The 1st Amendment prevents the government from attacking ISIS ideologically? Really?

October 8, 2014
"But don't criticize them."

“But don’t criticize them.”

This is why the Left cannot be taken seriously on constitutional matters: they don’t even understand the basics. Via Power Line:

Bill Gertz has a lengthy and fascinating piece in the Washington Free Beacon about what he calls the Obama administration’s failure “to wage ideological war against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists.” Gertz attributes the failure to “fears that attacking [ISIS’s] religious philosophy will violate the constitutional divide between church and state.”

It seems difficult to believe that the First Amendment explains Obama’s unwillingness to acknowledge, for example, that the Islamic State is Islamic. Gertz cites James Glassman, former undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. Glassman seems to rely mainly on what he hears coming out of the State Department.

For the record, here’s what the 1st Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I don’t see anything in there about “the government may not criticize the religious doctrine of an enemy organization,” do you?  Perhaps our constitutional law professor-president can explain it to us.

Gertz calls this a “surrender in the war of ideas,” and he is right. It’s a pathetic bit of hand-waving to hide the fact that the administration desperately does not want to deal with the Islamic doctrine cited by ISIS as the justification for its jihad. For whatever reason –political correctness, a leftist reluctance to criticize “victims of colonialism,” a fear of upsetting allied Muslim states, or even a secular inability to deal with minds operating on a religious paradigm– the Obama administration (and, to a lesser extent, the Bush administration before it) will go to any lengths to deny the truth: we are in a global conflict with an Islamic supremacist/revivalist movement that, while having many sometimes fractious elements, is united by a largely common and mainstream understanding of Islamic texts and doctrines. And until and if (1) we can get imams willing to go public with their criticism in Islamic terms of the doctrinal arguments of the jihadists, we will continue to surrender in this war of ideas and the jihadists will continue to attract recruits.

Footnote:

(1) Which is problematic, because a) I think the Muslim Brotherhood, al Qaeda, and other jihad groups have a very good understanding of Islamic doctrine, and imams critical of them have trouble finding counter-arguments; and b) critics of the jihad who do come forward often put their lives at real risk.

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I weep: our foreign policy has been reduced to hashtags

April 25, 2014
Your Obama foreign policy team

Your Obama foreign policy team

Well, I weep and I mock.

For those not familiar with Twitter, “hashtags” are labels preceded by a number sign, as in “#politics.” They were developed to make it easier for people to search for related messages on the system, though people also use them as asides to provide commentary, humor, or snark.

A few weeks ago, the United States Department of State, faced with the slow-motion dismemberment of Ukraine by Russia, apparently decided that hashtags were also effective tools of superpower diplomacy. Thus we saw this from State’s spokeswoman, Jen Psaki:

My reaction, you’ll be surprised to learn, was one of dismay and disgust. This is hardly the serious diplomacy one would expect from a department once headed by the likes of Thomas Jefferson, John Hay, Dean Acheson, and George Schultz. One would think that, having been roundly mocked here and overseas (You mean you didn’t hear the giggling from Moscow?), the State Department would have given up on managing our foreign affairs like it was a popularity contest, complete with cheerleading. But, no. No, some genius at State decided this was a winning strategy and deployed it again, only this time with an exhortation to Putin:

“Promise of hashtag??” You have got to be kidding me. “Yes, Vlad, be nice to Ukraine. You wouldn’t want to fail the spirit of the hashtag, would you?” Someone last night speculated that an intern forgot to substitute the real hashtag in place of the placeholder word “hashtag,” but that’s immaterial. The whole idea that anyone should think that using catchy social media slogans as a tool of diplomacy would be seen as anything other than self-inflicted humiliation is laughable. That the “strategy” originated at the highest levels of State is infuriating.

And so I couldn’t resist commenting:

And then I offered examples of the promise of hashtag and its power in US foreign affairs:

Others pointed out that the promise of hashtag was global. For example:

Indeed, Lincoln ended the Civil War with it:

But this one, I think, summed up the depth and gravity of State’s strategic thinking in this crisis:

While this baby speaks for me:

But I did offer Ms. Psaki and her co-workers a friendly and much-needed hint:

No, they do not, and it’s in part because people who think they do are in charge of our foreign policy that the world has become a much more dangerous place. It’s a common joke that both sides make to wish for the day “when the adults will be in charge, again,” but, in this case, it’s no longer a joke.  We’re facing foes around the globe who operate via the calculus of power, will, and national interest, while we are represented by community organizers who treat serious matters of state as occasions for virtual rallies.

Argh.

RELATED: More at Twitchy here and here. Jonah Goldberg on Obama’s foreign policy.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Not surprising: Londoners left undefended move to defend themselves

August 10, 2011

Well, what did anyone expect when the police are kept on a tight leash, the fire brigades are overwhelmed, and the Home Secretary thinks the proper response is to scold parents?

When the government refuses to do its duty, vigilantism is the inevitable result:

Top London officials have warned the city’s citizens against administering vigilante justice in the midst of widespread riots after several groups organized to protect their property by any means necessary.

“We don’t want to see vigilantism,” London mayor Boris Johnson said today in a press conference, according to The Telegraph. “People defending their homes and shops must only use reasonable force.”

Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stephen Kavanagh also urged restraint, saying “vigilantism” could lead to further violence, according to a report by the BBC.

Three men at least have already been killed, run over as they were apparently defending their neighborhood in Birmingham, also torn by riots. Whether it was an accident or deliberate isn’t known. And London itself seems to be quieter after thousands of police have been brought in. (And the rioters are probably tuckered out, poor dears.)

Maybe Mayor Johnson and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Kavanagh (and the rest of that gelded government) should consider that citizens wouldn’t be resorting to vigilantism if the government had only done its bloody job to protect lives and property. These riots should never have got past the first night. Where the state ceases to exist, people will revert to a Hobbesian state of nature to protect their lives and property, which is just we’re seeing here. Those men who were run-over were only doing what any reasonable person would do, and their deaths are to be laid directly at the door of this pusillanimous government.

And don’t get me started on the insane British restrictions on firearms. When Los Angeles erupted in riots in 1994 1992, stores in Korean neighborhoods were relatively untouched. Why? Because the Korean owners had guns and made it quite clear they were willing to use them if the police couldn’t protect them. As is their right.

But in the UK, the people aren’t allowed guns to defend themselves from a mob. They’re told to rely on the police. And when the police aren’t there? They’re reduced to ordering baseball bats from Amazon.

The government should resign. This is pathetic.

via Allahpundit

LINKS: More from The Guardian. Read it all, but here’s a sample:

When the rioters came to attack the premises of Kurdish and Turkish businesses in Hackney’s Stoke Newington High Street and Kingsland Road on Monday night, the owners were waiting for them.

“It was between about nine and 10 at night,” said Yilmaz Karagoz, sitting in his coffee shop next to a jeweller’s shop that has been shuttered since Sunday when the rioting began and a pharmacy that closed a day after.

“There were a lot of them. We came out of our shops but the police asked us to do nothing. But the police did not do anything so, as more came, we chased them off ourselves.” The staff from a local kebab restaurant ran at the attackers, doner knives in their hands. “I don’t think they will be coming back,” Karagoz said.

EDIT: Fixed the date of the LA riots. I lived through them, you’d think I’d remember.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Britain: Her Majesty’s Government surrenders to the rioters

August 9, 2011

Just unbelievable fecklessness:

The Home Secretary [Theresa May] appeared to rule out sending water cannon or the Army onto the streets of the capital, despite a third night of violence.

Speaking on Sky News, she said that police intelligence and the support of local communities would help quell the disturbances.

“The way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon,” she said. “The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities.”

WTF??

Since when do the police need “consent” to enforce the law? And what about citizens whose properties are being burned to the ground, or the workers who no longer have jobs to go to because their workplaces are in ashes? What about law-abiding Britons too frightened to go out into their own neighborhoods to buy food?

Are they not part of the community, Madame Home Secretary? Perhaps you have their “consent” to defend their lives and livelihoods without having to ask “Mother, may I?”

I’m probably just overreacting because I’m one of those “Cowboy Americans” who doesn’t understand the subtleties and nuances of “sophisticated” Euro-policing. I should have guessed that Secretary May had the perfect solution:

As those charged with offences appear in court today, “people will start to see the consequences of their actions”, Mrs May added.

“There are many who are easily identified through CCTV cameras.”

She also told BBC Breakfast that “parents need to be asking themselves where were their children, what were their children doing in the evening.”

She added: “There are longer-term questions about when we see parents letting their children as young as that sort of age be out on the streets in this way.”

So, there you go. The perfect nanny-state answer to an uprising by vandals: passively watching and then threatening to tell their mothers. Excuse me while I go hurl.

And you can bet that the fascists of the British National Party are rubbing their hands with glee, knowing that this nerveless, cringing, emasculated, pathetic excuse of a government whose only response is a scolding will just drive more and more people their way out of desperation.

Alfred the Great, Edward I, Queen Elizabeth I, Queen Victoria, Canning, Disraeli, Churchill… They’re all spinning in their graves now.

via Bryan Preston

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Canada stands on principle; Obama goes “meh.”

July 13, 2011

A couple of weeks ago I could barely contain my disgust over the appointment of North Korea as head of the UN Conference on Disarmament. It seems I wasn’t the only one, and it’s great to see a liberal democracy refuse to participate in this disgraceful sham.

Good for you, Canada:

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to announce Monday that Canada is boycotting the United Nations Conference on Disarmament over North Korea’s involvement, a senior government source told Postmedia News.

So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, was last week named chair of the Geneva-based group dedicated to promoting global nuclear disarmament.

“North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body as its leaders are working in the exact opposite direction,” the source told Postmedia News on Sunday evening.

“Our government feels this undermines not only the Conference on Disarmament, but the UN itself. And Canada will not be party to that . . . Our government received a strong mandate to advance Canada’s values — freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law — on the world stage.”

During North Korea’s term as chair, Canada will not “engage” in the conference, the source said Baird will announce Monday.

Meanwhile for the Obama administration, it’s no “big deal:

The Obama administration will not follow Canada’s lead and boycott a session of the U.N.-linked Conference on Disarmament to protest North Korea’s appointment to the body’s rotating presidency.

“We have chosen not to make a big deal out of this because it’s a relatively low-level, inconsequential event,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday.

In one sense, Nuland is right; UN conferences often aren’t “big deals,” serving as little more than occasions to pad a resume, collect a per diem, and shop for things not available in your own country.

On the other hand, if the United States won’t defend the principles on which the commission and the larger UN were founded in the little, easy instances such as this, who should believe we would care in the big instances? By assenting to North Korea’s chairmanship of the conference and lending that act our prestige by our participation, we also say that North Korea’s serial illegal arms-trafficking is “no big deal” and encourage them (and others) to do even more. It’s an example of the broken-windows theory to international relations.

Canada and the Harper cabinet are right in this case, while the Obama administration again shows its casual, amateurish approach to foreign affairs.

via The Jawa Report and Weasel Zippers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The fruits of Smart Power: Syria attacks US embassy

July 11, 2011

Since coming into office in 2009, the Obama administration has emphasized a policy of “reaching out” to the Syrian government, sending an ambassador there for the first time in four years. When the “Arab spring” revolts reached Syria and the Assad regime responded by shooting unarmed protesters in the streets, Secretary of State Clinton deployed Smart Power and called Assad a “reformer.” Despite Syria’s status as an Iranian ally and client, despite its support of terror (It’s even on Clinton’s list), and despite its pursuit of nuclear weapons, the Obama administration has shown remarkable restraint. Today, Team Smart Power got their reward.

Our embassy attacked by a mob:

Protesters loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad briefly broke into the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday and security guards used live ammunition to prevent them storming the French embassy, diplomats said.

No casualties were reported in the attacks but a U.S. official said Washington condemned Syria’s slow response and its failure to the prevent the assault on its embassy.

The attacks followed a visit by the U.S. and French ambassadors to the city of Hama last week in support of the hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators who have been gathering there despite attacks by Syrian forces.

“We are calling in the Syrian charge (d’affaires) to complain,” said the U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“We feel they failed (in their responsibility to protect U.S. diplomats). We are going to condemn their slow response.”

Well, that’s showing them. I bet the Syrian charge is even now quaking in his oxfords as he heads for his meeting with the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach and Apologies — quaking from laughter, that is.

And I’m dead serious in the subject line: this attack on our and the French embassies was not a spontaneous expression of outrage on the part of people who just love Boy Assad. Syria attacked our embassy. The country a mafia-ocracy with the Assad clan at the top, and nothing happens without their say-so. You can bet this originated with the Mukhabarat, Syria’s intelligence service, who did the same thing in 2006. Assad was angered by the visit the US ambassador paid to Hama, a center of anti-Assad sentiment (1), and so, just like the little thug he is, he sent his boys around to trash our embassy.

And our response is to stamp our foot and whine “stop it!”

There was a time when this garbage would have been met with a different kind of protest: a warship and a barrage by naval artillery, sending its own message: “Don’t make us angry.”

But that was long ago, before the era of Hope, Change, and Smart Power.

Here’s how a “Phineas administration” would handle it. Since no American lives were lost, we can start with just a nice, little chat: the charge would come into this meeting and sit down before the desk of the Secretary of State. The Secretary would then quietly lay out a series of satellite photos — Mukhabarat headquarters, the Presidential Palace, Assad’s favorite summer home on the Mediterranean coast, you get the idea.

And in case the Syrian diplomat didn’t quite catch the drift, the Secretary would make the implied message clear: “That embassy is sovereign US territory. If this or anything like this ever happens again, I guarantee you President Assad will wake up to something far worse than an angry mob.” To put the punctuation on this, there would be small news items about the redeployment of (cruise missile carrying) US naval assets to the Eastern Mediterranean for “exercises.”

And that’s how you deal with Capone Assad.

LINKS: More at Hot Air and Legal Insurrection. Bryan Preston at PJM’s The Tatler blog sees the nature of the attack the same way I do and says the 3AM phone is ringing. Moe Lane has advice for Democratic administration appointees. As usual, Barry Rubin has sharp, hard-headed analysis.

Footnotes:
(1) The Assads have “a history” with Hama. A bloody one.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Great Moments in D’oh! History: Libya edition

April 18, 2011

Starting a war when you don’t have the ammunition to sustain it because you starved your defense budgets to feed the gaping maw that is the welfare state.

D’oh! 

via Big Peace