May 11, 2013
Mark Steyn at his finest, commenting on the horrible mess the Obama Administration made of the Benghazi disaster
The Benghazi Lie
A failure of character of this magnitude corrodes the integrity of the state
May 10, 2013 5:00 PM
By Mark Steyn
Shortly before last November's election I took part in a Fox News documentary on Benghazi, whose other participants included the former governor of New Hampshire John Sununu. Making chit-chat while the camera crew were setting up, Governor Sununu said to me that in his view Benghazi mattered because it was "a question of character." That's correct. On a question of foreign policy or counterterrorism strategy, men of good faith can make the wrong decisions. But a failure of character corrodes the integrity of the state.
That's why career diplomat Gregory Hicks's testimony was so damning -- not so much for the new facts as for what those facts revealed about the leaders of this republic. In this space in January, I noted that Hillary Clinton had denied ever seeing Ambassador Stevens's warnings about deteriorating security in Libya on the grounds that "1.43 million cables come to my office" -- and she can't be expected to see all of them, or any. Once Ambassador Stevens was in his flag-draped coffin listening to her eulogy for him at Andrews Air Force Base, he was her bestest friend in the world -- it was all "Chris this" and "Chris that," as if they'd known each other since third grade. But up till that point he was just one of 1.43 million close personal friends of Hillary trying in vain to get her ear.
April 28, 2013
And speak to Planned Parenthood he did. Much more comfortable in promoting abortion and attacking the pro-life movement than being nice to George H.W or George W. Bush, he found his stride the other night. From Sister Toldjah's blog:
"As long as we've got to fight to make sure women have access to quality, affordable health care, and as long as we've got to fight to protect a woman's right to make her own choices about her own health, I want you to know that you've also got a president who's going to be right there with you, fighting every step of the way," said Obama. "Thank you, Planned Parenthood. God bless you."
The United Nations has finished work on what is called the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) and after President Obama signs it it will go before the U.S. Senate for ratification. Treaties must be approved by two thirds of senators, and 46 have already signaled that they will vote yes.
It sounds like such a good treaty, so why are groups like the National Rifle Association (of which I am a life member) so opposed to it? Obama has said he wouldn't be supporting the ATT if he thought it violated the Second Amendment, but frankly his view of the amendment is warped, so that doesn't count for much. And in a non-binding vote last month, the senate did reject the ATT, 53-46 (as cited above), but surely Obama will twist some arms and my guess is the treaty will get another vote.
Obama is no doubt regretting his remarks that use of WMD by Basir Assad would constitute some sort of "red line"
The Thin Red Line
by Richard Fernandez
April 24, 2013
Chemical weapons -- the 'red line' which President Obama said he would so resolutely oppose -- have emerged in Syria. Blood tests have confirmed the exposure of patients in hospitals to these weapons. Readers will recall that President Obama issued a stern warning against their use. Now they've been used. The problem is now how ignore them. The National Journal's article is headlined: "Obama Is Looking for Reasons to Delay Response to Syria's Chemical Weapons Use."
It would seem to add up to certain U.S. military action: On Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed the findings of a White House letter to congressional leaders that said the United States now believes "the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically, the chemical agent sarin." That finding appears to be a direct violation of the "red line" for action that President Obama set last year and which he reaffirmed last month, when on a trip to Israel he declared that "the use of chemical weapons is a game changer."
In truth, the same game is still going on, and the administration appears to be equivocating over a response while all the "facts" are established. "We want to continue to investigate above and beyond those intelligence estimates," a senior administration official told reporters Thursday afternoon, in order to gain "a definitive judgment for whether a red line has been crossed."
The probable truth is that Obama was never prepared to take any large scale action against Syria for any reason any more than he is prepared to stop the Iranian nuclear bomb. Damascus has now called his bluff so the challenge is to find some way to run while seeming to keep the field.
April 17, 2013
In the midst of a plethora of bad news, something good has happened in Washington; gun control has been defeated! In a vote of 54-46, the Manchin-Toomey background check failed to get the required 60 votes in the Senate.
What's amazing is how far the liberals have fallen on this issue; after the Sandy Hook shooting last September, the anti-gun nuts came out full force, promising to reinstate the Clinton-era "assault weapon" ban, if not enact much tougher legislation. While they have succeeded in a few states, they failed miserably nationally. And the states where they succeeded are liberal strongholds anyway, so that doesn't really count for much.
After Sandy Hook, the liberals thought they had their golden opportunity. They thought they had it in the bag. And the way they came out so strong makes me think they had it planned all along; that for years they've had this all planned, and were just waiting for the next shooting to enact their plan. Nothing formal, of course, and I'm not imagining some grand conspiracy. But at their cocktail parties they strategized; "ok, after the next mass shooting we all come out full force with gun bans and surely in the heat of the moment we can get something passed!"
April 9, 2013
A giant has passed from this world to the next. Margaret Thatcher, 1925 - 1913, died yesterday. Famously the daughter of a grocer, she was elected to Parliament in 1959, and became Prime Minister in 1979, serving in that capacity until 1992.
After Winston Churchill she was the greatest Prime Minister of the 20th Century, and probably the greatest Briton. Without Churchill we would not have won World War II, and without Thatcher it is hard to see how we would have won the Cold War, or at least win it when we did.
And despite what some nay-sayers and revisionists may say, along with Ronald Reagan, John Paul II, and others such as Helmut Kohl, she did win the Cold War. If Pope John Paul II was the ultimate moral leader against the travesty that was Soviet Communism, leaders like Thatcher, Reagan, and Kohl held firm in the political realm and did what had to be done.
In the face of fierce opposition insisted that the planned deployment of nuclear tipped Pershing II theater ballistic missiles and Ground Launched Cruise Missiles go ahead as scheduled. And in the face of equally determined opposition, from some in the West, no less, they insisted on the "zero-zero" option which ultimately prevailed, instead of the softer "halfway" approach favored by most media pundits and the Western left.
When the fascists of Argentina challenged her by seizing the Falklands, she responded firmly by sending a task force south which took back the islands. She was not one to be pushed around by communists, fascists, or by labor goons in her own country.
Speaking of which, it is hard to remember just how desperate Britain's situation was when she took over in 1979. The economy was truly going to pot, and many British labor unions were led by some of the most extreme, and violent, people imaginable. The coal miner unions, led by one Arthur Scargill, were the worst. But as in the foreign arena, Thatcher held firm in the face of much opposition and in the end her country is the better for it.
It is sad that later prime ministers, such as Tony Blair, have undone much of her economic legacy. While Blair did well in the foreign arena, his policies at home are sending that country back to the 1979s. We face a similar problem in the US, but that is the subject for another post.
For now, click to go below the link and enjoy some outtakes of Thatcher at her best in the House of Commons:
March 30, 2013
If you're not reading Belmont Club blog you really should be. It's not exactly light stuff, though, so don't be in a hurry.
Conversations With History
by Richard Fernandez
March 27th, 2013 - 4:21 pm
It's a problem familiar to anyone who has walked the hills: finding the easiest path from A to B. That is typically time to break out the topographic map and plot a course over the contour lines that never exceed your best sustainable gradient; to find the route you can walk without having a heart attack. That was the metaphor that suggested itself as I reviewed a friend's book manuscript, whose thesis is simple: the world, he argues, is running out of cheap energy, peace and food.
He thinks the old order is fading. Unless we find a way to 'transition' to a new set of arrangements the world is doomed to a bleak future. For starters, the Pax Americana is falling apart. Security, even if it can be continued, will become more expensive and uncertain.
Secondly, Green politics is delaying the transition to sustainable nuclear energy. If we go back to a windmill world we'll live at a windmill standard. Lastly, he argues that the world rather than warming may in fact be cooling, which if true would drastically reduce the amount of land available for productive cultivation. See that loaf of bread on your table? You may remember it fondly one day. If all three hit then the party is over
March 25, 2013
The editors at National Review get it exactly right:
The Iraq War, Ten Years Later
March 23, 2013
By The Editors
Ten years ago this week, the United States launched the Iraq War. A decade later, thanks to the mismanagement of the Bush administration, the indifference of the Obama administration, and the inherent difficulties of Iraqi society, it is clear that we expended great blood and treasure for an unsatisfactory outcome.
Saddam Hussein and his regime of torture and mass murder are gone. He started a war by invading a neighbor and sought dominion over the global oil supply. He was an ongoing threat to the region and in flagrant violation of his international commitments. If he no longer had weapons of mass destruction, it wasn't for lack of trying. He was undermining the strictures that kept him from restarting his weapons programs. Even the harshest critics of the war are loath to admit that their alternative would have left Saddam atop Iraq.
March 13, 2013
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, has been elected the 266th pope of the Roman Catholic Church.
This is an exciting time in the life of the Church. This is the first pope from Latin America, and the first non-European pope since the fifth century. Catholics all around the world should and are excited.
February 18, 2013
Here we go
The Afghan Endgame
The Weekly Standard
Feb 25, 2013
By Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan
President Obama's decision to withdraw another 34,000 troops from Afghanistan over the course of the next year is unwise. It greatly increases the risk of mission failure in that important conflict, jeopardizing gains already made in the Taliban heartland in the south and compromising the ability of Afghan and coalition forces to finish the fight against the Haqqani Network in the east. It also increases the risk that al Qaeda will be able to reestablish itself in limited safe havens in Afghanistan over time. Removing troops and capabilities before Afghanistan's next presidential election, scheduled for April 2014, further exacerbates the danger that Afghanistan might collapse into renewed ethnic civil war.
It was not as bad as it might have been, however, and prospects for success in this conflict remain, although the odds grow ever longer. The president appears to have yielded to military realities and the laws of physics on a number of important points. The drawdown itself is paced to keep a significant number of American troops in Afghanistan through most of this coming fighting season: Around 6,000 troops are to be withdrawn between now and this spring; another 8,000 by November; and the final 20,000 by February 2014.