Are the neocons going home?

By “neocons,” I refer to followers of the hawkish foreign policy school that began to coalesce in the 1970s around New York writers and academics who had rejected their Communist or Socialist lodestar to become vocal anti-Communists. A generation or so later, from Kosovo to Georgia, from Afghanistan to Iraq, from Libya to Syria, from Ukraine and now back to Iraq, they consistently advocate the use of American power, often American troops, to establish and enforce a “liberal world order.”

By “going home,” I mean returning to the Democratic Party.

The question took shape while I was reading a profile in The New York Times about neocon light Robert Kagan — brother of Iraq “surge” architect Frederick Kagan, son of Yale professor Donald Kagan, and husband of State Department diplomat Victoria Nuland. The Times describes Robert Kagan as “the congenial and well-respected scion of one of America’s first families of interventionism.”

If there is something jarring about the “first families of interventionism” moniker — just think for a moment about the families of the soldiers who actually do the “intervening” — it doesn’t seem to be meant ironically. Kagan, in fact, says he prefers to call himself a “liberal interventionist,” not a neocon. This may indeed be more appropriate for the Brookings Institution fellow and New Republic contributing editor that he is, but there’s nothing “conservative,” or even “neo,” about it.

So is this Times profile a “coming out” party? Maybe that accounts for the Times’ distinctly warm and fuzzy coverage. Kagan “exudes a Cocoa-Puffs-pouring, stay-at-home-dad charm,” the newspaper reported — not exactly standard Times treatment for a foreign policy hawk ever-ready, it seems, to give war a chance. Or is it?

I will pause here for a flash or two of full disclosure. Irving Kristol, was not only the “godfather of neoconservatism,” he was my first boss at The Public Interest, where I was an assistant editor. That spot came my way on the strength of a year at the Yale Political Monthly, a student publication I edited after being vetted by the college publication’s co-founder — Robert Kagan. There are other connections, albeit all of them nearly as historical as the ancient Greek specialty of Bob’s professor-father, who was, incidentally, Yale Political Monthly’s faculty adviser.


The Schalit precedent
The most pressing issue in Israel right now is locating Naftali Frenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrach — the teenagers abducted last Thursday by Hamas terrorists — and (hopefully) rescuing them from the clutches of their captors. With each passing hour, there is a growing fear that the country is about to enter into a situation similar to that which followed the kidnapping of Gilad Schalit in 2006.

For five years after Schalit’s abduction, the Jewish state was caught in a trap — understanding that negotiating with terrorists sets a dangerous precedent, yet unwilling to forfeit the life of a young soldier who had become a household name.

His parents, of course, begged then-prime minister Ehud Olmert, and subsequently Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to do everything possible to return their son in one piece. They pitched a tent outside of the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, where they lived full-time, other than when they took trips abroad to make appeals on their boy’s behalf. They also enlisted the local and foreign media, and rallied the pubic at large.

The greater the success of their campaign at home, the more jubilant grew the jihadists around the globe. The cheer in Gaza over bringing the “Zionist enemy” to its knees was immeasurable. Even Operation Cast Lead at the end of 2008 — during which the Israel Defense Forces first sent leaflets into Gaza to warn innocent civilians to steer clear of the fighting, and then wreaked havoc on the terrorist and other infrastructures there — did not result in Schalit’s rescue.

One reason for the extreme precautions taken in relation to him was the failed mission to rescue 19-year-old Nachshon Wachsman. Wachsman was a soldier who had been abducted by Hamas in 1994. Six days after his capture, he and another Israeli soldier were killed during the military raid undertaken to save him.

This was not the only collective memory that caused much of the public to pressure the government to give in to the terrorists’ demand for massive Palestinian prisoner releases in exchange for Schalit. Another was that a few such deals with the devil had been made in the past. Why should Schalit not be given the same consideration as others before him?

In 1970, for example, an Israeli night watchman was abducted by the Palestine Liberation Organization. The “ransom” Israel paid a year later was the release of a single PLO prisoner. In 1979, an Israeli soldier captured in Lebanon was released in exchange for 76 PLO terrorists. But it was in 1985 that the floodgates opened with what came to be called the “Jibril Deal”: three Israeli soldiers who had been held by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (headed by Ahmed Jibril) were exchanged for 1,150 terrorists.


It has been tried before, so has Entebbe.

Once again we see Jews as helpless victims, arms extended for protection, mercy and assistance. This only brings back painful memories.

How to deal with people who have no heart? Begging never helps.

Jimmy Carter pleaded with Iran to release the hostages, but nothing worked until the moment Ronald Reagan took office.

Of Reagan they were afraid. He was the cowboy. He was the tough guy.

Tough guys don’t dance with terrorists and tough guys don’t plead with terrorists.

Terrorists laugh at us when they see us going to them on bended knee.

They are still laughing at Michelle Obama weeks after she implored Boko Haram to Bring Back Our Girls. The kidnapped Nigerian girls are still missing.

Our three kids are still missing – Naftali Frankel, 16, Gilad Shaar, 16, Eyal Yifrach, 19, and may they be back home safely as this is being written. There is something special about this. We all have sons who resemble them – and just to gaze at their happy faces breaks your heart.


A Kosovo Albanian recruit (accompanied by another at his right) to the new marauders in Iraq, speaks in Arabic while brandishing his U.S./EU-minted, Facebook-approved “Republic of Kosovo” (Republika e Kosoves) passport, which our Congress, State Department, White House, Pentagon, and National Guard have worked—and are still working—so hard against Christian Serbia to “achieve.”

At the end of his short speech, he rejects the passport by tearing, stomping, and putting his dagger through it. Starting from the 2:20 mark of this video recently posted at jihadology.net, thanks to Mickey at Serbianna.com:

“al-Furqān Media presents a new video message from the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shām: “Clanging of the Swords, Part 4″:

Praise be to Allah who has granted us the blessing of emigrating for His sake, and has blessed us by causing us to be a part of The Islamic State of Iraq and Shaam. We praise Allah for his blessings and for gathering us together with the lions of The Islamic State from every corner of the world. We praise Allah who granted us the blessing of pledging allegiance to the Ameer (Commander) of the Believers, Abu Bakr Al-Qurashi Al-Baghdadi, may Allah preserve him. Oh Ameer, we’ve pledged to listen and obey, and we’ve pledged to die [for the sake of Allah], so lead us wherever Allah commands you.


Our enemies have a strategic vision for a global conflict, but we don’t

We don’t have a leadership vacuum in the Middle East. What we have is a reality vacuum.

The vacuous “vacuum” chatter is back, reappearing in the Iraq debate after its long run as the all-purpose explanation for internecine Islamic bloodletting in Syria. That should make perfect sense since Iraq is Syria: same players, same bloodletting. Yet, the “vacuum” is wildly different from place to place, which also makes perfect sense . . . but only because the idea of a “vacuum” is nonsense on stilts.

Syria, we are told, disintegrated because President Obama’s abdication created a leadership void — “the vacuum” — that al-Qaeda rushed in to fill. The “moderate” Sunni “rebels,” the story goes, were poised to fulfill America’s top priority, undermining Iran, by overthrowing the Shiite regime the mullahs control in Damascus. But the president failed to back “moderate” Sunni “rebels,” who threw in their lot with al-Qaeda — strictly, we are to believe, owing to Obama’s default, not to the ideological harmony of the “rebels” with the jihadists.

Cross Syria’s eastern border, though, and the vacuum abruptly warps. Now, far from undermining Iran, America’s top priority somehow becomes propping up an Iran-backed Shiite state. Obama’s abdication is thus said to be the failure to “consolidate the gains of the Iraq War” by keeping about 20,000 U.S. troops in place to fend off Sunni “rebels,” who — I know you’ll find this hard to believe — have yet again thrown in their lot with al-Qaeda.

In fact, it turns out that if the same “rebel” gravitates from Syria to Iraq, he’s no longer even a “rebel” anymore; he’s a “terrorist.”

It ought to tell us something that al-Qaeda’s latest incarnation is known as “ISIS.” No, not because it takes an Egyptian goddess of magic to make sense of American policy these days. The acronym is derived from the jihadists’ self-proclaimed name: the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham. Al-Sham refers to “greater Syria” or the Levant, encompassing the neighboring territories of Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Cyprus, and Southern Turkey.

Jihadists, you see, do not recognize or much care about national boundaries drawn by Western powers. In the world, as they see it, they are pitted against everyone else — Dar al-Islam versus Dar al-Harb: All must choose the realm of Islam or the realm of war. Significantly, al-Qaeda was not the first to revive this ancient Islamic-supremacist perspective. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the creator of Iran’s revolutionary sharia state, famously proclaimed:


Contempt for the proletariat is nothing new among imperious politicians. But President Obama must think we are dumber than all get-out, when he haughtily proclaimed, as he did Tuesday: “It’s important for us to send a message to the world that when Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible, and we will bring them to justice.” While it was good to see Ahmed Abu Khattala taken into custody, the timing of the arrest was politically auspicious.

Mr. Abu Khattala had given interviews to the New York Times, CNN, Fox News, CBS, Reuters and the Times of London. His first interviews were conducted within days of the attack – the first apparently with Elizabeth Palmer of CBS. All of these interviews were conducted in public places, with the exception of the one with Anthony Lloyd of the Times of London. That interview took place in his home over “tea and biscuits.” This is a man who, if he had been hiding, was doing so in plain sight. Despite his known leadership of the Benghazi branch of the terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia, the United States only charged Mr. Abu Khattala with having played a “significant” role in the attack on the Consulate last August 6th.

In response to a question as to why it took the military so long to get a man that the media had found quite easily, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby responded: “Terrorists go to great lengths to evade capture. It can be a complicated process trying to get at them.” Really? More complicated than the job the media had of setting up cameras (even if they were not used) and microphones? To claim that Mr. Abu Khattala could not have been taken at almost any time assumes one has the naïveté of a buyer of the Brooklyn Bridge. Mr. Lloyd’s interview, keep in mind, took place last October – two months after the man had been publically charged.

Playing the poodle to President Obama, the sycophantic New York Times, in a front page article on Wednesday explained that the announcement on Tuesday ended “…a manhunt that had dragged on for nearly two years.” They went on to add that the “capture was a breakthrough.” It was only on page 11 that they reminded readers that Ahmed Abu Khattala had given an interview to Times reporter, David Kirkpatrick, a report that was in the October 18, 2012 issue of the New York Times. That interview, like many of the others, was conducted over two hours on a Thursday evening “at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments,” is the way Mr. Kirkpatrick put it.


Somali-Americans leave homes, friends in Minnesota to fight alongside ISIS jihadis

Abdirahmaan Muhumed is one of as many as 15 Minnesota Somali-Americans who left their homes to join ISIS, according to Minnesota Public Radio. (Screengrab from public Facebook page).

As many as 15 Somali-American men have left their homes in Minnesota in recent months to travel to the Middle East and join up with ISIS, the jihadist army at war with Syria and Iraq, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

The fighters appear to have made the decision to go fight with Islamic State of Iraq and Syria/Levant while the terror group was fighting to overthrow Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, but some may now be in Iraq, where the marauding group is seeking to topple Baghdad.

“A Muslim has to stand up for [what’s] right,” Abdirahmaan Muhumed told MPR News through a series of Facebook messages dating back to the beginning of the year. “I give up this worldly life for Allah.”

ISIS, an Iraq-based, Al Qaeda-linked terror group, poured into Syria as rebels known as the Free Syrian Army fought to overthrow Assad. But ISIS’s ferocious brutality, especially toward Christians, quickly caused a rift with the Syrian rebels. Now, the group appears bent on establishing an Islalamic caliphate, or nation under strict Islamic law, spanning the two nations.

Among Minnesota’s thriving Somali community, Muhumed’s transformation from ordinary life in Minneapolis to Middle East jihadist is evidence of a strong recruitment and radicalization effort.

“Most of [those who left] don’t have the resources to even buy a ticket to go to Chicago. So that means there is some influential individuals who are taking advantage of our youth,” Mohamud Noor, executive director of the Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, told MPR. “So it’s up to us to defend ourselves. This is not only a fight for our youth. It is a fight for our future.”

It is against the law for Americans to independently travel overseas to fight in civil wars or armed conflicts against foreign governments. FoxNews.com has written about Americans who went to join the war in Syria in the past, including Eric Harroun, a onetime U.S. Army soldier from Arizona.


America was very proud of itself in November of 2008 when it elected its first black (or at least half-black) president, Barack Obama. Liberal media outlets (excuse the redundancy) framed this event as one of our greatest national cathartic exercises of democracy. They worked directly with Obama and his media manipulators to elevate his presidency to Messianic proportions while they displayed an endless parade of people entranced in ecstasy over this supposedly magnanimous accomplishment.

Magnanimous it was. Here was a man who, with virtually no experience relevant to the world’s most important job, walked right in with global support. Here was a man with an endless sequence of non-specific promises read from a teleprompter able to sell himself to a public interested primarily in getting rid of what it had been led to believe was evil and responsible for all the ills of life: President Bush. Here was a man whose background (at least as much as he would permit to be disclosed, discovered, or discussed) gave every indication that he would deeply uproot much of what most Americans hold dear – freedom, responsibility, capitalism, accountability, transparency, limited control over individual lives, and so forth.

And here is a man who, as President, is being considered by rapidly growing numbers of Americans to be a dangerous disaster. And his failures present a troubling dilemma for much of the public: We worked so hard to get on this train and congratulated ourselves so profusely for climbing aboard. How do we get off?

The reasons people voted for Obama are as varied as the ways he is now failing. Nonetheless, for many whites, the relief of “white guilt” was a significant contributing factor. As former black militant Shelby Steele has brilliantly articulated in various books and articles, white guilt is the behavior of whites that attempts to regain a sense of moral authority presumed forfeited in an age of “white supremacy.” It is the behavior (not the emotion) whites utilize to attempt to relieve themselves of the stigma of racism.

What Liberals Want -Control, and More of It​ By Deroy Murdock

In the superb, Tony-winning Best Play All the Way — now at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theater — Tony-winning Best Actor Bryan Cranston brilliantly portrays President Lyndon Baines Johnson. In this comedy-drama tour de force, LBJ works furiously to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and, later, launches the War on Poverty.

While a nearly three-hour play necessarily misses a few things, All the Way seems to epitomize Great Society liberalism: Fight discrimination, fund social programs, shower, repeat. As for the general public, if you want to eat lunch, heat your home, or watch baseball, knock yourself out; Washington has fatter fish to fry.

LBJ likely would be appalled, however, with the scope of modern liberalism. Far beyond even his expansive definition of Big Government, Obama and his ilk try to choreograph every step of American life. There seems to be no detail too minute nor any activity too obscure to avoid what today’s liberals crave more than anything else: control.

“Control over the economy. Control over our health care. Control over the government. Control over our lives,” Terrence Scanlon, president of the Capital Research Center in Washington, D.C., recently wrote. “That’s what drives their every move in politics and in public policy. They’ll settle for nothing less than total control over virtually everything in this country.”

Modern liberalism has little to do with sticking up for the little guy or comforting the poor. It’s all about telling people what to do — around the clock. Amplifying the efforts of the often busybody Bush administration, Obama has replaced Uncle Sam with a giant millipede whose spindly limbs reach everywhere. Each aspect of American life, regardless of size, and each spot on the map, regardless of distance, has become fair game for Washington’s intrusion — usually in the most costly and high-handed fashion possible.

The recently released Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions is to red tape what trailers are to motion pictures. Every six months, via this document, 55 different federal departments, agencies, and boards preview their coming attractions. The Energy Department, for instance, is producing 80 new rules, such as: “Energy Conservation Standards for Wine Chillers,” “Energy Efficiency Standards for Automatic Commercial Ice Makers,” and “Test Procedures for Ceiling Fans.”

Obama, not Bush, is Responsible for the Return of the Islamist Insurgency in Iraq. By Charles Krauthammer (Oh Puleez!!!) see note

Well as articulate and glib as Mr. Krauthammer can be…he’s been dead wrong before. Remember when he cheered the “Arab Spring” as if another Moses had emerged from the weeds in Egypt? And his view of the Bergdahl swap- Krauthammer said, “The one area where the president holds the upper hand in those disputes is in matters of war and peace, he’s commander in chief. And I think a prisoner exchange is in the province of the presidency.”There is no question that Obama’s obeisance to the Arab/Moslem world has incited and encouraged radical Islam. But it was Bush who refused to use the words Jihad and Islam; it was Bush who referred to the bombers of 9/11 as “enemies of freedom who had “hijacked” the religion of peace: it was Bush who declared “mission accomplished” while jihadists were simply regrouping poised to strike again. And, to claim that Petraeus won the war is simply risible. It was the Petraeus COIN doctrine- rules of engagement that endangered our soldiers by showing such exquisite sensibility to the mores of savages. Al Qaeda has never, not for one minute, been gone from Iraq…it is present everywhere in Moslem countries in its various incarnations- Taliban, Boko Haram, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Shabaab- different names same goals….rsk
Yes, it is true that there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq when George W. Bush took office. But it is equally true that there was essentially no al-Qaeda in Iraq remaining when Barack Obama took office.

Which makes Bush responsible for the terrible costs incurred to defeat the 2003–09 jihadist war engendered by his invasion. We can debate forever whether those costs were worth it, but what is not debatable is Obama’s responsibility for the return of the Islamist insurgency that had been routed by the time he became president.

By 2009, al-Qaeda in Iraq had been not just decimated but humiliated by the American surge and the Anbar Awakening. Here were aggrieved Sunnis, having ferociously fought the Americans who had overthrown 80 years of Sunni hegemony, now reversing allegiance and joining the infidel invader in crushing, indeed extirpating from Iraq, their fellow Sunnis of al-Qaeda.

At the same time, Shiite prime minister Nouri al-Maliki turned the Iraqi army against radical Shiite militias from Basra all the way north to Baghdad.

The result? “A sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq.” That’s not Bush congratulating himself. That’s Obama in December 2011 describing the Iraq we were leaving behind. He called it “an extraordinary achievement.”

Which Obama proceeded to throw away. David Petraeus had won the war. Obama’s one task was to conclude a status-of-forces agreement (SOFA) to solidify the gains. By Obama’s own admission — in the case he’s now making for a status-of-forces agreement with Afghanistan — such agreements are necessary “because after all the sacrifices we’ve made, we want to preserve the gains” achieved by war.

Which is what made his failure to do so in Iraq so disastrous. His excuse was his inability to get immunity for U.S. soldiers. Nonsense. Bush had worked out a compromise in his 2008 SOFA, as we have done with allies everywhere. The real problem was Obama’s reluctance to maintain any significant presence in Iraq.

He offered to leave about 3,000 to 5,000 troops, a ridiculous number. U.S. commanders said they needed nearly 20,000. (We have 28,500 in South Korea and 38,000 in Japan to this day.) Such a minuscule contingent would spend all its time just protecting itself. Iraqis know a nonserious offer when they see one. Why bear the domestic political liability of a continued U.S. presence for a mere token?