The US and the Kurds: no debt owed 1

To serve another’s needs at the cost of disservice to one’s own, may be a virtue when a person does it (though we don’t think it is, any more than Ayn Rand did); but when a state serves the interests of another state at the cost of its own, it is incontrovertibly wrong. It is a betrayal of a people by their government.

President Trump, whose responsibility it is to serve American interests before all else and does so unfalteringly, recently announced that he was withdrawing US soldiers from a region of Syria where there are many Kurds, and letting Turkish troops enter the zone – as the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, intends they shall. The reaction of many conservatives, including Trump supporters, as well as liberals and Leftists, has been an outbreak of passionate concern for the Syrian Kurds.

“Turkey is the enemy of the Kurds and will surely slaughter them,” the cry goes up. “The Kurds have been our faithful allies. They helped us, and now we are abandoning them. Betraying them. Letting them down. Who will ever trust us again?”

Sober conservative voices have argued differently. Among them is Andrew C. McCarthy, from whose article in the National Review, disagreeing with that periodical’s editorial position, we quote:

The Kurds have been our allies against ISIS, but it is not for us that they have fought. They fight ISIS for themselves, with our help.

The US has helped the Kurds more than the Kurds have helped the US. 

They are seeking an autonomous zone and, ultimately, statehood. The editorial fails to note that the Kurds we have backed, led by the YPG (People’s Protection Units), are the Syrian branch of the PKK (the Kurdistan Worker’s Party) in Turkey. The PKK is a militant separatist organization with Marxist-Leninist roots.

During the Cold War, the PKK was one of a multitude of murderous terrorist organizations attacking Western interests all over the world, supported in one way or another by the Soviet Union. Russia has continued to support the PKK, and in retaliation Turkey has given material and diplomatic help to Chechnya in its terrorist war against Russia.

Like it or not (and we do not) –

Turkey remains our NATO ally, even though the Erdogan government is one of the more duplicitous and anti-Western actors in a region that teems with them.

McCarthy says he “would be open to considering the removal of both the PKK from the terrorist list and Turkey from NATO”. But he adds:

For now, though, the blunt facts are that the PKK is a terrorist organization and Turkey is our ally.”

(We aren’t entirely in agreement with him there. We too want to see Turkey removed from NATO, but we do not think the PKK should be removed from the terrorist list.)

Why did the US send its military into Syria?

Our intervention in Syria has never been authorized by Congress. Those of us who opposed intervention maintained that congressional authorization was necessary because there was no imminent threat to our nation. Contrary to the [NR’s] editorial’s suggestion, having US forces “deter further genocidal bloodshed in northern Syria” is not a mission for which Americans support committing our men and women in uniform. Such bloodlettings are the Muslim Middle East’s default condition, so the missions would never end.

ISIS is an atrocious organization, its savage cruelty so extreme as to render all words of horror and outrage inadequate for description of it. It cannot but be a good thing that it has been deprived of the territory it ruled with terror. But was anything it did forbidden by the religion in whose name it acted? It is Islam that threatens us all, the whole non-Muslim world.

Barbaric jihadist groups such as ISIS (an offshoot of al-Qaeda) come into existence because of Islamic fundamentalism. But saying so remains de trop in Washington. Instead, we tell ourselves that terrorism emerges due to “vacuums” created in the absence of US forces. On this logic, there should always and forever be US forces and involvement in places where hostility to America vastly outweighs American interests.

In ISIS’s “Caliphate” that appalling ideology could be, and has been, punished by defeat. And by defeating it, the US was serving its own interests. For the duration of the battle, US interests coincided with the interests of groups oppressed by ISIS, including the Kurds. But that battle is over. No debt is owed to those who fought with us. 

The easily foreseeable conflict between Turkey and the Kurds is at hand. We are supposed to see the problem as Trump’s abandoning of US commitments. But why did we make commitments to the Kurds that undermined preexisting commitments to Turkey? The debate is strictly framed as “How can we leave the Kurds to the tender mercies of the Turks?” No one is supposed to ask “What did we expect would happen when we backed a militant organization that is tightly linked to US-designated terrorists and that is the bitter enemy of a NATO ally we knew would not abide its presence on the ally’s border?” No one is supposed to ask “What is the end game here? Are we endorsing the partition of Syria? Did we see a Kurdish autonomous zone as the next Kosovo?” (We might remember that recognition of Kosovo’s split from Serbia, over Russian objections, was exploited by the Kremlin as a rationale for promoting separatism and annexations in Georgia and Ukraine.)

It is true, as the editors observe, that “there are no easy answers in Syria”. That is no excuse for offering an answer that makes no sense: “The United States should have an exit strategy, but one that neither squanders our tactical gains against ISIS nor exposes our allies to unacceptable retribution.” Put aside that our arming of the Kurds has already exposed our allies in Turkey to unacceptable risk. What the editorial poses is not an “exit strategy” but its opposite. In effect, it would keep US forces in Syria interminably, permanently interposed between the Kurds and the Turks. The untidy questions of how that would be justifiable legally or politically go unaddressed.

President Trump, by contrast, has an exit strategy, which is to exit. He promises to cripple Turkey economically if the Kurds are harmed. If early reports of Turkey’s military assault are accurate, the president will soon be put to the test. … For a change, he should have strong support from Congress, which is threatening heavy sanctions if Turkey routs the Kurds.

Americans, however, are not of a mind to do more than that. We are grateful for what the Kurds did in our mutual interest against ISIS.

As they are to us?

We should try to help them, but no one wants to risk war with Turkey over them. The American people’s representatives never endorsed combat operations in Syria, and the president is right that the public wants out. Of course we must prioritize the denial of safe havens from which jihadists can attack American interests. We have to stop pretending, though, that if our intentions toward this neighborhood are pure, its brutal history, enduring hostilities, and significant downside risks can be ignored.

Posted under Kurds, Syria, Turkey, United States by Jillian Becker on Sunday, October 13, 2019

Tagged with , , , , , , , ,

This post has 1 comment.

Permalink

The pursuit of happiness 57

Gentlefolk in the 18th. century thought that to try to live happily was a reasonable aim, to judge by the statement of the great authors of the US Declaration of Independence. To them it appeared “self-evident” that every person had a “right” (“endowed by their Creator”, or, in other words, a natural right) to his life and his choice how to live it, which surely meant that he would live it as nearly to his heart’s desire as he could.

Horny handed sons of toil, even if as free under the law, were not expected, either by themselves or their betters, to achieve the same forms of happiness. Enough for them if they could earn their daily bread. For that they lived and strove. Their life was the striving. It occupied their hours, their days, their years, their bodies and their thoughts. Success was survival. Survival was for most of them the only reasonable attainable happiness. If some strove for more – excess, property, leisure – and attained it, then happiness abounded. (Happiness, that is to say, as contentment. Other forms of gratification – thrills, excitement, delights of the senses, scoring triumphs – are not our subject. They are experienced episodically and enjoyed to the degree the individual is capable of.)

The welfare state relieved the workers of the need to strive for survival. Now all could be philosophers. The joy of exploring the limitless sphere of the mind was open to all. Universal happiness would reign.

But doesn’t.

The reasons why people commit suicide are many and various, but what they all have in common is that they find life unbearable. So suicide rates might be taken as a gauge of happiness and the lack of it in a population.

The figures for those rates from the last few years (according to Wikipedia – and perhaps not entirely trustworthy) provide some surprises. (Worth noticing in passing – far more males kill themselves than do females everywhere.)

Highest suicide rate in the world: Greenland. Average 82.8 per 100,000 per annum. It is a welfare state.

Google reveals:

As part of Denmark, Greenlanders have access to one of the most extensive social welfare systems in Europe, including universal, nationalized medical care and free state education, including college.

(President Trump has asked Denmark if it would sell Greenland to the USA. Rhetorical question: Would life in Greenland be better, more bearable, happier if it became the 51st. state of the USA, which provides much less welfare? USA suicide average per 100,000 per annum, 14.5.)

Big drop to the next highest. Guyana 30.2, Lithuania 28.27, South Korea 26.6

The average for most European countries is between 12.57 (Germany) and 17 (Belgium).

Britain? Only 7.23!

China? 9.8

Iran 4.8   The state does most of the killing there.

Venezuela 3.2  Nature does it there, because the people are starving and have no medicines. Venezuela is – way beyond a welfare state – a socialist state.

Syria 0.1  Constant civil war rages there.

Pakistan 1.1   People are happy in Pakistan?

Haiti  – a truly miserable place of hunger and disease. Average suicide?  0.0

But back to the pursuit of happiness in the civilized West.

What went wrong? Is it possible that the strivers enjoyed the striving and its meager rewards?

Or did philosophizing bring the newly leisured to ask, “What is it all for anyway?“. And find no answer?

There are thousands of counselors – even millions, we would guess – telling unhappy people how to be happy. There are hundreds of thousands of books giving readers rules for living –  from obedience to which, happiness might be expected.

And there is religion. Religion is supposed to “give meaning to life”.

Does it answer the question “what is it all for anyway?”

Let’s look at an individual case of unhappiness. In America.

At the American Conservative, we found this letter, reproduced by Rod Dreher, to whom it was sent as if to an agony aunt:

Mr. Dreher,

The things you have been writing lately about alienated young men and mass shootings prompt me to reach out to you. I am not a young man anymore, but I am dealing with things that I did not imagine I would be when I was young and newly married. Back then, everything made sense. I feel like I need to tell my story.

My background is that I am a successful businessman (a kind of consultant) living in a well-to-do suburb of a Southern city. My wife and I married relatively early, and had two kids. The boys are in good colleges in other states. They are getting ready to head back to school next week. It has been a real pleasure having them here this summer. Our house becomes a tomb when they are not around.

Four years ago, my wife told me that she didn’t want to be married to me anymore. After almost 30 years, she had had enough. I did not see that coming. We almost never fought. We used to go to dinner together, take family vacations, do things together, etc etc. She just said that she thought she had hitched herself to a man too young, and now that the boys were older and out of the house, she was reconsidering her life. I asked her if there was another man. She said no, and eventually I believed her. I asked her if she wanted a divorce. She said probably so, but she wanted to wait until the boys got out of school. She is a reasonable person with a finance background, and knows that a divorce would cost us a lot at a time when we are supporting two kids in college.

She has a job she loves. I work from a home office. I was so glad when my company gave me the chance to do this. I miss the friendships in the office, but when you talk on your blog about wokeness in the workplace, I always find myself nodding along. A few years back, my company started getting engaged with “diversity and inclusivity” in the workplace. I noticed that every time they would run us all through one of those seminars, we would all come out of it more suspicious of each other. It was crazy. It was as if our bosses were trying to poison the office environment. I got to the point where as a white male, I saw my co-workers as potentially the people who would try to get me fired if I said one wrong thing by mistake. They might have seen me that way too. It was crazy. The more management pushed “diversity and inclusivity”, the more anxious things felt in the office. When the company was restructuring and offered people in my division the chance to work at home, I jumped at it, just to get out of that tense environment.

It was a blessing at first, but nowadays I wonder if that was the right thing to do. The idea of working from home seems great, until you realize that you don’t see people at all. I have a nice home office where I put in my 9 to 5, which is really more like 8 to 7, but everybody does that. If I’m being truthful, I stay in my office longer than I have to on most days, because there is nothing for me outside of it. My wife used to be my best friend. Now we just share a house and a bed. She has friends from her office, and goes out with them a lot. When all this started, I honestly thought she was seeing some guy. I’m not going into the details, but I’m truly convinced that she’s not. She’s just hanging out with other middle-aged women who are sick of their husbands too.

I used to think only men behaved like that. Mother and Daddy have both passed away, but they had a good marriage. Some of their friends got divorced when I was a kid, and it was always the man leaving his wife for a younger woman. They were very judgmental of them, but in a way I still think was right. They were Southern people (I think you know what I mean, Mr. Dreher), and that meant that they thought it was dishonorable for a man to do his wife like that. I internalized that honor code, and have always lived by it, and my Catholic faith. If my wife demands a divorce, I will give it to her, but I won’t marry again. How could I go through an annulment? I can’t say truthfully that this was not really a marriage. I meant it when I said my vows, and I believe my wife did too. I am not going to make bastards of my sons because my wife abandoned me and I want to be married again. Besides, there would be no marrying again for me anyway. I look at myself in the mirror — mid to late 50s, half-bald, pot belly, etc etc. What woman would want me even if I was free to marry her?

I was an only child, so I have no close family to speak of. We are Catholics. My faith is just about the only thing that keeps me going through all this, but it’s thin. My wife refuses to see a marriage counselor. I made the first steps to getting an appointment to talk to our priest, but I gave up because that was hopeless. I feel bad for our priest. He’s managing a big suburban parish all on his own. It would have taken forever to get an appointment, and there was no way he was going to be able to give us the time it would take to save our marriage, especially given that my wife doesn’t want to save it. Besides, there is nothing I’ve ever heard our priest say that tells me he is a man who could help us. He talks like one of those life coaches our company used to bring in for team building exercises, a guy who gets all his ideas from Hallmark cards.

She still goes to mass with me, but just out of habit. When I stand there listening to Fr give his cheerful but empty homilies, I think about what’s keeping me from going home and blowing my brains out. I’m not going to do this because I’m scared of pain and I’m scared of going to Hell. Also, I don’t want to hurt the boys, and make them feel like they did something to cause it or give them something to be ashamed of. However, I think a lot about how little I have to live for anymore. I am not even sure that the boys think of me much, except as “Good Old Dad”…

Nobody can see it. I stand there in church, wearing my coat and tie, and people probably think I have it all together. We drive nice cars, we live in a nice house in a good neighborhood, etc, etc. I am grateful to have a good job that has allowed me to provide for my family. By all the world’s standards, I’m doing well. I have “white privilege”. 

What a joke. When I first started working in my home office, I would dress up in a coat, no tie, and dress pants to go to “work.” It felt right to hang on to that habit. Since my marriage fell apart, I notice that some days I don’t even get out of my pajamas. I sit there at my nice desk doing all my work on my laptop, and go right back to bed at the end of the day without even taking a shower. I know this is pathetic, and if the boys were still at home, I would know to keep up appearances. This is my life.

When the boys graduate and don’t have to depend on us, I guess that will mean Decision Time. I will probably move out, though to all rights we ought to sell the house. I remember the day we bought it, and talking with my wife about that big dining room, and how we looked forward to the kids coming home with their wives and children for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Oh, we sure had big plans for that dining room. We bought a house with a fireplace because we dreamed about sitting around it with the grandchildren. All that is over now, and not because I wanted it to be. I feel so powerless. Maybe I would stay here if either one of the boys moved back, but given the fields they have chosen, I don’t look for that to happen, and even if it did, we would just be keeping up appearances for their sake. Southern people are real good at that, as you know.

What prompted me to write to you is your writings about the loneliness crisis. I am not some white trash 22 y.o. living in a trailer somewhere, playing video games, and living off his Mama, but I am completely isolated in my life. My “video game” is Excel spreadsheets. The friends I had back in the happier days were all “couples friends” through my wife. When she said she didn’t want to be married to me, we stopped having people over, and stopped accepting invitations to other people’s houses. After a few years, those invitations stopped coming. I tried to keep up these friendships with the husbands, but it was awkward. I told a couple of the guys I was closest to about the mess in my marriage, and they seemed sympathetic, but there wasn’t a lot they could do. They all had kids, and their couples friends. Two or three times I went to their dinner parties by myself, but you talk about awkward! I was embarrassed by it all, and just quit going. I miss those guys, and I even miss their wives. We used to be happy all together.

If this is “white privilege”, screw it. I stopped by the shoe repair shop a couple of weeks ago, and there were some black guys my age sitting around talking and laughing with each other. I envied them. I probably make 10 or 15 times more than them, but they are probably rich in ways that I used to be before I went “bankrupt”. I would trade all this so-called “white privilege” for a happy marriage, a strong family, and good friends. Mother and Daddy didn’t have a lot of money, but at least they had that. They also had a small-town church where they felt at home. How can anybody feel at home in a big parish like mine? I was taught to be charitable, especially to the clergy, and I do feel bad for our priest, who is carrying a heavy load. But this ain’t church. I’ve gotten to the point where I sit there during mass and I wonder how many of those men in the pews are just like me: barely holding it together, wondering what the hell we’re living for, ignored by our wives, and starving for friendship. God feels so far away. I have never doubted His existence, but these days, He feels like the Pope — a nice man who lives far away and who doesn’t see us.

I know I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself. I guess I am. But damn it, I didn’t think things were going to work out like this. I did everything I was supposed to do, and it all fell to pieces anyway. I’m racking my brains trying to figure out how I can fix this, but my wife doesn’t want it to be fixed. She just wants out. I recognize that I am privileged economically and socially, but I’m here to tell you that if you were a working man who drove by my house, and saw me out front mowing our big lawn, you would think I had it made. In fact, you would be looking at a dead man, at a man who secretly hopes he falls over from a heart attack so he doesn’t have to keep carrying this weight of loneliness. At this point, my only purpose in life is to do what I have to do so my sons can have a good life or think they have a good life, until they get to my age and it falls to shit, and they end up doing just what their Good Old Dad is doing.

The thought just occurred to me as I’m writing this that the only real reason we will have to keep our household together after our sons graduate is if one of them can’t find a job, and has to live with us. That’s a sorry state to be in, knowing that the only thing that would keep you and your wife together is an unemployed grown-up child.

I appreciate the opportunity to get this off of my chest. I like reading your blog because even though it’s depressing sometimes, I feel like you talk about the real world, which is more than I get from my priest. I would just ask your readers to keep in mind that when they see people at church, in the store, and at other places, that those people might be suffering in ways that are not obvious. You think folks have it made, but they don’t. You see me getting out of my [luxury car brand] at church, with my wife, and we’re all dressed up and smiling, but from my very jaded perspective, we’re dead people who have no future. At least my wife has the girls from the office.

I’ve thought about asking my manager if I can come back to the office, but I know that’s not a solution. I’m the Great White Male, the source of all evil in the world. Given my run of luck, it would be about right for somebody to falsely accuse me of something, and end up taking away the last I have left from what started out as an American dream. I’d end up jobless and poor, and then the gun to the head might not seem so scary after all.

Sorry. Thanks for listening.

One thing we find particularly interesting about this “confession” is how little the man’s faith does for him. Fear of hell keeps him from suicide. That’s about all.

If he were not a believing Catholic, he might have developed some curiosity about the world he lives in. It has not occurred to him to go exploring in the infinite realm of the mind.

He was happier when his children lived with him. If he had grandchildren living near by he might be happy again. For a while, anyway. Until they grew up. But young men are not quick to marry now and raise a family.

Readers, your comments are needed.

What’s to be done with a traitor? 22

From the 1970s on, Western countries accepted millions of Muslim immigrants from the Third World.

The fact that their religion has been hostile to the West from its inception in the 7th. century was ignored by Western governments. (After all, “Nobody’s perfect,” as Osgood says to Daphne in Some Like It Hot when she finally reveals to him that she can’t marry him because she’s a man. Oh, those bad old days!)

Then what happened? Thousands of the immigrants went from the host countries which had recklessly – enthusiastically! – let them or their parents in and given them citizenship, to join a Muslim army formed in 1999 with the intention of actively pursuing the Islamic war against the West (among others of its perceived enemies).

The army bore various names but was most generally known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria with the acronym ISIS. It declared itself a “caliphate” in 2014. It terrorized, enslaved, tortured and murdered the victims it fell upon. Among the victims were Europeans and Americans, soldiers and civilians.

The men and women joined ISIS from Western countries in order to pursue that war, the men mostly to fight, the women mostly to keep house for the men and bear their children. The volunteers included indigenous Westerners who had converted to Islam.

Plainly they all committed treason.

Now that the Islamic army has been defeated and destroyed and the territory they had seized and occupied has been retaken, the traitors want to be let back into the countries they betrayed.

And the governments of those countries are uncertain whether to let them come back or not. And whether, if they do let them come back, to welcome them or to prosecute them. And what, if they prosecute them, a fitting punishment for their treason might be.

Claudia Rosett writes at PJMedia about the case of a traitor wanting to return to the US:

What are we to make of the ISIS bride who now wants to return to America? Hoda Muthana left her home in Alabama in 2014 to join the terrorist “caliphate” of ISIS in Syria. Now, reportedly thrice-married to ISIS terrorists, twice-widowed, and recently arrived with her 18-month-old son at a Kurdish-run refugee camp in northern Syria, she says she “deeply regrets” joining ISIS, and wants to come back to the United States.

How this plays out under U.S. law is likely to be decided by the legal wranglers in court, based on technicalities of dates and documents. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called her a terrorist, described her as having inflicted “enormous risk” on Americans, and released a statement that she is not a U.S. citizen and does not have any legal basis to travel to the United States. President Trump has tweeted that he has instructed Pompeo “not to allow Hoda Muthana back into the Country!” Hoda’s father, Ahmed Ali Muthana, a naturalized U.S. citizen, is now suing Trump, Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr to have Hoda and her son “declared to be U.S. citizens and returned to the United States”, which, according to the complaint, is what she wants, even if that could mean facing criminal prosecution.

The issue of Hoda’s citizenship — and whether she might be legally entitled to reenter the country — apparently turns on the timeline of her father’s diplomatic status at Yemen’s Mission to the United Nations in New York, where he served as a Yemeni diplomat in the early 1990s, before becoming a naturalized U.S. citizen. Hoda was born in New Jersey, in October 1994. The U.S. does not consider children born to foreign diplomats in the U.S. as entitled to American citizenship; but if her father’s diplomatic status was terminated before she was born, then she would have been a U.S. citizen from birth. By her father’s account, he lost his diplomatic status shortly before she was born, ergo she’s a citizen. The State Department said otherwise, in a letter dated Jan. 15, 2016, sent to Hoda at her family’s Alabama address, more than a year after she’d gone to join ISIS in Syria. According to State, U.S. authorities were not officially notified of the termination of her father’s diplomatic status until February 1995, some four months after Hoda was born, ergo she was not born a U.S. citizen, has never been one, and should never have been issued a U.S. passport. It could take a while before we see a court ruling one way or the other.

But there’s another timeline that ought to matter here. Not for legal purposes, but in the broader context of how Hoda Muthana’s story is now playing to the American public. What about the timeline of high-profile ISIS atrocities — the context in which she made her choices?

In the media coverage of this case, all that bloody record of deliberately inflicted human agony seems to have faded into some remote and misty past, summarized in maybe a sentence or two — or symbolized on the TV news by short video clips of ISIS fighters waving black flags and shooting guns, with no obvious target. As far as I’m aware, no media outlet has so far juxtaposed an interview of Hoda Muthana with such signature ISIS footage as videos of American hostages, on their knees, about to be beheaded by ISIS; or that young Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage.

Instead, we’re invited to focus our attention and sympathies on a young woman in a headscarf, holding her infant son or pushing him in a stroller around a refugee camp, telling her assorted media interlocutors that in joining ISIS she made a “big mistake.” This past week she told ABC News that she regrets joining ISIS, and she hopes Americans will “excuse me because of how young and ignorant I was”.

Was it really nothing but youth and ignorance? Hoda was 20 when she went to Syria to join ISIS — older than many of the victims whose sufferings ISIS was gloating over at the time. She’s now 24, and only now, with ISIS stripped of its caliphate — thanks to others, including members of the American military who risked or gave their lives to fight the terrorists she joined — is she publicly disavowing ISIS. And though in her recent interviews she’s been expressing plenty of regret about the misfortunes ISIS brought to her own life, she’s said almost nothing about what ISIS did, while she urged and cheered it on, to thousands upon thousands who had no choice at all. They are not on camera in these interviews. Many of them are dead.

Nor has the news coverage of Hoda Muthana done much to remind us, at least not in compelling detail, of the savagery, on a staggering scale, with which ISIS butchered, shot, raped, enslaved, blew up, burned alive, drowned, dragged to death, ran down, starved, oppressed, and abused its designated victims in Syria, Iraq, Europe, America, and beyond. In most of the recent coverage of what Hoda now wants, the record of what ISIS dished out has been dealt with in a sentence or two. The rest has been all about the quandaries of Hoda and her family. On Feb. 22, for instance, the Washington Post ran a lengthy article about the “complex questions” raised by the case of this “ISIS bride”, her citizenship and her father’s lawsuit, without making a single mention of the atrocities of ISIS or the zeal with which she joined up. The headline implied that the real villains are Trump and Pompeo: “Rule by tyranny: American-born woman who joined ISIS must be allowed to return, the lawsuit says.” No doubt there are important legal issues in play, but that’s hardly the entire story.

So, in the interest of seeing the fuller picture, let’s take a look at the timeline on which ISIS and Hoda Muthana converged.

Hoda’s interest in ISIS began in November 2013, a year before she left Alabama for Syria, according to an interview she gave online to BuzzFeed in April 2015, from what was then her new home in Raqqa, Syria, via a messaging app called Kik. During the year in which she was preparing to travel to Syria, ISIS was on the rise, and its character was plain to see. It was so grotesque, so sadistic, so sickening, so bloodthirsty that it was all over the headlines and the internet — which is how she was communicating with ISIS.

A full roster of ISIS atrocities would take volumes. So, what follows here is not remotely comprehensive. You can find a longer list in this timeline, which if you print it out would run to 47 pages, though it is also just a partial summing up. The ISIS activities noted below, each of them monstrous, are a small fraction of the horrors that loomed high in the U.S. headlines just before and during the time Hoda hooked up with the group. In some cases, the final casualty numbers vary slightly from the estimates in stories at the time — but not by much. Notes on Hoda are in italics. Information sourced to court documents filed under her father’s lawsuit is marked with an asterisk.

2014

For most of this year, Hoda was still in Alabama, using pseudonyms to communicate with and about ISIS on social media. If she was aware of ISIS atrocities before she left the U.S. — and it’s hard to believe she knew nothing about them — they did not deter her from going to Syria to join ISIS.

February — From Alabama, Hoda Muthana renews the U.S. passport initially issued for her at her father’s behest in 2005.*

May — ISIS displays crucified bodies in Raqqa, Syria. Here’s CNN coverage from the time, with a warning about the graphic photos.

June — ISIS declares its “caliphate” with Raqqa as its capital.

August — ISIS releases video of captured American journalist James Foley, on his knees in an orange jumpsuit, and beheads him on camera.

ISIS launches a genocidal attack on the Yazidis in Iraq, besieging tens of thousands of men, women, and children who have fled to the upper reaches of Mount Sinjar, denying them access to food and water in temperatures rising above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The horrors go on and on, sickening to read about. Hundreds of Yazidis die on Mount Sinjar before the siege is broken. ISIS captures thousands of Yazidis, separates families, kills the men and older boys who refuse to convert to Islam, and enslaves the women and girls, starving and raping them, setting up a slave market in Raqqa where Yazidi girls as young as five are sold at auction.

September — ISIS releases video of the beheading of American-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff.

ISIS releases video of the beheading of British aid worker, David Haines.

October — ISIS releases video of the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning.

November — Hoda Muthana tells her parents she is leaving on a school trip, and uses her university tuition money to buy a ticket to Turkey and travel onward to Raqqa, Syria.

December — From Syria, Hoda tweets a photo of American, British, and Canadian passports, with the comment “Bonfire soon, no need for these anymore. alhamdulillah.” She marries an Australian ISIS jihadi, who is killed a few months later. While in Syria, she will go on to marry a second ISIS jihadi, bear him a son in 2017, and when that second husband is killed, marry a third ISIS jihadi, whose whereabouts she now says she does not know.

2015

January — ISIS releases a video of the beheading of a Japanese journalist, Kenji Goto.

In Paris, terrorists linked to ISIS carry out synchronized slaughter at the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket, killing 17.

February — ISIS releases a video of a captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh, drenched in gasoline, screaming in agony as he is burned alive in a cage.

March — Hoda posts on Twitter about the death of her first ISIS husband, an Australian, Suhan Rahman, who’d traveled to Syria from Melbourne, and two months earlier had made news in Australia for posting pictures of himself posing with an AK-47, praising the terrorist attacks in Paris, and urging in a social media post: “Let the heads fly and the blood flow.”  As Hoda confirms the following month in her online interview with BuzzFeed, she posts on Twitter a photo of her husband’s dead and bloodied body, and eulogizes him with a tweet: “May Allah accept my husband, Abu Jihad al Australi. Promised Allah and fought in the front lines until he attained shahadah [martyrdom].”

 Hoda also tweets from Syria: “Americans wake up! … You have much to do while you live under our greatest enemy, enough of your sleeping! Go on drive-bys and spill all of their blood, or rent a big truck and drive all over them. Veterans, Patriot, Memorial etc Day parades. Kill them.”

April — From Syria, Hoda gives an online interview to BuzzFeed, via a messaging app, in which she writes that “Nothing is forced here.” She describes herself as “content”, says ,”I wanted to marry under an Islamic state rather than the West,” and writes that when she asked her father, a month after her departure, to send her $2,500 to come home, she was not telling the truth: “It was just a test,” she wrote; “It would never cross my mind to come back.”

August — ISIS captures the city of Palmyra, in Syria, demolishes magnificent ancient ruins, carries out mass executions, and tortures the city’s 81-year-old chief archeologist, Khaled al-Asaad, reportedly demanding that he tell them where to find valuable antiquities, which he reportedly refuses to do. ISIS beheads him in a public square and hangs his torso from a lamp post, placing his severed head beneath it.

November — In Paris, during three hours of terror, ISIS gunmen and suicide bombers kill 130 people, shooting and bombing in cafes and on the streets, and massacring scores of concert-goers in the Bataclan Theater.

December — In San Bernardino, California, a husband-wife team of ISIS acolytes guns down 14 of his co-workers at an office Christmas party.

2016

March — In Brussels, ISIS terrorists, using bombs packed with nails, attack the airport and a metro station, killing 32 people and injuring more than 200.

June — In Orlando, Florida, shortly after ISIS calls on followers around the world to deliver “a month of calamity for the non-believers”, an ISIS acolyte shoots to death 49 people at the Pulse nightclub.

July — In the French city of Nice, a terrorist claimed by ISIS drives a 19-ton truck through a holiday crowd, killing 86 and wounding more than 400.

December — In the German city of Bonn, a Tunisian terrorist who has pledged loyalty to ISIS hijacks a heavy truck, killing its driver, and runs down holiday-makers at a Christmas market, killing 11 and wounding 55.

2017

March — In London, a terrorist claimed by ISIS kills three and injures dozens, using a car to run down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbing to death an unarmed police officer.

May — In Manchester, England, a suicide bomber claimed by ISIS detonates his bomb at an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 innocents, including children.

On May 19, in Syria, Hoda Muthana gives birth to a son [referred to in the lawsuit brought by her father as “Minor John Doe”].* 

June — In London, three terrorists claimed by ISIS drive a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then go on a stabbing rampage, killing six and wounding more than 30.

October — In the deadliest terror attack on New York City since Sept. 11, 2001, an ISIS-inspired terrorist uses a rented tuck to mow down people on a crowded Manhattan bicycle path, killing eight.

2018

December — ISIS has lost almost all the territory it seized a few years earlier. The group remains a vicious threat, but the Caliphate is kaput.

 Hoda leaves the severely dwindling patch of ISIS-controlled turf and turns herself over to Kurdish forces, who transfer her to the refugee camp where she is now living.

2019

And that brings us to the present, in which, from the refugee camp in Syria, Hoda has been giving interviews to the media. She now professes regret over joining ISIS, and declares her desire to go back to America — where, she now suggests, she might make amends by, variously, potentially facing prosecution, entering therapy, and counseling others. In the U.S., her father, with legal representation by Hassan Shibly, chief executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Florida (CAIR Florida), and lawyers of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America, has been seeking ways to legally send Hoda money and bring her with her son to the United States.

Hoda and her father’s CAIR Florida attorney now say that in Syria her Twitter account was taken over by others. OK, a lot can happen during four years with ISIS, but, if true, was her social media hijacked before or after such activity as the March 2015 tweet she apparently confirmed to BuzzFeed as her own, urging that American veterans and patriots be bloodied, crushed, and killed with trucks?

We can expect to see and hear a lot more from Hoda and her father’s attorneys, and ever less about the barbarisms of ISIS touched on in the timeline above — tempting to want to forget, but in sizing up this ISIS bride, important to remember.

What is to be done with Hoda Muthana?

In the interest of diversity and inclusion, will we welcome her back into the US? Give her a free university education? And some hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars to compensate her for the hardship she has endured? (That’s what they’ve done for returning traitors in Canada.) A tax-payer funded house? (That’s been proposed for returning traitors in Britain.)

Will it be only fair if the New York Times appoints her editor of its op-ed page? Or if CNN employs her to explain to its viewers at airports that hijacking planes for Islam is what American travelers deserve? Or if ABC gives her a permanent seat with the pundits of The View?

What does she deserve?

Antifa: the fascist insurrection 4

Antifa is a revolutionary Marxist/anarchist militia movement that seeks to bring down the United States by means of violence and intimidation.

Those are the opening words of a new booklet, Antifa: A Growing Fascist Threat, published by The David Horowitz Freedom Center. Most of the content can be found online at Discover the Networks. All our quotations in this post come from that source.

Because Antifa is a movement with no centralized leadership, its constituents typically group themselves into autonomous local cells. Some of these cells meet only sporadically to strategize and plan future activities, while others meet as frequently as several times each week. Antifa activists communicate and recruit mostly through social media, using Facebook as their principal forum for organizing protests.

The movement is in alliance with – or swelled by – a dozen or so groups which similarly characterize themselves as “anti-fascist”.

By “fascist” they mean any person, organization, business, creed, movement, system, faction, party, institution that they don’t like because, they allege, he, she, it and/or they are “white supremacists” like the Nazis and the KKK.

They would have it believed that their motivation is idealist, utopian, selfless, supremely moral. They claim to be champions of “the oppressed” whom they identify primarily as “the poor, the black, and the brown”. (Video footage of Antifa riots indicate that the majority of its members are white. Some of their associated groups are predominantly or exclusively black. One such is the Black Panthers.) The oppression, they say, takes the form of “capitalism”, “materialism”, “colonialism”, “imperialism”, “racism”, “sexism”. Of these crimes they accuse all conservatives, Republicans, property-owners, bankers, retailers, patriots, the police, the military, and above all President Trump and the United States. One of their slogans, shouted at a rally in Berkeley, California, in August 2017, was: “No Trump, No Wall, No USA at All!”

The authors of the Antifa booklet declare, with reason, that the motivation is also “base criminal desires, and thrill seeking”.

Their protests against oppression take the form of violent attacks and rioting in the streets, parks, and public square. They attack people marked as their enemies with brass knuckles, poles, chains, clubs, rocks, knives, pepper spray, Molotov cocktails, smoke bombs, bottles of urine, and guns; and the property of their enemies with clubs, rocks, “chunks of pavement”, and fire. They have not yet killed anyone, but many of their victims have needed to be hospitalized. They know they are breaking the law, and that they can get away with it.

When Antifa activists participate in street demonstrations, they often employ a tactic known as “black bloc”, whereby they dress entirely in black and cover their faces with black masks or scarves, so as to make it nearly impossible for victims, witnesses, or law-enforcement personnel to identify any particular individual who has committed an act of vandalism, arson, theft, or assault. As the Antifa website CrimethInc.com explains, “When everyone in a group looks the same, it is difficult for the police or others to tell who did what.” Longtime Antifa activist Scott Crow confirms that the masks allows the activists to “become anonymous”, and thus “able to move more freely and do what we need to do, whether it is illegal or not.”

Who funds the insurgent rioters? Are they motivated at all by expectation of being paid?

One organization that can be definitively identified as a funder of the Antifa movement is the Alliance For Global Justice (AfGJ), which was founded in 1998 by members of the Nicaragua Network, an organization that had been created nineteen years earlier to support the Marxist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. AfGJ serves as the fiscal sponsor of Refuse Fascism, a constituent organization of the Antifa movement.

Describing itself as an “anti-capitalist”, “anti-imperialist”, “people’s think tank” whose activities include “a whole lot of organizing”, AfGJ seeks to train young activists to build a “unified grassroots movement” capable of creating “a socially, ecologically and economically just world” that offers “alternatives” to the “domination of governments, global financial institutions, and multinational corporations which denigrate the world’s peoples and devastate ecosystems”.

In its ongoing “struggle for liberation from Empire,” AfGJ denounces “neoliberal economics”, “corporate globalization”, and “privatization”, contending that “a just society is oriented toward meeting the needs … of its own people, not toward creating vast inequality and mega-profits for those at the top at the expense of the many”. To combat “the concentration of wealth and power [that] is the root cause of oppression,” says AfGJ, there must be a “fundamental change in international and national conditions that disempower people, create [economic and political] disparities, poison the earth, and plunder its resources”. By AfGJ’s reckoning, it is government’s duty to satisfy “the right of people to shelter, sufficient food, medical care, education, employment, [and] leisure”, and to dismantle societal “structures that distribute wealth in ways that deny anyone those basic rights”. 

And who funds AfGJ?

AfGJ over the years has received funding from a number of left-wing philanthropies, including George Soros‘s Open Society Foundations, the Tides Foundation …

… which is also one of George Soros’s organizations. He is the would-be paymaster of universal chaos.

Among the other “left-wing philanthropies” on the list are the Bank of America Charitable Foundation and the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund.

The Bank of America’s charitable arm supports an anti-capitalist movement? 

Apparently, yes. 

There are mayors of cities where Antifa riots have done harm to people and property, and certain police chiefs, who – perhaps out of sympathy with the insurrectionists – have looked on and let them do their vicious damage. This happened at Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, and at Berkeley on August 27, 2017.

The mainstream media do not want to criticize Antifa.

Over the course of several months in 2017, conservative political commentator/comedian Steven Crowder’s cohort, “Not Gay Jared”, infiltrated an Antifa group and shot a large amount of video while undercover, resulting in a goldmine of damning evidence showing that Antifa is an unwavering supporter of violence. … Local police in Utah were in on Crowder’s infiltration of Antifa, and Jared happily gave them all the footage that he captured as evidence. Crowder then tried to hand over his undercover exposé to members of the local and national media, including ABC News’s Nightline, and they all turned down his offer. “We were delivering a story to local and national news on a silver platter, which included infiltration, violence, and exposing the roots of a national domestic terrorist organization and no one even wanted to give it a glimpse?” Crowder said incredulously.  

And the worst is yet to come.

There is clearly overwhelming evidence that there are growing ties between U.S. radicals and the Islamic State [ISIS], as well as several [ISIS] offshoots and splinter groups.

Ties between three key leaders of the Oakland [anarchist] group met in Hamburg with a leader of the AQAP [Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula] and the AQIM [Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb] … The leader from AQAP is an Egyptian-born male who is known to be in charge of finances and recruiting for the group. There is evidence from informants that he is helping the Oakland group acquire the weapons they are seeking, primarily bomb making equipment and toxic chemicals and gasses. 

One of the men from Oakland traveled to Syria to meet with ISIS; the purpose was for training in tactics, but was thought to be primarily a bonding visit to discuss possible massive disruptive attacks in the U.S. While in Hamburg, several of the Oakland-based criminals were photographed throwing Molotov cocktails and wielding iron bars, which have been their weapons of choice, though they are almost certainly on the verge of upping the caliber of their weaponry for use in the U.S. Despite having their faces covered by masks, they were positively identified…. Making some sort of common cause with Americans who are determined to commit violence against the U.S. makes them potentially very useful to radical Islam. 

The authors of the Discover the Networks booklet on Antifa rightly conclude:

In the final analysis, it can accurately be said that the Antifa communists and anarchists who so passionately denounce fascism, are quite literally fascists themselves.

Most importantly, they are terrorist traitors intent on starting a bloody revolution. 

The gains of Helsinki 1

What actually was discussed by the presidents of the US and Russia at Helsinki on July 16, 2018?

Was anything achieved, anything agreed between them that will have an effect in reality?

Were the leaders of these two powers, who together have more than 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons under their control, able to find common cause in at least some troubled areas where their militaries are or might be engaged?

Angelo Codevilla writes at American Greatness:

The high professional quality of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s performance at their Monday press conference in Helsinki contrasts sharply with the obloquy by which the bipartisan US ruling class showcases its willful incompetence. …

Having taught diplomacy for many years, I would choose the Trump-Putin press conference as an exemplar of how these things should be done. Both spoke with the frankness and specificity of serious business. This performance rates an A+.

Both presidents started with the basic truth.

Putin: The Cold War is ancient history. Nobody in Russia (putting himself in this category) wants that kind of enmity again. It is best for Russia, for America, and for everybody else if the two find areas of agreement or forbearance.  

Trump: Relations between the globe’s major nuclear powers have never [since the Cold War? – ed] been this bad — especially since some Americans are exacerbating existing international differences for domestic partisan gain. For the sake of peace and adjustment of differences where those exist and adjustment is possible, Trump is willing to pay a political cost to improve those relations (if, indeed further enraging his enemies is a cost rather than a benefit).

In short, this was a classic statement of diplomatic positions and a drawing of spheres of influence.

As Putin listed his agenda, he showed that today’s Russia is a status quo power, whose primary objective is stability. Having come to power over a country diminished and dispirited, he sought to recover as much as possible of what Russia had lost in the Soviet break-up. He forcibly took back parts of Georgia and Ukraine. In doing so, he pushed against open doors.

Today, no other doors are open. Now being ahead, he wants to stop the game. He knows that this is possible because nobody is going to wage or even risk war against Russia to try disgorging Abkhazia and Crimea. He wants Trump to acknowledge that. Warning against extending NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, he signaled that all else is negotiable.

He also has rebuilt Russia’s military and wants to protect its edge by persuading Trump to keep US missile defense in its current dysfunctional mode. This is an inflexible demand that deserves an equally inflexible rejection. Trump had already delivered it by ordering the establishment of the US Space Force.

By securing his naval and air bases in Syria, Putin succeeded in returning Russia to warm-water sea power. That required backing the Shia side in its intra-Muslim war against the Sunni in Syria, while the United States backed the other side. Today Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Turkey are much as Putin wants them. He wants Trump’s acknowledgment of this statusRussia continues to argue to Americans that both countries have suffered far more from Sunni terrorism — ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood — than from the Shia version.

The two made clear that their commitment to stability in the Middle East outweighs support for either side, and signaled wider cooperation, especially on military matters.

Trump, leaving no doubt that America’s commitment to Israel’s security is absolute, faced Putin with the choice of partnering with America in restraining Iran or of being drawn into an Israeli-American war against an Iran with whose forces Russia’s are interwoven. Putin, for his part, seemed to concur with Trump’s priority. That along with tripartite security consultations with Israel is likely to cool Iran and Hezbollah’s ardor for war.

Trump signaled that America’s interest in Eastern Europe lies in re-establishing peace there, and in safeguarding the independence of its states. Poland and the Baltic States are not just NATO members, but also close to the American people’s hearts. By stressing peace, he made clear that America does not intend to make its defensive commitments there the occasion for a war at or beyond the extreme reach of American power.

Though Russia has backed North Korea in the past, Putin signaled that he is not happy with its acquisition of a modern nuclear force that is effectively China’s pawn. He seemed to promise pressure on North Korea to denuclearize — something that would displease China. Though that was a minor part of both sides’ press conference, it may well signal both sides’ recognition of their mutual interest in not letting China become the Western Pacific’s overlord. Such an understanding would be no minor achievement.

The American ruling class’s attribution of the 2016 election to Trump-Putin collusion, which has characterized US-Russia relations for two years, provided the press conference’s fireworks. Both denied any such thing and insisted there was no evidence of it. In response to a question about whether Putin would make available the 12 Russian state intelligence employees indicted for interference in that election to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Putin pointed to the existence of a treaty of cooperation on criminal matters and promised Mueller that access to the accused through the treaty.

This led to the final flourish. The Associated Press reporter demanded that Trump state whether he believes the opinions of US intelligence leaders or those of Putin. It would be healthy for America were it to digest Trump’s answer: The truth about the charge that Russia stole the contents of the Democratic National Committee’s computer server is not to be found in the opinions of any persons whatever. The truth can be discovered only by examining the server in question—assuming it has not been tampered with since the alleged event. But, said Trump emphatically, those making the accusations against Russia have refused to let the server be examined by US intelligence or by any independent experts. What is the point of accusations coupled with refusal of access to the facts of the matter?

The classic texts of diplomatic practice teach that diplomacy advances the cause of peace and order only to the extent that its practitioners avoid contentious opinions and stick to demonstrable facts.

The AP reporter, who should be ashamed, is beyond shame. Then again, so are the ruling class representatives who have redoubled their animus against Trump. Cheap partisanship is not all that harmful. It is the transfer of domestic partisan animus to international affairs, however, that has the potential to start wars. …

What that ignorant “journalist” was demanding of Trump — precisely what the credentialed experts should know better than to have demanded — was that the president of the United States scream at the president of Russia for all his evils. Competitive “virtue signaling” has become the way of political life in America. To the extent that it bleeds into America’s foreign policy, we are all in big trouble.

It did not, and will not, “bleed into America’s foreign policy” through President Trump. Though his style of negotiating is to be frank and straightforward, he knows, through long experience, how to maintain an atmosphere of amicable goodwill which makes agreement easy where it is possible.

Contrast this meeting with the silly performance that a giggling US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, put on with her failed “Reset” act when she met the Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on March 6, 2009, in Geneva; a farce which simply signaled to the Russians that Obama’s America was a push-over.

From the Obama-Clinton “reset’, Russia made all the gains. The US agreed to reduce its nuclear arsenal by a third (which Vice-President Biden hailed as a victory for the US!). Obama broke a US promise to Poland and the Czech Republic to provide them with missile defense systems and radar stations because the Russians were furious at the very idea. The Russians proceeded to destabilize Ukraine, shoot down a civil aircraft in Ukrainian airspace – and annex the Crimea. Though Obama drew a “red line” against the Syrian dictator, Bashar Assad, using chemical weapons against his own people, he did nothing about it when Assad crossed the line by gassing the population of Ghouta, an area in southwest Syria, in August 2013. In the following month, the egregious John Kerry, successor to Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, claimed to have reached  an agreement with the Russians whereby they would reign Assad in, to prevent such a horror being perpetrated again. Russia, he was confident, would oversee the destruction of Assad’s arsenal of sarin and mustard gas and the facilities for their manufacture. Needless to say, Russia did no such thing.

True, we have yet to see the long-term results of any understanding reached by the two presidents at Helsinki. But of this this we can be sure: Vladimir Putin will have understood that Donald Trump is not a man to be trifled with.

President Trump’s success at Helsinki 1

Can the meeting in Helsinki of the presidents of the US and Russia be reckoned a success for President Trump?

Joel B. Pollak thinks it can. He writes at Breitbart:

President Donald Trump scored a diplomatic win on Monday at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

The media, the Democrats, and the Never Trump contingent declared immediately that Trump had failed. But they were bitterly prejudiced against the meeting from the start, to the point where many insisted that Trump cancel it.

To them, looking at the summit through the lens of “collusion”, the summit could only be the ultimate payoff for Putin’s election meddling in 2016. But viewed through the lens of diplomacy, the summit was a milestone in US-Russia relations.

Judging from their remarks at the press conference that followed, the two leaders touched on every major important area of foreign policy: Syria, where the U.S. wants Russia to keep Iran at bay; North Korea, where the U.S. wants Russia to help it pressure the Kim regime to denuclearize; Iran, where the U.S. is attempting to re-organize international pressure; and Ukraine, where the U.S. wants Russia to de-escalate.

President Trump, as promised, challenged Putin on the subject of Russian interference in U.S. elections. It was Putin, not Trump, who pointed that out [at the press conference] — adding: “I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including election process.”

A lie, of course. Putin is a liar and a murderer – a KGB crocodile with a deceptive smile. Still, the interference was trivial, no doubt routine, and accomplished nothing. And as Putin is the ruler of Russia, President Trump is right to try to establish person-to-crocodile relations with him.

Putin also volunteered the information that Trump had insisted the Russian annexation of Crimea was “illegal”. So much for appeasement.

Trump was also aggressive on the topic of Europe. Having just come from the NATO summit, where he berated Germany over buying gas from Russia while relying on America’s protection, Trump announced that the U.S. would compete with Russia to sell gas to Europe.

That is a major challenge of geopolitical significance, a sign the U.S. is going to use its technological edge in oil and gas production to boost Europe’s economic independence from Russia. All Russia has, Trump noted, is the advantage of location.

At the press conference, the Russian journalists — who do not enjoy press freedom — asked questions relevant to foreign policy. The American journalists – who are theoretically free to think freely – devoted nearly every single question to allegations relating to phony charges of Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign, including the latest developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Their concerns had little to do with US-Russia relations and everything to do with domestic US politics.

Trump’s critics are seizing on a single phrase: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

He never “attacked” US intelligence agencies, nor did he explicitly take one side over the other. He said that he trusted Putin — as he should have done, if his goal was to improve relations. He added that “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia who carried out the hacking, nudging Russia toward a less adversarial posture.

Trump-haters are also pretending that Trump somehow elevated Putin by granting him a one-on-one meeting. Putin does not need the U.S. to make him more important. He has a massive nuclear arsenal. He just handed out the trophies at the FIFA World Cup. He has military bases in strategic points in key conflict zones.

The question is not whether Trump should have met Putin but rather why they had not met sooner, given the fact that certain US interests in 2018 cannot be achieved without cooperating with Russia.

It is worth noting that in meeting with Putin, Trump was honoring an explicit campaign promise. At a Republican primary debate in 2015, Trump said of Putin: “I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe–and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.” Whatever the merits of that approach, the fact that Trump kept his word increases his credibility, at home and abroad.

Conservative critics — including myself — suggested at the time that Trump’s approach would fail, for the same reasons Obama’s “reset” had failed: namely, that the two countries have several divergent interests and values that transcend any particular pair of leaders.

But Trump has built an advantage that Obama never enjoyed by showing Putin that he is prepared to use the U.S. military to back American interests. That caught Putin’s attention and showed him he has at least some interest in cooperating, for now.

The meeting was also noteworthy for what was not said. Putin complained about the US pulling out of the Iran deal, but he was quiet about reports that the U.S. had killed hundreds of Russian military contractors in Syria (without losing a single American). Putin also said nothing about US airstrikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

He dared not complain. That is because, far from being weak, Trump has been tougher than his predecessors toward Russia, letting his actions speak louder than his words.

The ultimate test of the Helsinki summit lies in the future. The Soviet Union was thought to have “won” the historic conference in Helsinki in 1975, until the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords helped bring down communism.

What is clear already is that Trump advocated for American interests without conceding anything to Putin other than his dignity. Trump’s critics, who are reduced to worrying that a soccer ball [gifted to him by Putin] could be used to spy on the U.S., are hysterical precisely because they know he succeeded.

We too think the meeting was a success for President Trump. And yes, the test lies in the future.

Russia’s future does not look rosy.

Its economy is precarious. Its main export commodity is oil. Competition with America selling fossil fuels to Europe would be a serious blow to it.

As the Financial Times reported on February 27, 2018 [links to the FT do not work for non-subscribers]:

The lack of investment shows everywhere: low levels of industrial automation paired with a rapidly ageing and shrinking workforce; weak infrastructure; increasing bureaucracy; and corruption are driving production and transaction costs up, hampering attempts to compete with other emerging markets.

And the Russians themselves are dwindling away. Though Russia’s fertility rate has risen from 1.25 in 2000 (a rate which, if sustained, would halve the population with each generation) to 1.6 in 2018, it is still shrinking. Hence the “rapidly ageing and shrinking workforce” that the Financial Times mentions in passing.

However, the Democrats and their media shills cannot bear the idea that the summit was another success for President Trump.

John Brennan, one of the most evil players, erstwhile director of the CIA, goes so far as to say that the president’s meeting with Putin amounts to treason. That such a man makes such an accusation is deeply ironic.

George Neumayr explains at The American Spectator:

John Brennan’s anti-Trump tweets grow more and more maniacal. His latest tweet holds that Donald Trump’s Russian diplomacy in Helsinki “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.”

That tells people all they need to know about the unseriousness of the left’s impeachment drive, not to mention exposing once again the demented malice behind the Obama administration’s spying on the Trump campaign.

The unhinged criticism is also hilariously rich, given that John Brennan, who supported the Soviet-controlled American Communist Party, meets the textbook definition of a useful idiot for the Russians. At the height of the Cold War, he was rooting for the Reds, casting his vote in 1976 for Gus Hall, the American Communist Party’s presidential candidate. If anyone is adept at serving as a dupe for the Russians, it is John Brennan. …

Anybody familiar with Brennan’s past, which includes not only supporting the evil empire of the Soviets but also the evil empire of radical Islam (his time as Obama’s CIA director was marked by apologetics for the thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood, ludicrous attempts to sanitize the concept of jihad, and nonstop whitewashing of the problem of Islamic terrorism), can only laugh at his anti-Trump antics.

That the media gives this fulminating fool and fraud a platform is a measure of its own lack of seriousness and absurdly sudden hawkishness.

The outrage about the Trump-Putin meeting is empty noise, generated by the America Last crowd to hurt an America First president. It won’t work. From Hillary to Pelosi to Brennan, they are the little lefties who cried wolf — after decades of feeding wolves. Their credibility is nil; their counsel is immature and reckless. …

Brennan isn’t just throwing stones from his glass house but boulders. He once said that he feared his support for Soviet stooge Gus Hall threatened his entrance into the CIA in 1980. This sounds like a wild satirical parody, but it isn’t: a dupe for the Soviet Union rises to the top of the CIA, uses his position to shill for Islamic radicals, eggs the FBI into spying on the Trump campaign, then leaves the CIA only to resume the radicalism of his youth, calling for civil disobedience and the overthrow of a duly elected president. Brennan’s only expertise on treachery comes from his own.

A report from Syria 83

Our British associate, Chauncey Tinker, proprietor of The Participator, has drawn our attention to this video.

OAN is a conservative news channel.

The reporter, Pearson Sharp, makes a strong case that the gas attack on Douma was staged for propaganda purposes. We had believed and said that there was a gas attack, so we post the video as self-correction. (Of course, we still cannot be sure whether or not there was a gas attack, and if there was, who launched it. Sharp’s interpreter may have deceived him, for instance; or the witnesses could have been lying.)

In any case, we are glad that the sites in Syria connected with the production of chemical and biological weapons have been bombed to rubble.

Since the Russians have acquired a firm foothold in Syria, and Iran too has a dangerous presence there, was the bombing politically and strategically justified?

Bruce Thornton writes, in part, at Front Page:

Given that our economy is inseparable from the global economy, we have no choice but to be concerned about the critical straits and canals through which global commerce travels, and the airports throughout the world through which people can reach our shores in less than a day. We also can’t ignore the numerous illiberal and autocratic regimes whose beliefs and values conflict with those of the West. The global market … needs a global sheriff so that this astonishing increase in technological innovation and wealth and their global distribution is free to continue. We may not have chosen this role, we may not like or want the job, but history so far has left the U.S. as the only great power with the military capacity for keeping order, and the political beliefs and principles that ensure we will not abuse that power to oppress others.

Yet that truth does not justify the one-world idealism that believes everybody on the planet wants to live like Westerners, or to embrace Western principles and goods like political freedom, tolerance of minorities, free speech, sex equality, secularist government, an open society, and the preference for discussion, negotiation, and treaties as the way to solve conflict rather than brute force. The great diversity of ways of life and beliefs means that transnational institutions, agreements, covenants, and U.N. Security Council resolutions will always in the end be instruments of diverse and conflicting national interests. They are honored as long as they serve those interests, but abused or subverted when they don’t, especially by the more powerful nations. …

The West’s military dominance in the 20th century ensured that other nations would bandwagon with the West and sign such international agreements, with the tacit proviso that they would violate them whenever necessary, even as they paid them lip-service. The history of the last century, which is littered with violated treaties and covenants, proves this obvious truth. …

Indeed, Syria offers a perfect example … of a superficial adherence to international covenants that facilitates violations of them. After Barack Obama issued his empty “red line” threat about Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Secretary of State John Kerry negotiated an empty “solution” to the problem by making Russia the authority overseeing the elimination of Assad’s stockpiles, even though it was and still is not in Russia’s geostrategic interests to disarm Assad. So we got a theatrical compliance that left Assad his weapons, and even worse, gave Russia a sanctioned entrée into the Syrian civil war. The pretense of adhering to international law gave cover to Russia’s strategic aims in the region, one of which was the continuation of Assad’s murderous regime. …

What could justify the raids against Syria? Deterrence is frequently invoked, but it obviously didn’t work last year after the President destroyed some of Assad’s jets. Over the past year, Assad has continued to use chemical weapons on civilians. Indeed, within hours of our latest attack Assad was using high explosives and barrel-bombs to slaughter people who are just as dead or mangled as the victims of his chemical attack. Further consequences may follow. Russia and Iran for now may be blustering to save face, but there still may be some retaliation that we will then have to answer. For once a nation goes down the road of deterring a bad actor by force, it has to continue indefinitely in order to maintain its prestige. It can’t announce publicly that it is a “one-off”.

Americans traditionally do not like constant war or military interventions, particularly “humanitarian” ones. We prefer to intervene when necessary, kill the bad guys, then come back home … Unfortunately, in today’s interconnected world, such conflicts are not as rare as we’d like. But we must make it clear that we will not intervene when necessary just to rush home as though the work is done, nor will we engage in conflicts and occupation of the defeated enemy in order to create liberal democracy.

Rather, we need a foreign policy similar to the “butcher and bolt” policy of the British Empire, or what Israel calls “mowing the grass”. This means when an adversary or enemy challenges our power and interests, or those of our close allies, we should use force to send a message, usually by destroying some of its military assets. We should not rationalize this action by appealing to international law, the U.N., or some fantastical common vales or principles of the mythic “international community.” We should make it clear that there is no time-certain for when we stop, rather that we will return whenever we judge it necessary. And we should do it on the principle that a sovereign nation has a right to defend itself as it sees fit, and owes accountability only to its citizens.

In the near future, bombing Syria will likely still be necessary, not just to deter Assad or change the regime into a liberal democracy, but to let all the players in the region know that the greatest military power in history is watching events in a region we deem vital to our interests, and that we will use force to remind them of our unprecedented ability to project devastating power across the globe. Such a policy will strengthen our prestige, and concentrate wonderfully the minds of our adversaries.

The only remaining question is, Will we the people of the United States be willing to pay the costs and accept the risks of such a policy?

Posted under Iran, Russia, Syria, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 83 comments.

Permalink

Missile strikes on Syria: punishment, prevention, and warning 4

“What did the missile strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons sites do for America?”

“Why should Americans expend blood and treasure for Syrians victimized by their own government?”

“America is not the world’s policeman.”

Such are the questions and protests that are coming from angry commentators, including many conservatives.

So was President Trump’s decision to act as he did right or wrong?

Claudia Rosett, for long a trusty reporter on the horror show called the United Nations, writes at PJ Media:

With air strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities, carried out jointly with Britain and France, America has done the right thing.

Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era. Tyrants such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and his patrons in Moscow and Tehran, have been served notice that it would be unwise to continue to assume that America will waffle, appease or simply retreat while they take upon themselves the shaping – to monstrous effect – of the 21st-century world order. This message is also likely to resonate in Beijing (which has reportedly been planning live-fire naval exercises next week in the Taiwan Strait) and Pyongyang (with its nuclear missile projects).

The immediate aim of the US-led air strikes was to end the chemical weapons attacks that Syria’s Assad regime has continued to inflict on its own people – despite Assad’s promises in 2013 to surrender his chemical weapons, and Russia’s promise to ensure Assad did so. On Friday, speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley charged that by U.S. estimates, “Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times” – some of these attacks within the past year, including the gas attack that killed dozens … in the Syrian city of Douma.

There’s room for debate about whether it is America’s responsibility, on humanitarian grounds, to stop such atrocities. But whatever your views on protecting children in a far-off land from the hideous effects of chemical weapons, there is a larger, strategic reason for trying to stop Assad. Syria, with its liberal use of chemical weapons, has been setting a horrific precedent – repeatedly violating the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Damascus acceded in 2013, and eroding the longstanding international taboo against chemical warfare. This is dangerous way beyond Syria. As Haley told the UN Security Council: “All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons.”

In theory, the United Nations was supposed to prevent this, ensuring in tandem with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that Assad would give up all his chemical weapons – with the specific oversight and guarantees of Russia, under a deal cut in 2013 by Obama and Putin. As I explained in an article earlier this week for The Hill, the UN has failed utterly, thanks to Putin’s cynical exploitation of the entire setup. Russia used the chemical weapons disarmament deal as a portal for its own military entry into Syria in support of Assad, and has since been using its veto on the UN Security Council, along with a torrent of Kremlin propaganda, to run diplomatic cover for Assad.

As many conservative commentators pointed out at the time, it was stupid (if not collusional) of Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry to hand over the responsibility for overseeing Syria’s WMD abandonment to Russia.

The upshot has been that if the US does not stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, then nobody will.

Neither Britain nor France would have done it without the US.

The US could have done it on its own. British and French participation in the missile attack was useful for President Trump, though not necessary for the success of the operation. The huge majority of the missiles were American – 88 of the 105. Nine were French and 8 were British.

Prime Minister May allowed British forces to strike Syria along with US forces because she “owed” President Trump for his supporting her, when she hit back at Russia for the poisoning of two Russian expats in Britain by expelling Putin’s diplomats and closing a consulate. She asked President Trump to do the same, and he did. She was able to give the order for the strike on Syria by the RAF without consulting parliament because the MPs were still absent on their Easter break. She seized the moment, and now there’s an outcry in the Commons – as well as the country – about it.

As for President Macron, he seems to be fascinated by President Trump, wanting to follow him and yet also to direct him. Macron claimed that he had “convinced” Trump that he should keep the US military engaged in Syria – and then he retracted the claim.

Last April, after Assad used sarin gas in an attack that killed almost 100 people, Trump ordered a strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase. Evidently, that was not enough to stop Assad’s chemical weapons spree.

At a Pentagon press briefing Friday evening held shortly after Trump’s public announcement of the strikes on Syria, Gen. Joseph Dunford listed three targets “struck and destroyed,” which he said were “specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.” The last two on his list were chemical weapons storage facilities, one of which included “an important command post”. On these, I don’t know anything beyond the generic descriptions Dunford gave at the briefing.

But the first target on Dunford’s list had a very familiar ring. He described it as “a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area”. He added: “This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.”

That sure sounds like the notorious Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, also known as the SSRC. In which case there can be no doubt that these air strikes were aimed at an incredibly high-value target, an outfit central to some of the worst depravities of Assad’s weapons programs, and – as it happens – a longtime client of North Korea and Iran. On the 99 percent probability that this was the research center to which Dunford referred, here’s some background:

For starters, I’d credit Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis with telling it exactly as it is, when he said at the same Pentagon press briefing Friday night, “We were very precise and proportionate. But at the same time, it was a heavy strike.”

The SSRC has been on the U.S. sanctions list for 13 years, first designated under the Bush administration in 2005, with periodic, horrifying updates under the Obama and Trump administrations, targeting its various fronts, procurement arms, officials and connections.

This is not just any old research center. According to the U.S. Treasury, it is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them”. …

On April 24, 2017, following Assad’s sarin gas attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the Trump administration blacklisted 271 employees of the SSRC, stating that these individuals “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons since at least 2012”.  In other words, during the same time frame in which Russia (and former secretary of State John Kerry) were assuring us that 100 percent of the chemical weapons were gone from Syria, the Syrian regime’s SSRC was prolifically busy plowing ahead with Assad’s chemical weapons program.

We also have it on good authority that during roughly that same interval, the SSRC was ordering up shipments from North Korea. According to the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions, in a report dated March 5, 2018, their investigations into weapons and dual-use shipments to Syria from North Korea turned up more than 40 shipments between 2012 and 2017 “by entities designated by Member States as front companies for the Scientific Studies Research Centre of the Syrian Arab Republic.” Among these shipments were items “with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs”.

If the SSRC was indeed struck and destroyed, the likely benefits are enormous. That would deprive Assad of one of the most diabolical laboratories of his evil regime, quite likely providing a big setback to his chemical weapons program, with the two-fer that it might also have zapped his bioweapons program.

It would also send a useful message to everyone from the SSRC’s suppliers, such as Iran and North Korea, to such predatory dictators as Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Destroying the SSRC with air strikes ought to drive home, in a way that no amount of UN debate and no quantity of sanctions designations ever could, that these days the U.S. and its allies are serious about their red lines. 

The SSRC was struck. According to the caption to this picture in The Independent, this rubble is what’s left of “part” of it.

About the mass destruction of populations 69

Moral clarity is needed on the question of whether the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad can be allowed to get away with using gas against the Syrian people in the civil war over which he presides year after year.

The answer is NO. He cannot be allowed to.

Gas was delivered on to the Syrian town of Douma from the air. No rebel faction has aircraft. It could only have been delivered by Assad, or his Russian allies at his behest.

There is no defense against chemical and biological weapons. They can be used against large numbers of civilians. That is why they are called “weapons of mass destruction”.

So yes, it is worse to kill off whole populations with gas or anthrax than to engage an army with conventional weapons.

If Assad or anyone else in a position to develop and deliver mass-murdering gas gets away with doing it, others will do it too, such as the mullahs of Iran, the despot of North Korea.

And if gas is re-introduced as a weapon of war, no one anywhere will be out of its reach.

Bad actors hesitate to use biological weapons – the spreading of diseases, such as anthrax – because the stuff can kill the attackers as easily as the attacked. Disease is wholly impartial and no respecter of persons. But gas, dropped from the air as it was over Douma, kills only those below, not those who drop it or send it. It is the cheapest weapon of mass destruction an immoral government with an air force can use.

Elliot Friedland writes at the Clarion Project:

[President] Trump was on the phone with the leaders of France and Britain, the only two other Western powers with serious force projection capabilities, although their militaries pale in comparison to that of the United States. …

The question is whether the United States and her allies will wage war on Syria.

Many pundits and politicians from both sides of the aisle feel the question has already been decided. Of course the President should act in the face of such immorality. America has a responsibility to lead, to not let tyrants commit atrocities with impunity. Despite the partisan rancor that normally characterizes Washington, there is remarkable unity around the idea that Trump ought to authorize at least some military action in Syria.

There are many good reasons to support such a position. Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro forcefully argued the case against Assad on Fox News, highlighting the vital importance of maintaining deterrence against chemical weapons attacks.

But opposition to the war is bringing a strange medley of personalities from across the political spectrum together.

Tucker Carlson, one of the most watched right-of-center talk show hosts on American television, delivered a blistering rebuke of the pro-war crowd on his show. He said that even if Assad did order a chemical weapons attack that killed children (which Carlson acknowledges he is perfectly capable of doing), to remove him would only bring further chaos at the expense of American lives and billions more dollars.

In this opinion, he is joined by none other than Jeremy Corbyn, leader of Britain’s Labour party, who called for restraint and a multilateral solution brought by the United Nations.

The iniquitous United Nations, that does much harm and no good! (It must be abolished.)

Corbyn has links to Islamist figures, has called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends” and is embroiled in an on-going anti-Semitism scandal. In the UK, Corbyn’s position was supported by none other than Nick Griffin, former leader of the far-right British National Party. Griffin tweeted that he would vote Labour and support Corbyn if he stopped U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

Left-wing journalist and self-described “anarcho-psychonaut” Caitlin Johnstone wrote in Medium “We All Need to Unite Against War in Syria Regardless of Ideology.” She cites Intercept founder Glenn Greenwald, who got famous breaking Edward Snowden’s Wikileaks as also being against the war.

Patriarcha, an ultraconservative Christian Facebook page even shared her article, calling it “compulsory reading”, despite that page’s longstanding visceral hatred for anything emanating from the left.

The prospect of war is uniting people who normally couldn’t stand to even be in the same room without screaming at each other. The conventional partisan alignments are breaking down in the face of the ever-changing political reality.

Fortunately, the person who will decide what to do is not Tucker Carlson, or Jeremy Corbyn, or Nick Griffin, or Caitlin Johnstone, or Glenn Greenwald, or some “ultraconservative Christian” …

Gas 5

Did the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, attack a town with lethal gas (in April 2018)?

President Trump says he did, so it has to be expected that the “Resistance” will deny it. Reuters and the New York Times, however, have both reported it as if, on the whole, they believe it. (See here and here.)

As  for foreign news channels, you cannot get more anti-Trump than the BBC, and they also say it happened – while casting doubt on the trustworthiness of the White Helmets organization which is one of the sources of the report.

At least 70 people have died in a suspected chemical attack in Douma, the last rebel-held town in Syria’s Eastern Ghouta, rescuers and medics say.

Volunteer rescue force the White Helmets tweeted graphic images showing several bodies in basements. It said the deaths were likely to rise.

There has been no independent verification of the reports.

Syria has called the allegations of a chemical attack a “fabrication” – as has its main ally, Russia.

The US state department said Russia – with its “unwavering support” for Syria’s government – “ultimately bears responsibility” for the alleged attacks.

What do we know about the attack?

Several medical, monitoring and activist groups reported details of a chemical attack.

“Seventy people suffocated to death and hundreds are still suffocating,” said Raed al-Saleh, head of the White Helmets. An earlier, now deleted tweet, put the number dead at more than 150.

The pro-opposition Ghouta Media Center tweeted that more than 75 people had “suffocated”, while a further 1,000 people had suffered the effects of the alleged attack.

It blamed a barrel bomb allegedly dropped by a helicopter which it said contained Sarin, a toxic nerve agent.

The Union of Medical Relief Organizations, a US-based charity that works with Syrian hospitals, told the BBC the Damascus Rural Specialty Hospital had confirmed 70 deaths.

A spokeswoman said there were reports of people being treated for symptoms including convulsions and foaming of the mouth, consistent with nerve or mixed nerve and chlorine gas exposure.

Continued shelling overnight and on Sunday was making it impossible to reach victims.

As the allegations emerged, Syria’s state news agency Sana said the reports were invented by the Jaish al-Islam rebels who remain in control in Douma.

“Jaish al-Islam terrorists are in a state of collapse and their media outlets are [making] chemical attack fabrications in an exposed and failed attempt to obstruct advances by the Syrian Arab army,” Sana said.

So Russia and Sana deny there was any such attack. That is not surprising.

But what we find surprising is the resistance to believing the reports to be true by some of our own regular Facebook commenters. There seems to be an unwillingness among a number of our otherwise like-thinkers to believe that Assad would do such a thing. We find that strange. Some say that whether the reports are true or not, America should take no part in the Syrian civil war no matter what Assad does. 

And Tucker Carlson on Fox is deploring the possibility of the US using force against Assad as this is being written. He asks how the US would become safer if there were regime change in Syria.

But Russia and Iran are deeply involved in it, and they both threaten US interests.

President Trump asks:

If they’re innocent, why aren’t they allowing people to go in and prove it? Because as you know, they’re claiming they didn’t make the attack.

Since he believes it happened, the big question now is: What will he do about it?

What do our readers think about all this?

Posted under Arab States, Civil war, Iran, Russia, Syria by Jillian Becker on Monday, April 9, 2018

Tagged with , , ,

This post has 5 comments.

Permalink
Older Posts »