What Does This Man Actually Believe??
In chronological order:
From a “wingnut” radio show that played a recording of an Obama quote in January, 2007:
OBAMA: We cannot impose a military solution on what has effectively become a civil war. And until we acknowledge that reality, uh, we can send 15,000 more troops; 20,000 more troops; 30,000 more troops. Uh, I don’t know any, uh, expert on the region or any military officer that I’ve spoken to, uh, privately that believes that that is gonna make a substantial difference on the situation on the ground.
NPR news, Obama speaking in July, 2007:
Here’s what we know. The surge has not worked. And they said today, ‘Well, even in September, we’re going to need more time.’ So we’re going to kick this can all the way down to the next president, under the president’s plan.
Speaking in a debate on July 5, 2008, Obama said:
I had no doubt, and I said when I opposed the surge, that given how wonderfully our troops perform, if we place 30,000 more troops in there, then we would see an improvement in the security situation and we would see a reduction in the violence.
From the Washington Post, January 12, 2009:
President-elect Barack Obama intends to sign off on Pentagon plans to send up to 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, but the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like “surge” of forces will significantly change the direction of a conflict that has steadily deteriorated over the past seven years.
Obama’s team says The One believes Iraq and Afghanistan are very different conflicts (that’s true, they are), and that a surge is a temporary measure to be followed by a dramatic new strategy (which is to be formulated).
This newsletter is skeptical of Obama’s ability to evaluate proposed military policies. If you predict failure and then boast about how you “had no doubt” success would result, you have to expect folks to wonder about you.
So should Obama tacitly acknowledge his amateur status, and rely on the Pentagon professionals? Remember that Bush ignored the top brass, all of whom opposed the concept of the surge. The four-star types were dead wrong. It appears that Obama has been listening to those people and their ilk for at least two years.
Perhaps the embarrassing consequences of bad advice will prompt Obama to change some of his confidential advisors, in the hope that new ones will prove more realistic and imaginative.
And speaking of hope…. No matter what the economic situation at the time, if the Obama administration could deliver a crushing blow to the Taliban and Al Qaeda, the beleaguered citizens of the USA would have genuine reason to rejoice. So mote it be.
Good Questions. Straight Answers. And Lessons…Learned?
Q: Why are the people we have defeated still fighting us?
A: For the best answers, ask the folks who have them. Here they are, from this news item….
In a direct challenge to President-elect Barack Obama, Osama bin Laden questions whether America “is capable to keep fighting us for more years” in a new audio message attributed to him…. “The worst heritage is when a man inherits a long guerrilla warfare with a persevering, patient enemy…. If he (Obama) withdraws from the war, that would be a military defeat, and if he goes on with it, he’ll drown in economic crisis.”
A: Indeed. There is wisdom in those words, for those who meditate on them. Don’t hurry on past the opportunity to understand.
Q: So who got us into “police action” wars and then told us to walk away without winning? Who brought on the financial crisis? Aren’t those people at least partially responsible for the mess we are in today?
A: You know the history, and you know who was in office when the half-hearted, unwise commitments were made. It began with Korea, the never-ended war we chose not to win, and then the pattern was fully defined at The Bay of Pigs. Vietnam was just more of the same, and the North Vietnamese knew it. As for the lousy economy, meet Messrs. Frank and Dodd, the master and first mate of the ship of fools.
A: First lesson, never get into a fight you do not intend to win. Second lesson, if you choose to fight, declare war; undeclared wars are signals to your enemies that you are not serious. If you can’t declare war, stay out of the brawl. Once in, fight as hard and as long as you have to in order to win. Victory is the unconditional surrender of enemy nations, or the eradication of the enemy’s ability to do you harm in the case of non-state organizations. Yes, wars may be extremely prolonged, depending on your enemies.
Third lesson, don’t let incompetents and rascals have any say in regulatory agencies. Overseeing financial institutions is a kind of law enforcement, and involves tasks best left to ethical specialists with administrative and prosecutorial experience. Seniority in Congress is not a qualification. As you can see.
Links Surd And Absurd
This toxic trend may be due to the Islamification of Europe, to the hard left’s Jew-hatred, or to both phenomena.
Eric Holder. Next attorney general. That’s an interesting past you have there, General.
In a decision that’s sure to be controversial, the federal supreme court says some illegally obtained evidence is admissible.
No press permitted in Gaza; Israel does not trust the media (imagine that). But this guy was allowed in. It’s no shock that his report reads like a propaganda piece.
It does not get much dumber and more deceitful than an ad found on this news page. Incredibly, it shrieks that “You can stop climate change, one acre at a time.” Many in the AGW cult actually think the public is that stupid. And why not? Gore’s lie-laden film convinced a lot of people. (The ad may have been taken down by now; it had this URL, but clicking on the ad produced no result. Simply too harebrained to survive?)
One of many: yet another example of BBC bias in its reporting of the invasion of Gaza.
“That Obama deems America — in its current configuration — a spurious venture appears to be about as controversial as believing that water is wet.” So says Bernard Chapin. He then proceeds to question The One’s patriotism…or maybe he already did that…gosh. Does the USA have a federal lese majeste law?
This is nauseating, but still fascinating: Jew-hater David Duke provides ammunition for the “progressive” battle against “Zionism” (translation into truthful terms: nutcase aids hard left in its unacknowledged crusade to eradicate the heritage of the Enlightenment, kill Jews and destroy Israel). The Jews control the US Congress, you see, and…well, read it all and wake up. — Wow! Who, pre-Chomsky, could imagine the day when Duke, who’s about as Nazi as anyone can get these days, would bed down with the inheritors of the New Deal’s “liberalism?” This development just proves that everybody eventually recognizes the nefarious power of “the termites of the cross.”
The latest bulletin of the Humanitarians For The United Nations And Clam Chowder Society is out.
Muslim strategy and tactics in warfare are heaven-sent, and therefore predictable, as this article points out. Oddly enough, the subject is not studied or taken seriously by US military planners, almost certainly because it is considered politically incorrect to acknowledge the intimate relationship between holy writ and warfare in Islam.
Video of Bush practicing eating with coaching from Laura and Dick. — Just kidding! Watch it anyway.
Is there somebody in your life you want to dispose of? Are you afraid of getting caught? Here’s a perfect plan, provided that pest is of acertain type. Check it out, and if he is one of those, send him this to read. The chances are he’ll either have a killer seizure or go on a rampage and be shot by SWAT before he can slaughter his hostages.
You say the economic crisis was everybody’s fault, and neither US political party can be blamed? You say the GOP was no better than the Democrats when it came to financial practice and regulation, because Bush spent a lot of money? Oh, yeah?? Watch this!
Adolf Hitler has been taken from his parents by local government in New Jersey. What is this, rabid political correctness, or intervention to prevent child abuse?
A search engine that specializes in Wikis could come in handy.
The Eminence Grise draws conclusions that will cause strokes in sinister quarters. Don’t overlook the bar graph.
Silly and pointless, but here it is anyhow: an improbable story proved by photos.
Tired of finding good material on the internet hidden behind registration? Give this a try.
As This Number Of The PenPo Goes Out….Three Bones For The Throat
If this newsletter tried to be perfectly current, it would never be distributed. Compromise is in order. Here you have the latest, noted just as Number 55 was about to wend its way to you:
<ahref=”http: jammiewearingfool.blogspot.com=”” 2009=”” 01=”” perino-mocks-obama-gosh-its-so.html”=””>OUCH!!
And last but not least, lies, all lies!!
Horror In The Privileged Strata
A bold competitor has entered journalism’s marketplace, challenging the integrity and livelihoods of professionals. Amateurs say they can do a better job, and they are trying to prove it, as this guy explains:
The only reason we are here is because some of us simply refuse to sit back and watch these people poison the well of Western Civilization. Those of us who pay attention to history know what the end result of this kind of self-loathing elitism is.
This is a seismic cascade of events with more implications for democracy and politics than are immediately obvious. The news business is both frightened and livid; those links provide just a hint of how far the excruciating concern over loss of control radiates. Spooked autocrats everywhere are proposing or tightening censorship (see PenPo 40).
Related: living with the consequences of partisan anger. Another parallel circumstance: Thailand currently blocks well over two thousand websites. Remember, this is all ultimately a fight over what people say and whether anyone should be allowed to listen.
The expansion of Liberty was made possible by the internet. No wonder the UN wants to seize control of the new medium.
The Judgment Of History
The overall pattern seems clear: the USA decided to impose regime change in Iraq, invaded, lost control of the situation, struggled for too long, adapted, and won the day.
Future historians may give the political and military leadership good grades at first (the invasion), failing grades for the period following the occupation of Baghdad, mediocre grades for a while, and high grades for the surge. The really interesting question is who, exactly, is being graded in each phase of the undertaking.
This newsletter believes the lowest grades will go to the Pentagon and Department of Defense for poor or non-existent planning of all but the invasion itself. A lot was overlooked, and opposition to the surge was a blunder narrowly avoided. High grades will go to the officer corps on the ground, especially to those below the rank of full colonel. President Bush will get mixed marks, with historians wondering why he did not ask Rumsfeld and the Pentagon what they planned to do with Iraq’s shattered society once the Iraqi army and police were out of operation; Bush’s last-minute expansion of the surge will get an A. The Marine Corps, Army and Air Force will get superlative grades for adaptive responses and professionalism. The highest laurels will go to the “twenty year-old with the rifle,” the volunteer who made all the difference.
Whatever the historians decide, the USA learned a lot in Iraq. Though the lesson was also available to the Islamic world, there are clear indications it is not understood by the vast majority of Muslims; the ninth century is incapable of grasping events taking place in the twenty-first. That will be a problem for the West, which remains maddeningly unable to decide whether to defend itself.
For the foreseeable future, therefore, this will be almost exclusively the USA’s fight. That fact raises a plethora of deadly serious questions. One can only hope that the leadership of the nation is up to the fell challenge.
The Impossible Dilemma Has An Amendment
First, read this article.
Next, review the teachings of the cult of the twelfth imam (“Twelvers”), a variety of Islam that is embraced by many in the ruling elite of Iran. (Links that may help: Ashbrook and Confederateyankee.) Recall that this doctrine is prophetic, promising the advent of a superhero who will lead the Islamic world in its defeat of all unbelievers and its entry into a perfect future. The essential — but often suppressed as politically incorrect — feature (see the Wikipedia article which skips the horrifying truth) of this belief is that only when Islam is fully engaged in cataclysmic battle, and only after both it and its enemies have suffered terrible losses, will this comic book figure emerge to determine the outcome of the war. (See Number 3 of the PenPo.)
The Twelvers’ wildest fanatics are certain the deaths of millions of their own people will trigger the final conflict, summon the twelfth imam, and open the doors of heaven. President Ahmadinejad gives every indication of being in this group. No one can predict what he will do to advance the triumph of the mythical twelfth imam.
Now reconsider the Slate article linked above. It refers to the ethical dilemma the West faced when dealing with the sane leaders of the USSR.
If the least rational faction in the “Twelvers” is able to dictate Iran’s future, catastrophe is inevitable. Deterrence will be ineffective. The imposition of regime change by revolution may be the West’s best option.
A Futile Suggestion For Obama
This is not a good time for the government to be wasting lots of money. And there’s never a time when it’s proper for the government to be making huge mistakes. Accordingly this newsletter respectfully suggests that the new administration consider whether it wishes to continue the War on Drugs.
There are many excellent reasons why recreational drugs should be legalized, but they remain beyond the comprehension of most voters. If political realities are respected, therefore, reforms in law enforcement will have to be less than radical. The Obama administration might begin its review of the subject with a study of this article, move on from there to drawing up programs to reduce harm, and then, once able to point to considerable success, ask Congress to repeal most federal narcotics laws and abolish the Drug Enforcement Administration.
It’s a dream. Unfortunately the culture war makes the crafting of a rational drug policy unlikely. Drugs are a powerful political symbol, a defining characteristic that divides people into mutually contemptuous camps. In arguing for total legalization, this newsletter makes common cause with some factions in US society that the PenPo criticizes bitterly; consistency and integrity demand that. But…what is easy for a tiny, ignored newsletter can be impossible for a national administration. If Obama’s people appeared to be pro-drug, the White House would almost certainly be swamped by a tsunami of outrage.
Then too, articles like the one linked above are poor propaganda. Too long, too smug, burdened by rotting counter-culture trappings, “How America Lost The War On Drugs” will not change many minds; it probably hasn’t changed any since it appeared over a year ago. The fact that this laudable effort is in a publication beloved of many Birkenstock Brigadiers is against it. (Example of political articles favored by the magazine; see also PenPo Number Five.)
If harm reduction and the full implications of Enlightenment values are ever to make headway against the nation’s insane drug policies, they will have to be praised in The Reader’s Digest.
From The Archive
This entry is from the pre-TG period; it is dated 26 August 2004.
Quote Of The Day
“There are too many places for people to get information.” — James O’Shea, managing editor, Chicago Tribune
The Meeting Place Of Loony Left And Extreme Right
Long ago I pressed upon you an account of one of the seminal events in my life: my discovery of the fake scholarship of virulent Jew-hatred (see Note at end). You may recall that this made a huge impression on me (I was in my second year of undergraduate study at the time), and that as I pored over the vile material, I came to see how dishonest it was. Later in life, I was no less impressed by the impassioned rhetoric of other more popular commentators who denounced the USA and promoted bizarre conspiracy theories. Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein were, I insisted, primary exemplars of this warped mindset.
There are structural parallels between the works of both the charlatan scholars who hate the Jews and the books of Chomsky and Klein. Jew-haters and USA-hating anti-globalization and anti-capitalist Leftists think in the same patterns, write in similar ways and see the world through lenses that distort similarly. They come to opposite or distinctly different conclusions by following parallel paths.
My intent, of course, was to discredit Chomsky, Klein and many others of their ilk by showing that their thought processes matched those of the twentieth century’s quintessential villains, the Nazis. The data employed by lunatic left and extremist right are different, I insisted, but the processing of those data is nearly identical. Both poles of the political spectrum spring from and depend on the same dysfunctional mentation.
I did not consider my insight particularly novel. Certainly I was aware that Eric Arthur Blair had preceded me by a good many years with his popular political fable, Animal Farm. Blair made the point that the totalitarianism of a political ideology springs not from its philosophical underpinnings, but from the necessities that arise when those precepts are imposed, even on the willing.
The right has long insisted that if socialism is to be effective, it will have to be at the point of a gun, and that is correct. Thus both the extreme egalitarianism of the utopian left and the hierarchy of exploitation of the extreme right point to a total loss of Liberty. The word we use to describe properly the utter tyranny of such a state, whatever its claims, is fascism.
No, fascism does not have to be right-wing. Because socialist, communist, Castroite, Sandinista, Trotskyite, Allende-ite, Guevaraist, Marxist and all other governments that preach a gospel of the Left ultimately mutate into (a) something utterly different, or, if they insist on following rigidly orthodox leftist dogma, (b) statist, elitist dictatorships in which the party is claimed to be the will of the people made manifest — just as Hitler was the leader who exemplified the very soul of Germanic culture — there is no difference between right and left once power has been consolidated. True, distinctions may be made by those who presume to ascribe to propaganda an existential verity that is not actually present, but they are distinctions without differences.
That’s a complicated way of saying, “I don’t care what your dictator says — whether he damns the capitalists or the commissars: either way, he’s a bloody fascist.” Castro, a fascist? Of course!
The dictatorship of the proletariat and the withering away of the state are just Marx’s mad fantasies: they have never existed and they never will. Fascism is what is left when ideology fails and the government clings to power anyway.
Currently one of the best examples of the impulse to stifle Liberty is the practice of what is commonly called political correctness. There is nothing modern or evolved about PC; it is just a way of enforcing orthodoxy that reaches beyond behavior and into the mind. It is yet another attempt at thought control. As such, it is simply fascism in action.
Oliver Kamm, one of my favorite commentators, has recently provided us with some ruminations on left, right and the meeting of the twain. Kamm is a leftist banker in Britain, and we have his remarks courtesy of his weblog. Unlike the charlatans on the lunatic left, Kamm can think for himself and is aware of the importance of ethics. His prose, like mine, tends to get a little out of control at times, but many of his essays are genuinely thought-provoking and useful.
His most recent effort, for example, touches on and expands the themes that dominate a discussion of the fascist nature of the extremes of Left and Right. Read carefully, for he is both complex and subtle:
There can be little argument that the totalitarian-Left has mutated in a bizarre direction given its attitudes to clerical fascism. My argument is that this reflects an underlying affinity with fascism that has characterised the far-Left at various times.
Kamm is, as you can see, not yet willing to admit that the “far-Left” will necessarily roll out its fascist enforcers when its programs encounter difficulty, that is, when people object to being treated like ants. He believes there is such a thing as a “totalitarian-Left” that is distinct from the “far-Left.” I see only one distinction between the two, and that is a trivial one indeed: the “far-Left” pretends that it will not require the support of omnipresent intimidation and extortion, while the “totalitarian-Left” is less dishonest — but no more dangerous.
I believe that coincidence of interest and ideology is becoming more sharply-defined, because at the same time the far-Right has changed too. There is an illuminating discussion of this shift in fascist ideology in a new book by Richard Wolin entitled The Seduction of Unreason: The Intellectual Romance with Fascism from Nietzsche to Postmodernism. Wolin argues, specifically in the context of the French extreme Right, that there is a clever strategy to move from the terrain of biological racism and orthodox fascism to the more ‘respectable’ guise of cultural racism:
For the sake of making its claims palatable to a wider audience, [the French New Right] cynically appropriated the universalistic values of tolerance and the ‘right to difference’ for its own xenophobic agenda. Thus, argued [Alain] de Benoist and company, it was the cosmopolitans who were the true racists, insofar as it was they who forced immigrants to submit to the brutal rites of assimilation…. Sounding like a liberal’s liberal, de Benoist embraced what might best be described as a nonhierarchical ‘diferentialist racism’. No culture was intrinsically better than any other. Instead they were all ‘different’, and these differences should be respected and preserved.
(Kamm continues) This, it seems to me, is the key to the convergence of the far-Right and the totalitarian-Left. In place of obviously crude biological racism, modern fascism (in the form Wolin calls ‘designer fascism’) has adopted a cultural racism that decries the achievements and principles of the Enlightenment.
I note with little distress that Kamm believes that there is such a thing as a fascist ideology, while I would say that fascism is 99% tactic and 1% bogus philosophy. Hitler tried to create a neo-pagan philosophical basis for his power, but in the end, fascism is almost exclusively the state’s means of intimidation extended and broadened to encompass virtually all aspects of each individual’s life. It is the act of pointing the gun, not the rationale that leads up to that threat and denial of options. There is, in other words, virtually nothing in the propaganda and manifestos of the extreme right that qualifies as genuinely intellectual. Dictators are just thugs with speech writers.
There is, however, considerable distress in my mind when I confront the idea that “the key to the convergence of the far-Right and the totalitarian-Left” is anything other than the absolute necessity both political camps face when they try to implement their programs. Neither extreme of the political spectrum is rational, and neither is practical. The inevitable conclusion is that neither can survive without threatening and ruthlessly employing deadly force. Both require that men be slaves. That is the real explanation of how extreme left and far right can and will converge in fascism.
The only environment in which extremist politics left and right cannot flower is Liberty. All extremists fear and hate Liberty. Kamm:
The astonishing spectacle of the far-Left around the Respect coalition defending the progressive character of – among other aspects of Muslim particularism – the hijab is the ‘left’ variant of the same phenomenon. I stress that we are not talking here of Muslims’ right to adopt the practices and observances of their faith, for religious liberty is an essential principle of the Enlightenment tradition. I mean instead the insistence that the character of those observances is itself a principle to be defended. As Salma Yaqoob maintained in the article she contributed to the Socialist Workers’ Party’s theoretical journal last autumn (emphasis added):
It is notable that the majority of the Muslims playing a leading role in the Birmingham Stop the War Coalition were women, confident in their Islamic identity and increasingly confident in their ability to present themselves as leaders of this broad movement. Contingents of young Muslim women, well organised and often more forthcoming than Muslim men, were a striking feature of all our demonstrations and protests. I would attribute this effect to the fact that, by wearing the hijab (headscarf), many of these women are constantly conscious of their Muslim identity when interacting in public.
Well, I suspect Kamm has let some trendy but trivial observations and interesting phenomena swamp his thesis. But let it go. It is fun to watch the passing parade, and a shiver of fear — “Those cretins might be running the country!” — only adds to the entertainment.
Too, when Kamm muses about changes left and right, I wonder whether we should not take a longer view. I see little here that is new or even significantly distinct from past misbehavior. Extremists have always shifted with the times, spouting first this and then that. At base, they are all thugs.
Note: “Anti-Semitism” is a misnomer, as it means opposition to or hatred of Semites, a group that includes Jews and Arabs. Accordingly, I call the hatred of Jews what it is, namely, Jew-hatred.