Video Wednesday

These have been accumulating so lets watch them together, and clean out the files a bit.

Via The Conservative Woman, Thanks, Laura

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Enemy of Our Foes and a Friend of Our Allies

What a nice way to wake up! Welcome Home, Guys!

Must be quite the feeling to get out of a North Korean jail, and then off an airplane that is marked “United States of America” and be met on the airstairs by the President himself and Mrs. Trump, at three in the morning.

Meanwhile, halfway around the world, from Caroline Glick:

For more than twenty years, successive U.S. administrations have been vexed by the challenge of Iran’s illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons. And from the time the problem first emerged during Bill Clinton’s tenure at the White House, there have only been two viable means to block Iran’s path to the bomb.

The first path is the path of regime change. This option requires the U.S. to precipitate Iran’s economic and social collapse through crippling economic sanctions and active support for the Iranian people as they rise up against their theocratic overlords.

The second path is to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations and assets through limited covert and overt strikes.

Parallel to these two options, over the years, U.S. policymakers — first and foremost President Barack Obama — created two imaginary options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and his advisors framed the public discourse around their nuclear negotiations as a contest between them.

First, they said, is the option of all-out war. The U.S. could lead an invasion of Iran, along the lines of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran in 2003. In the course of a massive war, the U.S. goal would be to overthrow the Iranian regime and forcibly end its nuclear program.

The other option, they insisted, was to cut a deal with Iran under which Iran would voluntarily give up its nuclear program in exchange for trade deals, and for international acceptance of Iran’s other malign behavior – from its sponsorship of terrorism and regional aggression, to its development of ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads.

The purpose of the Obama administration’s propaganda war on behalf of the nuclear deal was to delegitimize criticism of the content of the deal by claiming that everyone that opposed the policy was a warmonger (or, conversely, making “common cause” with hard-liners in the Iranian regime that wanted war against the U.S.).

In the event, both of the options were imaginary. No one in the U.S. or the international community has ever proposed a massive U.S.-led invasion of Iran. It was never considered. It is a policy that exists nowhere and is advocated by nobody.

As for the notion that Iran could be convinced to concede its nuclear program voluntarily in exchange for international legitimacy, planeloads of cash, and a blind eye to its other bad behavior, this, too, was a fantasy.

Obama’s nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), did not involve Iran agreeing to give up its nuclear program. The deal simply required Iran to work on certain aspects of its nuclear program – advanced centrifuge development and ballistic missile development, for instance — while limiting others, like certain uranium enrichment activities, for the duration of the deal.

In other words, to prevent the imaginary possibility of a U.S. led ground invasion of Iran, the Obama administration financed Iran’s regional aggression and sponsorship of terrorism to the tune of $150 billion dollars in sanctions relief. It legitimized Iran’s ballistic missile program and guaranteed Tehran’s eventual acquisition of a nuclear arsenal.

While doing all of that, Obama’s nuclear diplomacy weakened the America’s ability to implement either of the two actual options for blocking Iran’s path to a nuclear arsenal.

The JCPOA required the U.S. and its partners to abrogate the crippling nuclear sanctions which were spurring the Iranian people to rise up against the regime.

As for the option of limited strikes, the JCPOA rendered them politically impossible. How could the U.S. sabotage or destroy its diplomatic partner’s nuclear installations?

All of that changed on Tuesday.

By abandoning the JCPOA and reinstating U.S. sanctions that were suspended in 2016, Trump resuscitated both actual options for blocking Iran’s path to the bomb.

The sanctions option, which he implemented right after he concluded his remarks, will destabilize the regime by drying up its financial flows.

The downstream impact of the sanctions is twofold. First, they will diminish Iran’s ability to sponsor terror and carry out regional aggression in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan, and beyond. Second, by reinstating crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy, the U.S. will weaken the regime’s hold on power.

As for the option of direct strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations, Trump did not put the option on the table on Tuesday, but he created the political space to consider them either separately or in conjunction with sanctions. Indeed, at his cabinet meeting Wednesday, Trump intimated that the prospect of just such strikes is under consideration when he warned Iran of “severe consequences” if it reinstates the nuclear activities it had limited under the JCPOA.

The salutary effects of Trump’s move are not limited to the its positive implications on U.S.’s real options for contending with Iran’s nuclear program. His announcement accomplished two related goals as well. […]

Keep reading: Trump’s Iran Deal Decision Was a Masterstroke. Keep reading.

There may be a phrase in this article that I disagree with. If so, I missed it.

The world is once again beginning to be safe for free people. There is still a lot of hell to go through, but we have started the return.

 

Netanyahu and Kennedy

I’m guessing that you have heard about this. You may have seen it, but it bears watching again, so let’s.

So, I can hear your questions. Would Netanyahu lie for Israel? Undoubtedly, but like this and in this detail, after sharing the data with the United States? I doubt it strongly. Why? It’s too big a lie, and too easily disproved. The US is considering continuing the nuclear deal and giving Europe a bit more time to get it improved. Is that possible, after this? If US analysis corroborates the Prime Minister, the answer almost has to be “No”. Come what may, a nuclear Iran, is simply unacceptable, perhaps more so than a nuclear North Korea.

The ballistic missiles, I’ve seen other data that confirms what he said, 1950 km, depending on where in Iran, and these are likely to be mobile launchers, that takes in from Poland to central India, all of Egypt, and everything in that circle. And don’t forget, Poland and several other countries in range are members of NATO, whom we are pledged to support. Those of you old enough to remember will recall it being said that the eastern border of the United States, for military purposes was the Elbe River. That border has moved east since 1990

Long ago, I learned a bit about building atomic weapons, for a school project, it’s all open source material, on the general principles. This design is a rough copy of Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, and the timing of the explosive charges imploding the core is very critical, which is why Bibi talked about that. This is where the informal unit of time, a ‘shake’ as in a shake of a lamb’s tail originated.

In other words, this is very serious stuff, for Israel, for KSA, for Egypt, for India, and yes, for the United States as well.

How serious? I think just as serious as this, from back when the world was young

I was nine years old, and I remember this like it was yesterday. That was reinforced when I went to college and started meeting military people (mostly Air Force) who were all in the southeast United States, expecting a war that would most likely kill just about everyone. It was that close.

Here’s a video from the 1980s, made for school use by the BBC, that explains it quite well.

A crisis as bad as any that ever faced the United States, and the world. It was very, very close. And that is why we cannot allow it to get that close again. The Soviets were rational opponents, who wanted to live, I’m not very sure we can say the same for the rulers of Iran. Better not to find out.

The upside is that this was the fortnight that foretold victory in the cold war, never again would the Soviet Union directly challenge the United States, because it was fairly obvious that we would in the last analysis fight any war we had to. I suspect this too will be in the president’s mind as he considers this, for he too lived through this nightmare.

One Little Word, and Passover

We going to start this post with one of Jessica’s articles. She speaks here of how Christ chose to send the news of His resurrection by Mary Magdalene, whose testimony would have borne no weight at all under Jewish law at that time. Then I want to speak of something else. Here’s Jessica-

Under Jewish Law, the testimony of a woman was no testimony at all. The first witness to the Risen Lord was a woman – Mary Magdalen. She was tearful. There she was, come to the tomb to anoint Him, and there was the stone moved. Her mind went where most of our minds would have gone – someone had taken Him away. That great stone had not moved itself, and dead bodies don’t walk out of tombs. The grave-clothes were bundled up and there was no trace of Jesus. Hard to imagine her feelings at the point. Only two days earlier her world had fallen apart. The man whose feet she had anointed and whom she had followed so loyally had been taken, tortured and then crucified. She knew that; she’d been there (which was more than could be said for most of those Apostles). It was over. All that remained was for her to do a final duty to the corpse. But even that was to be denied her. They had taken her Lord away.

She ran back to where the disciples were and told Peter the horrible news. Typically Peter, he ran to the tomb, and equally typically was outpaced by the younger John. But John stood at the entrance, and when Peter arrived he it was who, impulsive and brave as ever, went inside to see that the tomb was, indeed, as empty as Mary had said. The men went back home, no doubt to tell the others; Mary, as is the way of women, wanted to stay there a moment longer, perhaps to gather her thoughts, perhaps to mourn a moment alone.

She looked into the tomb again, only to be met by the most amazing sight – two angels asking her why she wept. The answer she gave echoes down the ages:  “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” As she turned away she saw a stranger, whom she took to be the gardener and asked where Jesus was. Then the man spoke – just one word, one word which shattered the world as she had known it and which echoes down the ages, even to the end of all things. ‘Mary’ was that word, the first from the lips of the Resurrected Lord. However much her tears had blinded her, that voice was clearly unmistakable: “Rabboni!” She said. Teacher, teacher, that was what she called Him. She went to cling to Him and He said: ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’  He bade her to go and tell the others what she had seen.

The testimony of a woman was no testimony in Jewish Law, and yet it was to a woman that the Risen Lord first came. He had broken the bonds of death, He had conquered the power of death and of Satan, the hold of sin on mankind was broken; and these things He entrusted to the power of one who in Jewish Law could offer no testimony at all.

She was the first. Let us love and honour her for that this Easter morning: ‘He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!’

[From Neo] A remarkable thing, really, especially when one considers that the Angel had spent the time to convince The Virgin Mary to consent to bearing Jesus. Remarkable in that time and place to show such respect to women. So should we.


And something that applies to us Christians but comes from our Jewish (religious) forebearers. Bookworm in her Good Friday post has some good thinking for us.

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as a celebration of freedom (commemorating as it does the world’s first and, for a long time, only successful slave revolt), justice, and morality (insofar as it gave us the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people. What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

As those familiar with the Bible know, his objection is predicated upon ignorance. The tenth plague, which saw God strike down the first born in every family that did not have the blood of the Pascal lamb above their door, was not a random punishment. It was, instead, divine retribution for the Pharaoh’s own ruling, in effect beginning before Moses’s birth, that all first born Jewish males should be drowned in the Nile.

She’s right of course. And how does that apply today? This way –

The Bible is not so superficial. There is, instead, a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, no matter the burdens placed upon his people. A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on. Pharaoh still held together his government. The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever: As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he could always reconcile himself to the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might have a theoretical concern that a starving and frightened populace could turn on him. However, as long as he was assured that his people, despite the horrors inflicted against them, continued to fear and worship him, their suffering was irrelevant. It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed and when the plague struck in his own palace, killing his own first born* — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years. Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII. For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over. Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him. Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed. Only when the death toll became too high,when it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, and when the high command realized that the Americans and Russians were coming after them, personally, did the war on the continent finally end.

Read it all at The news from North Korea reminds is that Passover is always relevant.

And that too is correct. They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and so it is here. She speaks, and rightly of how Whoa Fat is scurrying for cover and being all reasonable all of a sudden, because America told him, and showed him that “We will destroy you, not you slaves, YOU”.

We are starting to see the same thing with Iran, and even with China, and again with Russia, who ejected the requisite number of American diplomats, but without much in the way of rhetoric. Once again they are being shown America’s economic and military supremacy, they don’t like it any more than they did in the 1980s, but again they are seeing defeat.

All based on the Exodus combined with the American character.

 

 

Peace through Superior Firepower?

Who knew? Perhaps deterrence works. In any case, the North Koreans are talking to the Southern ones. That hasn’t happened in a long time. Maybe this is why.

CBS has a report (more bloody autoplay videos, sorry!) that:

Last week, the Pacific Air Forces announced three B-2 “Spirit” stealth bombers with approximately 200 personnel have been deployed from Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri to the Pacific island of Guam.

The statement said the deployment is intended to provide leaders with “deterrent options to maintain regional stability.”[…]

Last year, flights by B-1B bombers from Guam to the airspace around Korea were a major flashpoint, prompting a warning from North Korea that it had drawn up a plan to target the waters around the island with a missile strike that it could carry out anytime Kim gave the order. The B-2 is more threatening.

It’s the most advanced bomber in the Air Force and, unlike the B-1B, can carry nuclear weapons. It’s also the only known aircraft that can drop the Air Force’s biggest bomb, the 14,000-kilogram, about 30,000-pound, FGBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

The “MOP,” capable of penetrating deep into the ground to destroy reinforced tunnels and bunkers, was explicitly designed with North Korea in mind.

That adds on to the CVNs Ronald Reagan, Carl Vinson, and perhaps the Carl Stennis, and the USS Wasp as well, an upgraded amphibious assault ship, with its Marines, and either carrying or capable of carrying about 30 F 35Bs.

That’s all in addition to all the stuff already in South Korea, Japan, and the general neighborhood, and the South Koreans who are no slouch themselves.

I recall SECDEF Mattis commenting that nothing keeps him awake, he keeps others awake. His point was that this administration while having due regard for public opinion, is not going to make policy from what will (XXX) do, the will make policy from what does the United States want to happen. A somewhat subtle but very important difference.

And so we see Whoa Fat’s minions at the conference table in South Korea, after less than a year of Donald Trump’s presidency. Likewise, we see serious demonstrations in the streets in Iran. They may not win this time, but win they shall. We see Egypt and Saudi Arabia talking to Israel, and about no less than a military alliance. We may, perhaps, be watching the dawn of a new era. KSA is reportedly negotiating to buy the Iron Dome system from Israel.

And we even see the people of eastern Europe stand up to their would-be masters in western Europe. Why it’s almost like they didn’t throw off their communist masters only to succumb to the fascists in the west.

The only people I see decrying this is the anti-freedom left in America, and the European governments most of whom have sold their soul long ago for material gain. Are they noisy? Yep. Are they important? Nope. Only when the sheriff is on strike. But the sheriff is on patrol again

And just now I see a report that the two Koreas will march together under a unified flag at the Winter Olympics next month. Not a problem solved, but one that is perhaps on its way, something no one foresaw a year ago.

Not “Peace in our time” but perhaps we are back to where we can say that it is better to “Jaw, Jaw than to War War.”

Quite a year it has been!

Bad Choices and Stopping the Threat

From Bearing Arms via The Daley Gator.

Ruiz’s son, Andrew Herrera, was shot and killed when he tried to rob a Popeye’s Chicken in Texas. That’s when he came face-to-face with the state’s self-defense laws.

Now, Ruiz has questions.

 “Did my son deserve to be punished? Yes, he did,” Ruiz said.

Police said Herrera, wearing a hoodie and a mask, entered the South Side restaurant with gun and confronted a man and his family who were eating.

After the man told Herrera he had spent the money he had on their dinner, Herrera turned toward the counter and pointed the gun at one of the workers, who was running away.

That’s when the man, who had a concealed handgun license, fired several shots at Herrera.

A police spokesman later said, “Here in Texas, if you’re in fear of loss of life, loss of property, you have a right to defend yourself.”

Ruiz said she understands the man who shot her son was defending his family, but she asked, “Why shoot him four more times? Why did he shoot him five times?”

I hate to break it to Ruiz, but the reason the man shot him five times was simple. You shoot until there’s no longer a threat. The armed citizen judge there was still a risk to him and his family–and the word “family” means no self-respecting man is going to take a chance at that point–and kept shooting until there was no longer a threat.

Shootings aren’t like the movies or on TV. You don’t shoot to wound. A wounded person can still kill you. You shoot until the threat has been eliminated. If the first shot wounds them but they drop their weapon and surrender, so much the better for everyone, but only a complete and total idiot expects that to happen.

Herrera threatened the lives of human beings, and he paid a price for that. It’s a price that Ruiz is being forced to pay, which is a pity, but either she failed to teach him it was wrong to steal, or he failed to heed the lessons. Either way, he tried to rob a chicken place and came face-to-face with someone who was not going to be a victim.

Why was Herrara shot five times? Because he stood there, gun in hand, and threatened the innocent.

Knighton is spot on. Until the threat is ended, the threat is there, and real. Surrender is always an option if one wants to live. Like everyone else, I’m sorry for Ruiz, but her son made the choice, and it came up bad for him this time.

In any case, I don’t do a lot of gun stories, although I see many of them because they are well enough covered elsewhere. Often when you see one here, its because there is an obvious injustice going on, or it’s hard to figure out or something. In this case, it makes a wider point.

In this case, the whole thing is scalable. The same thing that got this guy killed, got Nazi Germany killed, almost got Imperial Japan depopulated, and the list goes on. It is what North Korea and Iran find so entertaining to play around with. America’s old habit is quite simple, we rarely start wars, but we end them rather decisively, and it’s highly unusual for us to lose.

General Patton spoke truly when he said,

Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

Of course, that’s not to say that our politicians haven’t thrown a couple away after brave men and women won them. That’s why you have to keep them on a short rein.

But generally speaking, poking around at the eagle with a sharp stick is a rather bad idea.

 

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