of it in warning against American intercession in the region.
While on his Syrian excursion, Senator McCain also took time for an O’Bagy-arranged photo op with ‘rebels’ who may or may not be kidnappers, depending on who you talk to (a McCain spokesperson says it’s “Regrettable if true.”) One person who definitely is in the photo is Mouaz Moustafa, former Field Organizer for the Democratic National Committee, DC congressional staffer and founder of the Syria Emergency Task Force. Before that, Moustafa was Executive Director of the Libyan Council of North America, which pushed for regime change in that country as well. Before that he also worked with ‘rebels’ in Egypt in support of the Muslim Brotherhood backed Morsi regime. McCain has called Moustafa a “patriot” and “a tireless champion for the cause of freedom for Syria.” But a patriot of what country – Libya, Egypt, or now Syria? And exactly what ‘freedom’ does a supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood champion?
So why would someone like John McCain take such reckless actions, associate with (and hire) people with such disreputable backgrounds, and support causes that are obviously not in America’s best interest? I believe it is because John McCain suffers from the same syndrome that afflicts so many within the DC establishment. He has sold out any principles he ever held for vain, empty praise and a deceiving pat on the back. He embraced the mantle of “Maverick” and simultaneously loosened his grip on reality.
The ancient writer Aesop illustrates such a scenario in his fable of The Fox and the Crow:
A CROW having obtained a bit of meat, perched in a tree and held it in her beak. A Fox, seeing this, longed to possess the meat himself, and by a wily stratagem succeeded. “How handsome is the Crow,” he exclaimed, in the beauty of her shape and in the fairness of her complexion! Oh, if her voice were only equal to her beauty, she would deservedly be considered the Queen of Birds!” This he said deceitfully; but the Crow, anxious to refute the reflection cast upon her voice, set up a loud caw and dropped the flesh. The Fox quickly picked it up, and thus addressed the Crow: “My good Crow, your voice is right enough, but your wit is wanting.”
John McCain, and countless others like him, is just a common crow who seeks to be the ‘Queen of the Birds’ while in reality he is being outfoxed by those who desire what he has been entrusted to keep – the safety and liberty of the American people. Each time he runs to a microphone to demonstrate his “voice is Right enough,” only proves his “wit is wanting.”