“I just think it’s ironic that in the 50 years that have passed under embargo, America has moved closer to communism than Cuba has to liberty.”
—Kate McMillan, Small Dead Animals, today.
“I hereby nominate Dick Cheney’s answer to Chuck Todd’s question about a United Nations official who’s called for the criminal prosecution of U.S. interrogators, as the 2014 Sunday Show Answer of the Year,” writes Bill Kristol at the Weekly Standard, and at least half of America seconds the nomination.
Or as Michael Walsh writes, “As I Was Saying About That ‘Torture’ Report…”
MSNBC Host: ‘Too Early To Tell’ If Man Asking For ISIS Flag Was Motivated By Islam [VIDEO] http://t.co/9JzQG7kun0
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) December 15, 2014
— Michael Graham (@IAMMGraham) December 15, 2014
Sheldon Cooper’s next “Fun With Flags” episode on YouTube should be awesome!
— Hillel Neuer (@HillelNeuer) December 13, 2014
Yeah. You know how else it looks? Very much like this:
And the giant Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban in early 2001. But then, the religious zealotry of radical Islam, radical socialism, and radical environmentalism do tend to echo other very strongly. Just ask Mohamed Atta, Socialist Critic of Capitalism, or this pair of fervent environmentalists, whose doom-laden ideas for the future of mankind intersect surprisingly well:
On the other hand, at least Greenpeace has raised awareness that they’re still around, so they’ve got that going for them, as Sonny Bunch writes in the Washington Free Beacon:
The best—and by best, I mean absolutely the worst—part of this story? Greenpeace’s “apology.” Here’s Reuters:
The group said it was sorry if the protest at the historical site on Monday caused any “moral offense” to the people of Peru.
“Moral offense.” As if they were only guilty of hurting the feelings of the Peruvian people. And didn’t, you know, tromp all over a giant, incredibly fragile piece of art.
Amazing. Just amazing. But hey: At least now we know that the future is renewables, or some such. Greenpeace for the win!
As I’ve joked before, the vengeful Goracle didn’t title one of his tomes “The Assault on Reason” for nothing.
During the 3-1/2 years of World War 2 that started with the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and ended with the Surrender of Germany and Japan in 1945, “We the People of the U.S.A.” produced the following:
22 aircraft carriers,
420 destroyer escorts,
34 million tons of merchant ships,
100,000 fighter aircraft,
24,000 transport aircraft,
58,000 training aircraft,
257,000 artillery pieces,
3,000,000 machine guns, and
2,500,000 military trucks.
We put 16.1 million men in uniform in the various armed services, invaded Africa, invaded Sicily and Italy, won the battle for the Atlantic, planned and executed D-Day, marched across the Pacific and Europe, developed the atomic bomb, and ultimately conquered Japan and Germany.
It’s worth noting, that during the almost exact amount of time, the Obama Administration couldn’t even build a web site that worked.
From the comments of “Dec. 7 1941″ at Ace of Spades today.
On the other hand, there are some rather unsavory traits that FDR and BHO do share in common:
— Marshall Locke (@MarshallLocke) December 7, 2014
As I’ve said before, despite UCLA noting four years prior that “FDR’s policies prolonged Depression by 7 years, UCLA economists calculate,” Time-Warner-CNN-HBO meant this November 2008 cover as a compliment:
We’ve all seen journalists who while actively employed as reporters or TV newsreaders, swear up and down that they’re totally unbiased, and then once retired or transferred from covering a beat to writing opinion columns emerge as flamingly far left social justice warriors. (See also: Dan Rather, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, Helen Thomas, and zillions of other examples.)
It isn’t just elderly Democrats with bylines who suffer from this malady as outgoing Iowa Senator Tom Harkin makes clear. Or as Ed Morrissey writes, Harkin “told The Hill that the Affordable Care Act was a huge mistake — but not quite for the same reasons Schumer believes:”
While Schumer belatedly lamented the lost opportunity to boost the middle class rather than climb on the Democratic hobby horse of health-insurance overhauls, Harkin regrets not doing more to demolish the health-insurance industry:
He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress.
“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.
“What we did is we muddle through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added. …
Harkin says in retrospect the Democratic-controlled Senate and House should have enacted a single-payer healthcare system or a public option to give the uninsured access to government-run health plans that compete with private insurance companies.
“We had the votes in ’09. We had a huge majority in the House, we had 60 votes in the Senate,” he said.
He believes Congress should have enacted “single-payer right from the get go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.”
Well, that’s certainly one point of view. Perhaps Harkin really believes that the backlash against ObamaCare comes from a general sense that government should control even more of the health choices of Americans than it arrogated in the unpopular bill.
Here’s Tom in 2007 lying about a country that went single payer quite a long time ago:
Of course, Harkin has previously lied about fighting in Vietnam as well. Good luck Joni Ernst — I’m sure you’ll do fine, but please do everything you can to rise above the reputation of your predecessor from Iowa.
And speaking of the above video, “Ho Chi Minh would be appalled if he could see Vietnam now,” PJM alumnist Michael Totten recently noted. Good! Faster please.
Related: Since Ed M. mentioned The Hill, the 20-year old DC newspaper and Website that specializes in covering Congress in his post, click on the two images imbedded in this Tweet for their own blatant example of “name that party” bias.
One of the most telling legacies of Barack Obama? Turning the Department of Defense cabinet position into Murphy Brown’s secretary. #fail
— Duane Patterson (@Radioblogger) November 24, 2014
But entirely predictable — in fact, it was predicted by one of Hugh Hewitt’s regular weekly guests almost a decade ago. Note the third paragraph of “It’s Demography, Stupid,” the 6,000-word magnum opus New Criterion and Wall Street Journal essay that was the dry run for American Alone, in which Mark Steyn wrote:
Most people reading this have strong stomachs, so let me lay it out as baldly as I can: Much of what we loosely call the Western world will not survive this century, and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most Western European countries. There’ll probably still be a geographical area on the map marked as Italy or the Netherlands–probably–just as in Istanbul there’s still a building called St. Sophia’s Cathedral. But it’s not a cathedral; it’s merely a designation for a piece of real estate. Likewise, Italy and the Netherlands will merely be designations for real estate. The challenge for those who reckon Western civilization is on balance better than the alternatives is to figure out a way to save at least some parts of the West.
One obstacle to doing that is that, in the typical election campaign in your advanced industrial democracy, the political platforms of at least one party in the United States and pretty much all parties in the rest of the West are largely about what one would call the secondary impulses of society–government health care, government day care (which Canada’s thinking of introducing), government paternity leave (which Britain’s just introduced). We’ve prioritized the secondary impulse over the primary ones: national defense, family, faith and, most basic of all, reproductive activity–”Go forth and multiply,” because if you don’t you won’t be able to afford all those secondary-impulse issues, like cradle-to-grave welfare.
Americans sometimes don’t understand how far gone most of the rest of the developed world is down this path: In the Canadian and most Continental cabinets, the defense ministry is somewhere an ambitious politician passes through on his way up to important jobs like the health department. I don’t think Don Rumsfeld would regard it as a promotion if he were moved to Health and Human Services.
At least until 2016, both for ideological and priority reasons, his successor would.
Related: “When the president goes through three [defense] secretaries, he should ask, ‘Is it them, or is it me?’”
“This White House seems driven—does it understand this?—by a kind of political nihilism. They agitate, aggravate, fray and separate,” Peggy Noonan wrote last night:
ObamaCare, whose very legitimacy was half killed by the lie that “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” and later by the incompetence of its implementation, has been done in now by the mindless, highhanded bragging of a technocrat who helped build it, and who amused himself the past few years explaining that the law’s passage was secured only by lies, and the lies were effective because the American people are stupid. Jonah Goldberg of National Review had a great point the other day: They build a thing so impenetrable, so deliberately impossible for any normal person to understand, and then they denigrate them behind their backs for not understanding.
I don’t know how ObamaCare will go, but it won’t last as it is. If the White House had wisdom, they’d declare that they’d won on the essential argument—health coverage is a right for all—and go back to the drawing board with Congress. The only part of the ObamaCare law that is popular is its intention, not its reality. The White House should declare victory and redraw the bill. But the White House is a wisdom-free zone.
The president’s executive action on immigration is an act of willful nihilism that he himself had argued against in the past. It is a sharp stick in the eye of the new congressional majority. It is at odds with—it defies—the meaning and message of the last election, and therefore is destructive to the reputation of democracy itself. It is huge in its impact but has only a sole cause, the president’s lone will. It damages the standing of our tottery political institutions rather than strengthening them, which is what they desperately need, and sets a template for future executive abuse. It will surely encourage increased illegal immigration and thus further erode the position of the American working class.
Jonah’s latest G-File (emailed today, online tomorrow) illustrates just how craven Mr. Obama can be. I don’t believe the president is a crypto-Muslim — he’s far t00 in love with himself to worship Allah, as one wag has noted — but note this disgusting bit of theater:
One last item I don’t want to fall down the memory hole. I was going to write a whole column on this, but Mona Charen beat me to the punch. Still, my jaw dropped when I heard Obama’s reaction to the beheading of Peter Kassig.
“ISIL’s actions represent no faith,” Obama said, “least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.”
Abdul-Rahman was Kassig’s Muslim name, which he adopted only while being held captive by Islamists. Perhaps the conversion was sincere, though I suspect Kassig did it to stay alive and certainly under duress and I can begrudge him it. Either way, there’s something disgusting about using Kassig’s Muslim name in order to score a propaganda point.
It’s even worse when that propaganda point is so incandescently stupid.
As Mona notes (and as I argued here), no one except Barack Obama thinks it’s a revelation that the Islamic State kills Muslims. No Kurd, no Shia, no moderate Sunni stays in his home when the Islamic State is at the gates, and says “Hey, we’re Muslim and Muslims don’t kill Muslims. We’ve got nothing to worry about.”
But it’s the phrase “least of all the Muslim faith” that is truly infuriating. Least of all? Really? So other faiths are more implicated in this atrocity than Islam? Which ones? Does he really mean to be suggesting that while the Islamic State’s actions “represent no faith,” if we have to assign blame, Islam is the least culpable? Could a team of rhetoricians, theologians and logicians working around the clock in some Andromeda Strain bunker beneath the Nevada desert come up with an argument that puts even a scintilla more blame at the feet of, say, the Lutherans or Quakers? On the one hand we have a bunch of dudes who shout “Allāhu Akbar!”, memorize the Koran, and rape and murder in the name of the Islamic State. On the other hand, we have a grab bag of Buddhists, Jews, Seventh Day Adventists, and Southern Baptists. And the one faith least implicated here is Islam? Really. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
Heh. But then, along with cynicism, crazy is the currency of the Beltway at the moment.
Glenn Reynolds writes:
The thing is, I love Creedence Clearwater Revival, but even in its original form the song Fortunate Son is a big steaming pile of hypocritical horseshit. John Fogerty wrote it after doing one-weekend-a-month Army Reserve duty designed to keep him away from Vietnam. It was the sort of deal a lot of people got, not just “Senator’s sons,” and his bandmate Doug “Cosmo” Clifford – the most underrated drummer of rock’s ascendancy – swung a similar Coast Guard gig.
Meanwhile, Fogerty says he wrote the song as “my confrontation with Richard Nixon,” but in fact Nixon refused the military exemption he was entitled to as a Quaker and served in the Pacific during World War Two.
Basically, whenever lefties go all moralistic, you can be pretty sure they’re being hypocritical. Because that’s just how they rock and roll.
Not to mention that the song is 45 years old, the equivalent of singing Rudy Vallee tunes from the 1920s at Woodstock, or Spanish-American War songs during World War II. But then Rolling Stone morphed into AARP Magazine so slowly, I hardly even noticed.
And while Spingsteen, who sang “Fortunate Son” at the Concert for Valor in DC on Tuesday came from hardscrabble lower-middle class postwar roots, he’s definitely in the One Percent now; as his predilection for $850,000 show horses illustrates.
And where does the aging Democrat Operative with a Shure-58 microphone stand on the actions against ISIS by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning presidential candidate he supported?
“Is Barack Obama Anti-Israel?” Jeffrey Goldberg asks in Bloomberg — “unexpectedly!” — View.
Beyond the obvious answer — “Of course he is,” and Goldberg’s own recent scoop on an Obama official calling Benjamin Netanyahu “Chickenshit,” as Noah Pollack wrote in March on “Mr. Goldberg’s Profession” at the Washington Free Beacon, “The arrangement works like this:”
Goldberg is provided exclusive access to the president at critical moments, in exchange for soft and flattering coverage of the president’s Middle East policies, especially his policies toward the state of Israel.
So, in the most recent interview, Obama says that without the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel is doomed, and that Israel is preventing the creation of said state. The Jewish State, Obama implies, is committing suicide. But none of these dramatic claims, or the alleged facts that undergird them, were met with the slightest resistance from Goldberg, who knows not to challenge the president too forcefully.
Thus, in 2012, days before AIPAC’s annual policy conference, and during an election year when Obama wished to be portrayed as tough on Iran, Goldberg was invited to the Oval Office to hear Obama boast—obviously with the intention of the following words becoming the headline of the piece, which they were—“As President of the United States, I don’t bluff.”
Thus, a week before the January 2013 election in Israel would extend Benjamin Netanyahu’s premiership, Goldberg produced a “scoop” from the White House that had Obama commenting repeatedly in private that “Israel doesn’t know what its own best interests are.” This was a clear attack on Netanyahu—and one that Obama should have known, if he were more perceptive or self-disciplined, would only result in giving Bibi a crucial boost.
Thus, in the past year, Goldberg has created something of a journalistic template in which he argues that no matter how inept and prevaricating Obama’s handling of a particular foreign policy crisis might be, we must take the president seriously when he insists he will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
So yes, to reiterate, of course Obama is hostile to Israel. But from Obama’s point of view, as his would-be successor is wont to say, really, at this point, what difference to does it make — at least to the semi-retired president himself.
“I admit I didn’t much care for Barack Obama before the revelation that he had secretly written Khamenei to induce the Iranian supreme leader to sign a nuclear deal in return for U.S. help battling ISIS. Now I despise our president. He is contemptible,” Roger L. Simon noted last night:
Does Obama know that Khamenei was a leader of the Iranian military in their war with Iraq, when the Iranians force-marched eleven-year-old boys — holding plastic “keys to paradise” — across fields to clear them of mines in advance of their troops, killing thousands of the unwitting boys in the process? Who knows? But if Obama makes this deal with the Iranians, he better give us all plastic keys.
It’s hard to know what motivates this man, our president, but it’s not so hard to know what motivates the gaggle of Jewish Democratic politicians — you know who you are… Chuck Schumer, Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Richard Blumenthal, Al Franken, Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, etc., etc., who let him get away with that behavior and make a deal with a country that wants to eradicate Israel and then move on from there to whatever else is in sight (Yemen, these days). They are pathetic lackeys and careerists of the most slimey sort who would fit in well, as I said elsewhere, in Berlin, 1937. Not a single one of them, as far as I know, said word one when the White House branded the prime minister of Israel a “chickenshit.” That was okay with them, I guess, as long as they could keep their offices on the right floors of the Senate and House office buildings.
Oh, yes. They’re liberals. So Ayatollah Khamenei must be a poor, exploited victim of Western imperialism. Tell that to the boys with plastic keys.
So how does Obama get away with calling Bibi “Chickenshit” and sending mash notes to that totally cool and dreamy Ayatollah Khamenei? Here’s one reason why:
U.S. midterms / American Jews voted for Democrats by whopping 69%-28% margin, poll finds http://t.co/OdPO4cEnvx
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) November 5, 2014
In short, as Judaism faded as the morally formative influence on Jews’ lives, another religion, secular progressivism, or leftism, became most American Jews’ moral compass. And for leftism, evil is not primarily defined as mass murder or totalitarian regimes. Evil is capitalism, economic inequality, big corporations, fundamentalist Christians, opposition to abortion and same-sex marriage, fossil fuels and other things that preoccupy the left.
As a result, as David Brog, executive director of Christians United for Israel wrote in 2012, “for many years, the liberal base of the Democratic Party has been steadily turning against the Jewish state.” (QED: its coverage in the New York Times.) But then, if Obama keeps headed in his current direction, they may not have to worry about that nation much longer.
Job alert! $225k a year. Exciting career with explosive prospects! pic.twitter.com/KEcltSl1zQ
— Derek Brower (@derek_brower) November 1, 2014
Say, if ISIS is shelling out the big bucks for new talent, could they spring for a decent graphic designer, the Islamofascist equivalent of Saul Bass or Raymond Loewy? Because whenever I have to put a thumbnail on a new story for the PJM homepage on ISIS, their flag doesn’t give me much to work as a starting point in Photoshop:
Mark Steyn has dubbed ISIS “fast-track Nazis,” but you’d think a bloodthirsty eighth century-based organization with a penchant for using cutting edge Web-based social media to distribute their snuff films would have a much better sense of graphic design. Say what you will about the original Nazis, Mussolini, Stalin, Gaddafi, and Saddam Hussein, but at least they had descent production designers to illustrate their nightmarish visions. Somewhere in Hell, Leni Riefenstahl and Albert Speer are rolling their eyes and laughing it up over ISIS’ pathetic flag featuring black blobs on a white amoeba on a black background.
Perhaps they took their design cue from a black and white version of Mel Brooks’ early short film, “The Critic:”
— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) October 30, 2014
“It was certainly not my intention to insult or upset anyone,” [cartoonist Amos Biderman] told Haaretz on Thursday. “I wasn’t sufficiently aware of the great sensitivity that 9/11 holds for Americans.”
—“Haaretz stands by its explosive Bibi cartoon,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency today.
“Al-Jazeera America Ratings In The Tank,” David Brody writes at CBN News, with a big swatch of an excerpt on the beleaguered Qatar-owned channel’s notorious ratings woes from the left-leaning showbiz Website The Wrap. See if you can spot the howler here:
After buying Current TV in early 2013, and debuting over the summer that year, Al Jazeera has lost almost half of Current TV’s audience.
Current TV’s run with progressive news programming lasted from December, 2011 to August, 2013. In that timespan, the network ran programs like “The Young Turks,” “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm,” “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” and “Joy Behar: Say Anything.” Upon being bought by Al Jazeera, Current was in 60 million American homes.
Al Jazeera America was born as the opposite of Current TV, possessing no political point of view and no opinion program in favor of hard news and in-depth reporting. It hired veteran news anchors and reporters from previous networks, including former NBC News anchor John Seigenthaler; former CNN anchors Tony Harris and Ali Velshi; former CNN correspondent Joi Chen; former MSNBC anchor David Shuster; former NBC News White House Correspondent Mike Viqueira, former PBS journalist Ray Suarez, and several other veteran TV news personalities.
“Al Jazeera America was born as the opposite of Current TV, possessing no political point of view” — Really? No political point of view? No bias whatsoever? No take on America and the Middle East? No opinion on Israel? Are we sure the guys in the studio even know how to tie their shoes? I’m not sure whether to raise an eyebrow Spock-style, or type a James Taranto-esque “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” in response, but hey, whatever gets you through the night if you truly believe that about a Qatar-owned TV network.
“Child sexual exploitation has become a ‘social norm’ within some areas of Greater Manchester, according to the author of a report ordered after the Rochdale grooming case,” the BBC reports:
It said girls in uniform were regularly stopped by men outside schools.
Inquiry chairwoman Ann Coffey MP said the “prevailing public attitude” blamed children, leading to 1,000 convictions from 13,000 cases over six years.
Home Secretary Theresa May has described the report as “alarming”.
Ms Coffey has called for exploitation to be “declared a public health priority”.
In her report – Real Voices – Ms Coffey said explicit music videos, sexting and selfies could be “fuelling the increased sexualisation of children”.
‘Children are children’
The “normalisation of quasi-pornographic images… has given rise to new social norms and changed expectations of sexual entitlement,” she said.
“We need to get across the key message that whatever young people wear and however sexualised they appear, they are still children and need our protection.”
Huh. Typing CTRL-F and “Muslim” or CTRL-F and “Islam” returns zero finds on the BBC article. Not even CTRl-F “Asian” brings up that popular British PC euphemism within the actual article. Perhaps my Internet browser is broken. Either that, or from the BBC’s perspective, children aren’t the only group that the BBC feels need protecting.
Not that the BBC is any great shakes when it comes to protecting kids; as one of Glenn Reynolds’ commenters notes, “when it comes to sexual abuse with minors the BBC have serious problems of acknowledgment period. So many at the hands of those in their own organization.” Or as Mark Steyn wrote back in July, ““Notwithstanding two years of headlines re Jimmy Savile, Stuart Hall and others, not everyone at the Beeb in my day was a paedophile — or at least I don’t think so,” in his profile of Australian-born UK folk singer Rolf Harris, who was found guilty in June “of 12 counts of indecent assault on young girls in the Sixties, Seventies and Eighties,” Steyn wrote.
“The silliness of President Mom Jeans calling an Israeli special forces veteran ‘chickens–t’ was what first dominated the reactions of the Obama administration’s frat-house taunts directed at Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu,” Seth Mandel writes at Commentary:
But the larger strategic impact of the insult, as passed through what Matthew Continetti has termed the “secretarial” press, this time via Jeffrey Goldberg, soon became apparent. And it has now been confirmed by a major story in the Wall Street Journal.
* * * * * * * * *
The Obama administration, then, has been carrying out its preferred policy: aligning with Iran in the Middle East. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising, since the administration has more or less telegraphed its pitches. Obama has also long been a doormat for the world’s tyrants, so adding Iran to the list that already includes states like Russia and Turkey adds a certain cohesiveness to White House policy.
Obama’s infamous and towering ignorance of world affairs, especially in the Middle East, has always made this latest faceplant somewhat predictable. The Looney-Tunes outburst at Netanyahu was not, but it teaches us two important things about Obama.
First, those who wanted to support Obama but had no real case for him in 2008 went with the idea that he had a “presidential temperament.” Those folks now look quite foolish–though that’s nothing new. Obama has a temperament ill suited for any activity not readily found on frat row.
Mr. Kerry is vocal and forceful in internal debates, officials said, but he frequently gets out of sync with the White House in his public statements. White House officials joke that he is like the astronaut played by Sandra Bullock in the movie “Gravity,” somersaulting through space, untethered to the White House.
Aides to Mr. Kerry reject that portrait, saying he dials into White House meetings from the road and is heavily involved in the policy process. A long memo he wrote on the Islamic State, they said, has become the administration’s playbook for combating the group.
Yeah, that’s working out swimmingly. As far as Kerry as an astronaut, I just can’t see it myself:
— Smooove Caulk (@DoubleChinDaddy) October 29, 2014
Related: “In retrospect Romney’s foreign-policy chops from 2012 are looking spot-on, while Obama’s are looking kinda . . . chickenshit.” Hey, America rejected having grown-ups at the helm in both 2008 and 2012. What did they think was going to happen as a result?
Obama’s foreign policy devolved from “don’t do stupid shit” to calling world leaders “chickenshit.” Two more years of this genius, folks.
— jon gabriel (@exjon) October 29, 2014
We’ve reached the point where Obama admin is bragging that it protected the Iranian nuclear program from an Israeli airstrike
— Noah Pollak (@NoahPollak) October 28, 2014
“There should not be a shred of doubt by now: When the chips are down, I have Israel’s back.” — Candidate Obama, March 2012 #Chickenshit
— Jason Epstein (@Southfive) October 29, 2014
— John Tabin (@johntabin) October 28, 2014
More fall-out from the smarted, most ethical, most wonderful administration in American history, whose geopolitical motto is “don’t do stupid sh**.”
“The thing about Bibi is, he’s a chickenshit,” Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic writes that a “senior Obama administration official” told him about Israeli Prime Minister and former IDF member Benjamin Netanyahu. As Goldberg writes, just in time for the midterms — and possibly the rest of Obama’s lame duck administration — “The Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations Is Officially Here:”
Over the years, Obama administration officials have described Netanyahu to me as recalcitrant, myopic, reactionary, obtuse, blustering, pompous, and “Aspergery.” (These are verbatim descriptions; I keep a running list.) But I had not previously heard Netanyahu described as a “chickenshit.” I thought I appreciated the implication of this description, but it turns out I didn’t have a full understanding. From time to time, current and former Administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)
Gee, if you’re a world leader being insulted by an administration staffed by the radical chic likes of John Kerry and Obama himself, where Joe Biden almost seems like the grown-up of the bunch, you’ve got to be doing something right. More from Goldberg:
This comment is representative of the gloves-off manner in which American and Israeli officials now talk about each other behind closed doors, and is yet another sign that relations between the Obama and Netanyahu governments have moved toward a full-blown crisis. The relationship between these two administrations— dual guarantors of the putatively “unbreakable” bond between the U.S. and Israel—is now the worst it’s ever been, and it stands to get significantly worse after the November midterm elections. By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.
* * * * * * *
“The good thing about Netanyahu is that he’s scared to launch wars,” the official said, expanding the definition of what a chickenshit Israeli prime minister looks like. “The bad thing about him is that he won’t do anything to reach an accommodation with the Palestinians or with the Sunni Arab states. The only thing he’s interested in is protecting himself from political defeat. He’s not Rabin, he’s not Sharon, he’s certainly no (Menachem) Begin. He’s got no guts.”
After graduating from high school in 1967, Netanyahu returned to Israel to enlist in the IDF. He trained as a combat soldier and became a team leader in an elite special forces unit of the IDF, Sayeret Matkal. He took part in numerous cross-border assault raids during the 1969–70 War of Attrition. He was involved in many other missions, including Operation Inferno (1968), and the rescue of the hijacked Sabena Flight 571 in May 1972 in which he was shot in the shoulder.
After his army service, Netanyahu returned to the United States in late 1972 to study architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He returned to Israel in October 1973 to serve in the Yom Kippur War for a 40-day period. While there, he fought in special forces raids along the Suez Canal, as well as leading a commando team deep into Syrian territory.
Or to put the above into visual terms alongside America’s commander-in-chief:
Israeli “media” is reporting that Obama/Kerry can’t stand Netanyahu. Another great reason to like Bibi!!! pic.twitter.com/hWGmtcQY6Z
— Zvi Lando (@zlando) October 26, 2014
Incidentally, this could add quite an interesting dynamic to the presidential race to come. Or as John Podhoretz asks, “So who’s going to ask Hillary whether she agrees Bibi is chickenshit?”
Update: “So, if this administration WERE Jew-hating, what exactly would they be doing differently?
Flashback: Here’s Jeffrey Goldberg helping Obama over the finish line in October of 2008 via accusations of conspiracy theories and (what else?) racism in 2008:
— John Tabin (@johntabin) October 28, 2014
“After victory in key Iraqi town, time for revenge,” is the headline on this seemingly workaday piece by Reuters yesterday, which reported on the latest events involving ISIS. Buried 12 paragraphs into the story is this provocative sentence:
During that period Islamic State used secret tunnels built by Saddam Hussein to evade United Nations weapons inspectors to move and store weapons and supplies.
(Via Randall Hoven.)
At a State Department briefing today, Associated Press reporter Matt Lee asked spokesman Jen Psaki whether it is appropriate to offer deepest condolences to the family of someone killed while attempting to carry out an attack on civilians.
“There are reports … that [the Palestinian teenager] was throwing Molotov cocktails at cars on a highway, and I’m wondering, if that is the case, would you still have been so speedy in putting out a statement and offering your condolences to the family?” asked Lee. “The argument that is being made by some in Israel is that this kid was essentially a terrorist, and you don’t agree with that, I assume,” Lee continued.
“Correct, we don’t,” replied Psaki. Lee then asked whether the fact that the teenager was buried wearing a Hamas headband was “of concern at all.” Psaki replied, “I just don’t have any more on this particular case.”
Sheesh. No wonder Israeli officials describe their ties with the Obama administration as being in “crisis.”