(Video) What does ISIS want? (Aside from us dead, that is.)

June 26, 2016

Here’s a good video from Prager University narrated by Thomas Joscelyn of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. He provides a useful brief background on ISIS’ origins, its goals, and how it sees its place in Islamic history. Worth watching.

One of these days we’re going to wake up from our national madness, an insanity that has seen the two major parties choose the two worst candidates ever as their nominees. And when we do, maybe we can get back to dealing with the real problems of the world (1).

Such as Islamic maniacs who want to get to paradise over our corpses.

Footnote:
(1) Note to isolationists: you may not be interested in the outside world, but the outside world doesn’t care. And it is very much interested in us.


D-day: storming the castle

June 6, 2016

Seventy-two years ago today, American, British, Canadian, French, and Polish soldiers charged the gates of Hell — and won:

Black Five put up an excellent roundup of D-Day posts from many blogs a few years ago. It’s still worth reviewing. And have a look at this entry for a photo essay on D-Day.

RELATED: The Daily Mail tells the story of one Medal of Honor winner who still wonders how he survived Normandy.


(Video) Memorial Day and America’s “Forgotten War” in Korea

May 30, 2016

korean war

The Korean War (1950-53) is sometimes called America’s “Forgotten War,” the one that came between our crushing victory in World War II and the turmoil of our defeat in Vietnam.

It’s forgotten in part because its results were, at first glance, inconclusive: the North Korean regime survived, and the war was suspended in a ceasefire. In other words, a “draw.”

I’ve argued before that this is an incorrect way to view the war. True, we failed in our initial objective: to liberate all the Korean peninsula. But our later goal, the survival of the South Korean state, turned into a good few could have anticipated. Since the war, South Korea has become a prosperous democratic nation and a close ally of the United States. So, while we didn’t achieve all our war aims, it’s hard not to call this “victory.”

North Korea, on the other hand, gives new meaning to the phrase “Hell on Earth.”

For Prager University, historian Victor Davis Hanson (1) looks at the Korean War and offers not only the same reasons I adduce to call it a win, but also points out why it was an intensely moral fight on the part of the US and its allies:

The Korean War, and the men who fought it, should never be forgotten.

Footnote:
(1) One of my intellectual heroes.

 


Memorial Day weekend and the anniversary of a great defeat

May 30, 2016

Memorial Day is a holiday set aside for Americans to honor our servicemen past and present and to remember, if even for a moment, those who gave what Lincoln called that “last full measure of devotion.” But this weekend also reminds us of another war, one far older than the United States, and yet hasn’t ended.

Some people call our current struggle with jihadist Islam “The Long War,” meaning that this fight is expected to go on for years, if not generations.

But it’s a long war in another sense, too, because we of the West been fighting it, through periods active and quiet, since Muhammad first declared as Allah’s command:

Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued. (Qur’an 9:29)

This weekend marks an anniversary in that nearly 1400-years long struggle, the Fall of Constantinople and the end of the last remnant of the Roman Empire:

“Siege of Constantinople,”Jean Chartier c.1475

From Constantinople, the Turks, who had taken the Arabs’ place as leaders of the jihad, would march on into Central Europe, conquering the Balkans and twice besieging magnificent Vienna. This last great surge was stopped at the gates of the city in 1683; after that, Islam went into a long period of quiet that gradually ended in the final decades of the 20th century, until the jihad resumed amidst fire and terror on September 11th, 2001. Where once stood Franks and Greeks and Austrians and Poles and Spaniards and Italians, now there stands… us.

Is there a grand lesson in all this? I don’t know. What I do know, however, is that people who think this “long war” will end quickly and easily are only fooling themselves. As long as there remains in Islam a compulsion to fight everyone else until they submit, this war will go on:

And fight them until persecution is no more, and religion is all for Allah. But if they cease, then lo! Allah is Seer of what they do. (Qur’an 8:39)

Memorial Day commemorates Americans who died in the war for human liberty. Islam’s never-ending jihad against everyone else —a war against that very same liberty— reminds us that struggle is eternal.

 


The shot heard round the world, updated

April 19, 2016

I’m a bit red-faced Blushing that it took a British blog to remind me that today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, generally regarded as the opening skirmish of the American Revolution. Tory Historian points out that both sides claimed victory, but perhaps I can be forgiven a bit of national pride for arguing that we won on points: the advance column withdrew under fire and was considering surrender when it was rescued by Percy’s brigade. General Gage then found himself besieged in Boston. Flag

Regardless of any “Monday-morning generalship,” it is fitting that the anniversary comes just a few days after the Tax Day Tea Parties, a genuine grassroots movement that organized itself to protest Washington’s mad plans to borrow and spend like drunken sailors on pay day — and, inevitably, to make us pay for it all with ruinous taxation.

In 2009, just as in 1775, popular sentiment erupted to send distant masters a message. Thankfully, this time, shots weren’t needed, but the point was made just the same: Don’t tread on us.

treadflag

PS: This is a re-posting of something I wrote in 2009, in honor of the Battle of Lexington and Concord. If, however, you want to read an account of the bloodiest battle of that day and its all too human cost, read about the fight at Metonomy.

 


US kills 150 jihadis in one strike. Also, happy graduation!!

March 7, 2016

x

With the news from our own election so… depressing, I am not ashamed to admit that this news gives me great joy:

The United States carried out an air strike in Somalia over the weekend that killed approximately 150 militants belonging to the terror group al Shabaab, the Pentagon said Monday.

The air strike was carried out Saturday at the al Qaeda-linked terror group’s “Raso” training facility, which is located about 120 miles north of the Somali capital Mogadishu, Reuters reported. U.S. officials said that the fighters were training for a large-scale attack against American Special Operations forces and their allies in the region.

“We know they were going to be departing the camp and that they posed an imminent threat to U.S. and to Amisom, African Union mission in Somalia forces, that are in Somalia,” Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Pentagon, said.

The best part, though? It was graduation day:

It is believed that the al Shabaab operatives were struck during a graduation ceremony, the New York Times reported. One official said that the fighters were “standing outdoors in formation.”

Very helpful of them, and I hope it was during the valedictorian’s speech.


(Video) Israel: The World’s Most Moral Army

February 1, 2016

Whenever Israel gets into a fight with its Arab neighbors, cries go up from those Arabs of unspeakable, innumerable Israeli atrocities. A left-leaning, anti-Israel press all too credulously accepts these reports, which are echoed uncritically by transnational NGOs and even the UN, which has its own anti-Israel bias. Thus the image the world sees is of a monstrous Israel Defense Force, one that is heedless of the civilian casualties it may cause.

The truth, as one might expect, is far different and begins with the fact that the Palestinians lie regularly and often. Here to correct the record is British Army Colonel (ret.) Richard Kemp in a video from Prager University:

It’s a point that has to be made over and over, as it does on behalf of our own military, often accused of crimes it never commits. (1) The Left and their allies in the jihadist movement will never, ever stop telling lies about either the Israeli or the American military, and so we must never stop telling the truth.

Footnote:
(1) No, I’m not saying either nation’s military is perfect. But both go to extraordinary lengths to avoid or at least minimize harm to civilians. The same cannot be said about our enemies.


R.I.P Tibor Rubin, American hero

December 13, 2015
Tibor Rubin

Tibor Rubin

Tibor Rubin died recently, after living a life that marked him as a great man. Born a Jew in Hungary, Rubin and his family were thrown into the death camps by the Nazis. He lost his mother and sister there, but Tibor survived to see the Americans liberate the camp and its prisoners. Overwhelmed with gratitude at the men who came from over the sea to save him and destroy his people’s tormentors, Rubin vowed to find a way to make it to America and become an American soldier.

Eventually he did, and Rubin found himself fighting in Korea against the North Koreans and Chinese. Legal Insurrection quotes from his medal of honor citation:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Corporal Tibor Rubin distinguished himself by extraordinary heroism during the period from July 23, 1950, to April 20, 1953, while serving as a rifleman with Company I, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division in the Republic of Korea.

While his unit was retreating to the Pusan Perimeter, Corporal Rubin was assigned to stay behind to keep open the vital Taegu-Pusan Road link used by his withdrawing unit. During the ensuing battle, overwhelming numbers of North Korean troops assaulted a hill defended solely by Corporal Rubin. He inflicted a staggering number of casualties on the attacking force during his personal 24-hour battle, single-handedly slowing the enemy advance and allowing the 8th Cavalry Regiment to complete its withdrawal successfully.

Following the breakout from the Pusan Perimeter, the 8 th Cavalry Regiment proceeded northward and advanced into North Korea. During the advance, he helped capture several hundred North Korean soldiers. On October 30, 1950, Chinese forces attacked his unit at Unsan, North Korea, during a massive nighttime assault.

That night and throughout the next day, he manned a .30 caliber machine gun at the south end of the unit’s line after three previous gunners became casualties. He continued to man his machine gun until his ammunition was exhausted. His determined stand slowed the pace of the enemy advance in his sector, permitting the remnants of his unit to retreat southward. As the battle raged, Corporal Rubin was severely wounded and captured by the Chinese.

Choosing to remain in the prison camp despite offers from the Chinese to return him to his native Hungary, Corporal Rubin disregarded his own personal safety and immediately began sneaking out of the camp at night in search of food for his comrades. Breaking into enemy food storehouses and gardens, he risked certain torture or death if caught. Corporal Rubin provided not only food to the starving Soldiers, but also desperately needed medical care and moral support for the sick and wounded of the POW camp.

His brave, selfless efforts were directly attributed to saving the lives of as many as forty of his fellow prisoners. Corporal Rubin’s gallant actions in close contact with the enemy and unyielding courage and bravery while a prisoner of war are in the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

Tibor Rubin didn’t receive his medal until 2005, when it was discovered an antisemitic sergeant had interfered with the initial reports. It’s to the credit of Congress and the Bush administration that they corrected this insult.

You can read more and watch a video about Tibor Rubin at Legal Insurrection — in fact, I insist you do. In an era when we hero-worship narcissistic nothings who’ve never done a thing in their lives worth remembering, when we pander to infantile adults who become upset at hearing words they don’t like, it’s gratifying, refreshing, and reassuring to read of someone who, to the day he died, always looked for some way to pay back the land that had saved his life. Not flashy, not showy: no screaming “look at me, me, me!” Just a man of quiet, humble courage who was a better American than many who were born here.

Rest in peace, Corporal Tibor Rubin. May your memory be a blessing to your family and the adopted country you so honored.


Pearl Harbors then and now

December 7, 2015

In the last surprise attack on American soil before 9/11, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor:

The end of the USS Arizona

(Credit: Aviation History)

My grandfather was a Petty Officer aboard the USS Nevada during the battle. Below are a couple of pictures of his ship under attack, the only battleship to get underway that day:

…and…

Grandpa was having a bad day

(Both photos credit: Naval Historical Center)

As you can see, they had been hit pretty hard. Thankfully, Grandpa survived.

Fourteen years ago, we were hit by another fascist enemy, Muslims waging “jihad fi sabil Allah,” with casualties 25% higher than Pearl Harbor:

(credit: September 11th News)

…and…

(Credit: Aspersions)

…and…

(Scene at the Pentagon. Credit: US Navy via Wikimedia)

Our grandfathers finished their job. Let’s not do any less, shall we?

RELATED: The story of Lt. John William Finn, the last surviving Medal of Honor winner from Pearl Harbor.

NOTE: This is a republishing of a post I put up each December 7th.


#SanBernardino jihad massacre: Was Christmas itself a target?

December 6, 2015
Fatwa this!

Prophet of jihad

I know it sounds bizarre to us –how exactly does one attack a holiday, and who could hate Christmas so?– but it’s not as farfetched as one might think. In an article for PJ Media, Bridget Johnson looks at the religious angle to what fools were initially describing as “workplace violence:”

But there’s been little attention paid to why [jihadist Syed] Farook’s co-workers were gathered together, technically away from their workplace: the Christmas party.

And terrorist groups have a fondness for the holiday season.

In 2001, shoe bomber Richard Reid attempted to down a transatlantic American Airlines flight on Dec. 22. Acting for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight heading from Amsterdam into Detroit on Christmas Day, 2009. On Christmas Day 2011, Boko Haram launched a series of strikes against churches in four cities that killed 41.

(…)

That spring, AQAP released an issue of Inspire magazine that explicitly suggested staging attacks during the holiday season and exploiting Christmas for strategic advantage.

In a bomb-making how-to with the AQ Chef — the nom de guerre for al-Qaeda’s bomb instructor for “open-source jihadists” — the magazine stressed that “choosing the place and time is a crucial factor to success in any operation. Choose targets in your own country. You know the enemy better, you are within.”

Suggested targets were sporting events, election campaign, festivals and any other gatherings regardless of whether or not there’s a landmark involved — “the important thing is that you target people and not buildings.”

Recommended times to strike? Christmas and campaign season, said Inspire.

There’s more: be sure to read it.

One thing many people don’t realize is that, for the jihadist, this is a religious war. Sure, we might recognize that superficially, but most of us don’t really understand its implications. This is a war waged by adherents of one religion, Islam, against all other religions to prove that their god is superior (“Allahu akbar!” means “Allah is greater!”), to reserve all worship for him, alone, and to subjugate and even destroy the other religions, which are seen as, at best, misguided (Christianity), or at worst as downright evil. (Hinduism and Judaism, for example.) The Believer is under religious command to fight these other religions:

And kill them wherever you find them, and drive them out from whence they drove you out, and persecution is severer than slaughter, and do not fight with them at the Sacred Mosque until they fight with you in it, but if they do fight you, then slay them; such is the recompense of the unbelievers. But if they desist, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. And fight with them until there is no persecution, and religion should be only for Allah, but if they desist, then there should be no hostility except against the oppressors.

(See also, for more)

Like I said, the concept is almost incomprehensible to us Westerners, raised in a secularized, rational society shaped by the Enlightenment, something the Islamic world has never experienced. We burned that need to make war on other religions out of our psyches during the horrific religious wars in Europe in the 16th and, especially, the 17th centuries.

True though it is that the West is still superb when it comes to waging war –we can fight and win savage wars to the death when needed– we don’t go attacking Christmas parties. That makes no sense to us from a military standpoint and it offends our sense of decency.

But, to the jihadist Muslim, it makes perfect sense because the religion is the real target, and therefore you must attack its symbols and celebrations. By doing so you tell its believers that their religion is weak or false, that their god cannot protect them, that safety only lies in submission or conversion to your religion.

When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

This is why Syed Farook and his wife attacked the Christmas party and killed their coworkers and their guests. It wasn’t just a soft, undefended target — it was a celebration of the enemy religion and thus a legitimate target.

This is a religious war, with all the implications those words carry. And until we understand the doctrines and teachings of the religion for which this war is waged —Islam— we’re going to keep losing.


Payback: France bombs Raqqa, ISIS’ “capital.”

November 15, 2015
x

La guerre commence.

After the jihadist atrocities in Paris last Friday, French President Hollande promised retribution: “pitiless war” was the term he used.

Today France began to make good on his promise:

French fighter jets bombed a series of ISIS sites in Raqqa, Syria, on Sunday in what officials described as a major bombardment.

The airstrikes came two days after a series of terrorist attacks in Paris. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks, which France’s President described as “an act of war.”

ISIS claims Raqqa as the capital of its so-called caliphate. The targets in Sunday’s airstrikes included a command center, a recruitment center, an ammunition storage base and a training camp for the terror group, said Mickael Soria, press adviser for France’s defense minister.

Twelve aircraft, including 10 fighter jets, were involved in the airstrikes, Soria said. Twenty bombs were dropped, he said, and all of the targets were destroyed.

An ISIS media wing claimed the sites had been abandoned before they were hit and said there were no casualties.

Good. And I hope a large number of those brave knights of Islam were killed in the process. Even more, I hope this is just the start. Not just a raid or two, but boots on the ground with the mission to destroy these monsters, to hunt them down and kill them all. For the dead of Paris, for all those slaughtered by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and for the women sold into slavery. No more gestures, no more light shows, no more marches “in solidarity,” for real solidarity now means picking up a gun.

ISIS delenda est.

I just wish our president would see fit to get involved in more than the pathetic, diffident manner he’s chosen so far.

via Hot Air


Massacre in the City of Lights as the jihad comes to Paris. Update: deaths near 100

November 13, 2015
x

Vive la France!

Damn these monsters to Hell:

Paris is gripped by terror tonight as multiple, apparently coordinated attacks have unfolded in the French capital.

As many as a dozen people were killed as multiple gunmen opened fire on a busy restaurant in Paris: Le Petit Cambodge, a popular Cambodian eatery at Rue Ailbert and Rue Bichat. A witness who was at the restaurant, which was crowded on a Friday night, told FRANCE24 that she heard about 25-30 shots.

There were also two explosions, perhaps grenades, just outside of the national stadium.

French President Francois Hollande was reportedly attending a soccer match between France and Germany at the Stade de France when the attacks occurred, and was evacuated safely. Hollande and the interior minister were coming together in an emergency meeting.

French TV is reporting that hostages have been taken at the Bataclan concert venue. There are also reported fatalities at the location.

Jihadis online are celebrating on Twitter under the hashtag #FranceUnderAttack.

Per a more recent update, the death toll has climbed to at least 40 as security forces deal with the emergency and try to rescue hostages.

France has declared martial law in Paris and sealed the country’s borders.

Memories are evoked of the Mumbai jihad atrocities of 2008.

Godspeed to the people of Paris and the security forces now in battle, and may France’s just retaliation be swift, devastating, and merciless.

This is war, not a police matter.

UPDATE: The death toll is climbing.

Agence France-Presse is reporting “around 100″ dead in the Bataclan concert venue at the conclusion of the hostage standoff.

President Obama issued a statement including the usual boilerplate about “bringing the perpetrators to justice.” There is only one justice that fits here, Mr. President, and it’s not a court of law:

Hunt them down and kill them all.


So, Iran was responsible for 14% of our combat deaths in Iraq. And our response is…?

November 8, 2015
X

TR would have known what to do.

Back in the old days, this is what was called a casus bellia cause for war:

Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.

The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.

At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.

The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.

The devices bore the signs of the Iranian “Quds Force,” their external terrorist/special operations group within the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. And, though not mentioned in the article, similar attacks took place in western Afghanistan, in regions near the Iranian border. The Iranian government was killing and maiming our soldiers.

I call that an act of war.

Note that this is a failing of both the Bush II and Obama administrations: Iran (and Syria, for their support of jihadist rebels) was never properly punished for its actions. This is a region of the world wherein strength and brutality is respected: the failure to hurt Iran for its attacks on our forces only invited further aggression.

Think I’m misreading things? A 2007 National Intelligence Estimate noted that Iran has seriously slowed or even halted its nuclear program after we invaded and liberated Iraq. The Iranians were afraid we’d do something similar to them, so they tucked their tails between their legs and laid low. This is not a brave regime. But, once they realized we weren’t going to do much to really punish them, they began and continued their attacks through 2011.

I’m not saying we should declare war on Iran and invade, though the ill-advised restraint of George W. Bush and President Obama’s incompetence have made eventual war more likely, not less. The American public isn’t ready for such an undertaking, and the military needs a lot of rebuilding.

But, at the same time, the Middle East isn’t going away, and our necessary involvement there isn’t over. Potential foes have to know they will pay a high price for attacking us: we must fight back. A response doesn’t even have to be military. In fact, it’s too late now to do anything like direct retaliation.

However, the Iranian regime is afraid to death of its own people, so why not (finally) start giving substantial political support to the opposition? Make the mullahs fear for their own necks, rather than going after ours.

If we don’t show them we’re not bin Laden’s “weak horse,” they’ll only do it again.

 


If Mitt Romney were president

October 18, 2015
"Voters' remorse"

“Alternate universe”

Let’s just say the ethics of the antiwar movement (1) are “situational”:

If Romney had been elected in 2012 and in the year before his reelection campaign had bombed a hospital, decided to keep troops in Afghanistan, and had details of his robot assassin program leaked, things would probably look a little different today.

If Romney were president right now, the White House would be surrounded by protesters and candlelight peace vigils night and day. Some would wave American flags, some would wave signs calling for impeachment, some would have pictures caricaturing the president as Hitler or an animal. They would chant “Not in our name!”, or “Bring them home!”, or “Hey ho, hey ho, Romney has got to go!”

If Romney were president, nightly news reports on CBS, NBC, and ABC would have regular features on war crimes, quagmires, and collateral damage. CNN would be wall-to-wall with team coverage of protests, interviews of bombing witnesses, and Anderson Cooper walking through rubble in full body armor.

If Romney were president, every political analyst left of Judge Napolitano would be fretting over the war-weary public turning the upcoming election into a referendum against the president and his party. Vox and FiveThirtyEight would have maps showing how many Senate seats Republicans would lose because of the president’s sure-to-plummet approval rating. And then there’s MSNBC.

And let’s not forget, Cindy Sheehan would still be in demand.

Be sure to read the rest.

via Instapundit

Footnote:
(1) Funny how they seemed to nearly vanish once a left-wing Democrat took office. It’s almost as if they really didn’t care about the war and were just using it for political gain. Nah…


Obama’s “war” against Isis falls apart

September 23, 2015

These guys would be an improvement.

Writing in the liberal New York Observer, national security analyst John Schindler paints a bleak picture of the Obama administration’s efforts against the Islamic State, which all but concede Syria to Russia:

For the Obama administration, the news from the Middle East keeps going from bad to worse. Vladimir Putin’s power play, moving significant military forces into Syria to support his ailing client, Bashar al-Assad, caught the White House flat footed and unsure how to respond.

Although the administration gave the Kremlin de facto control over American policy in Syria some two years ago when it walked away from its own “red line,” granting Russia a veto on Western action there, President Obama and his national security staff nevertheless seem befuddled by this latest Russian move.

The forces Mr. Putin has just deployed to Syria are impressive, veteran special operators backed by a wing of fighters and ground attack jets that are expected to commence air strikes on Assad’s foes soon. They are backed by air defense units, which is puzzling since the Islamic State has no air force, indicating that the Kremlin’s true intent in Syria has little to do with the stated aim of fighting terrorism and is really about propping up Russia’s longtime client in Damascus.

The White House is left planning “deconfliction” with Moscow—which is diplomatic language for entreating Russians, who now dominate Syrian airspace, not to shoot down American drones, which provide the lion’s share of our intelligence on the Islamic State. The recent meeting on Syrian developments between Mr. Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who clearly finds dealing with the Russian strongman preferable to parleying with President Obama, indicates where power is flowing in today’s Middle East.

Did you catch that last part? After seven years of being pimp-slapped by an at-best indifferent (1) American administration, our strongest enemy in the Middle East feels a need to protect its own interests by “reaching out” to the new power in the area, since we can no longer be counted on.

Team Obama’s foreign policy (and that includes former Secretary of State Clinton) has been an accelerating avalanche since the day it took office and, in the last couple of years, we’ve started seeing the bitter fruit of “smart power.” From the Russian reset and the backstabbing of Poland and the Czech Republic on missile defense, to the withdrawal from Iraq and the total misreading of the Arab Spring and the monumentally bad deal with Iran, I don’t believe our foreign policy has ever been lead by such a toxic mixture of leftist dogmatism and sheer incompetence. What we’re witnessing in the Middle East is the utter –and perhaps deliberate— destruction of an American position built up over 40 years by administrations of both parties.

Go ahead and read the whole thing. And have a stiff drink handy.

Footnote:
(1) And, arguably, anti-Israel or even antisemitic.


9-11: George W. Bush and his bullhorn

September 11, 2015

Lots of people have written today about that terrible morning: where they were, what they remember, maybe honoring the victims or the many valiant heroes of the battle and its aftermath. I wondered what I would write. I decided that, rather than focus on the day itself, something others have done much more eloquently than I ever could, I wanted to share video of what has become one of my strongest memories from that time: the moment, when, three days later, George W. Bush stood amidst the smoldering ruins from which the dead were still being recovered and rallied a stunned and bloodied nation:

That was the day a man who won a disputed, contentious election truly became President of the United States of America, and I’ll forever be grateful for him.

Note: This is a re-posting, slightly updated, of something I wrote for the tenth anniversary; I think it’s a moment that needs recalling.


Hillary’s Sources, Methods, and Lies

September 9, 2015

An interesting discussion of how the same piece of information can wind up assigned different levels of classification by different agencies: it depends on how the information is obtained.

The XX Committee

I’ve been doing my best to explain the complex intelligence realities behind Hillary Clinton’s on-going #EmailGate scandal for months now, and we’re still far from the end of this messy saga.

Hillary’s take on what happened with her State Department “unclassified” email and her “private” server has see-sawed with the customary Clintonian lawyerly evasions, untruths, and now something approaching half-truths.

First it was: everything done was legal and acceptable.

Then came: mistakes were perhaps made, but not by me, and I’m not apologizing.

Followed by: the inevitable Clintonian sorry-not-sorry.

Now, having seen her polls dropping in rock-like fashion, we’re at: I’m kinda sorry but still nothing I emailed was “marked” classified.

The last is a particularly dishonest evasion, given that the Intelligence Community has twicedetermined that in fact TOPSECRET//SCI information was included in Hillary’s “private” email on at least two occasions. Given that’s from a sample of just forty…

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The Iraq War: Not Illegal, Not Immoral, and Not Over

August 27, 2015

I’ve said many times since 2003: I was a supporter of the liberation of Iraq, I remain so, and I still think it was justified given the strategic situation of those days, regardless of the mistakes under Bush during the occupation and reconstruction, or under Obama. I think you’ll find this post of interest.

James Snell

Today sees the publication of an entirely excellent article in The Times by Nigel Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral Theology at the University of Oxford. In it, the good professor takes apart a number of myths which have been allowed to coagulate about the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, one of the most evil men in recent history whose autocratic (and kleptocratic) rule led to the foundation not just of ISIS – as if it was not enough – but the creation of much of Iraq’s current sectarian turmoil.

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100 Years Ago: The First Allied Victory of World War I

August 19, 2015

Nice post by Mr. Schindler about a forgotten 101-year old battle in World War I. My recent reading has me convinced that the Austro-Hungarian high command was headed by lobotomy survivors.

The XX Committee

[This is the beginning of a new blog series, 100 Years Ago, I’ll be posting to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.]

Exactly a century ago today, on 19 August 1914, Austria-Hungary suffered a shocking battlefield defeat at the hands of Serbia, delivering the Allies their first victory of the Great War. This unexpected defeat occurred in the mountains of northwest Serbia, with Austro-Hungarians forces sent back into Bosnia in a ragtag state after suffering a sharp local setback that quickly unraveled the entire Habsburg invasion of Serbia.

Vienna invaded “Dog Serbia” in mid-August to avenge the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand by Belgrade-backed assassins in Sarajevo on 28 June. Although Austro-Hungarian intelligence did not have a complete picture of the background to the assassination — there remain unanswered questions even today — they knew enough that it was time to settle accounts with troublesome little Serbia…

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(Video) Was slavery the cause of the Civil War?

August 10, 2015

civil war blue grey

That’s always an intriguing question for those interested in the US Civil War and US History in general: why did such a promising young nation tear itself apart in a conflict that cost perhaps more than 800,000 lives? (1) Aside from slavery, proffered explanations include economic and other regional differences between North and South; discriminatory tariffs (from the Southern point of view) and unfair internal improvements; and federal violations of the Constitution against “states’ rights.”

But, to this armchair historian, these and other reasons never felt sufficient to justify the turmoil of the late 1850s and the carnage of 1861-1865. For me, at least, it always comes back to slavery, that “peculiar institution” about which northerners and southerners held increasingly mutually exclusive opinions.

In the video below from Prager University, Colonel Ty Seidule, head of the Department of History at West Point, makes the argument that the war was about slavery, period:

And I agree with him. Col. Seidule refers a couple of times to the secession declarations of the southern states, asserting that each one (2) wrapped its arguments around the core of preserving slavery. And historian William C. Davis in his history of the Confederacy, “Look Away,” marshals strong evidence that the Confederate constitutional convention, held at Montgomery, Alabama, focused on the need to preserve and expand slavery. Finally, there’s this from the famous “Cornerstone Speech” of CSA Vice President Alexander Stephens:

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Seems pretty clear, no?

Davis and many, many others saw slavery as an existential sine qua non for the new nation. If the United States was conceived in liberty and was unimaginable without it, the Confederate States and Southern society were founded on the bedrock of human bondage — and were equally inconceivable without it. With their very reason for existence threatened, secession and civil war became almost inevitable. Without slavery, there would likely have been no Republican Party committed to abolition, nor any reason to secede on the election of Lincoln.

Anyway, this isn’t meant to bash modern Southerners, and I recognize the sore spot created by the anti-Southern bigotry that grew rife after the massacre in Charleston and the nonsense over the CSA flag. It annoyed me, too.

But I think honesty and a sober assessment of the historical evidence requires a recognition of the truth.

Slavery was at the root of the Civil War.

PS: Sorry there were no posts the last few days. It turned into a busy, busy Friday and weekend.

Footnotes:
(1) Consensus estimates of total casualties hover around 600,000, but recent research indicates the toll of dead and wounded may well have been much higher.
(2) Unless I misheard him, the Colonel is wrong in this assertion. Several of the secession declarations make no mention of slavery — Florida’s, for example. But many do at length, and I think this shows the importance of slavery to the new nation overall.