Displaying posts published in

December 2011



Iraq Hawks Leave a Door Open That Should Be Slammed Shut

I wish I could find the perfect label for the depths of denial and the heights of delusion manifested in Frederick and Kimberly Kagan’s latest declarations on Iraq, published this week in The Washington Post as “opinion.”

Even as our troops withdraw after eight fruitless years, the husband-wife team still sees “American core interests” in Iraq, including “ensuring that Iraq contributes to the security of the Middle East, rather than undermining it through state collapse, civil war or the establishment of a sectarian dictatorship.”

Is that all? Ensuring that Iraq doesn’t collapse, enter civil war or establish a sectarian dictatorship requires an indefinite occupation on a colossal scale (why?) or the total transformation of Iraqi Man (read: Muslim Man), which is the Frankensteinian basis of “winning hearts and minds,” the cornerstone of counterinsurgency theory (COIN).

In another epoch, armies of Christian missionaries might have been the force of choice to rework Islamic culture to such an end; then again, Western nations haven’t fared so well in such endeavors. (Remember the Crusades.) COIN-inspired nation-building is the contemporary, secular alternative. Its adherents burn with a blind zeal that admits no cultural difference between the West and Islam, that sees most arrogantly a universal appeal in their own Judeo-Christian-derived values.

The only stumbling block between COIN values and Islamic acceptance, as COIN elites see it, is PR. The sales pitch. Take off those protective, ballistic glasses, soldier. Eat parasite-ridden goat and wreck your digestive system maybe forever, grunt. Smile. Get to know the people. Walk those roads (bang) and see that those wells and bridges are built, those mosques mended, those tribal conflicts settled, and don’t call in fire support when a “kinetic” incident occurs or the “population” will think you don’t trust them. And whatever you do, don’t forget the payola.

But remaking human beings, “re-educating” people to conform to ideological goals, doesn’t ever work out well, whether the policy is enacted through bribery by nation-builders with guns bearing gifts, or?through force by commissars destroying civilization with gulags.

No doubt the Kagans would disagree with my premise. They see no gulf so existential between the West and the Islamic world. In their eyes, it’s an easy-peasy fix when it comes to Iraq, requiring just two conditions. “First,” they write, “Iraq must be able to control, police and defend its territory, airspace and waters. Second, Iraq must preserve and solidify the multiethnic and cross-sectarian political accommodation that was established in 2008 and 2009 but that has been eroding since the formation of the current government.”

Again, is that all? Not only are these beyond Iraqi competence and scope, they aren’t American interests. They are Iraqi interests, if Iraqis care. They are also international interests that global interventionists arbitrarily obsess about, whether in Iraq, Libya or any other hot spot du jour. It is not in America’s interest whether Iraq preserves and solidifies multiethnic and cross-sectarian blah blah blah. It is, however, in the interest of the unreconstructed Iraq Hawks, the COINdinistas, and their political allies because these are the theoretical justifications for their failed missions. In many ways, Obama’s reluctant troop withdrawal, which, last time I looked, fulfilled George W. Bush’s agreement with Iraq, is the best thing that has happened to them. It keeps the fantasy of “if only” alive.

“Neither condition is likely to be met in the coming years,” the Kagans write. Thanks to Obama, they hereby absolve themselves of any and all responsibility for the impossibility of these conditions — the conditions of COIN nation-building — ever being met. They are free. Or so they seem to think.

But maybe there’s a chance to take another whack at things. Noting violations of international agreements by Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Kagans write: “Responsible nations should insist that Iraq demonstrate its commitment to those obligations. The president should tell Maliki in no uncertain terms that Washington will hold him to account in the international arena if Iraq does not.”

Excuse me, isn’t that where we came in?


And the Crisis Winner Is? Government
From Greece to Washington to New York state, there’s no effective mechanism to control spending.
Across Europe and the United States, the fiscal crisis is setting up an epic battle among government services, pensioners, government employees, creditors and taxpayers. There is simply not enough money coming in to pay all the promises politicians have made. The shortfalls and fights are challenging our democracies and shifting wealth from the private sector to ever bigger government.
The hope has been that Europe’s debt crisis would force government downsizing in time to meet cash flow requirements. Newfound fiscal discipline would provide a silver lining to the debt crisis. But that’s not working out.
Germany’s insistence on centralized fiscal discipline for the euro zone will lead to a massive expansion of bureaucracies in Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin. They’ll include temporary and permanent bailout funds, dangerously intrusive powers for the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank, endless summits, new taxes on property, and recessions.
With Europe’s government structures assured of getting even bigger, the U.K. reacted immediately by opting out. U.S. lawmakers are already objecting to the European plan to expand the IMF. As in Greece, IMF programs are antigrowth, imposing austerity on the private economy, not the government. Greece has raised value-added and property taxes, then projected revenue increases that never materialize in order to keep payments flowing to creditors and the government’s entourage…..READ IT ALL AT THE SITE


Dear e-pals:

I was at an “off the record” meeting with a high powered and influential gentleman. When asked about Newt’s bashing of the Palarab faux narrative of history he responded: “……it is not only Arabs and their international supporters that try to debunk Newt’s legitimate and valid claim …but it is the government of Israel and its weak Prime Minister who continue to give the big lie and invention credibility by agreeing to negotiate on the basis of that false narrative …..”

Israel’s fear of terrorism led its leaders to accommodate the terrorists at Camp David, Oslo, Wye instead of staking their legitimate claims and patrimony. Is it too late?


http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/285842 The Saudis at Salem The regime engages in literal witch-hunts. Even for the late 17th century, the witch trials at Salem were egregious: the last hurrah of an early-modern culture of superstition and retribution that was stopped dead in its tracks by the early sparks of the Enlightenment. By the time, in 1692, that […]


Include Me Out
Re that NR editorial, I would like, politely, to dissent from my colleagues’ dismissal of Perry and Bachmann.
In the former case, a handful of poor debate performances should not disqualify a man from executive responsibility: Our age’s veneration for men with “nothing to do but think and talk” (in Churchill’s words, on the sort of chaps he didn’t want in his war cabinet) is one reason why the Western world is sliding off a cliff.
In the latter case, Congresswoman Bachmann has fought a principled, conservative campaign with only one significant misstep — her overreach on the Gardasil business. Again, that shouldn’t be a disqualification. Nor should having more chiefs of staff than she has foster children (I speak as a guy who believes citizen-legislators shouldn’t have chiefs of staff, anyway). To be sexist about it, President Bachmann at her best would be another Thatcher and at her worst another Merkel — and Chancellor Merkel currently presides over the least worst Western economy. What’s not to like? Go, Michele!
As for the assertion of our more hysterical commenters that being reluctant to support a man with an office on K Street and a retainer from Freddie Mac is a sure sign that NRO is full of Beltway cocktail-sippers angling for cosy sinecures in the Romney administration, yeah, sure, whatever: Fellows who try this line of attack on me have failed as spectacularly as it’s possible to fail. But, just for the record, in recent years I’ve visited Washington, D.C., once every 18 months or so, and plan to cut it down to once every 24 months in the next half-decade. And I have no interest in serving as Deputy Assistant Under-Secretary of the Department of Paperwork under Mitt or anyone else. Anyone who thinks that sentient beings require an ulterior motive to be wary of a Newt nomination should have an herbal tea and lie down in a darkened room for half an hour.


Another tack: The poison in the well

On November 11, 1999, back when she was first lady, Hillary Clinton visited Gaza. She was graciously greeted by Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, who spiritedly launched into a blood-libel diatribe.

None of this, incidentally, could be laid at the door of Binyamin Netanyahu’s demonic disrepute. Israel’s then-prime minister was Ehud Barak, whose electoral campaign was enthusiastically aided and abetted by Hillary’s own hubby.

But contrary to conventional wisdom, it never really matters much who’s in power in Jerusalem. Israel is always the regional bogeyman. And so, back in the good old days of post-Oslo Labor rule, America’s first lady, self-satisfied and basking in ultra-liberal sanctimony, smiled contentedly as Suha railed in indignation: “Our people have been subjected to the daily and extensive use of poisonous gas by the Israeli forces, which has led to an increase in cancer cases among women and children.”


Why the West is Best Posted By Jamie Glazov


Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Ibn Warraq, an Islamic scholar and a leading figure in Qur’anic criticism. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Westminster Institute, VA. He has addressed distinguished governing bodies all over the world, including the United Nations in Geneva, and Members of the Dutch Parliament, at The Hague.

In 2007, Mr. Warraq completed a critical study of the thought of Edward Said, Defending the West. Paul Berman, author of Terror and Liberalism, described the book as “a glorious work of scholarship, and it is going to contribute mightily to modernizing the way we think about Western civilization and the rest of the world”.

Mr. Warraq was goaded into writing his first book, Why I am Not a Muslim (1995), when he felt personally threatened by the infamous fatwa pronounced on Salman Rushdie for his book that satirized Islam, its founder Muhammad, and his family. He felt that only a ferocious polemic against Islam as a totalitarian system would wake up Western intellectuals to the dangers that the Iranian theocratic regime posed to our own freedoms in the West. Since this passionate attack on Islam, Mr. Warraq has edited, with long introductions, a series of more scholarly works on the origins of the Koran, and the rise of Islam, works such as The Origins of the Koran, 1998, The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, 2000, What the Koran Really Says, 2002, and the recent Which Koran?, 2011.
Product Details
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy by Ibn Warraq

Ibn Warraq’s new book, Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy (Encounter Books, December 2011) carries on the defense of the West started in Defending the West. He defines, describes, and defends Western values, strengths and freedoms far too often taken for granted. This book also tackles the taboo subjects of racism in Asian culture, Arab slavery, and Islamic Imperialism. It begins with a homage to New York City, as a metaphor for all we hold dear in Western culture — pluralism, individualism, freedom of expression and thought, the complete freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness unhampered by totalitarian regimes, and theocratic doctrines.


Fooling Kristof Posted By Robert Spencer http://frontpagemag.com/2011/12/16/fooling-kristof/print/ Ace New York Times pundit Nicholas Kristof recently had dinner in the Cairo home of some Muslim Brotherhood members, and he had a wonderful time. And from this experience, there is something he wants you and the world to know: Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt, and the Brotherhood […]



The report criticizes the continued existence of death penalty punishment for same-sex relations in at least five countries — Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen

GENEVA—The U.N.’s top human rights official urged countries Thursday to abolish legal discrimination against gays, including the death penalty for consensual sex, days after the U.S. government said it would use foreign aid and diplomacy to promote gay equal rights.

The U.N.’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said governments should also outlaw all forms of abuse based on sexual orientation and set the same age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual activity.


Our nation’s economic growth may finish an anemic 2% on the year. Faced with looming taxes and regulations, few companies are expanding, hiring or buying equipment. More than 14 million Americans are unemployed, excluding the nearly 9 million who have been forced to take part-time jobs, or the 2.5 million who’ve given up on finding work.

Meanwhile, 140,000 have been added to government payrolls, and the nation is spending $4 billion a day more than it’s taking in.

That is unacceptable, demoralizing – and unnecessary.

The White House and Democrats are clueless about reinvigorating the economy. But they have proven they know how to kill jobs, prosperity and hope. Their energy policies are especially destructive.