Europe’s reaction after Brussels? More of the same.

GWOTA brutal attack by Islamic extremists kills scores of innocents in a European capital.  There is a massive manhunt, raids uncover new suspects, even kill a few.  There are candlelight vigils and demonstrations against terrorism.  World leaders make defiant statements.  Muslim leaders denounce the violence.  There is a momentary uptick in air operations against terrorists’ strongholds.  Stop me if you’ve heard any of this before.  Europe’s response to terrorist incidents will not change, not until it absolutely has to.

After two world wars and a cold war, Europe has developed a high tolerance to war.  Yes, many European countries have contributed to different degrees to military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Military operations overseas have cost them in lives and material, but that is not the only those direct costs they are having trouble with.  Keeping up the expensive social welfare states takes money that might go towards their militaries.  Greece has nearly gone bankrupt due to generous social programs, other countries are not far behind.  Meanwhile, wealthier countries like Germany and France divert funds that might ordinarily go to their militaries go instead to propping up countries whose reckless spending has required bailouts.  In short, Europe’s current economic situation makes it hard for them to sustain any significant military operations overseas.

There is also a lack of political will.  After the 9-11 attacks, there was widespread support for a campaign in Afghanistan.  The left even deemed it “the good war”.  Iraq involved a completely different set of political and economic calculations.  The only thing worse than America losing the war for the left, was America winning the war with George W. Bush in charge.  The European and American left agreed to go back to their Vietnam-era anti-war stances to please their base constituencies. The left in Europe, as in America still holds considerable political power.  Ironically, it was the misguided liberal policy of multiculturism that contributed greatly to the terrorist’s ability to plan and carry out operations in relative safety.  Conservative, nationalist movements have already sprung up in many parts of Europe in response to the failed multicultural experiment.

Two European capitals have been attacked, two capitals of NATO countries, by the same Islamic terrorist group.  This group holds land, has a government infrastructure, finances– it acts in every way like a nation state.  It has attacked so far four NATO countries, Belgium, France, Turkey, and the U.S., yet article five of the NATO charter has yet to be invoked, the article that states an attack against one member is an attack against all.  It calls for NATO to go to war.  There is more than enough reason from a national defense perspective to destroy the ISIS state.  The problem isn’t sufficient cause, it is the effect of questionable economic and political polices that keeps Europe, and to a lesser extent, the U.S. from taking decisive military action.  At some point, the body count will unfortunately, but likely, grow so high that the continued inaction will no longer be a tenable political position.  Ultra-conservative, nationalist, populist, parties will spring up different countries and continue to gain in power.  Eventually those parties will hold enough power to affect change.  With a lack of American leadership to hasten it, any decisive allied military action before that point will require a significant grass-roots popular movement to make it come about.  In the meantime, we will see more attacks, more impromptu memorials to the slain, more raids, more defiant talk from world leaders, but no meaningful action to destroy the terror at the source.

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The Week in Conservatism

The South Carolina Primary

South Carolina is now in the record books.  Trump is once again the winner, despite dredging up Code Pink’s talking points against George W. Bush, and despite a dust-up with the Pope.  Cruz has fallen to third and Rubio is back on track after the New Hampshire debacle.  Jeb is out of the race.  Believe it or not, that is how the process is supposed to work.

The Loss of Justice Scalia

When Justice Antonin Scalia died, the balance of the Supreme Court came into question.   President Obama sorely wants to appoint a liberal justice to replace Scalia, an arch Constitutionalist. He will accuse the Republicans in the Senate of obstructionism.  Never mind that he practiced obstructionism himself as a member of the Senate. Hard-line conservatives don’t even want to hold hearings for an Obama nominee.  Does this bespeak a certain lack of trust of the leadership in the rank-and file?  Might some Republicans waiver and actually vote for an Obama nominee?  One hopes that for once they will emulate their Democrat colleagues and vote in lock step with their leadership.

Apple vs. the FBI

The Department of Justice has insisted that Apple crack the code that keeps the iPhone owned by one of the San Bernardino shooters secure.  The FBI wants to see who else the terrorists might have been communicating with in case there are more plots in the works.  Apple has refused, as they fear that any program to hack the phone in question can be used to hack into any iPhone, and maybe by others outside of Washington.  The FBI counters that the warrant is for the one phone in question, and they don’t even want the decryption program, just the unlocked phone. There is just one problem, the decryption program does not exist, and forcing someone to do the work entailed in creating one would constitute well, slavery. Maybe if the FBI offered to pay for the efforts if the Apple programmers and go to every length to keep the programming secure, even from themselves, everyone can benefit.

Should we not turn from the course we’re on…

Election 2016

Imagine America continuing on her present course.  What would that look like in 5-10 years?  What if the fundamental transformation started by President Obama were to be locked in and even expanded upon?  The number of entitlement programs and our national debt would explode.  Our military would lose its ability to serve as a deterrent. Our sphere of influence would diminish, as the spheres of those who don’t have America’s best interests in mind would expand.  The culture we refer to as “Americana” would cease to exist, replaced by a perverted, dystopic version of itself.

One thing is clear from listening to the Democratic contenders, the number of things that Americans have a “right to” would go off the charts.  They assert that everyone has a right to free healthcare.  The planned obsolescence of Obamacare would serve as an excuse and opportunity to move to a single-payer system.  Higher education would become a right.  Someone would have to pay for that, and of course it would be the wealthy, who the left claim don’t pay their fair share.  Of course, progressives have named themselves as the arbiters of fair share.  Every special interest group that the Democrats pander to have something they want in exchange for votes.  Whatever they want, will quickly be deemed a ‘right’.

“Doing more with less,” has long been the mantra for military planners.  Under continued liberal leadership, that may soon become “doing not enough with less than adequate”.   The left has always been skeptical of the military.  While progressives increasing declare there is no military solution to the worlds problem, other countries will have no problem with enacting military solutions, even if our allies, or possibly even our own forces are on the wrong end of their solution.  Weakness is provocative.  If the world seems a dangerous place, just wait until our adversaries become emboldened. Expect a Crimea or Syria every year.

The President during his last State of the Union address told us that terrorist organizations while a danger to the region, don’t pose an existential treat to us.  This is based upon fallacious logic.  He derides their power to harm us because they drive around in pickup trucks equipped with machine guns.  The notion is completely wrong.  It’s wrong because it assumes that an existential threat can only manifest itself militarily.  A German citizen might tell you different.  Germany is facing a very real existential threat from a horde of migrants from the Middle East who refuse to assimilate.  More than that, they expect the host nation to change their culture to accommodate them.  Some of these so-called refugees have taken to violent means as witnessed by the attack in Paris last year.  The vast majority of migrants have arguably been much more effective in supplanting Western culture without force of arms.  New Year’s Eve celebrations were marred by scores of sexual assaults, even rapes.   Now there is open talk in Germany recommending that native German women alter the way they dress and act as to not provoke more attacks from Middle Eastern men.  Sharia law has become the de facto local law in parts of France.  When countries are forced to make fundamental changes to their culture it suit an alien one, the existential treat can be said to have succeeded.

We can extrapolate from the past and see our fate as suffered in the present by other countries well enough to forecast what an America dominated by Progressive thought and rule would look like. We know what happens when we expand the entitlement state—more debt, less choice.  Last year, Greece was brought to the brink of bankruptcy by progressives promising more than the state can afford to gain votes.  We know what happens when a superpower allows it influence to wane, others come in to fill the void.  We can see in real time, the very identity of countries being altered under the crush of multiculturism.  Migrants who assimilate into their adopted country’s culture make that country stronger.  When this not the case, that country as it has existed, maybe for centuries, gets swallowed up by the alien one.  The history of the world is replete with examples of this. From ancient Greece, to Rome, to Russia under the Tartar yolk, to the Spanish conquistadores in Latin America, cultures without the will or strength to survive are subsumed by those who do.   Turn on your TV and you can see the beginnings of this, not on the History channel, but on the evening news.  Like Scrooge in the Christmas Carol, we have been shown a glimpse of our possible future.  Will we be moved as he to change our collective direction, back to what we were as better people, or will we sleepwalk into the liberal abyss?  The good news is it’s not too late yet to change, but the first Wednesday in November will be.

Banning persons based on religion is not a workable solution.

GWOTDonald Trump is on the record as saying that Muslims who are not already U.S. citizens or serving in our military should be banned from entering the country.  This call has been roundly condemned as inhumane, bigoted and even un-American. His supporters point out correctly, that most of the high-profile terrorist acts being committed today are done so in the name of Islam. New York, Washington, D.C. , London, Madrid, Paris, Paris again, and San Bernardino were all hit by radical Islamist terror.  They would also point out that no other religion currently has such an acute connection with terror.  They rightly state that the FBI admits that the Syrian refugees can’t be properly vetted. Given these facts, Trump’s solution might seem quite reasonable then on its face.  Set aside the dubious Constitutional, moral, and American values arguments for a moment, the proposal is not a practical or even workable policy.

Just as we Americans, most people the world over possess documents that establish our identity, our ID.  Most have passports, Drivers Licenses, Mortgages, bank records that establish who we are to the rest of society.  Most of these records though lack one piece of critical information that would be crucial to enacting any ban on Muslims, or any other religious group from this or any other country—one’s religion.  Marriage records, birth certificates, and military ID “dog” tags are the only bits of ID that typically would state or give a clue as to the holder’s religion. Chances are that Syrian refugees aren’t showing up at the camps with all of these in a fireproof box or in a manila folder.

Even if the typical refugee came armed with all of these documents, the second that word got out that America or any other western country was no longer accepting Muslims, these documents would quickly disappear.  They surely would not be offered up as proof of identification. If ever the question of religion was put to them, either by a person or a questionnaire, the answer would probably be “Christian”.  Even “atheist” would be acceptable.

If at a point of entry into the United States an Immigration official were to ask a visitor, any visitor, their religion and the answer was anything accept “Muslim” or “Islam”, how exactly would the official proceed to determine if that statement was untrue?  Would the person attempting to gain entry be forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer, or prove they are not a Muslim by eating pork? Would any woman not wearing a Hijab be automatically let in?

What can be reliably determined in most cases is what country and what part of that country a person is from.  Most countries are broken down into states, parishes, districts, or other such zones that can be identified as having significant terror or religious radical populations.   Documents that list the person’s former address can be cross referenced with other sources and other documents.  Finding corroborating records could be especially problematic in the case of Syrian refugees, as ISIS has captured passport making machines and passport blanks.

Our American history, values, and compassion compel us to let in what refugees we can from war-torn countries.  Those same virtues don’t compel us however to act in a suicidal manner while doing so. We know that some Jihadists seek to exploit the refugee crisis as a means to entering the West.  In some cases, there may be no way at all to properly vet those from Syria.  While we sympathize with their plight, we cannot verify who many of them are.  In some cases, we have to resolve ourselves to the fact that some of them can never be left into the country.  We can prioritize who we let in or allow to proceed to the next steps of the immigration process.  The extremely old, and the extremely young and their immediate families we can give some latitude to, as can we with those identifying as Christians or other religious minorities.  We can’t promise them entry to the U.S. but we can allow them the chance to try.  Ultimately though, our process for winnowing out the most likely to commit terror has to depend upon other factors beside religion, such as country of origin, foreign travel, and family ties.  We have to be honest with ourselves and those who wish to enter this country that sometimes, perhaps often times, the answer to whether or not they can enter regrettably must be “no.”

The Left’s Recent Foolish Ideas for Combating Gun Violence.

Apparently, after another tragic shooting that could not have been prevented by the “common sense gun laws” being proposed by the Progressive left, they have begun to sense this line by itself is not being bought by most of America. Now with terrorism back on the front pages, the left has sized upon a new strategy to gin up support for stricter gun laws, equating gun rights advocates with terrorists.  This comparisons are intellectually dishonest, not to mention absurd. In some cases, the ideas may actually be dangerous.

A recent front page of the NY Daily News pictured among undisputed terrorists, NRA leader Wayne LaPierre.  By extension, the NRA could be considered a terrorist organization. The Daily News must have a very different definition of terrorism than the rest of us.  Terrorism is an effort to use violence to intimidate the population with aims toward achieving some political goal.  Sorry, buy exactly what acts of violence do the editors and staff of the Daily News allege LaPierre and the NRA have committed?  Maybe if they could cite one, they might have some credibility.  They can’t because their assertion is not only wrong, but ridiculous.

If you think that the New York Daily News has a lock on tragically foolish ideas concerning gun violence, sadly you’d be wrong.  There is a piece published on IrishCentral.com on Dec 4 by Cahir O’Doherty wrote a piece entitled:  Irish-style peace process needed for gun situation in America.  The title says it all.

For background, the IRA’s violent campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland known as “the troubles” was in full swing in the 1990’s when a cease fire was being brokered with the help of U.S. Senator George Mitchell.  The efforts to achieve a cease fire in Northern Ireland saw numerous setbacks but also advances. Finally, after the (completely unrelated) 9-11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C., IRA leaders saw an opportunity for settlement and agreed to decommission their arms.

From the article:

“In America the time for a temporary cessation of hostilities in pursuit of peace may also have arrived. The nation clearly needs a peace process of some kind – and perhaps a respected outside mediator in the mold of Senator George Mitchell – to address the exploding crisis over guns.”

A cessation of hostilities?  The Troubles were hostilities, there were definite objectives being pursued with by both sides.  When both sides reached a compromise that contributed towards their respective positions, the hostilities ended. What are the objectives of a mentally ill person who shoots up a school or movie theater?  What is the common ground that a mass murderer shares with the rest of society that can be negotiated?  One cannot negotiate with someone acting out of rage and without reason.

Perhaps Mr. O’Doherty sees the NRA as one of the sides engaged in hostilities.  He seems to be casting the NRA in the role of the IRA in his analogy.  Any analogy between the IRA and the NRA is absurd on its face, but let’s play along for a moment with that notion.  The IRA was an organization, whose genesis came from an actual military organization– the Irish Republican Army, hence the name. They used violence to further their political goals of Irish nationalism. The NRA is not an army, it’s an association of like-minded American citizens interested in preserving their second amendment rights, rights that virtually every American already has.  They fight for to maintain these rights through exclusively peaceful means.  The right to bear arms was won over 200 years ago.

Again from the article:

“Outside mediators can see the path not taken and the forgotten angle, they can push past all the over familiar gripes and discover new ground. They were essential to the success of the Irish peace process, so why not here?

Is it wrong to suggest that America needs a peace process when there have been 73 different school shootings since the Newtown schoolchildren massacre? San Bernardino and God knows what else lies ahead.”

One wonders what the author means by “familiar gripes” as pertaining to gun violence.  Adam Lanza, who perpetrated the above mentioned Newtown school shooting was not part of some bigger organization, not the NRA, not the IRA, not anybody. He was not a ‘soldier’ fighting for some cause in common with the others who committed school shootings.  Many of those other shootings were part of gang and/or drug violence. Just what sort of peace accord do we reach with common criminals, save sending them to prison in exchange for their not menacing society while there?

Some who carry out mass shootings such as those in Paris and San Bernardino are members or affiliates of a terrorist organization with definable political and societal objectives, namely the complete domination of every human being on earth.  Cahir O’Doherty somehow does not seem to see them as one of the parties to be engaged in his proposed peace process.  Instead he maintains the ridiculous notion that NRA is somehow directing or is otherwise a driving factor behind the recent rash of shooting committed by them mentally ill, common criminals, and terrorists.  He tries, stunningly, to equate the NRA with the IRA, and suppose that if someone could just make a deal with Wayne LaPierre, guns en-masse could be decommissioned and the mass shootings would stop.

The anti-gun faction of the far left is actively trying to dupe the American people into conflating terrorists and mass-murders with pro-gun activists. The NRA is not ISIS or the IRA.  Wayne LaPierre is not a terrorist mastermind, directing school and other mass shootings. To even suggest so is irresponsible, not to mention defamatory.  Unlike in Northern Ireland, there are no two sides that if they could just reach some sort of accord, could end the violence. Law abiding gun-owners are not the problem, they are not one of the sides engaged in the “hostilities” being mentioned.  The cause of ending gun violence is not served by demonizing those who support the second amendment.

Time to rant again.

No laptop today, so no long, well thought out article.  Instead, random thoughts on the situation in Europe.  Maybe a few discussion topics to boot.  So here goes:

Obama just can’t resist belittling those he disagrees with.  I guess he’s given up on trying to sound like a statesman.  I would pay good money to see him debate Ted Cruz on the refugee issue.  Pay per view guys?

Speaking of refugees, since when is it wrong to actually vet refugees who came from a part of the world controlled by people who want to kill us?  Why does it make sense to commit to taking in a specific number of people?  Would it not make sense to say only the maximum number of refugees we’ll take in, like maybe the first ten thousand that can be properly vetted?  It doesn’t matter how many we can take in, it’s how many up to a certain number that we can trust  walking our streets.

After Paris, we find  ourselves at a crossroads.  We have to decide whether  to  lead, follow, or get out of the way.  The only choice that does not lead to our humiliation is leading.  If we allow Russia to lead, we’ll  have to be willing to do things their way.  Their way is the heavy hand. We might call it “winning ugly”, they just call it winning.

USA Behind France Ally
Vive la France!

Maybe we don’t  have to become Russia, but if France is willing  to bomb a target, we should be willing also.  We won’t  win if we’re not wiling to get our hands dirty.

First and foremost, we need to commit to defeating, not containing, but defeating ISIL.  A good way to do that would be a good old-fashioned  declaration of war.  Once you make such a clear statement of intent, there is no going  back, you have to follow up by taking massive action.  While we’re declaring war, we should invoke article five of the NATO treaty. Certainly all the criteria have been met with the Paris attacks.

Maybe you have different ideas, maybe you’d like to vent in your own special, literary way.  Maybe you agree with most or all on this page.   Hopefully though,  you’re not indifferent.