Netanyahu’s ISIS Moral Clarity By Joseph Klein

Confronted with pure evil in the form of ISIS, President Barack Obama treats the jihadists as if they represented an isolated threat that can be dealt with on its own. ISIS (or ISIL as the U.S. government calls it, or the Islamic State as the jihadists now call themselves) has no relationship to Islam, according to the president and his Secretary of State John Kerry.

ISIS is “not Islamic,” Obama declared in his speech last week announcing the steps he intends to take to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. “And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.” It is “a terrorist organization, pure and simple,” Obama added.

In other words, according to the president, ISIS is for all intents and purposes made up of a bunch of nihilists who just engage in terrorism for terrorism’s sake. There is no purpose to what they are doing other than their pleasure in the deaths and mayhem they wreak, he would have us believe.

This fundamental misunderstanding of the enemy we are fighting will continue to result in Obama’s piecemeal muddle that passes for a “strategy.” Are we even in a war? It depends on which member of the Obama administration is speaking and on what day. When are we going to start bombing ISIS in Syria as the president said he was prepared to do in his speech last week? Are we waiting to put together a “coalition” to bring the fight to ISIS on the ground while we send in some military advisors and otherwise limit ourselves to air strikes? Apparently so, since the president has already made clear to the enemy what we will not do. And talking about coalitions, it seems that ISIS has had more success in that arena. All Obama and Kerry have managed to do so far is to cobble together vague pledges from some countries without specific commitments that we know of to contribute combat troops. ISIS, on the other hand, has reportedly recruited fighters from around seventy countries. These fighters are committed to ISIS’s fight for a caliphate. And the idea that we can find and train enough reliable so-called “moderate” Syrian rebels to “partner” with, who are motivated to take on the jihadists with “boots on the ground,” is a joke.

Hatred Masquerading as Scholarship in the Classroom By Sarah N. Stern

“[T]hey will bomb Gaza back to the Stone Age they said, and that they did–and yet there are very few spots on planet earth today nobler to the human spirit of resistance to tyranny and injustice than Gaza–now held like a shining jewel on the loving ring of humanity around the globe–I kiss that noble ground and hold it dearer than cities full of ignoble postmodern architecture built on the stolen land of other people.”

– Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, referring to Israel’s Operation Protective Edge; Facebook, August 6, 2014. (link to source)

The above quote, replete with biases and omissions, does not simply represent the viewpoint of one lone professor. It represents an extensively held perspective that has become a rigid orthodoxy that permeates through many of our nation’s Middle Eastern Studies Departments. This bias is being spoon-fed to our nation’s college students and sold to them as scholarship. As American parents who save for years for their youngsters’ college tuitions, many of us should be outraged that this bigotry is masquerading as solid erudition to our youngsters. As American citizens, we should be outraged that this sort of thinking is being subsidized by the American government in the form of Title VI grants to universities, and is shaping the thinking of our current and future American thinkers and leaders.

In fact, so blatant are the biases of the program, that 218 scholars from Middle Eastern Studies programs across the country, ranging from Columbia University and New York University on the East, the University of Chicago University of Illinois, and Michigan State University in the Mid-West to University of California in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Cruz, and hundreds of points in between, have all recently signed a petition for an academic boycott of Israeli Universities and any joint program with Israeli scholars.

How did this come about?

Next Round—Islamic State Vs. Israel? By P. David Hornik

A flood of refugees from Syria have transformed and radicalized Jordan.

With the autumn Jewish holidays approaching, the Counter-Terrorism Bureau of Israel’s National Security Council warns [2] that Islamic State (ISIS) could be attacking Israeli and other Jewish targets particularly in Western Europe, but also elsewhere around the globe.

Something along these lines already happened on May 4 [3] when Mehdi Nenmouche, a Frenchman of North African extraction, killed an Israeli couple, a French woman, and a Belgian man with a Kalashnikov rifle at the Jewish Museum in Brussels.

It now turns out that Nenmouche, before returning to Europe, was a torturer for ISIS [4] in Syria whose torture victims included James Foley and Steven Sotloff. It has not yet been announced whether Nenmouche, who has been arrested in France and extradited to Belgium, was acting on his own or under ISIS orders.

Meanwhile another, more strategic ISIS threat to Israel may be taking shape in Jordan.

Israeli officials have said anonymously, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said openly [5], that Israel will not hesitate to help Jordan militarily if it comes under ISIS attack.

Although Middle Eastern hotspots like Iraq and Syria have been getting more attention, many observers believe Jordan is in trouble—particularly worrisome because King Abdullah II’s regime is one of the most moderate and pro-Western in the region, upholding Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel and effectively preventing terror incursions across Jordan’s 500-kilometer border with Israel.

Jordan, however, has been under great strain. A country of about six million people, it has taken in well over a million refugees from Syria. They live in sprawling tent cities, and the burden has exacerbated Jordan’s already serious economic problems. The economic distress, in turn, feeds radicalism.


We evil climate deniers often enjoy comparing the current uproar over the weather with Stalin’s misuse of science by Trofim Lysenko [1]. But I think the devotion to extreme climate, or whatever today’s catch phrase may be, is far more in the realm of magic and metaphysics than real physics — Lysenko was, after all, a genuine agronomist — and is much more akin to the story of Sabbatai Zevi, the 17th century Sephardic rabbi many Jews believed was the long-awaited Messiah but who ended up ridiculing his supporters and converting to Islam.

Climate armageddon is a messianic cult based almost entirely on religion and faith and very little on science. And, like the Sabbatean movement where many adherents remained devoted to Zevi no matter what he did or how he behaved, it’s still thriving, somewhat, despite the many blows that it has taken lately — no warming in the last fifteen years, Antarctic ice cap bigger than ever, more polar bears than ever, all kinds of leaks of fraudulent figures and fudged graphs, etc., etc. The list, available at by scrolling backwards, is almost comical in its extent. It’s amusing to read the myriad theories for why the ice cap is bigger, motivated, for the most part, by panic on the part of the scientists involved that they might have their stipends cut.

Nevertheless, your United Nations, at the the behest of your president, is on the case. On September 23, they are convening a UN Climate Summit [2]. From their website:

Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.

There is a sense that change is in the air. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September to galvanize and catalyze climate action.

Problem is most of those leaders aren’t coming. Maybe they realize the whole thing’s a shuck. From Newsweek [3] (apparently back in print — go figure):

Where Is Obama’s ‘Broad Coalition’? By Victor Davis Hanson

Potential allies against ISIS doubt America’s commitment to being engaged abroad.

The so-called Islamic State has left destruction everywhere that it has gained ground. But as in the case of the tribal Scythians, Vandals, Huns, or Mongols of the past, sowing chaos in its wake does not mean that the Islamic State won’t continue to seek new targets for its devastation.

If unchecked, the Islamic State will turn what is left of the nations of the Middle East into a huge Mogadishu-like tribal wasteland, from the Syrian Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. And they will happily call the resulting mess a caliphate.

It is critical for United States to put together some sort of alliance of friendly Middle East governments and European states to stop the Islamic State before it becomes a permanent base for terrorist operations against the U.S. and its allies. Unfortunately, it appears unlikely that the U.S. will line up a muscular alliance — at least until the Islamic State reaches the gates of Baghdad or plows on through to Saudi Arabia and forces millions of Arabs either to fight or submit.

Why the reluctance for allies to join the U.S.?

Most in the Middle East and Europe do not believe the Obama administration knows much about the Islamic State, much less what to do about it. The president has dismissed it in the past as a jayvee team that could be managed, contradicting the more dire assessments of his own secretary of defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The Latest Anti-Small-Business Effort to Stop Global Warming By Diane Katz

President Obama has another unilateral plan.

There is one policy arena in which President Obama definitely does not lead from behind: the imposition of costly and pointless environmental regulation.

The president on Tuesday announced a crackdown on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of coolants used in virtually every home, office, and automobile. Unless we discontinue their use, we are told, the oceans will swallow our coastlines, hurricanes will lay waste to entire states, and all creatures great and small will fry under scorching temperatures.

The true believers are deadly serious about this. Eco-lawyer Durwood Zaelke told the Washington Post: “If we don’t deal with the HFC problem now, in the future these gases are going to kill us.”

It’s all a scam. Banning HFCs will have essentially no impact on global climate. In the first place, despite increases in so-called greenhouse gases, there’s been no warming during the past 15 years — which thoroughly contradicts all the climate modeling cited by the warm-mongers. But even if greenhouse gases such as HFCs were solidly linked to climate change, unilateral reductions by the U.S. would be insignificant compared with the increased emissions emanating from China, India, and the rest of the developing world. (Ironically, the federal government promoted the use of HFCs beginning in the late 1980s, as a substitute for the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were blamed for thinning the Earth’s ozone layer.)

As a bit of camouflage for this latest regulatory incursion, the president secured “voluntary” commitments from some of America’s largest corporations to reduce HFC emissions and to phase out their use. (One wonders just how many highly regulated corporations would likely spurn a request for such “voluntary” action from the regulator-in-chief.)

The companies that pledged to cooperate — including Coca Cola, Target, DuPont, and the like — won’t be crushed by the costs of converting to alternative coolants.

The Fear and Science of Ebola By Marc Siegel

Yes, it must be contained; but no, it’s not likely to mutate harmfully.

We should not be deathly afraid of Ebola.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and author of the bestselling book Living Terrors: What America Needs to Know to Survive the Coming Bioterrorist Catastrophe, strongly disagrees. He has been telling us for a long time that we shouldn’t be sleeping at night for fear of one contagion or other, even though loss of sleep is one of the greatest threats to our health of all.

Back in 2006 it was bird flu. I debated Dr. Osterholm on national TV, and he contested my caution by stating that he couldn’t sleep at night from worry over bird flu. I pointed out at the time that just because H5N1 was killing millions of birds didn’t automatically mean that it would mutate to kill millions of humans. Osterholm acted as if my doubting his end-of-the-world scenario was heresy. We took the debate to NPR, where I pointed out that two amoebas, one of them enteromoeba histolytica, the other enteromoeba coli, look almost identical under the microscope, yet the first is a pathogen that gets you very sick, and the other one is completely benign. And one amoeba doesn’t mutate to become the other or take on its characteristics. In other words, imagining what might happen if the most dreaded mutation occurs is not the best kind of science.

Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, director of the Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), told me back in 2006 that he found it extremely difficult to even induce in the laboratory the kind of mutation to the bird-flu virus that would make it pass easily from one human to another. He pointed out at a joint lecture we were giving at the then–Armed Forces Institute of Pathology museum that while we were worrying over the H5N1 bird-flu virus, another flu virus would likely “come in the back door” and cause the next pandemic. This statement proved prophetic in 2009, when H1N1 swine flu began to emerge, though it too ended up causing far more fear than death.

The Democrats’ Student-Loan Weapon Andrew Kelly And Kevin James

Wooing young voters with a $58 billion plan that gives money primarily to college graduates who don’t need it.

Democrats face an uphill battle in their quest to hold the Senate in November. In their effort to get an edge, they’ve targeted one group in particular: college-educated voters with student-loan debt. Democratic plans to help student-loan borrowers have been a key talking point on the campaign trail this year, and sit at the center of the party’s “Fair Shot” agenda.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has become the party’s chief evangelist on the issue, thanks to her proposal that would allow borrowers to refinance their student loans at current rates, supposedly paid for with a tax increase on millionaires. After Republicans blocked Sen. Warren’s bill in June, she went straight to Kentucky to campaign against Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and has accused him and fellow Republicans of “choosing to side with billionaires instead of with students.” This week Sen. Warren and her fellow Democrats raised the issue again as the campaigns enter the home stretch.
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Kentucky campaigning for Democratic Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes at the University of Louisville, June 29. Timothy D. Easley/Associated Press

Democrats want to define the student-loan debate as a choice between poor college students and the super rich. But Sen. Warren’s ideas are an expensive and ineffective way to ease the burden of student debt. Worse yet, they set up a far more troubling tension: Lavishing federal money on the college-educated erodes our ability to help disadvantaged students make it to college in the first place.

Take Sen. Warren’s refinancing plan. Allowing former students to refinance at lower interest rates would bring down almost every borrower’s payments. So while this would provide some modest assistance to those who are struggling to pay back their loans, it would also give nearly three-quarters of borrowers who are doing fine a handout from the federal government. Think of it as a stimulus package for the college-educated.


“Israel has been proving even its sharpest critics wrong for nearly 70 years. Here’s betting its light outshines Mr. Cohen’s dim bulb.”
Worse than the book’s derivative history is Richard Cohen’s undiminished need to patronize Israelis and supporters of the Jewish state.

Can a reviewer go on strike? Though I am not a member of any union, there were moments while reading Richard Cohen’s book when I was tempted to throw up a literary picket line. Mr. Cohen, a longtime Washington Post columnist, originally titled his book “Can Israel Survive?” but renamed it “Israel: Is It Good For the Jews?” for final publication. He fails to answer either question. Yet that’s far from the only problem with this well-meaning volume that flirts too often with outright illiteracy.

Consider the following sentences: “Anti-Semitism is a prejudice of the zeitgeist. It is now situated in the Middle East, in the Arab world. It stirs in Europe and elsewhere, but the noxious stink of the Hitlerian abattoir clings to it still, so it is a sotto voce sort of thing.”

Reading these lines—the remainder of the paragraph is even worse—you get the sense that Mr. Cohen thinks this is writing of a high order. Does it occur to him that something with a “stink” to it cannot be “sotto voce”? Or that “the zeitgeist” cannot have a prejudice? Or that a prejudice cannot be “situated” in the Arab world, as if it were a pyramid or a mosque? Or that anti-Semitism is hardly a “sotto voce sort of thing” in certain neighborhoods of Paris or London?

Yes, the reader more or less gets the point. But as George Orwell warned in 1946, the English language “becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.” Mr. Cohen’s book is a case study in Orwell’s timeless lament.

DAN HENNINGER:The U.S. Military is a Giant Gulliver Tied Down by Washington Lawyers

A sense of déjà vu all over again descends as Congress debates President Obama’s commitment to fight the Islamic State terrorists in Iraq, or ISIS. If the United States ever loses its status as global superpower, historians in search of the triggering event can start with the Vietnam War.

After Vietnam, the belief took hold in some quarters—Democrats, midtown New York media, northeastern law schools—that the military and presidency could no longer be trusted with the war-making powers. Notwithstanding that “commander in chief” is embedded in the Constitution, Washington for some 40 nonstop years has defaulted repeatedly to the same, wrong solution: Send in the lawyers. The law is about many things, some of them good. Taking action isn’t one of them.

Listen to the ISIS debate closely, and what you’ll notice is not the sound of U.S. soldiers planning how to defeat the people who killed James Foley, Steven Sotloff and thousands of others but the language of lawyers.

On Tuesday, two newsmaking statements emerged about the U.S.’s mindset in the war—or whatever it is—to defeat the Islamic State terrorists.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Joint Chiefs Chairman testifying to Congress, said that “if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president.” The White House pushed back, calling Gen. Dempsey’s remark a “hypothetical.”

The first statement was the voice of a soldier. The second was the sound of lawyers.