The long run has ended. We are losing the war in Iraq for the same reason we lost the war in Vietnam: we are fighting one war, while the insurgents fight another. In both campaigns, we understood neither our enemy nor our friends. In both campaigns, American lives and treasure were thrown into a fight we could not win. So, in both campaigns, we didn’t.
The actions of the Iraqi Army in Ramadi—fleeing at the first sign of trouble—are uncomfortably familiar. Again, our allies fail. Again, our allies ensure American lives in more than a decade of active war were lost in vain. Again, we leave holding a handful of ashes.
There is nothing quite so startling, and refreshing, inside the Pentagon as when the most senior officials say out loud what everyone knows. Ash Carter and General Dempsey, to their great credit—and to the unanimous acclaim of the people who work for them—refused to walk back these quotes. In the Washington press corps, the quotes above are called a “gaffe.” In the regular world, they are called “the truth.”
The Iraqi soldiers of today look an awful lot like the South Vietnamese soldiers of 50 years ago. This average soldier is a conscript, either de facto or de jure, fleeing a wasteland of poverty and low-level corruption in the countryside or urban slums. These young men are either dragooned into service or reaching for their only way out of poverty—a distinction without a difference. Such a young soldier is likely illiterate, innumerate, and incapable of following the most basic of orders due to either incompetence or self-preservation.
An insurgent succeeds because he has a sanctuary: the Ho Chi Minh Trail through Laos and Cambodia provided the North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong a secure, safe lifeline of supplies from North to South; the Federally Administered Tribal Areas border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan hides Taliban and al-Qaeda in friendly defiles. In Iraq, ISIS has a sanctuary right out in the open, in the villages and slums they control through intimidation and in which government forces are afraid to patrol.
ISIS does not have to defeat the Iraqis. ISIS, just as al-Qaeda and the Taliban maneuvering right now on the other side of Iran, has only to wait out the Americans. They know the airstrikes will end. They know we will not put Americans back on the ground.
We now know what happened in Iraq in the long run. It is clear to Carter, Dempsey, and every American general, and every soldier and Marine and intelligence analyst and diplomat. The bad guys are winning. We cannot know when they have won. But we will know when we have lost.
Category Archives: Radicals
The American left has spent the past few weeks trying to tell us that they believe in free speech, but…—and the “but” is that anything that offends the sensibilities of Islamic fanatics is unnecessarily provocative, hateful, and possibly racist. Therefore, such “hate speech” shouldn’t be allowed.
Now they’ve gotten a taste of their own medicine. They tried to censor an anti-censorship event.
This raises a big question, one of the great paradoxes of our era. Why is it that a large segment of left has embraced a code of appeasing “sensitivity” toward Islam—when they are its obvious next victims? Why do they wring their hands over “microagressions,” while urging us not to provoke people who execute homosexuals and throw acid in women’s faces?
They kowtow to Islam precisely because it is a real threat, a macroaggression that trumps all of the microaggressions. So you could say that it is simple cowardice. They protest against people they know are extremely unlikely to harm them, and they shut up about the fanatics who might actually follow through on their threats.
In fact, a running theme of the left’s arguments, repeated with a great deal of apparent sincerity, is the notion that it is irrational to fear Islam, that describing the religion as violent and dangerous is “Islamophobia.” They seem to have largely talked themselves into believing that they have nothing personally to fear from Islam. Jihadists may throw gays off of buildings in Syria, but it can’t happen here.
This is nonsense, of course, but it is revealing of the mindset. They actually talk themselves into believing that “censorship of LGBT artists” is an equal or even greater threat, far more urgent than anything having to do with Islam. For the left, the main source of evil in the world always comes from within America and from within the West, never outside of it.
The left is fundamentally reactionary. It is a reaction against capitalism and against America. The left are defined by what they are against, or more accurately who they hate. So they are drawn to sympathy toward Islam because it is not-us: non-Western, non-American, neither Christian nor a product of the Enlightenment.
Obama’s socio-economic analysis of 9/11, at the time of the tragedy, reveals an inability to see clearly on a matter of national security:
The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers…. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence, and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair.
But the root of the 9/11 terror attacks was not a “lack of empathy” or “poverty and ignorance.” It was an ideology of religious terrorism that Bin Laden willingly embraced. His beliefs flowed from forces more potent than the superficial categories Obama suggested. Islamist terrorism is grounded in a rigid theocratic-political view of the world. As Walter Lohman, director of Heritage’s Asian Study Center has put it, “the threat cannot be honestly separated from its religious context…. Calling the threat ‘Islamist’ allows us to distinguish friend from foe.”
There is no need for America to declare its own “fatwa” against all Muslims. Rather, we must recognize that ISIS and Al-Qaeda represent a clear and present transnational danger that calls for precise definition and decisive action. We must be willing to understand our enemy as he is, not as we might wish him to be.
A jury’s ruling today to sentence marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death is “justice” and a warning Boston “will not tolerate terrorism,” survivors and police said after the verdict.
“This is nothing to celebrate. This is justice,” said first-responder Michael Ward. “He wanted to go to hell and he’s going to get there early.”
The verdict against Tsarnaev, who’ll turn 22 in July, was announced by U.S. District Court Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.’s courtroom clerk Paul Lyness. Tsarnaev showed no emotion as the verdict was read.
Marathon bombing survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis, who lost a third of her left leg in the bombing, told the Herald she’s “happy with the verdict.”
“My heart goes out to everyone in the survivor community and to the victims’ families,” she added. “It’s still a lot to process right now.”
Only three of the 12 jurors bought into the defense argument that Tsarnaev was influenced by his older brother Tamerlan. The jurors unanimously agreed that Tsarnaev showed no remorse for the marathon attack and its aftermath that killed four young people, maimed 17 and injured hundreds.
The jurors unanimously voted to put him to death for the week of terror.
When will Obama intervene and invite him to a “Summit” to show the world he’s simply a misguided youth?
What would happen to all these people insisting, “I’m all for freedom, but…”? What would happen to their sudden respect for religious sensitivities? How would they deal with it if the brutal murder of gay people we’re seeing in the Middle East was brought right to their doorstep? How would they reconcile the cognitive dissonance caused by two of their favorite groups of pet victims colliding in such an inconvenient fashion?
Islamic law as it’s interpreted by extremists forbids criticism of Islam, the Quran, and Muhammad. If they cannot be criticized in the United States, we are in effect accepting Islamic law as overriding the freedom of speech. This would establish Muslims as a protected class and prevent honest discussion of how Islamic jihadists use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence.
Some say that “hate speech” should be censored. But what constitutes “hate speech” is a subjective judgment that is unavoidably influenced by the political perspective of the one doing the judging.
Allowing this sort of censorship would mean nothing less civilizational suicide. Many in the media and academic elite assign no blame to an ideology that calls for death to blasphemers — i.e., those who criticize or offend Islam. Instead, they target and blame those who expose this fanaticism. If the cultural elites directed their barbs and attacks at the extremist doctrine of jihad, the world would be a vastly safer place.
You can try to avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. The shootings in Garland, Paris, and Copenhagen targeting defenders of free speech, and the raging jihad across the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, are the disastrous consequences of avoiding reality.
But we are unbowed. Even when the venue was in lockdown and hundreds of attendees were ushered down into the auditorium, the crowd was singing the Star Spangled Banner and G-d Bless America. In the face of fear, they were staunchly and uniquely American.
To learn who rules over you, simply find out whom you cannot criticize. If the international media had run the Danish cartoons back in 2005, none of this could have happened. The jihadis wouldn’t have been able to kill everyone. But by self-censoring, the media gave the jihadis the power they have today.
We must take back our freedom.
A pair of would-be jihadists learned a very important lesson over the weekend – in America, we shoot back.
The men, believed to be radicalized roommates from Phoenix, tried to launch an attack on a gathering of freedom-lovers in of all places – the Lone Star State. It would turn out to be a most unfortunate decision.
It turned out those practicing their First Amendment rights were protected by those practicing their Second Amendment rights. Within a matter of moments – the jihadists were quickly dispatched to the Hereafter thanks to a straight-shooting traffic cop.
Authorities have yet to categorize it as a terrorist attack, but one thing is clear. Police thwarted what could have been an unprecedented massacre on American soil.
The intended target was a contest for cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, hosted by the American Freedom Defense Initiative. Among the speakers were AFDI president Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker known for his criticism of radical Islam.
Now, you may not agree with Miss Geller’s tactics. Some might accuse her of poking a bear – and that may very well be true.
But Miss Geller does have Constitutional right to poke the bear. She does have a Constitutional right to free speech. And those who disagree with her have a Constitutional right to disagree.
A couple of ISIS wannabes tried to shoot up an exhibition of cartoons in Garland, Texas, and the police put them down before the civilians could get to them: a triumph for duty and marksmanship.
What didn’t happen next?
There is a mosque in Garland, Texas. It was there yesterday, it’s there today, and it will be there tomorrow. After two radical Muslims attempted to massacre some infidels down the road a bit, there was no angry mob of Texans storming the place with F-350s and rifles. If any vehicle full of armed men rushed to the Muslims’ place of worship, you can be sure that it was the local police exercising an abundance of caution and nothing more.
It’s easy to be snarky–”Oh, yay for us! No massacre, give Texas a cookie!” But only those parochial minds with the narrowest of experience could fail to appreciate how unusual that is in the world.
Instead of retaliation, we have open-handed toleration that verges on the destructive. Pamela Geller seems to me like she might be a very nasty piece of business indeed, but you know who I don’t want to hear about it from? CAIR and the rest of the Muslim Brotherhood fan club.
“Oh, but she was trying to inflame the Muslims!” protest the usual assortment of bed-wetters. Yeah? So, what? Time to put on your big-boy First Amendment pants and buck up, little campers.
Did I miss the suicide bombings at The Book of Mormon, or did they just not happen?
I understand some Quakers really, really resent being used to sell high-fiber breakfast products, too, what with the cartoonish depiction of a ruddy-faced man with an awesome hat and all. And we’ve been inflaming the heck out of the charismatic Christians for a good long while now, but the only terror associated with Joel Osteen is the result of his weaponized dentition.
So, yeah: Texans 2, Jihadists 0. But the unappreciated player here is our uniquely liberal civil society—that, and not the police, is why there is peace on the streets of Garland.
In a fiery sermon delivered at a Brooklyn mosque, an Islamic preacher assailed hardline Muslim religious leaders who instill hateful ideas into the minds of impressionable Muslim youths, calling it a “cancer.” Instead, he called on worshipers to show kindness and love to others.
Speaking at the Oulel-Albab Mosque, Imam Tareq Yousef Al-Masri raised the Boston Marathon bombing and the recent Paris attacks, asking, “What’s the story with that all-destructive ideology?” according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Al-Masri said Muslims have to be honest with themselves about the problem emerging from hardline ideology, like that of Wahhabi and Salafist Islam.
“Let us admit, without lying to ourselves, that we, the Muslims, are time bombs. When I say ‘we, the Muslims,’ I do not mean every single Muslim, but Muslims of the religious sector are time bombs. When a sinner repents, the first thing he does is make a bomb. He blows it up and kills people,” Al-Masri said.
“We must admit this. We cannot become immune if we do not admit this,” he said. “If you have cancer, it won’t help you if I tell you that you have the flu. I must tell you that you clearly have cancer.”
Al-Masri criticized radical Islamists who preach hatred of Christians.
“Let us admit something else. The majority of us Muslims hate the Christians – true or false? Yes, that is the truth,” Al-Masri said. “When you see how many people oppose [congratulating Christians on their holidays], you have to admit that deep-rooted hatred dwells in the hearts of Muslims.”
“When we tell people that it is forbidden to wish a Christian ‘Merry Christmas,’ does this not lay the foundation for terrorism? This is how you condition yourself to feel hatred,” he said.
Al-Masri asserted that the Koran has been “distorted by scholars who corrupt the youth” who in turn “believe that they are worshipping Allah by killing people.”
“[These scholars consider] any Koranic verse of moral value to have been abrogated. They consider any verse that calls to treat people with kindness to have been abrogated. All that remains valid is: Kill! Slaughter! Is that the only thing that God tells us?” he said.