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Monthly Archives: May 2009

Cheney and Obama: the Great Evasion

May 22nd, 2009 - 5:33 am

For some years now, I have been concerned that the great national debate over the terror war has been systematically misguided.  Instead of a discussion of the strategic issue, our leaders and pundits have dealt with tactical questions.  And so it goes, most recently in Thursday’s speeches from former Vice President Dick Cheney and President Barack Obama.  The strategic questions are finessed in favor of single pieces of the issue.

Neither asked, let alone answered, the big question:  what are we facing?  Who is our enemy? So neither had an answer:  what should our overall strategy be?  How will we win?  How do we measure our progress?

From the beginning we have dealt with each theatre—whether Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Europe, the homeland—as a thing in itself, something requiring its own distinct approach.  At no time, save for some general statements shortly after the 9/11 attacks, has any leader discussed the fact that we are involved in a big war, in which specific enemies are engaged against us.  We have debated military tactics, ideological imperatives (from winning hearts and minds to challenging radical Islam, to deconstructing Islam itself), nation building, methods of interrogation, the use of one sort of court or another.  But we have yet to face the central fact of the broad war, the big war, what I insist is the real war, the one that has been waged against us for decades, in which our enemies aim at our domination or destruction.

Without that debate, it is hard to craft a winning strategy, and we will continue to be jerked around from one battlefield to another, sometimes doing well, sometimes not.

To put it differently, we refuse to look evil in the face and so we fail to confront it as we should and as we eventually must.

It’s notable, and enormously disappointing, that neither Obama nor Cheney felt it necessary to talk about Iran, which is the main artifice in the war against us.  Instead Cheney, whose administration notably failed to develop a serious Iran policy, presented us with , of all things, an encomium to the CIA.  The very same agency that regularly accused him of all manner of criminal or near-criminal acts.  And Obama wrapped himself in feel-good language about the rule of law when the central issue facing this country is whether we will defeat our main enemy.  Iran.  Which was not mentioned at all.

When Iran IS mentioned, her importance is invariably contained within the nuclear issue.  We are never reminded that Iran has been waging war against us for thirty years, nor that Iranians and Iranian proxies are killing Americans every single day in the real war.  Nor do leading politicians, journalists or broadcasters see fit to inform the American people that American presidents have been negotiating with Iran’s fanatical leaders all those years, to no effect.  It is as if the past three decades never existed, and the world was created some time during the last presidential election campaign.  It is routinely claimed, by authoritative experts in and out of government, that Iran has not attacked Americans for many years.  As if we had not killed and captured Iranian military officers in Iraq and elsewhere, engaged in mayhem against our men and women.  As if Hezbollah were not an arm of the Iranian state.  As if Hamas were an independent actor, rather than an Iranian proxy.  As if Syria, in cahoots with would-be assassins and suicide terrorists in Lebanon, Iraq, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority, were an independent actor, instead of an Iranian satrapy.

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The Ancient Evil

May 14th, 2009 - 11:38 am

A friend emailed me “A List of Jewish People That Help Control the World,” from the May 9th Pakistan Daily.  They’ve got 83 names on their list, which is badly out of date (Ari Fleischer, “Dubya’s press secretary” is there, but Rahm Emanuel isn’t, for example, William Safire is still described as a NY Times columnist, and Ted Koppel is still running “Nightline”).  Depending on whether you think Rupert Murdoch is American or Australian, all are Americans, and almost all are in the news business or entertainment.  I am described as the editor of National Review.  In short, it isn’t very scholarly.  And a reader complains that “it leaves out the puppet masters – the Rothschild/Rockefeller/Warburg – et al – these are the synagogues of Satan…this interlocked family network has set up the international fiat banking scam that gives them control of between 1/3 to ½ the monetary wealth of the world.”

This publication isn’t at all Islamist.  There’s an ad on the front page for “Pakistani women,” and the photo wouldn’t pass muster at any sharia censor’s office.  The “List” is just old-fashioned antisemitism, all about how the Jews run the world, and what a terrible thing it is.

It got me to thinking about Europe, which is often described as crashing pell-mell toward a new Eurabia, dominated by Islamists.  And there is certainly good reason to be pessimistic about Western Europe, from Great Britain to Austria, with its surging Muslim birth rates and plenty of Muslim immigration.  I don’t know what Europe’s going to be like in another generation or two, even though plenty of smart people think they’ve seen its dhimmi future.  They may well be right.  But I have a somewhat different reason for pessimism, and it unfortunately has a good deal to do with America’s future as well.  It seems to me that Europeans are suffering the consequences of embracing Jew-hatred, and their shocking tolerance of radical Muslims is just one symptom of a deeper disease.

When the Europeans killed and expelled the Jews during the Holocaust, it marked a watershed in their history, from which they never recovered, just as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 marked the beginning of the end of that great Empire.  For the Jews, with their remarkable wit, energy and creativity, had truly transformed the old continent.  As Yuri Slezkine writes in his great book, The Jewish Century, the creation of modern banking, to take just one example among many, was largely a Jewish enterprise.

In the early nineteenth century, thirty of the fifty-two private banks in Berlin were owned by Jewish families; a hundred years later, many of these banks became shareholding companies with Jewish managers…In fin de siecle Vienna, 40 percent of the directors of public banks were Jews or of Jewish descent, and all banks but one were administered by Jews (some of them members of old banking clans)…Between 1873 and 1910, at the height of political liberalism, the Jewish share of the Vienna stock exchange council remained steady at about 70 percent, and in 1921 Budapest, 87.8 percent of the members of the stock exchange and 91 percent of the currency brokers association were Jews…

Ditto for education, where the Jews inverted the normal sequence (get educated, then make money, whereas the Jews made money first, then sent their kids to school), and of course science, medicine, fashion (did you know that the pushup bra is a Jewish invention?) and…war.

After the Second World War, some of the old families–the Rothschilds are the most celebrated case–remained in Europe, and have continued to flourish.  But the two countries in which Jewish genius has made its greatest post-Holocaust contribution are not in Europe.  They are Israel and the United States.  It is accordingly no accident that so many of the world’s Jew-haters focus their bile on those two countries (the Iranian rulers call them “the great Satan” and “the little Satan”).

For at least a generation after the war, public expression of Jew-hatred was taboo, and this taboo extended to Israel as well.  No doubt Jew-hatred continued to play a role in private life, but it rarely crept into public discourse; members of the war generation saw their own complicity with the Holocaust clearly enough to maintain a prudent silence.  Those days are long gone, and the Europeans’ willingness to tolerate and encourage the worst of Islamic  Jew-hatred is one part of the relapse into a broader intolerance of things Jewish, and of the Jews themselves.  The results are what you’d expect:  French and British Jews are leaving in significant numbers, and their departure signals a brain drain of some importance.  Anyone who looks at the spectacularly high numbers of Nobel prizes awarded to Jews in science and literature can easily establish that.

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What’s a Roxana Worth?

May 11th, 2009 - 6:44 am

We may not find out for a while.  But if it’s true that she’s going to be released, you can be quite sure that somebody paid something to ransom her out.  The only question is how high the price was.

There will be those who say that it was simply a friendly gesture by the mullahs, a sort of humanitarian response to our calls for “dialogue.”  But that is not the way the Islamic Republic of Iran does business.  They are of the “no tickee, no shirtee” school.

Just remember that back in the eighties, many American and Iranian officials and a variety of intermediaries held secret negotiations and made secret deals.  The world at large did not know anything about it for more than two years.

Hello Texas

May 6th, 2009 - 6:21 am

We are off to Houston this morning for our son Daniel’s graduation from Rice University, and then his commissioning in the Marine Corps.  He will be the second Marine officer in the Ledeen clan, and will start The Basic School at Quantico in late June.

Before then, we will all go to Italy for R & R, the last time for many years that we will all be together on holiday (the Marines don’t give summer vacations), so it’s an exciting time for us.

Meanwhile, my only substantive thoughts today have to do with newspapers.  I admit to a twinge of happiness whenever certain newspapers shut down.  I was kind of rooting for the Boston Globe to close, but the one I’m really waiting for is the St. Louis Post Dispatch, which once accused me of being an Israeli spy on the front page one Sunday morning early in the Iran-Contra Affair.  There is a fine bottle of champagne in the downstairs frig awaiting that happy moment!

Be well.  Back soon.