Leftover Turkey Day and How Do We Solve a Problem Like Syria

English: Iraq Defense Minister Abdul Qadir pre...

English: Iraq Defense Minister Abdul Qadir presents a gift to U.S. Army General David Petraeus during a farewell ceremony in Baghdad on September 15, 2008. Petraeus turned over command of Multi-National Forces – Iraq to Army General Raymond Odierno on September 16. Petraeus has served in three command positions in Iraq since 2003. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little bit of leftover business from Jess’ new post yesterday, she also had a message for us as Americans:

As some of you know, I spent a year in America when I was younger, and that intensified a love of America that came from a crush on John Wayne and a love of American films. It’s so easy, looking and admiring that great nation, to forget how precarious were its origins, and now, with so much political correctness, almost to have to apologise for them. But those brave Pilgrims might easily have suffered the fate of those Vikings who had tried to establish settlement much earlier, and in fact almost did suffer that fate. But their faith in God which led them to cross a vast ocean in vulnerable wooden ships, kept them firm and saw them through. May that be said of us all – and let us always give thanks to Him who alone is truly worthy of all thanks and praise.

I don’t think truer words were ever spoken written.

 But that isn’t to say that all of our problems are due to political correctness, although it has much to do with why we can’t seem to solve them. As Jess and I both know, in order to solve a problem first you have to define it, and then define a plan for dealing with it. And that is much of the problem with IS (which someone this week defined as Islamic Scumbags, which I like). A retired British officer wrote about this in The Spectator this week. You need to read the whole article, but I’m going to give you a few highlights.

Like most British soldiers of my generation, I fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Few would now justify the reasons for invading Iraq; most of us who fought there at first recognised the amateurish nature of the strategy and its lack of realistic political objectives. But in 2007, under General Petraeus, the coalition adopted a new strategy that was underpinned by coherent policy. This stemmed from the recognition that unless common cause was found with moderate Sunnis, a workable Iraqi polity could never be established.

The rapid improvements that flowed from this change were impressive but disgracefully shortlived. The US departure from Iraq in 2010 allowed the Shi’ite Nuri Al Maliki a free rein to threaten Sunni interests and explains the Iraqi half of today’s tragedy in the Middle East.

In the other half, the West has shown similar strategic illiteracy in Syria. Efforts to excite opposition to Assad were unsupported by even the remotest understanding of what might follow. Just as with Saddam and Gaddafi, no credible alternative to Assad waits in the wings.

Part of this stems from the crisis of confidence experienced by both the US and UK as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan. The prevailing judgment is that all interventions are ill-advised, especially those involving boots on the ground. The best the West can do is to bomb from a safe distance and make half-hearted efforts to raise local militias. Bombing and drone strikes have their place if properly targeted, but no aircraft has ever held ground. Without western forces, local militias will continue to be highly unreliable.

[…] Until there is a change of policy, Obama is unlikely to provide the lead that he should. And Cameron has shown no appetite to have the sort of relationship that Churchill had with his military chiefs, preferring instead the advice of his intelligence agencies. Agency heads can give you the intelligence, but they are unqualified to determine the solutions.

(Emphasis mine) I think that is a good nutshell description of the problems we face in the UK and US.

The House of Commons should therefore ask itself the following questions:

— What is the political objective and is it realistic?

— Can a grand coalition of the willing be created under US leadership which can coalesce around the same political objective?

— If a grand coalition cannot be created (without for instance Russia and Iran), how would this affect the strategy?

— What military resources will be needed to achieve the objective?

— If, for political reasons, the right military means are judged unacceptable (notably ground forces), then would doing nothing be better than doing something?

— After the political objective has been achieved, are we willing to show strategic patience and stay the course?

If the government can produce sensible answers to these questions, then its strategy should be supported. But if not, the House of Commons would be wise to wait.

So emphatically should Congress, because we know the executive hasn’t the knowledge or the will to, and it should resume its rightful place as one of the keys of the American system, which seems nearly as doubtful, as is anybody doing the work of defining this problem and then its solution.

As I said above, you should read the whole article. It is: How to defeat Isis, by a retired British commander.


Trifecta: Paris

There is simply nothing to add to this.

Except perhaps this. And yes, I do see many parallels between Corbyn’s Labor party and a large portion of our own Democratic Party, including its leadership.

Corbyn and his Marxist cronies see a terrorist victory as their path to power

The Labour party now has as its main objective the establishment of a socialist one-party republic. The Leader of the Opposition is a neo-communist, as is his shadow chancellor. They associate with neo-communist groups, like Owen Jones’s People’s Assembly.  The people Jeremy Corbyn is recruiting as his advisers follow in this tradition. They seem to see terrorism on British streets as a possible path to power.

Of course, as I have written before, they cannot openly admit their communism as the use of the c-word has invited ridicule since the fall of the Berlin Wall, if not before. The MPs of the Parliamentary Labour Party, most of whom did not vote for Corbyn even if some actually nominated him, are seen as irrelevant compared to the thousands of members, old and new, and the trades unions that are ranged in support of the new Labour leader. This is despite the fact that as MPs they have been elected by ordinary voters and not card-carrying union or party members and thus have the greatest democratic mandate within the party.

Labour’s rulebook makes it all but impossible to topple an incumbent Labour leader, a glaring but obviously socialistic omission compared to the party rules of the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, which have both allowed MPs to oust clear vote-losers in a timely and efficient manner. Indeed, Corbyn is proposing a change in the rules to make it certain that he cannot be ousted, or if he is, he is replaced by a fellow-thinker.  Nominating Corbyn in the name of ‘widening the debate’ has been a disaster and an act of insane socialist doublethink by those MPs who did not support him.

Wanting to establish a socialist one-party republic is not a new aim of the Labour party. Leading figures of the Labour movement have wanted the establishment of a left-wing dictatorship before. The 1983 manifesto was more or less explicit about it. Back in the 1970s, the only dispute was exactly who would be in charge once this ‘socialist utopia’ had been established. Writing in The Spectator in 2009, Douglas Eden of the University of London tells of an argument between two hard-left Labour grandees:

I can still recall the knock-down argument at Blackpool between Jack Jones and Ian Mikardo, representing the union and parliamentary wings of the pro-Soviet Left respectively, as to whether the coming far-left government of their desire would be run by the TUC General Council (or Soviet?) or the Parliamentary Labour Party. They infuriated each other, and left the meeting without shaking hands or resolving the argument. The revolution was not in question — its proponents were arguing over who should control post-revolutionary power.”

Source: Paul T Horgan: Corbyn and his Marxist cronies see a terrorist victory as their path to power


I will tell you want Isis don’t want. Overwhelming western military force

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and France's President Francois Hollande arrive at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron have paid a visit to the Bataclan concert venue in central Paris, which saw the worst carnage of the Paris attacks that killed over 120 people. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, left, and France’s President Francois Hollande arrive at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Monday, Nov. 23, 2015. French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron have paid a visit to the Bataclan concert venue in central Paris, which saw the worst carnage of the Paris attacks that killed over 120 people. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

This! Where, in God’s name, is the fire from our governments? We have been attacked (still again) and while David Cameron and François Hollande are making some of the right noises, and doing some of the right things, it seems to me to be rather half-hearted. We are not going to defeat IS from 29,999 feet, the only way is at the muzzle of a rifle. This is from Laura Perrins, and is directed to the British people and government. She’s right, and it applies with major emphasis to the American people and government as well.

Isis don’t do trigger warning; they just do triggers. It is time to get angry.

If you do not feel angry, very angry, about the Paris atrocity then there is something wrong with you. However, as Brendan O’Neill pointed out, at every second turn we are told to calm down because to show any other emotion other than sentiment is ‘what the so-called Islamic State (Isis) want!’

True to form, in The Times on Saturday Janice Turner told us, ‘Keep our words cool.’

No I don’t think I will, thanks. What is there to be cool about? The same paper rightly made space to remember all 130 people who were gunned down by these Islamist Scumbags, so accurately described by Andrew Neil. […]

Herein lies my exasperation; that this at times sentimental show is aired in place of genuine anger towards these barbaric killers and in particular the liberal governing elite and intelligence services who let it happen. Long ago countries used to build defences to keep the enemy out – our elite invited them in with their useless mad, no border policy.

Notably the Left have a new slapdown, one cannot ask any hard questions because to do so is ‘doing Isis’s job for them.’ […]

What is wrong with these people? What part of ‘I hate you and your entire way of life that I want to blow you to bits’ don’t they understand?

It is not our foreign policy, our non-existent refugee policy (refugees welcome!) multiculturalism or indeed a more demanding form of integration they hate. It is our existence – a liberal society, freedom of speech and religion, and the Christian heritage – that they hate. They wish to destroy this and return to “a seventh–century legal environment, and ultimately to bring(ing) about the Apocalypse.”

Apocalypse – not hug a refugee – Apocalypse. Go negotiate with that.

Source: Laura Perrins: I will tell you want Isis don’t want. Overwhelming western military force

Not to say that a good many Brits don’t get it. I was quite amazed to see this on the BBC. I wanted to stand up and cheer.

The only reason that won’t happen is if Pogo is right:

We have met the enemy and he is us.

Moe Lane over at RedState had some parallel thoughts:

Are you afraid of terrorism? Or just simply angry about it?

We call this ‘projection,’ where I come from.

After the attacks in Paris, the world is again challenged by fear.

I suppose that I should be used to this, after a decade and a half of listening to well-meaning fools uttering it, but; I’m not. Or at least I’m not willing to let it remain unanswered, out of sheer weariness if nothing else. If I’m weary of anything, it’s being told that I’m scared, just because some editorial writer on the NYT is scared and so he* thinks everybody is scared, too. […]

So if the alternative to fear is not hate – if hate is merely a subset of fear – then what is the true alternative?  Why, it’s anger. I didn’t get scaredabout the enemy after 9/11; I got mad at them.  How dare those people come halfway across the world to strike at a city that I loved and murder my fellow citizens and try to kill people just like me. How dare they insert their literally medieval fantasy ideology into my daily life. The terrorists had no justification, and they had no right.  And they made a hideous mistake back then, because while an angry man might make mistakes, those mistakes pale in comparison with the mistakes that a fearful man will make

Source: Are you afraid of terrorism? Or just simply angry about it?

That’s my take. I may die in this mess, although I doubt it, but you know something, I’m going to die anyway. What’s to be afraid of? It’s far better to die on your feet than to live on your knees, hoping for some scraps from your master’s table, especially when he’s a seventh-century thug. As always the Bible has guidance for us. From Ecclesiastes.

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, once again, it has become a time for war.

The Worldwide Domino Effect of the French Attacks

I don’t really know enough about Europe to even have an opinion, but I know what I read here, and some over there as well, and I think Leon H. Wolf over at RedState may well be on to something.

The series of coordinated attacks by ISIS in Paris may not even be over, but they may have already set into motion a series of events that may shape the globe for years to come in ways that we cannot even predict at the moment.

Lost in much of the media coverage of the attacks in France is the fact that they occurred mere weeks before France’s national regional council elections, which serve as a rough comparison to our off-year elections. Before these attacks even occurred, France’s far-right National Front party was poised to take somewhere between one and three regions – an unprecedented level of power for a party that was long sullied by its association with Jean Marie Le Pen. National Front is now led by Le Pen’s daughter Marine, who has purged the party of its anti-Semites and made it respectable; in fact, Marine Le Pen is currently leading in the polling for France’s next Presidential elections (to be held in 2017).

Hollande, meanwhile, has been in deep doo doo polling-wise for over a year, with approval ratings that hit a stunning 13 per cent earlier this year. Hollande has rebounded somewhat as the year has gone on, but he still polls a distant third behind Le Pen and Sarkozy. France has a Presidential primary that is roughly similar to Louisiana’s “jungle primary” system, and it has looked for some time like the final round would be between the conservative Sarkozy and the even more conservative Le Pen, with liberals and Hollande supporters throwing the win to Sarkozy in the final round.

Source: The Worldwide Domino Effect of the French Attacks | RedState

Cerberus: Potemkin Village Europe postures in face of the Islamic threat

6007542-3x2-940x627I’ll eventually have some thoughts on Paris that go beyond “God be with you, and we are praying for you”. But not yet. I suspect though they will closely parallel the two articles from The Conservative Woman that I’m featuring this morning.

We have been here before, too many times: 9/11, the Madrid train bombings, the Bali bomb, 7/7, the Mumbai killings, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the slaughter of British tourists on a beach in Tunisia, and countless assaults on civilians in the benighted cities of the Middle East. Each time, in the West, the response is much the same. Expressions of shock and horror by the survivors and their fellow citizens; condemnation by political leaders engaged in a quest for yet more superlatives to express their revulsion; tightened security; a hunt for the perpetrators of the atrocity and their accomplices; revelations of police blunders that enabled the attackers to strike; and vague talk of military action against the terrorist masterminds.

All this we are witnessing in the aftermath of the inhuman cruelty of the Paris shootings. President Hollande has accused Islamic State (IS) of an “act of war” against France and vowed a “merciless” response. Security has been stepped up in cities across Europe. Special forces are on the streets on London. EU leaders have issued a joint statement pledging to crush IS by all means possible.

Tearful young Parisiens attempt to console one another by hugging in the streets. But no amount of candles, flowers and teddy bears or cries of defiance will change anything. “We are young, educated and liberal. This is what they hate”, declaimed the headline in The Sunday Times. But that fails to get to the heart of the matter. They hate us because we exist. And they have done these terrible things because we are weak.

France and by extension other Western nations have been badly served by their political masters. Nearly 15 years ago, in response to the 9/11 al-Qaeda assault on the Twin Towers, which claimed nearly 3,000 lives, the West, led by America, embarked on the war on terror. But as the war turned sour, failing to produce the instant victory demanded by the video games generation, public support ebbed and the resolve of presidents and prime ministers faltered. The boys were brought home, creating the power vacuum in the Middle East that led to the rise of IS and the mayhem on the streets of Paris this weekend.

Had America maintained the near 200,000 troops it had in Iraq during the 2007 surge would we now be witnessing the implosion of Syria and Iraq and the migrant exodus that threatens to overwhelm Europe and bring in its train a fifth column of young jihadists ready, willing and able to emulate the brutality on show at the Bataclan concert hall?

After Charlie Hebdo in January,  political leaders such as Hollande, Merkel and David Cameron led a march of millions of people through Paris to parade their defiance of the jihadi killers, their love of freedom and their solidaity. Je suis Charlie, was the cry, just as today we hear, in more troubled and muted tones, Je suis Paris.

But is a mass emote all they can do? Isn’t this all about them and not the poor young men and women mercilessly gunned down on Friday night? More pertinently, do our leaders think that all they have to do is parade their virtue – their sorrow, their sympathy, their compassion, their humanity – and all will be well? Can you imagine a Churchill or a Thatcher responding to an atrocity like Charlie Hebdo or this latest horror with empty gestures of defiance?

Source: Cerberus: Potemkin Village Europe postures in face of the Islamic threat

Not to mention:

Yesterday morning I awoke to the news that there had been some terrible event. At first, I wasn’t sure what it was and that bafflement lasted  through my breakfast.  Apparently, according to Radio 4, something terrible had happened to some Muslims in Paris. The Today programme said  there had been a terrorist attack, many people were dead, and an earnest voice said that, ‘Muslims of Europe are now in danger.’

I heard other voices saying the right wing in France was about to go on the rampage and wondered if there had been an Anders Breivik style massacre. Others said that multiculturalism was now under serious threat. A Muslim commentator, Egyptian German, Dr Asiem El Difraoui, discussed the impact the attacks on Paris may have on French politics:

‘We are a couple of weeks away from regional elections. We know that the extreme Right is emerging as a very strong party,’ he said, highlighting the concerns he shares with the BBC and the Liberal/Left.

‘I really hope that France is not going to react hysterically,’ he went on, explaining: ‘Paris is in shock. It’s much too early to draw conclusions.’

Which conclusions was he waiting for, one wondered. By about 8.30am the fog of liberal obfuscation had faded and I was clear, like everyone else, that this was the terrorist attack by Isil in the heart of Europe, long promised by them. One hundred and twenty seven young people had been shot dead,  one hundred more were critically injured. They were not Muslims at all, but Christian and secular, out and about at a rock concert, a football match and drinking in popular bars.

It was clear that the co-ordinated attacks had been committed by well trained young men who took time coolly reloading their assault rifles and Skorpion sub-machine guns. Nothing, certainly not the French security services employed by President Holland’s Socialist government, had stood up to their determination to kill and maim the ‘infidel.’

Source: Mass migration and multiculturalism drive us further apart.

Incidently that French air strike, good as it was, was about two-thirds the size of The Doolittle Raid. That needs to happen several times an hour. My guess is the French don’t have the ordnance to do much more, and nobody but the US/UK have the logistics to get there, unless of course the fired up the trucks and told Turkey to lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.

But given the West’s leadership, I doubt it matters, they haven’t the guts to even name the enemy.

The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates

From Mark Steyn, on Paris and other things.

As I write, Paris is under curfew for the first time since the German occupation, and the death toll from the multiple attacks stands at 158, the vast majority of them slaughtered during a concert at the Bataclan theatre, a delightful bit of 19th century Chinoiserie on the boulevard Voltaire. The last time I was there, if memory serves, was to see Julie Pietri. I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like – whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favorite fondue restaurant is or my favorite hotel in Amman or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen …or a music hall where I liked to go to hear a little jazz and pop and get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours. But look at the photographs from Paris: there’s nowhere to get away from it; the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you …when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night. They’re there on the train… at the magazine office… in the Kosher supermarket… at the museum in Brussels… outside the barracks in Woolwich…

Twenty-four hours ago, I said on the radio apropos the latest campus “safe space” nonsense:

This is what we’re going to be talking about when the mullahs nuke us.

Almost. When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does. But don’t worry: we already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be another candlelight vigil of weepy tilty-headed wankers. Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

With his usual killer comedy timing, the “leader of the free world” told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning, America” this very morning that he’d “contained” ISIS and that they’re not “gaining strength”. A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by ISIS slaughtered over 150 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb to within a few yards of the French president.

Visiting the Bataclan, M Hollande declared that “nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable“: We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless.

Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and Cameron and Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.

Among his other coy evasions, President Obama described tonight’s events as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.

But that’s not true, is it? He’s right that it’s an attack not just on Paris or France. What it is is an attack on the west, on the civilization that built the modern world

Source: The Barbarians Are Inside, And There Are No Gates :: SteynOnline

Not much to add to what Mark says here, yet anyway. But there is this:

Waiting for the Barbarians

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

The barbarians are due here today.

Why isn’t anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city’s main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

Why don’t our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people’s faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.

And now, what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

C.P. Cavafy

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