You know, I’m getting to the point of being numb about this sh*t. Herewith the graphic predicting the angle of news coverage of this and other outrages. (Sorry for the long absence – real life, writing and home reno projects. I’ll be back, I promise.)
The base at Hellenikon was often under siege and sometimes physically so; before, during and after I was stationed there in the early 1980s; regularly once a year when the local national employees went on strike, and blockaded the front gate, and now and again by anti-US and anti-NATO protesters. Although there was a Greek Air Force installation right next to the American base, there was no passage between the two, unlike the base at Zaragoza, where Spanish and American personnel had pretty much free passage between their respective halves of the facility. In the case of striking workers, or hostile protestors at the main – and only entrance – those of us inside the base were stuck there, while those outside were also cut off. Only one year did it become a problem lasting more than a single day – but it was an inconvenience for us all, and particularly frightening for family members.
And I was remembering all of that, this weekend, reading about how Incirlik Air Base – which also used to be called Adana Air Base – was cut off for about a day this weekend, after having commercial power cut off for nearly a week by Turkish civil authorities, in the wake of an attempted coup against a president who strong-armed himself into office by side-stepping the established rules. Because of the deteriorating situation in Turkey, all family members were ordered out at the end of March, 2016; a NEO evacuation, as it used to be and still is termed, for Non-combatant Evacuation Operation. (I used to have to keep current paperwork for an escort for my daughter, in the case of one of these; she would travel with various friends who would deposit her eventually with my parents, while I would stay behind.) Months before, the military quietly stopped facilitating accompanied tours to Incirlik. Currently, according to the bases’ own website, there are about 1,400 American military personnel serving there, with another 400 civilian employees. The dependent schools, teen center, child care center – all are closed; presumably the various employees of same are either evacuated themselves, or enjoying a nice vacation.
Incirlik’s mission and that of the 39th Air Base Wing is, according to the bases’ website, “to help protect U.S. and NATO interests in the Southern Region by providing a responsive staging and operational air base ready to project integrated, forward-based air power.” Part of this mission also includes a store of nuclear weapons. The base website is naturally, non-committal about this aspect of their mission. Even if there aren’t any such weapons in the bomb dump at Incirlik, likely there are all kinds of interesting munitions and weapons. Which is all very good and well – but Turkey’s President Erdogan has been loudly accusing the US – and the former USAF commander of Incirlik – of plotting and assisting with the failed coup. The commander of the Turkish Air Force assets at Incirlik is reported to have asked the US for asylum, which was refused; the man is now under arrest, as part of the purge of Erdogan’s political enemies. I have read here and there that those American military assigned to the base are confined to the base itself; considering Erdogan’s incendiary accusations, probably a wise move.
As for what now – like Will Rogers of blessed memory, all I know is what I read in the newspaper, or on-line at various sites. But the nightmare visioning that woke me up several times this weekend was of a full-on mob attack on Incirlik’s American sector, on the order of the Benghazi consulate writ large, and with even more weapons and determination … and with the tacit encouragement of Erdogan’s government and Islamist allies.
So much for being a NATO ally. And since our State Department did very little in the case of the Benghazi attack, save for blaming it all afterwards on a mysterious video that hardly anyone had heard of … can one count on the DoD being all that proactive in the event of a serious attack on Incirlik AB? Discuss.
An archaic term, in general; according to the wildly variable and sometimes suspect Wikipedia, it is a term taken from an even more archaic term for food for livestock. “Soldiers are the metaphorical food for enemy cannon fire.” Wikipedia defines the expression further as, “…an informal, derogatory term for combatants who are regarded … as expendable in the face of enemy fire … or to distinguish expendable low-grade or inexperienced combatants from supposedly more valuable veterans.”
Expendable is the operative word, and expendable without much regret on the part of the credentialed elite – the political, social or military elite – because the expected goal is considered worth the sacrifice, especially if the sacrifice is borne by others. Reading this week about the sexual violence reported – reluctantly in many cases by German media – as being perpetrated on a grand scale by recent Middle Eastern migrants masquerading as war refugees on women in German cities on this last New Years Eve gave me a sickening new understanding of the concept.
Indeed – here we have a transcendently generous, philanthropic goal; to provide sanctuary for the poor innocent refugee from wars’ alarms and horrors. It is a worthy goal, by the way – when genuine refugees are considered, and those providing sanctuary are quite firmly realistic about the situation and limitations. But authorities in Europe who made a great, enthusiastic show regarding welcoming Middle Eastern refugees all through last year now must accept – and accept they must, however reluctantly – that they have made their own women into sexual cannon fodder. They have enabled molestation, gang rape, robbery and massive harassment in their own streets … all so that the ruling elite might bask in the glow of their own self-righteousness. Well, done, Angela Merkel and the mayor of Cologne, and those media outlets who refused to make mention of the various incidents, which now appear to have been happening for months on a smaller scale.
However, Ms Merkel and the German ruling elite are hardly alone in selling out their citizenry to sexual exploitation for fear of being termed racist. Social workers and police looked the other way for decades in Rotherham, England … and our own very dear establishment media organs in the United States have downplayed criminal offences perpetuated by illegal aliens for years.
Cannon fodder, indeed. Discuss.
My daughter was nearly ten years old, in that Christmastime of 1990. I was stationed at Zaragoza AB, in the Ebro River Valley of Spain, which was serving as one of the staging bases in Europe for the build-up to the First Gulf War … the effort to liberate Kuwait, which Saddam Hussein seemed to believe that he had a perfect right to occupy, loot and exterminate those opposing him in that small matter. But this is not about that war, particularly – only as it affected those of us located far along the haft of the military spear towards the sharp and pointy end.
Zaragoza was a long-established US base in Spain by then – sufficiently long enough to have grown up a second generation of children born to American servicemen and their Spanish wives. It was sufficiently well-established to have a fairly modern on-base school, which housed the elementary classes in one wing, and the high school in the other. My daughter started there in kindergarten, the very week that we arrived, in 1985, to the day that we departed, six years later, when she started the sixth grade. It was a safe posting, especially considered after my previous assignment to Athens, Greece, where terrorism aimed at American personnel and at the base generally was accepted grimly as an ongoing part of life, like hurricanes along the southern coasts. One took every careful precaution and internalized certain practices against an irregular and specifically unpredictably-occurring threat. One of my daughter’s earliest memories is of watching me from the front step of the suburban Athens apartment where we lived then … kneeling down to look underneath my car, parked out in the street. I was, of course, looking for something explody-ish with trailing wires, where such a device ought to not be attached to the underside of the bright orange Volvo sedan that I had purchased from a fellow NCO upon arrival in Athens. (The Volvo had the temporary USG or US Forces Greece license plates on it, which branded the vehicle as being owned/driven by a member of the American military, and thus a likely target for anything from crude vandalism to a bomb. Just one of those things; it was a relief to get to Spain, where the practice was for regular Spanish license plates to be placed on automobiles owned by American service personnel.)
Late in autumn of that year the build-up began. Zaragoza AB went on a war footing, which meant that duties and hours devoted to those duties doubled, or in some cases, tripled for all personnel. Bright new concertina wire went up, all along the base perimeter; one of my memories of that period was how weirdly beautiful it looked under a layer of winter frost in the early morning – like sunshine brilliantly glittering on matte-finished silver.
Christmas was coming. After that, New Year’s Day, and then the deadline for Saddam Hussein to give up Kuwait. We knew that, barring a miracle, he wouldn’t. And then War, sometime in those days of the first week. Inevitable. The dark grey storm cloud on the horizon, flickering with flashes of interior lightning, blotting out the horizon and moving inexorably closer. One was made aware of it in dozens of ways, as the minutes, hours, days ticked by – even as the prosaic routines went on. My daughter had school every day, I cooked a family supper every evening, read to her at bed-time, shopped for groceries at the commissary, pressed a fresh blue uniform shirt every morning, mailed out Christmas cards, bought and wrapped presents. Because Christmas. One holds on to as many shreds and shards of normality as one can, when it comes to children.
These last few weeks, I have been feeling the same foreboding that I did, that holiday season more than twenty years ago. My daughter and I have a full schedule of weekend holiday markets and events. When we were setting up for the first of them, on a Friday afternoon, we came home to the news about the Islamic massacre in Paris. This week, as we were getting ready for another, it was the Islamic massacre of local government employees in San Bernardino. Next week … who knows? I am fairly certain that there will be another atrocity perpetrated by Daesh fanatics over the coming holiday season. It will occur in a place and at a time where it will all come as a horrifying surprise to the victims of it, to our national leadership cadre and to our major news outlets. The latter two will, of course, be horribly inconvenienced by having to throw some thin shreds of career-saving rationale or justification excusing such an unexpected event. This I know, as surely as I saw the deadline for military action in the Gulf inch closer and closer.
Merry Christmas, y’all.
Add me to a relatively short list of people on social media who are not making any particular gesture of sympathy and solidarity with the people of France who have been whammed for the second time in a year by the bloody-minded foot-soldiers of Islam. It’s not that I don’t care, and that I don’t feel the least shred of human sympathy for those people who went out for a drink and a good meal at a popular restaurant, a raucous rock concert, a soccer game, and then had their lives changed forever – if not ended entirely. It’s just that at this particular point in time, I am a bit tired of making easy feel-good, symbolic gestures about Islamic terrorism. Once you’ve made them … then, what for a follow-up?
I’ve so been to this rodeo before. 9-11. Beslan. The train bombings in Madrid. The bus bombings in London. The slaughter in the streets of Mumbai, and at the Boston Marathon finishing line. Westgate Mall. The murder of staff members of Charlie Hebdo, and the Jewish supermarket in Paris. Intifada without end in Israel. Und so weiter. I won’t even start on the list of bombings and slaughters across the Middle East; merely observe in passing that in those circumstances the usual Muslim suspects are slaughtering each other, rather than doing the business to outsiders.
The only thing more inevitable than the candle-light vigils, the moments of silence and the mounds of flowers piled up at the sites are the lamentations from the Muslim communities about the never-yet materialized anti-Muslim backlash. There comes a point where one gets tired of it all, of doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. There is a lack of seriousness about the problem of deliberate Islamic aggression in Western countries; an unwillingness to defend those values we have developed – sometimes painfully – over a long time; values such as freedom of speech and intellectual inquiry, a separation between the state and religion, a rule of law and not of the mob – one law, applied equally across class, race and sexual divides – and an unfettered press. This lack of serious intent is perhaps more marked in Western Europe, as it appears from various sources. The various no-go areas common to French metropolitan areas are not so firmly established in the US yet, and the mass sexual trafficking of vulnerable young women by Muslim men so recently demonstrated in places like Rotherham, England appears to have been landed on like a ton of bricks by civil authorities in the US. We are not – yet – being swamped by thousands of Middle Eastern faux-refugees arriving daily, as is happening in Germany.
But Beslan, Mumbai, Westgate, Charlie Hebdo … it will happen here, and probably sooner than later. Not all the candle-light vigils, moments of silence, and sorrowful hashtags and logos will prevent it. Only determination on the part of individuals and our leaders to do the difficult, the harsh and the necessary will do that.
Berthold Brecht’s bitterly satiric poem “The Solution” has now and again been quoted here, usually in regard to some towering idiocy on the part of a government given to complaining about a lack of support among citizens for some particular national objective. Note that I specified citizens in the once-commonly-accepted American sense, and not the citizens-as-subjects in the European sense, which seems to imply that the ordinary people of a particular nation are there merely to serve as a kind of sheep to be sheared economically, or as metaphorical cannon-fodder to be marshaled up and flung to the front of whatever national objective that the national ruling class has ruled must be the focus of the effort of the moment.
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
Nasty old Commie that he was, he did have a way with words. The irony in this is so thick that I am surprised that it hasn’t coagulated, and dropped all the way through to the center of the earth. And it is only ironic – again – that Germany’s ruling class (analogous to our very own unholy alliance among elected politicians, the bureaucracy, the intellectual and media elite) appear to have decided to take the opportunity of unrest in the Middle East, to dissolve the people and elect another, welcoming them in with balloons, banners and stuffed toys.
Yep, opening the doors to any refugee with the energy and wherewithal to flood into Germany, that will likely end well. Note that only a few of them appear to be genuine refugees from the Syrian civil war. Note to, in contrast to the pictures of innocent, doe-eyed children and their mothers plastered across the main-stream media outlets, those pictures of the refugees in mass appear to consist largely of men. Young men of military-service age, pretty fit-looking, and nicely dressed, at that. I can’t pretend to know what Angela Merkel was thinking when she opened the floodgates and seemingly expected ordinary Germans to cooperate when her government seems to favor the newcomers at the expense of ordinary citizens … evicting long-time residents from rental apartments so that refugees can be parked there? Coopting school-children as volunteers to help feed and clean up after refugees in railway stations and refugee centers? Demanding that ordinary Germans – whose devotion to order, cleanliness and quiet is legendary – stand by and submit while public spaces are trashed, and women are sexually-harassed or worse? And never mind the almost certain possibility that ISIS/ISIL terrorists have slipped into Europe along with the refugees.
No, this will not end well, especially as the ordinary German citizens, (and British, French, Danish, Dutch, Italian and Swedish, just to name a few) begin to feel the bite of having been dissolved by their ruling classes in favor of economic and political refugees from the Middle East. The Camp of the Saints may be the best-case scenario – the worst would be Caliphate. Discuss.
So a “Draw Mohammed” event staged Friday in front of the Phoenix mosque which was attended by the two semi-literate Muslims who tried to attack the “Draw Mohammed” in Garland, Texas, a few weeks ago drew a large and rowdy crowd of armed motorcycling enthusiasts in full biker regalia and light arms. No question at all that some of the gentlemen in involved are rude, crude, provocative and pretty un-politically correct (scroll down the pictures posted on this story for proof positive) … but dammit didn’t it look like they were having fun, in making a full-throated in-your-face defense of freedom of speech as defined in the first amendment. And one without the monstrously weasel-wording “but” inserted after the statement “Well, yes, I believe in free speech…” This was incredibly refreshing after the temporizing along those lines from the usual proud defenders of the freedom to speak, write, draw, broadcast and otherwise propagate potentially offensive material in the wake of the Garland contest and shoot-out.
Our national media, both print and broadcast paid lip-service to the concept, but generally blacked out the artistic representations of ol’ Mo and chided Pamela Geller for provoking an adverse reaction, usually with the hackneyed simile of shouting fire in a crowded theater, or of classifying her event and many of her public statements as something called ‘hate speech. Our entertainment elite, for the most part has already preemptively surrendered. Academia has also surrendered and abased themselves when it comes to any voicing of an opinion not already agreed to by most everyone in their tight little academic strongholds, most of our elected officials are already cringing and running for cover once the mighty accusation of being that unclean creature – an islamophobe (oh, the horror, the horror!) is unsheathed by the oily activists of CAIR. The slightly permanently tanned golfer in chief of these United States has been distinguished of late by his solicitous and tender care of Muslim sensibilities worldwide while simultaneously blaming the rise of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh/Bearded-Fanatics-of-the-Islamic-Persuasion who are raping, looting and exploding their way across Syria and Iraq, and making an impression in North and Central Africa on his predecessor in office. So having someone – anyone – actually self-organizing and make an unequivocal gesture unadorned by the temporizing “but” is kind of refreshing.
Yes indeed, it is a pure relief to see public a public demonstration of this kind – an in your face, fiercely unapologetic demonstration, only somewhat fazed by death threats from sub-literate Twitter account-holders, but not the least discouraged by the distain of those who represent themselves to be their social bettors. Being polite has not made the point that freedom of thought is an inalienable one, in the eyes of those of us raised in the American tradition. Courtesy in this respect to the Muslim world generally has not been reciprocated in any meaningful way. Indeed, the threats have become ever more menacing, and the fate of the two would-be jihadis in Garland demonstrate that yes, some are willing to back words with deeds, however unsuccessfully. So, when all else has failed, what choice to us is left but to go profane, outrageous, un-nuanced and unencumbered by the fatal footnote of “but”? It seems as if the next round of cowboys and jihadis is about to become a home game, if it hasn’t already begun.
(Crossposted at www.chicagoboyz.net)
Almost four years ago I wrote about how the monuments and artifacts of ancient Egypt were possibly in peril from militant Islam – those grim and sternly bearded fanatics devoted to the principal that nothing rightfully exists before or outside of Islam. It was being suggested then that the Pyramids be covered up – certainly a considerable chore, but their fellow coreligionists energetically set about destroying the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas based on the same argument. So, one might have had good cause four years ago to worry about the relics of pre-Islamic Egypt – temples, monuments, ruined cities and tombs. How many thousands of years’ worth of relics, ornaments and paintings might be at risk? Fortunately for Egypt, it seems that soberer heads have prevailed for now: after all, someday they might want the tourists to come back again.
It is written in Psalms, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.” We die, kingdoms and empires pass in time, but the earth endures as well as those monuments and ruins left behind. Fragments of the past, of our mutual human history usually aren’t as thick on the ground as they are in Egypt, the Middle East, Greece and Italy; if not the cradle of Western civilization, then at the very least the kindergarten playground. So the rest of us have always felt a rather proprietary interest in those relics and places. These were places written of in the Bible, in the Greek and Roman classics, in a thousand epics, poems and legends – Jerusalem, Babylon, Ur of the Chaldees, Ninevah and Tyre, Athens and Sparta … and in travel accounts like Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad, and for me – Richard Halliburton’s Book of Marvels.
I don’t think many people over a certain age know of syndicated travel writer, adventurer and all-round eccentric Richard Halliburton, whose brilliant heyday was in the mad-and-booming 1920s and the escape-and adventure-starved 1930s. He vanished in mid-Pacific in 1939 in a calculated attempt – in the interests of another series of columns and a book – to cross that ocean in a replica Chinese junk. One of the relics of his evanescent popularity was a copy of the complete Book of Marvels, which belonged to Mom as a teenager, and which I read … or rather, ate up, omnivorously. The original copy (no dusk-jacket, worn green cloth covers, with Mom’s bookplate glued into the front endsheet) might be on my shelves somewhere; if not, it was one of those burned in the 2003 fire which pretty well cleansed this family of all but a few especially precious and portable relics. I am pretty certain that this is where I first read of legendary Palmyra, and Zenobia – the beautiful warrior queen of a desert kingdom, who led a heroic rebellion against Rome with all the usual dramatic success of rebellions against Rome when it was at its imperial height.
A beautiful city, by all accounts – adorned with all the art and architecture that a wealthy small kingdom at the trading crossroads of the known world, later added onto with whatever Imperial Rome could add and which enthusiasts of the last two centuries could excavate, restore and reconstruct – a wondrous ancient city by all accounts. Reviewing the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, to pre-Islamic relics all across the Middle East and most recently at the site of ancient Hatra and Nimrud, one simply can’t avoid knowing what is in store for Palmyra. And this hurts on such a deep level – that these marvelous buildings, frescoes, statues and all could have endured for so many years will be smashed by barbarians in a few hours or days – and furthermore, barbarians who could not, on the best day they ever had, build something as beautiful and enduring. But then, destruction is always easier than creation.
Likely it won’t end with Palmyra, either. In a recently released publication intended as a sort of Rough Guide to the brand-new caliphate, the author ended with this bit of chest-beating bravado (emphasis added by underlining) : “When we descend on the streets of London, Paris and Washington the taste will be far bitterer, because not only will we spill your blood, but we will also demolish your statues, erase your history and, most painfully, convert your children who will then go on to champion our name and curse their forefathers.”
How will Italians handle such a threat to their Coliseum in Rome, or Greeks to the Athenian Acropolis, and English to say – the Tower of London? I’d like to think they would not be entirely supine when it happens locally, especially since Greeks still bitterly despise Turks for the Muslim Turkish occupation. Interesting times, indeed; discuss.
(Crossposted at www.chicagoboyz.net)
… at the Paris offices of a French satirical magazine. For the usual crime – that of mocking Mohammed.
Herewith some more and vigorous mocking – the return of the Danish Motoons o’ Doom! (Courtesy of Zombie at PJ Media.) Click on the images to embiggen.
There is a saying to the effect that you know who your rulers (or your prospective rulers) are, by what you are not allowed to mock.
The longest night, the shortest day, the turn of the year – and I think likely the oldest of our human celebrations, once our remotest ancestors began to pay attention to things. They would have noticed, and in the fullness of time, erected monumental stones to mark the progression of the sun, the moon, the stars, the seasons, the light and the dark and all of it. The farther north and south you go from the equator, the more marked are the seasonal differences in the length of day and night. Just north of the Arctic Circle in the year I spent at Sondrestrom Greenland, those mid-summer nights were a pale grey twilight – and the midwinter days a mere half-hour-long lessening of constant dark at about midday. It was an awesome experience, and exactly how awesome I only realized in retrospect. How my ancestors, in Europe, or even perhaps in the Middle East, would have looked to the longer days which would come after the turning of the year; the darkness lessening, sunlight and warmth returning for yet another season of growing things in the ground, and in the blessed trees, when the oxen and sheep, and other domesticated critters would bear offspring. And the great primitive cycle of the year would turn and turn again, with the birth of the Christ added into it in due time.
Of course, Christ wasn’t really born in mid-winter – that was not the time when shepherds watched their flocks by night, all seated on the ground – but the promise of His birth, of light and joy and sunshine was added retroactively to those pagan festivities marking the longest night and shortest day. (Likely Christ was born in the early spring.) Christmas and Easter, the pole-stars of the Christian year and liturgy; the birth and the sacrifice; I’ll not get into the other pagan parallel observances. The colors of the paraments and vestments went through their turns – green, red, purple, gold and white, and usually not much linked to the absolute seasons. But still – there you are, the turning of the year, the festivals and observances and all, marking the time and tradition.
I was thinking of this, listening to one of my own personal observances last Wednesday; the live radio broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols from the Chapel of Kings College, Cambridge. I’ve never been to that service – but I visited the chapel, once upon a time. The chapel was light and beautiful, walls of glass and fragile-seeming stone tracery, a late gothic bubble floating on the gentle green-lawn bank of the Cam. The Nine Lessons and Carols has been a tradition since the end of WWI … a little short of a hundred years, a brief time as the traditions of Christianity go. And I was thinking and wondering as I listened, and wrote and surfed the Internet – how deep do those traditions actually go in these days. One of the internet stories that I scanned – about the established church in Germany – contained a riveting phrase:
Christmas in Germany is like a brightly decorated eggshell with no egg inside. The forms of the holiday are merrily observed, but not the faith. To declare one’s belief in a personal God counts for proof of mental defect here as well as in most parts of Europe, especially among educated people.
A brightly decorated eggshell with no egg inside…which reminded me again of that summer of 1976 when my brother and sister and I did England and Scotland the Youth Hostel and BritRail Pass way. And being well-brought up, we went to church services at the nearest available and interesting-looking church wherever we happened to be on a Sunday morning. To be fair and to acknowledge that anecdote is not data, on most of those Sundays we were well out in the countryside. There usually wasn’t much else to do on a Sunday except go to church … but still, even thirty-five years ago it was perfectly plain to us that most of those churches visited in England had the lovely sanctuaries, soaring music, beautiful, comforting ritual … and mostly empty pews. Only in a couple of Presbyterian churches in Scotland did there seem to be anything like a full house and passionate enthusiasm from either minister or flock.
These days, whenever I see a story in the Daily Mail or in the Telegraph which touches on matters of faith, I can depend on most of the comments posted to be utterly contemptuous of religious belief and faith – especially for Christians of whatever denomination.(To be fair, they are usually contemptuous of Muslims, but also and worryingly – of Jews.) This is both baffling and dispiriting; I’d not be surprised that readers of The Guardian and similar high-toned publications consider sincere religious belief to be infra dig and that appearance in one of those beautiful and historic houses of worship is obligatory only twice yearly and on the occasion of a wedding, christening or funeral, if that. That Daily Mail commenters seem to feel the same … is unsettling. I would guess that if anything, the Daily Mail is aimed towards exactly the demographic – blue-collar, working-class and not educated much beyond the English equivalent of junior collage and trade school. Backbone of the country, salt of the earth, they used to say, somewhat patronizingly. I must note that my three British grandparents and great-aunt Nan were exactly that sort. In the US, that exact demographic is also the backbone of the various established churches. In the main and quietly for the most part, churches are the quiet bulwark of many communities. They offer emotional support in the main, and quite often actual economic support when needed to members in good standing and often to those without any standing at all. This I know from having been involved in church work, and through having lived in Utah (where the LDS is the quiet power behind the throne of ordinary politics).
There is a cultural value in religious belief; a shared belief lending confidence and strength to a culture – strength such as in Poland within living memory led to the downfall of a Communist system – just to name one. Yes, it sometimes lead to petty and hypocritical things – unlovely sanctimony, judgment of neighbors and vicious clannishness with regard to those designated as outsiders being the least of it. But somehow, this seems to have all been drained away, the limited bad and the solid good, all together. As far as Christianity goes, Western Europe does appear as a brightly decorated eggshell with no egg inside – a hollow thing, easily smashed.
Share and discuss – whither Britain and Europe generally?
(Crossposted at www.chicagoboyz.net)
… I think. My crystal ball is out for re-calibration so I cannot be absolutely certain, but I’ve been expecting a crisis or bundle of intersecting catastrophes for some time now. There have been murmurings for the last year regarding the probability of Ebola spreading out of Africa. And now it has happened – a person sick with it has exposed lord only knows how many other people on his way back to Dallas from a visit to Africa. Which is horrific enough, but just getting started. Meanwhile, an enterovirus which attacks the respiratory tract and in some instances has an effect very like that of polio has been here for some months, sickening children – especially those who have respiratory difficulties. It has already killed five – this ailment which was rare in the US heretofore but apparently fairly common in Central America. The supposition is that it was carried into the US with the government-assisted influx of child illegal immigrants earlier this year. Were I the parent of a school-aged child in a public school and exposed to this virus – as many children doubtless have been – I would be furious, or even more furious than I am; that third-world diseases are being casually dispersed throughout communities in the United States for some .deliberate purpose; a Cloward-Pivening of the system, to pack the Democrat party voting rolls, undermine the labor market, or perhaps just to crash those local communities where the illegals have been parked. (Yes, illegal immigrant – I’ll say so and be damned, sir!)
For two years and more I’ve been expecting race-riots in those American cities hardest hit by the double-blow of single-party machine politics and the complete inability of the Obama administration to actually meet any of the sky-high expectations of him held among the black underclass. So, they got to feel good about themselves for a couple of years, before realizing they are worse off than ever. Can’t be Obama’s fault, of course; it must be all that white raaaaacism. St. Louis looks to be ground zero – again – at this point in time. The race card is about played out with me, having known too many good, hardworking and patriotic citizens of color – but I am about to the point of getting that bumper sticker that says, “I wish my ancestors had picked their own damn cotton.” Of course, my American ancestors didn’t grow cotton, and were in fact fiercely abolitionist Quakers. I suspect even the most racially tolerant among them would be loosing patience with the black thug underclass these days. I know now that many of those who comment on various blogs – about the only source on incidents of the knock-out game or flash-mob lootings – are loosing patience as well. So much for content of character, rather than color of skin.
And the Middle East is well-afire now, with ISIS/ISIL/The New Caliphate gleefully pouring more gasoline on the bonfire, and posting regular videos on social media of beheadings and mass executions, recruiting wanna-be-jihadis from across the United States and from Europe. Meanwhile, the Kurds and the Israelis stand nearly alone, while it seems that it is more important that American troops be sent to Africa, either to assist local governments in fighting the Ebola epidemic or to catch it themselves and bring it back to the stateside military units and their families. Hard to tell what the intent of the Obama administration is, these days; one hesitates to attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence or stupidity.
One is reduced to eying the actions of the federal government with wary suspicion these days. After this – and other actions, to include Fast and Furious, the IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, the NPS deliberately barricading national monuments and the ongoing disaster that is Obamacare – who besides those who serve, enable and benefit directly from it can claim with a straight face that our federal government is not motivated by greed and outright malice towards us?
(Cross-posted at Chicagoboyz.net)
I think that I shall never hear a phrase more heavily loaded with skeptical sarcasm than the bromide of “Islam is a religion of peace.” It’s even more heavily loaded than the Soviet-era convention of client states calling themselves the “People’s Democratic Republic of Whatever.” I also will never see anything rhetorically speedier than those self-elected community Islamic community leaders who briefly note some horrific and murderous act committed by a member alleged to be in good standing in their community and then commence to whine about how they will be hurt (Hurt, I say, deeply hurt!) by the resulting (nearly always non-existent) anti-Islamic backlash on the part of the general public. Strong word – whining, but no other expression quite hits the spot when it comes to self-centered self-involvement. The implication which comes across is that blowing off the legs of runners at the Boston Marathon, knocking down the Twin Towers, opening fire on a bunch of Army troops at a post processing center, or beheading a middle-aged female office worker while screaming Allah Akbar is more wrong because it makes Muslims look bad, not because it is mutilation and murder, mass or otherwise.
This whole ‘anti-Muslim backlash’ concept is richly ironic, considering how militant Islamics in the Middle East and in Equatorial Africa (by whatever name they go by) are working overtime with the social media, in putting out pictures and videos of beheadings, mass executions, mass kidnappings, boasting of these and encouraging adherents to greater efforts. Islam would seem to need very little help in looking bad, brutal and murderous.
Now – after a summer of very well-publicized beheadings of Westerners in the Middle East, we have the beheading of a Westerner in the middle-west, although bless their hearts, the mainstream media combine is doing their very best to call it workplace violence, stamping their tiny feet and squeaking “Workplace violence! Workplace violence, I tell you!” By an ex-convict jailhouse convert, who had just been sacked for proselytizing and scaring the heck out of his coworkers, who immediately went to the administrative offices of his workplace with a big knife and where he would expect to find – not burly warehouse workers and truck drivers – but female office workers, and where he expended a great deal of effort in beheading one of them, all the while screaming Islamic slogans, until righteously dropped by a company c-level executive who happened to be a reserve deputy sheriff. Meanwhile another self-identified Muslim in Oklahoma has been charged with a terrorist offence in threatening to behead a co-worker – at the very least, bad timing, and very bad taste if meant as a joke, as the co-worker apparently first thought it was. Alas, it seems that we are all loosing our sense of humor regarding the “religion of peace.” Are we now at the point where we begin to play cowboys and Muslims?
(Cross-posted at chicagoboyz.net)
This year is not one of those significant anniversaries – the year-marks that end in zero or mark a quarter or a half of a century, but for a couple of reasons, this one seems to weigh more heavily on me than any of the others, save possibly the one-year-after mark. It had only been a year after a perfectly shattering, unimaginable event, quite the equal to me of what Pearl Harbor had been to my parents. Without a whisper of warning – oh, if you had an abiding interest in the matter, or were a particularly imaginative secret squirrel, you might have seen it coming – a fissure the size of the Grand Canyon suddenly split the normal, day-to-day world, and after it, everything was different. On September 12, 2001, the world looked superficially just as it had two days before, save for maybe a few more American flags, and having to get to the airport hours before your flight, not to mention the gaping hole in the skyline of lower Manhattan. But it was the new normal, and kids in middle-school or starting high school have never known anything else. What I recall from ‘before’ is as remote and faraway to them as the Dust Bowl, or the splendors of the Edwardian era. That was then, this is now.
This is the now, with ISIS, or ISIL or whatever they wish to call themselves, recruiting volunteers across Europe and the Middle East, to establish a new Caliphate in the Middle East. What our armed forces bought in blood in Iraq has been essentially given away by this administration as carelessly as if it were a no-longer-fashionable shirt put into a plastic bag and dropped off at Goodwill. The southern border is made of wet tissue paper – and this administration has essentially contrived to swamp working-class communities with illegal aliens … who at the very least are innocent of the ability to speak English, and at worst are unrepentant gangsters. It can also be assumed that just about all of them are unvaccinated against diseases both common and uncommon which are also extremely communicative. Yes, well done.
Those same borders are also open to Islamic terrorists of the same stripe as those responsible for 9-11. It is likely only a matter of time before an atrocity every bit as horrific strikes a major American city … just as it is only a matter of time before certain of our inner city black underclass breaks out in city-killing riots. The present of Detroit may very well be the tomorrow of certain other cities. The working and middle-class flee, and if the city is glamorous enough, the rich and the very poor remain behind. If it isn’t glamorous enough, only the very poor remain. Many of our cities seem to be hanging by a thread – especially the older, old-industry ones. It is only a matter of time …
And so, we wait for the other shoe to fall. And it will fall – there is no doubt on that, just as there is no doubt regarding this current administration’s ability or willingness to rise to the occasion.
Between my English and Scots-Irish-English grandparents, a deep and abiding love of English literature and history, a fair number of English friends, and two long-ago summers sojourns in Britain doing the youth hostel and Brit-Rail Pass, I’ve always looked on the place as my metaphorical second country. I know it about as well as any American could and not actually be in residence there, and I’ve always kept in touch – through English magazines, newspapers and yes, in recent years through websites. Yes, and I score sufficiently high on any number of those quizzes testing American knowledge of British slang to say, with perfect truth, that I speak fluent Brit. (Although I can’t place British regional accents … something to do with acquiring most of this knowledge from the printed page rather than the spoken word.)
So, ever since I happily discovered The Internet, and began following more news than was available in the local newspaper and mainstream print publications, I’d been reading English news sites – starting with, I think, The Times of London and The Spectator – before they put the good stuff behind a pay-wall, and moving on to the Telegraph. I had a print subscription to the Guardian Weekly, for years – and occasionally checked out their website before the burden of wading through waist to neck-deep oceans of political-correctitude got to be too much of a chore. Now my guilty tabloid pleasure is to scan the Daily Mail; I know, in the eyes of the grand and the good, this is about one step above the Star or the National Enquirer. But the Mail and the Enquirer have of late begun to commit regular acts of non-partisan journalism – especially when it comes to the American political scene, in contract to the supposedly more respectable publications.
So, I was already aware of the horrific and ongoing scandal of native English girls – many barely into their teens – being groomed, raped, gang-raped and sex-trafficked by British-born Pakistani men, in Rotherham and elsewhere. The release of an especially damning report on a formal inquiry into the matter has even rattled the cages of bloggers like Wretchard at Belmont Club – and no wonder. The most horrifying aspect isn’t just that girls were routinely raped on a wholesale basis, or that many were blackmailed by threats to their family into cooperating in their own exploitation. Even worse is that the police forces, social workers, and local politicians also knew – but refrained from doing anything about it because they did not want to be accused of racism. It seems that the national media outlets also looked away, for as long as they could. As commenter Andrew X, at this discussion thread explained: The media lying is due to a combination of fears – fear of being called racist, fear of Muslim fanatics, and above all a fear of the public. The establishment sees the working class as ignorant racist morons so they’re afraid to say anything that might give the mob an excuse to go on the rampage. It’s not just the rape gangs that see British people as “white trash”.
Wrap your mind around that, if you please – that those bureaucrats, politicians and investigators whose profession and mission is to protect and defend their fellow citizens, especially the most vulnerable among them – hesitated to act because they were afraid of being called racists, which would be a career-limiter, in these present days. They might get a letter of reprimand, or a tough question or two from local media and a certain degree of heat from the diversity-loving intellectual set. That many of the girls victimized were from working-class families or the English equivalent of trailer-trash, or from troubled backgrounds anyway just adds a dimension of particularly ugly snobbery. In order to maintain the benign mask of multicultural toleration and diversity in place, the ruling managerial and political class essentially sacrificed the children of the ruled class to a sexual Moloch … and kept quiet about it for years. How badly the ordinary British citizens are being served by their ruling class, these days! (Nearly as bad as as Americans are being served when it comes to black on white crime, but that’s a rant for another occasion.) My grandparents would be appalled, and horrified at what has become of the country that they immigrated from 100 years ago, but still held in affection.
(Crossposted at www.chicagoboyz.net)
It’s a German word – it means “frightfulness“ – and it was used, if memory serves and a brief internet search conforms – it was a sort of shorthand for the reprisals exacted by the German Army against civilians during both wars. If not an actual German military field policy in WWI, it had certainly become one by WWII; brutally persecute, torture and execute civilians, and make certain that such horrors became well-known through extensive documentation within the theater of operations, and outside of it. To encourage the others, as the saying goes, but on a grand scale – to make war on a civilian population, once all effective military have departed the area – in hopes of cowing everyone who sees and hears of what brutality has been meted out on the helpless, and especially the helpless.
Was it an explicit policy of the German armies to apply the principle of schrecklichkeit – by that name or another – in the field in those wars?
Whether or not dictated from the highest levels, it did have the desired effect of discouraging armed resistance … at first, anyway. Acts of extreme cruelty against civilians were definitely committed, beginning in Belgium in 1914 – and had a short-term effect in that Belgian resistance to the German juggernaut was, to put it mildly, discouraged with Teutonic efficiency. However, the long-term result was a black mark against Germany, in its conduct of that war which resounded for years and was revived again with the record of Nazi atrocities in the second.
Which brings me to reports of the horrors being committed by the Islamic radicals of ISIS, or ISIL, or whatever they are calling themselves, as they sweep into Mosul and proclaim the establishment of a renewed caliphate. I have not seen much of this reflected in the mainstream media yet – but the worst excesses are seeping out, through minor publications, blogs and social media. Of course, without all those layers of editors and fact-checkers, such excesses could be really happening, or the work of propagandists of varying degrees of sophistication … but for the fact that ISIS/ISIL make no bones about boasting of what they are doing, and sharing the pictorial and video evidence. This link was posted on Samizdata by M. Simon – and if you have a low nausea threshold, don’t go any farther than a couple of pictures. I post the link only so that readers will have an idea of exactly how horrible this situation has become. I await for the inevitable lefty-luvvie comparison to Abu Ghraib, of course.
There are likely two rationales for practicing the 21st century Islamic version of schrecklichkeit in Northern Iraq; the ISIS/ISIL fighters are extreme sadists with the blessings of an ideology which encourages them to do what they enjoy most – torturing and murdering infidels – and bragging about it. And secondly, this demoralizes those unfortunate enough to be in their way, and discourages resistance. For a time, anyway. But schrechlichkeit has a short shelf life, once those whom it is practiced on realize that there is no way out, and only one way to fight back. Eventually, as the Allies discovered in the Pacific in WWII – there comes the understanding that those who have so relished inflicting cruelty on the helpless deserve no mercy at all, and will receive none, once the tables are turned upon them. Surrender is not an option at this point – and in future neither will mercy.
(Cross-posted at Chicagoboyz.net)
I always thought that overthrowing Saddam Hussein and assisting the Iraqis in setting up something that kinda-sorta-resembled a western-style democracy was a gamble, but one worth taking. Taking out the Saddam trash – especially a gangster régime which had gleefully made regional and international trouble for decades – and replacing it with a strategically-located sort-of-ally … better than allowing him to remain in place, anyway. His sons were even viler; if possible, than he was, and after ten years of air patrols in the no-fly zones, protecting the Kurds in the north … we were very close to being worn thin. The situation couldn’t last much longer … anyway; I thought Iraq had a good chance of eventually turning out like a kind of Middle East South Korea. After a few decades, they’d be able to handle themselves. We’d keep the odd base or two, lurk meaningfully in the vicinity.
Only, our Fearless Leader, the Golfer in Chief, decided to bag any kind of SOFA (status of forces agreement) declared that Afghanistan was more important, and then that Gitmo should be closed and that everybody would like us then.
So, it is most depressing to look at the headlines this week – especially the decapitated motorists, the lines of refugees streaming south out of Mosul and Tikrit. Thanks, Obama – thanks for throwing it all away.
It has amused me for years, how ordinary civilians, media figures and scriptwriters for movies and TV shows can believe so strongly that the military is one big monolithic secret-keeping machine; something which happens on a base, post, or on the front lines will never, ever see the light of day in the larger world and that the military commands can keep something quiet for years or decades. If it is something tippy-top secret, and know to only a few – well, yes, in that case. But quite often something – a program, a wild idea, a mission—remains unknown largely on account of lack of interest on the part of the larger world or the establishment news media organs. The military is actually far from being the big monolithic secret-keeping machine, once you get away from the deliberately highly-classified, ultra-secret-squirrel stuff.
During George Bush’s second term, the reporter Seymour Hersh was given to go around giving lectures to anti-war audience claiming that all kinds of horrible massacres were being perpetrated by American troops; massively violent stuff on the order of My Lai in the Middle East, involving scores of victims and whole companies of U.S. Army and Marine troops. Bodies stacked up by the bale, according to Mr. Hersh, who was at least careful enough not to commit these incredible tales to print. Mr. Hersh, I think, has the monolithic military secret-keeping meme on the brain. The atrocities which he was alleging to have happened among front-line troops in Iraq just could not have happened, not without a lot of personnel inside of the military family knowing. The truth is that the possibility of keeping something out of general knowledge in the military world expands geometrically with the number of people involved, directly or peripherally. And nothing much happens in the military world stays secret for long; yes, the knowledge of certain matters may not seep out into the ken of the greater public and the news establishment professionals – but that’s because military members are routinely briefed about OPSEC (operations security) and they don’t spill to outsiders, much. Something that may be common knowledge to those inside the family, as it were, may go for years without attracting undue attention or interest on the part of those outside of it.
Mr. Hersh and other fantasists might well have had an easier job in peddling incredible stories of military malfeasance in pre-internet days; it would take months and years for allegations to make the rounds and for those inside the military family to even become aware of them and respond – and then, of course, it was already over. History had been engraved in stone, as it were; set there by being repeated over and over. Any debunking was too late and too little. But the internet and a generation or two of tech-savvy and social media troops have tightened the OODA loop considerably. It took a good few decades for many of the established memes regarding Vietnam veterans – sullen draftees, drug-abusing, unstable, baby-killing losers – to be debunked by researchers like B. G. Burkett, and even now that meme refuses, zombie-like to lay down and die. It twitches now and again, over the last ten years or so, but refreshingly, military members and veterans today are instantly aware and more than willing to swing into social media action to debunk sensational accusations and to unmask fraudulent veterans – or even to speak out when there is a controversy such as Bowe Bergdahl’s status as a POW or as a deserter. Which brings me around to the thing about secrets. Among the milblogs like Blackfive there was no secret about there being something hinky regarding the circumstances of his disappearance from his duty station in Afghanistan. It wasn’t a big thing, but it came up now and again; one of those open secrets among the milblog family and commenters. Very likely, everyone that he served with and under knew that he was a flakey, unmotivated soldier, and after he went under the wire, a deserter as well. But it was one of those open secrets – which, because the Obama administration didn’t care to look before they leaped into a deal, a distraction and a show and tell in the Rose Garden, has now come back to bite – heavily.
Couldn’t happen to nicer people, I would say; except that whatever does happen next, in the wake of freeing five upper-level operators from Guantanamo, will very likely not land on the Obama administration or it’s high-level flunkies. Most likely, it will land on the rest of us, starting with those in the uniformed services.
(Crossposted at Chicagoboyz.net)
I know, it was a bitterly ironic move, and the novel it was based upon was even more bitterly ironic (Trust me, I read the darned thing –eh – moderately funny, but I fear that the only thing that the move took away from it was the premise) but what we may have here *assuming Strother Martin voice* is called a failure to communicate. I mean the imbroglio with returning Bowe Bergdahl, the only recorded POW from the war in Afghanistan to the bosom of his family, after languishing in durance vile for five long years. More »
I guess that the over-under bets are already being taken that Hillary Clinton, AKA Her Inevitableness, the former Secretary of State, Mrs. Bill, or Wonder-Cankles will sweep in and scoop the Dem party nomination in 2016. Meh – and I’ve always been ‘meh’ about the former First Lady; even more ‘meh’ since she didn’t kick her conniving horn-dog of a hubby to the curb upon exiting the White House … or even before. I am sorry – but in my judgement, a woman of worth does not tamely swallow the humiliation of hubby being a serial sexual adventurer several times over, capped by several rounds of widely publicized Dirty Games With Interns. No. Just … ick. I prefer to respect women who will not put up with humiliation, although I will not go as far as lauding Lorena Bobbit’s method for responding to serial marital humiliation. I would respect Her Inevitableness rather more if she had at least deposited him adjacent to said curb and gone out and done something on her own. But that’s not the way it goes in this nepotistic new America. The American version of Evita is all the rage in the corridors of power, and the spouses and spawn of the wealthy, well-placed and political are well-positioned to scoop up gold rings galore. Tell me again how Americans rejected patents of nobility, back in the day. Obviously that is one of those racist things, an invention of old white men who didn’t have the advantage of 21st century intellectual sensitivities.
It has been long-established that being the son or cousin of a former president or senator is a gateway drug to nomination for presidential office; now it appears that being the spouse of one is no bar, either – even if the resume is a bit thin on the accomplishment side of the ledger. That doesn’t seem to have hampered the career of the current presidential incumbent … but moving on. Benghazi; going on two years this fall and still considerable of a mystery, how a US ambassador and three others got themselves killed by a violent mob and what they were even doing there in the first place. The explanations offered by the Obama administration at the time and ever since have been unconvincing, to say the least, and as the Secretary of State at the time, Her Inevitableness must bear at least some responsibility, and afford us all a more convincing explanation for what went on in Benghazi, and a rationale for delaying any kind of rescue until too late.
As a veteran myself of several tours overseas, I can just about guarantee that any American serving overseas as a member of the military or the State Department now is looking around and wondering now exactly what their lives are worth to this administration. It used to be that you could be certain that if you were asked to risk it, than the mission must have been considered worthwhile. Now, it’s a certainty that being caught up an event that might be embarrassing or inconvenient for the administration to respond to … well, then, suck it up, hard-charger. They will write off your life and the lives of your comrades without another moment’s thought, if doing anything substantial will have the effect of being misinterpreted, or potentially disastrous. Loyalty is a one-way street to our would-be aristocracy; ours is owed to them, they owe less than nothing to us peons, and this has been demonstrated often enough in the last six years to make it pretty plain.
Finally, over and above everything else, the thing that I do resent most about Her Inevitableness is the casual assumption that just because I am a woman of certain age that of course I will support her, just because … woman! Which is infuriating in the extreme, especially when it comes from the same people who joyously took part in trashing Sarah Palin.
I speak, of course, of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boing 777, which took off last week from Kuala Lumpur and came to earth … or sea – we know not where. The whole saga just gets weirder and weirder as reported. Possible terrorists? Piracy and ransom? Complicity of the flight crew? Transponders turned off, and flying in a zig-zaggy pattern, and then vanishing entirely? There’s a new angle almost every day or so. Increasingly those who wonder about such things are wondering if those who do know or suspect with good reason what really happened to Flight MH370 are keeping their mouths shut as well. Yes – the oceans are wide and deep, and an airplane – even a Boeing 777 – is large and full of stuff, and people.
Wherever it came down, on land or on sea and if catastrophically … well, searchers usually have found something by now, especially by following along the original flight path. But MH370 went rogue, although why, how, where and at the hands of whom is a puzzle most extraordinary – in the words of Hercule Poirot. I’ll make no pretense of being an expert in investigating missing aircraft, but I only remember one other such case of a large aircraft vanishing so thoroughly and completely in the last decade or so. (It was in Africa, under weird circumstances, flight crew of three and … no one knows what happened to it after it took off.)
Usually, three days max, and somewhere along the expected flight path – the searchers find what’s left of the aircraft, and begin to make an educated guess at what happened, even if all there is to go on at first are some floating seat cushions and a fuel slick. But this, as I say, is just weird. Everything that is reported – and what is reported is sketchy, contradictory and filtered through the news media of several different countries – only adds to the weirdness. Speculation runs all the way through the possible, the probable to the ‘thriller-novel-plot’ and into the frankly extraordinary. But the thing is that once you have seen a plot to hijack four passenger airliners and crash them into tall buildings get carried out, one knows that what was once ‘thriller-novel-plot’ and conspiracy website fodder may very well turn up among tomorrows’ headlines.
So, it was only last week that I was reading about the organization formerly known as the Council on American Islamic Relations; CAIR, or as I call them the Cu Clux CAIR. (Now they are calling themselves the Washington Trust Foundation, or WTF, which is nearly as unintentionally risible as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, or MILF. Very likely both organizations were unaware of the unintentional humor derived from their initials, and the Moro Islamics may still be.)
Anyway, CAIR/WTF were off on another prolonged whine about all those nasty websites and news providers encouraging “islamophobia”. Which if I were of a sarcastic nature … oh, hell, yes, I am – I would point out yet again that a ‘phobia’ is an unreasoning and irrational fear; lately, a fear of Islam is just damn good common sense, as regards people like the Beantown Blaster Brothers, the murder of Lee Rigsby, the concerted ‘grooming’ of young English girls by … erm … gentlemen of the Muslim persuasion, the events of this summer in Egypt, Libya, the Philippines … and that’s just recent headlines. 9/11, the Bali bombing, the Madrid train bombing, and divers other events almost too many to list here and keep this entry shorter than the San Antonio Yellow Pages. There is a fear of Islam existing in the world today generally, and not just the United States – of Islam’s particularly erm … hard-core devotees. Looking at the plain unvarnished un-editorialized headlines from around the world, I’d say that fear has a particularly solid basis in experience, and is rather more solidly based than the fervent hope of the WTFers that we would all just develop some kind of amnesia about the Religion of Peace.
I think the WTFers are going to have to whine extra-piercingly about islamophobia now, since a couple of suicide bombers self-detonated in front of a Christian church in Peshawar, Pakistan, killing – at last count – nearly eighty churchgoers. And that very weekend, another Islamic extremist organization – this one aided with the 21st century equivalent to the International Brigades of the Spanish Civil War – decided to shoot up, bomb and otherwise terrorize an upscale Nairobi mall, packed with a fairly international clientele as well as a good number of Kenyan citizens of all classes. This drama has been playing out for the last three days, and I suppose to me the most chilling thing is that the adherents of the Religion of Peace appear to have started off by shooting up a children’s cooking event being held at the mall, and that at least two of the dead were pregnant women.
Of course, the most deeply frightening part of all this, is knowing it is only a matter of time until this happens at a big church or at a mall in the United States. As much as our political and academic ruling class mumble mushy platitudes about the Religion of Peace and CAIR/WTFers screech about islamophobia, the rest of us will have gotten the message, loud and clear.
Well, if that wasn’t one for the record books – a selection of Egyptian relative moderates taking back their country from a Muslim Brotherhood hard-liner through a protest-coup-counterrevolutionary thingy. Not quite certain how stable the reactionary moderate coalition actually is – or even if they are very moderate at all, or only in comparison to the Muslim Brotherhood gang o’thugs, but still – interesting. It did seem as of Morsi and his Brotherhood, even though freely elected in the wake of General Mubarak’s forced departure – were about to run Egypt straight off a cliff at speed, and perhaps this new coalition can only slow down the acceleration a little. As little as I know, I am fairly certain that the current American administration knows even less; late will the lights be burning tonight at Foggy Bottom, as the denizens of the State Department try and come up with some kind of reason, rationale and talking points. Of course, as a former Secretary of State remarked, “At this point in time, what difference does it make anyway?”
So, the good middle-of-the road and middle-class citizens of Egypt had a good bracing dose of what Islamic rule would mean and so spat it out of their mouths. The women, the Copts, the intellectuals, the middle class, the military, those who made their living through tourism, and I-don’t-know-how-many others, all rebelled at being ridden over rough-shod by increasingly stricter Islamists, just as the younger and more defiant Iranians have, although the Iranians are still simmering, while the Egyptians seem to have – at least for now – put their Islamic fundamentalists back into the bottle and jam in the cork tight. But Egypt, which once was the breadbasket for the Roman Empire – is reduced to importing food. The profitable tourist trade is wrecked beyond redemption, for who will want to come and look at the Pyramids, the temples of Luxor, and the museums full of antiquities, save the daring-to-the-point-of-suicidal Western backpacker types, who commonly don’t want to spend much money on expensive hotels, guides, transport and souvenirs.
And where are we – as Americans in all of this? Alas, nowhere – and thanks to our very dear President Kardashian, who has effortlessly managed to alienate and piss-off just about every party in Egypt, save Morsi and the Brotherhood who probably despised him anyway. It’s an interesting kind of gift, being able to alienate allies, while sucking up unsuccessfully to enemies. I’d deeply enjoy the taste of two scoops of schadenfreude, with a bit of chocolate syrup, whipped cream and a sprinkling of toasted almonds … but alas, we ordinary Americans will probably be cleaning up the damage from the Obama administration for decades after the principal architect of this Mid-east disaster has retired to a mansion in Hawaii and a series of well-paid speaking engagements.
The purely ironical part is that President Kardashian was so very, very popular with the usual Euro-lefty crowds, and in the Middle East – and now the bloom is so very much off the rose. I can hardly wait for the snippy Guardian-editorialists and readers, and all of their fellow-travelers to begin to whine about why did we stupid Yanks elect him to office in the first place.
(And for whatever NSA peon tasked with monitoring this blog, or perhaps me personally; we’re having turkey-burgers for supper, and I can make some extras. Let me know if you want a plate. Come by at 6ish or so – you know the address.)
That’s actually what it feels like – all these revelations about the NSA possibly-maybe-likely snooping wholesale through personal communications for exactly how long – and how long does this go back? As far as an excuse note from my mother getting me out of 8th grade gym class? You know, I wouldn’t really mind whatever they were doing, if it had actually prevented something like the Beantown Blaster Brothers, Joxer and Speed-bump, from setting off bombs at the Boston Marathon, or if the Fort Hood shooter had been bounced out of military service before he even pinned on his bars. Actually catching Islamic fundamentalists with terroristic plans seems to have been just too hard; it’s much easier, spying on law abiding citizens, just like it’s too much trouble for incompetent police departments to put a crimp in the activities of the gang-bangers, so they substitute harassing the law-abiding instead. Lets not get into the over-militarization of our local police forces, or the mass-molestation of anyone wanting to travel by air these days.
Then there is the IRS, that organ of the FedGov which everyone loves to hate, weaponized to harass, hinder and hamper conservative-oriented organizations, while making the way smooth for liberal ones … that will not end well, seeing as it was authorized and encouraged from everywhere but a few low-level rogue agents in Cincinnati. And spilling private information on donors to political opponents … that will not end well, either. Nor will the EPA carelessly releasing private information on farmers and ranchers to environmental groups – we all know how grounded, considerate and civil some of the more radical enviros have been, when it comes to protesting. Then there is the possibility that future elections will be massively fraudulent, and that the last one might very well have been, that our political class seems to be only concerned with what they can grab in the way of short-term gain, that certain blue-state cities such as Detroit are circling the drain, that our establishment press is so deep in the tank for Obama – still! – that they need a deep-sea diver’s suit and an air hose. The military is being steadily demoralized – even as our Kardashian president seems to think intervening in Syria is a wonderful idea. Oh, and there still hasn’t been a reasonable explanation released by the Obama gang as to what the hell happened in Benghazi … or why so many upper-tier and influential senior officers so suddenly retired.
Speaking of circling the drain, our establishments of higher education teach less and cost more for the privilege, and those of the lower persuasion seem to be obsessed with kids playing with guns and drugging rambunctious boys into placidity. I have told my daughter that any children she has will be home-schooled, by me, if necessary. She will probably have to work several part-time jobs as an independent contractor to support them anyway, as the imposition of Obama care will do a number on those small business which provide the larger portion of those jobs which we still have.
On the up-side, it has rained here rather generously for June, and I bagged the cable TV package in favor of a Roku box, which saves me a good bit of money a month, and will allow me to pay of my very last creditor even sooner. So there is that. And it does seem like the global warming delusion has been pretty much thrown over by all but the dumb and die-hard, so there is room for hope.
“The propaganda had a certain purpose: to wipe the past out of our consciousness. We should forget that it had ever existed. We really should doubt our own memories. The revisionists of history had usurped the preferential right of interpretation, and we had silently let it happen. We were not supposed to remember the country that we were part of, and it made us deeply sad and furious. Without a rear-view mirror we had no yardstick for the present time. But that wasn’t the intention, either.”
Read the whole thing, at Gates of Vienna. The author is writing about Sweden – but it can very well apply here in the US, too.
A day may come when the courage of men fails,
when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day.
An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down,
but it is not this day!
This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good Earth,
I bid you stand, Men of the West! – Aragorn’s speech, before the Black Gates
It always comes back to Tolkien, doesn’t it? A man who lived through the hell of the WWI trenches, who recalled from first hand a time when you could use the term ‘Great Britain’ without ironical quotes around it, a time when there were very real social issues and pathologies to criticize and to try and deal fairly with – but also a time when the common people took enormous pride and confidence in what they were, in their country, in themselves, in their institutions – and in turn, the various institutions looked toward the general welfare of the commonality. I like the 19th century for that very reason, both the British and American versions. It’s a kind of mental refuge to me, these days. For all its pathologies and shortcomings – citizens of both countries had cultural self-confidence. In the main, a self-confidence based on real accomplishment is a hell of a lot more attractive than a pitiful, helpless and apologetic bleating about ones’ societal and cultural shortcomings.
Really, whom would you look to; someone like Isaac Kingdom Brunel, or Lord Gordon … or a cringing and eternally self-abasing creature like Uriah Heep? Never mind that the first two are real, the third a literary creation; there are plenty of vicious, ostentatiously humble Uriah Heeps now active in political life, and plenty of them – a sufficiency of them, actually – infiltrated into academia and in the media. They’ve been doing their destructive work for decades, always with the best intentions, and ostentatiously for the good of us all. They preen themselves on this, and make good careers out of it.
Only, somehow and mysteriously, it has had such malign results as the vicious and very well documented murder of a British soldier by Islamic jihadi muppets in front of a large crowd, in the capital city of what was once a proud empire. Wrap your mind about that. A public street adjacent to a military base; they bash him with a car first, and then carve him up with knives, swagger about the street declaiming on their purpose, shouting Islamic slogans … and wait for the armed officers of the law to appear. Who did arrived, twenty minutes later, when the victim had doubtless bled out – some news reports have it that his head was cut off, which would certainly remove any urgency in responding with medical aid. Meanwhile the murders, with bloody hands swagger about, explaining why they did it. Three women come forward, and I accept that this took enormous courage on their part – given that this horrible event took place out of the clear blue. I also accept that the initial witnesses to this atrocity were shocked, disbelieving … but that any impulse on the part of members of the public to intervene in any meaningfully effective way was likely squelched on the instant of being considered. The duty of any good British citizen these days, or so I have gathered, is to to be passive, and never to resist being robbed, raped or murdered, since such resistance is likely to injure or inconvenience the robber, rapist or murderer. This precept of non-resistance has been enforced over the last few decades by prosecution and convictions obtained against those who actually did resist outrages against their own or others’ property and persons. The end result was what we saw this week in Woolwich; no resistance, no rescue. Thus are a free people reduced to serfitude. Pity, that – but I am certain that the ruling classes like it very much that way.
(Crossposted at Chicagoboyz.net)