I am almost certain, to the point of approaching unity, that NASA’s head, Charles Bolden does not have in his job description the duty of explaining to Al Jazeera that one of NASA’s foremost tasks is to “reach out to the Muslim world.” I also very much doubt that Alan Shepherd, in May 1961, as he sat in Freedom 7 thought his mission was Muslim outreach. I also doubt, in July 1969, as Neil Armstrong set foot on the Moon that he shared Mr. Bolden’s thoughts.
But, for all the outrage, none of it comes from Obama and his fellow travelers. Because the real message is aimed at America, not the Muslim world. The real message is that manned space travel is dead. One of the chief reasons is that any vestige of American Exceptionalism is dead. The triumphs such as the first man on the Moon cannot be allowed for fear of giving the impression that America is actually a preeminent nation.
When President Kennedy announced the goal of a man (American man, that is) on the Moon by the end of the (1960’s) decade, he was directly channeling Abraham Lincoln. During his tenure, Abraham Lincoln committed this country to building the Transcontinental Railroad. It was a project, using technology only thirty or forty years old, to span two thousand miles of the North American continent from Omaha to Sacramento. It was, for its day, a project every bit as ambitious and technologically challenging as Kennedy’s Moon landing a century later.
Lincoln did it for many reasons. One was to open the West to settlement. Until the railroad, transportation of large quantities of materials or large number of persons was only practical by navigable water. Unless there was freely available forage, an animal-drawn conveyance had a range of only 200 miles because the fuel needed (hay) would become the entire payload.
But, the real reason for the Transcontinental Railroad was national sovereignty. Lincoln realized that sovereignty is about real estate; and the ability to control that real estate. He realized that our country needed the means to communicate rapidly across our continent. He also realized that we needed we need to control and secure our territory. This is more than securing our borders. It is physically occupying our land with our people, American citizens. It is about Americans placing their boots on the ground, living there and drawing their sustenance there.
Until the railroad came, the riches and opportunity that lay in the Great Plains and Intermountain West were simply inaccessible. While a few hardy souls could live there only at a sufferance, the ability to freely move people, their goods and their commerce could not happen. It was only with the beachhead of the railroad that Americans could leave the vagaries of water born transportation and strike out into the West at will. It was only then that villages, town and cities could arise on the plains and in the mountains.
In a similar vein, this is what Kennedy started with the direction he gave the space program. The manned space program. It was to start by placing American boots on new real estate. It was the start of a new national sovereignty that, again, could only be achieved by physically occupying new territories with Americans.
It is a dream and goal that does not fit Obama’s narrative. A narrative that seeks to place America in the status of second-place mediocrity. Wholesale take-overs of our economy by this administration will only serve to strike down whatever preeminence America once had in those fields. GM and Chrysler will no longer be the leaders in the automotive industry. Chevy will now produce the Trabants, er Volts, for the masses and Cadillac to produce the Zil limousines for the party big-shots. American medicine will now be relegated to keeping enough workers functioning to follow the diktats of our the same said elites. The special bond, defined by Hippocrates, between physician and patient no longer fits the image of the new American Socialist Man.
These asinine comments by Bolden about NASA’s mission of Muslim outreach finally brings us to the point of the perniciousness of how socialism kill countries and societies. Depending on how you shift around accounting, one finds that our tax revenues sufficient to pay for the big three entitlements–Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and, now, Obamacare. Everything else–national defense, border security, roads and commerce–are all funded by deficit spending. Our government no longer functions to address the problems and issues of national sovereignty and national security. It no longer functions to maintain honest money. It no longer functions to maintain internal order; the kind needed to promote jobs and commerce.
Our government now only functions as the wet teat to suckle dependent subjects and serfs. And, it is now been maneuvered into a position that that is its only purpose. A short lived purpose since ignoring the real functions of nationhood will only result in the ultimate dissolution of that nation and government.
NASA is but one example of this county-killing decline caused by socialism. With the imminent retirement of the space shuttle and the cancellation of future manned space projects by this administration, NASA no longer has a mission commensurate to its name. Like every governmental function in Chicago, NASA’s stated purpose becomes it secondary purpose. Secondary to the primary purpose to creating yet another source of taxpayer funded patronage jobs. And, a department full of dependent worker bees to be mobilized to whatever whim strikes our ‘dear leader.’ Whims such as Muslim outreach or cooking up data to further the fraud of ‘global warming.’ Or, is it climate change?
But, a triumphal return of American astronauts to the Moon? An American as the first human to set foot on Mars? Not on Obama’s watch. Such triumphs would not suit a nation that needs to be put in it place; second place. There’s a reason that Obama is a Democrat and Lincoln a Republican. The latter man stood for individual freedom and initiative. Obama, you’re no Abe Lincoln.
Let’s cut through the crap. There is only one war fighting strategy worthy of America. It is summed up by Reagan, “Here’s my strategy on the Cold War: We win, they lose.” It is ideas like this, simply expressed that will make Reagan’s presidency a touchstone for the next century.
These ideas are not really new. They are simple and, frankly, boring. They hold no attraction to those who regard as profound the clutter of deconstruction that is oh so vogue on our college campuses these days. Usually, by some trendy Marxist professor spewing pseudo-pithy remarks with intent to look cool enough to bed some dewy-eyed coed.
Moreover, such ideas are based in reality right from the start of our Republic. Benjamin Franklin didn’t just negotiate a cease fire with the British to end our war for independence. He negotiated a country who’s western boundary would stretch to the Mississippi river. Say what you want about Polk and Manifest Destiny, but he negotiated a peace with Mexico that expanded our country’s size by one-third. And, note, no one seems to refer to the city of Houston (or Brownville) as sitting on the occupied north bank of the Rio Grand.
The Civil War ended on Lincoln’s terms; a united United States and no slavery. The initials of General U. S. Grant were said to stand for unconditional surrender.
And, to the extent that World War II cleaved to the dictum of unconditional surrender as the U.S. saw it, it was a success. Where it didn’t, well, we got the Iron Curtain.
The fundamental is that, as Commander-in-Chief, you have a moral obligation to the troops you command that stands out from and above all other obligations. It is an awesome power to have people such as our soldiers who will serve at the pleasure of the president; even if that pleasure means charging into the jaws of death. It is also a profound moral obligation that if you are going to ask such sacrifice, you owe it to those soldiers that their lives will be place at risk for only one goal. “We win, they lose.”
To the extent that Cold War strategy was mired in the policy of ‘containment,’ it was immoral since it more than tacitly endorsed the status quo of the mass enslavement of people in the bonds of that vicious ideology of communism. This was the ultimate failing of our conflicts in Korea and Vietnam; moral failings that would bring down the presidencies of Truman and Johnson. It had nothing to do with the performance of our armed forces; for our soldiers, sailors and airmen performed admirably. Nor, it is not to say that the specific strategy or tactics specific to the execution of either war was suspect. It was in the context that our leadership at the time, by not thinking beyond containment, ultimately mired their efforts (and the expenditure of American blood and treasure) in an immoral conundrum.
It was only when Reagan defined the Cold War in the clarity of victory did our efforts fall into a clear set of morally unambiguous constructs. It was Reagan who would say this is evil and it will not stand. And, the Soviet Empire would come crashing down in 1989; a mere eight years after Reagan’s inauguration. “We win, they lose.”
Obama will fail in Afghanistan for this very lack of moral purpose. He, as noted by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews went to the “enemy camp” of West Point. And, Matthews put into words what, I think, Obama really believes. He, Obama, the ultimate Philosopher King, approaches the presidency and his duties as commander-in-chief as distractions beneath him. His duties as President are beneath the man who is really the Prime Minister of the world; except when bowing and scraping before the king of Saudi Arabia and the emperor of Japan.
Obama will fail because he cannot bring himself to say the word victory. He cannot fathom Americans winning in a contest of arms. Because, no, our soldiers will not fail us. Like in Korea, like in Vietnam, our soldiers will win on the ground. They will put forth all manner of sacrifice. They will bleed and die to bring victory. But, their sacrifice will be for naught because Obama does not understand the concept “we win, they lose.”
The reason for failure is that Obama has more important things on his mind than his soldiers; ‘bitter’ yokels from red-state America at that. He has to show that American Exceptionalism is dead. And, he has to do only what is necessary to shore up a Chicago political machine recently transplanted to Washington. Obama, with his nuanced ivy league sophistication cannot comprehend the simple truth and obligation to his troops; “we win, they lose.”
The Easter Sunday rescue of the skipper, Richard Phillips, of the SS Maersk Alabama was exactly how piracy should be handled. My only criticism, outside allowances to tactical considerations of our SEALs on the spot, was the slowness in response. The order, from Obama, of shooting only in the face of “imminent” harm, belies a fundamental mindset that these pirates are somehow entitled to due process. Certainly, a brilliant Harvard lawyer, like Obama, should be aware of the fundamental legalities that were worked out by the ancient Romans that pirates operate outside any civilized norms and deserve not of the courtesies afforded to people who choose to subscribe to those civilized norms. There is only one policy, one solution, to piracy–summary execution.
But, though the outcome was positive–a failed piracy attempt, our crew alive and free and three dead pirates–Obama backed into this happy outcome. His order of “imminent” harm gave away the game. It was Obama, prime minister to the world, that crafted that order. What Obama, president of the United States should have immediately recognized was that it was American sovereignty under attack, it was protections of the Bill of Rights for America’s citizens that were under attack. It was these principles that were paramount and required immediate and muscular defense. It is these principles that take precedence over even the lives of the crew. Had this attack come from a governmental entity on the Horn of Africa, this would constitute an blatant act of war. Along the Horn of Africa, Geneva Conventions don’t apply; these are non-uniformed combatants who don’t even deserve Gitmo.
And, so, we have a lot of luck that allowed a happy conclusion to l’affaire Alabama. Obama still has the legacy of a robust Navy that actually had assets in the area that could be brought to bear rapidly. Obama had the advantage that American individualism is still the norm and this allowed a successful repelling of the pirate takeover. And, of course, was the brave actions of the skipper, Phillips, who was able to spare his crew and ship and move the venue to a lifeboat. Finally, thanks to the Navy, Phillips was kept at sea which made his eventual rescue so much more easy.
We also had the luck that this pirate takeover took the pirates by surprise since the usual script, a passive surrender by the crew, did not occur.
But, the ante is now raised. Unless there is strong follow-up resulting in the repeated forceful repellings of pirates by American flagged and/or crewed ships, these pirates are going to specifically seek out American ships if for no other reason than to kill Americans in revenge. The long term result is that the American military is going to need to more than double down in supressing piracy along the Horn of Africa. This is going to include action at sea and direct military intervention against the pirate’s land bases.
The pirates lost nothing last Sunday. The three pirates killed were bottom feeders in the pirate chain of command; completely expendable. Nor, did last Sunday’s rescue, measurably dent the pirate operations; certainly not the profitability of these piracy operations.
Unless, the US Navy significantly ramps up its operations, there’s just too much money for last Sunday’s setback to serve as a deterrent. Moreover, this money isn’t just buying a lot of cars, whores and booze for the pirate warlords. A significant fraction of this money is making its way into the hands of Islamic terrorists. These pirate warlords only exist at the sufferance of what passes for governmental authority in Somalia. A sufferance purchased by cutting Islamic Imperialism in on the profits.
Which brings us to the final point. Self defense. Like something that fires lead; not those idiot devices like slippery foam that sounds like a project out of the Dangerous Book for Boys. I suspect that part of the successful repelling of the pirates off of the Alabama was facilitated by a stray pistol or two in the duffels of the Alabama’s crew. Oh yes, those things aren’t allowed by company policy so we’ll probably never know. But, especially when its your butt on the line, gun restrictions and guns laws are largely observed in the breach.
Now, every American is now going to carry a particularly steep price on his head; those that aren’t killed outright when the next American flagship is successfully boarded. Which means that our government is going to have to actually trust that individual Americans can defend themselves responsibly. (A fact more than amply supported by our experiences with “shall-issue” concealed handgun permits.) We are going to need to arm our merchant ships and our merchant marine. A modern naval cruiser traveling at 35 knots (about 40 mph) is going to be unable to respond fast enough. That means that this high seas criminality is going to have to be dealt with on a “retail” level. That is, merchant crews, trained to spot a boarding and, with lethal force, repel such boardings. The administration and State Department is going to have to insist that armed merchant ships and armed American merchantmen will be allowed access to foreign ports.
Also, handling piracy on an immediate level has a way of preventing these incidents from blowing up into major international crisises. Imagine how much different the history of the last eight years would be if the pilots of the four 9/11 airliners were armed. Everyone used to make a big deal about resisting a hijacking. And, guns, heaven forfend! We’d have airliners blowing up and crashing out of the sky! Which was just what happened on 9/11. In the same fashion, there would be no international incident with an American warship involved had the Maersk Alabama been armed. Just the bodies of four dead pirates to be quietly kicked overboard.
Obama better enjoy last Sunday’s victory. It isn’t going to last long unless he’s willing to follow through.
In the searching for answers over the motivations for the murders in Mumbai, one central reason is the “religion” itself. And, no amount of moral equivalence, no amount of comparison to the failing of the world’s other major religions will hide the fact that what Muhammad put forth in the desert in 600 AD remains the primary motivation for the murderous rampage in Mumbai.
Have other religions been involved in violence; or, more correctly have others used a particular religion to foment violence? The answer is yes. But, to take Christianity as an example, violence was never at the behest of it founder, Jesus Christ. Moreover, as this amalgam of Judeo-Christian, Greco-Roman philosophies that we call Western Civilization evolved over the centuries, there came a understanding that rights reside in the individual and not on tribal, majoritarian or religious affiliations.
In particular, in the Anglo-sphere, the English Enlightenment further advanced this concept to its current reflection, in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights as a separation of church and state. Religion is a private affair, a private affair of individual morality. It is a reflection of a religious philosophy that believes that man was created with the ability to know God and the free will to accept him. Moreover, as an ultimate reflection of the supreme importance of individual rights, it is a religious philosophy that states that man is created in the image of God. It is a religious philosophy that will, at the Last Judgement, have every individual standing before God to be judged for his actions, good and bad, performed over his life. No Nurembergian collective guilt.
And, it is this concept of the individual that has kept US history relatively and remarkably free of sectarian strife and violence. And, when such violence occurs, it is indeed the isolated doings of a depraved individual; in a very literal sense. It is the doings of one depraved man who, in shot up a Jewish day-care center in Southern California back in the 90’s. And, it is for this reason, that these acts are clearly regarded as completely beyond the pale. No one had any reason to suspect that this was a conspiracy, or would create a paper or money trail, that would track into the hierarchy of any Christian group or church organization. It is generally recognized that sectarian violence, Chiristianity in this example,
And, it is this lack of infrastructure that makes non-Muslim sectarian violence so isolated. And, it is infrastructure that makes the rampage of Islamic imperialism so different, so commonly different. Acting alone, even in a relatively liberal regime of American gun laws, it is difficult to acquire anything beyond a semi-automatic rifle. Moreover, it is difficult to purchase a quantity of such guns without creating suspicion or notice that something is amiss.
In interrogation of the one surviving attacker, Muhammad Ajmal Kasab, 21, we find he was recruited off the street by the Lashkar-i-Taiba when Kasab was a teenaged punk without education or prospects. And, so you have to ask how a penniless waif gets his hands on a automatic weapon, scads of ammunition, hand grenades and explosives. How did he then get the training, passports, visas and money to then travel from Pakistan to India? Where did the planning, intelligence, and coordination come from?
Then, courtesy Power Line, we find that the children of Somali immigrants are, without their parents knowledge or approval, being recruited to go a-jihading back in Mogadishu. Of the three that just missing, since November 5th, one is underage; a 17 year old Burhan Hassan. Or, a Shirwa Ahmed, who traveled alway from Minnesota to be found dead as the perpetrator of a suicide bombing mission that killed 29 people last October.
Again, where did the money come for the plane tickets? What about passports and visa? Or, more likely, who faked the passports?
Even if every mosque and imam wasn’t involved in fomenting the ideology or providing cover for the money trail, you still are left with the situation that we have one particular “religion” that is the central organizing ideology that foments this violence.
Okay, most Muslims are non-violent. But, a significant plurality buy into the concept of a religious superiority that will not accept other religions as peers. You’ve surveys, in England, among Muslims that show significant support for the Sharia supplanting British rule of law. And, finally, even if you have only one percent of all Muslims supportive of the kind of violence so amply demonstrated in Mumbai, you have to remember that one percent of a billion is still a pool of some ten million persons.
One finally must conclude that there is a difference since in most other religions, specifically abjuring violence, you would be hard pressed to find a literal handful of individuals will to commit this kind of violence; much less finding even one percent will to do so. And, one must conclude that this one percent exists because they are supported by an infrastructure that facilitates such violence. There is a theological imperative for the expansion of Islam. There is money, being fungible, flowing through all sorts of Islamic organizations; and somehow winding up to facilitate violence.
Where are there such analogous organizations in, say, Christianity? Where is there such cooperation between governmental entities to facilitate, or at least look the other way, at the planning and perpetration such violence? Yet, there is a symoiosis and synergy between religious “belief” and an organizational infrastructure that foments this violence to further the aims of Islam.
Many experts on Islam, probably rolled their eyes at President Bush’s “Religion of Peace” remark in the days following 9/11. I think it was probably a significant strategic mistake, since we’re not fighting a war against an ideology; not terror. But, at the time I think Bush was giving Islam the benefit of the doubt. Now, looking back over the last seven years, and seeing tactics that hearken back to Aztec rituals of human sacrifice, it becomes clear that the burden of proof of peaceful intent falls upon the Islamic world.
The iconic cowboy. Tall, rangy, taciturn. Given to few words. An economy of motion; yet when so moved, actions that really count. And, on his right hip, a firearm; a six-shooter. An interesting icon since most warrior-heros from other cultures trend to a larger than life heros, some form of royalty, in the form of a samurai or knight. Yet, for most Americans, the hired hand, the livestock herder, the man of uncertain pedigree serves as our very distinctly American samurai.
The identification with such an individual comes from a distictly American trait of independent thought and action. The firearm represents a very physical confirmation of that independence. But, by having the means to have some say in the gravest extreme, that same firearm also leads to a independence of thought and action that does not wait for approval from some authority, usually governmental.
But, because the private ownership of firearms is a rebuke to this utopian zeal. To own firearms is to affirm that freedom and liberty are not gifts from the state. It is to reserve final judgment about whether the state is encroaching on freedom and liberty, to stand ready to defend that freedom with more than mere words, and to stand outside the state’s totalitarian reach, this very icon is very much reviled over large swaths of the earth. Particularly by the elites who fancy themselves as Plato’s Philosopher Kings. Philosopher Kings who find it offensive that beings lesser than themselves would have the temerity to make decisions independent of their elevated educational attainments. Especially cow-excrement encrusted cowboys. Like John Wayne. Like Ronald Reagan. Like George Bush.
So, now we come to the terrorist events, courtesy Islamic imperialism, in Mumbai. It is unbelievable that ten men could so paralyze a city of some 19 million people. The short answer to the success of this attack can be traced to not enough cowboys.
None of the victims or those who survived and escaped that any credible means to defend themselves. Even if, at each of the locations attacked, there were one or two individuals in possession of a firearm the results could have been so much different. I’m not impressed that any of these terrorist jackals had any real training to confront determined and armed opposition. You’re going to look like a real pro on the security camera if you’re shooting at helpless, unarmed victims.
I remember, in the run-up to Desert Storm, about the “battle-hardened” Iraqi army that our soldiers would confront. But, this battle hardening was shooting at poorly trained Iranian teenagers in the swamps bordering Iran and Iraq during the previous ten years of war between Iraq and Iran. And, it turned out that those “battle-hardened” Iraqi soldiers were rapidly rolled up by the US Army; sometimes in a matter of hours.
I suspect the same is here. All it would have taken was one of those policemen at the train station to open fire while the terrorists were re-loading. The mere sound of a bullet whining by those terrorists would have changed the tactical dynamic.
Then, of course, after the firewall of police protection was breached, was that there was no recourse to avert the killing since no one else had a gun. Heavens that the cowboy mentality be allow to pervade the land of Gandhi. Had such a stunt been tried in a restaurant in Texas, Florida or Wyoming (states where I have or had a concealed carry permit), there’s a high probability that one of the patrons would have been armed. Moreover, said patron would have, by training, the presence of mind to engage these terrorists in a methodical manner, thereby increasing the chances that the murders of Mumbai would have ended very quickly. A armed, well-motivated armed citizen could have used the cover of the confusion to successfully close in on the bad guys and successfully engage them. Or, such an armed individual could have successfully, by shooting, created a new dynamic of confusion–this time for the assailants–to actually allow some of the victims to escape.
The point is good guys shooting back at the very onset would have so altered the tactical dynamic and greatly slowed the success of these terrorists. And, for the future, created an uncertainty that would serve as a deterrent for future such attacks.
And, oh my gosh, all those cowboys shooting up the joint! They would just leave heaps of dead strewn over the floor! On 9/11 airliners could have been punctured by wildly shot bullets that would have caused the plane to crash! Well, no armed citizens, no cowboys. And, oops! Heaps of bodies were strewn over the floors of two hotels, a train station and the Chabad House. And, four airliners did crash; one each in the World Trade Center towers, one in the Pentagon and one in a field in Pennsylvania. Gun-free zones and cowboy-free zones really work. Kumbayah!
Would such a “cowboy” mentality have caused casualties among the innocent? Maybe. But, statistically, armed citizens only mistake an innocent person for a criminal twopercent of the time. The error rate for police is eleven percent. Armed citizens have a very good track record in responsible use of lethal force. You have a total mal-deployment of forces. You can’t have the government everywhere guarding every mall, train station and hotel. You’re better off taking governmental forces, going to the source and attacking the bad guys at the source. Trust your citizens, armed citizens, to be capable of guarding the home front.
But, instead we are going to be inundated with sappy stories about “moral” victories of survivors prevailing, by pure luck, in the murderous rampages of Mumbai. The real moral is that the terrorist won and won big. Just like, for all of his brave efforts, Schlindler still didn’t make a real dent in the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis. For all of its critical acclaim, the movie Schlindler’s List still tiptoes around that pink elephant standing in the living room.
The only moral victory I’m really interested is the kind provided by Easy Company in Band of Brothers. The good guys, armed to the teeth, totally blow away the bad guys. And, that’s what should be happening against Islamic imperialism; in Mumbai and everywhere.
Finally, because of a fundamental distrust governments have towards individual citizens acting in a responsible manner with lethal force, the thwarting of such murders right at the “retail” level will have far bigger ramifications. Bigger ramifications since failure to stop this murderous rampage right at it inception allow it to grow to a point that we now have two nuclear powers, India and Pakistan, at odds again. Maybe even to the point of a shooting war.
Or, for the lack of a single armed passenger on any one of four flights on September 11, 2001, we saw three thousand Americans killed in the World Trade Center and at the Pentagon. And, four hijackings indeed rose from the level of a law enforcement problem to that of an act of war. An interesting “what-if.” What would the political dynamic be now, what would the last eight years look like, if armed citizens on four civilian airliners killed the 18 “holy” warriors on 9/11.