A few comments about the President’s speech regarding the Islamic State

The media ditches the halo illusion for Obama and goes for the horns

The media ditches the halo illusion for Obama and goes for the horns

Before I even get to Obama’s speech, a word about nomenclature. Most Americans refer to an organization called “ISIS” (“Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”). Obama refers to an organization called “ISIL” (“Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”). The latter encompasses more territory, so Obama is actually being more accurate about the group’s geographic aspirations. I, however, will in future refer to the group as the “Islamic State” which, as Obama himself acknowledges, is the group’s own preferred label.  To the extent Obama made a weak declaration of half-hearted war, it seems to me that it’s much easier to wage war against a self-declared state than against a disparate bunch individuals diffused throughout myriad civilian population.

And now to the speech, which I’ll simply annotate:

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to speak to you about what the United States will do with our friends and allies to degrade and ultimately destroy the terrorist group known as ISIL.

[As I said above, to the extent the Islamic State describes itself as a nation in control of defined territories, let's do the same. It makes for a better target.]

As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people. Over the last several years, we have consistently taken the fight to terrorists who threaten our country. We took out Osama bin Laden and much of al Qaeda’s leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We’ve targeted al Qaeda’s affiliate in Yemen, and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia. We’ve done so while bringing more than 140,000 American troops home from Iraq, and drawing down our forces in Afghanistan, where our combat mission will end later this year. Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer.

[I understand Obama's need to preface his speech with puffery and boasting. He's got to establish his bona fides. However, I don't see the American people finding any of this reassuring. They've never perceived either Somalia or Yemen as direct threats to America, and they understand that knocking out a person or two in those places over the course of a few years has been ineffective in stemming the continued growth of Islamic terrorism. After all, if Obama's pinprick tactics worked, Islamic radicalism wouldn't be resurgent all over the world. Indeed, one could say that, rather than wiping out Islamic radicalism, Obama's tactics merely maddened it, in much the same way that a picador's non-deadly spear-work serves to madden a bull for the fight.]

Still, we continue to face a terrorist threat. We can’t erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm. That was the case before 9/11, and that remains true today. And that’s why we must remain vigilant as threats emerge. At this moment, the greatest threats come from the Middle East and North Africa, where radical groups exploit grievances for their own gain. And one of those groups is ISIL — which calls itself the “Islamic State.”

[All true truisms.]

Now let’s make two things clear: ISIL is not “Islamic.” No religion condones the killing of innocents. And the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim. And ISIL is certainly not a state. It was formerly al Qaeda’s affiliate in Iraq, and has taken advantage of sectarian strife and Syria’s civil war to gain territory on both sides of the Iraq-Syrian border. It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.

[Wow! Where in the Constitution did Obama get the power to define what does and does not constitute a religion, or to tell a faith's most fervent practitioners that they're doing it wrong? You all have commented here, as have others around the blogosphere, that these so-called "radicals" are actually practicing Islam as written, as Mohamed practiced it, and as self-identified Muslims practiced it for hundreds of years. The religion is all about "the killing of innocents":

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran.

Go to this link to find all the instructions to violence against the innocent -- instructions that Imam Obama claims do not exist.

Muslims took a hiatus from practicing Islam as written only when they were finally stopped at the Gates of Vienna by a Europe grown increasingly wealthy, stable, and Enlightened. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, as the West has destroyed its own wealth, damaged it's stability, traded gold for Arab oil, and retreated from a world-view that acknowledged both the exceptionalism of Judeo-Christian culture and the benefits of Americanism, that hiatus has ended.

What Obama should have done was to have simply identified the Islamic State as a self-declared enemy of America, of Christians, of Israel, and of peace and stability in the world -- all of which are true statements -- and gone on from there. He weakened everything else he said by trying to be President Imam offering an exposition about the nature of true Islam.]

In a region that has known so much bloodshed, these terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threatened a religious minority with genocide. And in acts of barbarism, they took the lives of two American journalists — Jim Foley and Steven Sotloff.

[Correct. I would have preferred, though, a little more outrage about the fact that two Americans were slaughtered in the most brutal way possible to send a message to our country. When Obama included Foley and Sotloff in his speech, he didn't make it sound like the culmination to a series of outrages. The way he slipped them in there, they sound like an "oh, and don't let me forget" afterthought.]

So ISIL poses a threat to the people of Iraq and Syria, and the broader Middle East — including American citizens, personnel and facilities. If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States. While we have not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland, ISIL leaders have threatened America and our allies. Our Intelligence Community believes that thousands of foreigners -– including Europeans and some Americans –- have joined them in Syria and Iraq. Trained and battle-hardened, these fighters could try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.

[Correct and it needed to be said, so I'm glad Obama said it. Now let's see what Obama plans to do about it.]

I know many Americans are concerned about these threats. Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we’ve conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.

[Once again, Obama's not going to war. Once again, he's just a picador. So far, what he's done has been neat, clinical, and somewhat helpful, but it's long-term efficacy is dubious. Also, does the last sentence -- about lives saved -- remind you of anything? It reminds me of the administration's utterly unprovable claim that the stimulus "saved or created" thousands of jobs. In fact, we've lost jobs and lost workers on Obama's watch, the stimulus notwithstanding.  More of this picador stuff, and those lives "saved" may be lost in the long-term regardless.]

But this is not our fight alone. American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing their region. And that’s why I’ve insisted that additional U.S. action depended upon Iraqis forming an inclusive government, which they have now done in recent days. So tonight, with a new Iraqi government in place, and following consultations with allies abroad and Congress at home, I can announce that America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat.

[Mr. President, are you listening to yourself?  First you destabilize Iraq and then you insist on a stable Iraq before you'll extend any help to fight a enemy that (a) your administration says is like nothing we've seen before and (b) that poses an imminent threat to our own well-being thanks in significant part to your decision to destroy the American border. Yeah, that's going to go well.]

Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.

[Why did he have to say "degrade" first? Doesn't someone issuing a battle cry just say "destroy"? Why do I think this war will end with a few high profile bombings, an announcement that the degradation is complete, and yet another wave bye-bye to Iraq?]

First, we will conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists. Working with the Iraqi government, we will expand our efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions, so that we’re hitting ISIL targets as Iraqi forces go on offense. Moreover, I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are. That means I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq. This is a core principle of my presidency: If you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.

[I have a notoriously bad memory, but doesn't this sound precisely like "Shock and Awe"? That ended with the troops hanging a "Mission Accomplished" banner on a ship for George Bush's visit, creating an image that haunts him to this day. What ultimately subdued the enemy in Iraq was old-fashioned boots-on-the-ground fighting. It seems to me that we're just going down a path we know in advance will fail. (Which may explain why the military offered different advice which Obama, the politician, ignored.]

Second, we will increase our support to forces fighting these terrorists on the ground. In June, I deployed several hundred American servicemembers to Iraq to assess how we can best support Iraqi security forces. Now that those teams have completed their work –- and Iraq has formed a government –- we will send an additional 475 servicemembers to Iraq. As I have said before, these American forces will not have a combat mission –- we will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq. But they are needed to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces with training, intelligence and equipment. We’ll also support Iraq’s efforts to stand up National Guard Units to help Sunni communities secure their own freedom from ISIL’s control.

[See above comment, including the link to Obama ignoring the military's advice.]

Across the border, in Syria, we have ramped up our military assistance to the Syrian opposition. Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters. In the fight against ISIL, we cannot rely on an Assad regime that terrorizes its own people — a regime that will never regain the legitimacy it has lost. Instead, we must strengthen the opposition as the best counterweight to extremists like ISIL, while pursuing the political solution necessary to solve Syria’s crisis once and for all.

[As others have commented, this is the same Syrian opposition that Obama's ignored for three years. Not to mention the fact that it's entirely possible that Obama was using Libya to arm the opposition to the opposition -- and the ones he may have armed went on to form the Islamic State. It's all very confusing, and I'm not sure Obama is the chess master he thinks he is, one who's capable of handling this game. Having said this, when it comes to Syria, I'm not sure there's much else Obama can do.]

Third, we will continue to draw on our substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. Working with our partners, we will redouble our efforts to cut off its funding; improve our intelligence; strengthen our defenses; counter its warped ideology; and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East. And in two weeks, I will chair a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to further mobilize the international community around this effort.

[All good . . . except for that bit about the UN. If Obama thinks the UN will help, maybe there's still time for me to sell him a nice bridge too.]

Fourth, we will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to innocent civilians who have been displaced by this terrorist organization. This includes Sunni and Shia Muslims who are at grave risk, as well as tens of thousands of Christians and other religious minorities. We cannot allow these communities to be driven from their ancient homelands.

[I like the sentiment, but I doubt Obama will have any success preserving these Christian and religious minority lives and homelands unless Obama has a nice big stick he's carrying to back up his promises. So far, I see him pursuing a strategy that failed once before, making demands upon a country he abandoned once before, insisting on aid from Muslim states that have concluded he's a weak horse, and looking to the weakest reed of all for help -- the UN.]

So this is our strategy. And in each of these four parts of our strategy, America will be joined by a broad coalition of partners. Already, allies are flying planes with us over Iraq; sending arms and assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Syrian opposition; sharing intelligence; and providing billions of dollars in humanitarian aid. Secretary Kerry was in Iraq today meeting with the new government and supporting their efforts to promote unity. And in the coming days he will travel across the Middle East and Europe to enlist more partners in this fight, especially Arab nations who can help mobilize Sunni communities in Iraq and Syria, to drive these terrorists from their lands. This is American leadership at its best: We stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.

[Wouldn't you feel better if Obama could name a single partner in this broad coalition? Turkey's already said no, as has our once-upon-a-time partner, England. As for the Muslim states, they like strong horses and leaders they can trust. Obama fails on both counts. Why in the world should they help him, then, against a fellow Muslim force, no matter how malignant it might be? The above paragraph sounds like a wish-list, not a plan.]

My administration has also secured bipartisan support for this approach here at home. I have the authority to address the threat from ISIL, but I believe we are strongest as a nation when the President and Congress work together. So I welcome congressional support for this effort in order to show the world that Americans are united in confronting this danger.

[He has bipartisan support? Really?  Again, this is a wish-list, not plan. It's clear that Americans, including American politicians, are concerned about the Islamic State, but it's unclear to me that there's strong support for any single approach. Conservatives, having learned the Iraq lesson, know that pinpoint strikes won't work. Libertarians are divided between isolationism and Rand Paul's sudden hawkishness. Democrats have a peace party going on, as usual (I saw some of them already protesting at the old-age home in Mill Valley). The only thing that Congress seems to agree about is the fact that, if this is war, Congress should have a say in it, rather than Obama going it alone, again.]

Now, it will take time to eradicate a cancer like ISIL. And any time we take military action, there are risks involved –- especially to the servicemen and women who carry out these missions. But I want the American people to understand how this effort will be different from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will not involve American combat troops fighting on foreign soil. This counterterrorism campaign will be waged through a steady, relentless effort to take out ISIL wherever they exist, using our air power and our support for partner forces on the ground. This strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us, while supporting partners on the front lines, is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years. And it is consistent with the approach I outlined earlier this year: to use force against anyone who threatens America’s core interests, but to mobilize partners wherever possible to address broader challenges to international order.

[See all my points above. This is Obama's delicate way of saying "shock and awe" combined with a little of this and a little of this . . . none of which will inspire any shock and awe in a crazed religio-military force that likes to drink its victims' blood for breakfast.]

My fellow Americans, we live in a time of great change. Tomorrow marks 13 years since our country was attacked. Next week marks six years since our economy suffered its worst setback since the Great Depression. Yet despite these shocks, through the pain we have felt and the grueling work required to bounce back, America is better positioned today to seize the future than any other nation on Earth.

[Blah, blah.]

Our technology companies and universities are unmatched. Our manufacturing and auto industries are thriving. Energy independence is closer than it’s been in decades. For all the work that remains, our businesses are in the longest uninterrupted stretch of job creation in our history. Despite all the divisions and discord within our democracy, I see the grit and determination and common goodness of the American people every single day –- and that makes me more confident than ever about our country’s future.

[Blah, blah, blah.]

Abroad, American leadership is the one constant in an uncertain world. It is America that has the capacity and the will to mobilize the world against terrorists. It is America that has rallied the world against Russian aggression, and in support of the Ukrainian peoples’ right to determine their own destiny. It is America –- our scientists, our doctors, our know-how –- that can help contain and cure the outbreak of Ebola. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons so that they can’t pose a threat to the Syrian people or the world again. And it is America that is helping Muslim communities around the world not just in the fight against terrorism, but in the fight for opportunity, and tolerance, and a more hopeful future.

[The first sentence was true in January 2009. It is no longer true. No one trusts Obama. Everything else is blah, blah.]

America, our endless blessings bestow an enduring burden. But as Americans, we welcome our responsibility to lead. From Europe to Asia, from the far reaches of Africa to war-torn capitals of the Middle East, we stand for freedom, for justice, for dignity. These are values that have guided our nation since its founding.

[Wow! That sounds like American exceptionalism talk. Except we know that Obama doesn't think America's any more exceptional than any other nation. Let's say I'm not buying this new, full-throated patriotism. Combined with his defense of Islam, his plan to repeat George Bush's mistake, and his failure/inability to name any coalition partners, let's say that I'm not convinced he's really feeling it.]

Tonight, I ask for your support in carrying that leadership forward. I do so as a Commander-in-Chief who could not be prouder of our men and women in uniform –- pilots who bravely fly in the face of danger above the Middle East, and servicemembers who support our partners on the ground.

[Is it just me, or does he sound as awkward as a rapper trying to make a formal speech to the DAR?  The rest is blah, blah.]

When we helped prevent the massacre of civilians trapped on a distant mountain, here’s what one of them said: “We owe our American friends our lives. Our children will always remember that there was someone who felt our struggle and made a long journey to protect innocent people.”

That is the difference we make in the world. And our own safety, our own security, depends upon our willingness to do what it takes to defend this nation and uphold the values that we stand for –- timeless ideals that will endure long after those who offer only hate and destruction have been vanquished from the Earth.

May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America.

When it comes to free speech, Britain has embraced Big Brother

Frankly, whether Scotland goes or Scotland stays, once-Great Britain is dead. It’s death was a slow-mo, stupidity-driven suicide:

Orwell understood:

Orwell on an unfree society's hatred for the truth

Watcher’s Council nominations for September 11, 2014

Watcher's Council logo‘Tis time again for the Watcher’s Council members to vote again for the best articles (both Council and non-Council) for the past week.  It’s been a busy week, so the offerings are top-notch.  In addition, be sure to check out the designated Weasel of the Week, someone who exemplifies the worst of the world’s Leftist approach to politics, war, and society.

Council Submissions

Honorable Mentions

Non-Council Submissions

Col. West, you’re correct that, rather than wallowing in 9/11 memories, we must fight radical Islam — but how should we do it? *UPDATED*

The Twin Towers in flamesAs in past years, people who were older than about ten on September 11, 2001, have honored its anniversary.  These social media acknowledgements of that fateful day tend to take two forms:  (1) the “where were you then” form, as exemplified by George Takei, or as I think of it “the fly trapped in amber” approach ; and (2) the “9/11 still matters” viewpoint, as exemplified by Lt. Col. Allen West.  I incline to Col. West’s approach, but it leaves important questions unanswered, which I’ll try to explain here.

George Takei has more that 7.5 million Facebook followers, thanks to the frequently amusing things he posts there. His popularity means it’s possible to discern certain cultural trends from his posts and from the response to those posts.  Take, for example, his 9/11 post.  To his credit, Takei didn’t forget that today is a special day.  Instead, he acknowledged it and asked his followers to reminisce about their 9/11 experiences:

Last I looked, more than 20,000 people approved of this post, almost 4,000 shared it, and around 4,000 added their comments.

There’s nothing wrong with what Takei and his followers are doing. After all, more than fifty years after the fact, we still have people spending Thanksgiving explaining exactly what they were doing in 1963 when they learned Kennedy had been assassinated. It’s our way of assuring ourselves and others that we too are part of a cataclysmic, unifying, paradigm-shifting event, even if we lacked the geographic proximity to say truthfully “I was there.”

What’s missing from this “where were you then” approach to 9/11 is that it avoids taking a serious look at 9/11′s impact, not just on our personal emotional status, but on our nation and the world at large. “I was there, if only in spirit,” is a far cry from dealing with the practical reality that “Islamism is still here, in spirit and in fact.”  It’s dangerous to lock 9/11 into the past, only to drag it out annually to admire it, much as one looks at a fly’s tortured body locked in ancient amber.

911 caught in amber

Lt. Col. Allen West represents the opposite end of the “Remembering 9/11″ spectrum. The events of 9/11 may have happened thirteen years ago, he says, but they matter today. He is correct.  They matter very much.  In his 9/11 post, Col. West, after briefly describing his own 9/11 memories, turns the focus where it rightly belongs:

And here we are 13 years later and still living under the threat of an Islamic terrorist attack. We go through security protocols all because of Islamic terrorist attacks. We just witnessed two Americans beheaded by members of an Islamic terrorist army.

Thirteen years later and it is as though we learned no lessons from 9/11. Our own recalcitrance to define this enemy was demonstrated last night by our president, Barack Hussein Obama, who firmly declared that ISIS is not “Islamic” — then what the hell are they, Amish? Political correctness has placed us in a position where almost half of our country fears another major terrorist attack.

(Please remind me to pull out that “What the hell are they? Amish?” line next time I cross paths with an Islamic apologist.)

Allen West and the Marine Corps

In addition to reminding us that 9/11 continues to have real-world repercussions, West proposes that the military provides an affirmative solution to radical Islam’s continuing aggression:

My fellow Americans, we don’t have to live under this specter of Islamo-fascism and jihadism. We cannot go another year — certainly not another 13 — living in fear all the while refusing to admit that they exist. I am tired of being told that we cannot offend folks. I am tired of hearing that it’s not all Muslims. If that’s so, those moderates need to “man up” and kick some extremist arse. Because for 13 years, we’ve fiddled around and played games of winning hearts and minds and nation building and all we got in exchange were two beheaded Americans.

The original “day that will live in infamy” led us to one goal: the destruction of the enemy who attacked us. It was Japanese Admiral Yamamoto who stated that he feared they had awakened a sleeping giant. But the giant that is America is still asleep.

When President Ronald Reagan was asked how he defined victory in the Cold War he replied simply, “we win they lose.” And it was Alexander the Great who said, “I would not fear an army of lions if led by sheep, but I would fear an army of sheep if led by a lion.” America is looking for a lion who will crush the wolves and embolden, unleash and direct the indomitable American spirit that will not cower.

I agree with Col. West that radical Islam needs to be stomped out, or at least sent to the far outskirts of civilization where this nihilistic ideology can wither and die on the vine. What I’d like Col. West to do, though, is to explain precisely how one goes about doing this.

The “how” of destroying radical Islam has been on my mind of late.  Just today, when I explained to a young man of my acquaintance that radical Islam cannot be accommodated but must be destroyed, he asked the obvious question: “Well, what would you do?”

I had no answer. ISIS is actually the easiest problem to solve, because it has set itself up as an Islamic state. After all, if it’s a state, we can declare war against it and wipe it out.  The problem is that, outside of ISIS’s helpful decision to attach a large target to its collective backside, we’re more hampered when it comes to the constantly increased number of other manifestations of radical Islam.

Looking outside Iraq, radical Islam isn’t a coherent, bomb-able, nation with borders.  Instead, it’s a toxic ideology that permeates larger societies, both Muslim and non-Muslim.  And even within Muslim nations or communities, it’s actively embraced only by about 10% of Muslims — although the majority provide strong passive support (putting the lie to Obama’s assurance that there’s nothing sharia-like about “real” Islam).

With regard to those passive sharia supporter, Col. West is correct that it’s time for the “so-called” moderates to put up or shut up, but that still leaves us with a problem: Where do we aim our guns?

Do we resume a hot war Afghanistan, just as we’re on the verge of treating, leaving a triumphant Taliban?  Do we drop bombs on remote islands in the Philippines, where a bloody Muslim insurgency has gone on for years? Or how about taking the Marines to India, home of the Mumbai massacre?  Or maybe we aim our guns on in Qatar, an oil-rich nation that generously funds Hamas (and is home to a CENTCOM presence).

And so it goes, with country after country hosting a large radical Islamist contingent that too often is an untouchable Fifth Column.  Need more examples?  There’s Turkey, which is a NATo member, and which is slowly being dragged from the 21st century back to the 7th, with 68% of Turkish citizens supporting Hamas.  England was our ally in Iraq, but London is Ground Zero for radical Islam. France, where 16% of the population supports Hamas, is witnessing a mass Jewish Exodus that continued unabated throughout the summer, despite Israel’s wartime footing.  Wartime Israel was safer to French Jews than peacetime France.  And there’s always Malmo, in Sweden, where 40% of the population is Muslim. Thanks to this influx, Sweden has become the rape capital of Europe.

Radical Islam in the Middle East also leaves us without targets.  We can’t attack Saudi Arabia, which has for decades funded the Sunni side of toxic Islam, because it’s long been our ally and, absent domestic drilling, is a necessary oil purveyor. Moreover, the Saudis are now afraid of the Frankenstein’s monster they created, and are making nice with Israel, our ally in the war against jihad Islam.  We’re also unwilling to take on Iran, which has for decades funded the Shia side of toxic Islam.  Worse, it seems that Obama would like to partner with Iran to help get rid of Sunni ISIS.  And then of course there’s Gaza.  We weren’t pleased when the Israelis delicately bombed it, so it’s unlikely that we’ll start bombing it ourselves any time soon.

And really, if we’re going to have to bomb whole communities of radical Islamists, we’re going to have to look within our own borders.  We’ll need to add the states of Minnesota and Michigan to the list of targets, not to mention towns such as Fremont, California, and large parts of California’s Central Valley.  Heck, if an FBI friend of mine is correct, it might be time to drop a bomb on Marin too, since that idyllic Leftist paradise has a burgeoning radical Islamic population.  (Remember John Walker Lindh?  His Marin connections weren’t a coincidence.)

Making more sense before

Given the parasitism of radical Islam throughout the world, what precisely is the military solution to this ideology that has permeated the world’s fabric? Obama’s approach for the past five-and-a-half years has been a dismal failure.  Moreover, if his speech last night (a fairly impotent combination of ambition, distraction, uglification, and derision) is anything to go by, his future approach to jihad seems to be headed to the same graveyard as his past course of action.

So, Col. West, if you’re reading this post, please expand on how you would deal, not just with ISIS, but with radical Islam’s pernicious spread throughout the world. With America on a wartime footing, this may well be your time to aim for the land’s highest office. Much as I like you, I wasn’t sure about your chances as a peacetime president because Americans might be leery of again electing a man with limited Congressional experience.  As a war-time president, , though. . . .  Well, if you have a workable course of action against Islam, that plan, put together with your conservativism, leadership skills, fearlessness, and bone-deep patriotism, means you’d have my support and my vote in a heartbeat.

allen-west-20101

UPDATE: JoshuaPundit believes that Iran is the pivot on which radical Islam turns. Deal with Iran, and the other dominoes will fall in a way favorable to Western interests.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/11/14′s “ISIS and other stuff” edition (and Open Thread)

Woman writingLet the information download begin:

Alleged New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief lambastes Obama administration

If a Reddit user really is Tim Arango, Baghdad Bureau Chief for The New York Times, it’s very impressive to read his scathing indictment of the administration’s Iraq policy and conduct:

it’s not my job to rate the obama administrations actions in iraq. but i will tell you that after 2011 the administration basically ignored the country. and when officials spoke about what was happening there they were often ignorant of the reality. they did not want to see what was really happening because it conflicted with their narrative that they left iraq in reasonably good shape. In 2012 as violence was escalating i wrote a story, citing UN statistics, that showed how civilian deaths from attacks were rising. Tony Blinken, who was then Biden’s national security guy and a top iraq official, pushed back, even wrote a letter to the editor, saying that violence was near historic lows. that was not true. even after falluja fell to ISIS at the end of last year, the administration would push back on stories about maliki’s sectarian tendencies, saying they didn’t see it that way. so there was a concerted effort by the administration to not acknowledge the obvious until it became so apparent — with the fall of mosul — that iraq was collapsing.

Given the poor grammar, though . . . well, I don’t know. You decide. Maybe he was typing away on a small android keyboard. Or maybe that’s how Times’ writers really write before the editor gets hold of their stuff.

9/11 from outer space

Learn a little more about 9/11′s first hero and first fatality

Danny Lewin, an American-born Israeli, was a tech giant in Israel — and 9/11′s first hero and first fatality.

Why do Muslims rape women?

Short answer: Because Mohamed. The Prophet practiced what he preached, and his followers have done so too since Islam’s inception.

The War Against Women

The pressing issues at NOW (the National Organization for Women):

  • Having other people subsidize your sex life and abortions
  • Getting paid the same money as men, no matter that you’re not doing the same type of work
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Believe it or not, the Equal Rights Amendment lives as “constitutional equality.”
  • Protecting women of color who have even fewer rights than women without color
  • And violence against women, which includes a campaign to fire George Will

An issue that is not discussed at NOW:

Thousands of Iraqi women are being forced into sex slavery in brothels run by a ‘police force’ of British women jihadis, it has been reported.

As many as 3,000 women and girls have been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq as Isis militants continue their reign of terror across the region.

Sources now say that British female jihadis operating a religious police force called the al-Khanssaa brigade, that punishes women for ‘un-Islamic’ behaviour, have set up brothels to for the use of Isis fighters.

ISIS goes full socialist

An ISIS supporter put up a Facebook post lauding ISIS’s incredible largess once it’s in power:

Ten Facts from the ‪#‎Islamic_State‬ that everyone should know.

1. We don’t pay rent here. Houses are given for free.
2. We pay neither electric nor water bills.
3. We are given monthly grocery supplies. Spagetti, pasta, can foods, rice, eggs and etc.
4. Monthly allowance are given not only to husband and wife (wives) but also for each child.
5. Medical check up and medication are free – The Islamic State pays on behalf of you.
6. You can still survive even if you don’t speak Arabic. You can find almost every race and nationality here.
7. For every newly married couples are given 700usd as a gift. (Only for Mujahid and I’m not sure if it’s still available now).
***
9. No one is conducting business during prayer time. You can see people left their shops opened and pray either in the masjid or near by their shops.
10. The number of mix-marriages and mixed-race children are so high. It’s beautiful to witness brotherhood with no racism.

From a muhajir sister,also spouse of a Mujahid brother at #Islamic_State
Diary Of A Muhajirah

People have noticed that these promises are pretty much in line with what every socialist state promises. Nevertheless, there’s one profound difference:  Socialist states are predicated on the notion that everyone works cheerily together for the public good, while in a caliphate, the producers and the consumers are two different groups.

In socialist nations, the difference between reality and rhetoric has within it the seeds of socialism’s downfall.  Despite the rhetoric, the reality is that people will only work for the public good, as opposed to their own good, at the point of a gun. Moreover, even with that gun pointing at them, the socialist workers inevitably produce less well as time goes by.  The result is that the free houses are poorly-built, overly-populated apartment blocks; the water and electric bills don’t exist because people have no running water or electricity; the food is poor quality and limited in quantity, and the medicine is primitive.  These realities inevitably kill the enthusiasm for socialism amongst everyone but the very small inner circle.

In the caliphate, as I said, things are different, very, very different. The consumers are one perpetual class, always enjoying luxury, while the producers are another perpetual class, always suffering servitude.  A case in point is the fact that, as you probably noticed, I left out Item No. 8 in the above list. That’s the one that talked about paying for this socialist Islamic paradise:

8. You don’t have to pay tax (If you’re a Muslim).

Coerced payment from the non-Muslims is always at the point of a gun or the tip of a sword.  And when one batch of non-Muslims, because they’re dead or worn out (think:  Qatar),  stops producing, the answer isn’t to convert your economy to a more capitalist one. After all, large segments of the population (the armed ones) are doing just fine with this Islamic socialist system.  Rather than changing the system, they just go out and conquer another nation.  A vigorous, blood-thirsty, rape-rich attack (think:  ISIS) usually brings into the caliphate’s fold a fresh batch of cowed producers to support the takers. As Islam’s rise showed, this system can work effectively for centuries before it finally hits a wall.

Is the media preparing to turn on Obama?

It’s becoming impossible for the base to ignore that Obama has failed to fulfill his promises. Obamacare didn’t socialize medicine; it propped up insurance companies. The economy has been a boon for cronies and no one else. And around the world, countries hate America, even as the anti-war president is poised to launch yet another war. What to do, what to do? It appears that one of the things the media’s doing, before it even gets around to explicit attacks, is some subliminal undermining — how else to explain Thomas Lifson’s discovery about the media’s changing visuals for Obama.  Remember, those whom the media Gods would destroy, they first dehumanize.

Will Obama learn his lessons?

When it comes to foreign policy, Obama has repeatedly been proven to be decisively wrong in both his reading and his handling of situations around the world. Daniel Henninger asks the right question: Will Obama realized that he’s been humbled?

My answer: No. His Leftist, insular, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing world-view leaves no room for humility, regret, or repentance.

Democrats may be getting snitty about Obama’s constitutional overrides

The Democrats were fine when Obama ignored the Constitution to re-write Obamacare so as to help them out in elections and spare cronies from its worst effects. They’re encouraging Obama to override the Constitution when it comes to immigration. But when it comes to starting yet another war, the same Democrats who were supine when he bombed Libya now complain that Obama needs to get Congressional permission this time around. Amazingly enough, the Republicans who were cowed, rather than supine, about Libya are also making noise about limitations on Obama’s war-time powers.

Turkey’s flying the coop (along with everyone else)

It doesn’t help Obama’s war presidency that the coalition of the willing in the fight against ISIS won’t include Turkey. That’s gotta hurt.

Turkey is not the only nation that casts a wary eye on Obama’s call-out to the world to help fight ISIS. A lot of non-Muslim (or, more accurately, not-yet-Muslim) nations have already announced that they’re going to be part of the coalition of the un-willing.

When it comes to Obama’s insistence that America won’t have to fight this war alone, Michael Ramirez hones in perfectly on the flaws in his argument.

Why should anyone pay attention to Barack Obama on ISIS?

Obama’s speech yesterday (which I hope to discuss more in a later post) is getting booed from all quarters. The peaceniks don’t like the war cries, and anybody of any intelligence doesn’t like the apologetics for Islam, the lunatic strategy of promising no boots on the ground (and we know how much Obama’s promises are worth), and the assurance that Middle Eastern and Muslim countries will rush to America’s aid, providing their troops to face down ISIS’s rampage.

Most importantly, there’s no reason to believe either Obama’s diagnosis or prescription regarding ISIS. As the Washington Free Beacon shows, when it comes to radical Islam, Obama has been wrong every time:

There are a few possible causes for a 100% failure rate when it comes to analyzing a political situation:  incredible stupidity, incredible denial, or incredible evil. Take your pick. It really doesn’t matter which reason you choose, because the results are the same regardless, and we’re still stuck with him for another 2.5 years.

DOJ covertly attempts to influence House IRS hearing

You’ve probably already heard about assistant to Eric Holder who dialed a wrong number and revealed to Rep. Darryl Issa’s office that the DOJ intended to use covert methods to come to the IRS’s aid in hearings before the House. If you haven’t heard, though, or if you want more details, the good news is that the story has broken out of conservative circles and hit the big time at The Hill, where you can read more about it.

For Ted Cruz, getting booed is a good thing

Ted Cruz continues to prove that he’s the smartest man in the room. When he went to a gathering of Middle Eastern Christians and was booed off the stage for defending America and Israel, the guys and gals exercising the thug veto probably thought that Cruz had lost that round. They would have done better to remember that as America finds itself staring down ISIS, many Americans aren’t feeling the love for the usual Middle Eastern rabble-rousers, whether Muslim or Christian. Moreover, many of them may be getting the sinking feeling that Israel is the canary in the coal mine and that America is next in line to be wrapped in Islam’s suffocating embrace.

Smart Ted, however, knew exactly how that booing would play, and he’s publishing his speech and the room’s response far and wide:

“Tonight, in Washington, should have been a night of unity as we came together for the inaugural event for a group that calls itself ‘In Defense of Christians.’ Instead, it unfortunately deteriorated into a shameful display of bigotry and hatred,” Cruz said in a statement provided to Breitbart News. “When I spoke in strong support of Israel and the Jewish people, who are being persecuted and murdered by the same vicious terrorists who are also slaughtering Christians, many Christians in the audience applauded. But, sadly, a vocal and angry minority of attendees at the conference tried to shout down my expression of solidarity with Israel.”

As America gears up for yet another war against radical Islamists, it’s useful to know who our real friends are. Score one for Ted!

Jeff Dunetz continues his efforts to call out anti-American, antisemitic radio hosts in New York

Jeff Dunetz (Yid With Lid), continues his annual effort to call out and get an apology from Mike Francesa and Chris Mad Dog Russo, the popular hosts of a New York sports radio show. Dunetz notes that the show was enjoyable in part because the two men disagreed with each other all the time, making for some interesting fire works. On September 12, 2001, though, the two were unanimous in blaming . . . Jews and America for the attack that killed almost 3,000 people, and demanding that American Jews be forced to take an oath of loyalty.

The Scientific method, as explained by Richard Feynman

One of the more delightful books I’ve read in the past many decades is Richard Feynman’s Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). Feynman may have been one of the smartest guys on the planet, but he somehow managed to avoid becoming one of those geniuses so lost in his head that he was unintelligible. It’s a funny, fascinating, informative, very human book, and I recommend it highly.

I also recommend Feynman’s explanation about the scientific method. I especially recommend it to the climate “scientists” whose theories have been proven wrong at every turn. In real science, failure vitiates the theory. In climate “science,” failure reinforces the theory.

Pictures

Reversing terrorists' cost-benefit calculus

Jews survive and thrive

In Memoriam: Thoughts on the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11

My life is divided into two parts:  Before September 11, 2001 and after September 11, 2001.

Even the most exciting things I’ve done in my life (marriage, children, etc.) haven’t affected me as strongly as September 11, 2001 did.  That day stands as a bright line that breaks my world view into two entirely disparate segments.  During the first part of my life, I was confident that “it can’t happen here.”  I felt protected by America’s borders.  I was safe within our country.  During the second part, the time after September 11, I’ve known that it can and will happen here.  My children are at risk.  In 21st Century America, borders are only as strong as the people’s will — and our people are only slowly becoming as willing as they should be.

Even worse, on this, the 13th anniversary of the original attack against Americans, on American soil, we are in as great a danger as we were then, if not in greater danger than ever before.  Our southern border, long a sieve has, under the current administration, been turned into a well-greased conduit through which a motley collection people, none of whom have been invited into this country, flows:  garden-variety illegal aliens, many of them stricken with diseases that long-ago vanished from or became rare in America; petty criminals from all points in Latin America; gang members intent upon taking over American crime syndicates; and, of course, Muslim terrorists.

The insecurity we feel from the last named people taking advantage of our illegally-opened borders — those Muslim terrorists — is heightened by current events in the Middle East.  Obama’s intemperate retreat from Iraq, which created a giant vacuum that sucked in radical Islam; his feckless policies in Syria (“red lines”) and Libya (“videos”); and his inchoate response to the “Arab Spring,” a response that somehow always ended up supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, have created ISIS (or ISIL), a Muslim army with caliphate aspirations.  This resurgent Islamist jihad is so toxic that even Obama’s own Defense Secretary concedes that it’s like nothing America has faced before.

Nor is ISIS (or ISIL) at all modest about its aspirations.  Not content with brutally slaughtering Iraqi troops and Christians by the thousands, raping women in equal numbers, and taking possession of tje vast stores of American weapons and dollars we left behind when we retreated from Iraq, ISIS has explicitly declared war on America itself.  To make its intentions clear, it’s publicly beheaded two Americans, and then made sure to broadcast these deeply symbolic American decapitations to the world at large.

And our administration’s response?  It started with Obama calling ISIS the “JV team,” a statement that is accurate if, by “JV team,” Obama meant the most efficient Muslim killing machine seen in centuries. Having sneered at ISIS, Obama ignored it.  Then, when forced to acknowledge ISIS, he freely admitted that he had no idea what to do.  And tonight, after assuring us that the Quran is wrong and that Islam has nothing to do with violence — so, QED, ISIS cannot be Islamic — Obama announced that he’s planning on dropping some bombs.

I’m all for dropping bombs on ISIS, especially to the extent it’s established itself as a “state,” but I see no benefit from Obama’s further plan to leave the heavy lifting to the Muslim states in the region.  Muslim states don’t lift well.  They have their own agendas, none of which include fealty to America or western values.  Their regular militaries (I’m sorry to say), while perfectly capable of extraordinary violence and cruelty when they have the upper hand, are equally renowned for their inefficiency and corruption at all times, and their cowardice when the tide turns against them.

Finally, Obama’s lead-from-behind strategy will only serve to encourage and empower bad actors such as Iran or Putin’s Russia.  As I so often find myself saying when it comes to Obama’s policies, no good can come from this.

All of brings us back to the biggest salvo to date in the Muslim war against America — the 9/11 attack.  For thirteen years, we’ve gone around mouthing “Never Forget,” as if it’s an incantation that, through repetition, will bestow some magic protection on us.  ISIS’s rise puts the lie to that superstitious belief.  Saying “Never Forget” isn’t the same as never forgetting, and it’s definitely not the same as recognizing a great evil and defending ourselves against it.

Those of us old enough to remember the events themselves continue to remember the date but, with every passing year, the emotional resonance lessens, until September 11 becomes a sad story rather than both a national tragedy and a wake-up call.  Even worse, too many of the younger generation don’t even have a textbook acquaintance with 9/11.  To them, it never happened at all.

If we still remembered strongly as we should, we would not, as a nation, have succumbed to the frenzy that saw us put Barack Obama in the White House in 2008.  And if we still remembered that fatal and fateful day at a visceral level, we wouldn’t have reelected a man who’s idea of a strategy is to engage in the kind of dissing that normally lives in high school locker rooms.

I refuse to forget.  Below the fold, you will find the names of all of the men, women, and children who died on September 11, 2001 at the hands of Islamic terrorists — terrorists who are still revered wherever radical Islam has a hold.

I’ve written lengthier memorials about three of the honored dead.  (I prefer “honored dead,” a nicely Victorian phrase, to the word “victim,” which negates Americans’ fighting spirit):

Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas

Brian Ahearn

Rick Rescorla

The end of the Twin Towers

[Read more...]

Obama: Probing questions and likely answers about the Islamic State

Obama is all smiles after the Foley speechBlackfive has a few questions he’d like to put to President Obama tonight when the latter makes his long awaited Islamic State pronouncement, no doubt to explain his hitherto missing “strategy”:

A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats?

B. Will you continue to say there won’t be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq?

C. What does victory against ISIS look like?

D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people?

E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits?

F. Will you seek authorization from Congress?

G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China’s rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)?

H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter – those countries in G above excepted)?

I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support?

Read more here, since Blackfive has pertinent background comments to those questions.

I don’t need to see the speech (and won’t see the speech, because I’ll be ferrying children about) to know Obama’s answers. So I’ve got for you a preview of coming attractions:

A. Will you continue to cut the military even as operations and optempo increase substantially? Will you increase funding to counter building threats?

Answer: Yes to the first question and no to the second.  As I said to Mitt Romney during our presidential debate in 2012,

“I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn’t spent enough time looking at how our military works.  You mentioned our Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we had in 1916. Well, governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets, because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have ships that go under water.  The question is not a game of Battleship where we’re counting ships. It’s what are our capabilities.”

My administration is quite sure that, once we’ve added open transsexuals to our military services, who will have a military that’s able to respond to any threats.  We call this newly augmented force the “Klinger Battalion.”

Corporal Klinger MASH

B. Will you continue to say there won’t be boots on the ground (our military) but instead send contractors in the thousands to Iraq?

Answer: Yes — although with the new Klinger Battalion, we may introduce high heels on the ground.

Fetish high heels

C. What does victory against ISIS look like?

Answer: I’m sorry, but I don’t understand the meaning of the word “victory,” when used in any context other than a Democrat defeating a Republican in an election.

D. Are we fighting an organization, nation, or idea? If it is the latter, how will you (globally) address the Islamic State murdering and enslaving thousands upon thousands of people?

Answer: None of the above. We’re negotiating with “a religion of peace.”

Behead those who insult Islam

E. Who will lead this fight against radical Islam? How will you involve Iran and Saudi Arabia in the discussions to stop the flow of recruits?

Answer: A coalition of Muslim countries, led by Iran (which will be in a strong position thanks to its nuclear capabilities).

Camo Iranian soldiers

Iranian troops on parade

F. Will you seek authorization from Congress?

Answer: That bunch of whiners? You’ve got to be kidding. Who needs ‘em? They were useless when I wanted blanket amnesty and I learned through that that I don’t need ‘em.

G. Outside of ISIS, Hamas, Al Qaeda, Iran: What about the Ukraine, Georgia, Poland, Lithuania etc? Will we only exert economic pressure over Russian interference and invasion? What will you do about China’s rapidly expanding Navy (aiming towards dominating the Pacific rim)?

Answer: Your question confuses me. I need to talk to Valerie and David Axelrod before I answer it.

davidaxelrod-and-valeriejarrett-300x197

H. How do we prevent weaker minded countries from joining ISIS (or Russia for that matter – those countries in G above excepted)?

Answer: We do so with my superior persuasive powers.

I. Last, if we are going to engage the enemy on many fronts, what kind of rules of engagement will you support?

Answer: Well, considering that our superior fire power and training make our engagement with smaller forces inherently unfair, I would expand the rules of engagement beyond seeing a weapon in someone’s hand before firing and getting a lawyer’s approval before bringing in heavy weapons. Henceforth, we need photo ID of all armed individuals to determine whether they’re a genuine ISIS combatant, or just someone with, you know, a gun. Also, we should use only those weapons that ISIS troops also have — something that won’t require us to draw down too much, since ISIS fighters now control all of the American weapons that we left upon our retreat from, er, withdrawal from Iraq.

Did Obama arm ISIS

Any further questions? Please ask them quickly, because it’s movie night. George Clooney promised to bring the rough cut of his latest and, let me be honest here, I don’t want to miss that.

The Bookworm Beat — 9/10/14 Clearing The Spindle edition

Woman writingI started a long post a few days ago, because I thought I saw a common thread linking Ray Rice, women in combat, the Rotherham sex scandal, etc., but I just couldn’t control all that material.

The short version of my theory is that women in the West have never achieved real equality with men. From the Victorian era through the 1970s, they were denied equality under the claim that they were pure angels — men’s better halves — who couldn’t be sullied with real world considerations. (This was the theory, of course; not the reality.)

Now, they’re denied equality under the claim that they’re precisely like men, which they manifestly are not. Sure, we women finally (and appropriately) get equal pay for equal work, and have full rights under the law, but we’re also expected to take it like a man, fight like a man, and fornicate like a man, all of which deny us our biological reality.

As you can see, this theory is amorphous, hard to prove, and difficult to hold together. No wonder it bogged me down, although I do think I’m on to something.

Anyway, on to the round-up, all of which consists of interesting things backed up on my tabs for the last couple of days:

It’s irrelevant that Islam has a peaceful majority

A 2007 article by Paul Marek is making the rounds, although it’s being misattributed to a holocaust survivor. It’s gaining popularity seven years after its original appearance because, with ISIS on the rise, it’s more relevant today than it was back then. Marek argues compellingly what we at the Bookworm Room have already figured out, which is that the so-called “peaceful Muslim majority” is irrelevant:

We are told again and again by experts and talking heads that Islam is the religion of peace, and that the vast majority of Muslims just want to live in peace. Although this unquantified assertion may be true, it is entirely irrelevant. It is meaningless fluff, meant to make us feel better, and meant to somehow diminish the specter of fanatics rampaging across the globe in the name of Islam.

The fact is that the fanatics rule Islam at this moment in history. It is the fanatics who march. It is the fanatics who wage any one of 50 shooting wars world wide. It is the fanatics who systematically slaughter Christian or tribal groups throughout Africa and are gradually taking over the entire continent in an Islamic wave. It is the fanatics who bomb, behead, murder, or execute honor killings. It is the fanatics who take over mosque after mosque. It is the fanatics who zealously spread the stoning and hanging of rape victims and homosexuals. The hard, quantifiable fact is that the “peaceful majority” is the “silent majority,” and it is cowed and extraneous.

Moreover, as the percentage of Muslims in a population increases relative to the overall population, that “peaceful” majority starts getting less peaceful. Laurie Regan has chapter and verse.

We are right to be paranoid about Islam in our midst, not because of invisible conspiracy theories that we create in our own heads based upon the absence of evidence but, instead, because the Muslims themselves are rattling as loudly as a sack full of rattle snakes. On the fields of battle, on the sidewalks, in the courts of law, in the media, and everywhere else, they are telling us their racist, genocidal, totalitarian agenda and demanding that we fall in line.

The ISIS poster boy

Mehdi Nemmouche is the ISIS poster boy. He is alleged to have murdered four people in a Jewish museum in Brussels, and will be facing trial for that. It’s an easy charge to believe, since a journalist who was kidnapped by ISIS in Syria identifies him as a man who loved torture, and gleefully boasted about raping and murdering a young mother, and then beheading her baby. Oh, and I almost forgot: he’s also alleged to have been planning a mass terror attack in Paris on Bastille Day.

The interior minister is denying that last report, but I somehow suspect that there’s a germ of truth in it. Certainly James O’Keefe has shown for America just how easy it would be to commit mass mayhem. I’m sure it’s just as easy in France, especially with the complicit banlieus ringing Paris.

The real reason Obama is holding off on granting amnesty until after the elections

After threatening to grant amnesty to 5 – 8 million illegal aliens at summer’s end, Obama has now announced that he’ll hold off until after the elections. Most people assume he reached this decision because Democrat congressional candidates begged him not to knock them out of the running with an executive order that Americans have shown, in poll after poll, that they despise. Bryan Preston, however, sees a more Machiavellian motive than just preserving a few Democrat seats in what’s probably going to be a Republican sweep:

After the election, Congress will be in a lame-duck session. The new Republicans will not be seated yet, and will not control Congress yet. The defeated Democrats will be on their way out, and will not care.

That’s the perfect moment for Obama to strike, claim all of the credit from the far left, and set up the Republicans to open up the next Congress weighing whether to discipline Obama or not. He loves the optics of a Republican Congress going after the first black president. He also loves the optics of the Republicans electing to do nothing, to avoid those optics created by going after him. Obama is setting up a “heads I win, tails you lose” situation.

It has nothing to do with constitutional principle. It has everything to do with politics.

Sounds right to me.

Science fails again

The whole climate change shtick is predicated on scientific infallibility — so much so that even the climate changistas’ mounting pile of errors is itself proof that their theory is correct. This is how the Chicken Little crowd can make the risible claim that the almost 17 year long hiatus in global warming, rather than destroying the theory, proves it.

As best as I can tell, the new theory is that there’s some Godzilla-like monster lurking in the depths of the ocean sucking in atmospheric heat preparatory to its evil plan one day to emerge from the deep and breath fire everywhere, destroying the world’s major cities. (It is possible that I got the climate-pause excuses a bit mixed up with the latest Godzilla flick. But then again, considering just how silly climate “science” as become . . . well, maybe not.)

No wonder I’m enjoying stories of science gone wrong. The latest story is the case of the asteroid that was supposed to have missed earth, but didn’t.

Rotherham and Multiculturalism

No one is better equipped than Dennis Prager to expose the Leftist, multiculturalist rot behind the horrible story of the Rotherham rapes.

Incidentally, Ross Douthat, a conservative writing at the New York Times, tries to universalize the Rotherham story — sexual evil exists everywhere, he says, and gets a pass because of race, class, and denial. While I often find myself agreeing with Douthat, who is an excellent writer, I think he’s wrong this time. The Rotherham evil is a very specific coming together of Mohamed’s explicit statement that Islamic men can sexually use non-Islamic females, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the multiculturalist rot that saw English authorities deliberately close their eyes to crimes emanating from the Muslim community.

Israelis save Irish soldiers

The Irish, as a nation, loath Israel and have nothing but sympathy for the poor oppressed brown people in the Middle East. Last week, the brown people did not return the favor when they attacked a group of Irish “peace”-keeping soldiers in the Golan Heights. The Irish soldiers survived because the Israelis rescued them. The Irish, being Leftists, will not connect the dots and will continue to hate humanist, democratic, pluralist Israel, while worshiping at the feet of politically correct brown-colored totalitarian Islamists.

Joe Scarborough gives further proof that he’s a moron

The only real question about Joe Scarborough is whether his decision to have a show on MSNBC is prima facie proof that he’s a moron, or whether he became a moron through years of close association with MSNBC. What’s unquestionable is that Scarborough is a moron, because only a moron would say that football as a sport breeds misogyny.

I would argue a little differently: football teams collect warrior types, and cluster them together, which is going to exacerbate certain pathologies (drinking, fighting, womanizing, and sometimes, fatally, all three simultaneously). Certainly the teams that gather together these testosterone-rich young men could do a better job of imposing discipline off the field, not just on, but football is not inherently evil.

Mark Steyn tells about Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”

My favorite composer, one of his and my favorite songs, and Mark Steyn’s inimitable magic — it all makes for something you have to read.

The video below will allow you to listen to Kate Smith’s original 1938 performance introducing the song:

Book Review — Bing West’s “One Million Steps : A Marine Platoon at War”

One Million StepsA new book went on sale today: Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War. I was fortunate enough to get a review copy and would like to share my impressions with you.

West, a Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, has now added a sixth book to his series about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In One Million Steps, he describes his experience when he was embedded with a Marine platoon in the Sangin distinct of Afghanistan during a six month period covering 2010 to 2011. As with all of West’s books, it is extremely well-written. West is a master of lyrical simplicity, something that fits very well with the way in which his book pulls us into the lives of the young Marines struggling to take back territory from the Taliban in the Sangin province of Afghanistan.

The Marines who fought these daily battles won’t be remembered in the same way as the Marines who fought at Iwo Jima or Guadalcanal.  This historical amnesia won’t arise because of any Marine failings, though.  As has been true for generations of Marines before them, the Marines in Battalion 3/5 sacrificed themselves mightily. Their battalion suffered the greatest losses of any unit in Afghanistan.  These sacrifices, however, will gain no traction in the public imagination because this is an unusual war.  While Marines fight to win, 21st century rules of engagement, combined with Obama’s political calculus, placed these Marines in an untenable situation, where winning was impossible.  Unlike previous wars, where even a lost battle, if fought with sufficient bravery, could imbue other fighters with the will to win, in Afghanistan victory was the true No Man’s Land.

As West ably explains, the Marines were ordered to an area of Afghanistan that Britain, which had previously tried to occupy it, had basically ceded to the Taliban. The British left the Americans a single fortified area surrounded by the Taliban; by farmers who were both victims of and collaborators with, the Taliban; and by thousands of IEDs buried in land that was an inhospitable combination of canals, marshes, primitive compounds, and small open fields surrounded by dense foliage. The correct way to have subdued this region, of course, would have to take every piece of modern land and air technology available and go in with guns blazing — perhaps preceded by Israeli-style warnings to non-combatants that they should vacate the land or prepare to die.

What happened instead were Sisyphean Rules of Engagement (“ROEs”) that prohibited Marines from firing offensively, instead limiting them to defensive fire after they’d already run the risk of casualties. Worse, if the Marines sought to engage in any more than a running skirmish in response to shots fired while they were out on patrol, a battalion, not of fellow warriors but of lawyers, had to review the proposed fight plan first to make sure that it didn’t violate the ROEs.  Even knowing about this bureaucratic, legalistic twist on warfare, reading about it in One Million Steps is still a shock.  It’s just mind-boggling that lawyers were calling the shots in a genuine ground war (as opposed to the lawyer’s usual field of battle — a courtroom). Wars are fluid, dynamic situations; lawyers are stolid, cautious, and risk-averse. To make fighters in the war dependent on lawyers is insane.

Even worse for the Marines in Sangin was that they were fighting under a Commander-in-Chief who was committed to defeat and retreat. That these young men willingly put themselves in the line of fire every day, day after day, under the most dreadful circumstances, all in service of a Commander who had already erased the word victory from his vocabulary, and who would soon spell out for the enemy the exact date and circumstances of the surrender is another mind-boggler.

Despite the adversity pressing down on them, the Marines in Battalion 3/5 never lost their commitment to the Marine ethos. Whatever the job demanded of them, no matter how pointless, quixotic, or dangerous, they would do their best to get the job done. Using a combination of brute strength, craftiness, and moral and physical courage, all under the umbrella of masterful leadership that encouraged both team playing and personal responsibility, they went out every single day through hostile Sangin territory and killed the Taliban in a perpetual game of whack-a-mole .  .  . only in this game, the mole was doing its best to whack back.

One of the strengths of West’s writing is his own service as a Marine forty-years before. West has a visceral understanding of what faces a grunt fighting an often chimerical enemy who observes no rules of war; who has the entire untouchable civilian community under his thumb; and who has had years to prepare the ground for war in the enemies’ favor. Although West’s language never becomes heated or bombastic, his descriptions of the Marines’ circumstances are vivid, realistic, and manifestly accurate. West is manifestly not a desk jockey suddenly playing with the big boys.

West also conveys admirably the strong connection between the individual Marines, all of whom are stuck in the middle of nowhere, seeing their comrades fall in often fatal and always devastating welters of blood, and putting their lives on the line every day. While these young men’s peers are at college, or holding down jobs, or just slacking off, these men, all of whom are volunteers, are living by the rules their much-admired Sargeant Matt Abbate wrote on a piece of plywood that he then hammered onto a wall:

1) Young warriors die
2) You cannot change Rule #1
3) Someone must walk the point (where you are sure to die)
4) Nothing matters more than thy brethren . . . thou shalt protect no matter what
5) Going out in a hail of gunfire . . . pop dem nugs until they body runs dry of blood . . . AND LOOK HELLASICK

Another great virtue of West’s writing is that each of the young men he mentions, even if only briefly, is a real person. West is not a Marxist who sees soldiers as cogs, units, victims, representatives of their race or class, statistics, or any other socialist group designation. To him, each is an individual with a name and a story. Moreover, to the extent too many of these young men died, each is a person who deserves the dignity of being remembered once more as the person he was, someone with hopes, family, and plans for a future that was never realized.

One Million Steps often makes for painful reading because we are seeing a tragedy play out in real-time. At the national level, the Marines were contending with two administrations that were, and have continued to be, terrified of the prospect of fighting a full-blooded war.  Worse, the second of these two administrations was frightened even of the possibility of victory. Serving on the ground under this schizophrenic, neurotic, diffident, sclerotic bureaucracy were men who, for whatever reason (a thirst for adventure, a fear of boredom, a craving for the camaraderie that only military services brings), chose to fight in an army governed by fear, constrained by counter-productive rules, and opposed to victory. There is no way this could end well.

Nevertheless, uncomfortable reading or not, Bing West’s One Million Steps: A Marine Platoon at War is a book that deserves to be read. We need to read it to understand the nature of our enemy, even if our political class continues to turn a blind eye. We need to read it to appreciate that this country is still capable of producing men of high-caliber, discipline, commitment and bravery. And lastly, we need to read it because young men, tucked away in a forgotten corner of an unpopular war, deserve to be recognized for their courage and sacrifice.

What passes on the Left for intelligent argument about the Atomic Bomb (UPDATED)

Japanese execution0001

Japanese beheading an Australian POW

I was feeling a little puckish, so I posted on my “real me” Facebook the same video about the atom bomb that I posted at Bookworm Room yesterday. In brief, it argues that, contrary to Leftist propaganda after WWII, Truman did not drop the bomb, killing tens of thousands of Japanese just to impress Stalin. Instead, as contemporary documents prove, he dropped it to save lives: The Japanese were refusing to surrender even though they’d manifestly lost the war, and all credible estimates (as it turned out, estimates from the Japanese side too) were that millions of Japanese would die if the war came to the home island. Additionally, and of much greater importance to Truman in a war that the Japanese had foisted on America, up to a hundred thousand or more American troops would die too.

With those predictions facing him, Truman made the logical, and surprisingly humane, decision to end the war quickly with the bomb. No matter how deadly it was, it wasn’t as bad as the alternative. War is like that: you have to choose between bad and worse. You can’t vote “present,” since a failure to decide and act is often the worst course of all.

One of my Facebook friends couldn’t have disagreed more strongly with this historically accurate premise. You can only fully appreciate her comments if you know that (a) she was one of the smartest kids in my high school and junior high school; and (b) she is first-generation Chinese-American, so you’d think that she’d have the memory of the Rape of Nanking living somewhere in her brain. Instead, in the 40 years since I first met her, she’s become a victim of Leftist thinking. (Note: I’ve slightly altered some wording in this woman’s comments so as to protect her privacy. The fact that she’s become a Leftist mush-brain doesn’t mean that she gave permission to have herself publicly humiliated. All commenter’s names have been changed.)

Sally Fu: I found a poem “Museum of Doubt : Nagasaki photos” (graphic images not suitable for children), by Kathleen Flenniken, a civil engineer turned poet, who spoke at Seattle’s Hiroshima to Hope festival.

Sally Fu: Japan was about to surrender. Truman only bombed Japan to impress the Soviets. While the results were good for America, Taiwan became a police state under an American-supported dictator who killed of Taiwan’s intellectuals. The US also turned Asia into a source of cheap labor. [Bookworm here: Who knew in 1945 that Truman was prescient enough to envision Mao's successful Communist takeover of China four years later, which saw the Nationalist Chinese government retreat to Taiwan?]

Danny Lemieux (yes, our own Danny: Sally, where did you read that Japan was about to surrender? I’ve looked at myriad sources about WWII, including Japanese sources. Everything I read said that the Japanese government had ordered every man, woman and child to defend “every blade of grass” to the last person. Indeed, Emperor Hirohito opposed the military junta’s demands when he finally agreed to surrender . . . and that was only after the Nagasaki bombing.

Sally Fu: Danny, it’s okay if you to want to believe in the moral high ground. The fact is, though, that America’s militarism (in fact, all militarism) serves all sorts of goals, including security and economic goals. Whatever journalists say, Asia, and especially Japan, has a long history of resisting colonial rule/interference, while the US and other Western nations have a long history of using the military towards global economic dominance.

Danny Lemieux: But Sally, I was looking for an answer to a specific question: You stated that “Japan was about to surrender.” What support do you have for that statement? Japan attacked America, America fought a war, and America won that war. It’s really not that complicated.

Sally Fu: Simple is good, and a simple story is necessary to defend not one but two actions of horrendous inhumanity in the eyes of the world public and to teach as history.

Another Conservative Voice: There is no evidence whatsoever that Japan was about to surrender. To the contrary: it was defiant even after the US dropped the first atomic bomb. As to “using the military towards global economic dominance,” it seems, Sally, that you’re very disconnected from Asian history. The only reason Asia hadn’t attempted to become an imperial power was because the Asians had fought amongst themselves for centuries, both between countries and within their own countries. Europe was able to engage in imperial growth, not only because the rule of law and relatively orderly governments were the norm, but also because Europe had, by historic standards, exceptionally long periods of peace and prosperity. It was these stretches of time that enabled the economic luxury of exploration and discovery, not to mention economic, military, and/or cultural imperialism. Although it was a painful process for Asia, Asia was ultimately fortunate that the West did influence it, since the alternative would have been continued inter-Asian warfare. India is the world’s largest democracy because of – not despite – western influence.

I haven’t yet weighed in. The short statements “Sally Fu” made are so rich in errors that I haven’t yet decided how to go about introducing new ideas in her mind. Her soil may have been killed off by years of Leftist influence, but that once incredibly bright brain may just be lying fallow, and new ideas, introduced correctly, may eventually take root.

UPDATE:  Tom Elia has also been struggling through conversations with liberals.  He has a wonderful line of thinking that sustains him during those moments.