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The Air Raid Siren

August 4th, 2013 - 6:47 pm

Some commentators, irked at the fun being poked at the Obama administration’s closure of U.S. diplomatic facilities, have observed that there were numerous threat warnings during the Bush administration. Why should the Obama administration’s closure of the embassies be so objectionable? Is there not a real threat out there, especially since not only the U.S. but other Western embassies are embarked on precautions?

It is a valid criticism that deserves consideration. First of all, there probably is a terror threat out there, though its extent and nature are revealed only in contradictory clues. It is precisely in those contradictions that the jarring disconnects emerge.

Back when the Bush administration issued alerts — you can think of them as air-raid warnings — it also claimed there was a War on Terror. When there’s a war on, you expect the air-raid siren to sound. The alerts and the War on Terror were all of a piece. They fit in with each other.

However that term — the War on Terror — was described as overblown by Obama, and it is no longer used by the administration. “Al Qaeda is dead and Detroit is alive” was the way they put it. Thus the reason Obama’s air-raid siren, though validly sounded, seems ironic is that it is like getting a warning of an impending Luftwaffe raid as the VE day celebration is underway. Surely it isn’t impertinent to ask: if it’s VE day, how come the Luftwaffe is coming?

If the war isn’t over, then a lot of the decisions the administration made don’t make obvious sense.

The current threats seem centered around the Middle East and North Africa. But didn’t the administration leave the Middle East and pivot to Afghanistan because that was the locus of the problem? Didn’t they promise to close Guantanamo? Was there not a commitment to pursue “terrorists” as ordinary criminals?

But that could never work out. Not in a million years. It wasn’t meant to. That was just the outside of the confidence game.

To give the administration its due, it did not close Guantanamo. And despite the rhetoric about relying on the courts to fight terrorism with the justice system, the administration ramped up, rather than phased out, the system of whacking high-value targets with drones. Were that not enough, the administration promised to be the most “transparent” in American history. However, recent events show they’ve been spying on everyone, and that means everyone. And when this was revealed, what defense did the administration invoke? “We need to wiretap the world because there are threats out there.”

And hey, the CIA and other forces are now redeploying to — guess where? The Middle East.

So the probable truth is that there really is a War on Terror. A real threat. It is a threat that cannot adequately be dealt with by law enforcement activities, nor with grand bargains, nor with speeches in Cairo. It can only be dealt with by secret rendition, robot killers, and universal surveillance, or so it would seem. And thus, in that context, the precautions the administration is announcing — though you may disagree with their precise form — are definitely in order.

The problem is that the politicians have been caught lying again. They sold the electorate a fake narrative to get elected. “Bush is lying because the war never existed, or if it did, it is over.” But now that they’re elected, these same politicians are slowly but surely sneaking in their version of secret and disguised combat through the back door. And there he sits, unnamed, unintroduced, and eating everything on the kitchen table.

And yet they continue to act in a half-hearted and furtive fashion, like a liar caught red-handed in his falsehood and determined to deny it. As Paul Sperry writes in the NY Post: ”Why are we on alert today? Because al-Qaeda we captured either escaped or let go.”

The administration’s policy on the “War on Terror” is seriously muddled. And its efforts are suffering in consequence.

The pertinent questions: is the War on Terror over, or still on? Is al-Qaeda dead, or alive? Is it shrinking, or growing? The politician’s lips say “yes, the war is over,” but their alerts say “no.” Which do you believe?

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Top Rated Comments   
That's because they're on the attack and the Federal Government is on the defense. If we had a clear idea of our strategic goals and a sense of their center of gravity, we could do things cheaply too.

First develop petroleum and nuclear resources and beggar their funders. Second, wage intellectual war against them, not with out PC culture, but with science and rationality.

Why we could beat them without even actually resorting to violence. The reason we are using so much violence is that we must suppress the symptoms instead of treating the pathogen.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama's one and only skill is Chicago-style politics. He knows how to marshall his political resources and project a winning campaign through skullduggery and aggressive misrepresentation of opponents (i.e., character assassination).

He has few leadership skills and a deeply felt commitment to ideological leftist radicalism with all its Marxian and "post-colonial theory" delusions. This blinds him to the realpolitik in foreign policy, but also to any pragmatic assessments of the country at all, either internally or externally. His golf-course-derived solutions to problems are simply ready-made from the stuff of leftist ideology. They are theoretical at best and simply delusional most of the time.

However, due to his good political senses, he is not completely invulnerable to fear: fear of his own political demise and fear of the discrediting of his ideology. So although he declares the War on Terror to be ended, he continues to prosecute it through acts of low-intensity conflict. He must live with this internal contradiction, this internal lie, and force us to go along with it as well. And this ideological behavior is not restricted to this instance alone, but runs throughout his administration.

Recently Ariel Castro, at his trial, declared himself "not a monster" but a victim, and the women he tortured and raped, actually happy to live with him in "harmony." The depth of Castro's self-deception was revealing of how someone can live an internal lie for years and years, causing horror and pain to others in the wake. Let us hope that like those courageous women, deliverance from the monster lies ahead.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
It can be useful at this point, Wretchard, to compare and contrast the Bush and Obama approaches to the war on terror.

1. President Bush (for all his faults) acknowledged that there is, in fact, a war on terror. A war, not a law-enforcement problem. To fight it, he directed resources to the military, ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to oust the Taliban and al-qaida, and ordered the invasion of Iraq - for several reasons. (WMD, Saddams violation of the cease fire terms, deprive al-qiada of a potential regional ally, perhaps to force al -qiada to fight in Muslum lands at times and places of our choosing, and perhaps to create a democratic Muslum state that by its example would rally Muslums to an alternatiive to Islamic Fascism).

2. You can agree or disagree with some or all of the elements of President Bushs approach, but he was honest with the American people, (at the time, even Hillary Clinton was convinced of the evidence of WMD, for example). He at least had a strategy to fight a war, and used a great deal of his political capital to carry that out. Frankly, I did not agree with that strategy, I would have preferred the Genghis Khan method of counter-terrorism - but President Bush was the president, and his actions were vetted by the American people in their votes.

The results of Presdients Bushs approach were to remove Islamic Fascist governments from Iraq and Afghanistan, convince Libya to give up her own WMD's, and eliminate many thousands of terrorists. The US might not have been loved in the Islamic world, but she was at least feared to some extent.

3. So far as I can tell, the Obama strategy consists to telling people whatever they want to hear so he can win elections, doing the absolute minimum possible with military force, and gutting the defense budget to fund social welfare programs. And oh yes, allying with the Muslum Brotherhood, apparently in the belief that if Muslum fanatics come to power in enought Arab countries they will be pacified.

The result of this is to convince friends and enemies alike that the US is a harmless enemy (except to very unlucky individual terrorists) and a useless ally. Today the US is neither loved nor feared, just militarily weaker and increasingly treated with contempt.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (132)
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Al Qaeda is alive....it's the brain of this administration's foreign policy that's dead.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Al Qaeda is dead and Detroit is alive”

Now that election is over, Detroit is i bankruptcy and there's a glam shot of a terrorist in the cover of Rolling Stone.

Calling it the war on terror is akin to calling WWII the war in blitzkrieg. Terror is the weapon, islam is the enemy. As GW Bush said, "We are not at war with islam." Well that my be Mr President, but islam is at war with us and it has been for 700 years. The current skirmish was kicked off in full force in 1979 when the Embassy in Tehran was attacked. Administration after administration has refused to read the islamic texts and face the fact that islam and freedom are incompatible. We were hard hit on 9/11/01 by primarily Saudi's here on expired student visas. And GW Bush's response was to issue more student visa to middle eastern 'students" and let more islamic "refugees" into the U.S.

And now Obama is working on our total defeat. Why not just surrender now?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
ForTheWest

“...you say, absurdly and insultingly to intelligence, "Christianity is the same".”

I DID NOT SAY THAT! I NEVER SAID THAT! YOU PUT WORDS IN MY MOUTH, YOU FOOL!

You'd ban me. So what? I wasn't going to visit your site anyway.

Is Ibn Warraq a “postmodernist” for questioning the validity of Muslim scriptures? Hell, were contemporary Christians in the seventh and eighth centuries “postmodernists” for doing the same? To compare al-Qaeda to People's Temple is NOT to equate Islam and Christianity. Do you know what Jim Jones did? Do you know what theology he espoused?

Don't drink the Kool Aid.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You know what? You're really rude. There's a maximum 4 posts per thread rule here, and most people try very hard to adhere to it. You've made 13 posts so far on just this one thread, which I consider trying to monopolize the conversation, and you used your last post to bawl personal insults at another poster. I'd ban you too, just for showing off.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
FWIW...You are not alone in your reluctance to drink from the consensual Kool Aid pot Alexis.

I don't particularly relish the damage to my soul that would result if I played any part -however small and insignificant- in relegating a billion people to destruction. I've learned too much about the siren song of total-itarianism to fall for that.

Besides, I was taught that spraying and praying indiscriminately into a crowd was not the optimal tactic for dispatching an enemy. Aim small, hit small and all that.

~said whilst ducking badly-aimed ad hominems~
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
A repost of a comment from a blog long ago.

Pt 1.

The current fashionable attitude amongst the atheist cultural elite which essentially lumps all devoutly religious people together is the problem, not the answer.
The psychiatric term “projection” leaps to mind whenever I hear some atheist or agnostic, or even a member of one of the more exsanguinated and emasculated forms of Christianity or Judaism, attempt to draw parallels between fundamentalist Christians and radical Islam. It is the easy thing to do, and tempting, to conflate the Islamists and the religiously zealous of other faiths, but it will always be inaccurate, since there are major and irreconcilable differences apparent to those who attempt observe these faiths rationally and without bigotry towards religion in general and Christianity in particular.
First, at least in Europe and the U.S., the objections to Christian fundamentalists are almost always based on social, economic, and education industry pseudointellectual snobbery, rather than mature, logically thought-out philosophical arguments or dispassionate, accurate assessments of facts on the ground.
I am as likely as anyone to prefer attractive, witty, wise, composed sophisticates who are cosmopolitan and informed (and the bulk of devoutly Christian people fit into that category) to angry, fat, envious, ignorant, doctrinaire people (and it should be obvious that plenty of atheists that fit that description). Nevertheless, devout Christians (like devout Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc.) are not, despite a few silly forays into educational policy that are basically defensive in nature, and despite a few extremely isolated, statistically insignificant crackpots, a threat to the beliefs or values of anyone outside of their communities, nor to anyone’s life or limb. Even their most proselytizing groups are not prone to using widespread organized force to spread or maintain their doctrines, and have not been so to any meaningful extent for centuries.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Pt. 2:

Second, the essential nature of Islam as a faith is different than that of other religions. The extreme austerity and abstraction of Islam, combined with the arbitrary justifications for otherwise immoral conduct brought about by what is an attempt to duplicate precisely the personality and life of Mohammed, create a contradiction that is unique among religions, and makes for a much more dangerous set of conditions than those produced in any other faith groups including and especially Christianity. Among world religions, only Islam has such a high percentage of members who are aggressively, outwardly directed in their willingness to expand by the use of violence and oppression – not as last means, but as a core tactic – and are dominated by the need to seek out and, as matter not just of practice but of organizing principle, destroy all evidence of nonconformity.
In truth, the nature of Islam, with its arbitrary, merciless, and impersonal god, resembles, ironically, a kind of formalized atheism more than anything else. Like atheism it is intolerant, condescending, devoid of humility, and often militant (see atheism in the USSR or Red China or North Korea). Like atheism, Islam is a preening, conceited, self-superior, pseudointellectual ‘ethical culture’ combined with a set of what are, in practice, unethical moral precepts – and like atheism, these memes cannot be unbundled. Much as there has never been or can be a truly free, democratic, and benevolent atheist nation, so too has there never been a truly benevolent Islamist one, and I suspect there never will be.
A dispassionate look at the facts reveals that Islam, especially (but not only) radical Islam, is more like atheism than it is, despite its pretensions, like a religion. Most Muslims refuse to deal with this truth. Conversely, atheists demonize Christianity in an attempt to deal with their own inability to honestly resolve any cognitive dissonance created by their own philosophical similarities to Islam. This is the ultimate reason for projection by atheists in their attempts to draw an unfounded confluence between Muslim extremists and Christianity – instead of seeing the log in their own eye. This is also why trying to draw a link between radical Islam and fundamentalist Christians is not the answer.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let the various factions/denominations of Islam have the un-civil reformation war they've been itching for. Let them centralize themselves so we might better contain the consolidation. Ignore the hippies and let Allah sort his peoples out...Let them own it. Let their blood be on their own hands.

Then we might be better able to sort from amongst the survivors who haven't yet knocked some sense into themselves and may still dare try -or be capable of- attacking us. Iraq was an ambitious if unsuccessful start to a 'stratagery' that might have elevated a more rational faction but...It was what it was - which was a damn sight more rational than the bumblingly blind 'pin the tail OF the donkey' game our mis-leadership is playing now...And a damn sight more humane than nuking a hundred million people and touching off the soul-killing global war that wretchard's conjectures outline.

Alas, it's unfortunate that the technologies of today enable the globalization of so much indiscriminate annihilation...If only there was some international organization of nations that could/would prevent bad players from procuring weapons of mass destruction.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not much point in comparing the violence of yesteryear Christianity with the violence of yesteryear Islam. It's today that counts and today's Islam is hardly a religion of peace. Today's Christianity is not going to war against selected sects and killing large numbers of fellow Christians.

Yes they say that Mohammed’s camel was a lady camel, was very smart and Mohammed was very fond of her. Nonetheless, millions of good people who call themselves Moslems can't or won't recognise the violence that their religion inspires in a sizable minority of today’s fellow believers.

But the real problem for America lies at home. This National Review Online article by Kevin Williamson https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/353797/print nails down the main adversary to the America that we used to know.

As Williamson writes "Barack Obama’s administration is unmoored from the institutions that have long kept the imperial tendencies of the American presidency in check. That is partly the fault of Congress, which has punted too many of its legislative responsibilities to the president’s army of faceless regulators, but it is in no small part the result of an intentional strategy on the part of the administration. He has spent the past five years methodically testing the limits of what he can get away with, like one of those crafty velociraptors testing the electric fence in Jurassic Park. Barack Obama is a Harvard Law graduate, and he knows that he cannot make recess appointments when Congress is not in recess. He knows that his HHS is promulgating regulations that conflict with federal statutes. He knows that he is not constitutionally empowered to pick and choose which laws will be enforced. This is a might-makes-right presidency, and if Barack Obama has been from time to time muddled and contradictory, he has been clear on the point that he has no intention of being limited by something so trivial as the law."


36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not enough Americans have broken through the psychological barriers that let them see the Administration for what it is. The denials continue about Obama's upbringing, his voluntary associations, his statements, his policies..first call as President to Abbas, first trip to Egypt (or was it Turkey?); insistence on MB attending his Cairo speech, a signal to Mubarak that Obama sought his end, the 'tight' relationship with Erdogan, an 'Islamist.' (Erdogan and his gov't blame the snuffed-out uprising/protests in Turkey on Jews).

The denial about his beliefs and ideology is accompanied by the denial (even stronger) about whether or not he is legally qualified to be President. This issue then becomes a lever for 'moderate conservatives' to strengthen their position at the expense of the 'crazies.' But what do you do when the 'crazies' are right?

To put Rice in charge of protecting the embassies when she went front-and-center to shill for persecution of Nakoula is perfect symbolism. Power at the UN is perfect. Kerry replacing Hillary is perfect. Panetta, Petraeus, Hayden and the others departed with secrets intact. Key generals have been bureaucratically purged, while the 'moderate conservatives' seize on Snowden, who becomes symbolic lifeline to the American that was. That is, if Snowden is a terrible traitor, then Obama is koshered and all is well.

The Admin exploits this beautifully. They are protecting the embassies at all costs. Rice is portrayed in news reports as 'distraught' that Benghazi might recur. Obama plays a golfing good-ol-boy. Only Bill Murray is missing.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Did Akbar the Great hijack Islam when he abolished the hated jizya tax in the Moghul Empire? Did Sufis hijack Islam when they promoted mysticism as a higher spiritual authority than the Koran? Did Abdul Rashid Dostum hijack Islam by drinking whiskey and watching Bollywood movies? Are Turks in Istanbul hijacking Islam when they march in political demonstrations in favor of drinking beer? Does Malala Yousafzai hijack Islam when she takes a stand against the Taliban?

In all honesty, I am not one to say. Only God knows who is or isn't true to his own religion. To claim that someone is or is not hijacking a religion is to establish one's self as a spiritual authority on that religion. To ask whether al-Qaeda is part of Islam is like asking whether People's Temple is part of Christianity. Technically, and very technically, the answer to both questions would be yes. In reality, though, each group worships the ideal of “revolutionary suicide”. Whether or not they are truly Muslim or Christian, both al-Qaeda and People's Temple represent diabolical utopianism.

Many, and probably most, Muslims are neither extremist nor moderate. They are religiously inert. They may go through the motions of being Muslim, but they neither know much about Islam nor care. It is precisely such inertia that enrages Islamists more than anything else on Earth. It is precisely such inertia that is our biggest weapon against Islamists.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mohammed was a violent maker of war. He preached it, and practised it, and put it in the Koran and Hadiths. Islam is fundamentally violent. Muslims, in the name of this religion, and in complete consistency with what Mohammed founded, flew planes into the World Trade Center in 2001.

Islam will inspire such evil until the day it is gone from Earth.

"Doubt this", you preach, like a good postmodernist, aware that anything can be doubted. "Look", you say, absurdly and insultingly to intelligence, "Christianity is the same".

Well, I'm a fool for talking to you. If it were my site, I'd take an action in the name of defending our civilization.

I'd ban you.

As it is, other fools can continue to talk to you if they want to keep it up, but not me. I have sufficient faith in my ability to draw correct conclusions to ignore you.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
"each group worships the ideal of “revolutionary suicide”"

Righto. A is like B. Mush.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Koran bans pederasty, but that doesn't keep it from being an integral part of Islamic culture, particularly in northwest Pakistan. Although Muslim imams generally regard Muslim scriptures as supreme, their opinion is far from universal in Islamic culture. Some Muslims regard mysticism as more important. Others get swept up in Islamized pagan rites to honor dead Sufis. Yet others worship the might of conquerors. Others find Islam useful as a means to practice temporary marriage. And others merely see Islam as a label analogous to what soccer team one is rooting for.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please cite the ban on pederasty....

Mo' proscribed HOMOSEXUALITY.

Islamic pederasts are ten-a-penny in Afghanistan. Because of the aged of the 'beloved' they don't consider such behavior to be homosexual.

That's some rationalization, to be sure, but that's the way they roll.

Such primitive mores are the natural consequence of polygamy. The older men are hoarding all of the marriage age women.

Sometimes this has been achieved by taking the 'bride' as a three-year old child -- and waiting.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Snowden's revelations might have provided an MRI of the "dots" and "connections" - the invisible paths we are watching, and just to make sure his Gantt chart was accurate, somebody just lit off bait messages to illuminate the exposures. Like ant bait, if you put the Terro here, the ants go crazy.
Forgive me if someone has already made this elementary observation.

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
War on terror? What a joke! There is a global war with those who follow Muhammad. There are even training camps inside these United States being protected by the Constitution.

Don't close any Embassies, even if it is a false flag op to get attention away from all the phony scandals, reinforce the Embassies with extra Marines, squad automatics, and M-60's, intersect the lines of fire, and ready support.

Place any attack on video, and after the total destruction of the Islamic enemies, display the victory video on pay for view to help pay down the debt.

BZO, or Die!
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Last I recall this much excitement was when Rice was running to every network that had fewer than 6 letters in their name in order to give her rendition - now this. In spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on embassy security, it seems there is no in between - they're running for their lives (or more likely Obama's political future). There's little doubt that the escaped prisoners and their abettors are filling the air waves with bravados and promises to make things "right". Now that everyone in the WH is playing 007, they've decided that secrets don't count, someone apparently just heard Zawahiri on a cell phone. This is all very reminiscent of Golda Meir and the Yom Kippur War. All we know for sure is this WH will never let a crisis go to waste.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
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