Archive for the ‘9/11’ Category

Not much to say. It seemed like he was channeling George Bush’s invocation of 9/11 coupled with a few bones to his buddies in POKEESTAN. I especially laughed at his “direct address” to the “Afghan people.” I’m sure they’ll get the executive summary by smoke signal within a fortnight. Otherwise, it was just more of the same: nation-building, a surge. Not much “Rah Rah” inspiring talk about turning these bastard al Qaeda into a pink mist. Winston Churchill, he is not.

His speeches are making me weary. They don’t inspire. They lack any appeal to the emotions. The only proto-emotions he displays are vague self-worshiping references to “hope” and a very abstract celebration of America’s late 20th Century “global cop” role. He has trouble connecting with ordinary Americans and their concerns. We don’t care about torture or GITMO or that the UN approved the attack on Afghanistan. Only the hardcore anti-American Left cares about such things. We don’t think our moral right to self-defense hinges on how we treat KSM and company. We believe in our right not to be mass murdered, that’s enough. We hate these people and want a leader who hates them too. They killed our people; we want their people killed in turn.

I thought his alibi about the delay on the troop augmentation was weak, and his talk of limiting the commitment of troops because of the national debt was utterly tone-deaf. If this is an essential war to prevent mass terrorism, it’s worth nearly any expense, correct? If McChrystal says time is running out, six months of delay is kind of serious right? And, along these lines, there was a bit too much emphasis on the end-date for the U.S. commitment. But what if things aren’t better in two years? What if it costs a lot but it’s an absolutely vital expense?

This speech is not a game changer. The troop surge won’t be either. And for a guy running $1T stimulus packages, his grave concern over $30B a month–pocket change in comparison–is quaint. Insulting, really.

I still think this is the wrong strategy (as I wrote last June), even if the people we’re engaging deserve to be whacked. Why? Because we won’t be able to do much to reform Afghanistan’s military. The Afghan security forces don’t operate in a vacuum. They serve a state to which many people are lukewarm. The Afghanistan’s government and traditions are the problem, and over those we have had and will continue to have little influence. Second, Pakistan is still highly divided internally over who the bad guys are, and the gravy train for their government depends upon dragging this out. Pretending they’re this great “partner” glosses over more than a little. Finally, the end state we’ve achieved in Iraq is nothing to write home about. Saddam’s gone. Good thing. But that was true five years ago. They still have a guerrilla insurgency and daily terrorist attacks and a not-terribly-pro-US foreign policy. Plus various anti-American terrorist organizations still roam its streets. If this is the success we’ve achieved some two years after Bush’s surge, we’d be in little worse shape if we had quickly left then.

Our comparative advantage is to engage enemy nation-states when they harbor terrorists overseas and to be more careful about whom we let in domestically. These tasks we can accomplish effectively with far less cost, far less loss of American life, and far more success than we’ll have in the quixotic Afghan nation-building campaign among a gaggle of violent subsistence farmers.

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My cousin Peter Regan had a piece published in the NY Post condemning the ridiculous decision to try terrorists in NYC.   His father, and my uncle, Donnie Regan died on 9/11 in the service of the FDNY.  Peter was in the Marines at the time, took leave to assist in the search for survivors, served two tours in Iraq, and, after finishing his service (and a call up in the IRR!) followed in Donnie’s footsteps as a NYC Fireman.

He wrote, among other things, “I will never be convinced that these terrorists did not commit an act of war. And committing an act of war does not qualify these men to enjoy the rights and liberties of the citizens of this country, rights that so many have died to protect.”

I am proud of Jill and Peter and other 9/11 family members that are standing up to this administration and reminding them that there are public relations and moral consequences for their actions not just in Europe and the Middle East, but here at home too.

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Apparently, it takes six months to decide to half-ass McChrystal’s plan and cut 6,000 troops?

Obama admires Abraham Lincoln and his decision to can various generals–including McClellan–for not being aggressive enough to win the Civil War.  But Obama, unlike Lincoln, is unpatriotic and a pacifist, dithers about whether victory is worth it, and changes his mind on core objectives–in effect, giving his generals a moving target. 

Plus Obama’s adding language to the plan about “off ramps” and what not.  So basically we’ll add 35,000 troops, a bit less than double what we have.  They’ll accomplish a little more, but nothing game changing.  Then we’ll find a reason to leave next June and will do so.  A few hundred more young Americans will die than would have otherwise, and this outcome all so Obama doesn’t look too weak in calling it quits sooner on this misguided nation-building effort.  This is hardly Lincolnesque . . .  more like Hamlet!

I think a deliberate withdrawal or even a limited war is not dishonorable, incidentally.  There are times to have flexible definitions of victory.  Think of something like the Korean War which ended in an armistice or the conventional victory of expelling Saddam Hussein from Kuwait in 1991. But if you think it’s truly a “war of necessity,” and you think the way to win is to build a functioning Afghan state (as Obama said in March), do it right or change that strategy.  Obama is keeping the strategy but under-resourcing it.   Further, with his “exit ramp” talk, Obama is basically admitting he’s looking for reason to call it quits.  It’s a far cry from the Gettysburg Address.  It’s more like a blueprint for our enemies and less committed allies to engineer an American exit.

I actually think Joe Biden’s proposal for a scaled down war using counter-terror operatives is the most sensible and conforms our operation to what the U.S. national interest is in the neighborhood.

Let me speak plainly.  I don’t think these illiterate savages deserve democracy or any U.S. efforts to help them.  I don’t think it’s in our interest, and the trade off is woefully imbalanced.  Afghans and Pakistanis and everyone else in the world just need to learn that if they help our enemies they’ll be punished en masse. For some reason, though, I don’t think Obama can make that kind of warning convincingly.  Sadly, neither could the liberal Republican, George W. Bush.  

This popular view of collective responsibility was what was most appealing about the Bush doctrine, i.e., you’re with us or you’re against us. But in eight years it’s morphed into “help our enemies and we’ll spend many years and many billions of dollars and many young American lives to drag you into the 21st Century.” 

Where’s General Pershing when you need him?!?

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Apathy About 9/11

I was reading yet another editorial criticizing Eric Holder and the DOJ for their moronic decision to have civilian trials of KSM and other al Qaeda defendants and I was surprised and proud to learn that my cousin, Jill Regan, was there to deliver a petition against this horror:

A final observation: During the proceedings a young lady, dutifully attentive, sat with a stack of paper about 15 inches high on her lap. The papers contained names, single spaced, of some 100,000 people who signed a letter in opposition to this decision. This young woman, Jill Regan, lost her dad, Donald J. Regan, FDNY of the Bronx, who died trying to save others on 9/11. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Al.) asked that those names be entered into the record at the end of the session. It was agreed, but by that time the chairmen and most of the Democrats were already gone. I grieved for her—and for all of us—anew.

Hardcore leftists like Obama and Holder basically think that America brought 9/11 upon ourselves.  They think the worst thing about this event is that we “overdid it” in our response and thereby made Europeans and other foreigners mad at us.  So they rush to close GITMO, while they drag their feet on implementing their own stated Afghanistan strategy.  They feel little rage at the perpetrators and consider the various foreigners with unpronounceable names killed in our attempts at vengeance indistinguishable morally and emotionally from their fellow Americans.  They are at best  “citizens of the world” and should not be in charge of this nation.

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One of the biggest traditional liabilities of the Democratic Party, particularly since the election of Ronald Reagan, has been its perception as weak on national security. 

The end of the Cold War gave the party a new lease on life, but 9/11 propelled Bush to office.  His comparative incompetence, particularly in waging a wasteful and prolonged “nation building” effort in Iraq, turned back the dial towards a more realistic and restrained foreign policy championed by Obama. 

That said, Obama misreads the public if he thinks all but a few of us care much about the long-suffering detainees in GITMO or whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was water-boarded or much else that Bush did in the wake of 9/11 to treat al Qaeda as a military problem to be dealt with by military means, including targeted killings, streamlined military tribunals, and prolonged preventitive detention for the duration of the conflict.

Bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohammad to Manhattan for a civilian federal trial is the repudiation of all of these efforts, for which GITMO itself is only a symbol.  The prospect of a circus, complete with condemnations of America, divulgence of our intelligence apparatus, and lengthy and cumbersome procedures is the wrong tool for the job and will do much to demonstrate why al Qaeda is a different kind of problem from an ordinary criminal conspiracy. 

Let us only hope that the lesson is not written in blood in the form of a spectacular escape, a terrorist attack on the trial site itself, the murder of a federal judge, or, perhaps worst of all, an acquittal based on the application of civil liberties inappropriate and unearned by foreign enemies of the United States.

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The picture that emerges of Major Nidal Hasan is of an obnoxious, provocative, and disloyal gadfly.  He showed little respect for the uniform, his peers, or the rights and wrongs of the war on terrorism after the 9/11 attacks.  His deranged criticisms were absorbed by the politically correct and risk-adverse culture of today’s military.  Consider this nonsense from the Army Chief of Staff, General Casey:  “Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”

Worse?  Worse than 15 dead and 28 wounded?  Worse than an institution whose deracinated soldiers were well trained to know that raising an objection to someone like Hasan could be “racist” and thus the end of one’s career?

People outside the military don’t realize quite how much the h.r. nonsense we’re all accustomed to in academic and civilian life has become the lingua franca of the military since the Clinton’s administration, the Tailhook scandal, and the unnatural integration of women into combat-like roles.

We are fighting a war against radical Muslims, but no one is allowed to notice this inconvenient fact, even inside the military.  Today’s p.c. soldiers are supposed to train indifferent Iraqis and Afghanis, police these crummy countries’ sectarian elections, brook their proteges’ constant whining about civilian casualties (even though their own internecine struggles are positively Satanic in comparison), and ignore the fifth columnists in their midst like Sgt. John Muhammad (DC Sniper), Sgt. Akbar (who fragged his fellow soldiers), and now Major Nidal Hasan.

Neither Bush, nor Obama, nor most of the leadership at Ft. Hood takes note of the fact we have a self-professed Islamic enemy.  And that some of these enemies were born here, wear our army’s uniform, and have conflicted views about the country the rest of us love.  Instead, these manifest facts are dutifully suppressed by the ideology of diversity.

I think the media’s and other elites’ refusal to look at the content of Islamic beliefs, the relative lack of patriotism of the American Muslim community, and the way this community and the broader American community talk past each other is a problem. Non-Muslim Americans wrongly assume Muslims want to be treated fairly as equals.  Some do and would be content with that.  But Muslims on the whole see themselves as an elect, a superior community that needs to be treated deferentially.  This is the meaning of the Danish cartoon riots, the pushy suppression of dissent under the rubric of “hate speech,” and the double standards on accidental civilian deaths by western forces on the one hand (unintentional but worse in their eyes because committed by infidels) and the nearly daily and far more deadly bombings and killings of Muslims by other Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan.  Their idea of “due respect” is anathema to a democratic society built on tolerance and Christian ideas of freedom and conscience, whether in Europe or the United States.

Channeling Aleander Kojeve, Francis Fukuyama in the End of History noted that the animating principle of democratic societies is the abandonment of the earlier “warrior aristocracy” ethic, whereby one group in the community demanded recognition as superior because of its physical courage, in favor of the more limited respect between each stratum of society merely as an equal to the others.  This practical equality of self-perception and social demand by different cohorts in our own society has a lot to do with our vital and relatively strong traditions of self government and peaceful social life.

Fukuyama to his credit more recently noted that, “Democracy’s only real competitor in the realm of ideas today is radical Islamism. . . . Some disenfranchised Muslims thrill to the rantings of Osama bin Laden or Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but the appeal of this kind of medieval Islamism is strictly limited.”

This is all to say that the Nidal Hasans of the world are not an existential threat, particularly to the United States.  At the same time, they–and by “they” I mean Muslims in America in general–should not be considered presumptively loyal.  They should prove themselves.  Every other immigrant group has done so, usually in the uniform and with the sacrifice of blood.  But unlike the Japanese and immigrant Italian and German Americans in World War II, Muslims have largely been MIA from the War on Terror and have shown a lack of moral clarity regarding the same.

Is it too much to ask a little expression of anger that anyone anywhere thinks like this bastard, Hasan?  Can we not say, roughly, “Love it or leave it.”  If they insult us, show discomfort with the uniform, express sympathy for Islamic terrorists, or otherwise threaten the military and its need for uniformity, Muslims and anyone else who thinks like this should be shown the door.  In other words, while we should not abuse loyal and peaceful citizens, we should be profiling.  We should be demanding displays of loyalty.  And we should be kicking out bad guys like this from the military and from the country before they do us any harm.  Diversity is hardly important and its loss is not a greater tragedy than the loss of life from some of our best Americans at the hands of someone who was only here because of a misguided and reversible immigration policy.

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President Obama’s statement on 9/11 is one of the most saccharine, tone-deaf, and idiotic things I’ve ever read:

Indeed, amid the carnage and heartbreak of that tragic day in September, we also experienced a profound sense of community and witnessed a vivid display of those values, as first responders raced toward chaos, as Americans lined up to donate blood, as young people signed up to serve their country – as old divides seemed to fade away and America stood as one.

Now, eight years later, it is that sense of common purpose we must recapture.  . . .

That is why we are marking this Sept. 11 as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. On this day, and every day, it is incumbent on each of us to uphold those ideals that our enemies were – and are – so eager to destroy.

To serve others and give back to our communities

They don’t want to attack our ideals.  They don’t care if we donate blood or serve soup to the homeless and pick up litter.  They want to kill us.  Obama does not deal with reality; namely, that Arab Muslims killed our people that day, and they still want to kill us because our power threatens their designs on their region, and because they hate America as a symbol of the Western World.

The alleged unity of that day is a bit off a misnomer.  It faded so soon thereafter.  I haven’t forgotten the old pacifist leftist spirit that rose from the ashes of Ground Zero:  “Let’s not bomb on Ramadan,” and “we’re just as bad as our enemies if we strike back,” in addition to seven years of suggestions that the real 9/11 “Truth” was that Bush evilly engineered the attacks in order to get a few millions in contracts to Halliburton.  There has been little unity since 9/11, as evidenced not least by Obama’s weak-willed half-measures in the war-on-terror including his appalling speech in Caro and his proposal to domesticate and in some cases release the murderous Gitmo detainees.

Bush may have misread the cause of Islamic Terrorism as a lack of democracy and freedom in the Middle East, creating the so-called swamp of political pathology.  He never understood that swamp was fed by an underground spring called Islam.  The words of the Koran, the Hadiths, and the teachings of the Imams are where the terrorists get their ideas.  Whether that Islam is technically “True Islam” or not hardly matters; a goodly swath of Muslims sincerely believe that is exactly what it is, these views are rigorously proffered by Islamic scholars, and this interpretation is not a fringe view.  Years spent in the US and Germany by Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and Mohammad Atta only strengthened their resolve.  They know us, and our democracy and freedoms don’t impress them.  The problem is their own native beliefs, combined with our weakness in allowing this foreign import on our shores. That all said, at least we always knew Bush knew who the enemy was.  At least Bush was willing to say, we will defend our country.  He made it a high priority through thick and thin.

Obama lacks this kind of patriotism.  He’s not so sure who’s right.  He is torn by his leftist anti-Americanism and the surprising fact he’s the American President.

Obama has at times suggested the War in Afghanistan is a key part of his anti-terror strategy.  The role and importance of that campaign was far-from-prominent in his speech. It was mentioned once.  I guess Obama considers it unseemly to connect the Afghan campaign to the terrorism on 9/11.  For him, it’s the rhetorical equivalent of the Flag Lapel Pin he considers too jingoistic.  There’s little sense from Obama that another 9/11 takes just one effective and motivated al Qaeda cell within our perimeter.

Fouad Ajami today wrote:

Wars are great clarifiers. Barack Obama’s trumpet is uncertain. His call to arms in Afghanistan does not stir. He fears failure in Afghanistan, and nothing more. Having disowned Iraq, kept its cause at a distance, he is forced to fight the war in Afghanistan. So he equivocates and plays for time. Forever the campaigner, he has his eye on the public mood, the steel that his predecessor showed in 2007 when all was in the balance in Iraq is not evident in Mr. Obama.

Obama’s call during the campaign for a kind of surge in Afghanistan made no sense in light of his opposition to prosecuting the Iraq War.  Either we must implant stable societies in these hell-holes, or we cannot, in which case we should leave and instead move around the rubble from time to time using air power and direct action by special forces when the bad guys make themselves visible.

I’ve said for several years now that the best way to fight al Qaeda is to remain on the sidelines, strengthen our borders, and pounce when they coalesce.  If draining the swamp made little sense in Iraq in light of its absent WMDs and the country’s uncontrollable internal currentsl, why are we in Afghanistan eight years after 9/11?  Why does Obama of all people propose this?

Obama’s stance on this subject was always unserious, a campaign prop, and his diffident refusal to either increase forces and rally Americans for the campaign or quickly to leave shows how his domestic political concerns–especially the age-old Democratic fear of being called weak–have callously allowed Americans to be sacrificed in a drawn-out war with little continuing strategic rationale and without end in sight.

We were right to attempt to destroy bin Laden, al Qaeda, and the Taliban after 9/11.  They soon fled to the hills and became strategically ineffective.  When that happy result was completed by early 2002, our work there was effectively done until they should make themselves easy targets once again.  Obviously we should have had more troops to block and destroy more of al Qaeda’s forces in Tora Bora and other battles early on.  We should have been willing to use force more indiscriminately in the early stage, as the “blow back” is minimized so long as we leave and so long as our message of retaliation is clear.  But such is life.  Better a big fence at home than perennial campaigns to import democracy and normalcy to a land of cavemen and primitives.

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