Mid-day Saturday round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesYou’ve probably noticed that I’ve turned my round-ups into a daily item. There’s so much that interests me in the news each day that this is a more efficient way to share it with you than with a series of individual posts. For some reason, turning each item into an individual post bogs me down, while charging through them as short paragraphs within a portmanteau post works perfectly for my way of writing and thinking. I very much hope that it still gives you the same satisfaction you’ve always felt when visiting Bookworm Room.

And now, on to the round-up!


A man who goes by the handle Raven-Wolf claims that he was working in Afghanistan independent of the American military when Bergdahl went AWOL. According to him, he very quickly had information that would have led to Bergdahl’s return, but the military, through a combination of pride, arrogance, and cover-up, refused to act on his information. By the time Raven-Wolf could have gotten Bergdahl back, the military’s delay had resulted in Bowe ending up with the Haqqani network.  And because Bergdahl’s story had now reached the public, the Haqqanis realized that they had someone who was a high value target.

Moreover, if Raven-Wolf is to be believed, Bergdahl was not a reluctant captive (although the described behavior doesn’t rule out Stockholm Syndrome):

Over the next few years I made the occasional probes through my Afghan contacts about Bergdahl. The responses were always the same…he was with Haqqani. Some reports had him living happily in Haqqani’s large compound in Pakistan. Other reports told of him missing his family and regretting his decision to go AWOL. He was regularly reported being seen in the markets near the Haqqani compound, usually shopping on his own without restraints or guards.

Hat tip: Never Yet Melted


Given that the Haqqanis’ God is Mammon and their only ideology is greed, it’s highly likely that the real deal was money for Bergdahl. Obama thought Americans would be more outraged by cash payments to the Taliban and its friends than they would be by releasing five deadly prisoners.

How deadly? Well, this is a proud Mohammed Fazi:

Mohammed Fazi

Under this theory, the Gitmo 5 were a trial balloon to see how readily Obama could close Gitmo, not just by getting rid of the hoi polloi caught up in the net, but by releasing the big fish — the ones who see Obama’s preemptive surrender as an incentive for escalating their war against America.


Peter Wehner has an important point about the morality of the Bergdahl recovery, in connection with the notion that “we never leave anyone behind”:

[T]here are limits to the price a nation can pay. We are all drawn to the notion that “we don’t leave anybody behind.” What that means in reality is that we should make tremendous, good faith efforts to free captive soldiers. Anything more than that–to turn a humane impulse into an inviolable principle; to say there is nothing we will not do to win the release of a POW–would leave us at the mercy of the most malevolent among us.

In other words, if we make the “never leave anyone behind” doctrine inviolable, we end up with medieval warfare: On those battlefields, especially during the 100 Years War, low value captives were killed, while high value (i.e., rich) captives were held for ransom. France was almost bankrupted when the British captured King Jean the Second. The difference in those days was that the captors understood that chivalry demanded that they treat the high value captives well or the ransom wouldn’t be paid. It’s doubtful that Islamists would care about that part of ransom warfare.


Rachel Maddow, who’s considered the brains of MSNBC, has come up with a “genius” theory: Bowe Bergdahl is exactly the same as Jessica Lynch, because a lost soldier who took a wrong turn in Iraq is the equivalent of a lost soul who enlisted in “be all that you can be army” and went AWOL.

I wonder if the DemProgs are still calling themselves the “reality-based community” or if they’ve finally abandoned that misnomer.


It’s no wonder that Obama keeps having embarrassing moments such as Benghazi, the red line in Syria, and the Bergdahl exchange. His National Security Council isn’t made up of the best minds in America on the subject of national security. Instead, it’s composed of political hacks and party operatives who ignore America’s well-being and focus, instead, only on Obama’s political health.


The prudishness of the Victorian era was, in significant part, a response to the sexual excesses of the Georgian era. We think of Georgian England as an exquisite amalgam of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer, but it wasn’t. Barring the emerging middle class, it was extremely debauched.

Why am I wandering back in time this way? Because I wonder if the nexus of America’s debauched campus culture and Obama’s victim-seeking presidency will lead to a backlash in the form of a neo-Victorianism, centered around sexual restraint.


With the new EPA regulations, Stephen Moore, who’s tried to give Obama the benefit of the doubt on the moribund American economy (a la “he wants to save it, but doesn’t know how”), is now asking a different question: Is Obama Just Trying to Tank the Economy?


Charles C. W. Cooke points out that government agencies inevitably become the muscle for entrenched commercial interests, destroying economic innovation, diversity, and competition. They are profoundly undemocratic in effect.


Despite the Bergdahl kerfuffle, some people (thankfully) are paying attention to Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi, held captive in a Mexican prison after he got on a one-way road that led me ineluctably to Mexico, where he was arrested for possessing guns that he held legally in America. Although John (“Reporting for duty”) Kerry won’t lift a finger to help a member of America’s armed forces, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee has reached out directly to the Mexican foreign secretary. It must delight Mexico to see America, one the most powerful nation in the world, come begging to it, hat in hand, for the return of one of its citizens.

I wish Mexico would beg for the return of some of its own citizens who broke the law upon entering here.  I’d be happy to send them back.


Now that he’s well into his second term, Obama is making no bones about his lawlessness regarding illegal aliens in this country. And as is always the case with the Left, “it’s for the children.” Maybe we can slow the abortion death cult by arguing that, floating in their amniotic pools, unborn children have no statehood and are just dreaming of making their undocumented way to America.


Meanwhile, Obama takes what’s left of America’s might and wages war . . . on climate change. This may prove to be, for America, the most devastating war in which she’s ever been involved.

It’s also the most arrogant war in which we’ve ever engaged. We have always had the ability to affect our environment. Indeed, the history of human kind involves man imposing his will on the environment for food, shelter, clothing, and recreation.

History shows that, while we can decimate some plants and animals locally, Nature is always the most overwhelming force. If people don’t invest huge amounts of energy in combating Nature’s impingement on the territory that humans consider their own, Nature wins. In other words, entropy always favors nature.

Case in point: Detroit, the capital of American societal and economic entropy.


Maybe Obama’s suffering from serious mental entropy. How else to explain his utter classlessness and disrespect in chomping away on gum at the official D-Day ceremony?


Caroline Glick makes a compelling argument that it’s time to clip Abbas’ wings. He’s had a long winning streak, not because he holds a winning hand, but because everyone essentially pays him to cheat, and that includes the Israelis. Obama and Europe aren’t going to stop funneling him money even though he’s joined forces with a terrorist organization, but Israel should turn off the spigot.


I would just like to remind everyone that Ryan Kelly Chamberlain, II, the man who sparked an FBI manhunt because he had explosives — now turns out to have had massive amounts of poison on him — is an ardent DemProg, something that’s not making the news anymore.  If he’d been a conservative, his political orientation would have been the headline and lede in every story.


And a couple of clever posters to round out the round-up:

The EPA will harm the Left's pet causes

Colonists did not register arms

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  1. SADIE says


    The foot-dragging delay to recover Bergdahl was not an oversight – it was the plan. Wait until the election of 2012 – the “all clear” signal. Pull the troops out of Afghanistan and close Gitmo. Who needs a Document of Surrender to return the terrorists back into the world of islam when the Grand Mufti of Washington had declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam.”

  2. says

    <B>For some reason, turning each item into an individual post bogs me down, while charging through them as short paragraphs within a portmanteau post works perfectly </b>
    Sounds like you think better when processing things in parallel than in serial.

  3. Matt_SE says

    Obama has chosen every one of his appointees based on political hackery first and foremost. Every. One. Of. Them.
    If they happen to have any experience at their job, that’s an extra. You can count on this being the case until he leaves office.
    The U.S. economy shrunk in the first quarter (Q1). At the end of June, the second quarter will end, and one month later, the initial data print will be made. One revision per month will follow.
    I’ve seen nothing to indicate that economic activity has picked up since Q1. The EPA regulations essentially guarantee that we will be in recession before the election.
    I expect the administration to make up numbers to hide this fact.

  4. says

    Half the people I see on blogs would do a better job of running the country than the powers that be. The New Aristocracy, however, thinks they are “born to rule” and that peasants are not the Chosen Ones.
    Democrats say they were the ones they were waiting for.

  5. says

    “The New Aristocracy”…what is happening, I think, is this: traditionally, there have been multiple ladders of success in American society.  An attempt is now being made to convert this into a single ladder, with access tightly controlled via educational credentials…and manner of speech, in the form of the old British prejudices about accents.
    As an example, I give you David Brooks, who said, in explaining his attraction to Obama, ““I divide people into people who talk like us and who don’t talk like us,” he explains. “Of recent presidents, Clinton could sort of talk like us, but Obama is definitely–you could see him as a New Republic writer.”   (New Republic writers evidently being exemplars of the highest form of humanity in Brooks’ view)

    • Mike Devx says

      what an astonishing – and simply damning – thing for David Brooks to say.
      If we ever took him seriously before, it surely is time to purge ourselves of that sentiment.

    • says

      O’Reilly on Fox News, Noonan one of Reagan’s speechwriters, and the various other anti-Palin factions of the so called Republican wing, are a good example of weaklings. They are always looking for a Power to obey, to tell them what to do.
      Whether they know it or not, the David Brooks of the world wishes for a master, and they got it.

  6. says

    Book, do you (or anyone here) have a link for the original source for the image of Fazi with the heads?  Thinking about posting this on FB, and don’t want the link to go to a conservative site that would be discredited (in the minds of some) as “Oh, that’s just one of the Fox News watchers”

  7. 11B40 says

    For a while now, the “Leave No Man Behind” (LNMB) concept has been a bit of a burr under my cerebral saddle. It seems to have a great deal of resonance, especially with military and former military webizens.
    Recently, I re-read Mark Bowden’s “Black Hawk Down” about the “Battle of the Black Sea” in Mogadishu, Somalia in the early part of President Clinton’s first term and that reading brought forward in what’s left of my mind a concern about what’s involved in that concept and its implications for today’s soldiers.
    Admittedly, it has been a long time since my military service. That was back when the draft didn’t have anything to do with ventilation. So, I have no direct experience of today’s volunteer military. But, be that as it may, I am concerned that LNMB seems to be progressing from a mantra to something approaching a fetish and I worry about its impact on our troops.
    When I went off to see what kind of an infantryman I could be, dying wasn’t my largest fear. My father had survived his infantry stint in WW II and I fancied myself as good a man as he. And, as a twenty year old, my sense of mortality was in its earliest stage of development. My greatest fear, by far, was being crippled. Secondarily, it was failing in my duties. Subsequently, when I became a squad leader, which was somewhat after I was made a squad leader, I bumped up against the LNMB concept big time. And it’s the resonance of that emotional experience that has me concerned.
    Even at the mantra end of the spectrum, LNMB seems so terse as to be almost mindless. I have to wonder if there is some super-secret calculus that I failed to apprehend. I mean, are our troops all committed to dying lest one get left behind? While “Black Hawk Down” may be the exception rather than the rule, my take on it is that its “Lost Convoy” is an adequate example as to how very wrong military thinking can go when it is overly influenced by such thinking.
    (For those unfamiliar with “Black Hawk Down”, the “Lost Convoy” was supposed to remove the American soldiers from Mogadishu after their raid. When the first Black Hawk was shot down, the convoy was diverted to the crash site and was exposed to heavy enemy fire while trying to follow radio directions. It ended up returning to base without ever reaching the crash site but with very heavy casualties.)
    At the other end of the spectrum and in spite of all the technology, efforts, and bravery, American soldiers were tragically left behind at the second helicopter crash site.
    Thus, the crux of my concern, has LNMB become some kind of unit fetish as opposed to say, and this will sound trite, an organizational goal? Has it become a too easy answer to too difficult problems? Are we setting our soldiers up for failure or worse by allowing LNMB too much of their and their superiors mindshare. Hopefully, nobody wants to leave anyone behind but isn’t more complex thinking better than relying on slogans?
    I think that I understand the usefulness of LNMB as a tool. But sometimes people take an idea way too far. Our military routinely classifies casualties as killed, wounded, or missing, the proverbial KIAs, WIAs, and MIAs. No one of any military intelligence or experience would stand up and pronounce “Let no man be killed.” or “Let no man be wounded.” because those events are not under anything approaching adequate control. And believe me, I know that fear of abandonment does not usually contribute to mission accomplishment. But soldiers do get lost, confused, or even vaporized and investing more military assets in their recovery is not a risk-free endeavor. Subscription to a terse mantra is not the best of reasons.

    • Mike Devx says

      I am also interested in responses to 11B40’s question about our entire military’s approach to “Leave No Soldier Behind”.
      First, it is hard for me to believe it applies to a deserter.
      Second, all I know about the issue is what I read in the book “Lone Survivor”.  Marcus Luttrell makes it clear in that book that, yes, “LNSB” is practically a holy commandment, at least for elite US militaru units, and as it applies to soldiers on a mission in enemy territory.  A soldier under threat, a soldier surrounded, a soldier wounded, a soldier in hiding, in captivity… will NOT be left behind.  Other soldiers – a large number of them – will put their lives at risk to rescue him.  (And in fact, a large number of soldiers lost their lives in such a rescue attempt during the events described in Lone Survivor, a fact that haunts Luttrell to this day.)  It’s also true that they will not leave even a soldier’s dead body behind if there is any reasonable possibility of recovering it – even, again, at risk of loss of lives of the recovering soldiers.
      So among elite troops, it appears to me that LNSB is gospel.  But I don’t know for sure – I’m basing my impression on one book – and I don’t know its status among our entire military either.

      • jj says

        The good friend with all the medals I’ve mentioned before told me an interesting thing once.  In any kind of static engagement – which is rare and getting rarer as the world seems to move to guerilla actions – he and his cohorts were trained not to shoot to kill.  Kill a guy, he’s gone, it’s over.  Whereas, particularly when fighting an ‘elite’ enemy unit, if you shoot to wound you reduce their strength by three, not just one.  Elite units, even among the scum of the earth, seem to subscribe heavily to the LNMB ethos, so: wound one he’s off the field, and so are his two buddies who are rescuing him and getting him back to the aid station.  One well-placed shot, three bad guys out of the battle.  So you can use the enemy LNMB idea to cut their unit strength down a bit.  Though as noted, with ‘ambush’ being increasingly ascendant over ‘battle’ the day of this sort of thinking is probably done.

      • says

        11B was addressing the strategic level decisions. But the Special Forces in situations like Black Hawk Down weren’t making the strategic decisions, they volunteered to carry out the tactical mission once someone else adjusted it overall. So absent orders to the contrary, they will volunteer to save Americans, as the two individuals from the CIA complex did in Benghazi. They were most likely former SF attached to a CIA’s case officer. Kind of forgot how the CIA calls their kill teams now a days.
        It takes an extremely important mission objective to justify making tactical sacrifices of US lives. The various distraction wars produced by Democrat Presidents don’t cut it. If there ever were a single important mission that everyone was invested in, then one might see situations where people will be left and sacrificed, as the assets for their salvation must be preserved for the survival of people doing the core mission.

      • says

        SF type forces specialize in a certain kind of bait and trap, where they go forward to bait an enemy ambush or attack, using a small military unit, and then call in helicopters or forward air support assets to destroy the superior enemy forces, while SF ground forces pin down the superior enemy forces and prevent them from flanking or retreating.
        That is in essence, the best use for them against a conventional army. Most normal Army or militia forces lack the aggressiveness or the marksmanship under fire to pin down superior enemy forces. Either that, or they get annihilated pretty fast or are forced to retreat.
        Black Hawk Down turned into an unexpected bait battle, where the bait wasn’t prepared, had no defenses and no ammo to fight off the swarm. But with enough ammo, even two SF volunteers could hold off most of a mob with AKs. No direct air support was given or available because… well, because Clinton. This was the day before JDAM time. And their gunship helicopters were classified as “too firepower heavy”, and that too many civilians might die or some other BS. Shooting down blackhawk helicopters using rpgs is nice and all, but trying to shoot helicopters down while gunships are prowling the streets chain gunning anybody that is moving, is a bit harder. “Recon by fire” may mean to shoot through buildings and walls, to prevent enemies from getting a sight on assets that needs to be defended. That’s not in the ROE, though. You have to check every individual hut and basement to see who is there, then if you take fire, then you can return fire, but not with massive firepower. That means US soldiers die, as simple as that.
        But if the military had better firepower and planning, they could have inserted a better team into Mog to bait and entrap enemy forces. Then when it’s time to bring down the FAE bombs, most of the enemy will merely be obliterated and incinerated. You might possibly lose the Americans baiting, but in situations where you need to rescue Americans, you often lose them anyways. At least this way you Accomplish the Mission and save your buddies. The mission being to keep peace, and killing most of a warlord’s retinue can be very peaceful.

  8. says

    It’s easier to use strategic resources to rescue Americans. 
    Tactical resources are of limited value when it comes to fulfilling the mission. Limited by time and the fact that they get used up for higher priority tasks, that is. Resources devoted to saving people, when that doesn’t help the mission, uses up resources and once used up, that don’t come back.
    Strategic level resources allows minimization of resource usage via managing the risks and enemy actions. Public torture and execution of enemies that kidnap or kill Americans, for example, would prevent the majority of the mistreatment of American POWs or kidnapped hostages, rather than forever waiting to use tactical resources on hostage rescue.
    Strategy often means winning without fighting. But American strategy has not been very efficient on this matter for awhile, but politicians feel they need the political benefits and morale benefits of saving lives. They aren’t really saving lives, of course.

  9. JKB says

    I had a similar thought about a new “Victorianism” when I was commenting about the rush to same-sex marriage on Friday in Wisconsin, or Madison, at least.  I wonder if there would be such a rush if marriage had any of the value it did in the past.  Where adultery was punished, divorce was difficult, seduction of a married person chargeable.  
    Secular marriage, in general, has become basically some tax breaks and the assumption of rights and privileges in regards to another person and their assets.  Not, there is little enforceable obligation anymore, except as comes the division of assets upon divorce.  

  10. says

    Photos of severed heads are bothering me less and less. They are now the new normal. The question is whose heads get cut off. Certainly these five Taliban might have been a damn sight handsomer as doorstops.
    I guess I’m no longer an Islamophobe. I accept that different cultures have different ideas and I’m open to a slice (either pizza or a Talibani head).
    A whole new way of looking at things. Islamophiles against terrorists!!

  11. 11B40 says

    Greetings, Ymarsakar:  (@ JUNE 8, 2014 AT 9:45 PM)  
    Your observations brought to mind two of my favorite Platoon Sergeant’s lessons. The first was that there a two basic plays in the infantry game, Find ‘em, fix ‘em, and finish ‘em, and Let them find you, fix ‘em, and finish ‘em.

    The second went, “The basic combat load is 22 magazines; we hump 29.”


  12. says

    During the Korean war, some veterans used to say this.
    Enlistee:”They got us surrounded, Sarge” (Chosun however they spelled it Reservoir)
    Sergeant:”Good, they won’t be able to get away from us now”


  1. […] In an earlier post, I showed a picture of Mohammed Fazi, one of the Gitmo 5, happily posed with several severed heads.  Someone asked a good question:  How do I know that’s actually Fazi?  I don’t.  However, someone put together this picture which does seem to lend credence to the claim that released terrorist Fazi is the same person who likes his men short, very short: […]

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