South Africa, though saved some twenty years ago from the injustices of apartheid, is going steadily downhill.
We quote a letter from James E. Martins, teacher and lecturer:
What a fortnight it has been! Really, living in Johannesburg is difficult at the moment.We now have load-shedding daily – electricity cut off from ten in the morning till two in the afternoon. Infuriating. Seeing crowds of people rushing to banks and pharmacies before the blackouts is a disturbing sight. Shades of the Soviet Union …
Trade is suffering severely. I hear from my cousin in Oz that “the South African crisis” has even made Australia’s very parochial news reports. And no wonder! A country collapsing because of monopoly, corruption, and a complete failure to plan adequately should be newsworthy.
We are all expected to be technologically savvy in the midst of such a crisis. At school, there is constant talk of greater use of smartboards, computer avatars, etc., etc. With the country’s electricity supplies at risk, it might be more sensible if we all polished our “chalk and talk” — and not a bad thing, either! (Nothing is superior to a teacher with personality and passion!) Still, it is maddening to live on “this isthmus of a middle state” between First World and disintegrating Third World. To give a rather trivial example, I do not know whether to complain to the local Post Office or simply to grind my teeth and wait: I have a host of orders from Amazon.UK that have not arrived yet. Perhaps I should be patient. After all, I received a couple of Christmas cards a week ago. Africa!
By the way, it is estimated that, in Soweto, people owe R2 billion in unpaid rates for services – i.e. electricity. The ANC will never call such offenders to account for they – or their votes, rather – guarantee the ANC’s retention of power.
I attended an Advanced Programme English Conference this weekend, and had to endure everyone swooning over a YouTube snippet of a speech by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, on the “danger of a single reading”. This is the new catchphrase of the trendy Left. She sneered inevitably at white stereotyping of blacks – while unashamedly doing the reverse! – and made cheap gibes at John Locke. I had to button my indignant lips, but, in my own address, I did make an impassioned plea for accurate reading, not simply fashionable ones. Sadly, I fear that many of my colleagues did not realize my words were a criticism of the rapturously received anti-white diatribe. Adichie mocked whites who believe that Africa is a bloodsoaked mess in which helpless people await redemption by white imperialists.
Africa is a bloodsoaked mess. And there may be people who “await redemption by white imperialists”. But if so, they wait in vain.
With his usual perception and wit, Mark Steyn writes:
The Islamic State [IS] released a 22-minute video showing Flight Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh of the Royal Jordanian Air Force being doused in petrol and burned to death. It is an horrific way to die, and Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh showed uncommon bravery, standing stiff and dignified as the flames consumed him. And then he toppled, and the ISIS cameras rolled on, until what was left was charred and shapeless and unrecognizable as human. …
Even by the standards of his usual rote cookie-cutter shoulder-to-shoulder shtick that follows every ISIS beheading of western captives, the President could barely conceal his boredom at having to discuss the immolation of Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh:
Aaand it, I think, will redouble [pause] the vigilance aaand determination on the part of our global coalition to, uh, make sure that they are degraded and ultimately defeated. Ummmm. [Adopting a whimsical look] It also just indicates the degree to which whatever ideology they’re operating off of, it’s bankrupt. [Suppressing a smirk, pivoting to a much more important subject.] We’re here to talk about how to make people healthier and make their lives better.
The lack of passion – the bloodlessness – of Obama’s reaction to atrocity is always striking. He can’t even be bothered pretending that he means it. …
Given the general halfheartedness of Obama’s “coalition”, King Abdullah [of Jordan] could have been forgiven for also deciding to head for the exit.
Yet he understood the necessity of action. Obama, by contrast … does nothing. His war against ISIS was supposed to be one in which the US would not put “boots on the ground”, but instead leave that to our allies. The allies have the boots, but they could use some weapons, too. Obama has failed to supply the Kurds or anybody else with what they need to defeat our enemies. It’s becoming what they call a pattern of behavior. …
Obama cannot react to atrocities committed by jihadis because he is emotionally (we cannot say intellectually, because unlike his Democratic fans we do not think he has much of an intellect), on their side; which means that, whether he realizes it or not, he is on the side of evil.
Mark Steyn clearly sees that IS is evil. He goes on to consider why it is that tens of thousands of volunteers go eagerly to join its army and help it carry out its atrocities.
You’ll recall Hannah Arendt’s tired and misleading coinage “the banality of evil”, derived from her observation of Adolf Eichmann at his trial in Jerusalem.
We explain when and why she said it, and why it is misleading, in our post The cultivation of evil, the sickness of Europe, July 20, 2010.
Mark Steyn quotes an earlier article of his:
Hitler felt obliged to be somewhat coy about just how final the final solution was. As Eichmann testified at his trial, when typing up the minutes of the Wannsee conference, “How shall I put it? Certain over-plain talk and jargon expressions had to be rendered into office language by me.” Even the Nazis were reluctant to spell it out.
The Germans didn’t have social media, but they had newsreels, and Hitler knew enough not to make genocide available to Pathé or “The March of Time”. He had considerations both domestic and foreign. Pre-Wannsee, in Poland and elsewhere, German troops had been ordered to shoot Jewish prisoners in cold blood, and their commanders reported back to Berlin that too many soldiers had found it sickening and demoralizing. So the purpose of “the final solution” was to make mass murder painless, at least for the perpetrators – more bureaucratic, removed, bloodless.
As for foreign considerations, Germany expected to be treated as a civilized power by its enemies, and that would not have been possible had they been boasting about genocide.
Seventy years on, the Islamic State has slipped free of even these minimal constraints. They advertize their barbarism to the world, because what’s the downside? Let’s say the guys who burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh are one day captured by Americans. They can look forward to a decade or two of a soft, pampering sojourn in the US justice system, represented by an A-list dream-team that’ll string things along until the administration figures it’ll cut its losses and ship them to Qatar in exchange for some worthless deserter.
As for the upside, “the banality of evil” may have its appeal for lower-middle-class Teuton bureaucrats, but the glamor of evil is a far more potent and universal brand. The Islamic State has come up with the ultimate social-media campaign: evil goes viral! At some level German conscripts needed to believe they were honorable soldiers in an honorable cause, no different from the British or Americans. But ISIS volunteers are signing up explicitly for the war crimes. The Islamic State burned Flt Lt al-Kasasbeh alive not only to kill him but to inspire the thousands of ISIS fanbois around the globe. …
For many of its beneficiaries, modern western life is bland, undemanding and vaguely unsatisfying. Some seek a greater cause, and turn to climate change or LGBTQWERTY rights. But others want something with a little more red meat to it. Jihad is primal in a way that the stodgy multiculti relativist mush peddled by Obama isn’t. And what the Islamic State is offering is Jihad 2.0, cranking up the blood-lust and rape and sex slavery and head-chopping and depravity in ways that make Osama-era al-Qaeda look like a bunch of pantywaists.
Success breeds success. The success of evil breeds darker evil. And the glamorization of evil breeds ever more of those “recent Muslim converts” and “lone wolves” and “self-radicalized extremists” in the news. That’s a Big Idea – a bigger idea, indeed, than Communism or Nazism.
Islam, as we know, means “submission”. But Xtreme-Sports Hyper-Islam, blood-soaked and baying, is also wonderfully liberating, offering the chance for dull-witted, repressed young men to slip free of even the most basic societal restraints. And, when the charms of the open road in Headchoppistan wear thin, your British and Canadian and Australian and European welfare checks will still be waiting for you on the doormat back home. …
As the world burns, Obama, uh, redoubles his, uh, vigilance, uh uh uh… Whatever.
Mark Steyn reminds us that “civilization is a fragile and unnatural state of affairs”. Its would-be destroyers now, in the early twenty-first century, are: the environmentalists; the world-government advocates and all the rest of the collectivists, whatever they call themselves – progressives or socialists or communists; and, above all, most dangerous, already destroying as much as they can of the heritage of civilization, and winning battle after battle, encountering no effective opposition – Islam.
Obama won’t name it, not even by using the polite form of its name that most politicians and commentators use, “Islamism”.
But be assured that against something or other, he is redoubling his vigilance.
Horrible news from Gatestone by Valentina Colombo:
Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger, has been sentenced to 1000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for a blog regarded by Saudi Arabia’s regime as insulting Islam.
The lashing was due to be carried out today, so we are assuming that it was, at least in part. So many lashes have been ordered, the torturer will probably need several sessions to complete his assignment. After which, of course, Reason itself will have learnt its lesson and never dare utter a word in Saudi Arabia again.
Badawi was condemned, according to Amnesty International, for having co-founded a website, “Saudi Arabian Liberals,” and for having written and published on it … as well as on Facebook and Twitter …
He criticized and made fun of Saudi institutions such as the Commission for the Promotion of Goodness and the Prohibition of Vice (also known as “the religious police”), the Saudi Grand Mufti, other Saudi ulema [religious scholars].
The long sentence of the Criminal Court of the district of Jeddah stated that he had undermined the “public order”.
In an interview published in August 2007 by the liberal website Afaaq, Badawi stated that “liberals in Saudi Arabia live between the anvil of State and the hammer of the religious police”.
He also said this:
My commitment is to the advancement of civil society in my country, to reject any repression in the name of religion, to promote liberal* enlightened Saudis whose primary objective is being active in civil society, a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way.
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (left) and his lawyer Walid Abu al-Khayr
We can only hope that this intelligent and brave young man, a secularist and probably an atheist, survives his appalling ordeal, and his ten years in a notoriously hellish Arab prison.
It would be going too far to hope that his fate will persuade the political leaders of the Western world that Islam is a primitive savage cruel ideology rather than the “beautiful religion” they insistently tell us it is.
* We think and hope he means “liberal” in the true sense of the word: favoring freedom. Not in the contemporary American sense: not favoring freedom.
Secretary of State Kerry says 40 countries will be in coalition with the US in its war with IS/ISIS/ISIL.
Which states would those be?
According to CNN:
On Sunday, Kerry said countries in the Middle East are willing to help with strikes against ISIS, but … “it’s not appropriate to start announcing which nations will participate and what each will do.”
Because you see, fact is, apart from the US, nobody’s doin’ nothin’ nohow – except make a few promises with their fingers crossed.
Australia says it will send up to eight combat aircraft, one airborne early warning and control aircraft, and one multirole tanker and transport aircraft. In case somebody over there knows how to use them. No troops.
Great Britain says it would seriously consider helping to arm Kurdish forces if Kurdish forces were to fight ISIS beyond their own borders.
Canada says it already sent sent some ammunition to somebody and will maybe send some advisers to somewhere in Iraq.
France declares that it has contributed 18,000 rounds of .50-caliber ammunition. And, what is more, it has performed one or two humanitarian aid drops to refugees somewhere in the region. And more still – it promises to do some bombing perhaps at some time. Somewhere.
The Netherlands says it will definitely try to stop would-be fighters leaving to go and help ISIS.
Turkey says, word of honor, it will cut the flow of money to ISIS and… and … has already begun to think about how to stop foreigners crossing its territory to join ISIS.
Jordan says it will provide intelligence.
Saudi Arabia says it will train fighters against ISIS if any present themselves for such training. Also, along with Qatar and Egypt, it will spread anti-ISIS messages and encourage imams to say really nasty things against the group.
Iran has said it will do absolutely nothing to help the US which, it says, is only fighting ISIS because it wants to dominate the region. (At present Iran is dominating much of the region.)
Iraqi Kurdistan is willing to send their Peshmerga forces to fight beyond their borders if and when there’s a comprehensive international strategy put in place – which there is not.
The remaining 30 – unnamed – participating countries are keeping information about their contributions each to itself. They’re not even telling Kerry. Why be so nosy? They deserve a little privacy, don’t they? It’s every state’s right.
Here is our Facebook condensation of a report by DebkaFile of events that are unlikely to be so much as mentioned by the US media.
They reveal an astonishing degree of co-operation between the Iranian, Syrian and US governments. (But it’s possible Obama doesn’t know; he’ll only find out about it by “watching the news”.)
At least 18 foreign ISIS fighters including Americans and Europeans were killed Thursday, Sept. 4, in a Syrian air raid of the Al Qaeda-ISIS northern Syrian headquarters in the Gharbiya district of Raqqa. The raid caught a number of high Al Qaeda commanders and a large group of foreign adherents assembled at the facility.
A second group of high ISIS officers were killed or injured in another Syrian air raid over their base in Abu Kamal near the Iraqi border. Top men of the Islamist terrorist group were holding meetings at both places Thursday to coordinate IS strike plans in Syria and Iraq.
For Syria, these plans center on the Deir a-Zor and Al Qaim areas, while in Iraq, they focus on targets in the east and center of the country.
They must be credited to top-quality US aerial surveillance over Syria and Iraq, but were undoubtedly made possible by the Obama administration’s deepening military and intelligence ties with Iran.
Many of the allies present at the two-day NATO Summit outside the Welsh town of Newport will not welcome these tidings - Britain, Germany and Australia, in particular. They deeply resent being displaced as America’s senior strategic partners by the Revolutionary Republic of Iran, after their long partnership with the US in fighting terror in Afghanistan and Iraq. But they will find it hard to argue with success.
On Aug. 31 US and Iranian special forces fighting together, broke the 100-day IS siege of the eastern Iraqi town of Amerli, 100 km from the Iranian border, to score a major victory in their first joint military ground action. Then, Wednesday, Sept. 3, US jets struck an IS base in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, killing its commander, Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, and two lieutenants of the IS chief Abu Baker Al-Baghdadi.
While President Obama has denied having a strategy for fighting ISIS, a working mechanism appears to have been put in place to support a trilateral military offensive against al Qaeda’s Islamist State. The successful attacks in the last 24 hours were apparently made possible by this mechanism: Iranian intelligence collected US surveillance data from the Americans and passed it on to Syria for action.
The world order is changing continually like patterns in a rapidly-turned kaleidoscope.
More chaos than order.
Robert Spencer writes at Jihad Watch:
It has already been a busy Memorial Day weekend. Stories reported at Jihad Watch over the last two days:
Tunisia: Muslim screaming “The nation of Muhammad returns for vengeance” stabs Jew, is released
Sharia Egypt: Christian gets four years prison, $1400 fine for insulting Islam by drawing cartoon of Muhammad on Facebook
Somalia: Islamic jihadists murder at least 10 in jihad attack on parliament
Yemen: Islamic jihadists murder at least 27 people in raid on city
Pakistan: Islamic jihadists murder seven in three separate blasts
Thailand: Islamic jihadists murder three, injure 55 with series of blasts
Nigeria: Islamic jihadist murders two in bungled jihad/martyrdom suicide bombing
Iraq: Islamic jihadists murder seven people with car bomb at alcohol shop
Uganda: Churches step up security after threats from Islamic jihad group
Australia: Jihad fundraiser and brother of convicted terrorist preaching in mosques
Iran’s Supreme Leader: Jihad will continue until America is no more
Syria: Sharia enforcers disrupt wedding party, detain women for un-Islamic dress
Authorities suspect Islamic jihadists behind murder of four at Brussels Jewish Museum
Djibouti: Islamic jihadists murder three with bomb in restaurant filled with Western soldiers
Nigeria: Islamic jihadists of Boko Haram murder 24 people in attack on crowded market
In the face of all this, the Pope calls a man who has just partnered with a jihad terror group vowed to the destruction of the Jewish State a “man of peace” … The President of the United States has said, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”, even to the point of removing all mention of Islam and jihad from counter-terror training material, acceding to the demand of Muslim groups with links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood — and thereby forbidding law enforcement agents from studying and understanding the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy us.
And so on Memorial Day, we remember when we had leaders to defend us. We still have strong individuals who have vowed the defense of our nation, and for that we can be grateful, but they are being led by a political class so willfully ignorant of prevailing realities, and so deeply compromised, that they make misstep after misstep, endangering us all — while a likewise compromised media does everything it can to cover for them and defame those who sound the alarm about this problem. …
We remember that in our nation’s darkest days, there arose strong, rough men — the ones to whom Churchill referred when he noted that “we sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us”. For that we pause today to offer our gratitude [to them], and our hope that there still remains enough of them to see us through this present darkness.
Our resolve to remain free is iron; now all we need are some leaders with similar resolve.
We like that idea immensely. But we know there are many among us whose resolve to subjugate us to the will of over-mighty government, and even to the domination of savage Islam, is also iron.
Their idea of a desirable leader is Hillary Clinton. Judging by appearances and her record, the Benghazi disaster in particular, we would not describe her as a strong rough man ready to visit violence on those who would harm us. We dare to hope for someone stronger, rougher, masculine, and militant.
Free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.
So Mark Steyn writes.
In Australia, they’re trying to get rid of Section 18c, which is … [a] thought-crime law. … The Aussie campaign is not going well.”There is a danger that the Coalition resolve to repeal Section 18C will weaken further,” warns The Independent Australian, saying [to the Australian public) there’s an “urgent need to submit your views on 18C amendments by April 30th”. …
What’s going on? In the western world today, there are far more lobby groups for censorship – under polite euphemisms such as “diversity”, “human rights”, “hate speech” – than there are for freedom of expression. …
That’s the hard political arithmetic of defending free speech in western chancelleries today: There aren’t a lot of takers for it, and the opposition to it is very organized. A government minister with an eye to his press clippings has to believe in it an awful lot for it to be worth taking on.
[In Britain] on Saturday, Paul Weston of Liberty GB, a candidate in next month’s European elections, was speaking on the steps of Winchester Guildhall and quoting Winston Churchill on the matter of Muslims (from The River War, young Winston’s book on the Sudanese campaign).
Winston Churchill did not write favorably of Islam.*
[Paul Weston] was, in short order, arrested by half-a-dozen police officers, shoved in the back of a van and taken away to be charged … with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” – in other words, he’s being charged explicitly for the content of that Churchill passage, and the penalty could be two years in jail.
This is remarkable, and not just because Islam is not a race, as its ever more numerous pasty Anglo-Saxon “reverts” will gladly tell you. For one thing, the police have effectively just criminalized Liberty GB’s political platform. There are words for regimes that use state power to criminalize their opponents and they’re not “mother of parliaments” or “land of hope and glory”.
More to the point, if Mr Weston is found guilty of a “racially aggravated crime” for reading Churchill’s words, then why is the publisher of the book not also guilty and liable to two years in jail? Why is Churchill himself not guilty? …
Civilized societies … lose their liberties incrementally. … Sir Winston’s River War will simply disappear from print, but so discreetly you won’t even notice it’s gone. Personally, while we’re criminalizing Churchill, I’m in favor of banning that “Fight on the beaches” speech, on the grounds that all that “we will never surrender” stuff is … increasingly risible. …
[In America] fifty-five percent (55%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe the government should be allowed to review political ads and candidates’ campaign comments for their accuracy and punish those that it decides are making false statements about other candidates. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 31% oppose such government oversight. Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.
Or to put it another way: fewer than a third of those polled give a hoot about the First Amendment. …
Two generations of Americans have been raised in an educational milieu that thinks, to pluck a current example at random, that using the phrase “Man up!” ought to be banned. If you’ve been marinated in this world from kindergarten, why would you emerge into the adult world with any attachment to the value of freedom of speech?
As I say, free peoples are losing the habits of free speech, and thereby will lose their freedom.
*Here is the passage from Churchill’s book The River War that may not be read aloud in public in Britain:
“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement, the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step, and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it (Islam) has vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”
We hate to disagree with Winston Churchill on any point, and we love to quote this passage for most of what he says in it, but of course we cannot agree that “Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science”. Since the Enlightenment put a stop to the power of the Churches, science has been slowly burying Christianity – we’re happy to say.
The civilization of modern Europe is falling, “as fell the civilization of ancient Rome”.
Christianity brought down the night on the Roman Empire. Islam is doing the same to modern Europe. Churchill saw the danger. He did not foresee that it would start happening just a few decades after he led the West to victory over Islam’s twin and ally, Nazism.
There is a formula for a nation’s success and happiness: have children and a free market economy.
Other nations may hate you and envy you; attack you with words, sanctions, terrorism, and rockets; but still you will thrive, prosper, innovate, and grow.
Caroline Glick writes:
A lot has changed since the 1990s. Twenty years after Yitzhak Rabin shook Yasser Arafat’s hand on the White House lawn and so officially ushered in Israel’s Age of Terror, most Israelis don’t really care what the Europeans or the Arabs think of us.
The Europeans prattle on about Israeli racism, and threaten to put yellow stars or some other nasty mark on Israeli goods. They ban Israeli books from their libraries in Scotland. They boycott Israeli universities, professors and students in England. In Italy they hold rallies for convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti at their national Senate. And in France they butcher Jewish children.
And then the likes of Catherine Ashton [EU Representative for Foreign Affairs] expect us to care what they think about us.
Well, we don’t.
… The Europeans and the Americans and their Israeli followers miss the fact that the easiest way to build a secure and peaceful world is not by wooing terrorists. The best way to achieve these goals is by accepting the world as it is. This is what the Israeli people has done. True, we needed to have our fantasies blown away in suicide bombings before we reconciled ourselves to this simple truth. But life has been better, happier and more secure since we did.
The “international community’s” inability to accept that sober-minded contentment is better than pipe dream fantasies has caused leftist writers in Israel, Europe and the US alike to express mystification at a recent survey carried out by the OECD, which ranks Israelis among the happiest people in the world. The ranking made no sense to commentators.
Israelis work harder than other members of the OECD. We complain more than other members of the OECD. We don’t have “peace.” And yet, we are among the happiest people in the OECD.
What gives? For decades before we embarked on the phony peace process, Israel was a model socialist state. We had paralyzing tax rates and failed government industries that crowded private entrepreneurship out of the market. Monopolies ran every sector and provided shoddy goods and horrible services at astronomical prices. The Histadrut labor union owned most of the economy along with the government and in every sector, Histadrut commissars ensured that anyone with an ounce of initiative was subject to unending abuse. …
Just about the time we began extricating ourselves from our socialist straitjacket, we were also recognizing that the peace thing wasn’t everything it was cracked up to be. And at that point we began to understand that happiness and success aren’t about what other people give you – money, treaties, a phone line after a five-year wait. Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.
We think that statement bears repeating: Happiness and success are about what you accomplish.
At that point, sometime between 1996 and 2000, Israelis began creating large families and embracing the free market.
Today, with an average of three children per family, Israelis are the fecund outliers of the industrial world. … There is a direct correlation between children and human happiness. This is why fruitful Israelis have the lowest suicide rate in the industrial world.
When you have children, you have a future. And when you have a future, you work hard to secure it, and have a generally optimistic outlook. …
Israelis are also happy because we see that we can build the future we want for our families and our country even without another glitzy signing ceremony at the White House every six months. Our country is getting stronger and more livable every day. And we know it.
Those on the international stage that share our view that life is about more than pieces of paper signed with Arab anti-Semites recognize what is happening. For them Israel is not “that shi**y little country.” It’s “The Little Engine that Could.”
Take the Chinese. Last July China signed a deal with Israel to build an inland port in Eilat and a 180- km. freight railway to connect Eilat to Israel’s Mediterranean ports in Ashdod and Haifa. The purpose of the project is to build an alternative to the Suez Canal, in Israel. The Chinese look at the region, and they see that Egypt is a failed state that can’t even afford its wheat imports. The future of shipping along the Suez Canal is in doubt with riots in Port Said and Suez occurring on a regular basis.
On the other hand, Israel is a stable, prosperous, successful democracy that keeps moving from strength to strength. When the freight line is completed, as far as the global economy is concerned, Israel will become the most strategically important country in the region.
Then there is our newfound energy wealth. Israel became energy independent on March 30, when the Tamar offshore gas field began pumping natural gas to Israel. In two to three years, when the Leviathan gas field comes online, Israel will become one of the most important producers of natural gas in the world.
Moreover, in 2017, Israel will likely begin extracting commercial quantities of oil from its massive oil shale deposits …
Geologists assess that the field alone contains some 250 billion barrels of oil, giving Israel oil parity with Saudi Arabia. Chinese, Russian and Australian firms are lining up to sign contracts with Israeli energy companies. International analysts assess that Israel’s emergence as an energy power will have a stabilizing impact on the global economy and international security. Israel can end Asia’s oil and gas hunger. It can reduce European dependence on Russia. It will remove OPEC’s ability to dictate world oil prices through supply manipulation.
Israel’s discovery of its energy riches couldn’t have come at a more propitious time. Had Israel discovered its oil and gas 65 or even 20 years ago, we wouldn’t have had the economic maturity to manage our resources responsibly. But now, with our free market, our hi-tech sector and our entrepreneurial culture, we can develop and manage our resources wisely and successfully.
At 65, Israel is becoming a mature, responsible, prosperous and powerful player in the international arena. The only thing we need to ensure that we enjoy the fruits of our labors is security. And the one thing we can do to squander it all is place our hopes in “peace.”
And so we won’t, ever again.
This video was first posted nearly four years ago in March 2009. But the argument against gun control remains valid. In particular, it deals with the result of gun confiscation by the Australian government.
It is certain* that General David Petraeus, as head of the CIA, lied to the nation about the armed attack on the US mission in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans on 9/11/12. General Petraeus has now resigned, citing an adulterous love affair – not participation in a cover-up – as a moral lapse so grievous that it renders him unfit for high office.
In our judgment – and we are always and insistently judgmental – lying to the nation is a far worse moral offense than adultery. We would like to think that General Petraeus is of the same opinion.
The Obama administration has woven a tangled web of lies about the military defeat of the United States by Arab Muslims in Libya. Now they are desperately trying to cover up not only the truth but the lies as well. Ever more tangled the web becomes. So far, two Generals and an Admiral, all men of distinction and honor (see our posts Yet more about Benghazi – but still not enough, October 31, 2012, and Admiral fired in storm over Benghazigate?, October 31, 2012), have been entangled in it and brought down. Will the incredible luck that has sustained Obama throughout his political life keep him yet again from the disgrace he deserves?
We found that our suspicions about what might be the far more scandalous truth behind General Petraeus’s resignation are shared by Paul A. Rahe, who writes at his website Ricochet:
Here is what I wonder. Did David Petraeus allow himself to be blackmailed by the minions of Barack Obama?
The testimony Petraeus gave Congress on Benghazi shortly after the assassination of our ambassador to Libya was a restatement of the patently false narrative foisted on the country by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their underlings — to wit, that the assault on the American consulate was a spontaneous demonstration in reaction to [an anti-Islam] Youtube video.
Petraeus had to know better. The Benghazi bungle took place on the anniversary of 9/11. There was plenty of intelligence available to Petraeus prior to the event suggesting that Al Qaeda was becoming a real force in the region, and the e-mails that the CIA sent the White House at the time indicate that the folks in the agency knew within hours that the attack had been carefully planned and knew who in Benghazi was responsible.
So why did a man always known for his honor and integrity go before a Congressional committee and lie through his teeth? If Washington were Chicago, we would know the answer. Blackmail is, in Chicago, standard operating procedure. Is Washington now Chicago? Is Petraeus leaving office a disgraced and broken man because one act of dishonor and betrayal led him to commit another far more shameful?
I hope not. I greatly admire the man. … But I, nonetheless, have to ask, “Why did Petraeus lie?” And given the fact that the lie was part of a preposterous narrative being peddled by a President who knew that the truth might well be fatal to his reelection — and who depended on his lies being echoed by a pliable, servile press — I have to ask, “How did they get an honorable man to disgrace himself so utterly?”
If this line of questioning makes sense, then we have to entertain the possibility that David Petraeus is resigning because doing what he did in his testimony to Congress is distasteful in a fashion that a man of his mettle cannot long bear.
Congress should not let this pass. David Petraeus should be made to testify about Barack’s Benghazi Bungle. We have a right to know the truth. We had a right to know it well before the 6th of November. We now have a right to know why we were denied the truth.
Let’s conjecture that the Obama gang feared that the General would tell the truth when called to testify before Congressional inquiries next week. Obviously the head of the CIA is an indispensable witness when a CIA mission was one of the targets in Benghazi and two of its men were killed. “So,” think the stoats and weasels in the White House, “let’s quickly get rid of the man who might reveal all that we’re trying to cover up – our incompetence, our callousness, our weakness, our bad judgment, our illicit dealings, our treachery – and stick another man in who will lie for us. Now on what grounds can we demand General Petraeus’s resignation? Well, there’s that love affair we know of. We’ll get him to say he’s so overcome by remorse for that he feels he must ask to be let go.”
Why does the General agree to do it? It’s another lie, even though the fact of the affair (finished some time ago) is true. Let’s say he goes along with the new deception in order to be free to tell the truth. But will he tell the truth now as a private citizen? According to some media reports he will not be testifying before the closed-door Democrat-dominated Senate Intelligence Committee next week; the new conniving head of the CIA will be doing so in his stead.
But it is a different story with the Republican-dominated House whose inquiry into the Benghazi affair starts on Thursday. CNN reports:
Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King, who is also a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration’s handling of the September 11, 2012, attacks in Libya that killed four Americans including diplomat Chris Stevens. …
King said … that Petraeus is “an absolutely essential witness, maybe more than anybody else.”
“David Petraeus testifying has nothing to do with whether or not he’s still the CIA director, and I don’t see how the CIA can say he’s not going to testify,” King said. “I think his testimony is … certainly necessary … He was at the center of this and he has answers that only he has.”
If Petraeus does not testify as originally scheduled on Thursday, King said, “It should be very soon after that.”
When he does, if he tells the truth regardless of the consequences to the Obama administration or his own reputation, he will go a long way towards redeeming that reputation. If he shirks it, or endorses the administration’s lies yet again – great general though he is and deserving of all honor for his exceptional service to his country – his good name will be tarnished beyond redemption.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who glibly stated that she “accepted responsibility” for what happened in Benghazi, is reported to have “turned down an invitation to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee next Thursday on the Benghazi attack”.
Note added 11/13/12. Go here to see what she will be doing that she considers more important than attending the inquiry into Benghazigate.
*We were wrong. There is no certainty about this. See the comment below by Loretta Landrum Richey 11/13/12.