» War And Anti-War

Ed Driscoll

War And Anti-War

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“Bin Laden had the book on Obama,” Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, who asks, “What should we make of the bookshelf?” Bin Laden’s bookshelf that is. Beyond being photographed on the 2008 campaign trail — chillingly in retrospect — holding fellow leftist Fareed Zakaria’s then-recent book The Post-American World, the pop culture-obsessed Mr. Obama seems to prefer binge-watching television to reading.

But Bin Laden’s choice of reading material is fascinating, as Mirengoff writes, who notes that Bob Woodward has the rare distinction of being on both Nixon’s enemies list, and Osama’s reading list:

Above all, it confirms that bin Laden was obsessed with the United States. Unlike ISIS, which strives to capture territory and create a caliphate, bin Laden focused on attacking America and American interests.

But attacking America wasn’t an end in itself. Bin Laden’s overriding goal was to drive the U.S. out of the Muslim world so that al Qaeda and its affiliates could topple hostile governments in these regions.

Once we understand this, we must see bin Laden as more of a success than a failure. And we must see President Obama as the vehicle through which bin Laden succeeded.

Under Obama, the U.S. is basically exiting the Muslim world. We pulled out of Iraq (and haven’t re-entered to any significant degree). We’re pulling out of Afghanistan. We never pulled into Syria, despite the advice of many in both parties that we should.

We didn’t stay in Libya. We’ve been driven out of Yemen. Our influence with Egypt and Saudi Arabia (two countries of special interest to bin Laden, surely) has waned considerably.

As for the toppling of governments, bin Laden’s dream is partially realized. The Afghanistan government hasn’t fallen, but it may well, once the U.S. leaves. And the government’s hold on large portions of the country is weak to non-existent.

The Iraqi government hasn’t fallen, but it has lost huge chunks of territory to Islamic terrorists, with even Baghdad now threatened. The government of Syria is in basically the same condition.

These two pop culture icons couldn’t be happier about the rapidly disintegrating state of the world:

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(Artwork atop post created using multiple AP and Shutterstock.com images.)

How to Answer the Question of the Week

May 20th, 2015 - 1:22 pm

“I am mystified as to why Republicans are always so polite to journalists who are, obviously, allied to the liberal side of American politics and are willing to carry water for it,” John Steele Gordon writes at Commentary. And we all know what the question is, at this point, right? ““Knowing what you know now, would you have invaded Iraq in 2003?”

So, if I were running for president (alright, no snickering in the back of the room, please), I’d answer in one of two ways. First way, ask the journalist a question. In response to “Knowing what you know now, would you have invaded Iraq in 2003,” ask “Knowing what you know now, would you have abandoned Iraq in 2011?” and then talk about how the new president in 2017 will have to deal with the results of the most shockingly inept American foreign policy since Woodrow Wilson sailed for Paris a century ago.

The second way to answer would be to ask, “Excuse me, is this a history show or a news show? Are you a historian or a journalist? If the latter why aren’t you asking about what I would do in the future, not what I would have done in the past? Are you trying to protect the Obama Administration from the criticism it so richly deserves for its disastrous foreign policy?” When the journalist, inevitably, says no to that, say, “Well, you could have fooled me. How about asking me an honest question?”

As Glenn Reynolds likes to say, punch back twice as hard.

This is the GOP primary, remember? Republican voters love it when their candidates punch back twice as hard against the MSM. George W. Bush lost no voters in 2000 when an open mic caught calling out the New York Times’ Adam Clymer as the big, well, Clymer he is. Newt Gingrich rose from the political dead to becoming a hair’s breadth away from securing the GOP nomination in 2012 purely because GOP primary voters loved watching him taking clueless DNC-MSM reporters’ questions and jamming them back into their throats. We saw Rand Paul do something similar recently when he tossed a hand grenade of an abortion question right back to the MSM and one of their de facto leaders, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

But why aren’t we seeing clip after clip this year of all of the Republican candidates employing similar tactics? They’ve had three years since watching both Newt nearly secure the nomination and Mitt Romney’s earnest but clueless presidential bid that followed. Old media’s tactics are, well, old. For once, why can’t the Stupid Party grow a brain?

At his new Diary of a Mad Voter site, Roger L. Simon noted last night, “Refighting the Iraq War of 2007 is waste of energy.  We are up to our necks in a bigger one now and absolutely devoid of strategy.”

John Nolte answers the question thusly:


Particularly when, as Moe Lane writes, “Barack Obama campaigned on losing the war in Iraq” — and campaigned hard on doing just that in 2008. And concurrently banked (successfully) on his allies in the media having a serious case of amnesia concerning their fellow Democrats:

Update: “Ted Cruz dropped the hammer on the media for continuing to ask him about gay rights.” Don’t miss the clip at the conclusion of the post of Cruz pushing back against a DNC-MSM “that is obsessed with sex,” as Cruz tells one Democrat operative with a byline.

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

“Today, I can announce that our review is complete, and that the United States will pursue a new strategy to end the war in Iraq through a transition to full Iraqi responsibility.

This strategy is grounded in a clear and achievable goal shared by the Iraqi people and the American people: an Iraq that is sovereign, stable, and self-reliant.

[W]e will work to promote an Iraqi government that is just, representative, and accountable, and that provides neither support nor safe haven to terrorists.”

“Obama in 2011: ‘We’re Leaving Behind A Stable And Self-Reliant Iraq,’” IJ Review, June 18, 2014

The fall of the critically important Iraqi city Ramadi to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a “terribly significant” event that shows the need for more U.S. forces on the ground, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Monday.

“I think it’s, unfortunately, terribly significant, capital of Anbar Province, the deaths of hundreds, the displacement of thousands and thousands,” he said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Not the 82nd Airborne, but we’ll have to have more people on the ground and this is really serious, the fall of Ramadi,” he said. …

McCain said fault lay with former Iraqi Prime Minster Nouri al-Maliki, for firing competent military leaders. But he also blamed President Obama’s administration for withdrawing all U.S. forces in Iraq in 2011.

“I hate to be repetitious, but the fact is that thanks to the surge, we had it under control and this is another consequence of the failure of this administration and this president to leave a residual force behind,” he said.

“Total collapse: ‘Elite’ Iraqi units routed in Ramadi counteroffensive,” Hot Air, today.

Update: “Time for Military to Admit ISIS is Winning.”

Was the Iraq War a Mistake?

May 18th, 2015 - 11:36 am

“It’s become the gotcha question for Republicans seeking to win their party’s nomination for the 2016 presidential campaign: Knowing what we know now, would you have ordered U.S. forces into Iraq?,” Michael Rubin writes at Commentary:

Would the Islamic State have existed if the United States had not gone to war? Saddam Hussein turned toward religion and privileged radical clerics in the wake of his defeat in Kuwait. That’s the time when he put “Allahu Akbar” on the Iraqi flag and commissioned a Koran made from his blood. According to the State Department Human Rights reports, Fedayeen Saddam was rampaging through Baghdad beheading women it accused of loose morals in the years before the U.S. invasion. And then, of course, there was the case of Laurence Foley, a U.S. diplomat assassinated in Amman in 2002 on the orders of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the man responsible for Al Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of the Islamic State. Foley’s assassination shows the group to have been active before the war.

It is embarrassing that Governor Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, and others are so ill prepared for the Iraq War question, but it is also embarrassing that the media also conflates so many decisions about the Iraq war into one. First, there was the decision about whether to use military force to oust Saddam. (My take: the right call). Second, there was the decision about whether to replace Saddam with a more democratic structure or his sons or a strongman general (My take: Bush made the right call). Third, was the decision about whether to spend tens of billions seeking to reconstruct and develop Iraq (My take: huge mistake). The world is better without Saddam. Most of the Iraqi deaths following the invasion were caused not by the United States but by the terrorists and Iranian-backed militias whom American forces were fighting. George Bush understood that the proper course of action, as the “Iraq war mistake” question implies, was not to give those terrorist free reign over Iraq. It is sad that so many Democrats and now Republicans give in to what amounts to a journalistic auto-da-fé in which candidates accept a twisted and inaccurate narrative imposed by journalists guided more by politics than fact.

Why don’t we have candidates smart enough to respond to the question, “Was the Iraq War a mistake?”, with something a reply along the lines of, “Certainly, the current war is a mistake; as the New Yorker noted last year, Barack Obama was solely responsible for American troops leaving Iraq in 2011, which created the vacuum that ISIS quickly filled.” And if pressed, respond, “Wait, you’re asking if a war we won is a mistake? A war that Hillary approved? a victory that Joe Biden celebrated?”

Or as Allahpundit writes at Hot Air, after watching “Chris Wallace [spend] three minutes trying to get Rubio to say whether the Iraq war was a mistake,” Rubio “had a better answer available if he wanted it:”

Sure, he could have said, the war was a mistake in hindsight because we naively assumed Bush’s Democratic successor would finish what he’d started with nation-building in Iraq. If Obama had insisted on a residual force of U.S. troops, if he’d been quicker to pull the trapdoor on the ruinous Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq might be relatively stable and ISIS-free today. As it is, the country’s falling apart. In hindsight, it was a mistake for Republicans to launch a war whose successful conclusion might eventually be entrusted to Barack Obama. How come he didn’t give that answer?

Why, oh why, can’t have we candidates who can play the media soundbite game?

Update: Nolte knows how to play the game:

Blog Comment of the Day

May 16th, 2015 - 7:18 pm

Responding to a Time article titled “Terrorists’ most powerful recruiting tool: Boredom,” which significantly downplays the role of The Religion that Must Not Be Named, a commenter at Hot Air writes:

1. Most twentysomethings in the region are like teenagers in the West; they think they’re immortal, they’re easily bored, and they have chips on their shoulders. They are also poorly educated- even the ones with university degrees, which are worth about as much as one from an Ivy League school today.

2. They are nurtured in a culture which rejects modernity, considers blood feuds a duty, is somewhat more superstitious than the average New Age crystal-gazer, and has an almost infinite set of rules imposed by society, the infraction of the least of which generally results in mutilation or death.

3. They are constantly told that all the ills they see around them are caused, not by their culture, which is Perfect, but by other cultures, which are Evil.

4. Their culture also teaches that any normal sexual urge toward a woman is unclean, and since the woman is at fault, she must be punished for “tempting” the Holy Male.

5. On top of all this psychosis, they learn that by becoming jihadi “holy warriors”, they can make the entire world Perfect. And incidentally, instead of being stoned to death for looking at a girl the wrong way, they can do the stoning. Especially stoning women. And oh yes, that rape (of women, girls, boys, etc.) is perfectly OK as long as it is an “act of Holy War” outside the Faith, and absolutely OK inside said Faith because as “holy warriors” they are a privileged caste.

Put it all together, and becoming a “holy warrior” looks entirely reasonable. Among other things, if anything pisses you off, for any reason, you just kill somebody. Anybody. Immediate catharsis.

NB; The similarities between Islam, progressivism in general, deep-ecology progressivism in particular, and progressive-approved minority gang “philosophy” specifically, are almost too obvious to note.

And both religions maintain seemingly moderate public fronts who work very hard at hiding their radical ideology’s true agendas.

Tough Week for Rolling Stone

May 15th, 2015 - 2:52 pm

“Jann Wenner started off the week by getting hit with a $7.5 million lawsuit for publishing a bunch of lies about a gang-rape that never happened,” Jim Treacher writes at the Daily Caller. “Now he’s ending it with the news that his boyfriend Jahar has been sentenced to death.”

Treacher offers a “A Long-Distance Dedication” to the beleaguered far left publisher. At the start of last year, one of Rolling Stone’s writers wrote a reactionary screed straight out of the Communist Manifesto, with more than a hint of Bane-style punitive malice against those who have achieved wealth and property. You know, like Jann Wenner. Ironically, the lawsuits against the magazine for its University of Virginia rape fantasies could go a long way towards Wenner inadvertently living out his loopier journalists’ socialist redistributionist fantasies.

Barack Obama, Crack Military Historian

May 14th, 2015 - 6:08 pm

“Chlorine itself historically has not been listed as a chemical weapon,” Mr. Obama said today when discussing Syria walking all over the many red lines his administration has placed in front of it.

No, really. Wait’ll Mr. Obama discovers that little internecine scrum we like to call World War I. Moe Lane theorizes what the befuddled gaffe-prone semi-retired president likely meant:

What Barack Obama probably meant to say is that chlorine gas is too useful in too many industrial processes to be successfully banned as a chemical weapon. Unfortunately, President Obama is that worst of public speakers: which is to say, a bad one who has been told once too often that he’s a good one. So it goes.

Moe also advises that said befuddled gaffe-prone semi-retired president fire the staffer who wrote the above quote. But it has a nice symmetry, doesn’t it? Mr. Obama’s second term play-acting at being president was kicked off by not noticing or caring that speechwriter Jon Favreau* had inserted the dreaded Chamberlain-esque phrase “peace in our time” into his inauguration speech, nicely foreshadowing the International horrors to come under his watch. If the president and his young staffers don’t know basic World War II history, who would expect them to know a detail of WWI that a fifth grader should know?

(Not that Mr. Obama, the self-proclaimed “constitutional law professor” knows a whole lot about American history either: recall in 2011 when he declared, “Texas has always been a pretty Republican state, you know, for historic reasons,” which would certainly be news to Lyndon Johnson, John Connally, and Ann Richards.)

* Pictured here on the front lines of the Democrats’ infamous war on women.

Update:

And tomorrow’s headlines today!

Flashback: Past performance, no guarantee, etc.:

“Wall Street raiders and business tycoons still cite Sun Tzu’s classic military treatise to explain preparation and tactical prowess. But if you really want an insight into 21st century warfare, you need to read Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Here’s why,” Joe Pappalardo writes at Popular Mechanics, offering six reasons, beginning with the novel’s refutation of Edwin Starr’s funky but brain-dead shout of “War — UNGH!! — what is it good for?!”

“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than any other factor, and contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst.”– Mr. Dubois, Johnnie’s history and moral philosophy teacher.

People have been conditioned to think that war is only wasteful and tragic. Often it is both, to be sure. But the “what is it good for? Absolutely nothing” line is entirely too simplistic. War is a tool that can be applied to many situations: to roll back aggression and deter aggressors, to end dictatorships, to stop genocide, or to protect the supply of commodities central to the nation’s interest. You don’t blame a screwdriver when someone uses it to break into a car — you blame the car thief. Likewise, war is an extension of governmental policy — the better the policy, the better the war’s outcome. Invading France to conquer it was a Nazi crime. Invading France to liberate it was an Allied triumph.

Despite our best wishes and peaceful intentions, someone else with a gun can shape the future. A coalition of the willing can build schools in Afghanistan, but a couple of jerks with rifles and a can of gasoline can reduce it to ashes. Sometimes, meeting violence with more effective violence is what it takes to give peace a chance. Consider the recent example of eliminating Columbian FARC rebels with precision airstrikes. This is a smart use of force — a way to use violence to set conditions of a diplomatic solution. Instead of starting a cycle of violence, a smart war can end one.

Sun Tzu says: “In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact. To shatter and destroy it is not so good.”

I’m not sure about that — hitting the CTL-ALT-DLT buttons on Germany and Japan worked out far better in the long run than attempting to leave the infrastructure of Iraq as intact as possible, as Mark Steyn wrote a decade ago, in an article that resonates remarkably on the weekend of the 70th anniversary of V-E day:

The Japs fought a filthy war, but a mere six decades later America, Britain and Japan sit side by side at G7 meetings. The US and Canada apologise unceasingly for the wartime internment of Japanese civilians, and a historically uncontroversial authentic vernacular expression such as “the Japs fought a filthy war” is now so distasteful that use of it inevitably attracts noisy complaints about offensively racist characterisations. The old militarist culture – of kamikaze fanatics, and occupation regimes that routinely tortured and beheaded and even ate their prisoners – is dead as dead can be.

Would that have happened without Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or the earlier non-nuclear raids? In one night of “conventional” bombing – March 9th – 100,000 civilians died in Tokyo. Taking a surrender from the enemy is one thing; ensuring that he’s completely, totally, utterly beaten is another.

A peace without Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been a different kind of peace; the surrender would have been, in every sense, more “conditional”. Japanese militarism would not have been so thoroughly vanquished, nor so obviously responsible for the nation’s humiliation and devastation, and, therefore, not so irredeemably consigned to history. A greater affection and respect for the old regime could well have persisted, and lingered to hobble the new modern, democratic Japan devised by the Americans.

Which brings us to our present troubles. Nobody’s suggesting nuking Mecca. Well, okay, the other day a Republican congressman, Tom Tancredo, did – or at any rate he raised the possibility that at some point we might well have to “bomb” Mecca. Even I, a fully paid-up armchair warmonger, baulked at that one, prompting some of my more robust correspondents to suggest I’d gone over to the side of the New York Times pantywaists.

But forget about bombing Mecca and consider the broader lesson of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: an enemy folds when he knows he’s finished. In Iraq, despite the swift fall of the Saddamites, it’s not entirely clear the enemy did know. Indeed, the western peaceniks’ pre-war “human shields” operation was completely superfluous mainly because the Anglo-American forces decided to treat not just Iraqi civilians and not just Iraqi conscripts but virtually everyone other than Saddam, Uday and Qusay as a de facto human shield. Washington made a conscious choice to give every Iraqi the benefit of the doubt, including the fake surrenderers who ambushed the US marines at Nasiriyah.

If you could get to a rooftop, you could fire rocket-propelled grenades at the Brits and Yanks with impunity, because, under the most onerous rules of engagement ever devised, they wouldn’t fire back just in case the building you were standing on hadn’t been completely evacuated. Michael Moore and George Galloway may have thought the neocons were itching to massacre hundreds of thousands, but the behaviour of the Baathists suggests they knew better: they assumed western decency and, having no regard either for our lives or for those of their own people, acted accordingly.

Was this a mistake? Several analysts weren’t happy about it at the time, simply because Washington and London were exposing their own troops to greater danger than necessary. But, with hindsight, it also helped set up a lot of the problems Iraq’s had to contend with since: not enough Baathists were killed in the initial invasion; too many bigshots survived to plot mischief and too many minnows were allowed to melt back into the general population to provide a delivery system for that mischief.

And in a basic psychological sense, excessive solicitude for the enemy won us not sympathy but contempt.

Just ask ISIS, and the savages who tried to kill Pam Geller and company last week.

All This and World War II

May 8th, 2015 - 12:49 pm

Back in 2010, James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal spotted our old friend, former Enron advisor Paul Krugman rejoicing over the economic “miracle of the 1940s,” or as the rest of us call it, World War II.  Today, on the 70th anniversary of VE Day, Kevin D. Williamson of NRO spies another member of the left eager to celebrate, as Williamson writes, the “‘Mass Destruction of Capital’ as a Liberal Economic Panacea:”

One can look back at the immediate postwar era and cherry-pick whatever policy one likes, crediting it with the generally satisfactory state of affairs in those years: the relatively high tax rates and strong unions of the Eisenhower years if you’re a progressive, the relatively small public-sector footprint and stable families if you’re a conservative. The desire to return to that state of affairs is alluring for some. Writing in Salon* this week, Conor Lynch is positively wistful: “The mass destruction of capital around the world created a much more even playing field than before, while also placing the United States at the forefront of the world economy.”

“Destruction of capital” is a cute way of describing the slaughter of some 80 million people and the burning of their cities. There were good policy decisions and bad policy decisions in the postwar era, but the fundamental fact of economic life on this planet during that time was that humanity was rebuilding after the single worst event in its history, a conflagration that killed more people than the Mongol conquests and the Chinese civil war combined.

When our old friend Frédéric Bastiat described the broken-window fallacy — the nonsensical belief that we can make ourselves richer by destroying wealth and thereby providing ourselves with the opportunity to replace it — he could not have imagined how many windows would be broken less than a century later. American involvement in that war was necessary, but it did not make us any better off in real terms, despite the persistent myth that the war led us out of the Depression. (Solve unemployment now — draft everybody!) Nobody understood this better than the commander of the Allied forces in Europe, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whose subsequent presidency would be buoyed by the postwar boom. Wars do not create real wealth — they destroy it, a fact that he lamented in his famous “Cross of Iron” speech:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter with a half-million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. . . . This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

An interesting turn of phrase from a man named Eisenhower (“iron-worker”).

I don’t want to spoil the punchline of Williamson’s article, so definitely read the whole thing.

* A publication that in recent years has always been eager to unleash their inner liberal fascist — first seeking to nationalize all the industries, then wanting to see “a cop shoot a white unarmed teenager in the back,” and now, as Williamson writes, quoting Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, begging for rebirth as “a minister of death, praying for war.”

“I’m a First Amendment absolutist. But…”

As Salman Rushdie told an audience in January, after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, I’m tired of the free speech “But-Brigade.”

They were everywhere this week, as you can see by the above compilation by the Media Research Center; this was “The week that cable news failed free expression,” Erik Wemple writes at the Washington Post:

There’s no justification for violence. But…”

“I’m a First Amendment absolutist. But…”

“You have every right to do what you did. But…”

Though perhaps not verbatim, those are the sentiments that have spilled from cable airwaves — and, for that matter, non-cable airwaves — in the days since Sunday’s violent incident in Garland, Texas. Two gunmen were shot dead by a police officer as they attempted to mount a terrorist attack on a “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest — an event whose by-product is offensive to many Muslims. The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for targeting the contest, which was organized by Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).

Authorities are investigating ISIS’s claim of responsibility; they’re checking the electronic communication histories of the attackers, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi; the White House has called the episode an “attempted terrorist attack.

And who’s being treated as the public enemy on cable? The woman who organized a cartoon contest.

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, in speaking with a guest: “This is problematic to me, because I wonder whether this group that held this event down there to basically disparage and make fun of the prophet Mohammed doesn’t in some way cause these events. Well, not the word ‘causing’ — how about provoking, how about taunting, how about daring? How do you see the causality factor here?” (Taunting is a form of expression)

To paraphrase John Nolte at Big Journalism, Geller isn’t the first to taunt and dare savages:

Was Martin Luther King “asking for it?”

When Chris Matthews and the rest of the media single out for criticism only those  who offend Islam, they are enforcing Sharia Law, caving to tyranny, and inciting violence by making the threat of violence an effective tactic.

At the risk of his own life, King set mousetrap after mousetrap to expose the savagery of those who demand others curtail their rights.

Pam Geller did the same thing.

The only difference is that the national media was on King’s side.

Today the national media are on the side of appeasing racist, sexist, gay-murdering, theocratic barbarians.

One way or another, that’s probably not going to end well; at the Fiscal Times, Ed Morrissey sends up a flare warning of “The Coming Demise of Free Speech in America:”

As Damon Linker (a supporter of same-sex marriage) wrote earlier this month, the religious have become the new secular heretics to be shunned and destroyed. Those demanding not tolerance but surrender and forced participation may think they are the Enlightenment, but in reality, they are becoming cut-rate Robespierres. They act “more than a little like bullies distressingly eager to treat millions of their fellow citizens like heretics — and to use government power to force them to conform, at least in public, to the dogmas of a contrary, and in some ways incompatible, faith.”

Given the broad and consistent response to the Garland event, and even to an extent the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, it’s impossible to believe that it’s simply benign ignorance of the breadth and necessity of First Amendment protections. The most pernicious problem isn’t that the elites in the media and academia don’t bother to inform themselves on issues of free speech and religious liberty, or even that they’re misinforming us on them. It’s that they’re not interested in preserving the values of individual liberty, and want to control the culture rather than inform and educate it.

Exit quote, from, appropriately enough, Pam Geller:

[M]ake no mistake: If it weren’t for the free-speech conference, these jihadis would have struck somewhere else — a place where there was less security, like the Lindt cafe in Australia or the Hyper Cacher Kosher supermarket in Paris.

So, why are some people blaming me? They’re saying: “Well, she provoked them! She got what she deserved!” They don’t remember, or care to remember, that as the jihadis were killing the Muhammad cartoonists in Paris, their friend and accomplice was murdering Jews in a nearby kosher supermarket. Were the Jews asking for it? Did they “bait” the jihadis? Were they “provoking” them?

Are the Jews responsible for the Nazis? Are the Christians in the Middle East responsible for being persecuted by Muslims?

As Ace writes in response, “According to Islamists: Yes to both questions.” And increasingly the MSM would answer those questions in the affirmative as well, since they’re currently acting, wittingly or otherwise, as the enablers to ISIS and other example of what Mark Steyn dubbed last year as “fast-track Nazis.” Goodnight America! It’s been a fun ride, hasn’t it?

Update: The “objective” “unbiased” Associated Press reaches a new low, even for the But Brigade:

The amount of fail there is endless, as is the moral equivocation, all of which begs this question, among many others:

sharpton_baltimore_mayor_5-3-15-1

NBC’s Al Sharpton shakes hands with Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as she prepares to speak at a summit to address issues surrounding the death of Freddie Gray and its aftermath at New Shiloh Baptist Church, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Baltimore. Note the “No Justice, No Peace” slogan behind them. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“What causes civilizations to collapse, from a dysfunctional 4th-century-B.C. Athens to contemporary bankrupt Greece?,” asks Victor Davis Hanson. “The answer is usually not enemies at the gates, but the pathologies inside them.” After first noting the huge unpaid tax bills by Al Sharpton and other NBC spokespersons, and Lois Lerner’s attacks on innocent Americans who did pay their taxes, in Investor’s Business Daily, VDH writes:

If the Obama administration reaches a controversial agreement with Iran that will not meet the constitutional test of ratification by two-thirds of the Senate, then it will not be called a treaty and instead be imposed by presidential executive order.

Prosecutors have never been more ideologically driven. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., opposes administration policies on Cuba and Iran — and then suddenly faces federal indictments on charges covering a period from 2006 to 2013.

In the tragic Freddie Gray case, Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby all but assured an angry crowd that she had provided them indictments for murder and manslaughter and thereby expected calm in the streets in return.

She indicted six Baltimore policemen on charges that are likely to be reduced or disproved in court, but those charges served the short-term purpose of defusing unchecked rioting and looting. Warping the law was thought to be more effective in easing tensions than enforcing it.

Increasingly in the United States, the degree to which a law is enforced — or whether a person is indicted — depends on political considerations. But when citizens do not pay any income taxes, or choose not to pay taxes that they owe and expect impunity, a complex society unwinds.

And when the law becomes negotiable, civilization utterly collapses.

If so, then the conflagration whipped up over the past two weeks by the DNC-MSM will be seen as a significant mile marker on the road to perdition. Regarding last week’s riots, in his weekly PJM column, VDH decodes “The Rules of Baltimore.” As for how the media have portrayed the events in Garland on Sunday, well:

“Al Jazeera America Chief Is Ousted After Turmoil,” the New York Times report:

Al Jazeera America announced Wednesday that it was replacing its chief executive, Ehab Al Shihabi, who has been in that position since the network was founded two years ago.

It has been a difficult week for the network; three top executives left the company and another former employee sued it claiming wrongful termination. One of the executives who departed, Marcy McGinnis, said Mr. Al Shihabi meddled with news decisions and fostered a “culture of fear.”

Of course, Shihabi’s former bosses in the home office in Qatar really took that whole “culture of fear” thing seriously when it came to their neighbors in the Middle East. Or as Hugh Hewitt asked former MSNBC and CNN castoff Soledad O’Brien last year, ”’Businessweek’ today has a story on Qatar, which owns Al Jazeera, and the headline calls Qatar a patron of Islamists. It says that Qatar funds and arms Islamists fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad and bankrolling Hamas in the Gaza Strip. So here’s an honest question. How can you take money from them?”

At the left-leaning Daily Beast today, Lloyd Grove asks, “Is Al Jazeera Sexist, Anti-Semitic, and Anti-American?” If they’re not guilty on three counts, their home office must be very disappointed by them, no?

But in any case, considering that as of last year, Al Jazeera America was “averaging approximately 10,000 viewers at any given point during the day,” it’s entirely possible that the fictional Wayne and Garth would have gotten more viewers for their Aurora Illinois public access show than the amount of real-life viewers tuning in to watch Al Jazeera America. Just how wide is the divergence between what Oren Kessler of the Middle Eastern Quarterly dubbed “The Two Faces of Al Jazeera” back in 2012?

Likely not all much; “Pass the Popcorn: Al Jazeera America Being Sued for Sexism and Anti-Semitism,” I wrote on Sunday. Or as John Podhoretz tweets today, “It would take a heart of stone not to laugh aloud at the troubles besetting al-Jazeera.”

Update: So what did the Times mean by Shihabi’s “culture of fear?” This:

The problem, according to current and former staffers interviewed by the Times, lies in its leadership: the head of Al Jazeera America, Ehab Al Shihabi, has created a culture of low morale and fear of retaliation in the newsroom, as well as a hint of sexism, and, um, why has the Middle East correspondent gone missing from the office? (The network won’t hurt for money, mainly because it’s financed “from the deep pockets of the Qatar government”.)

As a prime example — and there are lots of examples in the story — here’s how Al Shihabi allegedly treated one of the network’s stars:

The station’s most recognizable face, Ali Velshi, a veteran of CNN, who hosts a prime-time show, led a similar meeting in February. Mr. Velshi’s line of questioning and his exchanges with Mr. Al Shihabi were particularly heated, according to five people present at the meeting.

Days later, when Mr. Velshi was not present, Mr. Al Shihabi threatened to sue Mr. Velshi and fire him, according to employees who said they heard him speaking openly in the newsroom.

“I’ll spend whatever I have to spend to bankrupt him in court,” Mr. Al Shihabi said, according to one employee who was there. Another heard Mr. Al Shihabi say, “He’s finished here.”

Classy. But in any case, as we’ve seen this week, “Who needs Al-Jazeera when you’ve got CNN?”

15 Minutes Into the Future

May 6th, 2015 - 12:26 pm

Shot:

1. To speak of Islamist violence, or to suggest there is a problem in Islam, is racist, and hateful, and irrational, and “islamophobic.”

2. It is so predictable that Islamists will kill you if you say something “anti-Islamic” that victims of murder attempts can be said to have brought their attacks on themselves.

Two other hard-to-reconcile claims:

1. Islam is compatible with Western values.

2. We’re going to have to change some core Western values to avoid violence from our new Muslim friends.

“Two Contradictory Claims the Left Urges On Us,” Ace, today.

Chaser:

I am trying to imagine the coming American “utopia”, where everyone will be compelled to publicly accept the moral neutrality of homosexual acts, traditional Christian teachings on the subject will be excluded from the the marketplace of ideas, but an enormous cultural carve-out will be made for Muslim sensibilities. If Islamist radicals shoot up a gay pride parade, will the incident simply be considered a moral wash, or will gays actually be expected to apologize for provoking their assailants?

Halp me Garrie Trudoe I’m stuk hear in america and cant figyour out all this morul relativizm!

“Cognitive dissonance,” the Paco Enterprises blog, yesterday.

And the answer is: It depends on quickly the MSM can memory hole the terrorist attack. Beyond this week’s blanket “The bitch had it coming” response from the MSM to Pam Geller, it will be interesting to see how long her event in Garland stays in the mind of the collective overculture, or how quickly it’s airbrushed away.

Until, God forbid, it happens again, either to her, or the hypothetical gay pride parade that Paco describes above.

Update: Hey, it’s only a matter of time:

 

This is CNN

May 6th, 2015 - 12:01 pm

“CNN Anchor Chris Cuomo “Says Constitution Doesn’t Protect Hate Speech, Try Reading It. Okay, Let’s Do That,” Robby Soave writes at Reason: 

This was in response to the shooting outside Pamela Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest event in Garland, Texas. According to Cuomo, Geller and her ilk might not have a First Amendment right to express anti-Muslim speech deemed hateful—it says so, right there in the Constitution, if we would bother to read it.

Okay, let’s take Cuomo’s challenge. Let’s read the speech part of the Constitution. (I hope this doesn’t take too long; I hate reading.) Oh, good, the speech stuff is right there at the beginning of the “things you can do” section:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

My copy of the Constitution seems to be missing this fabled “except hate speech, none of that” clause.

As it turns out, the Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the First Amendment to protect all kinds of odious speech, including speech perceived to be hateful. Constitutional speech protections wouldn’t be very strong if they did not include hate speech, since one person’s statement of hate is another’s statement of truth. “George Bush is a war criminal” might be construed as a hateful statement if you’re George Bush, after all.

Peter Wehner of Commentary pens a very Obama-esque description of the CNN anchor:

Chris Cuomo is a man who thinks he’s much smarter than he is, who is clearly not nearly as widely read as he pretends, and who possesses what looks to be a perfectly dogmatic mind, closed to any evidence that challenges his suppositions. He is both unusually ignorant and unusually arrogant. Those are unfortunate qualities for anyone to possess; they are particularly unfortunate to see in a public figure, where his ignorance can be exposed on quite a large stage.

Wehner adds that when confronted by those like Robby Soave of Reason, who did read the Constitution, Cuomo simply lied: “No, no, no, Cuomo argues; he didn’t mean read the Constitution (although that’s what he wrote); he meant read case law. Of course he did.”

Which brings us to Allahpundit at Hot Air, who notes that Cuomo is replying on “the ‘Chaplinsky test,’ a.k.a. the ‘fighting words’ doctrine:”

He’s eating crap from righties and lefties alike as I write this for reading too much into what the Chaplinsky decision allows. That’s the case, handed down by the Supreme Court in 1942, that says the First Amendment doesn’t protect words “which, by their very utterance, inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.” Over time federal courts have narrowed that ruling to make clear that it only applies, in Ken White’s words, to “face-to-face insults that would provoke an immediate violent reaction from a reasonable person.” In other words, says Instapundit, a “personal invitation to brawl.” All true, but it’s painfully easy to move from that standard to a standard in which “hateful” speech qualifies as “fighting words” whether or not it’s uttered face to face, whether or not the violent reaction is immediate, and whether or not a reasonable person from the “majority” might object to it. Pam Geller’s Mohammed cartoon contest is a perfect example. That was a private event, not a face-to-face demonstration in front of a group of Muslims; most Americans would say that cartoons of any figure, no matter how insulting, don’t justify a violent response; and there was no reason to expect that the violent reaction, if it came, would be an immediate attack on the event itself rather than a plot to target Geller or her allies later. It should fail the Chaplinsky test easily. (And Cuomo, in fairness, isn’t saying otherwise.)

Read the whole thing for a chilling look at where lefties such as Cuomo and his ilk could eventually gut the First Amendment into meaninglessness.

In the meantime though, Googling “Chris Cuomo” and “Charlie Hebdo” quickly brings up the classic moment in January when Cuomo described black French terrorists as “African-American” on the air at CNN, just to give you a sense of the steel-trap mind we’re dealing with here.

And finally, an Allahpundit-esque exit question from Glenn Reynolds: “Will any journos ask Andrew Cuomo if he shares Chris’s view of free speech?” Or Hillary.

Reading Allahpundit’s post, it seems obvious what Democrat politicians really do think about the topic in their socialist heart of hearts, but it would useful to get them on the record alongside Chris Cuomo and many of their other operatives with bylines this week.

Related:

Spot on observation by Ace, who spots bipartisan attacks on Pam Geller in the overculture and responds “I have long ago decided that I do not wish to be on the list of the Acceptable Ones, and will take no action whatsoever to secure my place upon it. Maybe I have an advantage here: I do not seek the approval of those who bestow Respectability, as I simply do not respect them.”

Noting that “as a personal matter, I have had sharp differences with Ms. Geller. We do not get along. But this is entirely besides the point,” he adds:

A woman spoke.

Men with guns shot at her for speaking.

Do we really need to take an “on the one hand, on the other hand” approach here.

And we need not talk about “tone” or whether Ms. Gellar speaks for us on all things.

One does not award Style Points on a battlefield.

This is why we have no actual conservative movement worth a damn: Because our political officers and our thought leaders are all drawn from, and aspire to advance in, the same Upper Middle Class Northeast-and-California cultural consensus of “respectability.”

Some people are ideologues are are intensely and primarily interested in Ideas.

Most are not.

And thus most people’s first loyalty is not to any abstract Idea, but the more tangible Class they come from, and which gives them Identity, which gives them Place in the world, and which is, for far too many thinkers, a major source of pride and, I dare say, egotistical joy.

The current dominant class, the class that controls the political-media establishment, is this Upper Middle Class, leftism-inflected consensus, and until people can begin seeing this and seeing past it, and until they can begin making their first loyalty to Idea and Principle, which are universal and eternal, rather than Class and Cult, which are nothing but happenstance and ego, we will continue having an “opposition” which continues genuflecting to leftist conformity rather than standing up for ideas.

Which also explains why some elites on both sides of the aisle could defend Charlie Hebdo — a French socialist publication, by its very nature, has a certain amount of exotic, elitist cache — and turn their backs on an American conservative woman, largely because of her tone. But then, tone and class are often interchangeable signifiers for elite status. They explain why William F. Buckley, P.J. O’Rourke and Tom Wolfe could move fluidly through the elite (left-dominated) overculture, and why say, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and the late Andrew Breitbart were never accepted.

Oh, and just to place the past couple of days into perspective, Katie Pavlich writes at Towhall that “ISIS has officially taken responsibility for the attack Sunday night on a Muhammad art exhibit in Garland, Texas. This is the first official ISIS attack to be be carried out on U.S. soil.”

Which the Washington Post demands the principal victim apologize for.

charlie_hebdo_wtc_1-30-15-1

“Event organizer offers no apology after thwarted attack in Texas,” the Washington Post has the gall to write after Pam Geller, her speakers and/or guests were nearly murdered on Sunday. Not surprisingly, in a post titled “JFK offers no apology after Lee Harvey Oswald shoots him in the head,” Geller tells the leftwing paper to pound sand. “What apology exactly do I owe for almost being murdered?”

“Abraham Lincoln offers no apology after John Wilkes Booth lodges a bullet in his brain”

“Julius Caesar offers no apology after Cassius and Brutus stab him to death”

“Jews offer no apology after Nazis kill six million”

As Twitchy asks, “What exactly should she apologize for? What’s, next? Maybe, ‘Pam Geller attacked by Islamic fanatics because her skirt is too short”?”

Old: I object to your statement but will fight to the death for your right to say it,” The Draw and Strike blog tweets. “New: I object to your statement, and if some religious fanatic kills you over it, you totally deserved it.”

“I expected that in the wake of the attempted terrorist assault on a “draw Muhammad” event in Texas, people would write dumb things about speech,” Ken White writes at the Popehat blog, “American journalists have not disappointed me:”

Responding to an equally egregious attack on Geller’s First Amendment rights from two “journalists” at the McClatchey wire service, White notes:

You can talk to me all day about how Geller is a nasty, scary nutjob, and I’m unlikely to disagree much. But that has no bearing on whether her speech is, or should be, protected. We don’t need a First Amendment to protect the soothing and the sensible.

Read the whole thing.

Past performance is no guarantee of future results:

[Regarding] the attack in Texas, we’re learning more about the gunmen who opened fire at an event where an anti-Islamic group held a contest on who could be the nastiest – draw the lastiest [sic] the nastiest cartoon of Mohamed. Do you believe that people set that kind of a mousetrap?

…I remember the old days when the Nazi Party and the Communist Party would sort of team up in a weird, sick, symbiotic way. One would have an event, and the other would attack it, you know? Well, I think she caused this trouble, and whether this trouble came yesterday, or it came two weeks from now, it’s going to be in the air as long as you taunt.

—”Chris Matthews: Pamela Geller CAUSED Texas shooting by setting a TRAP for Muslims, compares to Nazis,” transcription of video at The Right Scoop, tonight.

There is a history of retaliation for perceived slights to Islam. Back in 1989, a fatwa, or death sentence, was issued for Salman Rushdie because his book Satanic Verses was considered offensive to Islam. In 2004, we all know this story, dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on the street by a killer who considered van Gogh’s work anti-Islamic. In 2005, when a Dutch newspaper published cartoons lampooning Muhammad, the artists and publishers were met with death threats.

I want your view because you’re so optimistic on this. What do you make of what happened today? Do you think it is an odd occurrence? Or is this the start of something that we’re going to have to live with for decades? Where people — this whole thing being disaffected. Tough luck you’re disaffected. You’re living in France. The country is called France. It’s French. Liberty, equality, fraternity. Get with it. If you don’t like living there, move! This idea that somehow France has to adjust to your thinking about what constitutes blasphemy is outrageous.

—”Chris Matthews: This Idea That France Has To Adjust To Your Thinking Is Outrageous,” Real Clear Politics (with video), January 7, 2015.

Related: “Charlie Hebdo editor warns western media: ‘We can’t be the only ones to stand up for these values.’”

Because that’s what the DNC-MSM is currently attempting to do now, as the JournoList-style narrative gets cemented down. But as Jonathan S. Tobin writes at Commentary:

The editors of Charlie Hebdo, Wilders and Geller need to be defended not because they are right about everything they say, write or draw. They aren’t right about everything as is inevitable with anyone who ignores nuances and seeks to inflame rather than analyze and illuminate. But, contrary to many of the talking heads on television today, they aren’t the problem. The problem is that a variant of Islam that commands the loyalty of hundreds of millions around the globe thinks it is okay to kill those who blaspheme against Islam. It is that faith that leads terrorists to cut off the heads of non-believers and to wage a war of conquest across the Middle East that threatens the security of the region and the United States. Nor is it a coincidence that this same not insignificant splinter of Islam is also promoting vicious anti-Semitism and helped fuel a rising tide of Jew hatred across Europe.

So, just as it is offensive to speak of the slain editors of Charlie Hebdo as being unworthy of our defense because of their harsh views, it is just as inadmissible for today’s discussion to center on whether or not Wilders or Geller are too provocative or show bad taste in their attacks on Islam. That may be hard for some in the Muslim world to accept. It may also be equally hard for many on the left, both here and in Europe, who have wrongly come to accept the idea that Islam may not be offended because it is a victim of imperialism and the West or the Jews who must always be seen as the villain. But the struggle against intolerant Islamism is one that hinges on the right and even the necessity to make it clear to the world that Muslims must learn to tolerate other views of their faith. Free speech can’t be sacrificed to Islamist sensibilities. Until it is safe for Wilders and Geller to speak without massive security measures, let us hear no more about the evils of Islamophobia.

The “I support freedom of speech but…” approach is a curious one for the media to take, especially since:

But then, as Charles C.W. Cooke writes at NRO, “the Bill of Rights Would Never Pass Today.” And as we’ve seen since early 2009 when the Tea Party initially emerged, the media are very angry that “the wrong people” have the right to free speech. They have been for many years, but today gave them the opportunity to really drop the mask. The rest of us should be glad the media aren’t disguising their hatred of the First Amendment today, and very worried about what they’ll do next to weaken or eliminate it.

Update: Andy McCarthy writes, “it will not do to blame the messenger for the violence:”

The shooting last night was not caused by the free-speech event any more than the Charlie Hebdo murders were caused by derogatory caricatures, or the rioting after a Danish newspaper’s publication of anti-Islam cartoons was caused by the newspaper. The violence is caused by Islamic supremacist ideology and its law that incites Muslims to kill those they judge to have disparaged Islam.

Christians were offended by Piss Christ, but they did not respond by killing the “artist” or blowing up the exhibiting museum. If any had, they would have been universally condemned for both violating society’s laws and betraying Christian tenets. In such a case, we would have blamed the killers, not the provocative art. There can be no right against being provoked in a free society; we rely on the vigorous exchange of ideas to arrive at sensible policy. And the greater the threat to liberty, the more necessary it is to provoke.

As McCarthy writes, “You may not like the provocateurs’ methods. Personally, I am not a fan of gratuitous insult, which can antagonize pro-Western Muslims we want on our side. But let’s not make too much of that. Muslims who really are pro-Western already know, as Americans overwhelmingly know, that being offended is a small price to pay to live in a free society. We can bristle at an offense and still grasp that we do not want the offense criminalized.”

Meanwhile, the Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidallah condemns Geller in the form of defending her “Right to Hate.” I’m sure he’s equally incensed by this earlier mockery of religion — as Photoshopped by the Daily Beast.

CNN: The Bitch was Begging For It

May 4th, 2015 - 1:25 pm

“CNN’s attacks on Geller all day Monday can be summed up in just a few words: ‘The Bitch was begging for it,’” John Nolte writes at Big Journalism:

The victim-blamers at CNN are furious at Geller. First off, she’s an outspoken conservative. Secondly, this terror attack against her stepped all over CNN’s desire to re-ignite the riots in Baltimore. Now CNN has to change the topic to stories anathema to CNN’s Leftist/anarchists: Muslim as terrorists; heroic cops (in Texas, no less), and a conservative survivor/victim.

CNN’s fury against Geller started first thing morning at the hands of “New Day” co-anchor Alisyn Camerota. Forget all the good memories you have of Camerota at Fox News. She went the full-CNN against Geller, attacking the activist as a bigot who is unnecessarily provocative. Camerota’s victim-blaming was disgraceful, and Geller ran circles around her.

Would Camerota ask a rape victim if her clothes were too provocative? Of course not. But Camerota insisted the Geller’s speech-skirt was too low, that she provoked her attackers.

Not to be outdone, hideous mean girl Carol Costello grabbed the anchor baton from Camerota and brought on guest after guest to repeat CNN’s belief that Geller was begging for it.

First,  Costello brought on black-baby-mocker Dean Obeidallah, who attacked Geller for five full minutes with no specifics, only ad hominem attacks. Then a guest from the far-left Senior Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was brought on for another free-wheeling five minutes of ad hominem attacks against Geller.

Not once did Costello challenge her guests or demand specifics. Maybe she was too busy reliving the glory days of the assault on Bristol Palin.

The baton was then passed to CNN anchor Ashleigh Banfield, who dug up yet-another hater from the SPLC to repeat the same ad hominem against Geller. Not once did Banfield challenge her guest or demand specifics.

Nolte isn’t done — and likely the new puritans at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO aren’t either, given their long hatred of the right and their long de facto support of Islam.

Allahpundit-esque Exit Question: How many women in the DNC-MSM attacking Geller today for being too provocative in her tone and style have a “Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History” bumper sticker attached to their Volvos and Priuses?

Related: From Katie Pavlich at Townhall: “CAIR: We Condemn The Terror Attack In Texas, But Pamela Geller Totally Had It Coming.”

‘In Texas, We Shoot Back’

May 4th, 2015 - 1:05 pm

“Elton Simpson was the first figure identified in the latest eruption from the Religion of Peace™ — an attempted massacre at an exhibition of anti-Islamist cartoons in suburban Garland, Texas, which ended in the shooting of Simpson and his coconspirator, because Texas is where terrorists go to get out-gunned at an art show,” Kevin D. Williamson writes at NRO today. “Simpson and his pal are as dead as a tuna casserole — in Texas, we shoot back:”

We got lucky when luck wasn’t what we needed.

Simpson was, like the overwhelming majority of murderers and most of those who commit serious violent crimes, already known to the authorities. He had been investigated by the FBI on the suspicion that he was attempting to travel to Somalia to engage in jihad. He was convicted of lying to the FBI in that episode, and sentenced to . . . probation. The average sentence for a tax-related crime in these United States is 31 months in a federal penitentiary, but for attempting to join up with a gang of savages who are merrily beheading, torturing, enslaving, and raping their way around the world? Probation, and damned little subsequent oversight, apparently.

* * * * * * * *

We got lucky in Garland, but we needn’t — mustn’t — rely on luck. (As the IRA told Margaret Thatcher after its failed attempt to assassinate her: “We only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always.”) We have professionals for this sort of thing. Yes, it is tons of work to keep an eye on sundry peripatetic villains, and yes, in many cases that laborious effort will produce nothing that is going to earn any fed or local cop a plaque on his wall or a commendation. But we give these police agencies princely budgets and resplendently compensated managers, along with remarkable investigatory powers and other generous resources, to do that job.

So do the damned job.

Federal authorities weren’t doing their job on 9/11. They weren’t doing their job before the attack in Garland, either. No, nobody can stop every crime or detect every criminal, much less every jihadist. But this one had a great big flashing neon sign over his head reading “terrorist.”

If nobody saw, nobody was looking.

Read the whole thing. And if you’d like to see Kevin D. Williamson discussing the first and second Amendment and Texas while in Texas, sign up for our Bullets and Bourbons event in December, where Kevin will be speaking with my PJM colleagues Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon, Steve Green and Dr. Helen, and Ed Morrissey, Dana Loesch, and Mark Rippetoe.

Related: Regarding Elton “Lone Wolf” Simpson, here’s your official Lenny & Squiggy Trigger Warning from Australia’s Tim Blair.