Sunday, August 24, 2014

et ceteras (which end "all over the map")

Go here for an excellent editorial by George Will about government incompetence, and how that incompetence is causing the public to have nearly one hundred percent lack of faith in government's ability to do anything at all.

Go here for an excellent one by Jonah Goldberg, concerning the unsurprisingly hot mess of a reaction to Michael Brown's death.

And finally, go here for an excellent one by Ian Tuttle, triggered by the recent beheading of American journalist James Foley.

Speaking of Foley
Barack Obama's speech about the beheading was a fucking disgrace. I would say something along the lines of "pardon my French," but I am not in the mood to be charitable on this topic, so instead I am going to repeat myself: Barack Obama's speech was a fucking disgrace.

Much as he did after Benghazi and countless other situations in which Americans have been brutally murdered simply for being Americans, The Exalted One strolled to the microphones and delivered a droll jumble of sentences that did nothing but regurgitate shopworn phrases everyone knew he didn't mean.

And not to be picky, but it frosts me that our supposed leader was dressed for the round of golf he was about to go play.

Conversely, British Prime Minister David Cameron -- appalled by the possibility that the Muslim who decapitated Foley was a British national -- cancelled his vacation, delivered an impassioned speech decrying the murder, and returned to 10 Downing Street ready to figure out how to tackle the escalating problem of jihadists popping up around London.

If an incident similar to Foley's beheading had happened on Ronald Reagan's watch, Reagan would have presented himself as all business. He would have worn suit and tie; his appearance would have reflected the seriousness of the occasion; and he would not have bloodlessly muttered that America "will continue to do what we must do to protect our people." No, Reagan would have said something along the lines of "we will get those who did this," something along the lines of "they cannot hide," and everyone would know he meant it and therefore the terrorists would slink away.

If an incident like this had happened on JFK's watch, JFK would have held up images of Foley's beheading (much like he held up satellite photos of Cuban installations preparing to receive Soviet missiles) and he would have explained in no uncertain terms that America would "pay any price" and "bear any burden" to avenge Foley and prevent further aggression against our citizens. Everyone would know he meant it and therefore the terrorists would slink away.

Not so much with our current snooze-button-in-chief.

...there actually is a glimmer of hope when it comes to Barack Obama's willingness to confront Islamic theocracy, and after the blistering critique I just gave, it would be unfair for me not to mention the glimmer.

ISIS has targeted Kurds and Yazidi Christians in northern Iraq for genocidal elimination. In my August 7th post I noted that "tens of thousands of Yazidi Christians are trapped on a mountain...surrounded by armed militants who want to exterminate the(m) from the face of the Earth." In my opinion, and in the opinion of many others, ISIS's targeting of those groups is just an opening salvo in a grander design to eliminate Jews from the Middle East and establish a caliphate that they wish to expand into other parts of the world.

In its current onslaught against Kurds and Yazidis, ISIS recently scored what appeared to be a major victory when it took control of the Mosul Dam. The dam is important not only because it is the primary source of electricity for the region, but because the amount of water it holds back is enough that blowing it up would flood a large portion of the country, including the capital city of Baghdad, where Iraq's sitting government is opposed to ISIS. Such flooding would also kill most, if not all, of the Kurds.

Well, in the fairly brief period of time since my August 7th post, the good guys have recaptured the dam, mostly because Obama authorized the use of American air power.

As most people with military knowledge will tell you, it requires boots on the ground to retake an asset like the Mosul Dam, and it was indeed the local anti-ISIS Iraqis who did the retaking -- but they could never have done it without the assist that was given by "a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft" from the U.S. military (in the words of U.S. Central Command).

Potentially, the retaking of the Mosul Dam could be as significant in the struggle between civilization and ISIS as the Battle of Midway was in the struggle between the U.S. and Japan; and the manner in which the dam was recaptured demonstrates how effective American military action can be even when it is limited in scope. We supported the locals and the locals came through, bravely and triumphantly.

I wish Obama had crowed more about this achievement. I wish he had declared that his reason for authorizing air strikes was because America owes it to the oppressed, and because America intends to be on the right side in the battle between right and wrong (instead, he claimed that the strikes were justified because ISIS blowing up the dam could potentially flood our embassy 200 miles away).

And no, I haven't gone soft. I do wish that his foreign policy hadn't contributed so much to the circumstances that helped ISIS become prominent. But ultimately he did the right thing, and it is important to take note of when he did it.

Not long ago, Obama said he would not provide air support to forces of Iraq's government unless that government got rid of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki...then, a mere nine days ago, al-Maliki was forced to step down, and one day later he was replaced by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi...and rather than backtrack, Obama authorized the air support...and the Mosul Dam was then retaken within three days.

As far as I now, the only person on the Right who has pointed this out is Charles Krauthammer. The rest of us need to do so as well.

We don't trust Obama, for good reason. We often suspect his heart is in the wrong place, also for good reason. We will keep criticizing him when he deserves it and holding his feet to the fire when he deserves it.

But if we are about principle first and America first, then we have an ethical obligation to admit when he does the right thing and support him when he does the right thing, for the support might lead to something good.

Admittedly, I doubt that our support will lead to something good, but it could, and that is all that should matter when the stakes are high.

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