Line Up That Second Peace Prize!

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Remember when all President Obama planned to do was cure the sick, end joblessness, slow the rise of the oceans, heal the planet, end war, secure our nation’s borders and restore our nation’s image abroad?

That was nothing.

Now he’s going to “eliminate the the schism between Sunni and Shia that has been fueling so much of the violence in Syria, in Iraq.”

As Powerline asks:“Whoa! We are going to ‘eliminate the schism between Sunni and Shia?’ The schism that goes back to the 7th Century? And we are going to “eliminate the schism” through diplomacy?”

No. Not “we.” President Barack Obama, possibly assisted by Secretary of State John Kerry. After all they have promised to accomplish so far, why would you have any doubt? Nobel Committee, call your office.

Joe Doakes

In a side note, in re last night’s speech, a friend of mine texted me in re the President saying ISIS – the “Islamic State in Syria” – “wasn’t Muslim” [1]; apparently their name is…

“Innocent Separatists Impacted by Sophistry”.

Naturally.

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Defense

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama will address the nation Wednesday, September 10th, outlining his plans to fight Islamic terrorists.

Islamic terrorists have hit America twice on September 11th. If they have something lined up and hit us again on Thursday, right after President Obama tells the world his grand plan to fight Islamic terror, the entire world will him revealed as a clueless but arrogant poseur. No Greek playwright would have written a character with that much hubris, the audience wouldn’t have believed it.

Do I want to see American interests hit by terrorists just to see Barack Obama humiliated? As Jack Benny used to say: “I’m thinking.”

Joe Doakes

I get Joe’s point – but I’m not thinking about it.  Of course not. 

The problem, of course, is that the questions “to attack or not to attack?”, and “where and when?”, are questions that belong to those who are on the offensive; those who have what in strategic and tactical circles is called “the initiative”, or in sports circles “momentum”. 

Say what you will about the US’s actions between 2002 and 2008 – the human, financial and moral costs, the politics, the morals of the tactics and methods and the whole enterprise – but we were on the offensive.  We, largely, chose when and where the war would be fought. 

We’re on defensive now.  We – Barack Obama – lost the initiative; squandered the “momentum”. 

The other side chooses whether Barack Obama spends tomorrow in the Situation Room or on the Golf Course. 

I’m praying for Golf. 

The problem is, they’ll choose it the next day, and the week after that, and the month after that…

…and “ensuring that we’re the ones who make that choice – and make it a moot one through sheer force of diplomatic, moral and if necessary military power” is one of precious few legitimate reasons to have a government.

Two Steps Back

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The UN has peacekeepers acting as a buffer in the Golan Heights between Syria and Israel. Syrian rebels associated with Al Qaeda demanded UN troops from Fiji surrender, which they did. The Fijian troops were taken hostage.

Syrian rebels also demanded UN troops from the Philippines surrender, which they refused to do. The Syrian rebels attacked the Pilipinos, who retreated into Israel as Irish UN forces covered their retreat and Syrian government forces shelled the Syrian rebels to prevent pursuit.

The captured Fijians remain captured. The Pilipinos want an investigation into why the UN commander from India ordered Phillipino and Fijian peacekeepers to surrender to terrorists. Now the officer who refused to surrender to terrorists has been placed on leave.

And that’s the problem with the UN peacekeeping idea in general. Nobody cares if the other country’s guys get killed defending some worthless land in somebody else’s back yard. It isn’t our country so we’re not going to let our guys die for it. But if yours do, well, that’s okay.

Bad enough when it’s UN troops. Worse if it’s American troops. Let Israel off the leash and the problem will be solved in days, if not hours.

Joe Doakes

“Peace” is not always synonymous with “absence of shooting”.

I’m Trying. I Really Am.

To be a nicer, more civil person.  I truly am.

Here’s the deal.  I left the Libertarian Party in 1998 largely over the LP’s complete illiteracy on foreign policy and defense.

Now, many “Libertarians” are drawn to the belief, and the party, by the reductionistic magical thinking that all of the world’s questions break down into binary, black-or-white answers.  The right answer to everything lies in unbending, unyielding adherence to “principles”, any deviance from which for any reason is an unforgiveable impurity.

Which is a fine and dandy thing, if your “principles” are so well-thought-out as to account for all of the myriad gray areas life, human nature and history throw into one’s path.  For example, the idea that some “libertarians” have that one is either an isolationist peacenik…or a “warmonger”, with nothing in between.  Too stupid to mock.

Anyway.

What I’m trying to do is figure out a way to write “if everything you know about history and foreign policy is stuff you read from the inside of Ron Paul’s anterior colon, you probably are not going to be a partner in a serious debate”.

And I got nothing.

I’m open to suggestions.

Jeffersonianism By Omission

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The US has become so impotent in the Middle East that Egypt and United Arab Emirates have stepped up to fight Muslim terrorists, without bothering to mention it to us. The Obama Administration was taken by surprise.

This might be a good thing, in the long run. Washington and Jefferson warned against entangling alliances. Classical Liberals argue it’s not the federal government’s job to be the world’s policeman; we should let other nations sort out their own problems.

President Obama might end up implementing the most libertarian foreign policy since the founding.

Or he might be a clean, bright, good-looking, articulate Black man who has been promoted above his level of competence.

Hard to say at this point what his legacy will be.

Joe Doakes

It is indeed.

But I have a hunch both Jimmy Carter and the Neville Chamberlain estates are deeply thankful for it.

The larger point?  Obama may do for our foreign policy what his economic policy will inevitably do for the economy at this rate; bring them back to their Jeffersonian origins through the sheer unsustainability of their Obamian reality.

Death Cult

In the lulls between Palestinian/Israeli combat, I sometimes forget how very, very depressed I get at how very ill-informed Americans are about the recent history of the Middle East.

I’ve even seen relatively intelligent acquaintances of mine claim that both sides, Palestinian and Israeli, are morally equal.  One trumpeted “both sides are run by extremists!”, by way of excusing the Palestinians.

I’m going to link to this piece by Dennis Prager – the best, simplest explanation of the last seventy years I’ve ever seen.

“The Israelis want to have a state.  The Palestinians want the Jews dead”.

There is no moral equivalence.

Intellectual Trust Fund Babies

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

As politicians try to lay blame for losing Iraq on Bush’s flawed Mid-East vision instead of Obama’s flawed Mid-East vision, Fernandez points out:

“As recent events in Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq show, the problem with Obama’s conception is it doesn’t work.  It is so bad that it makes GWB look good by comparison.

Joe Doakes

One of the standard jokes four years ago was that “everything about Obama’s foreign policy that’s succeeding [continuing Bush's hard line in Iraq and Afghanistan] is a continuation of the Bush policy”.

Simplistic?  Maybe.

Simplistic enough that Biden believed it:

And it’s gotta be simplistic for Biden to buy it.

 

Doakes Sunday: Timing

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The guy arrested for blowing up Benghazi claims he was there but he wasn’t attacking the consulate, he was directing traffic to reduce chaos caused by that infamous internet video!

I love the line about he’s going to pick up his kids after school.  The FBI has been on a 2-year intensive manhunt and this guy is giving interviews to Reuters.  Makes the FBI look about par with OJ’s hunt for “the real killer.”

Let’s see, timing of this arrest, is it suspicious at all?  Who’d want to find a scapegoat for Benghazi right about now so the trial could be over next year to clear the air for a Presidential run?  Who benefits by starting now to put this all behind us?  Who’s been peddling the internet video lie since the day of the attack, and what do you know, here’s a guy still peddling that lie?

Joe Doakes

The second worst thing about Administration’s like Obama’s is that they make it so easy – read “justified” – to mistrust government.

The worst thing?  That it make you mistrust those who voted for him.

The Right War

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

In 2008, Candidate Obama assured us the war in Iraq was the wrong war. He wanted to fight the right war in Afghanistan, against the Taliban.
In 2014, President Obama surrendered the Taliban high leadership back to the enemy and announced American troops will be leaving Afghanistan.
He picked the war. He lost it. His legacy.
Joe Doakes

Even those of us who tacitly agreed that Afghanistan needed the most emphasis have to be disappointed by Obama’s performance.

I Didn’t Fight The Law, And The Law Won Anyway

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

The attack on our consulate in Benghazi was long ago.  The President tweets his concern for kidnapped girls.  These incidents are reported as separate dots. Wretchardconnects the dots.

Boko Haram swears alliegence to Al Queda.  Yes, that Al Queda, the terrorist group that President Obama supposedly obliterated when he ordered Osama Bin Laden dead.   But it’s not dead.

Al Queda attacked our Benghazi consulate and dragged our ambassador through the streets.  It arms Boko Harum with weapons stolen in Libya so Boko Harum can kidnap Christian girls to sell into sexual slavery to Muslim slave-owners, all of which they justify by the Muslim religion, which we dare not offend, so Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State and Barack Obama as President didn’t name Boko Harum a terrorist group long ago.

The Benghazi attack and the kidnapped girls are battles in the war Fundamentalist Islam is waging against us, a war we refuse to admit exists and therefore refuse to fight.

This will not end well.

Joe Doakes

As I used to tell my “pacifist” friends (and some of my “anarcho-libertarian” acquaintances today) – just because you eschew war doesn’t mean war eschews you.

“…Being Necessary For The Security Of A Free State…”

Citizen militias have been winning parts of Mexico back from the narcotraficantes.  

To do this, they’ve broken what pass for “the rules”; they’ve fought violence with violence; they’ve used weapons that are utterly illegal in Mexico (assault rifles, obtained by the same illegal means that people always use to obtain guns where guns are banned). 

And it’s worked. 

And it worked against a backdrop of, at best, government incompetence (they’ve never been able to make a dent in the narcotraficantes stranglehold on the area) or complicity (the narcos have bought off or co-opted vast swathes of Mexico’s government, including judges, law enforcement and the military). 

So now that the government is trying to co-opt the one thing that’s worked against the cartels

The government will go town by town to organize and recruit the new rural forces.

“This is a process of giving legal standing to the self-defense forces,” said vigilante leader Estanislao Beltran.

… is it surprising that some of the locals aren’t buying it?

But tension remained on Friday in the coastal part of the state outside the port of Lazaro Cardenas, where other “self-defense” groups plan to continue as they are, defending their territory without registering their arms. Vigilantes against the demobilization have set up roadblocks in the coastal town of Caleta.

“We don’t want them to come, we don’t recognize them,” vigilante Melquir Sauceda said of the government and the new rural police forces. “Here we can maintain our own security. We don’t need anyone bringing it from outside.”

This is precisely why the Second Amendment is, and must always be, a right of the people; because government at best is modestly capable of doing the right thing, and at worst is as bad as or worse than the problem, when it isn’t itself the problem.

#FixEverythingBad!

Mark Steyn on hashtag diplomacy:

Plenty has been written about all the things that this photo…

…says about the United States today.  None of them good.

Steyn notes – as many have quoted – that it’s certainly not going to matter of inveighing Boko Haram (Nigerian for “So Long, Suckers!”) to “give the girls back”.  Someone’s going to have to either engage in some incredibly tough negotiation (the Bokos know they hold the cards), or take them back, if they can be found (and it’s likely they can’t).

But he brought up two other points – both of them tying the Boko Haram kidnappings to a story I wrote about last week, in which a California school issued an assignment asking students to present evidence that the Holocaust never happened.

Being unaware of the background details, I thought it might juuuuuust be possible it was a debate point, asking kids to step outside their comfort zone (waaaaay outside) to debate a point.

It wasn’t, of course (I’ll be adding the odd bit of emphasis) not, and my vestigial faith in the integrity of public school teachers is, as all-too-frequently, wasted:

That’s never a smart idea. The California schools superintendent who wanted his Eighth Graders to turn in essays arguing that the Holocaust didn’t happen is called Mohammad Z Islam. That’s why they got the assignment, not because they wanted to turn themselves into the Oxford Union. As Laura Rosen Cohen pointed out, there are all kinds of lively topics Mr Cooke might propose for our schools: Did Mohammed exist? What’s the deal with his nine-year-old bride? But in the real world even mild questioning of whether Islam is a “religion of peace” is beyond the pale, and across the Continent the Holocaust is disappearing from school curricula.

That’s the problem. There’s no point winning an Oxford debate if the other side win everything else.

And he notes that modern eighth-graders rarely know what the Holocaust is, much less how to have an Oxford Union-style debate on the subject.

And of course…:

In 1984, George Orwell wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

And it’s be hard to argue that the good guys are winning the present.

An Anniversary

It was ten years ago today that a roadside bomb in Anbar province killed two soldiers from the North Dakota Army National Guard’s 141st Engineer Battalion.

One of them, Specialist Brown, was the nephew of two of my high school classmates and of my seventh-grade history teacher. I remember him as a little kid, back in North Dakota in the eighties. His grandfather, as I recall, is a friend of my father’s.

Different people get different things out of remembering.  If nothing else, I hope it prompts you to send a prayer to the Brown and Holmes families, and all the families who’ve lost loved ones in this past decade and a half.

War Equals Peace, Winston

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

President Obama isn’t just the First Black President, he may also be the Most Belligerent. Aside from the ordinary garrison troops at US bases and embassies around the world, and not counting bombing sorties flown by drones, this President has dispatched American troops to put boots on the ground in conflicts in:

Iraq

Afghanistan

Pakistan

Kyrgyzstan

Egypt

Libya

Yeman

Sudan

Uganda

Central African Republic

Poland

and with this week’s the new agreement, the Philippines.

Can he get another Nobel Peace Prize, please? Because for a man this devoted to peace, one just doesn’t seem like enough.

To be fair, he didn’t start all of these conflicts, and wasn’t the first to send US troops to all of them.

To be even more fair, he got elected promising a foreign policy that relied less on military force and breaking things and making them go boom.

Kim Impossible

Bring me the Baha Men and the dogs they helped escape!

Are the Kims just crazy or crazy as a fox?

If there’s any regime on the planet that’s been only a Turkish Angoran cat and a monocle away from being a James Bond villain, it’s been the Kim dynasty of North Korea.  From the regime’s nuclear weapons program, to attacking the South Korean navy, shelling a South Korean island, and even declaring a “state of war” with their southern neighbors last March, North Korea has created a reputation as a teetering, despotic dynasty constantly on the verge of either collapse or thermonuclear genocide.  Or perhaps both.

Such an image has been cultivated, in large part, by the cult of personalty surrounding the Kims – and nourished by the reputation of them engaging in downright theatrically outlandish acts of evil.  So it is any wonder that news reports have surfaced that Kim Jong Un didn’t merely executed his purged uncle Jang Song Thaek, the number 2 North Korean official, but fed him alive to 120 dogs? (skip ahead if you’re squeamish):

“Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called ‘quan jue’, or execution by dogs,” according to the Straits Times of Singapore. The daily relied on a description of the execution in a Hong Kong newspaper that serves as the official mouthpiece of China’s government.

“The entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr. Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials,” the Straits Times said in a piece published Dec. 24, 2013, but only now getting traction in the United States.

There’s no report yet if when Jang Song Thaek asked Dear Leader if he expected him to talk, Kim Jong Un replied “no, Mr. Thaek, I expect you to die.”

All terrible Bond jokes aside, if the accusations sounds far fetched, it’s because they likely are:

The source is questionable, too. If the Chinese knew about how Kim’s uncle died, why didn’t they talk about it sooner and why did the story only leak out through a Hong Kong news outlet? The incident was first reported by the Wen Wei Po newspaper on December 12, yet it’s only now that The Straits Times has commented upon it – and only now that the Western media has started to take notice. The Straits Times is a respectable and widely read publication, but it’s often been accused of being the mouthpiece of Singapore’s ruling party and is staunchly anti-communist – so political bias is possible. Finally, we can’t dismiss the possibility that China itself has fabricated or at least encouraged the story to send a message to Pyongyang. Kim’s uncle was the architect of closer economic ties between the China and North Korea and there is thought to be a lot of anger about his death.

The story exists because it serves the purposes of all parties involved.  Kim Jong Un needs to maintain the aura of “crazy” that his grandfather and father created, for both foreign and domestic opponents.  Kim was reportedly the target of an assassination attempt last March by rival factions, perhaps being the impetus for Kim’s declaration of “war” later that month as an effort to put the country on a heightened security footing without exposing the weakness of his grip on power.

China loves the story because it gives them a further excuse to distant themselves from the hermit state after having lost their greatest internal political champion in Jang Song Thaek.  The South Koreans love the story because Pres. Park Geun-hye has taken a much harder line against the North, abandoning the “Sunshine Policy” of the 2000s in favor of a more Reaganesquse “trust but verify” approach (billed astrustpolitik by some foreign policy pundits).

The “Kims-as-crazy” story angle ensures no sizable shift in policy on the Korean peninsula, even though there has been a massive shift away from the reconciliation that the Sunshine Policy (1998-2008/9) attempted.  In an effort to extort South Korea and drive a wedge between them and the U.S., the Kims’ reckless behavior accomplished the exact opposite.

So perhaps the Kims are simply crazy after all.

In Memory…

…of Cindy Yuille and Steven Forsythe, who were murdered a year ago at this minute (3:25PM Pacific Time) in the Clackamas Town Center Mall in Portland, Oregon by Jacob Tyler Roberts, an insane, delusional narcissist…

…and the many, perhaps dozens, of people whom Roberts couldn’t murder in the ensuing minutes and hours, because Nick Meli – a citizen with a carry permit and a .40 cal Glock 22 – made Roberts stop short, and then end his shooting spree by killing himself.  (We talked about  it yesterday). 

If you see Representative Heather Martens, Jane Kay, their PR flak Doug Grow, Michael Paymar, Alice Hausman or any of the Twin Cities’ other gun grabbers, please do me a favor and remind them – Nick Meli saved more lives in that moment than they and their groups of smug, sanctimonious, sputtering hamsters ever will.

Wisdom Of Crowds

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Media is identifying this as the LAX shooter’s rifle.

What is it? The long bare snout looks like an M1 Carbine that my Dad carried in Korea:

20131103-162711.jpg. But it has a pistol grip the M1 didn’t have.

The body looks like wood, which nobody uses for modern assault rifles, they’re all black plastic, and the receiver is the same size as the fore-grip.

It doesn’t have the huge carrying handle of an AR-15 or a rail to attach scopes, etc.

Weird. What is it?

Joe Doakes

I’m gonna place it as a “Tacti-Cool” modified Ruger Mini-14. In its original form, it’s one of the most popular working guns in rural America…

…an excellent varmint gun, built on the legendary M-1 Garand operating system (which was adopted by the M-14 service rifle – hence the name “Mini-14″ – it’s basically an M-14 chambered for 5.56x45mm (like the AR-15/M-16/M-4 series) instead of the much more powerful 7.62x51mm round.

With some “tacti-cool” accessories added – as not a few police departments have done – it does a passable “assault rifle” impression:

That’d be my guess.

Any other takers?

Speaking of the LAX shooting – how about the absolute dearth of details about the alleged shooter?

A Pack, Not A Herd

Ted Nugent, famous gonzo guitarist and gun nut, says that armed, law-abiding citizens are likely the only coherent way that open societies have to protect against “soft target” terror attacks like the massacre Westgate Mall in Nairobi:

“Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”

Noble’s comments came only moments after the official opening of the 82nd annual gathering of the Interpol’s governing body, the General Assembly. The session is being held in Cartagena, Colombia, and is being used to highlight strides over the last decade in Colombia’s battle against the notorious drug cartels that used to be the real power in the country.

The secretary general, an American who previously headed up all law enforcement for the U.S. Treasury Department, told reporters during a brief news conference that the Westgate mall attack marks what has long been seen as “an evolution in terrorism.” Instead of targets like the Pentagon and World Trade Center that now have far more security since 9/11, attackers are focusing on sites with little security that attract large numbers of people.

Wait – “Noble?”  I thought it was Ted Nugent…

…oh, I can’t keep a straight face.  It’s not Ted Nugent.  It’s Ronald Noble, who is in charge of Interpol. 

And if Interpol – an agent of international statism – is finally twigging to the idea that the citizens are their own best last line of defense (short of absurd levels of “security”, which we all know means “Security Theater”, and for the most part immense sacrifice of freedom. 

Your choice.

He’ll Never Do Lunch In This Town Again

Remember the spring of 2009?  Obama and his hope’nchange had just been inaugurated – so everyone was still blaming Bush for everything. 

And at the Humphrey Center, a conclave of journalist fanboys attended a shinding with Village Voice journo Seymour Hersh, hosted by Walter Mondale at the Humphrey Center, to pimp Hersh’s upcoming book claiming that Bush and Cheney used Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) as their personal hit squad (while not noting that JSOC was a creation of the Carter Administration in which Mondale served as vice president). 

I’m thinking his next shinding in the Twin Cities might be a little sparser in attendance; Hersh is now claiming that Obama used JSOC to falsify the narrative of the Bin Laden raid. 

And Hersh isn’t that impressed by his fanboys in the media, either:

The book will also discuss Hersh’s view that the U.S. media hasn’t committed enough resources to investigative journalism.

Hersh tells The Guardian that the ‘pathetic’ U.S. media ‘is afraid to pick on this guy (President Obama).’

“It’s pathetic, they are more than obsequious,” Hersh said of the American media. “They are afraid to pick on this guy (Obama).”

“It used to be when you were in a situation when something very dramatic happened, the president and the minions around the president had control of the narrative, you would pretty much know they would do the best they could to tell the story straight,” he said.

“Now that doesn’t happen anymore. Now they take advantage of something like that and they work out how to re-elect the president.”

Now, we need to be clear about a few things up front; Sy Hersh is as a rule no more based in reality than Minnesota Progressive Project

And yet liberal media types revere him, along with Bob Woodward, as the acme of the craft.

 I’m guessing that’ll change, and the US media will start devoting resources to investigating…

..Seymour Hersh

Just a hunch.