The Gun Debate – Open Thread

Obama and Progressives are calling for “sensible gun laws” as if that is the problem. They continue to demonize the NRA as if that is the problem. They continue to conflate radical Islamists with the isolated deranged American criminal, as if that is a moral equivalency. And they dare not speak one word of condemnation toward inner city gang violence, nor judge those who perpetrate those crimes for fear of constituency backlash. In summary, Obama and Progressives are not at all addressing the actual problem, which is typical, hence the absolute mess we find ourselves in. In short, we have to stop listening to Progressives.

The problems we face in this country and in this world are due to the absence of well armed, law abiding, decent people, not the presence of them. On the world stage, the problem is that the Radical Islamic Jihadists are better armed, more focused, and more brutal than those who want a peaceful existence. The Kurds need more weapons, the peaceful Sunni’s and Shiite’s need more weapons, and countries like Jordan and the UAE need more forceful support. We need more weapons to confront and defeat the Islamists, not less. And we need to be more brutal. This is not a war where you take prisoners. This is a war where you kill as many of them as you possibly can until they realize that they can not win. You want to close Gitmo? Fine. Put a bullet in the head of the remaining prisoners and burn the place to the ground. Case closed.

Domestically, we need more weapons in the hands of law abiding Americans so that they can protect themselves from the deranged gun man, or from the increasing threat of radicalized Muslims. And we need to clean out the cesspools of our inner cities and give those people hope of a better future. Make sure that children have a stable home with two parents, make sure they have school choice and a good education, make sure they have clean and decent housing, make sure they are not living in a drug and gang infested neighborhood, and make sure they have the opportunity for a good paying job and the opportunity to lift themselves up. And these are conservative ideals, not progressive ideals, and that is why Governorships and State Legislatures have increasingly gone conservative in the last 8 years, and that is why the White House will be conservative in January 2017.

Getting it Wrong About Free Speech and Fear

First off, sorry for the no-posts – I was out of town for a week, so I’m a little behind the commentary curve here. On the other hand, it gave me time to better digest things – and see what everyone else is saying. And what everyone else is saying appears wrong to at least some degree.

Let us clear one thing up: we are afraid. All of us. We are all afraid of the radical Islamists. It would be the height of stupidity not to be afraid of them. They kill people at the drop of a hat, for crying out loud. Of course you’re afraid of people like that. I’m sure my dad was afraid of the Germans and the Japanese in 1944. Here’s the thing, though – in response to this terrible, heart-rending fear of what the Germans and the Japanese might do, he joined the United States Marine Corps. At the age of 17, I should add – you know, in our terms that means he was 9 years shy of being an adult. Still joined up. There were bad people out there who wanted to do horrible things to all my father held dear – his mother and his father and his brothers and his sisters and his country. Off he went. Fortunately to come back alive. A bit north of 330,000 men just like him – who were also afraid – didn’t come back.

That was a different America, of course. In 2015, we are seeing two different responses to the fear, both of them wrong.

On the one hand, we have our Ruling Class – especially in the MSM and including many on the right – who have decided that the best response to their fear is to try and hide. This is where you get the people who say, I love free speech, but… If you put a “but” after something, it probably means you’re full of it. If you love something – seriously love something – then the actual thing you are saying is I will kill and die in defense of it. Someone who says, I love my wife, but…is probably someone headed for divorce court. Such a person doesn’t really love his wife. He’s trying to get the credit which accrues to someone who shows willing to die for a person or cause without, you know, actually risking anything in defense of the allegedly beloved person or cause. Our Ruling Class – logically afraid of people who kill pretty much at random for no actually justifiable reason – wants the credit for being defenders of freedom, but doesn’t want to defend freedom, because defending freedom might get you killed. So we get these cowardly statements which essentially condemn the victims of the Islamist radicals – from the same sorts of people who are always saying Christians and Jews have to take it on the chin in the interests of free speech.

The other – equally wrong – response is to go about provoking these lunatics. Oh, I know – a lot of people who will, say, draw a cartoon insulting Mohammed will be all, “well, I got my guns; let them Islamists come at me!”. Well, what if they come after you at the mall and I’m standing next to you? What if I’m your neighbor and the Islamists get the wrong house? There’s plenty I’m willing to put my life on the line for but most assuredly not so that someone can hurl insults. Freedom is the ability to do the right thing – not the ability to do whatever we darn well please. It isn’t right to insult people. Ever. Not even if they are really mean and nasty people. Look at it like this – suppose I spent an hour just yelling at you all manner of disgusting insults and when you’ve finally had enough, you come at me…and then (by some miracle; and trust me, it would be) I beat you in the fight. Am I a hero? Did I do a grand thing? Nope. I just caused a ruckus – and I didn’t even get my proper reward for being a jerk. Yes, you are perfectly free to say or draw whatever pleases you as far as I’m concerned. I’ll agree to no law or regulation or anything which would get any government agency to stop you from saying what you please. But if you’re being an insulting jerk, then you’re being an insulting jerk – take the consequences…and for pity’s sake, take them when I’m out of range.

We do need to confront and defeat the Islamist radicals. It is a crucial campaign for the safety of our civilization – and, indeed, for the safety of Muslim civilization. What we should be saying is how we’ll get that job done. That is the proper subject for free people to discuss…not whether someone should draw a cartoon of Mohammed and whether or not free speech covers such a thing. Drawing Mohammed or condemning a drawing of Mohammed gets us nowhere. It neither builds public understanding of the threat we face, nor does it produce plans and means for defeating the threat. It gets us into an endless, pointless argument while the enemy builds his forces and perfects his plans for our undoing. In fact, all we’re doing right now is doubly playing into the Islamists hands – by drawing insulting pictures of Mohammed we feed his propaganda among the Muslim people and by craven condemnations of the drawings we explicitly state to the enemy that we’re a bunch of cowards, easy to beat.

We’ve got to get serious about this. The stakes are high – indeed, they are absolute. We win or they win. There’s no in between. We won’t win by being cowards on one hand and hurling mindless insults on the other. This is not about free speech. This is about a justified fear of a ferocious and determined enemy. What we do with that fear decides what happens. I guess dad could have drawn an insulting picture of Hitler, or explained away the Bataan Death March…might have occupied some time. But it wouldn’t have stopped the Japanese or the Germans.

By the Way: You Can’t Win With Nothing

In the end, you have to believe in something – those who believe in nothing are easy prey:

Michael Nikolai Skråmo, who also calls himself Abo Ibrahim Al Swedi, appears in the propaganda video wearing desert camouflage and clutching an assault rifle, and proceeds to give practical and motivational encouragement to would-be jihadis.

“My brothers, ‘hijra’ (migration) and ‘jihad’ are so simple. It only costs a few thousand ‘lapp’ [Swedish kronor],” he says in Swedish. “Do you not wish in in your heart to fight and show God what you have to offer him? The door to jihad is standing there waiting for you. It’s the fastest way to Jannah [Paradise].”

Skråmo, who has two Norwegian parents but was born and grew up near Gothenburg in Sweden is understood to have moved to Raqqah, the capital of the fledgling Islamic State in Syria, back in September with his wife and two children, hoping to fight alongside Islamic State soldiers…

The man is a Swede of Norwegian extraction. He was born and raised in Sweden. He had every opportunity a rich, western, socialist nation can provide with a lavish welfare State. He converted to Islam and is now willing to sell his life – and the lives of his family – in order to advance his faith. Why? Well, why not? What does life in Sweden offer? A chance for more welfare? More degraded pop culture? Multicultural mish-mash bull by the truck load? Who in Sweden ever offered him the chance to rise above narrow self-interest and subordinate himself to a cause? No one. ISIS did – and they got him now. This sort of thing shocks a lot of people – it doesn’t shock me. I know that if you don’t believe in something, you’ll fall for anything.

I believe in the Christian God and the Roman Catholic Church. I believe in the Declaration of Independence. There’s not a chance in heck you’ll ever find me fighting for the crazed barbarians of ISIS…but the endless number of westerners who believe in nothing? They might very well – because something always beats nothing. As I noted before, only believers will beat ISIS…in other words, only people who offer something rock-solid in opposition to ISIS can prevail…

HAT TIP: The Gateway Pundit

Only Believers Can Beat the Islamists

Quite a long time ago, Hilaire Belloc wrote, “the Faith is Europe and Europe is the Faith”. To be sure, what Belloc specifically meant by “Faith” was the Roman Catholic Church, but it can be expanded to mean Christianity in a more general sense. While many streams of civilization flowed into the continent of Europe to help make it into Europe, the crucial thing about it was it’s Christian faith. Europe was not a mere development out of the Greco-Roman civilization which, in any case, never extended to Germany, Poland, the Baltic nations, Russia, Ireland and Scandinavia.

It was the Catholic Church – or Christianity if using the word “Catholic” causes discomfort – which welded the flotsam of barbarian invaders and the ruins of Greece and Rome into a completely new civilization. It was Christianity which stamped Europe in a particular manner and got it thinking in a certain way. It was because of Christianity that there was a decline and eventual termination of human slavery. It was because of Christianity that people starting thinking of the world as a rational place which human reason could come to understand (the Greeks did make a start at this, but failed to develop the scientific method…it took Christians to make that step). It was because of Christianity that the worth of a human being ceased to be a mere expression of his social position. It was because of Christianity that things were rendered to Caesar, but not all things. You can look endlessly through human history and you won’t find anywhere but in Christendom (though pre-figured strongly in Judaism) that mix of the worth of the individual, the limitation of the State and the rational approach to the world which we have come to think the normal state of human existence. It did not come into being of its own accord – it was created and fostered over a thousand years by Christians. And, now, it is nearly gone.

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We’re Going to Semi-War Against ISIS

Which means, of course, that we will Total-Lose:

President Barack Obama will soon give Congress his proposal for a new authorization for the use of military force against Islamic State fighters, and it will place strict limits on the types of U.S. ground forces that can be deployed, according to congressional sources.

Almost six months after the president began using force against the Islamic State advance in Iraq and then in Syria, the White House is ready to ask Congress for formal permission to continue the effort. Until now, the administration has maintained it has enough authority to wage war through the 2001 AUMF on al-Qaeda, the 2002 AUMF regarding Iraq and Article II of the Constitution. But under pressure from Capitol Hill, the White House has now completed the text of a new authorization and could send it to lawmakers as early as Wednesday.

If enacted, the president’s AUMF could effectively constrain the next president from waging a ground war against the Islamic State group until at least 2018. Aides warned that the White House may tweak the final details before releasing the document publicly…

It must be kept in mind that Obama’s policies are based upon the theory that the Middle East is screwed up largely because of American power – that if we hadn’t been messing things up for the last 60 years, things would be fine. ISIS, in Obama’s view, is the natural outgrowth of all the nasty things we’ve done (and Israel has done, as well). The best outcome that Obama can see is that by currying favor with nations like Iran while distancing ourselves from Israel, the people of the Middle East will see that we’re on their side and will start to moderate their views about us. ISIS, though, is a problem – as it gets all head-choppy, pressure comes on Obama to do something. The pressure, to Obama, is stupid – it comes from people who don’t appear to realize that from the Crusades until now, we’ve done the Middle East wrong. But, it has to be dealt with – and what better way to deal with it than to pretend to fight ISIS while the real action is in making a deal with Iran?

So, we’ll get this new authorization to use force and we’ll get a bit of bombing and such…and Obama and minions will keep up the happy talk that ISIS is being degraded, etc. but, meanwhile, nothing which will actually destroy ISIS is going to be done. Which means that no matter how much we hit them – and there will be a lot of battering of ISIS going on – we won’t get rid of them. In fact, what we’re likely to do is make heroes out of them…to them, it will appear that they are manfully and successfully standing up to the most powerful nation on earth. If they survive, at all, then it is a sublime victory. And survive they will, unless an army goes into ISIS territory and roots out the ISIS fanatics step by step. This is not what Obama proposes to do – and it appears he wants to prevent his successor from doing, as well.

Are you ready for the next two years people? It is just going to get worse and worse…

Hey, Obama: About Those Crusades

If there’s one thing which irritates me about the left – in general – it is their rank ignorance of history. It is hard to get someone on the left to properly understand what happened even a few years ago – when they were alive and presumptively noticing things happening – let alone anything which happened more than a few decades ago. Now, to be sure, there are a few historical events that the left has latched on to in order to justify their world view…one of them is the Crusades.

To the left, the Crusades were just wanton cruelty – hordes of Christian bigots went into Muslim lands to kill, steal and destroy everything in their path. This was done in the name of religion and, so, religion is bad. This isn’t even a childish view of history – this is a view of history entirely divorced from historical fact. Bring up to a liberal the fact that, for instance, Egypt was once entirely Christian and only became Muslim after the Muslims conquered Egypt in an imperialist war – and then forced, over time, the population to become Muslim, or suffer – and you’ll get a blank stare, or immediate reference to one of the other things liberals heard about: the Inquisition (we’ll deal with that issue some other time). There is just no knowledge on the left of what happened – nor any desire to know what happened because the facts just get in the way of the Narrative.

But, still, I just want to enter into the record, as it were, that the Crusades were a defensive war against a rapacious, cruel enemy who attacked Christian civilization without reason. To give an idea of the flavor of the Muslim way of war, here’s a passage from The Hapsburgs: Portrait of a Dynasty by Edward Crankshaw:

The Turks were not nice fighters. They burned and massacred for the love of it, not in the heat of battle or victory, not in drunken rioting, but in cold blood and under precise instructions from their command. In Perchtoldsdorf, for instance, just outside Vienna, the townspeople and refugees from the surrounding countryside had taken refuge in the church and barricaded it. The Turks first burned down the little town, then sent an envoy to the church to promise safe-conduct to all inside on payment of a certain sum. The pasha in command sat himself down on a red carpet in the ruins of the village square and demanded that the keys of the church and the ransom money be brought to him by a fair-haired virgin who should carry a flag of truce and wear a crown of flowers. The village bailiff’s seventeen-year-old daughter was chosen to lead the way. As the villagers emerged into the light of day they were disarmed and seized. The men were slaughtered on the spot. The pasha reserved to himself the pleasure of killing the unfortunate young girl. The rest of the women and children were sent back to Turkey to be sold as slaves…

That was in 1683, quite a long time after the Crusades – but conquering Muslim armies were like that from the start. Just read up a bit on the captures of Constantinople or Famagusta. At Famagusta, after enduring a siege of 13 months, the Christians were offered terms – surrender and be allowed to leave. And so, in good faith, they surrendered. Nothing doing. Marco Antonio Bragadin, the commander, was flayed alive and his skin stuffed with straw and then sent on to the Turkish Sultan as a trophy; the rest of the Christian population was massacred. It is small wonder that when faced with enemies like this, Christian armies were often ungentle with Muslims when they defeated them.

The Crusades, themselves, were a counter-attack. For four hundred years the Christians had been attacked and forced ever back. One Muslim army made it to central France before being turned back. Muslims were continually boasting of their desire to conquer all of the Christian west – and often making good on their boast as one Christian nation after another fell to Muslim arms. The immediate spur to the Crusades was the Muslim victory over the Christian Greek Byzantines at Manzikert in 1071…with that defeat, the Byzantine Empire was rocked on its heels and no one could say that the Greeks, who had barred the door to Muslim conquest in Europe for 400 years, would be able to stem the tide. An army was needed to redress the balance – and an army was provided: the Crusaders.

In the end, the stated purpose of the Crusades – the recovery of the Holy Land – was a failure. But by projecting power into the heart of Islam and fighting them there, Europe received some breathing room. Time to continue the reconquest of Spain and time for Europe’s nations to become powerful enough to repel the Muslim onslaught when, at long last, the Muslims finally conquered the Byzantines in the middle of the 15th century. They still made the running for a while – conquering Greece, Serbia and Hungary before running up against the rock of resistance known as Vienna. In 1683 they made their last try, as described in that quote above. Only the timely arrival at Vienna of a Polish army commanded by the hero-King Jan Sobieski saved the day, and in the nick of time – Vienna’s defenses were breached the day before the Poles rode in to battle and scattered the Muslim army.

All of that was a long time ago. Let no one say that what happened in the 11th century justifies any action taken in the 21st century. The Muslims have their gripes, but the graves of Europeans in Austria and France attest to the fact that non-Muslims also have their gripes.

May We Please Fight ISIS, Now?

How about it? And I’m mostly looking at you, liberals – from Obama on down. And especially, at the moment, all you liberals who were outraged by American Sniper…somehow getting mad that an American soldier was killing these sorts of people in battle. Can we fight them, now? Or is the burning of a Jordanian pilot just all Bush’s fault and so we should get on to discussions about micro-aggressions and man-spreading?

Getting back to American Sniper for a moment, a lot of liberals didn’t like the fact that Chris Kyle referred to our enemies as “savages”. Well, boys and girls, Chris Kyle was clearly undiplomatic, but he was just as clearly telling the truth. I don’t care what Israel has done. I don’t care what the United States has done. I don’t care what anyone has done since the beginning of time which was wrong, nothing justifies putting a man in a cage and burning him alive. Or throwing a gay man off a building (and then stoning him to death when the fall from the building doesn’t kill him). Or strapping a bomb on a ten year old girl and sending her into a market. Or enslaving girls and women. Nothing justifies that. That isn’t blowback for anything. That is just savagery. That is brutality. That is inhumanity – and the only thing anyone with a spine and a heart wants is that it be stopped…and with not too many questions asked about just how stopping it is accomplished.

Jordan has reportedly executed two jihadists who had been held for unrelated crimes. Technically, this is an injustice. But what in heck else are they to do? ISIS considers everyone non-ISIS to be lower than filth – one thing everyone has learned now is that you can’t be taken prisoner by ISIS. At best you’ll be enslaved. Anyone fighting ISIS now has just one rule – fight until dead.

As of right now, we can probably make short work of ISIS without too great an expenditure of effort. This isn’t about rebuilding Iraq or Syria, or fostering democracy in the area. This is nothing but the elimination of a force dedicated to carrying out evil deeds. A couple regiments of Marines and/or Airborne troops, backed up with air power and Special Forces combined with fully armed Kurdish troops (the Kurds do seem pretty decent – they ain’t perfect, but better by far than ISIS) should be able to crush these savages. Once done, we don’t stick around. Let those there post-ISIS work it out – or fight it out – amongst themselves. We’d just be lending a hand to destroy something that needs to be destroyed…and the sooner the better. And while doing it, let no one get too finicky about things. I’d fully expect the Kurds – and others – to take a pound of flesh out of any ISIS fighters they capture. I wouldn’t agonize greatly over any particular actions our troops do. The enemy is not very nice and will do nasty things which would inevitably place our troops in a position where bad things would happen. War against savages is like that.

Or, we can just ignore it. It’ll get worse, of course. But at least it won’t disturb us. Right?