Barack Obama

Bread and Circuses

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Americans have cast their vote. And I won’t sit here and type out some cliche’ lines about the wisdom of the American people or how we all just need to get along for the next 4 years, come together, hold hands, and make it all better. Because I believe this was a stupid choice and that the last 4 years were the result of an administration that has no direction and has already weakened the American character.

Our nation is withering, but it is not because of Barack Obama, it is because of that sacred animal of democracy, “The People.” No longer is it the man that fights the good fight, that presses on despite the odds, the strong individualist who sharpens his knife, oils his rifle, and cuts his own firewood, that draws the media’s camera and the adoration of Americans. No, the greatest person in America today is “The Victim.” The man who can’t get things done is our hero. He is a victim of the system, of the weather, of his race, of his gender, of his sexual orientation, of bad genes, and of the evils of corporate empire. It is difficult not to find a victim in every man these days, and so every man is a hero of sorts, unless you run a successful business; a business man is obviously out to make victims of everyone else, and thus he is no hero.

It is not “anti-government” to say that a government can either do a few things well, or a lot of things poorly. We have chosen a government that is involved in every aspect of our lives, and we choose this both locally and nationally. We are well on our way to becoming another Greece. And what happens when a government runs out of money and tells its people that programs have to be cut? Do the people band together in unity and peace and carry on? Some maybe. But the ones that get the media attention riot and spew hatred because their bread and circuses have been taken away.

This is the perfect example of how empires die. They are rarely killed from the outside. With few exceptions, they kill themselves.

And so I do not believe in the sanctity of the people. Democracy works just fine when a democratic nation is composed of intelligent, unselfish, and strong people. We are no longer that. What was Obama’s biggest selling point to the American people? That he will give us more stuff. Is that not the tacit message? We certainly don’t want a president that will tell us we’re too fat, too stupid, and too infatuated with Kim Kardashian. Which we are. As Rush Limbaugh said, “In a nation of children, Santa Claus wins.”

Unlike others, I am not hopeful for America. I have witnessed our decline for the last 20 years, and it has been inexorable. We are teenagers with Daddy’s credit card. The values that held our society together for two centuries are all but gone. Some will say, “times change and we must change with them.” But we are exhibiting habits with which no culture has prospered for long.

As for myself, I’ll continue to cling to my guns and religion, just as did real men like Davey Crocket and Daniel Boone. The rest of America can worry about what underwear Pink is wearing this week and continue shambling toward irrelevancy.

Is the West Doomed?

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Last night I caught a clip of Fareed Zakaria’s show on CNN.  I’d been watching much more important things–pro football–but I can’t stand the ads on AFN (American Forces Network) so I channel surf when I have to.  I’ve had mixed thoughts about Zakaria, primarily because i felt he pandered a bit to the Left when things were going badly in Iraq.   All in all though, I think I like him and appreciate his opinions.

Zakaria was talking about the current state of world economics.  He listed three factors that have complicated the problems America and Europe Face.

1)  An aging population.  As people in Western nations age and retire, they need ever increasing money from the retirement system.  The amount of young people in the work force whom pay taxes which support those retirement systems are dwindling.  The crisis in Greece resulted from primarily two factors:  The death spiral birth rates which cannot replenish the workforce and a lack of any economic growth.

2) Advancing technology.  Zakaria contends that technology improves efficiency to such a degree that employers no longer need to employ as many people.  I’m not convinced this is the issue that Zakaria believes.  First,  the unemployment rate in the US effectively doubled in about three years.  This had nothing to do with advancing technology.  Secondly,  while it may take fewer people to make a single pair shoes than it used to, manufacturers  make more pairs of shoes.  Then those shoes make their way to every corner of the world, something that could not happen before technology multiplied the power of the individual person.  Technology, in my opinion, has not lessened the need for workers, because more production and distribution is now required and expected of the individual–and that’s because of technology.   Corporations look not only for efficiency, but more production.  As I used to joke when I was a police officer:  The advanced technology available to police did not make their jobs easier, it only upped the expectation for productivity from the department and increased the amount of evidence required to get a conviction.

3) Globalization.  Globalization allows employers to outsource labor.

While all of these things have some impact, I think that Zakaria skips over the cultural shift occurring throughout America.  The cultural war inside the US is tearing it apart; the “have-nots” now expect success be handed to them.  Moreover, multiculturalism is instigating conflict.  The West is now like a man who walks around grinding his teeth all the time, but he can’t figure out why he does it.   He feels an internal stress that he finds inexplicable.  That stress is the breaking down of trust, the great binder of all societies.  Samuel Huntington said that culture is made up of two things:  Religion and language.  These two things breed trust.

The economists can see the technical reasons for the financial problems in the US and Europe.  But as our culture rips apart, the experts will find it more and more difficult to implement the changes necessary to prevent self-destruction.  Europe will disintegrate before America, but the weakening of America will accelerate Europe’s insolvency.  The Demographic numbers in Europe are undeniable–and they cannot be changed in our lifetimes, or in  the next.  Germany’s birthrate per woman is 1.42, [CIA World Fact Book, 2010] which is a world away from the 2.1 births per woman required merely to sustain a population.  But 1.42 doesn’t tell the whole story, because that number is significantly bolstered by immigrant birthrates, particularly Muslim birthrates on the order of 7 per female.  The Germans brought in many Turkish people in the 1970s because the workforce was significantly undermanned.  Such is the case throughout Europe, where Thatcher’s prediction of government running out of other people’s money have come true:  more old people on the retirement system and fewer young people to work and provide taxes.  Greece’s birthrate’s are even lower and the country imploded.  Italy is next:  Witness that country’s anemic 1.32 birthrate.  Bye bye bistro.

Democracy is a tool for change and in Democracy, anything can change.  Voters whom bring third or second world cultural views to Europe will change Europe.  They already have.

We are living the classic Chinese curse.  We are living in interesting times.  We can now see for ourselves how Rome fell, and recognize that it fell on its own sword.  The problems in America are evident in everything from America’s economic woes to it’s inability to defeat a band of toothless dirt farmers in Afghanistan.

The election of Barack Obama has hastened America’s demise, but it is not the cause.  His election was a symptom of the changes brought upon the country.  As Pat Buchanan will outline in his upcoming book:  The Suicide of a Superpower, America and Europe are fracturing upon racial lines.  Blacks in America voted for Barack Obama at a 24:1 ratio, primarily because of his African American heritage.  The more we have talked about race in America, the more racially divided we have become.  While laws do protect minorities more than they did in the past, the level of distrust along racial divides is as great as ever.

As the culture shift occurs,  the new demography continues to vote itself a bigger chunk of the welfare pie.  And it’s only just begun.  The birthrate issues in Europe are virtually irreversible.  There is simply no arguing the math.  The only argument is that people can change the way they think and vote.  But if we think that entire cultures suddenly change the way they think without a catastrophe as the motivator,  we should look over our history books again.  The decline of the West is inevitable at this point.  The question is, What does that mean for the rest of the world?  It is not the death of democracy we are witnessing, only it’s little talked about dark side.

Piling on in Afghanistan

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Have you noticed something since the Stanley McChrystal debacle? Suddenly, Afghanistan isn’t the Necessary War. Not only isn’t it the Necessary War, it’s become Unwinnable. Catastrophic. Leftist media commentary on Afghanistan is bringing back memories of Iraq. The pundits are scouring the news for dead civilians.

If one were to believe the commentary since the Michael Hastings article, he’d think that the Taliban doubled its strength, our troops are in full retreat, slowing only enough to bomb a few schools, take pot shots at scurrying civilians and sip some Red Bull.

It offends the Left–deeply–that people in the military may say bad things about civilian leadership. They cringe at the thought of someone making fun of the Vice President’s name, but shrug when soldiers are blown up. That’s what soldiers are supposed to do, afterall. Blow up.  See, the military deeply offends them. But they were willing to stand behind this war, if only to get their guy elected. But they’ll never make it their guy’s war.

Now, they say, Afghanistan is not a just war. We’re just killing civilians, building a  couple of roads, and we just can’t get rid of the Taliban. The Left loves the idea of a bunch of jihadist rednecks making us look stupid. They think Americans are stupid.

But we’re not. In fact, if we look at history, we’ve done far better than anyone else in The Graveyard of Empires. In the 1st Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842), the English decided to pack up and leave with their 4500 troops and 12000 civilians. By the time they got out of town, they had exactly 1 soldier left. That’s not a misprint. One dude made it out alive. His name was DR. William (Give me a beer, please!) Brydon. Well, there are conflicting stories about approximately 50 people surving and being taken into captivity to be released later. But he was the only person to make the trip from Kabul to Jalabad and survive more than a couple of days. 

But America’s pretty much done everything it set out to do. Here’s what our armed forces have accomplished:

  1. Eliminated the al-Qaeda elements .
  2. Removed the Taliban from power.
  3. Set up a government friendly to the West. Oh but it’s so corrupt. Yes, it is. What do you think about the Turkish government? How about  Russia, China? Still better than the Taliban.
  4. Massively increased infrastructure.

The same types that silently cheered at our apparent impending destruction in Iraq are up to their old tricks again. They talk about Just War. But the Noam Chomskys of the world would not pick up a rifle no matter how just the war.

Afghanistan’s not worth billions, but no one can rightly say we haven’t made progress and that the Taliban can’t be defeated. Yes, there’s more work to be done. And Afghanistan will look pretty much like it does today when we start pulling out in a year. But Afghanistan looks much different now than it did 10 years ago when we began this effort.

A pig with lipstick is still a pig

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According to this report, the Whitehouse has banned the use of the word Islam when it comes to describing or reporting Islamic terrorists.

This doctrine was proven true, when in the Pentagon’s report on Major Hasan’s assassination of 13 US Soldiers could not even mention the fact that Hasan was a fundamentalist Islamic, or that Islam was a prime, motivating factor in his crime. Here is a man who made contact with al-Qaeda officials approximately 20 times, yelled the name of his Muslim god as he repeatedly drilled lead into men he swore to fight and die with–if need be. Major Hasan was some Soldier’s last hope. He treated people with PTSD who have fought in our wars. He betrayed them. He betrayed his nation.  If not Islam, what was his motivation?

The coffins of Soldiers killed by Major Hassan
The coffins of Soldiers killed by Major Hasan

What a slap in the face to the Soldiers who sought psychiatric care from the Army. Instead of worrying about damaged warriors who put their life on the line, the Pentagon and this administration were worried about offending people sworn to kill us.

The reflexive argument is: Well, just because Timothy McVeigh declared he was a Christian, doesn’t mean all Christians want to be mass murderers.

Is this where we’ve come? Do we not know by instinct whom the enemy is? Sure, it is not all Islamic peoples. This is a Great Strawman set up by people who’ve never been in a real conflict. We don’t–and never have–targeted all Islamic people. We’ve protected them when they were the victims of genocide. Does anyone remember Bosnia? Kosovo? 

We are targeting the men whom are targeting us, and they happen to be Muslims. If you are Muslim, and are not committed to jihad against the United States, then you are not our enemy. Is it not that simple? Can we not see the degrees between one, lone bomber in Oklahoma City two decades ago, and the onrushing wave of thousands of sworn jihadists? How does the label of Christian terrorist stand against Muslim terrorist? About 15,000 dead people since 2001 is the difference. But our incompetant Secretary of Homeland Security worries about backlash against Muslims. Like that’s the way Americans act. She believes that the average American is a raving red-neck with a 2nd grade education, a trunk-load of ammunition and an urge to kill people with mocha-colored skin. I got news for ya, Janet.

And yet, General George Casey, Army Chief of Staff had this to say after Hasan mowed down his own (we thought) brothers:

“What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here.”

Diversity? Who joined the Army because of diversity? Most people joined the military because of sameness. They hoped that all of the people that they worked with respected America and its values. They knew that each person standing and fighting beside them had raised their right hand and promised to die before giving up the Republic. They joined not because they hoped everyone was different, but because–despite the differences— everyone could function as a team. General Casey said it outright: Being different is more important than the safety and integrity of the Soldier’s unit. General Casey was saying exactly what he thought this administration wanted him to say. Because Democrats are obsessed with diversity.

Who was the enemy in Germany in 1943? Can we call them Nazis? I’m sure not every person registered tot he Nazi Party actually picked up a rifle and shot at our troops.

In 1864, who was the Union Army fighting? Was it ok to call them Rebels? Or did that just make them fight harder and create more enemies?

What exactly would it take to be able to call the majority of modern-day terrorists, Islamic?

Here’s the ironic thing: The terrorists want us to know that they are acolytes of Islam. That’s why they plead guilty in most of the cases against them. They state clearly that they want the West to clearly understand that they knew what they were doing and that they are proud to be fighting in the name of Allah.

And yet the current administration takes the course of an ostrich; it buries its head and hopes its enemies won’t see its gigantic, bulbous body. We’ll drone on endlessly about Guantanomo. Our elites will smack their lips over lattes in smug agreement. But when Soldiers die, Amnesty International is nowhere to be found.

We can expect that the platitudes will keep flying. Political Correctness is worth dying for to some. But it’s an insult to the intellectually honest.

Republicans play into Dem hands on Steele’s comments

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RNC chairman Michael’s Steels’ recent comments about the Afghan War has Republicans up in arms. The people who are upset say that Republicans don’t politicize war.

Steele’s comment, that the war is Obama’s war, have the the people at MSNBC smelling blood. Jon Stewart, too.  They say the statement is not historically correct. Really? You mean to tell me that as President Obama couldn’t order all of our troops to immediately withdraw? When does anything that is now happening become the responsibility of this administration?

Than I heard Pat Buchanan talking today. I agreed with him, that the Republicans should not squash dissent. But then he said that the Republicans should not let the party be defined by people like Charles Krauthammer. Pat, Pat, Pat. If you read Krauthammer–who’s the most read conservative writer for a reason– you’d know that he was against the surge in Afghanistan.  And I was, too. But I’m not against identifying the real enemy–fundamentalist Islam, unlike our own government, whom in a recent report on  Major Hassan ‘s assassination of 12 US Soldiers, couldn’t be bothered to mention that radical Islam may have been his primary motivation. I guess slaughtering a dozen unarmed people whom you don’t know while screaming “Alahu Akbar!” (God is Great!) was the result of Tourrette’s  Syndrome.

Jon Stewart gave his usual amazed look while talking about Steele’s comments, saying that Steele has no clue about the history of the war. Well, wasn’t this exactly what Obama ran on? Didn’t he say repeatedly that we needed to exit Iraq immediately? So the argument that Obama has to stay in Afghanistan because leaving would hurt American prestige and strategic position doesn’t hold water.

Stanley McChrystal

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There’s a saying in the Army: Only do what your rank can handle. It’s safe to say that if  4-Stars can’t handle something, nothing can.

When I first caught wind of the article in Rolling Stone, my first thought was: Why are Soldiers allowed to talk to journalists from Rolling Stone? I was absolutely astounded when I found that General McChrystal gave “unprecedented access” to Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings.

Reading the article, I immediately catch a whiff of burnt cannabis in the air, and a tone that can’t wait to rile up some muck. It reminds me to some extent of the works of another Rolling Stone journalist named Evan Wright of Generation Kill fame.  The style is slightly raunchy, almost in the Beat Poet genre. In revels in pointing out the basest aspects of human nature. The style feels obligated to quote only when the language is profane. And let’s consider the title: 

The Runaway General

Stanley McChrystal, Obama’s top commander in Afghanistan, has seized control of the war by never taking his eye off the real enemy: The wimps in the White House

Seems obvious that Hastings wanted to stir some people up. And he succeeded.

This is not to say that it is not true and an excellent piece of journalism. Afterall, even McChrystal has not denied the truth of the article’s content. And I must also commend Michael Hastings’ conclusions in regards counterinsurgency and the fact that he quotes highly regarded critics of CI, such as Douglas Macgregor.

But aside from the journalistic qualities of the piece, let’s think about the “outrage” that’s flowed from many in the press and resulted in McChrystal’s resignation.

First, the accusations of McChrystal being insubordinate are overblown. I can find nothing in the article that points to McChrystal making contemptuous remarks toward the President. On one occasion McChrystal does tell a subordinate that he found President Obama to be unprepared for a meeting and intimidated by the military. Few can doubt that President Obama may find the military slighty intimidating. Many people in the military find the military intimidating. If it was McChrystal’s opinion that the President was unprepared for a meeting, can he not say so to a subordinate when asked how the meeting went?

If people in the upper ranks of our military want to know what people really think in the military ranks, they should visit a bathroom stall on a military installation; the only place a Private doesn’t have to kiss ass is while he’s wiping his own.

But as the great line in ” A few Good Men” goes: “You can’t handle the truth!”

I’ve always been intrigued by Stanley McChrystal. I see a bit of him in myself; someone who’s a bit impolitic at times, but greatly values personal toughness. But I never thought that McChrystal was the right man for the job. We need someone a bit more intellectual, and Petraeus fits the bill perfectly. Actually, I can’t think of a military bill that Patraeus wouldn’t fit. If Patraeus is the wizard in the high tower, McChrystal is Conan with a bloody sword. Two completely different styles, but both effective in their own way. McChrystal seemed better suited for the black art of hunter–killer missions and as commander of JSOC in Iraq, he helped shatter the leadership of al-Qaeda In Iraq.

I support President Obama’s decision. He has the right to pull McChrystal for any reason, not just this. And when the President said: “I welcome debate but not division”, I thought he was spot on. McChrystal should have known better. Regardless of the motives of Rolling Stone, McChrystal gave them access and Hastings managed to find people who wanted to show off. No doubt McChrystal’s underlings thought they had a confidant in Hastings. But they’re still dumb.

So now the show is handed to the Master. The man who against so much doubt turned the tide in a collapsing Iraq. If anyone can turn Afghanistan around, Patraeus can.

Oil spill illustrates the limits of government

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Suddenly, even the hardcore Obama acolytes are calling for the President’s head. The government should be doing more, they say.

It’s wholly unfair to Obama to blame any part of this spill on him, just as it was unfair to Bush to blame him for Katrina. The slow response after Katrina shows the fundamental problem with relying on governmental agencies to be quick and agile when disaster strikes. It is not that Big Government is evil on any metaphysical level. It is the fact that it is well, Big. The bigger an entity, the more ponderous it becomes.

The German army during WWII is commonly thought to have won its early battles because it had superior technology. Some think that its Panzer tanks were superior to English and French machines. In fact, the French possessed arguably the world’s strongest army and both Englisha nd Frech armor was better than Germany’s. It was the way the Germans employed those tanks that made the difference. After WWI, Germany carefully studied its failures and decided that increasing the decision making capabilities of its small unit leaders would make the German fighting force must more tactically flexible. Instead of a squad leader calling all the way up to higher headquarters merely to be told to execute a flanking maneuver, the squad leader was trained to recognize the situation in which the enemy’s flank appeared vulnerable and then flank and destroy him.

So the German Army, instead of being micro managed from a singular person who had no feel for the actual tactical situation, gave its NCOs vast powers. It also gave its officers the authority to disobey orders should a situation require it.

And so we find, that with any large, centralized government agencies, a slowness of movement. Too many moving parts. The entity, like Hannibal’s war elephants, is powerful when you can get it into the fight, it’s getting it there that presents the biggest problem. It’s not useless or evil unless we make it so. We must understand its limits and we must also know when to pare red tape when it hurts us. Some regulation is severely slowing the ability of foreign nations to help us in the cleanup effort.

If we know the limits of government, if we understand its tendency to grow itself, than we can make it better. If we continue to act like an artist who believes that making a sculpture means adding instead of carving away, we will limit our own government’s ability to serve its own people. And that’s the only reason for a government to exist.