Monday morning round-up and Open Thread

Victorian posy of pansiesBecause the anniversaries of the Battle of Midway and D-Day happen on top of each other, their proximity somehow spurred me into reading two WWII books: Neptune’s Inferno: The U.S. Navy at Guadalcanal and Quartered Safe Out Here: A Harrowing Tale of World War II. As I read them, the thought that keeps popping into my mind is Isaiah 2:4 –

And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

One of the amazing things about our military since America’s inception is the fact that the bulk of our troops have always started out with plowshares and pruning hooks, beaten them into swords and spears, and then returned them to their original state. They are citizen warriors. They’ll fight to defend their country, but they yearn for peace.

In this regard, they differ strikingly from the Islamists fighting in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. These jihadis aren’t reluctant farmers, torn from cultivating life in the soil and yearning to return to that existence. They are, instead, stone cold killers who glory in the feel of warm human blood pulsing over their hands as they sever someone’s head and who have the true sadist’s delight in the terror they inspire in others. They are death incarnate. And when they leave the battlefield, they bring that death with them wherever they go.

That’s why those countries unlucky enough to be subject to Islamist conquest are such dismal failures even after the battle finally ends. The swords and spears are never put away in favor of more pastoral pursuits. Those enforcing Islam glory too much in blood and terror. In their countries, life is reduced to survival, with citizens living at a level only slightly above that of a dumb beast. The divine spark that should be in every human — the light that leads them to strive, create, invent, innovate — is assiduously and violently blotted out.

The Bible is such a wise book. A society thrives when the swords become plowshares and the spears pruning hooks. A society survives, in Zombie mode, when its soldiers and leaders fail to understand this lesson.

***

Jonathan Spyer argues that, as Iraq goes down in flames, we should stay out of it. Yes, we started it, both with the first invasion and with Obama’s decision to leave before we consolidated our gains, but now that a civil war is a done deal each side is equally vile:

This war is just beginning. Any attempts to portray either of the warring sides as “anti-terrorist” or “pro-western” should be stubbornly resisted. Acceptance of such definitions is the entry hall to new policy failures and wasted lives. ISIL and the Quds Force differ in organizational structure, but are similarly anti-western — and similarly vile. They should be left to bleed one another white.‬

Picking a side in this fight — any side — means we’re complicit in evil. If we want to save the real innocents — the children and victimized women — in Syria and Iraq, the only way to do so would be to destroy utterly both sides in the fight, and even the once mighty American can’t do that.

***

Jonah Goldberg notes what others have also seen, which is that Obama sees foreign policy, not as a way to advance America’s interests, but as a way to advance his own. In this context, Goldberg says something interesting. Even if starting the wars wasn’t a good idea, the fact remains that, at any time, America’s Afghanistan and Iraq wars could have been viewed as possible wins and approached accordingly.

That wasn’t Obama’s way, though. Instead, he operate on the “We lost because I said we lost” principle:

Barack Obama, on the other hand, believed the Iraq war was a mistake from day one and that conviction informed every foreign-policy decision he has made since. He has said, insinuated, implied, hinted, and shouted as much almost every day of his presidency. So invested in the Iraq war being a mistake — and so invested in received opinion celebrating his foresight — he has not merely acted on the reasonable view it was a mistake, he appears to have done everything he can to make sure it is remembered as a mistake for all time. The Left wanted the Iraq war to be Vietnam, and Barack Obama has given them what they wanted. All that’s missing now are the images of Americans clinging to helicopters.

Incidentally, the above is why Obama’s conduct at all times has been infinitely worse than any decisions George Bush made. Bush acted in good faith, believing he could make the world a safer place for Americans; Obama just acted to make American politics a safer place for himself.

***

The Israeli army put women in combat units a long time ago. One Israeli researcher claims that the experiment has been a disaster, and that the army is covering up how great a failure it’s been. Women haven’t actually been to battle, but training reveals all:  Even with all the cheats the military arranges for them, the women are getting terribly injured and doing so in such great numbers that their units are sometimes stopped in their tracks. The researcher who broke this story identified the root of the problem:

“The idea that there is no difference between men and women in the army is a ridiculous one that has been disproved in all of the world’s militaries,” [Col. Raza] Sagi [Ret.] insisted. “One cannot defeat evolution. In days in which a meaningful reduction of the defense budget is required – there is no doubt that the matter of placing women in combat roles requires reassessment.”

***

I like what James Lewis has to say about the flood of children Obama has encouraged to cross our Southern border. Yes, Obama’s flagrant violation of his executive duties to protect our borders is another reasonable ground for impeachment, but our problems with this human flood are much more imminent than the procedural machinations that will never succeed in pushing out our first black-white president. Indeed, Thomas Lifson wonders whether Obama isn’t daring the GOP to impeach him because Obama thinks it would not only be a failed effort, but might enhance his political standing, as it did Clinton’s.

***

George Will pointed out that the DemProgs are grossly exaggerating the number of sexual abuse cases at colleges, thereby trivializing a desperately serious subject, and that they are denying the accused due process by handing these faked cases to campus kangaroo courts. Four DemProg Senators responded with a sloppy, emotion-laden, fact-free letter accusing him of all sorts of horrible anti-women things. (Believe it or not, it took them six days to compose this meaningless bit of drivel.) Will’s reply is a joy: pithy, elegant, and devastating.

***

Thomas Sowell on the amnesty debate:

Immigration laws are the only laws that are discussed almost entirely in terms of what can be done to help those who have broken the law. Some want to help a little and some want to help a lot. But amnesty lite is still amnesty.

Some people seem to think that amnesty is not amnesty if you throw in requirements for citizenship. Amnesty is not some esoteric concept. It means that you are not going to be punished for breaking the law — and that simply brings laws into contempt. Denying citizenship is not a punishment, because crossing the border illegally does not entitle you to citizenship. Providing a legal status short of citizenship is not punishment either.

Exactly. Sowell is the master of stating complex issues in simple terms without losing anything along the way.

***

I like the Wall Street Journal’s take on those “lost” Lois Lerner emails. I also like the questions Sharyl Attkisson says someone, anyone, ought to pose to the IRS about those emails. That’s especially true given that an IRS commissioner already testified that (as the law requires) all IRS emails are archived.

Spoliation is a species of fraud that’s especially disfavored because its purpose is to destroy the integrity of a judicial or investigative process. I hope someone, anyone, has the backbone to come down hard on the IRS for this one. As I argued last year, the IRS scandal must be understood as the worst scandal ever in American history because it’s not just politics as usual. It is, instead, an exceptionally powerful rogue administrative agency directly attacking the First Amendment, the American people, and our entire democratic process.

***

Something interesting is going on in the Bill and Melinda Gates household. It began when Melinda Gates said their foundation is going to stop funding abortions. And now Bill wants to put the brakes on Common Core. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall during their dinner-table discussions leading to these policy changes.

***

If fusion can be tamed, it could open the way to cheap, abundant electrical power, produced more cleanly than nuclear fission from ingredients found in sea water.

And maybe it can be tamed.

***

Should you have a little time to read this summer, Mike McDaniel has a couple of recommendations. I’m planning on getting the first book in the series and seeing what I think of it.

***

I don't need a gun except when I need it

NEED_

Taking veterans' guns

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Comments

  1. says

    Re swords & plowshares…what would have been Anne Frank’s 85th birthday was the other day, which various people on FB noted, drawing the conclusion that we must “end hate.”  Of course, ending hate is a “boil the ocean” project; it will never happen completely, though perhaps the incidence of hate can be considerably reduced.  What could have really saved Anne Frank was not an imaginary elimination of hate, but rather things like these:
     
    –If the French Army had been properly led in 1940, Anne Frank would very likely still be alive
     
    –If France and Britain had acted together militarily at the time of the Rhineland incursion in 1936, Anne Frank would likely still be alive
     
    –If the state of Bavaria had dealt with properly after his failed coup attempt of 1923, Anne Frank would likely still be alive.
     
    I think in America today, one of our greatest hazards is people who can’t tell the difference between an ultimate goal of turning swords into plowshares, and an assertion that conditions for doing this have been accomplished.

  2. weathtd says

    In referrence to the situation in Iraq:  the US went in and removed a brutal dictator and handed them the chance to build a fair and viable state.  If the people are too STUPID to be able to live together without killing each other—-have at it.  Iraq contibutes nothing good to the rest of the world.  Same goes for Iran, Syria, Libya and most of the Middle East with exception of Israel.  

  3. Danny Lemieux says

    I believe that there are excellent arguments to be made for intervening, not the least being that it is better to fight this existential world war in the making “over there”, rather than “over here” (which will inevitably happen).
    Unfortunately, any one of those arguments that can made in favor of intervention are trumped by the qualities of our Commander in Chief. We do not have the capabilities as a nation to intervene successfully because, whatever could be done militarily, will ultimately be condemned to failure by our Executive Branch and Senate. Frankly, Obama and his team lack the will, the wisdom and the psychological makeup to win a fight…and  “will” is the sine qua non of any military success. 

    • says

      Exactly.  We cannot fight a successful war with Obama at the helm.  That being the case, we should just sit back and watch them kill each other, which we hope they do expeditiously and efficiently.  And we can feel terrible guilt, as I do, for all the innocents who will necessarily die — and die horribly — in a clash that a strong president could have prevented or countered.

  4. Charles Martel says

    Even as we speak, the aircraft carrier USS George H. W. Bush is preparing a massive bombardment of leaflets directed at the militants’ leaders, warning them that Susan Rice will describe them in particularly harsh words on the upcoming Sunday morning news programs. In another development, Nancy Boy of the United States, channeling his inner Bill Bixby, told a reporter at the 19th hole, “Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”

  5. qr4j says

    Now that is just too funny!  Nicely put.  The threats of Susan Rice and Nancy Boy’s inner Bill Bixby:  Love it!
     
    Makes me think of Mr. Rogers singing, “I’m angry; I’m angry.”  Perhaps Nancy Boy can sing that during a fireside chat while he and Ms. Rice are interviewed by one of the media fawns.

  6. Libby says

    Re: Goldberg’s assessment of Obama – Isn’t he just living up to his definition of sin: “Being out of alignment with my values?” Everything he has done has been based on his values, which center around his beliefs, needs, and preferences, so he is doing god’s/his work.

  7. qr4j says

    Re Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan:  I do not like war.  I do not want people to suffer, particularly innocent people.  However, when President G. W. Bush led coalitions of nations to war against the dictator of Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan, I supported both efforts.
     
    In Iraq, based upon the best available intelligence at the time, Iraq  had weapons of mass destruction.  The Clinton Administration believed it to be so.  The Bush Administration didn’t make up this intelligence out of thin air.  And there was a belief that Saddam Hussein might use these against us or our allies.
     
    In Afghanistan, the Taliban was harboring al Qaeda, the organization responsible for nearly 3,000 American deaths in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  The Taliban and al Qaeda needed to be terminated.
     
    Mr. Bush prosecuted the greater War on Terror vigorously.  He made it clear that to rid the world of terror, it may take multiple American administrations and many years.  And generally I would agree with what he did and how he viewed things.
     
    The problem, however, is that Mr. Bush could not control who the next POTUS would be and what the next administration would do.  So long as Mr. Bush was in charge, we were more or less getting things done, albeit slowly at times.  Another administration with equal commitment to fighting terror could have kept the momentum going.
     
    However, Obama stopped the progress in the War on Terror.  Obama decided that wars needed to end whether we had won them or not.  And Hillary played right along.  Now Kerry is playing along too.  Nancy Pelosi and her ilk played along.  These Democrats sealed our defeat.  And for that, they should be punished mercilessly at the ballot box and in other political forums.  IMO, the blood of many innocents in Iraq and Afghanistan are on their hands.  They refused to win in the fight against evil.
     
    In retrospect, given what I have seen, I believe future presidents should be very wary of waging wars without strongly considering what might happen if the likes of Obama were to inherit an unfinished war.  Why waste the blood, sweat, and tears?
     
    If we could have destroyed the enemy decisively and quickly — without the hindrance of so many rules of engagement — perhaps the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan could have been won before Mr. Bush left office.  No one will ever know.
     
    All of this disappoints me.  Obama and Hillary — yes, she is part and parcel of the Obama failures on so many fronts — lived up to what I expected of them:  They and their policies have failed America.  And because of that, America is failing.  When America fails, so does freedom everywhere in the world.  Very sad!

  8. lee says

    I wish I had the discipline to write a book. Because the plot of the current political potboiler is too outlandish to be believed. But it would have be to a book, but it’s too crazy to be real…
     
    And her it is…

  9. Danny Lemieux says

    Well put, qr4j. And that is exactly how I feel about these events, tremendously sad, helpless and embarrassed for my country. It’s pretty much how I remembered feeling as I watched the news reports of Saigon and Phnom Penh falling. Then (I am convinced) the DemProgs deliberately undermined the Vietnamese and Cambodians in order to deny Nixon a victory. Today (I am convinced), they have deliberately undermined Iran and Afghanistan in order to deny George Bush a victory. 
    Now as then did then, the DemProgs will deny any culpability for the human disaster that they have enabled.

  10. Mike Devx says

    Jonathan Spyer argues that, as Iraq goes down in flames, we should stay out of it.
     
    I would agree.  I don’t think there’s any doubt that we would view either side in the current struggle as an ally.  The only question is, would one of them be the lesser of two evils?  Or, if Iran is going in, would we go in as a third force, to combat both ISIS and Iran?  Who would we support within Iraq as our third leg?  Is there a third leg within Iraq that wants our support?
     
    To go in now to save honor, or to try to re-establish some semi-democratic or semi-republic government would be throwing good lives and money after bad.  Six years of Obama-driven desecration of American foreign policy means it is too late now.
     
    I could listen to an argument that fighting there now will prevent us from having to fight the winner on our own soil in the future… but so far, I don’t know who we would fight FOR.  I’d rather funnel arms to both sides and let them waste each other into oblivion.  But THAT would be cruel to all the Iraqi people, some of whom surely must want peace.  Some of them… somewhere within Iraq… surely???
     
    Maybe we go in at some point in the future, solely to protect the Kurds, and solely carve out an independent Kurdistan.  I suppose I could see the benefit in that.
     

  11. SADIE says

    Maliki ignores Obama demand . . . New York Times
    What he does not do, by all accounts, is spend much time on the political reconciliation with the Sunni Arabs and Kurds.
     
    Out of all of today’s headlines and ledes this one brings it home. 
    Maliki has a matching pen and phone, too. The similarities are glaring.
     
    WMDs have been located, the msm refuses to identify them by name. Hint: DemProgs!

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