As I’ve been saying…

this fellow also says it well (emphasis added by me):

War is and always will be an ugly business.

That knowledge should lead Western governments to use their technological and economic advantages to avoid getting into wars with the barbarians on the edge of civilization. Instead, they start wars they never intend to win, so they can preen and pose about their virtue and morality, when something terrible inevitably happens…

The point of war is to kill the enemy and break up their stuff. The hope is they quit before you kill all of them and break all of their stuff, but you plan otherwise. If the Afghans knew all along that helping Osama bin Laden was most likely going to mean their cities and large towns would be flattened, they would have chose differently. Let’s assume they played it the same and Bush had firebombed Kabul, what would have been the result?

Yeah, there would have been a lot of hand-wringing and pearl clutching in Washington, but every other nutjob in the Middle East would have been re-calibrating his plans. A lot less death and destruction would have come as a result.

Not long after it became clear we were in both Afghanistan and Iraq for an extended engagement, I told a fellow Airman our country was making a huge mistake.  Rather than just strike and leave, our country was arrogant enough to believe we could “make democracy bloom” in a soil that has never yet produced it on its own.  Americans today have no stomach for the kind of occupation (both scope and duration) it would take to create that level of change in the region.  To put it bluntly, unless we’re willing to seal off and occupy the countries until we’ve educated a couple new generations, it ain’t happening (and probably wouldn’t then, either).  I said at the time we’d have been better off after 9/11 by turning the Taliban and Kabul into the world’s largest man-made crater as a warning to others, then leaving everyone in literal shock and awe (“Who else wants some of that?  Any takers?”).  Instead, our half-hearted wars of choice over the last decade and a half have eroded the respect and fear (not to mention the capability) our military once commanded.

You’re not powerful just because you’re throwing military forces around.  You’re powerful when nobody dares challenge you, even indirectly, for fear of the deathstroke you’re expected to deliver.  That’s the difference between deterrence and playing expensive whack-a-mole all over the earth.

“To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”  – Sun Tzu

But failing that,

“The will to conquer is the first condition of victory.”  – Marshall Ferdinand Foch

 We as a nation don’t have a will.  We’re too hesitant to be feared, and too reckless abroad to be respected.  And that’s why there’s not a way to win.  Trying to fight a war at the level of a low and long simmer is about as sensible as a doctor trying to operate without losing any blood.  Either America has the will to fight — including responsibility for the inevitable horrors — or it doesn’t.  Either there’s a reason to break things and kill people, or there’s not.  If there is, let it be done quickly, relentlessly and efficiently until a better future is secured (that’s Just War theory, by the way).

If, however, there isn’t will or a reason, the families of more than 8,300 Americans deserve to know why their loved one were sent to die.  Tens of thousands of scarred Americans also deserve to know what their sacrifices were for.

Quote of the Day

While listening to Trump’s address last night my overall impression was favorable, with a couple of concerning objections (more on that in a later post).  But since there’s a lot of talk in the air about increasing defense spending, and expanding the war on ISIS and related groups, this quote in Foreign Policy magazine is well worth pondering:

As a soldier, I welcome additional funds for training, personnel, and equipment.

But as a citizen I have concerns. Money will not fix what ails our military. ((emphasis added))  We don’t have a supply problem, we have a demand problem created by poor strategy. We have a military doing missions often beyond its purview, acting as the lead government agency in areas it is not qualified to do so, bearing impossible expectations in the process. As military professionals, we fail if we don’t achieve national goals (end states); the corollary to this is simple, we must demand clear and achievable goals. Our lack of both skews defense decisions.

The entire piece is deserving of your time and attention.

And this is the thanks they get

At the height of the war in Iraq, the military offered large bonuses for experienced troops who chose to stay in despite the grueling deployment tempo, the risk to life and limb, and the effects on their families.

But Uncle Sam always reserves the right to change the terms of the deal whenever he wants:

Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, a newspaper reported Saturday…

A federal investigation in 2010 found thousands of bonuses and student loan payments were improperly doled out to California Guard soldiers. About 9,700 current and retired soldiers received notices to repay some or all of their bonuses with more than $22 million recovered so far.

Soldiers said they feel betrayed at having to repay the money.  ((Editor’s note: THEY WERE!))

These bonuses were used to keep people in,” said Christopher Van Meter, a 42-year-old former Army captain and Iraq veteran who was awarded a Purple Heart. “People like me just got screwed.”

The government breaks its promises to We the People on a regular basis.  But this is an unusually egregious case.  To entice a veteran to stay in uniform during increasingly unpopular (and poorly managed) wars, have some of them wounded, crippled or killed, then wait a decade and say “now you have to pay it all back” is COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE.

Why isn’t the government of California on the hook for “overpaying” its National Guard?  Why should these soldiers suffer because someone made a promise that was not theirs to make?  Which bureaucrats will lose their jobs over fraudulently recruiting?  (I know… I’m not holding my breath.)  Why is it there’s always money and favors to give to illegal immigrants or foreign terror regimes, but never any to take care of Americans?

There have been too many broken promises, too much corruption, too many of our politicians on the take, and nothing for the average, law-abiding citizen of this nation.  Our self-appointed elites are so stupid that now they’re bashing thousands of combat veterans who may be wondering which way to point the rifle next time.  That’s just one of dozens of reasons why I’m convinced the United States is a dead country walking, and will soon collapse with a heartrending crash.  Why would anyone defend it, when this is the thanks those defenders get for putting their lives on the line?

For what little good it may do, there is an online petition to the White House asking to forgive these ‘debts’ that should never have been levied.  You can add your name here.

Confronting reality

This is a longer-than-usual post.  Only read if you have time to think (not emote) it through.  Much time has gone into synthesizing my thoughts on the topic (hence the dearth of posts lately)

I’ll give Donald Trump this: he knows how to get people talking.  Unfortunately, most of what I’ve been reading online (while not having much time to blog) has been pure emotional reaction and not careful consideration.

If we, as a people, are to set good, solid policy that will “secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our posterity,” we must rise above gut reactions and soberly assess the regrettable environment in which we find ourselves.  I’ve already stated on this blog that I find Trump personally distasteful.  He is not what I envision when I imagine ‘presidential,’ with one important exception: he does not fear the backlash from saying what he thinks.  If only more of our alleged ‘leaders’ (who, in truth, are mere followers of what certain chattering classes have deemed ‘acceptable’) would do the same.  Our political ‘elite’ has yet to get the fact that this one element alone accounts for most of Trump’s popularity.

But I’m not writing today to blog about Trump the man.  I’m writing about some of the things he’s said, and it’s high time Americans learn to separate the two.  Failing to do so has already turned this election cycle into one long fallacy of ad hominem appeals.  That’s not how you arrive at informed judgments.

So here we go: The Donald has proposed that we ban immigration by Muslims and/or from Muslim countries until we can get a handle on the jihadist problem.  Naturally, half or more of the electorate immediately shrieked “Hitler!” (has there ever been a more rapid example of Godwin’s Law?) and started quoting Martin Niemöller.   This is what’s known as ‘false equivalency.’  Preventing a foreign group of people from immigrating TO your country is undeniably NOT the same thing as rounding up a group of people already IN your country and sending them to gas chambers.  So get off the fainting couches, folks.

“But… but… that’s discrimination!”  the shrinking violets protest.  So is ANY limitation on immigration, since that means some people are allowed to come and others are not.  Let’s get to the heart of the issue, then: is there an automatic, inviolable right for anyone in the world to be able to move to the United States?  If you say yes, then you might as well leave your house unlocked every day and open so anyone whose economic condition is not as good as yours can move right in.  Otherwise, I call hypocrisy.  Claiming a nation has no right to secure its borders and bar entry has economic and social consequences every bit as much as claiming families have no right to secure their home and property.  The consequences of the former take longer to manifest, but 50 years after the Immigration Act of 1965 it should be apparent to anyone with a clear head that these consequences are already occurring.

“But… but… you can’t discriminate against Islam, because it’s a religion of peace!”  Like hell it is (and I mean that in the most literal sense).  There are individual Muslims who may be peaceful (I’ve met–even befriended–a number), but Islamic civilization and society is one a long, sad history of repression, regression and violence against outsiders.  Historically, there is no denying that when Islam is allowed to take root in a new land, it provides a growth medium in which extremism and jihad flourishes until that land is under submission to the same misery as the rest of the Dar-al-Islam.  Therein lies the problem: individual Muslims may not pose a threat, but Islam itself does.  We don’t have to like that fact any more than we like the other imperfections of this world.  We DO have to confront it, though.  As a system Islam does not seek to coexist; as soon as it is in a position to do so (say, through mass migration of its adherents…), it seeks to dominate.  Our nation’s early leaders were far more clearheaded about the incompatibility of this militant cult with Western Civilization:

Between these two religions, thus contrasted in their characters, a war of twelve hundred years has already raged. That war is yet flagrant; nor can it cease but by the extinction of that imposture, which has been permitted by Providence to prolong the degeneracy of man. While the merciless and dissolute dogmas of the false prophet shall furnish motives to human action, there can never be peace upon earth, and good will towards men. The hand of Ishmael will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him. It is, indeed, amongst the mysterious dealings of God, that this delusion should have been suffered for so many ages, and during so many generations of human kind, to prevail over the doctrines of the meek and peaceful and benevolent Jesus.  (John Quincy Adams, 1830)

“But… but… it’s unconstitutional to single out a specific group and refuse them entry!”  Thus does ignorance blather on yet again.  First of all, the Constitution and its protections apply to citizens of the United States, NOT to the entire world (unless people are suggesting we are responsible for all of humanity at all times and places.  Ready to take on that burden?).  In our historically generous spirit, prompted by the influence of Christ on our society’s development, we do seek to treat even foreigners according to the general principles of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  That’s all well and good.  But what happens when allowing the “pursuit of happiness” by foreigners directly threatens the “life and liberty” of those already in America?  Our government cannot and should not be neutral in such instances: its first duty is to its own people and their descendants (the machinations of traitorous globalists notwithstanding).  We used to understand this, which is why we didn’t allow unrestricted immigration from Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan at the same time we were at war with their societies, and why (Democrat) President Jimmy Carter barred travel to the U.S. by Iranians after their new (Islamic fundamentalist) regime became fond of the phrase “death to America.”

“But… but… Trump’s also proposed rounding up Muslims in the U.S., like we did the Japanese.”  He’s done no such thing.  Trump is but the blowhard center of a raging national conversation that, frankly, is long overdue.  Those around him sometimes seek to add or subtract their own agendas.  For instance, it was a reporter, not Trump, who suggested a Muslim-American database.  You can legitimately choose to criticize Trump for not dismissing the notion, and for some serious ambiguity in his follow-on communication, but it was not his talking point to start with.  As for his comment that we need to look at mosques very, very carefully, events in France should suffice to show the man has a solid point.

To sum up, there are a large number of Americans who believe we should continue to allow the immigration of large numbers of people whose social system has historically been highly problematic, and that once in the U.S. we have to treat them with kid gloves and not keep an eye on their community.  This is simply a national suicide wish painted over with a veneer of humanitarianism.

But I ask you this: which is more humane… to stop the continued mass immigration in the first place, or to allow it to reach a point where Americans may one day beg not just for databases but for the wholesale roundup and violent removal of that community (as was done with the Japanese)?  The former option causes inconvenience and hurt feelings; the latter is a road we don’t want to go down as a nation.  So why continue a status quo that leads that direction?  As for the Syrian refugees, the excuse everyone wants to use to prop the door open for everyone, would it not be equally humane to carve out a safe place for them to live in their own homeland?  How many of those touting their plight so earnestly would be willing to join the military and be the boots on the ground in the Middle East to protect them?  …That’s what I thought.  Since we know ISIS and others intend to take advantage of our open doors, exactly how many dead Americans is this utopianist posturing worth to you?

You see, ultimately a lot my take on this is influenced by my time in the military (at least I admit and try to control for my biases).  I spent an inordinate amount of time away from my family after 9/11 under the idea that we would fight Islamic extremism “over there” so we wouldn’t have to fight it “over here.”  How’d that work out for us?  If America submits to the “we are the world” utopian impulse that allows our nation to be overrun with immigrants not just from the Middle East, but from many places whose culture and norms are incompatible with our historic form of society, it owes an apology to every servicemember who died trying to keep the nation both independent and secure.

You want to “thank me for my service?”  CLOSE THE FREAKING BORDER.  And if you want to ensure nobody calls it discriminatory, here’s a suggestion: STOP LETTING ANYBODY IN.  (Maybe there’d be more jobs for Americans, then.)  Be serious about confronting the problems, or stop complaining when a jihadist shoots up a neighborhood, or mass immigration continues to cause American workers’ wages to plummet.

We’ve got enough problems here already.  We don’t need to import more.  My biggest concern about Trump is that he’s a harbinger.  You don’t have to like the messenger (I don’t), but the message cannot be ignored, unpleasant as facing reality is.  Most importantly, if our ‘leaders’ don’t figure this out soon, the next standard bearer for these concerns may be the actual devil that people currently want to cast Trump as.  If our ‘leaders’ want to reduce the growing nationalist sentiment, then it’s high time they take care of the nation.  The longer we put our heads in the sand about the world we now live in, the worse it will be in the very near future.

Civil and profitable discussion is welcome in the comments.

Refusing to say the word

Much ink and not a few electrons have already been used to dissect the attack this week in California.  What’s finally prompting me to add my small voice is seeing the wording by which the President directed government agencies to fly the flag at half-staff*:

As a mark of respect for the victims of gun violence perpetrated on December 2, 2015, in San Bernardino, California, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions through December 7, 2015.

This is why America faces more immediate danger than any time I can remember in my lifetime.  This is why we cannot get a handle on confronting and destroying Islamist networks.  This President steadfastly refuses to use the word “terrorism” unless it can be hung on his political enemies at home.

Think I exaggerate?  Within minutes of the shootings in Colorado, the entire left side of the spectrum was practically giddy at the thought a violent anti-abortionist would let them discredit a political viewpoint and at the same time demand more gun restrictions.  There was NO HESITATION to call it “domestic terrorism,” even while the standoff was going on and authorities were stressing the shooter’s motivations were not yet clear.  As more details have emerged, major media outlets have made much of the man’s professed “religious fervor,” though even they have to admit his theology amounted to saying one thing and doing another.  But never mind he’s not a Bible-adhering Christian: he claimed to be a Christian so that’s enough to initiate the guilt-by-association campaign.  By Jove, those gun-toting, Bible-thumping Christians are the greatest threat to our society!  Well, after Global Warming, that is.

Contrast that with the San Bernadino shootings.  The proclamation above gets nowhere close to the word “terrorism,” instead blaming inanimate objects (“guns”) once again for the violence.  While this is great rhetoric for the left’s relentless agenda to disarm ordinary Americans, it has the disadvantage of skirting around reality.

That reality includes the perpetrators’ Islamic faith, which somehow doesn’t seem to warrant as much coverage as Robert Dear’s deluded version of Christianity.  Syed Rizwan Farook, the son of Pakistani immigrants, traveled to Saudi Arabia to marry someone he’d met online (and who was able to get a thumbs up from Homeland (in)Security for a visa to live here).  His friends and family knew him to be absorbed by his Islamic faith, and he was in contact with known radicals.  He and his wife stockpiled thousands of rounds of ammunition, as well as materials for a pipe bomb assembly line in their apartment.

In this case, the news wanted to float the idea this was “workplace violence.”  Farook’s family claims he was teased by coworkers about his faith (never mind they also threw the couple a baby shower — for a child this couple left with its grandmother so they could go kill 14 people!).  About the only reference to the perpetrators’ religion is coverage of how Muslims are supposedly dealing with a backlash, the driver for which seems to be a mystery.  Despite the weapons cache and bomb-making materials, the FBI will only say “terrorism isn’t ruled out.”  Way to go, Inspector Clouseau!  I’m sure the President’s unwillingness to ever call any Islamic terrorism by its name has NOTHING to do with your open verdict — or the rampant sense of insecurity now felt by many Americans.

So, to sum up: the Colorado shooting means we need gun control and to reign in the protests from conservative Christians morally opposed to abortion.  The California shooting… well, since we don’t know his motivation (“he was such a nice, quiet guy!”), we’ll just blame it on the guns and double down on disarming America.  After all, we wouldn’t want to profile people — that’s doubleplusungood.

America has enemies, at home and abroad.  Increasingly, I’m of the opinion that the Democrats, especially this President, need to be considered conscious enablers of those enemies.  Instead of confronting the threat of militant Islam, they’d rather jet around the world talking about Global Warming (how’s THAT for hypocrisy?), browbeat Americans so they don’t act on suspicions, push to import thousands more from the region that spawned this hellish ideology in the first place, all while working to disarm the law-abiding public.  I’ll just say Molon Labe to that last bit.

History will not be kind to them.  Nor, I suspect, will the next decade or so be kind to our country, which has allowed these festering sores to rule over us.  We’re always told an election is “the most importantest ever,” but that’s very true in 2016.  Unless we elect leaders who actually believe in Western Civilization and what America used to stand for, and who will bar fifth columns from forming through immigration, and who will protect the rights of Americans to defend themselves against criminals and terrorists (but I repeat myself), well, there likely won’t be a presidential election in 2020.

At least not for the country we knew.

___________________

(*) – By the way, on land, the flag is sometimes flown at half-staff.  Only at sea (or on Navy/Coast Guard installations) is it ever flown at half-mast.   Get it right, people!  (End of pet peeve rant)

How soon we forget

There is no other way to explain how, a mere 14 years after 9/11, our nation would allow its leadership to negotiate a “deal” that releases billions of dollars in assets to the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, while failing to secure any meaningful restrictions on its drive to join the ranks of nuclear powers.

Even the New York Times chose today to run with the headline of Democrats (and Obama) “winning” over the deal, with no mention on the front page whatsoever about 9/11’s anniversary.  Such historical amnesia is a serious, often fatal condition.  And on this, the fourteenth anniversary of a day I will never forget, that is all I have to say about that.

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What shall we do with the Muslim traitors?

(Note: the title of this post is more fun if sung to the tune of “The Drunken Sailor”)

I’m not in favor of putting Muslims in internment camps in the U.S., as prominent DEMOCRAT Wesley Clark is.  (For the record, I’m not a fan of Clark–or the Democrats–at all.)  What I *am* in favor of is the following:

1) Severely curtail or completely cut off all immigration from the Muslim world.  Yes, there are those who come here peacefully with every intent to live honorably in their adopted home.  I suspect they’re a very small minority compared to those who want to Sharia-ize America.  It’s hard to square the rhetoric of “being at war” with radical Islam when we allow tens of thousands of people annually to enter our nation from lands that are primary sources of that ideology.  Life isn’t always fair, and sometimes misguided attempts to make it fair lead to even worse results.  Stop the flow, and secure the *&%^ border.

2) On a related note, I also think when someone previously deported is found to have slipped back into the country again, life imprisonment with hard labor or a firing squad should be on the table.  After all, if your home was repeatedly burglarized, you’d be more inclined to shoot the intruder, would you not?

3) Stop pandering to the Muslim community.  Either they want to be a part of this society, or they don’t.

4) Take allegations of radical Islamist preaching in U.S. mosques seriously, and deal with it swiftly.  Any Imam who says “death to America” at a Friday service should find himself on a one-way flight to Riyadh or Sana’a by the following Monday night (and that long only to allow for formal processing and legalities).  Incidentally, I’d also apply that standard to Obama’s mentor, alleged “Christian” Pastor Jeremiah Wright, for requesting “God damn America.”  It’s one thing for Christian leaders to point out that America is on the wrong side of God’s standards and call for repentance — and we need to do that loudly and often in this day and age.  It’s another thing entirely to call for judgment (see what I did there, all you who like to confuse Christian discernment with ‘judgment’ so that we aren’t supposed to criticize sin?), and to deliberately promote racial discord by one’s preaching.  Maybe a few years of “Back to Africa” would give Wright a different perspective on just how blessed he was to live here.

Either we believe radical Islam is a serious threat, or we don’t.  If we do, action is required.  I’m appalled at Clark’s suggestion that we just fence people into concentration camps.  That’s wrong to do to any human beings, and reinvigorates a bad precedent that could be used against any group the government takes a dislike to (as a member of one such group – orthodox Christians – I pay special attention to such trends).  Instead, we need to realize that certain worldviews are fundamentally incompatible, and it’s simple insanity to try to weave them together into some utopian diversity quilt.  Once any American–Muslim or not–declares their hostility to the Constitution and all that our history stands for, and openly espouses violence against that system or expresses a wish for its demise, it’s time to relocate them, at a minimum.  If they want to live in the 7th Century somewhere in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, let ’em go for it.

But when they try to turn the clocks back here (and that includes the Marxist-inspired rhetoric that is setting back race relations half a century or more), it’s time to say “buh-BYE!”

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