Democrats Call in the George W. Bush to Save Their Party

As polls show Obama and the Democrats in the distinct political minority in dealing with radical Islamic terrorism, they’ve decided only one person can save them:

I guess we really all do miss W, now.

This ad is nauseating – for 8 years Democrats routinely insulted President Bush in the most disgusting terms possible. He was Chimpy McSmirk BusHitler. He was evil. He lied to get us into Iraq so that Cheney could make money. He was a war criminal. But here are the Democrats at their shameless worst – using the reasonable words of a good President to try and shore up support for the disastrously failed policies of President Obama.

We all know why President Bush downplayed the Islamic aspects of our enemies – in order that it would be easier for us to defeat those elements within Islam determined to kill us. And to this day, no wise person wants any sort of war on Islam – which is why the GOP candidates of 2016 are careful to state that our problem is with radical Islamic terrorism – not with Islam, as a thing. But Obama doesn’t see anything in Islam as a problem – he has decided that there is no problem within Islam. That Islam has absolutely nothing to do with what is happening in Syria – or what happened in Paris last week. Or what may happen in the United States when the terrorists attack here, again.

It is Obama’s miserable failure in Iraq and Syria which has led the world to a crisis where half the population of Syria has been displaced and a sea of humanity is now seeking safety anywhere they can find it. In what must be some sort of pathetic attempt on Obama’s part to make up for his failure, he has decided that he’ll get 10,000 Syrians into the United States – a drop in the ocean of suffering. This allows Obama to preen himself on his generosity – while doing nothing to actually solve the problem his failures have helped to bring about. But in the aftermath of Paris, everyone is wary – everyone with any sense at all wants to have much more careful screening of refugees. This is just common sense – but as it wasn’t Obama’s idea, he wants no part of it. But the people are against him – and so this cynical use of President Bush.

I think this will go over like a lead balloon. Nothing in the past 7 years has to completely demonstrated the moral bankruptcy of the Democrat party.

Monday, Monday

Things are not looking too hot in Syria:

CIA-backed rebels in Syria, who had begun to put serious pressure on President Bashar Assad’s forces, are now under Russian bombardment with little prospect of rescue by their American patrons, U.S. officials say.

Over the past week, Russia has directed parts of its air campaign against U.S.-funded groups and other moderate opposition in a concerted effort to weaken them, the officials say. The Obama administration has few options to defend those it had secretly armed and trained.

The Russians “know their targets, and they have a sophisticated capacity to understand the battlefield situation,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., who serves on the House Intelligence Committee and was careful not to confirm a classified program. “They are bombing in locations that are not connected to the Islamic State” group..

If they are really hitting the necessary targets – and I suspect that they are – then we can only assume that our security has been breached. This would come as no surprise as security under the Obama Administration has been notoriously slack. Syria is turning into a geo-political debacle for us.

The LA Times asks if Clinton can change the gun debate. The answer is “no”, but I’m very hopeful that she’ll make this a key element of her campaign. The American people are, if anything, more in favor of the individual right to bear arms than at any time in our nation’s past. I can’t think of anything better for us on the political front than Hillary, desperate to shore up leftwing support, going on a gun control rampage.

Just to set the record straight for any Trump supporters out there – if Trump does emerge as the nominee, then I’ll vote for him. But Trump is flat wrong on eminent domain.

The Libertarian Moment is stated to be over. I’ll state that it never began. I respect my Libertarian-minded fellow conservatives. I fully understand where they are coming from. I agree with them on a lot of issues. But the United States will never be Libertarian – and any desire for it, if pressed too hard, will just backfire. Better to just get with the right balance – the maximum freedom possible consistent with orderly government.

The Carson campaign finds some uses for Hillary’s Hard Choices.

Out and About on a Sunday

Because you knew they’d say it – Joaquin is caused by Global Warming Climate Change Climate Disruption:

…Hurricanes love warm water and the sea surface temperatures in Joaquin’s path are the warmest ever on record.

Thank humans for that…

This winter there will be a blizzard…or, there won’t. It doesn’t matter. It’ll be Global Warming…

So, a new national poll shows Carson leading Trump. I’ve wondered if Trump would flame out. Well, strictly speaking, I expected him to flame out, weeks ago. He didn’t – but that just advised me of the depth of anger at the Ruling Class. But, maybe he’s on the way down, now? Time will tell. I hope we keep getting these flavors of the month until people realize that Bobby Jindal is like 10,000% better than everyone else in the race.

But I doubt that’ll happen. As an aside, Obama’s approval rating in the aggregate at RCP is 45.5%. Generally, the President’s party scores right around the President’s approval rating on election day. There is nothing which will happen over the next 13 months which will improve Obama’s rating – and plenty of things can happen which will drag it down. Really, we can win this thing next year – imagine how hard it will be for Hillary to out-poll Obama…

Obama says that Syria is not some sort of super power chessboard. It is precisely that. Really, that is all we need to know about Obama – he hasn’t a clue.

Jake Tapper – who is a pretty smart guy – just doesn’t get it about Islam. In fact, of course, no one in the Ruling Class really does. The reason they don’t is because they, themselves, don’t really believe in anything in the sense of being willing to sacrifice life or, at least, comfort for it. Those who believe in something – even if you consider it a wrong thing – will always win out over those who don’t believe in anything. We can be friends with the Muslim world – but only if we are very firm in our own beliefs and show ourselves full willing to sacrifice in their defense.

The thing about immigration in Europe is that the Europeans have no real reason to keep them out – it is not like they are of a mind to defend a Christianity they don’t adhere to, or a liberty which is already vanishing anyways. Even if you want to think that they’d like to keep, say, Germany German for the sake of Germany’s children, you’re up against the fact that Germans have 1.4 children per woman – far below replacement level. There aren’t a lot of German children for Germans to be concerned about. Unless the people of Europe radically change their world view, they are doomed.

“Christianity is always out of fashion because it is always sane; and all fashions are mild insanities…” The Ball and the Cross, chapter 7

Weekend Open Thread

The rumors are starting to fly thick and fast about a Biden run. My view: he’ll get in…but it might be a lot later than people think. Could even be after the New Hampshire primary. It has happened before – specifically, in 1968 when Bobby Kennedy entered the race after New Hampshire revealed the weakness of Johnson.

A few liberal fascists are urging Uncle Sam to bring RICO charges against global warming doubters – nothing says “science” like using the heavy club of government to stifle debate.

More and more people are coming to the understanding that our inaction in Syria is because we don’t want to upset our new friends in Tehran. The Syrian people are being thrown to the wolves in the name of this new policy – much as the Poles were thrown to Stalin in service to FDR’s idea that Stalin would be a nifty post-War partner for us. I suspect our Syrian policy will work out as well as our Polish policy did.

Turns out, The View sucks. But you already knew that.

No one at the EPA has been fired over the EPA’s poisoning of a river. Government is just a word for things we do together – and it’s ok that all of us dumped pollution. It’s only bad if a private company does it, you see?

Syria, Refugees and What to Do

I’m betting that everyone has seen the heart-breaking pictures of that little boy who washed up dead on the beach in Turkey – that picture plus the scenes of tens of thousands of people flooding into Europe has caught the attention of the world. This is because our modern world isn’t a place of thought and knowledge, but of emotions and impressions…and the picture of a dead child gives us an emotional impression…and demands that we “do something” get us off the hook, oddly enough, from having to actually do something (if we make a demand, in the modern mind, that is equivalent to action). But we do need to actually think about this – and then we really need to do something.

The refugee crisis is the result of the failure of the nations of the Middle East. No one went in there and made these people start fighting like mad. This was a conscious choice of the people there – no, not all of them, but enough of them to matter (and even those who didn’t want this also, in a sense, choose it – because they didn’t fight against the mad men, and each insane fighter has to have two or three non-fighters to support him in his efforts). This isn’t the legacy of Imperialism; this isn’t the result of Israel existing; this isn’t because we fought in Iraq – this is because of the people there deciding, all on their own, upon a course of action. The people of the Middle East failed, not the United States; not Europe, not the world.

It is worthwhile to note that the Middle East is not this monolithic entity. To be sure, most of them claim some version of Islam as their theology, but the place is actually made up of the ethnic flotsam and jetsam of 5,000 years of human migration into the Middle East; there are vastly different underlying cultures in the Middle East – just as Europeans have a lot in common but there are vast differences between, say, French and Bulgarian people. The passions within Islam have been held down for most of Islam’s history – invariably by a power which could apply enough force to convince everyone that peace is sweeter than freedom. Up to modern times, it was the Ottoman Turks who held them down; the Turks were briefly succeeded by European empires and then by various strong men. That has ended – and the people there are fighting it out; and there doesn’t seem to be any large force of people who are fighting for an Islam where everyone just goes their own way and lets everyone else just live and let live.

There are three courses of action:

1. Stay out – and that means, also, not allowing the people to come to Europe and the United States.

2. Go in – all the way in, with a massive military force. Pick a side we want to win and then fight until everyone opposed to that side is dead or taken.

3. Go on as we are – maybe a bit of military action; maybe a bit of half-hearted support for people we think might be ok; maybe a bit of diplomacy to try and broker deals between the sides.

The first choice means the war goes on; perhaps to a conclusion, perhaps to mutual exhaustion…but in either case, with plenty of very bad actors still around to cause trouble, including terrorism trouble in the West. The second choice means millions of men and women under arms in the Middle East for years – fighting a cruel war against forces which have no respect for common, human decency. The third choice means the war goes on, the refugees continue to flood into the West and vast amounts of blood and treasure get expended with no end in sight.

Rumors are that Russia is sending troops to bolster Assad’s regime in Syria – if true, then Russia is picking a side. And as brutal as Russia is under Putin, if they can provide enough force to Assad’s regime to beat the regime’s enemies, then peace will come to Syria – the peace of the grave for many, of course, but still peace. While I can’t imagine Putin taking such an action for humanitarian purposes, such an action is humanitarian in its ultimate outcome, if it works. The fighting will eventually cease. Some sort of government will emerge. People will be able to in some manner rebuild their lives. If you don’t like the idea of Assad’s regime surviving then here’s your choice: pick a different side and give it sufficient force to beat Assad’s regime, backed by Russia and Iran (with the attendant risk of war with Russia and Iran over it). Not too pretty a thing, right? But if you want to have a seat at the table when war is going on, then you have to fight – if you decide not to fight, then you are leaving all decisions up to those who will.

Which course do I favor? Either all the way in, or all the way out. Either we decide to fight until we get to impose an American settlement on the Middle East, or we stay out, completely. Half in means you just spend blood and treasure and still don’t get to have much say in how things come out. I don’t want American troops to die – nor to have them kill people – for anything which is unclear and/or indefinite. Whatever we do, we should do it all the way – even if what we decide to do is surrender American influence in the region.

Make a Deal With Assad?

So opines Leslie Gelb over at the Daily Beast – also noting that we’d have to do some sort of deal with Iran, while also keeping Saudi Arabia and Turkey on-side. Which is, well, a rather muddleheaded thing to try because, just as one for-instance, Iran and Saudi Arabia are not going to see eye to eye as long as their respective government’s are in power.

Now, as far as rat-bastards go in the Middle East, Assad is certainly not the worst, though he is pretty darned bad. In choosing what to do in that area, any where we turn we’re going to be dealing with nefarious characters. The question is which nefarious characters do we want to deal with, supposing we want a deal?

You see, we don’t actually have to be deeply involved at the moment in the area. To be sure, leaving it to fester in it’s own nastiness will carry the risk that some of the nastiness will be directed our way – vast numbers of people over there live for the day when they can kill lots of Americans. I’m sure ISIS has already got at least some preliminary plans to hit us – though being tied down in head-chopping, slave-dealing and attempted conquest, they probably can’t spare the time for us at the moment. We can pull back right now – and, in fact, under Obama it is probably better that we do so, given his complete incomprehension of the realities of power politics in the global arena. But even a hard-headed realist can make the argument that a U.S. withdrawal is a good course of action for the moment.

That argument goes like this: the American people don’t want to fight over there right now. The various factions fighting for power and influence all have, at best, grave doubts about us and, at worst, bitter enmity. For a variety of reasons, our post-9/11 campaign in the Middle East has failed and our prestige is at rock bottom in the Middle East. Getting our people out of there takes the immediate pressure off us – and by getting out of there, I mean all of us…troops, aid workers, diplomats, etc. If we really feel the desperate need to keep some sort of U.S. presence in a particular Middle Eastern nation (say, in places like Turkey, Jordan, Egypt), then it should be as small as possible. Essentially, don’t leave many American targets for the Islamists to attack. As we have recently proved, we’ve got enough oil and natural gas here at home so that even a complete collapse of oil production in the area can be endured…we’d be up to $5 a gallon gas, but as we recently paid $4 a gallon, we’d survive (and, of course, no one who attains any power over there is really going to cut off the oil spigot completely). As we are no longer involved, the blame for what happens there will less and less accrue to us and if there is an attack on us from the Middle East, the political will for war will swiftly return to the American body politic.

But we’re going to stay, of course, because inertia in politics is like that – we’ve been there, we are there, and so we’re going to keep on being there. And suppose Obama came down with a case of the ‘flu and had to spend a week in bed and during that time someone slipped him a copy of, say, Churchill’s The World Crisis or Hanson’s The Father of Us All and so Obama finally learned a thing or two about how the world works? We then might be able to proceed to a policy of U.S. engagement which isn’t stupid. And in an engagement policy which isn’t stupid, what is the best course of action?

Quite simply, it is to find a power player who can be purchased by us – and that does indicate Assad more than anyone else. His Iranian allies have not been able to restore his fortunes in Syria and he might be in the market for a new friend who can help out. Of course, he’d have to change his tune on a few things. We can’t expect him to do something enormous like make peace with Israel – but there is much he can do.

First off, no longer allow his territory to be a conduit of aid to the Iran-backed Islamists in Lebanon. Also, no longer keep any of his troops in Lebanon, thus freeing up that nation to be at least neutral in the various conflicts in the region…demilitarized, Jihadist sent packing or into the hereafter. Still a Muslim nation making rote denunciations of Israel and the United States, but no longer a subsidiary of Tehran and Islamism.

Secondly, part of Syria is going to have to become autonomous Christian areas…with Christian militias ostensibly under Syrian command, but really existing to keep Islamists out of Christian territory. It isn’t going to be much territory, but it has to be enough for Christians to live on in peace and security…and as they’ll be set up to lack heavy weapons, they’ll never constitute a threat to the existence of the Syrian government. Think of it as being akin to the Kurdish area of Iraq before everything fell apart in that nation.

Third, he’d have to amnesty those parts of the rebels who are not the full on, head-choppy Islamist fanatics…and incorporate them into his army and offer them a genuine seat at the power table in Syria. Not a full democracy – such is not really possible – but with veto power over government proposals which directly effect their lives. This new Syrian army – no longer being just the personal following of the Assad family – could then, with US air and some ground support (mostly special forces types), probably make short work of the biggest problem in Syria – the ISIS goons. Once the are taken care of, Assad gets U.S. aid to rebuild Syria and lines up with us against Iran in the regional balance of power.

Carried out with vigor and a keen eye to realities, such a policy could bring immense security relief to Israel (we might even be able to get Israel to give back a symbolic portion of the Golan: they can’t give it all back for security reasons, of course), free up Lebanon and turn Syria from long-term enemy to at least temporary friend – friend at least during the impending crisis of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons and attempting to make Iraq a satrapy of Tehran…and if the deal can also be worked that the Kurdish areas of Syria are joined to those of Iraq in a new Republic of Kurdistan, then we’ve picked up three dominoes in the area and are in a much better position to confront Iran as well as an increasingly hostile Turkey. We’d also be less strategically dependent on Saudi Arabia and so we could start to systemically detach ourselves from the Saudis…until such time as they really feel the pressure from Iran and are willing to, well, not be quite so stoning-people, owning-slaves, flogging-bloggers sorts of people.

Of course, we’ll end up doing neither – we won’t get out, we won’t go in sensibly. So, get prepared for the worst of all worlds in the Middle East.

Obama’s Non-War

The usual course of action is that when the guns go off, we citizens are to rally ’round the flag and back our forces in the pursuit of victory. But that is a bit impossible right now – Obama and his Administration are telling us, over and over, that this isn’t a war. That we’ll be bombing the heck out of things and that lots of people will die horrific, violent deaths at our hands doesn’t count: per Obama and Co, war is only in existence is U.S. troops are on the ground doing the fighting.

So, no war – and thus no rallying ’round the flag. And even if we decided – correctly – that Obama and Co are just full of “stuff” and that this is a war so we’d better rally anyways, what would we be rallying for? Not for victory, because there can be no victory in this non-war. Its not like the enemy commander can offer to surrender to a drone. We’ll bomb a lot and kill a lot of people and this will help those who are fighting the people we’re bombing – and that, in turn, might lead others to victory. A Kurdish victory would be ok, as the Kurds seem a lot of very decent people – but it could also lead to Assad’s victory in Syria and Iran’s victory in Iraq; not exactly ideal outcomes for us. It could also lead to victory for non-ISIS, non-Assad forces in Syria, this might not work out well, either. Let’s just say I have my doubts about Administration assurances that they can pick the non-Islamist-screwball forces in Syria for us to back.

We can also get the worst of all worlds – we blow a lot of stuff up and kill a lot of people with attendant video showing what a bunch of hideous war criminals we are but after all that, Assad still rules his part of Syria, ISIS still rules vast tracts of Syria and Iraq and Iran has secured itself the part of Iraq it cares about (ie, Baghdad plus the oil fields). That sort of outcome is made doubly bad because if ISIS survives in any form, it will become the Islamist hero as it stood up to us, endured a pounding and emerged from the welter of slaughter with victory. Of course, all of this won’t fully come out until after Obama leaves office, so he probably doesn’t care in the least about it, even if he’s aware of the possibility.

This whole thing is the terribly bad decision of a man – Obama – who knows nothing of history, nothing of the world and yet sits assured that he’s the smartest guy in the room. I hope it works out – and I hope our losses are small. But the rule of thumb for war is that you either go all in, or stay all out. Our choices for ISIS were two:

1.  Go all out to war against them until they are all killed or taken, regardless of cost.

2.  Surrender to them and allow them to do as the wish.

Either course of action can have rational arguments to back them up. We have failed to choose between them – we’re just going to bomb a bit and hope for the best. I believe we will be disappointed – and maybe in a vastly worse geo-strategic situation two or three years from now.

UPDATE: Reeling from criticism about us not being at war, the Administration has decided we are at war with ISIS, just as we are against al-Qaeda. Meaning? I guess that six years from now ISIS will be around and a threat, just as al-Qaeda is still around and a threat after six years of Obama…