What’s a Strategy?

Well, we have no strategy, he says. I would bet a lot of money that I don’t have that the intelligence and defense communities, and maybe even the state department have some ideas and probably some full blown strategies but, he doesn’t like them. Why? Most likely because they consist of the military breaking some heads. Can’t go around breaking (even misguided) Muslim head, don’t you know.

Besides he’s advocated running away from Iraq for 10 years now, and managed to do it. For a while. But you know, and I know, and even David Cameron seems to know that evil must be confronted, and ISIS is evil. Godwin’s law be damned, it is every bit as evil as Nazi Germany was. Right now it is not that powerful but, if we let it fester it will be.

Here’s Cameron’s press conference. I’m far from his biggest fan but, at least he seems to have clue, and he’s not off fundraising somewhere, he’s actually doing his job.

 

We all know that a full blown plan isn’t put together, we expect that when the boss is on a continual vacation, but maybe it would be possible to do a bit of something instead of leaving town every couple days.

A Time for War

A US flagAngelo Codevilla has thought, like most of us, about ISIS. Like most of us, also, he sees problems ahead. He also sees a path to victory, and victory is the only useful term in this context.

 If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take

The Islamic State’ video-dissemination of one of its goons beheading an American is an existential challenge from which we cannot afford to shrink. Until the Islamic State ISIS/ISIL/IS did that, it made sense for the U.S. government to help contain it because the Islamic world, which the IS threatens most directly, must destroy it sooner or later. But internetting that beheading was a gory declaration of America’s impotence—a dare-by-deed that is sure to move countless young persons around the globe to get in on killing us, anywhere they can. The longer the Islamic State survives, the more will take up its dare. Either we kill the IS, or we will deserve the wave of terrorism that will engulf us.

Killing the IS requires neither more nor less than waging war—not as the former administration waged its “war on terror,” nor by the current administration’s pinpricks, nor according to the too-clever-by-half stratagems taught in today’s politically correct military war colleges, but rather by war in the dictionary meaning of the word. To make war is to kill the spirit as well as the body of the enemy, so terribly as to make sure that it will not rise again, and that nobody will want to imitate it.

via If You Want To Stop ISIS, Here Is What It Will Take.

I think he is correct. We can denigrate the force of the murder of an American, if we choose but, to other people around the world, is was a taunting of an impotent country, essentially a bully kicking sand in our eyes. Most of us know about that, from either our experience, or friend’s experiences. We also know that it only ends when superior force is applied, thereby punishing that behavior.

But how does one apply that in international relations? Just as Mr. Codevilla says, or in other equally effective ways. We are the United States of America, nothing exists in this world without our (at least tacit) approval. Do we approve of this behavior? We do if we don’t respond properly.

The way its supposed to work for a global superpower, whether it’s a Roman Legionaire, or an American Marine, is this. That Marine walks down the gangplank of the ship, airplane, whatever, and the entire country cowers in fear. Why? Because the Americans are coming, and everybody know that they are either your best friends, or your worst enemies, and what are we? Have we done enough to earn their friendship.

Now granted, that’s a major change in how our elites think of us. It requires a pride in America’s past, and a belief in America’s future. Not the tendency to blame everything in the world on America (and Britain). Can they make that change? I have doubts. But there are plenty of Americans who can, perhaps that murder in the desert also marked a turning point in the life of the nation. Pearl Harbor saved us for a generation but, we started slipping back under the Nomenklatura‘s sway when we didn’t fight Korea to win, and further, much further, when we allowed our government to throw away our victories in Vietnam, and Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Much of this will be an air war, and it is ideal terrain for it. Interestingly, we won air superiority in about March 1944 of Europe, without it the invasion would have failed, we have never relinquished it.

Mr. Codevilla has here shown us one strategic plan, no doubt there are other viable options. But that doesn’t really matter, yet. What matters, as it always has, is will. Will to fight, will to persevere, and especially the will to win, not on points, as it were, but a complete, undeniable victory.

Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV)

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

And now, it has become a time for war, that in time there will be a time for victory, and then a time for peace,

all in their appointed hour.

Once More Into the Breach, Dear Friends?

On 26 September 1580, a ship docked in Portsmouth, England. That wasn’t unusual, then as now it was one of England’s great ports. But this particular docking would echo through history. For this was the Golden Hind, returning from the first circumnavigation of the world by a non-Spaniard. Soon the captain, Francis Drake, would be knighted on the ship’s deck, by Queen Elizabeth I, and in a few years he would play a key role in the Battle with the Armada.

Elizabeth’s father Henry VIII, did some things that are important to this story, he established the Royal Navy, for the first time it became a force that was always ready. And he took England out of the Roman Church, which allowed her to go her own way, mostly looking outward, and not being involved with European politics as much as before.

But the reason this echoes so loudly in history wasn’t evident that day or even after the Armada had been stood off. It started to become apparent when England went to war with its King in the Civil War and even more so when the second chapter of that war saw the end of the first Empire, and the establishment of the United States.

Because what Sir Francis Drake accomplished that day in Portsmouth, was nothing less than the founding of the modern world, with all its freedom. If you look around at the world we live in. A world without legal slavery, where we are governed by our consent through objective law, and all the rest, you will find something surprising. It is all an English invention. It took England about 800 hundred years to put it together, and the rest of us in western civilization mostly copied it. Too often we forget that as Lady Astor somewhat unfairly said, our revolution was simply, “English freemen fighting against a German King for English rights”.

But now, in 2014, we are watching in horror as an evil group of thugs, misappropriate a religion, Islam, for the purpose of enforcing their will on the world. Nobody can claim they don’t aim high, at any rate.

anglosphere1But once again, the main obstacle between these thugs and their victory are the English Speaking Peoples. We are the ones that could have stopped Hitler easily in say 1934, but we were tired and worried about making a living. We paid for that mistake later, but Hitler and his henchman caused a holocaust of unparalleled scope in Europe. We learned from that and managed to face down Stalin and his successors without ending the world. But as the Soviet Union self-destructed, we declared it the end of history. We should have known better, evil never sleeps, it always looks for room to expand.

And so, we were attacked, in New York, and in London as the new century started, and we responded, as we always have. But this time we tried a kinder, gentler form of war, and attempted to make it easy on the local population, and to help them become like us. It seems as if it may have been a mistake.

The Hollow Men 5And so, here we are, with the weakest leadership our country has had since we entered the world stage in about 1900. They seem to have no clue what to do next.

That’s not surprising, the president has spent his entire life voting present while denigrating the military. Nor has he ever either led or managed anything. And yet, we elected him, twice. I guess we were/are tired of war.

But is war tired of us?

In business, as in war, one must have a strategy (an overriding plan). It seems to me, with an enemy as close to pure evil as ISIS, the only reasonable objective is to destroy it, root and branch, as we did the Nazis.

One level down from that is how are you going to accomplish your goal. Well, kids that’s why we have a military, and all its planners. We knew (and so did the British) on 7 December 1941 the broad outline of how we were going to fight World War Two. It was called RAINBOW. And we went on to execute it, and win, unconditionally. This is a specialized area of planning, and politicians are well advised to leave it to the military, just as I don’t tell a journeyman how to do his job. Give him the tools, and tell him what needs to be done.

And the same is true for tactics, if the guys in the field want an A-10 don’t send a B-2, at least if you can help it. In many ways our forces are best used as a force multiplier, they can do things no one else in the world can do. But a rifleman is basically a rifleman, whether he’s from London, Omaha, or Baghdad.

But the key thing here is, as it always is, the will of the people, and especially the leadership, and that is what worries me. When Obama said these guys are the JV, he spoke the truth, but the JV is much better than the girls 5th grade team, especially if they know that to lose is to die. And the JV will win if the varsity doesn’t show up.

But neither is that preordained, we have not only agency over ourselves but over what we do for and to others, for we are free people, and we are sovereign over our governments. For nearly five hundred years we, the English Speaking Peoples, have built the modern world in our image. We have endowed it with most of the comforts, including a full belly, that we innovated, and with the possibility of making oneself free to act in one own best interest. And so the question becomes, “Have we become too soft, too self-centered, to act once again for the good against evil, or will we once again rise to the challenge to make the world a better place, for ourselves, certainly, but also for others, whom we will never meet or know?”

And some of our nationalities have won their fame with all of us

For a long time now, they have been known as “The Ladies from Hell”, and they have earned it, from friend and foe alike, by their uncompromising stand, for freedom from oppression, no matter the odds.

But this isn’t “proud Edward’s power, with slavery and chains”. This is a bunch of ragtag so-called terrorists, who are really no more than well armed bullies. Are we, the guarantors of freedom for five hundred years really going to sit back while they murder and enslave ancient civilizations? All Europe will do is finance them by paying ransom but, our people learned about that long ago, when we found out how hard it is to get rid of the Dane when you pay the Danegeld.

A bit more than seventy years ago, a guy by the name of Hitler, said he would wring England’s neck like a chicken. Churchill said “Some Chicken, some neck”. A friend of mine, an Englishmen reminded me yesterday that we are the same people who Churchill was speaking of. Maybe we should begin acting like it again.

When have we ever not heeded this call

Truly, it is time to once again

Sound the trumpet that shall never call retreat

As Christ died to make men holy,

let us live to make men free.

Of War and Duty

The Colossus of Freedom

The Colossus of Freedom

And so, we come to it, don’t we, ISIS/ISIL/IS has decided they are at war with the United States, which isn’t much surprise. I’m confident that like the other enemies that have found us, such as Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, assorted Barbary Pirates, and a few others, their Hubris will eventually meet Nemesis. I was very angry this week when James Foley was murdered by this thuggish group of so-called terrorists.

I will further admit that my anger deepened as I learned that of all of what we call western civilization, only the United States and the United Kingdom do not pay ransom to these thugs for their captives. In fact, that is one of the major sources of their funding. We don’t because we know better.

But it is very important to make such decision not in anger but coldly and with calculation, and with recourse to prayer, and to our conscience. And so let us reflect on our duty to God, and to man.

The first foreign war of the United States was The First Barbary War which was fought because the Bashaw of Tripoli kept demanding tribute to leave our merchantmen alone. That was in 1801.

The Uk has even older experience, summed up this way

As always, Kipling nails it.

We have an incident from the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, in which an American, named Ion Perdicaris was kidnapped by a tribal leader known as the Raisuli who demanded ransom from the Bey of Algiers, by the time it was resolved the entire Atlantic Flotilla was in Algiers harbor, ready to do what, no one knows (or knew then, for that matter) but the point was made. Do not screw with Americans. I’m fairly certain that there are equivalent British incidents somewhere in the Levant. It’s a lesson that needs to be taught periodically, it seems.

Be that as it may, wise men usually believe people who tell them that their bands of thugs are at war with them. That’s true even if our State department teenage spokeschick doesn’t understand.

I hope (forlornly, most likely) that the government is as embarrassed at her nonsense as I am.

But in any case, these thugs, who claim to be a ‘State’ also claim to be at war with the United States of America. Incidentally, the blowhard who said he was going to fly the IS flag from the White House won’t be, he’s worm food now, courtesy of the United States.

But much more importantly can we, of the west, legitimately claim this is a war, and more, a just war? Well the source for that is St. Thomas Aquinas, in The Summa Theologica; Part II, Question 40. St. Thomas says this, in part:

I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. For it is not the business of a private individual to declare war, because he can seek for redress of his rights from the tribunal of his superior. Moreover it is not the business of a private individual to summon together the people, which has to be done in wartime. And as the care of the common weal is committed to those who are in authority, it is their business to watch over the common weal of the city, kingdom or province subject to them. And just as it is lawful for them to have recourse to the sword in defending that common weal against internal disturbances, when they punish evil-doers, according to the words of the Apostle (Rm. 13:4): “He beareth not the sword in vain: for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil”; so too, it is their business to have recourse to the sword of war in defending the common weal against external enemies. Hence it is said to those who are in authority (Ps. 81:4): “Rescue the poor: and deliver the needy out of the hand of the sinner”; and for this reason Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 75): “The natural order conducive to peace among mortals demands that the power to declare and counsel war should be in the hands of those who hold the supreme authority.”

Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. Wherefore Augustine says (Questions. in Hept., qu. x, super Jos.): “A just war is wont to be described as one that avenges wrongs, when a nation or state has to be punished, for refusing to make amends for the wrongs inflicted by its subjects, or to restore what it has seized unjustly.”

Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil. Hence Augustine says (De Verb. Dom. [*The words quoted are to be found not in St. Augustine's works, but Can. Apud. Caus. xxiii, qu. 1]): “True religion looks upon as peaceful those wars that are waged not for motives of aggrandizement, or cruelty, but with the object of securing peace, of punishing evil-doers, and of uplifting the good.” For it may happen that the war is declared by the legitimate authority, and for a just cause, and yet be rendered unlawful through a wicked intention. Hence Augustine says (Contra Faust. xxii, 74): “The passion for inflicting harm, the cruel thirst for vengeance, an unpacific and relentless spirit, the fever of revolt, the lust of power, and such like things, all these are rightly condemned in war.”

Seems pretty clear cut to me, as long as we are protecting (or attempting to, the victims of ISIS, we are fine, and I fail to see anything these folks have that we want enough to fight a war over.

I’ll readily grant that opinions over the second gulf war are divided, although I recognize that the way it worked out it would have been better not to fight it.

But that’s a reason not to attempt nation-building, not an excuse to shirk our duty to protect the weak. We have learned, or at least we should have, that we cannot, in a reasonable time, teach people how to build a western country. We accomplished it in the Philippines, Britain almost accomplished it in India (that might yet work out). But in all cases it is a very long drawn out process, requiring scores of years to centuries.

And in truth, it took us centuries to make the “rule of law’ work in our home countries, and we are again wondering if we shall have to fight a civil war for it.

The sad part is, that given our leadership in America, and maybe Britain as well (although Cameron sounds much better lately than Obama) we will likely have to wait until we have new leadership. That will have costs to our countries, and may have catastrophic cost to those who are neighbors of or conquered by IS. But our countries have never yet been ready for war when it came, and it has always cost us, and it has always cost innocent people but, it is the mark of peaceful people, I think.

A Remembrance of Freedom

This will be likely the saddest post seen in many days on NEO.

I think you all know by now, that I am very definitely an Anglophile, I love the English nearly as much as I do the Americans but, it is increasingly becoming a dysfunctional relationship, as Britain sinks into being simply another European province, and sells its heritage of freedom for a mess of European stagnation. Still, it’s their country to do with as they will. For all that it troubles me greatly.

My co-author and editor here, Jessica, has taken her blog, All Along the Watchtower, private.

It was not by choice but because pressure was applied, and as we have several times noted here, free speech does not exist in the United Kingdom. While I grieve at the development, I would have made the same decision, it was a matter of loyalty and honor, and I would have had her do no other.

Understand this, my American readers, when you say, “It can’t happen here.” You are wrong, It can, and it has, happened here, and it will again. I also pray that you remember, as I do, that our rights come from English law, and as we move toward the 800th anniversary of Magna Charta, ours are in more danger now than they have ever been before as well.

Here is her announcement, in its entirety (if she doesn’t like it, she can sue me!)

From Saturday 16 August, this blog will be accessible only to registered readers with a WordPress account. I will be sorry to lose new readers, and anyone who wants access to it or to existing content can do so by requesting it.

Our thanks to all our readers, but it seems increasingly difficult for some of my contributors to combine free speech and employment, and I cannot be responsible for harm coming to others.

Thank you for your company across the last two and a half years, and God bless you all.

Jess xx

AATW has been one of the most stalwart Christian blogs in the UK, representing all Christian viewpoints. I have been honored by the friendship of my fellow contributors there, nearly since the blogs beginnings, and I shall miss the fellowship, the friendship, and the sharing of knowledge that has meant so much to me. Through it also, Jessica, herself has become my dearest friend, and I must say that this contretemps angers me greatly. It is indeed a tawdry end for a wonderful vision. I note that Jessica, herself, will continue to write here, and that is nearly the only ray of good news involved.

From Tennyson, one of Queen Victoria’s favorites

A happy lover who has come
To look on her that loves him well,
Who ‘lights and rings the gateway bell,
And learns her gone and far from home;

He saddens, all the magic light
Dies off at once from bower and hall,
And all the place is dark, and all
The chambers emptied of delight:

So find I every pleasant spot
In which we two were wont to meet,
The field, the chamber, and the street,
For all is dark where thou art not.

Yet as that other, wandering there
In those deserted walks, may find
A flower beat with rain and wind,
Which once she foster’d up with care;

So seems it in my deep regret,
O my forsaken heart, with thee
And this poor flower of poesy
Which little cared for fades not yet.

But since it pleased a vanish’d eye,
I go to plant it on his tomb,
That if it can it there may bloom,
Or, dying, there at least may die.

 

An all too “brief and shining moment”, indeed. I will carry its memory to the grave.

For truly, it has been my second home, and I would give anything, save honor, to have it continue.

Video Friday

Let’s start with Bill Whittle on Putin (Hint: he’s not a friend of freedom)

 

And Andrew Klavan explains income redistribution

 

Simplified a bit, he doesn’t account for the huge overhead involved but, he is correct.

Bill Whittle again on Robin Williams and 20 other very important people who died that day.

 

A few days ago, Sean Hannity interviewed PM Benjamin Netanyahu, and it’s here

 

And this, just to round out the day

%d bloggers like this: