YCMTSU – Open Thread Version

I think it’s time that we just lay out on the table all of the garbage this administration has brought upon this country. The soiled debris of progressivism is getting knee deep, the stench is over whelming, and it’s time for us to itemize the unimaginable incompetence in a way that we can keep an inventory on what is currently rotting, so that we can properly process the new sewage that is surely headed our way over last two and half years.  I will start with:

1. The CFPB – the progressive instituted, feel good, Dudley Do Right government bureaucracy that is now embroiled in typical progressive incompetence and over spending. Reminiscent of the GSA excess’s – remember that? Good thing this administration learned their lesson there.

2. Obamacare – I know it’s kind of hard to keep up on all the refuse that is rotting all over this country, but Obamacare is one big pile of rubbish that continues to infect many peoples lives. Thankfully, a federal judge in Colorado has applied some common American sense and stopped  the Progressive Intolerant Fascist Machine from mandating the availability of abortifacients.

3. Washington Redskins – Evidently there is nothing of real importance facing this country which has allowed Harry Reid to stop all other matters in the Senate, and focus solely on the manufactured issue of a corporations name and his fascist desire to ruin it. Because of this, I will be purchasing a couple of Washington Redskin T Shirts, will wear them regularly, and encourage all of you to do the same. Honestly, I seriously think Harry Reid has lost his mind, but with a progressive, it’s really hard to determine how much brain he started with in the first place.

I encourage all of you to contribute to this list, so as we go in to the 2014 and 2016 elections, we will be sure to have a long detailed list of progressive failures, lies, and corruption which we can use as a club to repeatedly beat them over the head with – preferably until they bleed.

Tied to the Mast of the SS Obama

Earlier today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) ripped into the IRS commissioner, John Koskinen, over the serial falsehoods of the Obama Administration regarding the IRS scandal.  The clip is here and Ryan points out that “nobody believes you” to the Koskinen.  I saw a small bit of Koskinen’s testimony and the clearest impression I took was of a man who is a smug, little Ruling Class (expletive deleted). He’s quite confident that he won’t be called upon to pay a price for his actions – no surprise, after all, he was very senior at Freddie Mac when the housing market melted down.  Rather than being forced out in disgrace, at the minimum, he’s now in charge of the IRS.  He knows with certainty – as we all do – that with Obama as President and Holder as Attorney General, there will be no criminal prosecutions over this case.

Just as Koskinen and the rest of those involved in the IRS scandal know they are immune from prosecution, so does everyone else in the Obama Administration involved in all the other scandals feel this sense of security. Say what you will about Barack Obama, he protects his own – if you are on his team, he’ll make certain that nothing bad happens to you.  As things go from bad to worse in all aspects of Obama policy, this is the rock upon which Obama’s people sit: they can do what they want and know they are safe.  This is why we get this arrogant disdain from them about the hard, factual basis of our opposition.  We can bring up all the indisputable facts of corruption we want, Obama and his people will just deny it all, call us all names for bringing it up, and go about their business in a quite shameless manner.  That explains Obama and Co, but what of the Democrats in the larger sense?  Why are they going along with this?  Obama can’t protect them all – and Obama’s policies are making the Democrat brand ever more toxic in American politics.  Its all well and good for Obama to just keep going, but come January 20th, 2017, he won’t be there any more…while Democrats will have to live with his legacy.  So, why haven’t any leading Democrats come out in public against him?  To be sure, some have in private and not for attribution; but there has been no public opposition (and none really even from red State Democrats facing electoral defeat because of Obama) – and I suspect there won’t be.

For better or worse – and I predict it will be much, much worse – Democrats can’t cut themselves away from Obama.  That he’s dishonest, corrupt and incompetent doesn’t matter.  In the electoral geometry of Democrat politics, there is simply no way Democrats can renounce their support for the first African-American President…just as, in the by and by, they won’t be able to renounce support for the first female, first Latino and first gay President, if such Presidents wind up being Democrat. You and I over here on the right don’t care that much about such things – if we nominate, say, a gay Latina in 2016 and she wins but turns out to be a numbskull, we’ll turn on her (and be called racist and homophobic for doing that – but, we’re used to that false accusation and so don’t care any longer).  Democrats can’t.  Their existence is based upon certain falsehoods being acted upon as if they were true – one of them is that an African-American of the proper politics and views can do no wrong (other examples: government spending increases national wealth; government unions are the same as, say, the miners unions in the 1920′s; “tax the rich” means that actual rich people will be taxed, etc, etc). Why do you think they still carry the Sharpton and Jackson albatrosses around their necks?  For goodness sakes, those two, old hacks provide nothing for the party or the movement.  But they can’t be denied – because they are black and of the “correct” views.  To deny them is by definition – in Democrat circles – racist.  To turn on Obama would be racist.  They can’t do it – if you could prove to them that loyalty to Obama will cost them a dozen Senate seats this fall and the White House in 2016, they still wouldn’t turn on him.

Ryan told Koskinen that “nobody believes you”.  This, I think, is the epitaph of the Obama Administration: nobody believes you.  I’m confident that nobody believes Obama – well, to modify that a bit:  your Democrat base probably still does, because they get all their information from the traditional MSM and have never thought about anything deeper than the latest reality show.  But outside of that demographic, nobody believes Obama, or anyone on his team.  We all know its a pack of lies – everything; Benghazi, “saved or created” jobs, Fast and Furious, green energy cronyism, GM, Syria, Iraq, Keystone Pipeline, DREAM Act, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, China, Libya, IRS.  Everything Obama and team have said about these things is lies.  As Democrats in the House today spoke up one by one to essentially apologize to Koskinen and claim the whole IRS scandal was a GOP witch hunt, I’m confident that most of them knew as the words came out of their mouths that they were lying – and were lying to defend lies told by Obama and team (I said “most of them” because it seems to me that a number of Democrat Congresscritters are mindless drones selected by the Powers That Be to be mindless drones – hacks who just vote as the leadership demands; such people are probably not much beyond the reality TV intellectual level of the Democrat base…and such people might actually believe what they say is true, as their clever aids write their statements up for them).  But, still: nobody believes you.  But the Democrats will still fall on their swords for Obama – because they have to; to them, to deny Obama is to deny their view of themselves (remember, they honestly believe we are all racists – but that they are untainted by such things; after all, they support Barack Obama, right?  That makes them non-racist).

We’ll see how things come out.  There is a school of thought – and it does have much to be said for it – that we’re too far gone as a nation.  That too many of us are demoralized, dependent and intellectually bankrupt.  Because of this, the majority will continue to back the Democrats no matter what happens.  This line of thinking is why many people – including some very smart and well-informed people – are certain that Hillary will be elected in 2016.  This could be true.  We might be doomed.  On the other side are people like me – who really do think that after a while, when you pile up that much dishonesty and corruption, there is a reaction against it.  if so, then this reaction will start in November and carry through to 2016.  But regardless – sure victory or sure defeat – Democrats are tied to the mast of the SS Obama; they will go down with the ship, if necessary, to prove to themselves that they are good liberals.  So, don’t look for a break in the ranks over there – don’t look for Obama to fall to, say, 30% approval ratings.  There is a solid rock of ignorance, corruption and dishonesty to sustain even an Obama, no matter what he does.

 

Finished? I Don’t Think So.

As Rush Limbaugh asserted on his radio show Wednesday, the Obama presidency is far from over.

The events to which we are witness presently– world unrest, trampling on personal property rights and State sovereigntyassault on affordable energy–continuous assaults on our ability to grow our economy– is all part of Obama’s original campaign promise to “..fundamentally transform the United States of America.”

I know I’ve said this before, but it’s an important phrase to ponder. “FUNDAMENTALLY” TRANSFORM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” Think about that. Let that short, simple, yet all-encompassing phrase sink in. First focus on the word “TRANSFORM” and then the root word of “FUNDAMENTALLY.”

To “transform” something, by definition, is to make something evolve into something radically different from what it has traditionally been. “Fundamental” by definition is a defining, basic characteristic. A building block–something foundational to its being.

Now, to “FUNDAMENTALLY TRANSFORM” means to radically transform the United States from what it has traditionally been– the “shining city on a hill”- the land of opportunity–based on the premise of individual liberty and the affordance of self-determination–yes–to transform that– into something *fundamentally different* and thus diametrically opposed to that foundation.

The Third World Despots, the Kruschevs, the Fidel Castros, the Kim Jong Ils and Uns of the world, have given hours-long speeches about their hopes for the destruction of the Free World, but never have they been able to put it so succinctly and eloquently as has Obama in that one simple, yet profound phrase. “..We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”

Many people chalked that phrase to meaningless boilerplate rhetoric, as so much rhetorical fluff. But of all the promises Obama made that were broken, whether it was closing Guantanamo Bay, allowing people to ‘keep their doctors or their health plans–period,” or to decrease health insurance costs by $2500 per year, this– this seminal promise–(along with bankrupting the coal industry)–was the one he meant from the bottom of his joyless, cavernous heart.

No people. The Presidency of Barack Hussein Obama is not ended. He still has a lot of ‘fundamental transformations’ to perform.

Barack Obama’s “scorched earth” policy against America and its people has only just begun.

After Iraq and Afghanistan, What Should Our Policy Be?

There was just a small chance at the end of 2008 that our effort in Iraq would work.  By extreme exertions we had mostly pacified the nation and with a bit of luck and more hard work, Iraq might have slowly developed into a pluralist democracy, thus providing a both a bulwark against extremism and a model for the rest of the long-suffering people of the Middle East.  It did not, however, work out like that.  Rather than keep a presence in Iraq, we withdrew all our forces and essentially left Iraq to its own devices.  Power does abhor a vacuum and as we weren’t there and the Iraqis weren’t quite up to the task, other powers started flowing into Iraq.  Now we see the result of that – a clash which is now really more between some people who want to create a Caliphate without reference to the existence of Iraq as a nation, and the Iranians who are bound and determined to keep control of as much Iraqi territory as possible, also without reference to the existence of Iraq as a nation.  Those in Iraq who would prefer neither Iranian nor Caliphate domination are squeezed between the two and will simply have to choose which evil they think is lesser.

At the end of 2008, Afghanistan was seeing an upsurge in trouble as the Islamist effort in Iraq was beaten back and Afghanistan became the only place an Islamist could fight the United States.  In the 2008 campaign, Obama told the American people that Iraq was the distraction, but that Afghanistan was the war we had to fight.  This is why we cut out of Iraq and then surged into Afghanistan.  Not with the number of troops recommended by senior military leaders and while giving a time frame for our withdrawal, thus allowing the enemy to know how long they had to endure before we quit – but, still, the effort was made in accordance with Obama’s oft-stated premise that we had to fight the war in Afghanistan.  In Afghanistan, it also didn’t work out.  The enemy knew we weren’t there forever and continual restrictions upon the ability of our forces to conduct the sort of brutal war necessary to defeat the Islamist forces made certain that victory wasn’t possible.  Meanwhile, the Afghan government descended into ever worse corruption and clearly started making arrangements for what would happen after the United States departed – mostly in terms of giving power to those who were fighting against us.

After all is said and done, whatever we were hoping to accomplish by going into Afghanistan and Iraq has proven a failure.  For you liberals out there who are of the opinion that killing bin Laden was key and winning in Afghanistan was right because Obama said so: you were wrong.  For us conservatives who believed that we could build a democratic, Muslim nation:  we were wrong.  For those on the left who want to harp upon circa-2004 BUSH LIED!!!!1!! memes; just shut up and go away.  Seriously – no one wants to hear that nonsense any longer.  However one felt about the efforts, they have clearly failed and now it is time to re-assess our policies.

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The Un-Death of the TEA Party

The obituary of the TEA Party has been a regular feature in the MSM since about 5 minutes after the movement started. A good deal of the motivation behind this is the ardent desire on the part of the Ruling Class – and thus 90% of the MSM – that the TEA Party be dead.  The TEA Party is very much not wanted for the simple reason that if Congress ever has a working majority of TEA Party politicians – or, my goodness!, a TEA Party orientated President – then the game is up.

It cannot be over emphasized just how much of America’s rich and powerful are rich and powerful simply because they are juiced-in to Washington, DC.  The life of Harry Reid is an excellent illustration of it.  Harry Reid really did come up from nothing.  His life story would be an inspiring rags-to-riches story except for one thing:  he got rich by the power of government.  He really was the son of a hard rock miner and a woman who took in laundry to make ends meet.  He really did walk miles to school (I’ve driven over the rout; it simply must have been a long, hard hike when Reid did it way back when).  From that background of grinding poverty, Reid is now fabulously wealthy – but he’s never actually done anything.  All he’s been is a government office-holder on one level or another since he graduated from law school (I’ve talked to some who do advise that for a short period Reid was in private law practice…but I don’t see much evidence of it, and it certainly wasn’t enough to build up Reid’s current level of wealth).  Using his connections and his political power, Reid has managed to engage in various financial schemes to get rich – some of which were clearly legal, others a lot more questionable, but in every case greased along by the fact of Reid’s membership in the Ruling Class; none of these deals, bottom line, are open to people who are not juiced-in with government.  And Reid is legion.  There are millions of people like him at the federal, State and local level, in and out of government, but all sharing one thing in common:  the ability to tap into government to get rich.

There are several rules regarding membership in this Ruling Class:

1.  Never attack the Ruling Class, as an entity (its ok to turn on individual members who get caught in a jam, but no attacks on individuals must be allowed to spread to an understanding that the problem is systemic).

2.  Never defend the traditional forces of the Republic.  You can make noises about supporting the troops and such – especially for the Rubes on the 4th of July, etc – but never defend that which actually made America great.  The reason for this is simple: defending what made America great means attacking what is now making American small – the Ruling Class. Stern, republican virtues and emulation of people like Washington and Madison are kryptonite.  This goes doubly so for the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of American morality – go ahead and be Catholic, Evangelical or Orthodox Jew all you want, but for crying out loud, when it is time to choose between defending that morality or destroying it, make some insipid statement about being opposed on moral grounds but not justified in defending it on legal grounds.  It is a requirement, you see, that the Ruling Class destroy traditional forces and the old morality – in their view, it is the only way they can guarantee their power indefinitely.  Demoralized people will submit to be ruled.

3.  Never, ever, ever, EVER agree to reduce the size of government.  Doesn’t matter if you ran as a small-government conservative.  That was just for the hill-apes back home.  Once in the Ruling Class, your job is to keep government large and growing larger.  How else are the new-comers to the Ruling Class to gain their wealth?  The Ruling Class must judiciously bribe and corrupt small sections of the people in order to ensure that things remain as they are, and this can only be done by an ever larger government. At best, you are permitted to pretend to slow the rate of increase in the size of government.

You do all that, and you’ll get along fine and the rest of the Ruling Class will defend you, even if they are allegedly in opposition to you.  They’ll be your buddies.  They’ll ensure that you, too, are given your opportunities to increase your wealth via government-greased deals. They’ll write laws so that you and they can pretty much be openly bribed (and they’ll call it “campaign finance reform”, into the bargain!). True, some of you might have to be thrown to the wolves from time to time, but most of you never will – and even if you do have to lose your particular office, there will be book deals, television shows, etc to keep you on the gravy train.  Just be true to the Ruling Class and all of this will be yours.

And then along comes the TEA Party.

Its not that TEA Party types are particular against any person – individual members of the Ruling Class do become lightening rods of TEA Party criticism, of course, but it really isn’t a personal thing.  TEA Party types are those people who hold to the old morality and the stern, republican virtues of our Founders.  And thus they see that, in a sense, it doesn’t matter if someone like Reid never broke a law – he simply should not be rich.  The fact that he is rich proves the system corrupt. And from there comes the requirement that the system be radically changed.  This is bull in a china shop kinda stuff…and it crosses party lines, which really irritates the Ruling Class because they hope to keep it a party vs party thing and thus have us divided….but if the people get united in a general desire to change the system, then everyone in the system is cooked.   And, so, the Ruling Class unites to destroy the TEA Party – and continually writes the TEA Party’s obituary, only to have it come surging up again like it did in the Virginia-07 House race on Tuesday.

And it will keep surging up – it won’t go away until the system is changed or the United States is destroyed as a nation by an unchanged system.  As long as there is any body of people in the United States who can bother to read what the Founders wrote, who heard stories about grandpa and great-grandpa or who just understands that only people who work hard at a productive trade should be rich, there will be a TEA Party.  And as the Ruling Class shoves America closer and closer to dissolution as a nation, the TEA Party will just get more vehement:  time is running out, after all.

Cantor’s defeat caught all of us by surprise – but it really, in a sense, shouldn’t have.  Cantor is a nice guy and he’s not some wild-eyed liberal.  He’s a rather conventional GOPer of the Ruling Class.  His opponent wasn’t and ran a campaign which spoke to the public desire for leadership which would challenge the Ruling Class, rather than make deals to increase the debt limit or an amnesty program without any realistic border security provisions. Most of the time, unknown and unfunded TEA Party candidates will fail – simply for not being able to get their message out there.  On the other hand, some times they will win – and so the GOPers who are part of the Ruling Class better take note: you have a decision to make.

You can either dig your heels in to defend the current system, or abandon it and thus, perhaps, become instrumental in the reform and revival of your nation.  True, if you turn against the Ruling Class, as an entity, you might lose – you might be tossed out on your ear.  The TEA Party impulse in the United States might not be victorious and America might be doomed.  On the other hand, if you join with the forces of reform, then they just might win…and while you’ll have no way to make any money off the deal and the Ruling Class will treat you with disdain, you might be able to save the United States and go into the history books with the fame of an honorable name.  You’ll also be able to look yourself in the mirror.  But come what may, what isn’t going to happen as long as the Republic endures is the death of the TEA Party.  It isn’t an aberration – it is America trying to save herself.

Update: Mickey Kaus notes Brat’s last-minute pitch for votes:

The entire amnesty and low-wage agenda collapses if Cantor loses — all the billions of special interests dollars, all the favors, all the insider dealing — all of it is stopped in its tracks tomorrow if the patriotic working families of Virginia send Eric Cantor back home tomorrow. 

Tomorrow, the middle class has its chance to fight back. 

Tomorrow, the people of Virginia can show up to the polls and defeat the entire crony corporate lobby. 

Tomorrow, we can restore our borders, rebuild our communities, and revitalize our middle class.

Yeah, that sort of thing is precisely what the TEA Party is all about.

The Progressive Clerisy

I wrote about this issue a while back, and just recently read this excellent article by Joel Kotkin speaking to the same, very real and very disturbing phenomenon which is hurting our country. First, a brief history:

“The very term Clerisy first appeared in 1830 in the work of Samuel Coleridge to described the bearers of society’s highest ideals: the intellectuals, pastors, scientists charged with transmitting their privileged knowledge to the less enlightened orders”.  

We see this phenomenon every day in print, on TV, in entertainment, in the digital media, and on the progressive blogs and certainly with the progressives that frequent B4V. Group think rules their world and if you stray from the orthodoxy, there are consequences. One small, but very revealing example was when one of the progressives over at AllPolytics misunderstood a post by a fellow progressive, he responded in a condescending, corrective tone. A response of which led the original poster to quickly clarify his comments. The subsequent response by the “correcting” commentator was priceless – he said, “you’re forgiven”. I had never seen anything quite like it, but it is a real and disconcerting phenomenon that this country must overcome. Joel provides another great example of this phenomenon including the cancellation of recent commence speeches by Condi Rice and Ayaan Ali Hirsi, to name a few.

The concentration of wealth and power is what fuels the Clerisy, and that also is a very real trend despite the flowery rhetoric of Obama’s endless speeches. Joel mentions that the number of federal workers earning more than $150,000/yr has more than doubled since 2007, and since 1990, the number of government workers has grown from approx. 5 million to approx. 20 million, “a growth rate roughly twice the population as a whole”. And while stock values and real estate holdings continue to increase in value and the portfolios of the rich, the country is realizing an historically low labor participation rate and a record number of people on welfare. And what is the response by the ruling elite to the current plight of the proletariat? Is it to tap into the vast reserves of domestic energy resources and ignite a boom of good paying jobs as seen in North Dakota? Is it to build the Keystone pipeline and create many well paying union jobs dotted throughout the interior of the US, and to keep that oil from going to China? Is it to reform the tax code and repatriate trillions of corporate dollars in an effort to encourage domestic corporate expansion and employment? NO! The ruling class answer to what ails the millions of people still looking for work, or of whom have simply given up is to raise the minimum wage to $10.10/hr. That’s what the progressive elite feel that they are worth, and if you oppose this effort, well then there will be consequences. A recent quote by Obama re: the Bergdahl release pretty much sums up the thinking of the ruling elite:

“It was a unanimous decision among my principals in my government and a view that was shared by my– the members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And this is something that I would do again and I will continue to do wherever I have an opportunity,”

This current societal phenomenon won’t be easy to defeat, but it must be defeated if we are to ever get back to sensible healthy debates that move our country forward. And this means that we must do everything we can to defeat Hillary Clinton – she is the Queen of the Clerisy.

 

 

D-Day, Bergdahl and the End of American Warfare

Seventy years ago, today, of course. Allied forces landed at Normandy and after a hard fight, secured a lodgement upon the continent of Europe which ensured that, come what may, Hitler’s regime was doomed.  It was a bloody business, allied forces losing more than 4,000 dead on the first day, with the worst of it being a Omaha beach, which was a bloody shambles, redeemed only by the sublime courage of soldiers who even after everything went wrong, made the decision to press ahead against odds until the Germans were driven off the beach.

Many have made the observation that there does not seem to be that spirit alive in America any longer.  Our modern youth simply could not take on the sort of men who manned Hitler’s Atlantic Wall with any hope of success. There is a bit of truth in that – in the sense that some of America’s youth are so demoralized that they not only couldn’t wade under fire towards an enemy-held beach, but probably wouldn’t even be in the military, no matter what the stakes of the war were.  But there is also in America a large number of youth who would do it.  They are the men and women who are currently in our military today; and the several million who have passed through recently. We mobilized a bit more than 12 million personnel in World War Two and today, I think, even if we made it entirely voluntary, we could raise that amount for a putative World War Three – and keeping in mind that only about 10-20% of the WWII mobilized actually saw combat, that would be sufficient for us to crush any combination of enemies out there.

The big question becomes: would we actually desire to crush them?  That is where the Bergdahl case comes in.  We don’t know precisely what happened to him at this point – leave aside stories you might have heard, the bare-bones are that he was a US soldier who left his post.  Whether he left is post in a fit of pique, an abundance of folly or with malevolent design is entirely unknown. In brief, he is a deserter, but we don’t know much else about it.  But let us consider the war we had Bergdahl fight.  There is no demand for victory; no desire for victory; not much attention to the effort paid by the Commander in Chief; our enemies are free to use whatever tactics they think best while our troops are hemmed in by rules of engagement; and our enemies, if captured, are held in Gitmo – while our liberal friends paint that place as a house of horrors, it is really not all that bad a prison and it is absolutely clear that nothing bad will ever happen to the prisoners. Meanwhile, soldiers like Bergdahl can easily access websites which tell him – from American sources! – that our effort in Afghanistan is criminal and that we are the bad guys.  Small wonder that a soldier or two might get disillusioned and walk off.  The problem with Bergdahl is not that he deserted and its not even so much that five Taliban were released to get him back – the problem is that we aren’t fighting for victory and that there were five Taliban to be released.  Things used to be done a bit differently.

D Day was  pretty much a straight-up fight between professional armies – but even so many thousands of French civilians were killed.  By aerial bombardment, artillery, cross-fire – and I’ll bet because of horrific mistakes.  A squad of US soldiers hears a sound coming from a basement and tosses in a grenade or lights up the place with a flame thrower…only afterwards discovering that it was mom, dad and three kids hiding in there.  It happens.  It is horrible.  But these days it would be classed as a crime by our liberal elites, the MSM would go nuts and the soldiers would be lucky to get off with dishonorable discharges.  War is a nasty business.  It is best not to fight them – but once  you’re in a war then you are, indeed, in a war.  People will be killed.

But even in World War Two, there were irregular combats, and combatants. Later, after D-Day, a German mission was to put their troops in US uniforms and send them behind our lines to sow confusion and panic.  Some of these German troops were captured, in US uniform. Three of the German troops were captured on December 17th, 1944. They were given a court martial on December 21st, 1944.  They were sentenced to death.  The death sentence was carried out by firing squad on December 23rd, 1944. Six days from capture to firing squad, boys and girls.  That is war.  That is what you do with irregular forces who are captured.  The five Taliban we gave up for Bergdahl should have been dead years ago – and dead per the Geneva Convention, as those captured Germans were dead per the Geneva Convention (liberals love to throw the Geneva Convention out there – but I wonder if any of them have actually looked at the Convention in relation to irregular forces? I doubt it very much).

I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Breaker Morant – about a trio of Australian soldiers being tried for murder during the Boer War.  One of the accused explains how things work in this short scene:

The movie is great and I highly recommend it, because it points out the absurdity of trying to apply civil court procedures and rules of evidence to a war.  A war is by its nature an extraordinary thing.  It is bound by rules and some of these rules are iron-hard – but the purpose of your military in a war is to destroy the enemy.  Have many thought about that of late?  Destroy.  Wipe out.  Render incapable of any further resistance.  That is what is being sought – and you can’t do that by being gentle with terrorists, nor bringing your own soldiers up on charges because they did something in the heat of battle which you, safe and dry at home, feel was distasteful.

Soldiers are to be brave.  They are to defend the weak and oppose the strong. A good soldier will lay down his life for his comrades – and for women and children…but a good soldier might also shoot an enemy out of hand, or toss that grenade into the cellar, thinking it’s the enemy down there, when it later turns out it wasn’t.  Commanders in war are to seek victory – victory at all costs.  Since the end of World War Two, we haven’t sought victory at all costs…and over time we have told soldiers to be less and less like soldiers and act more and more like social workers with guns. But our enemies haven’t changed.  They want victory – and they are willing to give all they have to get it.  It is small wonder that we lost in Korea, lost in Vietnam…and will now lose in Afghanistan.  Small wonder, also, that some US soldiers get confused and walk off their posts.

We need a national debate about this – 2016 would be a good time for it.  The Presidential candidates should be asked just what does it mean to be at war.  They are seeking to be Commander in Chief, after all, so let us get some idea of what they think of the job.  Will they put on trial a soldier who urinates on a dead enemy?  Who kills civilians in a cross-fire?  Will they keep terrorists alive and well fed for years, or shoot them within 6 days of capture?  If we go to war, will it be for absolute victory, or just something to do to keep the poll numbers up until after the next election, and then flush the whole business down the toilet?  It is important to have this because it is important, also, that we, the people, consider what we want.  Do we even want to have an armed forces?  Do we understand what armed forces do?  Are we willing to send men and women into unimaginable horror with unclear orders and civilians second-guessing every move?  Or will we send them into that horror with orders to kill and to win?  The answers will go far to determine if, indeed, we could stomach another D-Day – whether we can ever win another war.