Obama’s No-Win Dilemma

Most of the nation states of the Middle East, as we know them today, were created in 1916 by the Sykes-Picot Agreement, otherwise known as the Asia Minor Agreement, between Britain and France.  The states created include Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, and Syria.  In that agreement, national boundaries were drawn without regard to sects, Shiite or Sunni, and without regard to tribes or clans, setting up an explosive mixture of religious animosities.

After the creation of Iraq and Syria, the French and British drew a line from the Mediterranean due east to Mount Hermon.  North of that line, the French created a coastal nation, largely Christian, called Lebanon.  While south of that line, between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, the British created a coastal Arab nation which they called Palestine.  The territory south of Iraq and east of the Jordan River was divided between two Arab tribes that were allied with the British during World War I, but who didn’t care much for each other.  The Sauds were given a large tract of land called Arabia… hence Saudi Arabia… while the Hashemites were given a much smaller territory east of the Jordan River, which they named Trans-Jordan… now Jordan.  Thus, six nations were created between the Mediterranean and the Tigris, and south of Turkey.  These six nations became seven when the United Nations created Israel in 1947.

As might be expected, the many disparate religious sects found it difficult to occupy the same territory and chaos reigned for most of the next century.  For example, in early August we learned that some 40,000 Yazidis, a minority religious sect, had taken refuge on Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq.  Their choices were to either stay on the mountain, short of food and water, or they could descend the mountain and be slaughtered by terrorists of the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS).  The Yazidis were aware that ISIS forces were beheading children elsewhere in Iraq, so rather than risk that terrible fate, many families killed their own children by throwing them off the mountain.  Within a week of that report, Yazidi women were also found to be leaping to their death from the mountain rather than face being captured, raped, and sold into slavery.

In other reports, hundreds of Shiite soldiers of the Iraqi military were captured, executed, and buried in mass graves… some of them while still alive.  These were the same ISIS jihadists who  recently posted a YouTube video showing American newsman James Foley being beheaded by his captors.  According to best estimates, some 191,000 people in Syria and Iraq have lost their lives in sectarian fighting since March 2011.

A strong case can be made that the map created in 1916 is now being redrawn through force of arms, and that what is now occurring in the region represents nothing more than a realignment of national boundaries, consistent with religious convictions and backed by the use of terror and military might.  It is a struggle in which western powers find it difficult to decide who’s who without a scorecard, or to find any clear national interest amidst all the violence.

It is into this maelstrom of warring factions that the United States and its coalition partners waded in 2003 to depose the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, foolishly believing that the many warring states and factions could be defeated, pacified, or managed.  To paraphrase an old Mark Russell line, “Their plan was to make the Shiites and the Sunnis act like Christians.”

What they should have understood, but didn’t, is that no amount of bombing and no amount of ground forces can win a war against the forces of Islam… in the same sense that Germany and Japan were defeated in World War II.  The best we can ever hope to accomplish is to contain the forces of Islam in their home countries and to do whatever is necessary to protect our homeland from ISIS-style atrocities.  So whatever “strategy” Obama ultimately decides on, it must have an international component and a domestic component… neither of which involve military power.

For example, what few Americans understand about the James Foley video is that it was far more than an unspeakably grisly scene; rather, it was a political statement intended for American audiences as a means of terrorizing them, frightening them into putting anti-war pressure on Congress and the Obama administration.

Even the normally clueless New York Times appears to have recognized the “information warfare” subtleties of the Foley video.  In a story dated August 30, the Times reported that, “ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, is using every contemporary mode of messaging to recruit fighters, intimidate enemies, and promote its claim to have established a caliphate, a unified Muslim state run according to a strict interpretation of Islamic law.  If its bigotry and beheadings seem to come from a distant century, its use of media is up to the moment.”  As crude and cruel as the beheadings were, the video message is proof that radical Islam is far more adept at the use of modern communications than any western power, including the United States.

So why does the United States, the most powerful and resourceful nation on Earth, not have a sophisticated information warfare, or SOFTWAR, capability to use against radical Islam?  Why has the Obama administration not spread the word throughout the Muslim world, covertly, that members of ISIS are not good Muslims?  Instead, they engage in Hirabah (prohibited war against society), and that their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is a Mufsidoon (an evil-doer condemned by the Koran).  Why are we not spreading the word throughout Islam that those who follow al-Baghdadi and ISIS will surely suffer Jahannam (eternal hellfire) unless they repent?

While ISIS is experiencing some success in Syria and Iraq, they should not deceive themselves that the caliphate they are establishing can ever encompass any major portion of the western world.  Aside from protecting the lives of U.S. citizens who live and work in the Middle East, our primary national interest is in seeing to it that they do not establish a foothold on our shores.

So, as sympathetic as I may be to any dilemma that might cause Barack Obama some sleepless nights, I understand that no amount of conventional military power will stop the ISIS onslaught in that region of the world.  Any time we spend debating whether or not to commit military forces against ISIS, or how much, is wasted time.  Instead, we should be spending our time thinking in terms of how to discredit radical jihadists throughout the Muslim world through the skillful use of information technology, and how we might protect our American homeland.  King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has recently warned, “If we ignore (ISIS), I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month.”  We simply cannot allow that to happen and military power is not the answer.

Instead, we must make the Muslim presence here so unpleasant that they will long for a return to whatever hellhole they came from.  To do that, we must make membership or participation in any organization advocating the violent overthrow of the U.S. government a major criminal offense.  In the spirit of Eisenhower’s signing statement as he signed the Communist Control Act of 1954, we must resolve that, The American people are determined to eliminate from their midst organizations which, purporting to be “religious,” in the accepted sense of that term, are conspirators dedicated to the destruction of our form of government by violence and force…”

To accomplish that end, the Congress should take immediate steps to amend Section 2 of the Communist Control Act of 1954 to read as follows: “The Congress hereby finds and declares that Islam, although purportedly a religious sect, is in fact an instrumentality of a foreign conspiracy to overthrow the government of the United States.  It constitutes an authoritarian dictatorship within a republic, demanding for itself the rights and privileges accorded to individuals of other religious denominations, but denying to all others the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution… 

“As a segment of the U.S. population, Islam is relatively small numerically and gives scant indication of its capacity ever to attain its ends by lawful political means.  The peril inherent in the existence of Islam arises not from its numbers, but from its failure to acknowledge any limitation as to the nature of its activities, and its dedication to the proposition that the present constitutional government of the United States ultimately must be brought to ruin by any available means, including resort to force and violence.  Holding that doctrine, its role as the agency of a hostile foreign power renders its existence a clear present and continuing danger to the security of the United States.  It is the means whereby individuals are seduced into the service of Islam, trained to do its bidding, and directed and controlled in the conspiratorial performance of their revolutionary services.  Therefore, the organization known as Islam shall be outlawed in the United States.

With that statute on the books we can make it very uncomfortable for radical Islamists.  With eyes and ears planted in every mosque in America, radical Imams such as Anwar al-Awlaki could be quickly exposed and FBI agents could be on the scene within hours to make arrests.

An old adage tells us that “the enemy of my friend is my enemy,” but, as much as that adage has been applicable throughout history, it does not apply in the Middle East today.  Recent events in that part of the world should be enough to convince us that the enemy of my enemy is also my enemy.  Other than Israel, we have no “friends” in the Middle East; there are only enemies and potential enemies.

Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “Never interfere with an enemy while he’s in the process of destroying himself.”  Will Barack Obama be wise enough to take that advice?  We shall see.

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Why Are Black People So Angry?

Recent events in Ferguson, Missouri prove, if nothing else, that a great many black people are very angry these days and some will use almost any perceived slight as justification for rioting, looting, and arson.  So who or what is the source of that anger?

Looking back over the history of black people in America, we are told that a black man in Virginia, Anthony Johnson, became the first slave-holder in America in the 1650s.  In 1860, the American people elected their first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, and the following year, in 1861, he signed the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves to be free men and women.  Then, on December 6, 1865, in spite of strong opposition from Democrats, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, banning slavery in the United States forever.

In 1866, after being defeated in the war to end slavery, Democrats established a paramilitary auxiliary called the Ku Klux Klan to keep the freed slaves in line and to intimidate them into voting for Democratic candidates.  However, just because the slaves were freed and human slavery had been permanently outlawed, southern Democrats did not suddenly join the ranks of abolitionists.  Instead, once they’d regained control over southern legislatures they set about enacting Jim Crow laws and the Black Codes, dictating where and for whom blacks could work, where they could live, where they could eat and sleep, which restrooms and drinking fountains they could use, and where they were allowed to sit in movie theaters and on trains and busses.

These restrictive policies were in effect across much of America as late as the 1950s.  So is it possible that many blacks still feel the indignation of slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow, and the Black Codes, fifty years later?  Yes, of course.  Such indignities are not easily washed away in only two or three generations.  And is it possible that young blacks today feel a strong sense of resentment for a nation that treated their grandparents so inhumanely?  Yes, of course.

While human slavery, the KKK, Jim Crow and the Black Codes have been major factors in black-white relations, they are not the primary contributing factor in the question of why so many black people today exhibit such anger, or why so many young blacks walk around with a chip on their shoulders, just daring white authority figures to knock it off… as was the case with Trayvon Martin, in Florida, and Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri.  So what is it that causes many black people to use any pretext to go into the streets, defy police authority, and set fire to their own neighborhoods?  To find an answer to that question we must first determine what has been the major contributing factor in the disintegration of the black family unit.

To find an answer to that question we need look no further than a federal program called Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC), the first of two major tipping points in black history following the Emancipation Proclamation.  AFDC was passed in 1935 by a Democrat-controlled Congress with a 72-23 majority in the Senate, a 322-103 majority in the House, and signed into law by a Democrat president, Franklin D. Roosevelt.  In order for a family to be eligible for AFDC payments, the family must have had at least one dependent child, under age 18, who was “deprived of financial support from one of their parents due to the parent’s death, continued absence (emphasis added), or incapacity.”  In other words, if two able-bodied parents lived in the home the family was denied AFDC benefits.

Nothing… not drugs, not poverty, not urban decay, nor lack of educational opportunities… has contributed more to the disintegration of the black family unit in America than the restrictions of the AFDC program.  As an unintended consequence of AFDC, marriage was discouraged, fathers were forced out of their homes, and single-parent welfare mothers found they could increase their monthly income by simply having more babies.  As a result, we now have a society in which three out of four black babies are born out of wedlock, and where black mothers, unable to discipline their fatherless children, find so many of their young men either imprisoned, addicted to drugs, or the victims of gang violence.

Far too many young black men are like Michael Brown’s friend, Dorian Johnson, who told the press that his friend was shot to death by a white police officer as he walked toward the officer with his hands in the air.  When he gets before a grand jury, under oath, Johnson may have a different story to tell.  However, Johnson’s 15 minutes of fame may cost him dearly.  When police ran a background check on him they found that he was wanted on an outstanding felony warrant in Jefferson City, Missouri.  In that case, Johnson was arrested for theft, lied about his identity, and failed to appear in court on his trial date.  How will such young men ever be able to enter the work force as reliable and valued employees?  By their own actions, they have thrown away any chance of ever realizing the American Dream.  How would they answer that question found on most job applications, which asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

The second major tipping point in black history was the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, striking down the “separate but equal” concept in public education, followed closely by the War on Poverty of the Kennedy-Johnson era.  It was then that Democrats resigned themselves to the notion that their century-old campaign to oppress blacks through violence and threats of violence was at an end.  Instead, they found it politically expedient to simply buy the allegiance of black people with funds from the public treasury.

Accordingly, the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, with a Democrat-controlled Congress, enacted a vast array of social welfare programs designed to mollify blacks and to capture their votes for Democrat candidates.  At that juncture, blacks had two well-defined paths to choose from: 1) They could choose what conservatives and Republicans offered: equal opportunities in jobs and education, hard work, and perseverance… the time-honored road to the American Dream, or 2) They could choose the “free lunch” that Democrats offered.  Unfortunately, under the self-defeating leadership of race hustlers such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, blacks entered into a “devils bargain” with the Democratic Party, choosing the “free lunch” alternative.

It was pure cynicism on the part of white Democrats.  In his well-documented book, Inside the White House, historian Ronald Kessler quotes Lyndon Johnson as he justified his support for civil rights legislation to two Democratic governors on board Air Force One.  Johnson is quoted as saying, “I’ll have those n*****s voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.”

The only price blacks had to pay for all the free money, food stamps, subsidized housing, free healthcare, and preferential treatment in jobs and higher education was to pull the Democrat lever on Election Day.  Since that time, blacks have consistently given 90-95 percent of their votes to Democrats.  Yet, 61 years after Brown v. Board of Education, and in spite of endless Democratic promises of “better times,” blacks have seen little social and economic progress.

So we should not be surprised that, after many decades of being told by liberals and Democrats that they are “victims” of rich whites and business owners, blacks sometimes throw tantrums like spoiled children.  Frankly, I’d be angry too if someone made the same promises to me, over and over again, for a half century or more, and I could find no evidence that they’d delivered on those promises.  So is it any wonder that, because of all the broken promises and unfulfilled expectations, we now find a sub-culture in which far too many blacks, by their own choices, fail to take advantage of the educational and job opportunities available to them?  Instead, we find millions of urban blacks consumed by a seething anger and a sense of crushing hopelessness.

If black parents, at the time of the two major tipping points describe above, had insisted that their children do their homework every night; that they be in school every day; that they always behave themselves, both inside and outside the classroom; and that, once they’ve entered the workforce, they always give their employers at least eight hours of their best effort in exchange for eight hours pay, African-Americans would be far down the road, socially and economically, from where they are today.  But that’s not what happened.  Instead, blacks have wasted more than half a century of progress cradled in the smothering embrace of liberals and Democrats who were interested in them only for the electoral majorities they helped produce on Election Day.

Because of their fawning obeisance to the liberal cause, blacks have dug a hole for themselves that will be all but impossible to climb out of.  To do so would first require that they have what it takes to admit that their political allegiances have been misplaced.  But they’re not likely to do that anytime soon.  Instead, we find them doubling down on their support for Democrats.  And while they’ve paid a heavy price for their fealty to the Democrat Party, forfeiting their political independence and their ability to think for themselves, along with much of their pride, their dignity, and their self respect, they should not be holding their breath waiting for Republicans to enter into a bidding war with Democrats for their hearts, their minds, and their votes.  Unlike Democrats, Republicans have a fondness for honesty and integrity in politics, and, unlike Democrats, they will never adopt bribery as a strategic element of their national platform.

By promising them cradle-to-grave economic security, Lyndon Johnson promised that he’d have blacks voting Democratic for the next two hundred years.  If that’s true, and if blacks fail to get new leadership willing to speak the truth to them, they will have another 150 years of empty promises to endure.  Unfortunately, we have a black man in the White House who seems to think that it is his job, not to unite the races, but to find new and creative ways of dividing Americans along racial and economic lines.  So long as blacks continue to believe that he is on their side and that he is trying to do what’s best for them, they’ll just have to go on being angry.

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Two Thumbs on the Scale

In a brief press conference at the White House on Monday, August 18, Barack Obama was asked about the ongoing civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri… a response by the black community to the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old, 6 ft. 4 in. black man, described in various media reports as a “gentle giant.”  Eyewitness reports indicate that Brown, who just ten minutes earlier had committed a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store, was in the process of attacking a uniformed Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, when he was shot to death.

In response, Obama said, “I have to be very careful about not pre-judging.”  But then, in the next breath, he proceeded to pre-judge, as he has so many times before.  Attempting to give the impression of racial neutrality in his administration, he concluded by saying, “We have to be careful not to put a thumb on the scale.”

He apparently has a very short memory.  On July 16, 2009, Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was arrested at his Cambridge, Massachusetts home by a local police officer, Sgt. James Crowley, who was responding to a neighbor’s 911 call telling police that unidentified men were breaking into the house next door… a house that turned out to be Gates’s residence.

The incident occurred as Gates returned home from a trip to China, only to find his front door jammed.  With the help of his driver he attempted to force it open.  A neighbor, attempting to be a “good Samaritan,” telephoned police.  When Sgt. Crowley arrived on the scene he went to the front door and asked Gates to step outside.  He explained to Gates that he was investigating the report of a break-in, to which Gates responded, “Why, because I’m a black man in America?”

Finally, after grudgingly providing the officer with a photo ID, Gates became verbally abusive.  After two warnings from Sgt. Crowley that he was becoming disorderly… warnings that went unheeded… Gates was placed under arrest, taken to the Cambridge police station in handcuffs, photographed, fingerprinted, and charged with disorderly conduct.

During a July 22 White House press conference, columnist Lynn Sweet, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, posed a question to Obama.  She said, “Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge.  What does that incident say to you?  And what does it say about race relations in America?”

Obama replied, “Now, I’ve… I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that.  But I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.  And number three, what I think we know, separate and apart from this incident, is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That’s just a fact.”

On the night of February 26, 2012, neighborhood watch coordinator George Zimmerman was driving through his neighborhood in the Twin Lakes housing complex in Sanford, Florida… a neighborhood that had recently experienced a number of burglaries and forced entries.  Seeing an unfamiliar figure, dressed in a “hoodie,” walking through the neighborhood, he telephoned local police.  The police dispatcher advised Zimmerman to remain in his vehicle and not to follow the unknown person.

However, when the dispatcher asked Zimmerman for his exact location, so that police could find him when they arrived, he left his vehicle to find a street name and house number.  As he did so, he was approached out of the darkness by 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, of Miami Gardens, Florida, who had been lying in wait.  Martin asked Zimmerman if he had a “problem,” to which Zimmerman replied that he did not.

If, at that point, Martin had turned and proceeded on to his destination, that would’ve been the end of the matter and it’s likely he would still be alive today… but he didn’t.  Instead, he said to Zimmerman, “Well, you’ve got one now.”

Martin then proceeded to strike Zimmerman with his fist, knocking him to the ground.  Martin then sat astride Zimmerman, beating his head against a concrete sidewalk and threatening to kill him.  Zimmerman, fearing that he would be seriously injured, if not killed, drew a handgun from his belt and shot Martin to death.  The shooting of a young black man, by a man perceived as white, became headline news across the country, sparking a national debate centered on race.

Zimmerman was taken into custody, treated for head injuries, questioned, and released.   The chief of police explained that Zimmerman was released because there was no evidence to refute his claim of having acted in self-defense, and that, under the state’s “Stand Your Ground” statute, Zimmerman had a right to use lethal force to defend himself.  Police had no grounds on which to arrest and charge him.

Then, on Friday, March 23, 2012, while responding to reporters’ questions in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said, “I can only imagine what (Martin’s) parents are going through.  And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids, and I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local, to figure out how this tragedy happened.”  He concluded by surmising, “You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

Unable to pass up another opportunity to foment racial animosity, Obama dispatched his attorney general, Eric Holder, to Florida to “stir the pot” a bit.  According to reports, Holder used a “community relations” unit of the Department of Justice to “stage-manage” protests and to help arrange a meeting between local officials and the local chapter of the NAACP.

Days later, under pressure from local black leaders, Zimmerman was placed under arrest and indicted by State’s Attorney Angela Corey, charged with second degree murder… a crime for which a jury later found him not guilty.

Now, in August 2014, Obama once again finds it necessary to interfere in what is clearly a local law enforcement matter.  In addition to dispatching Eric Holder to Ferguson, Missouri, Obama has assembled a team of 40 FBI agents to participate in the investigation of events surrounding the death of Michael Brown… 40 FBI agents who could be put to far better use looking into the criminal activities of former Internal Revenue Service official, Lois Lerner, or one of the other Obama administration scandals.  Their assignment in Ferguson is to determine whether or not Brown’s civil right were violated while he was in the process of being shot to death.

Taking a page out of the Mark Furman chapter of the O.J. Simpson trial, the agents are said to be knocking on doors, interviewing everyone they can find who ever knew Officer Wilson, in order to dig up information that may point to past racist thoughts or actions on his part.

From what we are told, Officer Wilson has an exemplary six-year record as a police officer.  So what will 40 FBI agents uncover in a week or two of beating the bushes for racially-charged dirt?  Will they learn that Officer Wilson didn’t think it was nice of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis to strike his wife, knocking her unconscious?  Or will one of the diligent FBI sleuths uncover the fact that Officer Wilson once traded a black car for a white one?

Democratic partisans are clamoring for Obama to travel to Missouri to talk some sense into members of his base who are rioting in the streets, but there are two reasons why he won’t do that.  First, he knows that if he were to walk the streets of Ferguson he would stand no better chance of coming back alive than if he were to walk the mean streets of South Chicago, his home turf.  And finally, since he doesn’t go anywhere without an entourage of hundreds, the optics of his traveling party outnumbering the protestors would not make good video footage for the evening news.

Instead, he has sent his top political operative, Attorney General Eric Holder, to Missouri.  But sending Holder, the most corrupt attorney general in history, to put down violence in the black community is like sending Bonnie and Clyde to interrupt a bank robbery in progress.   

What Obama’s recent pronouncements tell us is that he has become as adept at parsing his words as the old master, Bill (That all depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is) Clinton.  Obama doesn’t want to put “a” thumb on the scales of justice.  Instead, since the victim in the Ferguson shooting is a young black man, he wants to put both thumbs on the scales.  Obama’s record of the past five and one-half years tells us that he is always willing to tip the scales of justice when a black victim is involved and when his doing so can profit him politically.

It is probably safe to assume that the family of Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, rotting away in a Mexican prison because he took a wrong turn and unintentionally drove into Mexico with several firearms in the trunk of his car, would appreciate it if Obama would put at least one thumb on the scales of justice in Mexico.

But then, Sergeant Tahmooressi is a white guy, isn’t he?

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