Charles Krauthammer’s column today in the Washington Post says what needs to be said about a stupid question that “gotcha” journalists are asking presidential candidates.
And he tells them what the right question should be.
Ramadi falls. The Iraqi army flees. The great 60-nation anti-Islamic State coalition so grandly proclaimed by the Obama administration is nowhere to be seen. Instead, it’s the defense minister of Iran who flies into Baghdad, an unsubtle demonstration of who’s in charge — while the U.S. air campaign proves futile and America’s alleged strategy for combating the Islamic State is in freefall.
It gets worse. The Gulf states’ top leaders, betrayed and bitter, ostentatiously boycott President Obama’s failed Camp David summit. “We were America’s best friend in the Arab world for 50 years,” laments Saudi Arabia’s former intelligence chief.
Note: “were,” not “are.”
We are scraping bottom. Following six years of President Obama’s steady and determined withdrawal from the Middle East, America’s standing in the region has collapsed. And yet the question incessantly asked of the various presidential candidates is not about that. It’s a retrospective hypothetical: Would you have invaded Iraq in 2003 if you had known then what we know now?
First, the question is not just a hypothetical but an inherently impossible hypothetical. It contradicts itself. Had we known there were no weapons of mass destruction, the very question would not have arisen. The premise of the war — the basis for going to the U.N., to the Congress and, indeed, to the nation — was Iraq’s possession of WMD in violation of the central condition for the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Gulf War. No WMD, no hypothetical to answer in the first place.
Second, the “if you knew then” question implicitly locates the origin and cause of the current disasters in 2003 . As if the fall of Ramadi was predetermined then, as if the author of the current regional collapse is George W. Bush.
This is nonsense. The fact is that by the end of Bush’s tenure the war had been won. You can argue that the price of that victory was too high. Fine. We can debate that until the end of time. But what is not debatable is that it was a victory. Bush bequeathed to Obama a success. By whose measure? By Obama’s. As he told the troops at Fort Bragg on Dec. 14, 2011, “We are leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” This was, said the president, a “moment of success.” Which Obama proceeded to fully squander. With the 2012 election approaching, he chose to liquidate our military presence in Iraq. We didn’t just withdraw our forces. We abandoned, destroyed or turned over our equipment, stores, installations and bases. We surrendered our most valuable strategic assets, such as control of Iraqi airspace, soon to become theindispensable conduit for Iran to supply and sustain the Assad regime in Syria and cement its influence all the way to the Mediterranean. And, most relevant to the fall of Ramadi, we abandoned the vast intelligence network we had so painstakingly constructed in Anbar province, without which our current patchwork operations there are largely blind and correspondingly feeble.
The current collapse was not predetermined in 2003 but in 2011. Isn’t that what should be asked of Hillary Clinton? We know you think the invasion of 2003 was a mistake. But what about the abandonment of 2011? Was that not a mistake?
Mme. Secretary: When you arrived at State, al-Qaeda in Iraq had been crushed and expelled from Anbar. The Iraqi government had from Basra to Sadr City fought and defeated the radical, Iranian-proxy Shiite militias. Yet today these militias are back, once again dominating Baghdad. On your watch, we gave up our position as the dominant influence over a “sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq” — forfeiting that position gratuitously to Iran. Was that not a mistake? And where were you when it was made?
Iraq is now a battlefield between the Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State and the Shiite jihadists of Iran’s Islamic Republic. There is no viable center. We abandoned it. The Obama administration’s unilateral pullout created a vacuum for the entry of the worst of the worst.
And the damage was self-inflicted. The current situation in Iraq, says David Petraeus, “is tragic foremost because it didn’t have to turn out this way. The hard-earned progress of the surge was sustained for over three years.” Do the math. That’s 2009 through 2011, the first three Obama years. And then came the unraveling. When? The last U.S. troops left Iraq on Dec. 18, 2011.
Want to do retrospective hypotheticals? Start there.
Why would the government of a country bring large numbers of its sworn enemies to live in it, and forbid entry to its friends who are in dire need of asylum?
What possible explanation could there be?
This is from Moonbattery:
DHS Buses In Somali Colonists Who Enter US From Mexico
… The U.S. is bringing in 100,000 Muslims every year through legal channels such as the United Nations refugee program and various visa programs, but new reports indicate a pipeline has been established through the southern border with the help of the federal agency whose job it is to protect the homeland.
Turning over homeland security to the likes of Barack Obama and Jeh Johnson is the ultimate example of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.
They are coming from Somalia and other African nations, according to a Homeland Security official who was caught recently transporting a busload of Africans to a detention center near Victorville, California.
For a variety of reasons, colonists from the failed state of Somalia are the least assimilable people on the planet. Importing Somalis means importing the three things Somalia is known for: poverty, chaos, and terrorism.
Somalia is the home base of al-Shabab, a designated foreign terrorist organization that slaughtered 147 Christians at a university in Kenya just last month. It executed another 67 at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2013, and has put out warnings that it will target malls in Canada and the U.S. Dozens of Somali refugees in the U.S. have been arrested, charged and convicted of providing support to overseas terrorist organizations over the past few years. …
So when Anita Fuentes of OpenYourEyesPeople.com posted a video of a U.S. Department of Homeland Security bus pulling into a Shell station in Victorville, on the night of May 7, admitting he had a busload of Somalis and other Africans who had crossed the southern border, it raised more than a few eyebrows among those concerned with illegal immigration and national security.
A man who appeared to be a Customs and Border Patrol agent was filmed at the gas station at 10:30 p.m. When questioned by Fuentes, he informed her that his large touring bus was full of Somalis and other Africans being transported to a nearby detention center. …
“Well they’re coming in asking for asylum,” he said.
“That’s what it is, that special key word huh? That’s a password now?” Fuentes said.
“That’s what the password is now,” he responds.
From that you can deduce how long the Somali welfare colonists will be incarcerated at the detention facility before being distributed throughout the country as part of Obama’s fundamental transformation of the American population. If DHS were doing the job it explicitly exists to perform, these people would be stopped at the border rather than brought into the country. How many of them are affiliated with ISIS — which is said to have a presence just over the border — is anyone’s guess.
Writing in April in USA Today about the murder of 12 Christian migrants thrown into the sea by Muslims for praying to Jesus instead of Allah, columnist Kirsten Powers stated that President Barack Obama “just can’t seem to find any passion for the mass persecution of Middle Eastern Christians or the eradication of Christianity from its birthplace.”
The president’s response appears to be United States policy. Evidence suggests that within the administration not only is there no passion for persecuted Christians under threat of genocide from the Islamic State, there is no room for them, period. In fact, despite ISIS’ targeting of Iraqi Christians specifically because they are Christians, and, as such, stand in the way of a pure, Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East (and beyond), the U.S. State Department has made it clear that “there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation”.
An Anglican bishop revealed that this policy position presented to him in his most recent interaction with State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). The Rt. Rev. Julian M. Dobbs, bishop of the Diocese of CANA East (Convocation of Anglicans in North America) is an advocate for persecuted people worldwide. On this occasion, Dobbs was appealing on behalf of a group of Assyrian Christians desperately in need of rescue from northern Iraq.
The serious nature of the threat against these Assyrian Christians is evident because not only do they have permission from their own bishop to leave the country, they have his blessing and urging, as well. Until recently, church leaders have almost uniformly asked the people to remain, fearing that the Middle East will be emptied of Christians. But many church leaders have now concluded that the only way for Middle Eastern Christians to survive is to actually leave.
How bad is it for Christians in northern Iraq at present? In the words of Archbishop Bashar Warda of Erbil, Northern Iraq:
Christianity in Iraq is going through one of its worst and hardest stages of its long history, which dates back to the first century. Throughout all these long centuries, we have experienced many hardships and persecutions, offering caravans of martyrs. Yet 2014 brought the worst acts of genocide against us in our history. …
In June 2014, with cooperation and assistance from local Sunni Muslim extremists, ISIS took over Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and home to many Christians and other religious minorities. Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans and others were targeted for destruction, and within just the first week of ISIS’ occupation, more than 500,000 people fled the city. The homes of Christians were marked with the Arabic letter “nun,” standing for Nazarene. Christians were threatened with death if they did not convert to Islam, pay jizya and live as a subjected people — “dhimmi” — or flee immediately.
As dhimmi they would have to pay to live.
Nazarenes, to this day the Arabic word for “Christians”, was the name of the first followers of “Jesus”. They were all Jews, and did not cease to be Jews. They believed that he was the Messiah, was crucified by the Romans, rose from the dead, and would come again to save them from Roman domination. Non-Jews of the region made no distinction between them and later followers of “Jesus Christ” – the converts of St. Paul – whom we know as “Christians”. The Nazarenes died out. The Christians came to be a majority in the region of Mesopotamia until the Muslim conquests of the 7th. century. They have lived there continuously until now. Archbishop Warda says: “We now face the extinction of Christianity as a religion and as a culture from Mesopotamia [Iraq].”
Two months later, ISIS seized control of Qaraqosh, “the Christian Capital of Iraq,” and the neighboring Christian villages, all in the province of the Biblical landmark of Nineveh. Christianity Today reported that the siege displaced one-fourth of Iraq’s total Christian population. According to a March 26, 2015 article in Newsweek, as many as 1.4 million Christians lived in their ancestral home of Iraq prior to 2003. Now the number of Christians is estimated at anywhere from 260,000 to 350,000, with near half of that number displaced within the country. Newsweek explained that Iraq’s remaining Christians have mostly fled north to safer areas under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government. “But now ISIS is threatening them there, too.”
Dobbs … informed US State Department officials of a plan by one well-known Christian international aid agency to provide safer housing for Iraqi Christians. … The State Department advised him against setting up emergency housing for Christians in the region, saying it was “totally inappropriate”.
Also inappropriate, it seems, is the resettling of the most vulnerable Assyrian Christians in the United States. Donors in the private sector have offered complete funding for the airfare and the resettlement in the United States of these Iraqi Christians that are sleeping in public buildings, on school floors, or worse. But the State Department — while admitting 4,425 Somalis to the United States in just the first six months of FY2015, and possibly even accepting members of ISIS through the Syrian and Iraqi refugee program, all paid for by tax dollars – told Dobbs that they “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States”.
The United States government has made it clear that there is no way that Christians will be supported because of their religious affiliation, even though it is exactly that — their religious affiliation — that makes them candidates for asylum based on a credible fear of persecution from ISIS. The State Department, the wider administration, some in Congress and much of the media and other liberal elites insist that Christians cannot be given preferential treatment. Even within the churches, some Christians are so afraid of appearing to give preferential treatment to their fellow Christians that they are reluctant to plead the case of their Iraqi and Syrian brothers and sisters. …
On April 30, The Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom director, Nina Shea, wrote about the State Department’s refusing a non-immigrant visa to an Iraqi Catholic nun. Sister Diana Momeka of the Dominican Sisters of St. Catherine of Siena was to come to Washington and testify about what ISIS is doing to Christians and other religious minorities (all the non-Christian members of the delegation were approved). She received a refusal letter saying, “You were not able to demonstrate that your intended activities in the United States would be consistent with the classification of the visa.” And she was told at the U.S. consulate in Erbil that she was denied “because she was an IDP [Internally Displaced Person]”. In other words, Sister Diana would use her non-immigrant visa to remain illegally in the United States. …
In a follow up article on May 3, Shea revealed that the State Department requested that she revise her article. Shea refused, and wrote, concerning the State Department’s actions:
Those who decided to block Sister Diana from entering this country on a visitor visa acted in a manner consistent with the administration’s pattern of silence when it comes to the Christian profile of so many of the jihadists’ “convert-or-die” victims in Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Kenya and Iraq. In typical U.S. condolence statements, targeted Christians have been identified simply as “lives lost”, “Egyptian citizens”, “Kenyan people”, “innocent victims”, or “innocent Iraqis”.
As such, don’t they have a better case for being granted asylum than Muslims, in the present state of the world?
The nun was finally let in on a visitor’s visa, and testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
I don’t suppose her testimony, or anything else, will change the immigration policy of the administration, which remains the puzzle of the age.
(Hat-tip for the Moonbattery article to our contributing commenter liz)
It seems that Peter Schweizer’s book Clinton Cash is beginning to have some adverse effects on the Clintons. We hope they are only the first of many more – far more severe.
In House of the Stacked Deck of Cards, at the Weekly Standard, Noemie Emery traces Hillary Clinton’s steady rise from the impecunious early days of her marriage to her enormous riches today – always with help from those who needed favors in return.
We quote the concluding part of the article:
Never had the cards been stacked more in favor of anyone than they were for Hillary Clinton when she had a Senate seat in a state that she never had lived in more or less placed in her hands.
With an ex-president licensed to coin money and a former first lady in the Senate planning her own eventual run for president, the Clintons were in a unique position to leverage their power—past (Bill), present, and future (Hillary). Former presidents had in various ways cashed in before, but by that time they were no longer able to do people very meaningful favors. A donation to Bill, on the other hand, could mean favors from Hillary, in the job she was holding (senator, then secretary of state), and even as president sometime down the line. As the New York Times has noted, four days after Hillary was mentioned to head Barack Obama’s State Department, TD Bank (Canada’s largest) hired Bill to give speeches for a fee of $1.8 million. It must have been just a coincidence, like all the others she had enjoyed since their Little Rock days, that Secretary of State Clinton would be ideally placed to push for the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, in which the bank held a large block of shares.
As the New York Post’s Kyle Smith noted, in a piece on Peter Schweizer’s new book Clinton Cash, “Eleven of the 13 highest-paid speeches [Bill] ever gave took place while . . . Hillary headed the State Department.” Other ex-presidents had nostalgia to sell, which quickly lost value. Bill had “access to a family member who was secretary of state and perhaps a future president. That’s why his fees actually went up over time, and not down.” The Clinton machine is best explained as a wondrous contraption designed to funnel cash to Bill Clinton, with a million or two tossed now and then in the way of the needy, along with a supply of fascinating new friends, ready to fly him to beautiful islands, in the pursuit of women and song.
And what did Hillary hope to get from all this, beyond a share in the family fortunes? Much the same thing that she got when she lived in the White House as first lady during the years that she ran for the Senate, namely a series of glamorous feel-good occasions meant to showcase her as a species of royalty, altruistic, benevolent, and above it all. …
This summer was supposed to be a four-month display of Hillary mania, with “a splashy Clinton Global Initiative conference in Marrakesh . . . followed by a lavish reception and conference in Athens in June, and . . . a September extravaganza in Manhattan, featuring an appearance by Elton John”. Alas, the release of Schweizer’s Clinton Cash and related reports in the New York Times and the Washington Post caused the Athens event to be canceled, with the family foundation “scrambling to address concerns about its budgeting, fundraising, and donor vetting, while being buffeted by a raging political storm”.
That storm may have been augmented by the revelation last summer that Chelsea Clinton, hired by NBC News along with Jenna Bush Hager as a part-time contributor, had not only not distinguished herself as a TV reporter, but had pulled down a yearly salary of $600,000 while having done practically nothing. It came to something over $26,000 for every minute she had been on the air. “Chelsea Clinton Leaving Her Unbelievably Cushy Fake Job at NBC” ran the New York headline. The magazine added that “she will no longer pretend to be a reporter,” calling her “one of the most boring people of her era” and her salary “insane.” A tipster told the New York Post that the disclosure (by Politico) of Chelsea’s salary had been “catastrophic for NBC, because not one of the other correspondents, not even Jenna Bush Hager, is in on that sort of money.” … Nonetheless, seemingly heedless of her own family’s fortunes, Hillary continues to rail against income disparity as a crisis, and the unfair advantages given the already powerful as a national shame and a sin.
Nobody knows about stacked decks better than Hillary Clinton, who found the deck stacked slightly in her favor 40 years ago and has spent her whole political life stacking it further, to the benefit of herself and her husband and their daughter and Hillary’s brothers, all of whom have managed to make out like bandits, the latter two with no talents to speak of besides being related to her. The Democrats may want to run on inequality, but they should look for some other candidate to do it, and not someone who has made inequality, when it heavily tilts in her direction, her singular calling and life’s achievement.
We have nothing against economic inequality. But Hillary pretends she has. And hypocrisy is only one of the many sleazy qualities of the Clintons – including every other form of dishonesty, even theft (of things from the White House) – that half the voters choose to disregard. Why?
Marco Rubio made an excellent speech to the Council on Foreign Relations; on how bad US foreign policy has been under Obama’s disastrous leadership, and what it ought to be.
He says “the three pillars of his doctrine” are “American strength, the protection of our global economy, and a proud advocacy for America’s core values.”
Here’s the video:
Here are facts and figures from a Pew survey conducted between June and September of 2014, reported by the Washington Post:
Christianity is on the decline in America, not just among younger generations or in certain regions of the country but across race, gender, education and geographic barriers.
The percentage of adults who describe themselves as Christians dropped by nearly eight percentage points in just seven years to about 71 percent, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. …
That’s still a lot of Christians. Nearly three-quarters of the nation.
At the same time, the share of those who are not affiliated with a religion has jumped from 16 percent to about 23 percent in the same time period. The trend follows a pattern found earlier in the American Religious Identification Survey, which found that in 1990, 86 percent of American adults identified as Christians, compared with 76 percent in 2008. Here are three key takeaways from Pew’s new survey.
- Millennials are growing even less affiliated with religion as they get older
The older generation of millennials (those who were born from 1981 to 1989) are becoming even less affiliated with religion than they were about a decade ago, the survey suggests. In 2007, when the Pew Research Center did their last Religious Landscape Survey and these adults were just entering adulthood, 25 percent of them did not affiliate with a religion, but this grew to 34 percent in the latest survey.
The trends among the aging millennials is especially significant, said Greg Smith, associate director of research at the Pew Research Center. In 2010, 13 percent of baby boomers were religiously unaffiliated as they were entering retirement, the same percentage in 1972. “Some have asked, ‘Might they become more religiously affiliated as they get older?’ There’s nothing in this data to suggest that’s what’s happening,” he said. Millennials get married later than older generations, but they are not necessarily more likely to become religiously affiliated, he said.
- There are more religiously unaffiliated Americans than Catholic Americans or mainline Protestant Americans
The numbers of Catholics and Protestants have each shrunk between three and five percentage points since 2007. The evangelical share of the American population has dropped by one percentage point since 2007.
There are more religiously unaffiliated Americans (23 percent) than Catholics (21 percent) and mainline Protestants (15 percent). …
That’s 36% of Christians accounted for. What sort of Christians are the remaining 35% if neither Catholic nor Protestant? Are they all Mormons?
The groups experience their losses through what’s called “religious switching,” when someone switches from one faith to another. Thirteen percent of Americans were raised Catholic but are no longer Catholic, compared with just 2 percent of Americans who are converts to Catholicism. “That means that there are more than six former Catholics for every convert to Catholicism,” Smith said. “There’s no other group in the survey that has that ratio of loss due to religious switching.” There are 3 million fewer Catholics today than there were in 2007. While the percentage of Catholics in the United States has remained relatively steady, Smith said we might be observing the beginning of the decline of the Catholic share of the population.
Pew estimates there are about 5 million fewer mainline Protestants than there were in 2007. About 10 percent of the U.S. population say they were raised in the mainline Protestant tradition, while 6 percent have converted to mainline Protestantism.
Evangelical Protestants have experienced less decline, due to their net positive retention rate. For every person who has left evangelical Protestantism after growing up, 1.2 have switched to join an evangelical denomination.
Then comes apparently good news.
- Those who are unaffiliated are becoming more secular
The “nones,” or religiously unaffiliated, include atheists, agnostics and those who say they believe in “nothing in particular”. Of those who are unaffiliated, 31 percent describe themselves as atheists or agnostics, up six points from 2007.
“What we’re seeing now is that the share of people who say religion is important to them is declining,” Smith said. “The religiously unaffiliated are not just growing, but as they grow, they are becoming more secular.”
And people in older generations are increasingly disavowing organized religion. Among baby boomers, 17 percent identify as a religious “none,” up from 14 percent in 2007.
“There’s a continuing religious disaffiliation among older cohorts. That is really striking,” Smith said. “I continue to be struck by the pace at which the unaffiliated are growing.”
White Americans (24 percent) are more likely to say they have no religion, compared with 20 percent of Hispanic Americans and 18 percent of black Americans. The retention rates of the “nones” who say they were raised as religiously affiliated has grown by seven points since 2007 to 53 percent.
The religions are such musty old things. Relics from the pre-science age – or the ages between Greek enlightenment and the West European Enlightenment. Dark and awful. Christianity and Islam in particular are calculated to cause profound anxiety with their terrible doctrines of hell.
Trouble is, many who turn away from those old religions, embrace Leftism. And that’s a religion too.
In his excellent book Thinkers of the New Left, Professor Roger Scruton writes of the devout Marxist, Louis Althusser:
[Althusser says that] you can understand [Marx’s book] Capital only if you already believe it. That is the criterion of religious faith, which is locked inviolably within the single thought of its own validity – the thought that “I understand because I believe”. For the scientific mind, belief is the consequence and not the cause of understanding. But it is precisely the scientific failure of Marxism which necessitates Althusser’s enterprise – that of the sacralisation of Marx’s texts and the transformation of their content into revealed dogma. … When Althusser turns to the text of Capital, it is partly in order to give vent to religious awe, but also to extract a phrase or a paragraph, which he encases in metaphysical nonsense, like a drunken mystic commenting on the gospels.
The minds of most people living in the last two thousand years have been darkened by the mystic fantasies of three individuals:
- the confector of Christianity, St. Paul;
- the concocter of Islam, Muhammad;
- the inflictor of Communism, Karl Marx.
This year, June 19 will be the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta.
The chief significance of the document is that it established that nobody, not even the King, is above the law.
In England until then, and in all other kingdoms, the monarch was the law. One man (or woman) had total power over every other person in the realm. The monarch was the only free individual.
The Magna Carta also curbed the power of authorities throughout the land, bringing the first protection of individuals from arbitrary arrest and imprisonment – not all individuals, only the barons whose rebellion against King John had brought him to make concessions to them. In so doing, it paved the way for habeas corpus, which ensures early and open trial for everyone who is taken into custody, though it only became law centuries later in 1679.
The idea that people could live in an ordered society ruled not by a person but by the rule of law, had been conceived and put into practice by the ancient Greeks in their city-states, and in pre-imperial Rome, but had been lost to Europe through the long dark Christian centuries. It meant that peoples of different origins, from nations and tribes of varying customs and traditions, could live together as fellow citizens. It did not matter what country they came from, as long as they would obey the same laws. Or as it has often been put: ius not rus (law not land). It was an idea that made monarchs essentially redundant.
And it was the idea that underlay the creation of the Republic of the United States of America.
And continued to influence American constitutional law.
We quote the first paragraph of an essay by H. D. Hazeltine: The Influence of Magna Carta on American Constitutional Development (1917).
For seven [now eight] centuries Magna Carta has exerted a powerful influence upon constitutional and legal development. During the first four centuries after 1215 this influence was confined to England and the British Isles. With the growth of the British Empire during the last three hundred years, the principles of the Charter have spread to many of the political communities which have derived their constitutional and legal systems from England, and which have owed in the past, or which still owe, allegiance to the mother-country. The earliest, and perhaps the most important phase of this imperial history of Magna Carta is its effect upon the constitutions and laws of the American colonies and of the Federal Union that was established after their War of Independence.
The essay concludes:
The history of Magna Carta in America has a meaning far deeper than the influence of a single constitutional document; for Magna Carta typifies those ideals of law and government which have spread to America and to many other political communities that lie beyond the four seas encircling the island-realm itself. The world-wide diffusion of those ideals of liberty and justice deserves to be studied in its entirety, as a vast historical process which had its beginnings far back in the middle ages, and which has shaped and is still shaping in modern times the institutions of all the political commonwealths that owe their spiritual inheritance to England. The history of the Charter’s influence upon American constitutional development, as one phase of that vaster process, should be illuminating alike to subjects of the Crown and citizens of the Republic. Above all it teaches them that English political and legal ideals lie at the basis of much that is best in American institutions. Those ideals, jealously preserved and guarded by Americans throughout their whole history, still form the vital force in political thought and activity within the Union. As the Americans adapt their institutions to the ever-changing conditions of national and international life, those ideals of liberty and justice, founded upon the Great Charter, will continue to inspire and guide them. The Charter has a future as well as a past in the American commonwealth, for its spirit is inherent in the aspirations of the race.
We can interpret “the race” to mean “the human race” – even if that was not exactly what Mr. Hazeltine himself meant by it.
But are the ideals of liberty and justice still continuing to inspire and guide the people of the United States of America?
Tragically, there are now many reasons to doubt it. At present America has a leader, Barack Obama, who manifests no acceptance of the idea that the law is above him. An attorney general, Eric Holder, has blatantly refused to apply the law equally to people of different ethnicities. Individuals protected by the administration have acted in the interests of the ruling party (Lois Lerner of the IRS – see here and here) or in their own interest (Hillary Clinton – see here), arrogantly defying the law with impunity.
It would take much more than a great document now to restore the Union to the republic of its founders’ intentions.
A review of a book on ISIS at Commentary, by Michael J. Totten, is full of interest. It explains some of the Byzantine intricacies of Arab, middle eastern, and Islamic politics.
The book is titled ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror. It’s written by Michael Weiss & Hassan Hassan.
The review begins with two sentences with which we emphatically agree. We wish that all who report on ISIS would take note of them.
ISIS isn’t a terrorist organization. It’s a transnational army of terror.
And a very formidable army it is in its size and its armor.
The CIA claims it has as many as 31,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq, and Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government, thinks the number may be as high as 200,000. When ISIS fighters conquered the Iraqi city of Mosul last year, they stole enough materiel to supply three fighting divisions, including up-armored American Humvees, T-55 tanks, mobile Chinese artillery pieces, Soviet anti-aircraft guns, and American-made Stinger missile systems. ISIS controls a swath of territory the size of Great Britain and is expanding into Libya and Yemen.
The book relates the history ISIS. The midwife of its birth was Bashar Assad, the president of Syria.
ISIS began its life as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) after the United States demolished Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003. The Bush administration saw Arab democracy as the solution to the Middle East’s woes, and Syria’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad didn’t want to be the next Saddam. Assad waged a proxy war to convince Washington that participatory politics in the region would be perilous. Weiss and Hassan quote former Syrian diplomat Bassam Barabandi, who says candidly that “[Assad] started to work with the mujahideen.” He dispatched Syria’s homegrown jihadists to fight American occupation forces [in Iraq], and most of those jihadists would sign up with AQI. Assad pulled off a win-win scheme, purging Syria of potential enemies while teaching both the American government and citizenry a lesson they still haven’t forgotten: Occupying and democratizing an Arab land is a far messier and bloodier business than most in the West are willing to stomach.
It worked so well in Iraq that Assad would eventually replicate it inside his own country. When the uprising against him began in 2011, he framed the conflict as one between his secular regime and Islamist terrorists, even when the only serious movement against him consisted of nonviolent protests for reform and democracy. Few in the West bought Assad’s line at the time, so he then facilitated an Islamist terrorist opposition. His loyalists like to present a choice: “Assad or we burn the country.” And they are not kidding.
As Weiss and Hassan detail, Assad opened the jails and let Islamist prisoners free as part of an ostensible “reform” process, but he kept democracy activists in their cages. He knew perfectly well that those he let loose would cut a burning and bleeding gash across the country, casting him as the only thing standing between the rest of us and the abyss. …
ISIS is a terrible force; as terrible as any in history or fiction.
The first thing ISIS does when conquering a new city or town is set up the grisly machinery for medieval punishments in town squares. “Letting black-clad terrorists run around a provincial capital,” Weiss and Hassan write, “crucifying and beheading people, made for great propaganda.” It was all Assad could do to ensure the Obama administration wouldn’t pursue a policy of regime-change as it had in Libya and as the previous administration had in Iraq. …
Had Assad been forced into exile or dragged from his palace before the Arab Spring soured, Syria might look strikingly different today. Weiss and Hassan cite an International Republican Institute survey of Syrian public opinion in 2012 that found 76 percent of the country favored one kind of democratic transition or another. But Assad guarantees that bullets rather than ballots will decide political outcomes, and millions would rather flee to squalid refugee camps abroad than get caught between the anvil of Syria’s totalitarian state and the hammer of ISIS. …
ISIS’s founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, loved beheading hapless victims on camera as much as the new leadership does, and his grisly behavior earned him the nickname “Sheikh of the Slaughterers”. He hated no one on earth — not even Americans — more than he hated Shia Muslims who, in his view, were beneath even Sunni Muslim apostates. …
Abu Bakr Naji, one of ISIS’s intellectual architects, published a book online outlining its strategy and vision: The Management of Savagery. It is used today as a manual not only in Syria and Iraq but also by al-Qaeda affiliates in Somalia, Yemen, and Libya. “Jihad,” he writes, “is naught but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening [people], and massacring.”
The authors make a compelling case that ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a would-be Saddam Hussein in religious garb…. Like Zarqawi before him, [he] is even more genocidal than Iraq’s former strongman. Al-Baghdadi has “so far demonstrated nothing short of annihilationist intention …” …
Annihilationist, that is, first and foremost of the Shi’a, who are “marked only for death”.
[But] Syrians and Iraqis aren’t the only ones threatened by all this, of course. ISIS aspires to wage its exterminationist war beyond the Middle East, not only in the United States but also in Europe. “We will raid you thereafter,” it boasts in its online magazine, Dabiq, “and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the Permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us.”
And that, since ISIS became the enemy of Assad – the despot who brought it into the world – puts the US and Europe “tacitly on the side of Assad”. And as Assad is kept in power by Iran, they are also tacitly on the side of Iran and “their joint Lebanese proxy Hezbollah”.
It is a state of affairs that the Iranian rulers delight in.
Tehran can hardly contain itself. “One of the world’s leading state sponsors of terrorism,” Weiss and Hassan write, “now presents itself as the last line of defense against terrorism.”
[But] the idea that a state sponsor of terrorism could ever be a reliable partner against international terrorism is ludicrous. “Whatever Washington’s intentions,” Weiss and Hassan write, “its perceived alliance of convenience with the murderous regimes of Syria and Iran is keeping Sunnis who loathe or fear ISIS from participating in another grassroots effort to expel the terrorists from their midst.”
ISIS continues to grow at an alarming rate and has so far recruited thousands of members from Europe. “What draws people to ISIS,” the authors write, “could easily bring them to any number of cults or totalitarian movements, even those ideologically contradictory to Salafist jihadism.” Indeed, its ranks are swollen with tribal sectarians, thrill seekers, former “socialist infidels”, foreign losers looking for meaning and community, and psychopaths pining for butchery. Many find the execution videos of “Jihadi John” — a modern version of what 19th-century Italian revolutionary Carlo Pisacane called propaganda of the deed — darkly compelling. For the most dangerous ISIS recruits, what the rest of us see as bad press is seductive.
Many, however, are painfully naive. Savvy ISIS recruiters do an outstanding job convincing the gullible that its notoriety is unjustified. “Don’t hear about us,” they say. “Hear from us.” Weiss and Hassan dig up comments from some of ISIS’s obtuse fans in online Western forums who have bought the sales pitch: “Does the Islamic State sell hair gel and Nutella in Raqqa?” “Should I bring an iPad to let Mom and Dad know that I arrived safely in caliphate?”
The foolish recruits are more likely to become victims themselves than to victimize others — in March, ISIS forced a 12-year-old boy to execute an Israeli Arab man for trying to flee — but ISIS will continue to attract newcomers as long as it’s permitted to thrive. And thrive it will until it faces a more determined resistance force and as long as radical Sunni Muslims around the world feel galvanized by the perceived American-Iranian axis against them.
As the authors say in their book’s stark conclusion, “the army of terror will be with us indefinitely”.
First Pamela Geller was attacked by terrorists for holding a free speech event. Then she was attacked by the media for the same reason.
Ezra Levant of TheRebel.media looks at the media’s twisted treatment of Geller after the foiled shooting in Garland, Texas.
The left-slanted media want sharia enforced in America rather than US constitutional law.
And not only the left-slanted media. Bill O’Reilly, Laura Ingraham, and Greta van Susteren of Fox News have also blamed Pamela Geller for exercising her free speech rights. Dhimmis all.
However, also on Fox News, the excellent Megyn Kelly argued with Bill O’Reilly and decisively showed him to be wrong – though he still didn’t seem to understand that he was.
Kelly told O’Reilly … the point [Pamela Geller and her organization] were making about free speech was a solid one. The First Amendment, she said, isn’t meant to protect popular speech; it’s meant to protect “the most outrageous, offensive, incendiary speech”.
O’Reilly countered, “It’s always cause and effect… This is what happens when you light the fuse, you get violence.” Kelly was surprised to hear that, telling O’Reilly he sounds like he’s “attacking the event itself”.
When O’Reilly said he would “do it another way,” Kelly got really fired up and said this:
“You know what else the jihadis don’t like? They hate Jews. Should we get rid of all Jews? That’s the path we’re gonna go down if we don’t stop catering to the jihadis.”
Watch the video here.
In the video below, Geert Wilders addresses a gathering at an exhibition of Muhammad cartoons in Garland, Texas. A rousing speech.
“Moderation in the face of evil is evil itself,” he rightly declares. And he points out that one of the many things wrong with Islam is its lack of humor. He quotes the Ayatollah Khomeini who said that there is no joking, no fun, in Islam.
He says he is happy that nobody died while the exhibition was open for viewing. But soon after he had spoken, two people did die. Fortunately they were not among the brave people who organized or attended the exhibition, but two Muslims who tried to attack and kill them. They wounded a guard before they were shot dead themselves.
We quote from the report in the Washington Post*:
Two gunmen shot an unarmed security officer outside a cartoon exhibit and contest depicting the prophet Muhammad near Dallas and were then shot and killed by police late Sunday, authorities said. The motive for the attack was not immediately clear.
Here is Geert Wilders:
*The report has been revised since we took our piece from it. But the hilarious bit we highlight is still there.
Ben Shapiro writes at Breitbart:
On Sunday [April 19, 2015] a migrant ship from Libya carrying 950 people sank in the Mediterranean … The reports of the sunken migrant ship came on the heels of a story just days before that 15 Muslims had thrown 12 Christians overboard on a migrant voyage from Libya.
The problem of migration from Libya springs from the chaos that has filled that country in the wake of the US-led Western invasion of the country – a policy championed first and foremost by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Ably assisted, we like to point out, by her two fellow round-the-cauldron witches. One was Samantha Power, then Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights and First Advocate of Pity, whose doctrine is that the US must intervene wherever she directs it to protect her selected underdogs (only). The second was Susan Rice, then US Ambassador to the UN and Liar-in-Chief for the Obama administration. The Weaving of the Spells was as always overseen from a distance by the Queen of the Witches who reigns in the White House: President-Whisperer Valerie Jarrett.
Clinton pushed regime change in Libya, and pushed it hard. In February 2011, an uprising against then-dictator Muammar Qaddafi broke out; President Obama quickly pushed for sanctions, and the United Nations voted for a no-fly zone above the country. In March, ABC News reported that Obama had signed a presidential finding to send covert aid to the Libyan rebels. In September 2011, Obama called for Qaddafi’s forces to surrender. In October 2011, Hillary visited Tripoli and pledged millions to the Libyan opposition, gushing, “I am proud to stand here on the soil of a free Libya.” Two days later, Qaddafi was sodomized with a knife and then killed; Hillary was caught on camera crowing and laughing, “We came, we saw, he died!”
The Libyan opposition, as it turns out, was honeycombed with terrorists, who promptly threw the country into total chaos. …
Hillary knew about the relationship between terrorist groups and the Libyan opposition and had no plan for what came next – an amazing fact given her own 2008 critique of President Bush’s Iraq invasion along the same lines.
According to The Washington Times:
U.S. intelligence did not support the story that Mrs. Clinton used to sell the war in Libya, mainly that there was an imminent danger of a genocide to be carried out by the Gadhaafi regime. The intelligence community, in fact, had come to the opposite conclusion: that Gadhafi would not risk world outrage by killing civilians en masse even as he tried to crush the rebellion in his country … The Pentagon and a key Democrat so distrusted Mrs. Clinton’s decision-making on Libya that they opened their own secret diplomatic conversations with the Gadhafi regime, going round the State Department.
Obama and Hillary, of course, never bothered to get Congressional authorization for offensive military action in Libya. Then, after terrorists took over the country, they refused security requests from Ambassador Chris Stevens for the American annex in Benghazi, [a failure] ending in the murder of four Americans, including the ambassador, by the terrorists we had helped take over the country.
After Qaddafi’s ouster, the country has turned into a haven for terrorists, from Al Qaeda to ISIS. Instead of facing up to Western responsibility for the chaos in Libya, however … President Obama stood by and said nothing.
Which is precisely what you would expect. Every aspect of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, as helped along by Hillary Clinton, has ended with innocent bodies in its wake. Those floating in the Mediterranean today are no exception.
The same writer, on the same subject, reports and comments in an article at Truth Revolt:
Headless bodies lie in the sand. Above those corpses stand the black-clad minions of ISIS, outlined against the coastline of Libya. This is the second video in three months depicting Islamic terrorists cutting the heads off of Christian captives.
Bodies float in the Mediterranean Sea, face down. Twelve Christian bodies, thrown from a rubber boat by 15 Muslims. Their launch point: Libya.
Approximately 700 more bodies float face down in the Mediterranean, victims of a smuggling operation gone wrong when their rickety craft sunk as it made its way to Italy. Its source location: Libya.
Four American bodies in Benghazi, Libya.
These are the wages of Hillary Clinton’s war.
In June 2006, as then-Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., prepared a run for president, she stated that President George W. Bush had “rushed to war” in Iraq. A few months later, Hillary spoke of her opposition to Bush’s surge in Iraq, stating that it was a “losing strategy.” Iraq, a war for which Hillary voted, had been conducted on the back of flawed intelligence estimates and without a clear plan.
Five years later, Secretary of State Clinton rushed to war … manufacturing evidence to do so, and with no plan whatsoever for victory. According to The Washington Times, Clinton “was the moving force inside the Obama administration to encourage US military intervention to unseat [dictator Moammar Gadhafi] in Libya”. Clinton claimed that if the West did not intervene in Libya, Gadhafi would pursue a genocide against his enemies; in March 2011, she imagined a scenario in which “Benghazi had been overrun, a city of 700,000 people, and tens of thousands of people had been slaughtered, hundreds of thousands had fled. …” That genocide never materialized, nor did the best intelligence estimates support that argument.
Not only that: Hillary also ignored all available evidence suggesting that the Libyan opposition was honeycombed with terrorists.
She ignored Admiral James Stavridis, NATO Supreme Commander for Europe, who admitted “flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah.” Al-Qaida backed the Libyan uprising. There was a reason that neither Hillary nor President Obama risked going to Congress for approval of the Libyan adventure: they would have been rejected. …
Hillary’s war ended with terrorist chaos in Libya: a full-scale terror takeover of regions of the country including Benghazi, the exile of the legitimate government, a massive refugee crisis growing day-by-day amidst the upheaval. That refugee crisis has grown significantly worse since Hillary’s war.
As Vox.com, a leftist outlet, points out, 1,600 migrants “have drowned in the Mediterranean this year.” Why? Again, according to Vox.com, when Moammar Gadhafi “ruled Libya, his government had an agreement with Italy to try to intercept and turn back ships leaving for Europe. … And in the utter chaos that’s engulfed Libya over the past few years, there’s no government entity really capable of patrolling the Mediterranean.”
Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy has promoted chaos around the world. Nowhere is that better illustrated than in her signal foreign policy legacy, the collapsed state of Libya.
And Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:
Obama lied and claimed that his illegal Libyan War was necessary to stop a genocide. There was no genocide, at least until Obama achieved his regime change goals and put Jihadists from Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood in control of Libya.
Ironically the very Jihadists on whose behalf Obama was waging an illegal war from the air were Arabs targeting and murdering his fellow Africans.
“Reports for many months have stated that Libyan rebels have been killing and persecuting black Africans in Libya once areas came under their control. The number of reports highlighting this continues to grow and many images have been shown which show Africans being mutilated and having their bodies abused and mocked by non-black African Libyans. …
So much for Black lives mattering.
On the road between Misrata and Tawergha, rebel slogans like “the brigade for purging slaves, black skin” have supplanted pro-Gadhafi scrawl.
And as with every Obama accomplishment, the situation just keeps getting worse and worse.
One 17-year-old Eritrean named Brahane spoke of his ordeal at the hands of militias and gangs, who he said killed dozens of fellow migrants. “The traffickers took drugs and were always high,” he said. “I saw them spray people with petrol and set fire to them. …
While the media has done its best to wipe away a little factual tidbit, in his speech to Americans, Obama claimed that Benghazi was facing genocide.
If we waited one more day, Benghazi, a city nearly the size of Charlotte, could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world.
It’s a lie. It’s a lie that Republicans have miserably failed to call Obama on. But Obama’s actions certainly made it true.
Benghazi did suffer a massacre … of Americans.
Daniel Greenfield writes again at Front Page:
Hundreds of people just died because of Obama and Hillary’s illegal Libyan war.
In particular he is alluding to the hundreds drowned in the Mediterranean, including the Christians who were pushed into the water by Muslims.
The Libyan War was based on a lie about genocide that is turning out to be real as ISIS beheads African Christians captured in Libya, as migrants claw their way abroad boats out of Libya, killing each other along the way, as a civil war between the legal government and the Muslim Brotherhood drags on.
The strange thing about left-wing wars is that we don’t talk about them. … The left has done its best to turn Benghazi into a contemptuous meme and the murder of four Americans into a joke. …
Libya was never paradise, but Obama opted for regime change, while lying about it, and then took no responsibility for the consequences.
The CIA backed Jihadist rebels, allowed Qatar, a state sponsor of terror, to smuggle weapons to terrorists right past NATO, then it made a futile effort to get them back.
Obama did not have a plan for Libya except to let the terrorists win. And the terrorists have won.
Instead of ending the civil war, Obama perpetuated it. Libya is fragmented between a coalition of Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood Jihadists and what is left of the elected government. …
The administration criticized Egypt for carrying out air strikes against Jihadists who beheaded Coptic Christians, and [Libyan] General Haftar for trying to fight the same Islamic terrorists who murdered four Americans in Benghazi, even though they’re doing what we should be.
The costs of Obama’s Libyan adventure have been high. They include an Al Qaeda franchise nearly capturing Mali and the resulting French intervention. They include the murder of Africans and Christians in Libya. They include an ongoing civil war that shows no signs of ending. And a number of Americans killed along the way …
And yet, … this is the war that never existed. Obama and his people refused to call it a war. The media, which would never have reported on the troubles in Iraq without linking it to the war, doesn’t call it a war or mention that we might have had something to do with what’s going on.
Type in “Iraq War” and you’ll get plenty of results, but Obama’s Libyan bombing campaign is obscurely buried inside the country’s civil war, a development as odd as sandwiching the Iraq War within the Shiite uprising and the ISIS aftermath. And yet there’s a consistent pattern to these cover-ups. [Bill] Clinton’s own bombing campaign in Yugoslavia was likewise buried within a civil war. …
And was surely the most unnecessary war that America has ever fought.
But unlike Yugoslavia, Libya isn’t going away. It’s only getting bloodier. Like Iraq, where the media perpetuated the myth of a successful withdrawal until the genocide began, Libya keeps getting worse.
And sooner or later we’re going to have to talk about it.
Unlike Iraq, there is no one else to blame. And Hillary Clinton can’t shrug it off as Obama’s doing. Not when she was an aggressive champion of intervention.
The false claim of genocide which was used to justify a no-fly zone that served as a cover for regime change came from Hillary Clinton.
The Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all opposed the war. In a reversal of the usual clichés about warmongers, the Pentagon was highly skeptical and attempted to negotiate a truce with Libya.
Hillary’s State Department rejected a peace venture by the military and forced a war.
For any Republican administration, the fact that an armchair warrior Secretary of State with presidential ambitions had illegally started a war over the objections of the military would be the ultimate story.
Instead it’s the Hillary story that cannot be told.
And yet it would be nice, if in between gushing over her highly scheduled visits to major brand name eateries and photogenic meetings with her own party’s staffers passed off as ordinary folks, someone in the media would ask Hillary why she wanted this war and what it was meant to accomplish.
But no such questions will be asked and no answers will be forthcoming.
The same media that incessantly manufactured Iraq War scandals seems utterly uninterested in the admission of former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, a Clinton loyalist, that the administration had lied … to the American people and that its real goal had been regime change.
An editorial at Investor’s Business Daily deals with the same subject, with similar indignation:
As refugees flood the Mediterranean, Europe is in a crisis. But the issue is not about how many lifeboats to send; it’s the failed state of Libya. Why isn’t Hillary Clinton, the architect of U.S. Libya policy, answering questions?
The European Union is being hit with a refugee crisis of unprecedented proportions as another boat loaded with emigres capsized near the Italian island of Lampedusa on Saturday. Nearly all of its 900 passengers drowned …
The Mediterranean, now known as “a cemetery without graves,” will be crossed by some 500,000 refugees this year, up from about 220,000 last year.
At the same time, a second round of beheadings of Christians by Islamic State terrorists on Libya’s beaches over the weekend drives the point home: Terrorists are on the rise, and a strong base of their operations is in Libya, a failed state that was taken over by a vile menagerie of pirates, slavers and smugglers in the rubble of the toppled Gadhafi regime.
Who’s responsible here? None other than Hillary Clinton, who served as President Obama’s secretary of state during the overthrow of the longtime dictatorship of Muammar Gadhafi in 2011.
And that raises again the valid questions on what really happened in Libya.
At that time, the U.S. was partnering with Europe, chiefly France, in a supposedly easy operation to get rid of the annoying dictator and then watch what the alliance thought would be the flourishing of democracy. It was called “leading from behind.”
The U.S. withdrew support from Gadhafi — who, by the way, had voluntarily renounced his nuclear program in the interest of preserving himself — only to be waylaid by mobs and killed.
Instead of democracy, what flourished was barbarism with absolutely no state emerging from what had been a largely tribal society.
The brazen murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11, 2012, showed what was ahead for the country …
Who let that happen? And who was it who allowed their killers to get away with it with no fear of being hunted down and brought to justice? One suspect sipped on a strawberry frappe in a fancy hotel while being interviewed by the New York Times. He was at ease because he knew nobody was looking for him.
Weapons go unguarded and fall into the hands of terrorists. Islamic radicals destroy ancient cultural treasures [in Mali]. An even more menacing element takes advantage of the U.S. failure to support Egypt by attacking the country on its western flank …
A disaster this complete is the result of foreign policy incompetence on an untold scale, and demands answers from the policymakers behind it. But instead of calling on Clinton to answer questions, the press gives her a pass, and the Obama administration watched approvingly as she destroyed a gigantic cache of emails that might have shed light on what kind of trouble she was opening the country to during her service as secretary of state.
The only point on which we disagree is IBD’s putting it all down to the “incompetence” of Obama and Hillary. Not that we think First Witch Hillary is competent. Hell no!
Our contention is that North Africa and the Middle East are in flames, millions of people are suffering horrible deaths or enslavement or are scattering over sea and land, and worse is yet to come when Iran gets its nukes, because Obama wants the Islamic jihad to triumph.
All that has happened is the result of Obama’s policy, not his mistakes.
Hillary – cold and ruthless and hypocritical – was cluelessly one of his tools. But that fact, far from exonerating her, shows all the more plainly that she is unfit for any government office, let alone the highest in the land.