The FBI last week thwarted a planned Christmas terror attack. This is good news. It represents more of the winning that President Trump promised in the terribly named “Global War on Terror” when he ran for office. As usual, however, the mainstream media’s account misses the mark and fails to name the real culprit for the attempted terror attack. Always desperate to avoid speaking the truth when it bucks the preferred narrative, the press claims not only was the 26-year-old Modesto, California-native, Everitt Aaron Jameson, a “lone-wolf” terrorist but he was also a former United States Marine!
Most reports on the planned Christmas Day attack on Pier 39 in San Francisco buried the relevant details of Jameson’s conversion to Islam and his professed support for the Islamic State and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Instead, the media have stressed the fact that Jameson was briefly in the United States Marine Corps—as if this man’s deplorable behavior can be chocked up to some kind of latent psychological trauma in the armed services. Because, you know, washing out of boot camp turns young men into monsters . . . or something.
Then the media insists that Jameson was a “lone-wolf”—just like those pesky right-wing terrorists, who roam the American countryside, looking for some minorities to butcher with their “bump stock assault rifles!”
So, don’t worry folks, all of Jameson’s repeated public professions of love and adulation for ISIS and its leadership; all of his public castigations of the Trump Administration for its recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, they play no part in Jameson’s attempted terror plot. No, his Marine background must be why he’s a “lone-wolf” terrorist. Of course, being a lone-wolf terrorist does not in itself explain the purpose of any planned attack. Just because someone acts alone does not mean that they are not acting out of fealty or love for a group or ideology. But, the media never lets a good narrative go to waste.
Oh, and if Jameson’s radical politics did play any role in his development of the terror plot in San Francisco, it was Trump’s fault, because Jameson blamed Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Probably Trump should have considered that his decision might set off people like Jameson before making his decision, the media explain.
If you understand the particulars of this attempted attack, you begin to see that Islamism was at its very heart.
We know that Jameson was inspired by the October 31 ISIS attack in New York City (an attack that was inspired by other ISIS attacks in the West). It’s clear these ISIS terror plots are building on each other in ways similar to the escalation of al-Qaeda’s attacks throughout the 1990s, which culminated in 9/11. This is a pattern that not only must be acknowledged publicly, but it is one that should be reinforced so that everyone—not just our law enforcement people—can be aware of their surroundings at all times.
Our media shamelessly opts instead to focus on Jameson’s background as a Marine, playing into the narrative perpetuated by pop culture that America’s veterans are a bunch of broken psychopaths.
Fact is, San Francisco’s Pier 39 is a tantalizing “soft” target for terrorists. After all, America’s consumerism has been a serious bugaboo of most Islamists, so targeting a popular shopping spot is not surprising (I would hope security precautions will be taken at America’s other leading shopping malls in the aftermath of this attack, at least through the holiday season).
Further, San Francisco is not only a major city, but it is also one of America’s most liberal cities. More than anything, Islamic extremists are at war with Western progressivism—the ideology that, in their eyes, perpetuates profligate sexuality and overt drug use; seeks to elevate women to an equal footing; is militantly secular; supports globalization; and continues to place the United States at loggerheads with the Muslim world. San Francisco is a perfect symbol for such an attack. That the attack was planned to occur on Christmas allowed for ISIS to target the other, more conservative part of the United States, which is generally Christian.
The recent collapse of ISIS’s physical caliphate, and the Trump Administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, are galvanizing would-be terrorists here in the United States. In fact, the letter that the FBI uncovered in Jameson’s apartment ends with the ominous declaration that, “We have penetrated and infiltrated your disgusting country.”
Does this sound like the narrative that the media is broadcasting today? Does any of this have to do with either Jameson’s background as a Marine or his loner personality? Of course not.
Rather than cogently warning the public of the potential threat by providing background and context, the mainstream media has yet again abdicated its responsibility to inform the people, and has opted instead to take the often-traveled route of political correctness. In this case, a committed Islamist—swearing fealty to the Islamic State—plotted to conduct a mass-casualty terror attack in San Francisco on Christmas Day. It is neither the first nor the last such attempt.
Those are the facts. Instead of being told that, however, we’ve been told that the FBI prevented an angry ex-Marine from perpetrating the same kind of attacks that right-wing zealots carry out against minorities every day in America, because Everitt Aaron Jameson was a lone-wolf.
The media never lets a good narrative go to waste.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Brandon J. Weicherthttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngBrandon J. Weichert2017-12-26 13:38:462017-12-26 21:52:02Never Let a Good Narrative Go to Waste
Americanism • Center for American Greatness • China • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Deterrence • Donald Trump • Economy • Energy • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • Middle East • military • Obama • Post • Russia • Terrorism
Administrations by law must publish strategic manifestoes.
Indeed, the Goldwater–Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of October 4, 1986 required every subsequent government to issue periodic and formal national strategic strategy blueprints.
Most of these documents dating from the Reagan Administration are blah-blah boilerplate announcements of the obvious. They offer platitudinous promises of a sober internationalist United States leading the world in promoting global institutions while using its preeminent strength to partner with allies to counter perceived rising threats, such as rogue nations or terrorism. And so on.
The Trump Administration has just released its first national security strategy.
But to be frank, it is unlike most all prior manifestoes. The contrast with the 2015 Obama doctrine is stunning—the disconnect emblematic in its unabashed preamble that “This National Security Strategy puts America first.”
The Obama Administration doctrine’s emphases on global institutions and liberal values also marked a clear departure from past norms. It tended to redefine existential dangers not so much as hostile military powers, but rather as global natural threats (e.g., global warming, AIDS, and Ebola) and innate human prejudices (demeaning the Other, and biases against minority and LGBT communities). In the 2015 document, the words “jihad” or “jihadism” never appear (it pops up nearly 30 times in the twice-as-long Trump outline), but “violent extremism” showed up often in the widest sense of “root causes” and “home-grown” varieties.
The theme of the Trump document is American restoration. In Reaganesque fashion, the administration sees itself as similarly overturning an era of strategic stagnation, analogous to the self-doubt, self-imposed sense of decline, and thematic malaise of the Carter era. Instead, the “strategic confidence” and “principled realism” of the Trump Administration will purportedly snap America back out its Obama recessional in the same manner that Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s.
If the United States is not strong, then the world order will weaken: “America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations.”
The document gives short shrift to the idea of a utopian global community of fellow nations seeking to follow similar progressive agendas. (The United Nations is mentioned briefly in passing just twice). Instead, there is a Manichean subtext that the beleaguered Western-inspired world is, and will always be, under assault by its antitheses. The proverbial free world cannot survive such an existential struggle if a United States—plagued by self-doubt and hollowed out economically and spiritually—proves wanting.
Yet the Trump national security strategy—likely the work mostly of H. R. McMaster and his deputies Nadia Schadlow and Dina Powell—is just as antithetical to the 2002 George W. Bush vision that called for preemptive measures to stop regimes that posed threats on the horizon to the U.S. world order. And the Trump doctrine says little or nothing about nation-building or seeking to remake the world in the image of a consensual, free-market democracy like the United States, which then would spend blood and treasure in liberating the unfree and poor, and thereby lessening world tensions.
Strategic Confidence, Principled Realism, and Hard-Power Neither soft-power globalists nor nation-building interventionists will like this hybrid manifesto of hard-power restrained only by careful calibration of what is perceived to be in America’s national interest.
Trumpism here is pitched in realistic but not cynical terms. The United States cannot partner with, or lead, anyone if it is not preeminently strong—strength being defined as economic robustness, military wherewithal, strategic confidence, and spiritual renewal. There is neither a notion here of strategic patience and lead-from-behind hesitance nor of taking out a strongman in a Libyan-style optional attack.
American “don’t-tread on-me” strength that alone deters bad actors can only originate at home. But it is hardly preordained that America will always remain the preeminent power on the planet. Rather exceptional strength rests first on protecting the homeland. Here the Trump administration is not shy about doubling down on its efforts to secure borders and to recalibrate a sane immigration policy to preclude terrorists from failed states of the Middle East entering the United States. Legal and measured immigration is obviously also seen as helpful to U.S. economic recovery and the rule of law.
Much of the doctrine, also unlike most previous documents, focuses on economic robustness, defined as a restoration of American industrial growth emanating from not just free, but fair trade, rebuilding U.S. infrastructure, creating jobs, and barreling ahead with fossil fuel production. The latter gains prominence not just as a source of wealth, but also as a guarantee of American independence from energy producers in unfriendly regions of the globe. Trade deals, military sales, and two-way-street strategic alliances are factored into rebuilding American strength in a manner, again, never quite so explicitly delineated before in national security blueprints. China is the obvious beneficiary when the United States has boxed itself into agreements that retard economic growth and thus require military retrenchment.
There is none of the frequent American shyness in understating our enormous influence in the world. Yet the Jacksonianism of the Trump doctrine is not bluster, rather it is confidence couched in fear of losing what we are—with eleventh-hour warnings to snap out of our lethargy and re-enter the great game of global competition.
The doctrine unapologetically promises to restore both the quality and quantity of American weaponry, conventional and nuclear, and to increase the numbers of U.S. military personnel. How such huge new military outlays will be possible in an age of tax cuts, infrastructure investments, and an existing $20 trillion in debt is not spelled out in detail, but apparently assumed in supply-side visions of radically increased economic growth. Good luck with that calculus.
From those three foundations—securing the homeland, renewing economic vitality, and beefing-up the armed forces—supposedly Trump’s America can once again exercise real global leadership, implicitly defined by helping our similarly minded allies and deterring or indeed hurting our enemies.
Another way of appreciating the radical departure from the foreign policy of 2009-16 is to appreciate what is notin the Trump Doctrine. The 2015 Obama document focused on climate change (e.g., “and the ground-breaking commitment we made with China to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”). In contrast, the Trump doctrine makes not a single mention of “climate change.” Instead, the document pledges U.S. leadership to counter “an anti-growth energy agenda that is detrimental to U.S. economic and energy security interests.”
It adds, “Given future global energy demand, much of the developing world will require fossil fuels, as well as other forms of energy, to power their economies and lift their people out of poverty. The United States will continue to advance an approach that balances energy security, economic development, and environmental protection. The United States will remain a global leader in reducing traditional pollution, as well as greenhouse gases, while expanding its economy.”
Translated, that means fracking, the Keystone and Dakota pipelines, and new drilling on federal lands will enrich the U.S., weaken energy exporting rivals like Iran and Russia, and free up American strategic options from dependence on foreign energy sources. It assumes without comment that American energy producers are the most environmentally sensitive in the world.
The Obama document was a progressive American manifesto that reflected an assumed globalist consensus. In such a worldview, the real threats were again protectionism rather than asymmetrical partnerships like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), insensitivities toward the LGBT community, a warming planet, and race/class/gender oppression.
The Trump document does not assume a shared global agenda worth emulating. And while it is not an illiberal document, the 2017 national security strategy assumes that Thucydidean fear, honor, and perceived self-interest will always drive rival powers to dethrone the postwar order of consensual government, consumer capitalism, and individual liberty that are protected not by the United Nations, but only by the United States and its loyal allies of like mind: “We learned the difficult lesson that when America does not lead, malign actors fill the void to the disadvantage of the United States. When America does lead, however, from a position of strength and confidence and in accordance with our interests and values, all benefit.”
Assuaging Americans’ Fears
In sum, the Trump NSS takes a tragic rather than therapeutic view of human nature, and assumes that all nations gravitate to powerful states with principles, and retract from weaker and bullying powers.
The ultimate purpose of all strategy is to advance a nation’s self-interest in the broadest military, social, and economic sense, which ultimately translates into first keeping it safe. If you were to ask average Americans what scares them the most in today’s frightening world, they might likely answer that open borders allow almost anyone to enter the United States without audit. An unhinged North Korea could soon send a nuclear bomb into an American city. Cyber-attacks might wipe out everyone’s computer data. A rising China seems poised to displace the United States as the world’s economic leader. And relentless terrorists could pull off another 9/11-like attack.
The Trump Administration seeks to reassure Americans by offering answers to those fears. It will secure the borders of the United States. It will treat cyber warfare like age-old conflict and thus seek to deter and to punish with like attacks any would be cyber enemies. It will build a reliable missile defense system and recalibrate our strategic nuclear arsenal. It will redefine trade and economic policy to maintain American financial and industrial preeminence. And it will take the gloves off in retaliating against jihadists abroad.
What will Trump’s army of critics, here and abroad, make of the document? No doubt, they will see it as a relic of big power rivalries, ignorant of real threats such as unsustainable Western consumerism and industrialism, and without allegiance to global values of diversity and tolerance. Trump, in their view, does not get it that the insidious dangers to the world are Westernized lifestyles that heat the planet while seeing problems through exclusively Western lenses.
Finally, how might the Trump national security architects reply to that criticism? That before one can spread such values to the world and encourage ecumenical ecology and morality, one first must stop savages like ISIS from incinerating the innocent, keep Portland safe from an incoming North Korean missile, ensure that Iran does not get a bomb, and prevent oil from being a weapon of our enemies, China from bullying its neighbors into a Pan-Asian alliance aimed at the United States, and the next generation of Mohamed Attas from entering the United States.
The 2017 NSS first sees the world as it is rather than as it should be someday—a realism without which there can be no idealism.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Victor Davis Hansonhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngVictor Davis Hanson2017-12-18 09:54:502017-12-19 09:39:08A Jacksonian Manifesto
America • Asia • Center for American Greatness • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Immigration • Middle East • Post • Religion of Peace • Terrorism
New York City on Monday suffered another terror attack at the hands of a young Muslim man who swore fealty to the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham (better known as ISIS). The 27-year-old Bangladeshi national strapped a pipe bomb on himself and attempted to detonate it at the New York City Port Authority in the middle of morning rush hour.
Three people were injured (mercifully, there were no deaths), and the would-be bomber, identified as Akayed Ullah, was taken to a nearby hospital.
It is a good thing for New York City and the country that the terrorist wannabe did not understand how to build a proper pipe bomb. If he had, there likely would be many people dead and maimed, much economic damage, and another wave of fear would grip the city and the nation.
Kill the “Cyber Caliphate”
Since the physical manifestation of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” in northern Iraq and Syria was destroyed, many ISIS fighters who avoided being killed or captured in battle are returning to their “homes” in Europe, Asia, Africa, and even the United States. Their intentions are not to settle down and lead quiet lives of recompense; they are seeking vengeance for the destruction of their caliphate. Therefore, the New York Port Authority terror attack is not an anomaly. Rather, it is a portent of things to come.
Fact is, the Islamic State’s all-powerful internet presence, the “cyber caliphate,” remains nearly unmolested. Information warfare and social media propaganda have been the most pernicious component of the Islamic State’s global agenda. This cyber caliphate is responsible for wooing many young, ideologically vulnerable Western-educated Muslim men (and some women) over the cause.
A few years ago, these radicalized elements would take off for more violent pastures in the Middle East. Today, however, these individuals no longer have anywhere to go. So they either stay at home (where they intend to terrorize their fellow countrymen) or they move to a country with more targets of opportunity.
Because of this, destroying the cyber caliphate must be the top priority for the Trump Administration.
Terrorism Map is Changing
Keep in mind: the attacker in New York City was a young Muslim man from Bangladesh. In the summer of 2016, Bangladeshsuffered a terrible terror attack in which young ISIS fighters stormed a café frequented by Westerners in the capital of Dhaka. When it was all over, 29 people were dead, including 20 hostages, two police officers, two staff, and five gunmen.
The Dhaka slaughter highlighted a large—and growing—problem that had mostly been ignored: the rise of jihadist terror networks throughout south Asia. Of course, we all know about the problems Americans face in Afghanistan; we are mostly familiar with the woes of Pakistan, but Americans don’t know much about the jihadist threat beyond those countries in southern Asia—from Pakistan and Bangladesh to Indonesia and the Philippines.
The Islamic State has spread beyond the Middle East—and continues to exist, even as the caliphate created by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been incinerated in Iraq and Syria. ISIS elements exist in the borderlands between Pakistan and Afghanistan. In fact, President Trump in April allowed American forces in Afghanistan to drop America’s largest non-nuclear bomb on a mountain in southeastern Afghanistan that was teeming with ISIS fighters. These fighters infiltrated Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan.
For nearly two years, ISIS elements have competed with al-Qaeda for influence and control in Southern Asia. As this has occurred, the mostly young and unemployed (though devout) Muslim populations of these countries have become radicalized.
To compound matters, a Cuban refugee told me last year that when he was attempting to enter the United States, he was made to wait in Trinidad until the State Department could process his asylum request. While waiting there, he came into contact with scores of mostly young Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Nigerian migrants who were looking to enter the United States through the broken border with Mexico (since Trinidad is an unofficial part of the route that most illegal immigrants from Asia and Africa take to get into the United States).
Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria are home to not only Islamic extremism but also to the particular brand of violent Salafist extremism the ISIS espouses. And while we can shrug and say all of those migrants must be looking for work, at least some of them are likely seeking entry into the United States for nefarious purposes. Thus, the Trump Administration’s controversial travel moratorium seems all the more sensible today.
Help South Asia
The Philippine city of Marawi was effectively annexed by the Islamic State earlier this year. A five-week siege ensued, which ended in October with the destruction of the ISIS force by government troops. Yet the fact that ISIS could claim a city in the far-off Philippines—and hold it for as long as it did—is telling. And just because Marawi was liberated does not mean the ISIS threat to the Philippines is over. Far from it.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous (and relatively stable) Muslim country is suffering through a drastic increase in Islamic extremism, as ISIS fighters flee the Mideast and enter that country intending to bring their jihad to a new land.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh and several other South Asian states are being subsumed by a new wave ISIS-style terrorism. African countries, too, such as Libya, Egypt, Nigeria, and Niger are experiencing an increase in ISIS related activity. Yet the United States remains focused on Iraq and Syria.
Clearly, the fight against ISIS has shifted away from the Mideast. President Trump’s forthcoming National Security Strategy memo rightly focuses on boosting homeland security. But the president’s national security team should also intensify its support of Asian governments where Islamic extremism is on the rise. Further, the United States should expand its special forces activities in Africa and Asia, in an effort to neutralize the Islamic State’s threat before it becomes a real problem, as it did in northern Iraq and Syria in 2014.
We must never again allow for the Islamic State to rise anywhere in the world. America is winning against ISIS, but the fight is far from over.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact email@example.com.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Brandon J. Weicherthttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngBrandon J. Weichert2017-12-11 11:48:322017-12-11 11:48:32The Port Authority Attack is a Snapshot of Our Future
America • Americanism • civic culture/friendship • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Identity Politics • Immigration • Post • Progressivism • Religion and Society • Religion of Peace • self-government • The Constitution • The Culture • The Left
America’s progressive elite has disdain for Americans who refuse to embrace their globalist, “borderless world,” and anti-American agenda. Consequently, the progressives have decided to replace the American people with people better suited to help enact their ambitions.
For a glimpse into the future they have planned for you, watch the video below of a stroll through an American mall—not just any mall, but the Mall of America—where you can contemplate that future where it has already arrived.
Or consider what the editorial board of the Los Angeles Timeshad to say about the University of California/Janet Napolitano scandal. A state audit found UC President Janet Napolitano hiding a $175 million slush fund both from auditors and from the UC Board of Regents. But according to the Times what she did should be overlooked because of the good she has done: “She has been a strong leader for the university during troubled financial and political times, resisting efforts to weaken the university’s independence with a welcome level of toughness and dedicating herself to protecting the university’s undocumented students.” In other words, Napolitano deserves a pass because she protected university students in this country illegally.
Before her selection to head the University of California, Napolitano occupied the office of secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration. In that role, she demonstrated her fitness for her new job at the university by working to enact the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and encouraged “prosecutorial discretion” (meaning they were free to break our immigration laws with impunity) for so-called “dreamers.”
Speaking of California, a jury in San Francisco last week acquitted the illegal alien who murdered Kate Steinle. His acquittal sent a clear message to people living in America illegally—and to American citizens, too. It shows that a particular class of noncitizens have privileges beyond those of mere American citizens. As an illegal, “forced” as the progressives say “to live in the shadows,” Steinle’s killer was an oppressed person. He therefore deserved the mercy of being permitted to live in a “sanctuary city” like San Francisco, even though he had been deported five times before, because he was oppressed by the “white privilege” of Americans like Steinle and her family.
Many, perhaps most, of the Americans who voted for Donald Trump have, I believe, decided that all this is being done on purpose. Simple incompetence can’t explain what Janet Napolitano and the other progressives are up to. Mere political ignorance cannot explain what those Americans who take their cues from the progressive elite are doing. They have contempt for our common sense belief that the laws and borders must be enforced. And they prefer to disregard us than to exclude potentially hostile foreigners. Indeed, these elites want a country composed of more people who owe their entry to folks like them.
What is going on is easy enough to understand, though it is also at the same time incredible and unbelievable. America’s progressive elite and their followers are fed up with the failure of ordinary Americans to get with the progressive program. Americans who want to continue to live as Americans have no place in the future the progressives are determined to create. Those Americans must be submerged and driven to the margins in the country that once was theirs. In a country where the people are sovereign, progressives have decided that if they can’t persuade the people to go along with them, their strategy will be to replace them with new people.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Robert Curryhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngRobert Curry2017-12-04 12:44:232017-12-04 12:44:23Encouraging a Migration Explosion
America • Americanism • Big Media • Center for American Greatness • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Deterrence • Germany • History • Intelligence Community • Post • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Culture • The Left
Every time some Muslim bombs, beheads, shoots, runs over, and otherwise terrorizes the likes of us in New York, Paris, London, Madrid, Boston, Barcelona, San Bernardino, or any other Western city, the Euro-American ruling class asks whether he acted in concert with international organizations. Decades ago, it asked about connections with states. It breathes a collective sigh of relief when, most of the time, it learns the terrorist had “self-radicalized,” mostly through the internet.
Thinking of such terrorists as “idiots”—unorganized, capable only of small harm—gives a false sense of safety. Why? Contemporary Euro-American society protects terrorists from those upon whom they prey, and provides all they need to kill and multiply. Given such a paradisiacal environment, terrorists need neither genius nor organization to wreak havoc. The idiots are not the “self-radicalized” terrorists, but the ones who think that their lack of obvious connections to international organizations makes us, somehow, less endangered.
To understand why the ubiquitous “terrorism-by-idiots” that we are now experiencing is inherently more dangerous than episodic acts on behalf of smart states, realize how this form of terrorism evolved from previous ones.
The Old, State-Sponsored Terror When one state wages war on another by terrorism, it challenges the victim and focuses its collective response. Prudent practitioners of terrorism—the Soviet Union, Egypt under Gamal Nasser, Syria, contemporary Iran—have kept their sponsorship within the bounds of their Euro-American and Israeli victims’ tolerance. The Saudi government protects itself by touting opposition to terrorism, even as countless princelings are the world’s biggest financiers of violent Islamist ideology.
Over the past half-century, as the bounds of western societies’ tolerance stretched and the number of anti-Western terrorists multiplied, anti-Western terrorism acquired its own dynamic—what had been a tool of states, more or less calibrated to concrete state interests, morphed into a field of endeavor for groups ever more diverse and less dependent.
Then, as the bounds stretched further and the victims showed impotence, it became a diffuse mode of war by one civilization upon another. This kind of conflict is proving deadlier than the earlier, more organized ones.
Consider how much professionalism it took to put together the 9/11 attacks. But these attacks, far from dispiriting the American people, united them. On the evening of 9/11, as Americans mourned, there was dancing in the streets of Muslim cities. Had the U.S. ruling class been responsive to popular sentiment, the U.S. government would have turned these celebrations into mourning parties. Yasser Arafat feared al-nakba, “the disaster.”
Uncomforting Assurances By contrast, today only ordinary Americans and Europeans have reason to fear their governments’ reactions to so-called “idiot” terrorism.
Following a logic alien to the public, the Euro-American ruling class has responded to mounting troubles from Muslims by further currying their favor. On both sides of the Atlantic, government officials and cultural leaders, including the current pope, routinely follow each terrorist’s cry of “Allahu Akbar!” with assurances that Islam is irrelevant to the perpetrator’s “extremism.” Every U.S president since George W. Bush has assured Americans that Islam is “the religion of peace.”
Since 2001, the United States, along with every western European government, has acted to increase the inflow of Muslims. The term “recruitment” is not much of an exaggeration. In 2001, Muslims made up some 0.2 percent of the U.S population. In 2016, they were 1 percent. In Western Europe’s major countries, the growing proportions range from 2-3 percent in Spain and Italy, to 5 percent in Britain and Germany, and upwards of 10 percent in France.
Euro-America’s ruling class admonishes the public that whatever discomforts if feels vis à vis the Muslims is due to a newly discovered psychological disorder called “Islamophobia.” In the United States, efforts to accommodate the alien cultures of Muslims include religious dispensation from dealing with customers who carry alcohol. By contrast, Christians who refuse to deal with customers on religious grounds are ruined. In Germany, Norway, and Sweden, the government reacts to Muslim men’s customs regarding women (reports of rapes are suppressed) by distributing handbooks and offering classes on how to have sex more gently—complete with diagrams.
Who are the Real “Idiots”? Ruling class reactions to “idiot” terrorism are convincing the Euro-American populations of their governments’ incapacity and/or unwillingness to protect them. Every “idiot” who bombs, shoots, crushes, etc., turns out to have been a wolf not so much of the “lone” as the “known” variety. Without exception, all have been noticed as dangerous by ordinary citizens and scrutinized by various police forces. But, again without exception, they have been allowed to strike because detaining or expelling them on mere suspicion contravenes the ruling class view of itself. The ruling class’s reactions are idiocies more idiotic than those of “idiot” terrorists.
The ranks of these terrorists continue to expand. Decades ago, Islamic terrorism attracted only persons deeply schooled in religious texts. As politics and Islam merged—by way of the Iranian revolution and its imitators, Wahhabism, and the Muslim Brotherhood—and outright secularists adopted Islamic language (Saddam Hussein and Arafat’s PLO, to name two notable examples) a smaller admixture of religion meant an increase in the number of would-be killers. Western societies’ accommodation of Muslim ways, and its general retreat, increased the number further. We are now at the point in which just about anyone who has a grievance may try endowing it with transcendent meaning by shouting “Allahu Akhbar.”
In short, “idiot” terrorists are pushing against societal walls that are already crumbling.
The Euro-American public’s natural aversion to being told things that it feels in its bones not to be true, its lack of confidence in its rulers’ capacity to protect, added onto other reasons for dissatisfaction with how it is being ruled, have helped convince people that revolting against the ruling class is a precondition to confronting terrorism—or any other problem.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Angelo Codevillahttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngAngelo Codevilla2017-11-12 10:59:262017-11-13 07:18:44Reflections on Terrorism: Idiots in Paradise
Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Foreign Policy • History • Intelligence Community • Middle East • Post • Terrorism
Our national discourse has blinded itself to the fact that, although the world is full of terrorists, nearly all act on behalf of causes irrelevant to America. Nor do we try to explain how the causes of foreign states and their satellite groups have helped create the wave of terrorism that now washes over us. The following tries to provide that explanation.
In a nutshell: Some states—for example, Cuba and the Soviet Union/Russia—use terrorism as an adjunct of foreign policy driven partly by ideology. For others, like Iran, terrorist groups such as Hezbollah are straightforward extensions of their apparatus. The Muslim world’s regimes use terrorism instead of open warfare. Politics-by-terrorism is the default mode of the Third World’s domestic politics as well. Saudi Arabia, the munificent mother house of Wahhabism, is in a particular category. Whenever states have used or fostered terrorist groups or motivated terrorists by ideology, they have set in motion people and events that have their own independent dynamics.
Some terrorism was explicitly crafted to go against America. The prime example is the Soviet Union’s Tricontinental Organization, which held its founding conference in Havana in 1965 under a banner of crossed submachine guns and was supported by a bureaucracy in Prague, which involved groups from around the world, including the then-aggressively secular Palestine Liberation Organization and some Islamist groups. The Latin American terrorist groups patronized by Cuba, including Colombia’s FARC, have notable anti-American roots.
But the anti-American focus of the Muslim world’s terrorism is a creature of circumstances, in which the United States itself has played a role. While Islam is foreign to and incompatible with America, there is nothing specifically anti-American about it. The Iranian revolution’s anti-American focus had nothing to do with Shia theology and everything with the fact that it was working against the American-allied Shah with the Soviet Union’s help.
The Muslim Brotherhood was founded to purge the Muslim world of Western influence. Its modern theorist, Sayyid Qutb, saw America as repugnant but he did not necessarily view it as an enemy. Aware of this, the State Department and CIA have bent U.S. policy backward to make friends with Islamists—all to no avail, because America continues to take part in maintaining that influence, sometimes by supporting its geopolitical allies, such as the Saudi monarchy. It was in support of the Saudis that the U.S. government stopped Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. After that, secular Saddam fostered all manner of terrorism against America, cleverly doing so in Islam’s name.
The point here is the Muslim terrorists who were set in motion against America in Islam’s name on behalf of whomever and for whatever raison d’etat often merged religious reasons, secular reasons, and reasons of private interest seamlessly. The U.S. ruling class has never understood this. George W. Bush’s argument that U.S. troops in Iraq were fighting the terrorists there so we would not have to fight them here was willful ignorance.
Post-Saddam Iraq was overrun by terrorists, alright. But they were Sunni and Shia terrorists terrorizing to subdue each other’s communities. In 2003, they had nothing against America. The one out of four Iraqi Arabs who were Sunni, having ruled the Shia (and Kurds) brutally for their own benefit during and before the Saddam era, reacted to the Shia’s new assertiveness by trying to terrorize them into continuing their privileges.
The many groups that made up the Sunni insurgency got structure and support from the remnants of Saddam’s intelligence service under Izzat Ibrahim al Douri, who was well connected with Syria’s ruling Ba’ath party, as well as from Saudi Arabia. Some Sunni groups got money directly from donors in the Persian Gulf or arranged through al-Qaeda. Regardless of pledged allegiance and sources of support, these people had as their main focus the protection of their Sunni friends from Shia and crushing Shia power. None of these Iraqi terrorists became slaves to their outside supporters. The Iraqi Ba’athists, in particular, became the core of ISIS, which took substantial parts of Syria away from Syria’s Ba’ath party.
In fact, notwithstanding our ruling class’s parrot-talk according to which the many terrorists in Syria, Somalia, Libya, etc. are “branches,” “offshoots,” or “affiliates” (whatever that means) of al-Qaeda or ISIS, they are killing and dying for causes vital to themselves but irrelevant to the rest of the world. The relationship between these supposed vines and branches is seldom more than the internet. Moreover their adversaries, in addition to their country’s government, are others like themselves among whom alliances and enmities are fluid.
What Does This Have to Do With Us?
Thus blinkered, U.S. foreign policy is reflexively about supporting just about all central governments against their foes, conveniently labeled “terrorists”—which they often are, but whose relationship with U.S. interests is tenuous if it exists at all.
In Somalia, Al Shaabab (meaning, “the youth”) are Wahhabi Muslims who rose against their government’s corruption in 2006, pledged fealty to al-Qaeda six years later, and are the government’s major opposition. The local ISIS “affiliate” is essentially a northern regional force with local grievances. They are at war with one another. It is doubtful that their fighters had ever heard of America in any meaningful way, before American bombs, dropped in support of Somalia’s central government, started falling on them. The U.S. government imported thousands of Somalis to the Minneapolis area. It would be surprising if their passions regarding Somalia’s civil war did not involve anger toward America.
Libya has three self-proclaimed governments, each a coalition of some 20 semi-independent brigades. Beyond them are an equal number of wholly independent ones that constantly change alliances with one another and with the so-called governments. All, and the components thereof, are based on local ethnic or kinship groups and are supported by some 10 foreign governments as well as al-Qaeda and ISIS. Of course, all are terrorists. The weight of the support, or contracts, with the foreign entities relative to the several groups’ interests changes by the day.
Who burned down the U.S consulate in Benghazi in 2012 and killed the U.S. ambassador? Terrorists, of course. But what kind and why? The U.S government and media’s alternative views of the event—a spontaneous popular reaction to an anti-Muslim video by an American Coptic Christian, or a prelude to terrorism in America itself—are equally ignorant. It seems that the military operation aimed to stop the U.S embassy’s role in transferring Libyan government weapons to America’s favorite factions in the Syrian civil war. Again, the United States got involved in others’ wars and got burned.
Generations of meddling in the Muslim world’s quarrels have placed America foremost in the minds of countless Muslims who otherwise would have thought little or nothing of it. States and groups, for their own purposes, have animated terrorism against America. For the hundreds involved, that terrorism became a way of life. For millions more, anti-American terrorism became part of what they believe should be the proper identity for an Arab or a Muslim.
Terrorism by states and major groups has affected America rarely. But the spread of a terrorist mentality to the Muslims who the U.S government has imported, and among the native U.S. population, is disfiguring the American body politic. That will be the subject of the next essay.
Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact email@example.com.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Angelo Codevillahttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngAngelo Codevilla2017-11-11 12:40:342017-11-12 11:13:04Reflections on Terrorism: What Causes? Whose Causes?
America • Center for American Greatness • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Deterrence • Foreign Policy • Greatness Agenda • Intelligence Community • Middle East • military • Post • Religion of Peace • Terrorism
Peggy Noonan’s observation in the Wall Street Journal that the most recent jihadist mass murderer is “an idiot”—unlike the men who perpetrated 9/11, but like all who have struck us since—provokes more thought than likely went into it.
Noonan correctly notes that 9/11 led us to expect more attacks with comparable planning and execution. Instead, we’ve been hit by random idiots, the most sophisticated of whom (the Bataclan murderers) operate at an elementary infantry level.
So what? Our ruling class concludes that more and better policing has precluded attacks on the scale of 9/11, limiting Islamist terrorism to a level with which we can live. But this lumping of terrorism into a single category misunderstands how very different 9/11 was from what has followed—different kinds of perpetrators, different bases of support, a different relationship with Islamism, and different in the dangers they comport for us. Hence they misunderstand what military and police action can accomplish.
Focusing on these differences—especially in the light of the recently released Osama Bin Laden documents and their emphasis on al-Qaeda’s latter-day relationship with Iran—invites us to cut through the establishment’s parrot-chorus of “what everyone knows” about terrorism and to unravel the complexity what we are really up against. The following is the first of a four-part attempt to do this.
Far from idiots or zealous amateurs working from Afghan caves, the men who planned and ran the 9/11 attack forged passports, and used the international banking system, sophisticated intelligence, and logistics. With the sole exception of Mohammed Atta, they did not expose themselves to danger. So good was their security that, to this day, we do not know who most of the hijackers were: The names on the passports they used to board did not match the security camera photos and, whereas Atta sent the remainder of the money from the plot to an account linked to Bin Laden—openly—the world’s banking sleuths have been unable to determine from which accounts the money had come.
Wiping out records of money transfers is akin in sophistication to producing and altering passports—the kinds of things done not in Afghan caves, but by sovereign countries’ intelligence services. Though we don’t know who provided the passports with which most of the 9/11 hijackers came to America, we know that Saddam’s Iraq provided the ones with which Ramzi Yousef and Abdul Rahman Yasin came to America for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and that the crew who organized 1993 ran 9/11 as well. We know that, unlike the “idiots” who have hit us since, these people had no history of Muslim devotion. They were professionals, with the resources of sovereign countries’ intelligence services.
The billions of dollars in barbed wire, badges, intelligence, and policing inflicted upon America since 9/11 have neither prevented nor thwarted any plans to attack the United States with the sophistication and on the scale of 9/11. The primordial fact is, no one has tried.
America’s physical vulnerability is unalterable. Inflicting simultaneous catastrophic damage on ten oil refineries, or truck bombing ten large schools, would take less planning and coordination than did 9/11. There may well be zealots who dream of such things. But translating them into reality requires a state sponsor. Since 9/11 no state has chosen to make war on America in this way. Perhaps what the American people pressed the U.S government to inflict on the Taliban in 2001 and on Saddam in 2003 helps explain why.
But the Muslim world—its states and its people—are waging a terrorist war on America as never before. Mobilizing millions of “idiots” is affecting us perhaps more seriously than 9/11, though less dramatically.
The Muslim world’s states and terrorists have always lived symbiotically. Because mobilizing for full-scale war exposes these states’ congenital internal fragility, they have always fought through proxy groups. Hence, willful ignorance has been required for the American ruling class to maintain the fiction that terrorist groups are independent. That fiction has served our ruling class’s ideological predilections and has provided terrorists the sine qua non for their operations. That is why the Bin Laden papers’ discussion of al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran (about which more in another article) is such a valuable reminder of reality.
Where did these Islamist “idiots” come from? Islam did not produce them until, beginning in the 1950s and turbocharged since the 1978 Iranian Revolution, the Muslim world’s regimes began fostering denunciations of Westerners in general and, lately, of Americans as the embodiment of evil. As Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi sect founded mosques in the West, it helped radicalize the Muslims who were migrating there. The Euro-American ruling class, for its part, has facilitated the migration, provided the migrants with welfare, and have done its best to shield these Islamist “idiots” from Western society’s immunological rejection.
Hence, by acting as an immunosuppressant, our ruling class has enabled the terrorists to infect Western societies with a sense of helplessness that may prove more lethal than shocks such as 9/11.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Angelo Codevillahttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngAngelo Codevilla2017-11-07 07:30:592017-11-12 11:12:14Reflections on Terrorism, Dumb and Smart
2016 Election • America • Big Media • Department of Homeland Security • Electoral College • Immigration • Kris Kobach • Mike Pence • Political Parties • Post • The Constitution • The Left
Most Americans may be unaware of the Diplomatic Security Service, “the law enforcement and security arm of the U.S. Department of State. It bears the core responsibility for providing a safe environment for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy.” In the course of those duties, the DSS conducts investigations, and one will prove of great interest to American voters, taxpayers, and—incidentally—fans of “The Day of the Jackal.”
In that 1971 novel, the Organisation de l’Armée Secrète(OAS) hires a British citizen to assassinate French President Charles de Gaulle. For this task, the assassin secures a passport in the name of a deceased person.
Decades later, that kind of identity theft was still possible in the United States.
As the DSS recently discovered, a Mexican national named Gustavo Araujo Lerma applied for a U.S. passport under the assumed identity of Hiram Enrique Velez, a deceased U.S. citizen. Federal courts are charging that Araujo Lerma, 62, used this fake ID for more than 25 years and obtained legal permanent resident status for Maria Eva Velez, 64, with the help of that fraudulently obtained passport. The couple had previously married in Mexico but did so again in Los Angeles in 1992 under the fake identity. This allowed Velez illegally to gain status as the purported wife of a U.S. citizen.
The government also alleges Araujo Lerma “committed illegal alien voting” by using the identity of the late Hiram Velez in at least five federal, state, and local elections. If any election officials caught on to this voter fraud—a felony—they weren’t talking. Legitimate citizens and legal immigrants could be forgiven for wondering how many other fake-documented foreign nationals have cast ballots in American elections, even though it supposedly never happens.
In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried the popular vote by a count of 2.8 million and her popular-vote victory was due almost entirely to California, where she received more than 4.3 million votes than Trump. The president, who carried the day in the Electoral College, estimated that 3-5 million illegals had caused him to lose the popular vote. Trump duly launched a commission on voter fraud headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. That probe had Democrats running to the barricades, bullhorns in hand.
California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the president, the vice president, and Mr. Kobach. The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.
As Fusion GPS confirms, the Russian interference tilted to Hillary’s side. The “voting systems” work well but the process of verifying voters could well be aging. Back in the day, as “The Day of the Jackal” showed, everything was on paper and officials had to wade through boxes of material. Now birth, death, and passport records are all computerized, and identities can be verified easily.
The Diplomatic Security Service should check all passport applications for the past 25 years to see how many belong to dead people. Then cross-check the voter rolls to see how many of the falsely documented voted in federal, state, and local elections, in the manner of Gustavo Araujo Lerma. If convicted, he faces 15 years in prison and his wife 10 years, plus fines of $250,000. After all, document fraud and identity theft are not victimless crimes.
Nearly 3 million illegals live in California and the real count is doubtless much higher, same for the alleged 11 million illegals nationwide. Twenty states, including the sanctuary state of California, are blocking access to voter data, so legitimate citizens and legal immigrants can be forgiven for giving President Trump the benefit of the doubt on the 3-5 million illegal votes.
Meanwhile, is it possible that any of the falsely documented are not only voting but running for public office? Consider California’s state senate leader, who seeks to replace Feinstein in the U.S. Senate.
Did anybody in the family get a fake U.S. passport? Did any vote in federal, state, and local elections, in the style of Gustavo Araujo Lerma? The Diplomatic Security Service of the U.S. Department of State might want to look into it.
Secretary of State John Kerry in May 2016 advised his fellow citizens to prepare themselves for a borderless world. A borderless world would, of course, be a world without sovereign nation-states and consequently a world without the exclusive citizenship that attaches to what our Declaration of Independence called the “separate and equal nations” of the earth.
When the sovereign nation-state has given way to the universal homogeneous state, citizenship will be replaced by what has been called “universal personhood.” This has been the goal of Progressivism for more than a century.
Historically, constitutional government is found only in nation-states, where the people share an exclusive common-good and are dedicated to the same principles and purposes. The goals and principles that animate a people may be universal, as in our case with the Declaration of Independence, but the real-life pursuit of those principles can take place only in a particular political community. The fact that “all men are created equal” and possess by nature the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” is a universal principle applicable to all human beings. But for that principle to become a political reality, an “equal and separate” nation had to be created “dedicated to that proposition” and, therefore, in opposition to any contrary proposition.
Any attempt to set that principle in motion on a universal scale would have failed at the time of the American founding and it will fail today, despite the wholly untenable and fabulous claims that the rights of individual citizens have evolved into an easily recognizable “universal personhood.”
The homogeneous world state—the European Union on a global scale—will not be a constitutional democracy; it will be the administration of “universal personhood” defined from on-high and without the inconvenience of having to rely upon the consent of the governed. Needless to say, “universal persons” will not be citizens; they will be clients or, more properly, subjects. Rights would become superfluous because the welfare of the community will have superseded individual rights.
Diversity versus Sovereignty
More than a century ago—just when the Progressive dream of the world homogeneous state was emerging—the Supreme Court announced what was considered the settled sense of the matter when it remarked inNishimura Ekiu v. United States that “it is an accepted maxim of international sovereignty, and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe.” Immigration control was thus thought to be an indispensable aspect of sovereignty and “essential to self-preservation.”
It is clear, however, that progressive liberalism no longer views self-preservation as a rational goal of the nation-state; rather self-preservation must be subordinate to openness and diversity. Pope Francis voiced his agreement with this aspect of Progressivism when he remarked recently that the welfare of refugees and migrants should take priority over national security considerations.
President Obama and Hillary Clinton, both when she was secretary of state and when she was a candidate for president, agreed that acceptance of Muslim refugees was an important affirmation of the country’s commitment to openness and diversity. Clinton stated that acceptance of refugees was not only a reaffirmation of America’s commitment to diversity but also a reaffirmation of “who we are as Americans.” Clinton apparently assumed that the American character is defined only by its unlimited acceptance of diversity. A defined American character—devotion to republican principles, republican virtue, the habits and manners of free citizens, self-reliance—would, of course, be considered as impermissibly exclusive.
Most of the refugees who entered the United States, and those who sought asylum, during the Obama administration did not have adequate documentation, and the heads of the major security agencies warned that active terrorists and terrorist sympathizers would inevitably slip through security screening cracks. The clear implication of Obama’s policy was that America’s commitment to diversity outweighed considerations of national security.
President George W. Bush was also an advocate for a “borderless world.” He often liked to say “family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande.” Bush, a supporter of amnesty and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, clearly indicated that certain “universal values” transcend a nation’s sovereignty. Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” was on full display here, and he said on several occasions that we should be more compassionate to our less-fortunate neighbors to the south.
President Ronald Reagan used similar language when he signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The law provided amnesty for 3 million illegal aliens. At the time, Reagan touted the legislation as a way of “humanely” dealing with the issue of illegal immigration. In his signing statement, Reagan said the act “is both generous to the alien and fair to the countless thousands of people throughout the world who seek legally to come to America.” The act was supposed to be a one-time-only amnesty in exchange for stronger border control. Only the most naïve in Washington (mostly Republicans) believed that the promise of border control would be honored. Illegal immigration continued unabated.
The 1986 law, of course, also fueled expectations—and even demands—for additional amnesties, even that amnesties become a regular feature of American immigration policy. Delays in implementing new amnesties have been treated with contempt by immigration activists and proffered as evidence that the American people lack compassion—remember Jeb Bush’s statements during the 2016 presidential primaries.
Celebrating Sovereignty Rightly Understood
Almost any clear-eyed observer, however, could see that compassion is not a sound basis either for foreign policy or for immigration policy. Compassion is more likely to lead to contempt than gratitude in both policy areas. The failure of the 1986 amnesty should be a clear reminder of the useful Machiavellian adage that in therealpolitik world of foreign affairs it is better to be feared than loved. Fear is more likely to engender respect, whereas love or compassion is more likely to be regarded as a contemptible sign of weakness. In 1984, Reagan had received 37 percent of the Hispanic vote. After the 1986 amnesty, just 30 percent of Hispanics voted for Reagan’s successor, George H.W. Bush. Granted, Bush was no Reagan; but such ingratitude seemed to puzzle Republicans.
Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign appealed to the importance of citizens and borders. In other words, Trump made his stand on the nation-state and nationalism against the world-homogeneous state. He reminded the nation that the “just powers” of government are derived from “the consent of the governed.” The people, therefore, are the sole source of legitimate authority under the Constitution.
The president’s speech to the U.N. last week was a celebration of sovereignty and the nation-state. “The nation-state,” Trump said in a statement that was as true as it was hyperbolic, “remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.”
In appealing directly to the people in the election of 2016, Trump succeeded in defeating both political parties, the media, political professionals, pollsters, academics, and the bureaucratic class. All these groups formed part of the bipartisan cartel protecting the Washington establishment. The cartel is now hysterical, fighting to save the entrenched interests that it has represented for so many years. So far it has made a remarkably good showing, but Trump has scored some notable victories, not the least of which have been in border security and immigration enforcement.
Trump’s DACA Dilemma
The president, however, is facing a conundrum on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It is not a conundrum of his own making, but a result of past failures to enforce already existing immigration laws.
During the presidential campaign, Trump promised to end DACA. He quoted Obama’s oft-repeated lamentation that he had no constitutional authority to act on the matter: it was solely the province of Congress Obama said. When Congress failed to perform, however, Obama did act, ordering the Secretary of Homeland Security in 2014 to implement a program to stop the deportation of children brought to the United States as minors.
A restraining order from a Texas District Court in 2015 halted implementation of the program. Judge Andrew Hanen’s principal holding relied on statutory grounds, but he indicated in dicta that there would be sound constitutional arguments against the executive action derived from separation of powers. The executive branch, Judge Hanen noted, had no authority to award legal status to otherwise deportable aliens. This requires legislative, not executive, authority. Prosecutorial discretion, which is a proper executive function, cannot be expanded to encompass a power that clearly belongs exclusively to the legislative branch. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the decision and an evenly divided U.S. Supreme Court upheld the lower courts.
Trump has rescinded DACA but has delayed its rescission for six months, inviting the Congress to pass legislation reinstituting the Obama executive action. The president hopes that Congress will comply and has even said he is willing to deal. This, of course, will cure the separation of powers difficulties identified by the courts, but there is still a question of whether a law aimed specifically at one class will satisfy the Constitution’s requirement that laws regarding immigration be “uniform.”
The president, of course, had a constitutional duty to rescind the unconstitutional program, but it is curious that he allowed it to continue even this long. In fact, there has been no “rescission” at all; DACA has only been “suspended.” No new DACA applications will be accepted for six months, but pending applications will be processed and work permits that expire will be reauthorized. But if Trump believes DACA is unconstitutional, how can he allow such benefits to be conferred during this suspension period? And, in a curious turn, the Trump Justice Department has not withdrawn the Obama Justice Department’s 2014 opinion arguing the program’s constitutionality.
Trump, of course, campaigned on the promise to end DACA, saying there would be no amnesty or path to citizenship for the so-called “Dreamers.” He said that those who came to the United States illegally would have to return to their home countries and apply for reentry. These are “beautiful young people,” Trump frequently says, and in many cases highly educated. He does not use these words, but what he means is that they deserve our compassion.
If Congress is unable to agree on a bill, President Trump has hinted that he will act. He has not said what he will do, but surely he cannot be contemplating revival of DACA by executive action. I do not believe the president will follow his predecessor into the netherworld of post-constitutionalism, however much he may believe that the end of DACA would demonstrate a lack of compassion. DACA has thrust the president on the horns of a dilemma—but this does not alter his obligation to uphold the Constitution.
This essay is adapted from remarks delivered to a Claremont Institute panel on immigration and citizenship at Chapman University Law School, September 23, 2017.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Edward J. Erlerhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngEdward J. Erler2017-09-28 10:07:152017-09-29 13:05:25Trump, Immigration, and the Post-Constitutional Temptation
America • California • Cities • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Identity Politics • Immigration • The Media • The Resistance (Snicker)
The Resistance wants a showdown with Donald Trump, and looks like it will get its wish soon.
Our Democrats would make California a “sanctuary state,” setting up a confrontation with the federal government over fundamental questions of who gets to enter the country, who gets to stay and how the rules will be enforced.
The Legislature last week passed Senate Bill 54, which would curtail the ability of state and local agencies to cooperate with federal immigration officials. The Los Angeles Times story carried an amusing headline: “California lawmakers approve landmark ‘sanctuary state’ bill to expand protections for immigrants.”
Not exactly. Notice the missing adjective? Whether you prefer euphemisms such as “undocumented” or the more precise “illegal,” the point is to shield foreigners from federal law. Legal immigrants, of course, require no sanctuary.
Assuming Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill—a fair bet since the bill that landed on his desk was the product of several weeks of negotiations between the governor and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León of Los Angeles—police wouldn’t be able to stop and question illegal immigrants about their status. Brown and de León call this a “balanced” approach because the illegal immigrants in question would have no existing criminal records.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Ben Boychukhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngBen Boychuk2017-09-21 15:00:512017-09-23 23:01:44Of 'Sanctuary States' and Other Follies
Americanism • Asia • China • Conservatives • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Deterrence • Foreign Policy • History • Immigration • Religion of Peace • September 11 • Terrorism
Editor’s Note:This essay was originally published in the Fall 2001 edition of the Claremont Review of Books. The editors are grateful for permission from the Claremont Institute to republish the article here. Read Angelo Codevilla’s response to President Trump’s August 21 speech on Afghanistan.
“It is not that they love peace less, but that they love their kind of peace more.”
—St. Augustine, City of God
” In the end, there was no one so small or weak that they could not do them harm.”
—Montesquieu, The Greatness of the Romans and Their Decline
“…by their fruits shall ye know them.”
—Jesus, Sermon on the Mount
As Americans mourned on the night of September 11, many in the Middle East celebrated. Their enemies, 280 million people disposing of one third the wealth of the earth, had been bloodied. Better yet, Americans were sadly telling each other that life would never be the same as before — and certainly not better.
The revelers’ joy was troubled only by the fear that an angry America might crush them. For a few hours, Palestinian warlords referred to the events as Al Nachba—”the disaster”—and from Gaza to Baghdad the order spread that victory parties must be out of sight of cameras and that any inflammatory footage must be seized. But soon, to their relief, the revelers heard the American government announce that it would not hold them responsible. President George W. Bush gratuitously held out the cachet of “allies” in the war on terrorism to nations that the U.S. government had officially designated as the world’s chief sponsors of terrorism. Thus Yasser Arafat’s, Saddam Hussein’s, and Bashar al Assad’s regimes could enjoy, undisturbed, the success of the anti-Western cause that alone legitimizes their rule. That peace is their victory, and our lack of peace is our defeat.
Common sense does not mistake the difference between victory and defeat: the losers weep and cower, while the winners strut and rejoice. The losers have to change their ways, the winners feel more secure than ever in theirs. On September 12, retiring Texas Senator Phil Gramm encapsulated this common sense: “I don’t want to change the way I live. I want to change the way they live.” Common sense says that victory means living without worry that some foreigners might kill us on behalf of their causes, but also without having to bow to domestic bureaucrats and cops, especially useless ones. It means not changing the tradition by which the government of the United States treats citizens as its masters rather than as potential enemies. Victory requires killing our enemies, or making them live in debilitating fear.
The flood of authoritative commentary flowing from the U.S. government and the media soon washed common sense out of America’s discourse. The conventional wisdom is foursquare in favor of the “War on Terrorism.” But it defines that war in terms of an endless series of ever more sophisticated security measures at home; better intelligence for identifying terrorists; and military as well as economic measures to “bring to justice” the shadowy al-Qaeda network. Notably, this flood averts attention from the fact that sowing terror in order to get America to tie itself in rancorous knots is the principal element of several governments’ foreign policy. It also discourages questioning the competence of the U.S. officials under whose guidance, in a single decade, America became the object in much of the world of a fateful combination of hatred and contempt. In short, the conventional wisdom envisages no effort to make mourners out of revelers and vice versa.
There will surely be more attacks, and of increasing seriousness. That is because the success of the September 11 attacks and of their aftermath has mightily encouraged America’s enemies, and as we shall see, no security or intelligence measures imaginable stand any chance of diminishing the opportunities for successful terrorist attacks. Why should America’s enemies stop doing what has proved safe, successful, and fun?
Let us first examine the attitudes and policies of the U.S. government that guarantee defeat—in fact, are defeat itself. Then we will be able to see more clearly what victory would look like, and how it could be achieved.
Part I: Anatomy of Defeat
The U.S. government’s “War on Terrorism” has three parts: “Homeland Security,” more intelligence, and bringing al-Qaeda “to justice.” The first is impotent, counterproductive, and silly. The second is impossible. The third is misconceived and is a diversion from reality.
Security is Illusory The nationally televised statement on October 31 of Tom Ridge, President Bush’s head of Homeland Security, that the national “alert” and the new security measures would last “indefinitely,” is a conclusive self-indictment. The Homeland Security office’s vision of the future for ourselves and our children and our children’s children involves identification cards for all, with biometric data and up-to-the-minute records of travel, employment, finances, etc., to be used to authorize access to places that are vulnerable to terrorist attack. This means that never again will the government simply trust citizens to go into a government office, a large building, a stadium, an airplane, or for that matter merely to walk around without what the Germans call Ausweis—papers. Checking everyone, however, makes sense only if officials will never be able to tell the difference between the average citizen and the enemy—and if the enemy will never be defeated.
But to assume such things is deadly. Unable to stop terrorists, Homeland Security will spend its time cracking down on those who run afoul of its regulations. In Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, for example, a man was taken off an aircraft in handcuffs for having boarded before his row number had been called. Tom Ridge, with the demeanor of every state trooper who has ever pulled you over for exceeding 55 miles per hour, reassured Americans that he has the authority to order the shoot-down of civilian airliners. As Machiavelli points out in his Discourses, security measures that hurt, threaten, or humiliate citizens engender hatred on top of contempt. No civil libertarian, Machiavelli teaches that true security comes from armed citizens to whom the government is bound by mutual trust. America fought Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and the Soviet Union without treating the public as potential enemies, and without making officials into a protected class. By governing from behind security screens, America’s leaders today make our land less free and prove themselves less than brave.
Impotence worsens contempt. In The Prince, Machiavelli points out that no defense is possible against someone who is willing to give up his life to kill another. In our time we have seen suicide gunners and bombers shred Israel’s security system, surely the world’s most extensive. Studies carried out by the CIA’s Counterintelligence Center generalize the lesson: Whereas terrorist attacks against undefended targets have a rate of success limited only by the terrorists’ incompetence, the rate of success against the most heavily defended targets hovers around 85%. In short, the cleverest, most oppressive defensive measures buy very little safety. In America, the possibilities for terrorist attack are endless, and effective security measures are inconceivable. How many school buses roll every morning? What would it take to toss a Molotov cocktail into 10 of them at precisely the same time? How easy would it be to sneak into a Safeway warehouse and contaminate a case of breakfast cereal? What would it take to set afire a gasoline tanker in a U.S. port?
Security measures actually magnify the effects of terrorism. The hijackings of September 11 have set in motion security measures that shut down airports on receipt of threats or merely on the basis of technical glitches in the security system itself. Similarly, attacks on the food distribution system, the schools, ports, etc., would cripple them by setting in motion attempts to make them secure. Indeed, manipulating the security system in order to cause disruption must rank high on the agenda of any competent terrorist. What’s more, any successful attack through, or around, the security systems (remember, such attacks are very likely to succeed) proves that the government cannot protect us.
On top of this, most security measures are ridiculous on their face. Airport security is prototypical. Everyone who flies knows that September 11 ended forever the era of hijacking, and not because of the ensuing security. In fact, hijacking had become possible only because of U.S. policy. Bowing to pressure from the Left in the 1960s, the U.S. government failed to exercise its right to force Castro’s Cuba to return hijackers, and instead defined security as disarming passengers. This succeeded in disarming everyone but hijackers. By 1969, Cuba’s immunity had encouraged Arab governments to get into the hijacking business. The U.S. government’s response to failed policy, however, was not to reverse it, i.e., to attack foreign governments involved with hijacking and to empower passengers to defend themselves. Rather, the government reemphasized its approach. The official instructions to passengers (in force on September 11) read like an invitation to hijackers: “Comply with your captors’ directions”; “Relax, breathe deeply”; “If told to maintain a particular body position, talk yourself into relaxing into that position, you may have to stay that way for a long time.” Indeed. U.S. security policy guaranteed the success of the September 11 hijackings.
But the first plane that hit the World Trade Center forever ended the free ride for hijackers by showing that the federal regulations exposed passengers to death. The passengers on United Airlines flight 93 violated the regulations (for which they technically could have been prosecuted—Remember: “you must comply with all federal regulations, posted signs and placards, and crew member instructions”) and attacked the hijackers, who unfortunately were already at the controls of the plane. Had they disobeyed minutes before, they would have saved themselves. Since then, a few incidents aboard aircraft have shown that the only function that henceforth a sky marshal might be able to perform would be to save a would-be hijacker from being torn apart by the passengers.
Despite the fact that anti-hijacking measures are now superfluous, the U.S. government now requires three checks of the same identity documents before boarding an airplane, and has banned more items that might be used as weapons. These now superfluous measures would have been futile on September 11. The hijackers would have satisfied any number of document checks, and could have carried out their operation using as weapons things that cannot be excluded from aircraft, such as nylon stockings; or even barehanded, using martial arts. Nor could the gun-toting, camouflage-clad soldiers who nowadays stand out like sore thumbs in America’s airports have done anything to prevent September 11.
For passive security to offer any protection against enemies while reducing aggravation of innocents, it must focus very tightly on the smallest possible groups who fit terrorist profiles. In America’s current war, terrorists are overwhelmingly likely to be a tiny, mostly visible minority—Arabs. But note that even Israeli security, which carries this sort of profiling to the point of outright racial discrimination, reduces the success of terrorist attempts only marginally.
Intelligence is Impossible
Are America’s intelligence agencies culpable for failing to stop September 11? No. But for the same reasons that they could not have prevented that atrocity, it is futile to suggest that they might help punish those responsible for it and be able to prevent future terrorism. It is impossible to imagine an intelligence system that would deal successfully with any of the three problems of passive anti- terrorism: security clearances for most of the population; the multiplicity of targets that must be defended as well as the multiple ways in which they can be attacked; and an unlimited stream of possible attackers.
Imagine a security investigation in which neither the investigators nor the evaluators can ask or even listen to anything about the subject’s ethnic identity or political or philosophical beliefs, never mind sexual proclivities. This is the system in force today for clearing a few people for “Top Secret—Codeword” information, which concerns nuclear weapons, among other things. How could the U.S. government deny access to a job in Homeland Security, or as an airline pilot, to an Arab Muslim opposed to U.S. policy in the Middle East, for example? Consequently, although The Card (the American equivalent of the Soviet Internal Passport) would contain all sorts of data on your personal life, it would do nothing to impede terrorism. The first act of terrorism committed by a properly credentialed person would dispel any illusion. Alas, the routine occurrence of such events in Israel has not shaken official faith in documentation.
To protect against future terror, U.S. intelligence would have to gain foreknowledge of who, precisely, intended to do what, where, when, and how. It cannot do this both because of fundamental shortcomings and because the task is beyond even the best imaginable system.
Roughly, U.S. intelligence brings to bear against terrorism its network of communications intelligence (COMINT) and its network of human collectors. The value of COMINT with regard to terrorism has never been high and has been diminished by the technical trends of recent decades. The exponential growth in the number of sources of electronic communication—cell phones, computers, etc. —as well as of the volume of such communications has made nonsense of the standard U.S. practice of electronic sorting of grains of wheat in mountains of chaff. Moreover, the advent of near-perfect, cheap encryption has ensured that when the nuggets are found, they will be unreadable. It would have been a fluke had U.S. intelligence had any COMINT data on September 11 prior to the event. It has had none since. If any of the thousands of CIA human intelligence collectors had acquired prior knowledge, the surprise would have been even greater. These collectors simply are not in contact with any of the people who are involved with such things. CIA people work in embassies, pretend to be diplomats, and have contact only with people who normally see diplomats. Human intelligence means human contact. To make contact with terrorists, the CIA would have to operate the way the Drug Enforcement Agency does—becoming part of the drug business. But nobody at CIA knows how to do that, is capable of doing that, or wants to learn. As for the FBI, alas, they are cops who get pay raises not so much for accurate intelligence as for the number of people they put behind bars.
Imagine, however, that U.S. intelligence were excellent in every respect. What could it contribute to passive anti-terrorism? The (new, much improved) official doctrine of the new CIA-FBI Joint Counterintelligence Office states that the intellectual point of departure for counterintelligence and counterterrorism must be identification of the U.S. assets and secrets that enemies are most likely to attack. Then analysts should identify the ways in which enemies might best wage the attacks. Once this is done, they can investigate whether in fact these attacks are being planned, how, and by whom. When analysis of “what” leads to knowledge of “who,” the attacks can be frustrated. This approach makes sense as regards counterintelligence, because the targets of the attacks are few and the attacks themselves have to be in the form of slow-developing human contacts or technical deceptions. But it makes no sense with regard to terrorism because the assets that are vulnerable to attack are practically infinite in number and variety, and the modes in which they are liable to be attacked are legion. There cannot be nearly enough investigative resources to explore every possibility.
Hence counterterrorist intelligence has no choice but to begin with the question “who?” Answering this question as regards those who are preparing attacks is difficult in the retail sense, and irrelevant on the wholesale level. Both the difficulty and the irrelevance stem from the fact that those who perpetrate terrorist acts are the equivalent of soldiers in war—there are lots of them, none is remarkable before he shoots, and there are lots where they came from. How would the Drug Enforcement Agency’s intelligence operate if it tried to target mere drug couriers or petty salesmen? Its agents would haunt the drug dens, cultivating petty contacts a few of which might be recruited into trafficking. By the same token, today’s CIA and FBI (in the unlikely event they could manage the cover) would haunt mosques, Islamic schools, and so forth, in the hope that some of their contacts might be among those recruited for terrorism. Very occasionally all this hard work would be rewarded by a success. But all this would amount to picking off a few drops from a fire hose.
That is why intelligence is useful only in the service of intelligent policy, that is, policy that aims at eliminating the people whose elimination would turn off the hose. But as we shall see, the identity of such people is discoverable not by espionage but by intelligence in the ordinary meaning of the word. It is in this regard that U.S. intelligence is most defective. For example, since September 11, for want of sources of its own, the CIA has been accepting information on terrorism from the intelligence services of Syria and of Yasser Arafat’s PLO—outfits whose agendas could not be more opposed to America’s.
The gullibility of U.S. intelligence is not merely an intellectual fault. The CIA’s judgment is corrupted by its longstanding commitment to certain policies. It is only a small exaggeration to say that radical Arab nationalism was invented at the CIA. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, when speaking to his brother, CIA director Allen Dulles, about the granddaddy of Arab radicalism Gamal Abdul Nasser, used to call him “your colonel” because his takeover of Egypt had been financed by the CIA. Franz Fanon, the father of the anti-American Left in the Third World, was so close to the CIA that he chose to die under the Agency’s medical care. Within the government, the CIA long has championed Arafat’s PLO, even as the PLO was killing U.S. ambassadors. Under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, CIA director George Tenet has openly championed the fiction that Arafat’s “Security Forces” are something other than an army for the destruction of Israel. Before Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the CIA’s National Intelligence Estimate described Saddam Hussein as no threat to the region and as ready to cooperate with the United States. These are not mere errors.
Intelligence officers are most corrupted by the temptation to tell their superiors what they want to hear. Thus in September, CIA prevailed upon the intelligence service of the Czech Republic to cast doubts on reports that Mohammed Atta, the leader of the September 11 attacks, had twice met in Prague with Iraqi intelligence as he was preparing for the attacks. The Czech government later formally disavowed its service’s denial and affirmed the contacts between Atta and Iraq. But the CIA insists that there is no evidence that these two professional terrorists met to discuss terrorism. Gardening, perhaps?
When weapons-grade anthrax began to appear on Capitol Hill and in U.S. post offices in October, attention naturally turned to Iraq, whose regime had run the world’s largest or second-largest program for producing it. But the FBI in November, after failing to discover anything whatever concerning the provenance of the anthrax, officially gave the press a gratuitous profile of the mailer as a domestic lunatic. The domestic focus of the investigation was doubly foolish. Even if Saddam Hussein had not thought of anthrax attacks on America before October 2001, the success of the attacks that did occur, as well as the U.S. government’s exoneration of foreigners well-nigh ensured that Saddam would quickly get into the business of spreading the disease among us. Why shouldn’t he? Moreover, the further “identification” of the source of the anthrax by an unidentified “intelligence source” as “some right-wing fanatic” aggravated the naturally worst effect of foreign wars: to compound domestic rivalries.
The use of intelligence not to fight the enemy but to erect a bodyguard of misimpressions around incompetent policy is not a sign of brilliance.
The third pillar of the Bush strategy, the hunt for Osama bin Laden and military action first and foremost against the Taliban, is equally problematic.
Al-Qaeda is Not the Problem
In life as in math, we judge the importance of any part of any problem or structure by factoring it out. Does the equation still work? Does the building or the argument still stand? Imagine if a magic wand were to eliminate from the earth al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and Afghanistan’s Taliban regime. With them gone, would Americans be safe from Arab terrorists? No way. Then what good does it do for the U.S. government to make war on them and no one else? Why not make war on those whose elimination would eliminate terrorism?
Talk of bringing bin Laden “to justice” would sound less confident were ordinary rules of evidence to apply. The trial of bin Laden would be a nightmare of embarrassment for U.S. intelligence. Any number of uncorroborated reports from sources both unreliable and with an interest in deflecting U.S. anger away from Arab governments have painted bin Laden and his friends as devils responsible for all evils. This picture is attractive because it tends to validate decades of judgments by U.S. policy makers. The only independent test of these reports’ validity came in 1998, when President Clinton launched a cruise missile strike against what “sources” had reported to be al-Qaeda’s germ warfare plant in Khartoum. It turned out to be an innocent medicine factory. None of this is to deny that bin Laden and his friends are America’s enemies and that their deaths would be good for us. But people like bin Laden are far from the sole practitioners of violence against Americans and the people and conditions that brought forth all these violent anti-Americans would soon spawn others like them.
Moreover, even if bin Laden had ordered September 11, as he boasts in a recruitment video, the fire that it started in America’s house has been so attractive to potential arsonists that America will not be able to rest until they are discouraged. Getting bin Laden won’t help much.
The Taliban are mostly irrelevant to America. Typically Afghan and unlike the regimes of Syria, Iraq, and the PLO, the Taliban have little role in or concern with affairs beyond their land. They provide shelter to various Arabs who have brought them money and armed help against their internal rivals. But Afghans have not bloodied the world. Arabs have.
The loyalty of the Taliban to their Arab guests is of the tribal kind. The moment that the Taliban are under serious threat, they probably will give the foreigners up. But absent the complicity of someone where bin Laden may be hiding, it is inconceivable that U.S. intelligence would find bin Laden’s location and dispatch Special Forces that could swoop in, defeat his entourage, and take him out. It is surprising that no one has yet lured the U.S. into such an operation—and into an ambush. Destroying the Taliban regime in Afghanistan was always the only way of getting bin Laden, for what little that is worth.
From the beginning of U.S. military operations in Afghanistan on October 7, the lack of strategy for ousting the Taliban was evidence of incompetence. Since then, obvious changes in the character of operations belied U.S. spokesmen’s claims that the war is “on schedule,” and confirmed that those who planned the operation made no intellectual connection between the military moves they were making and the political results they expected. During the first weeks, U.S. actions were limited to bombing “fixed targets,” mostly primitive air defenses and mud huts, unrelated to the ongoing civil war in Afghanistan. Only after it became undeniable that the only force that could make a dent in the regime was the Northern Alliance did U.S. bombers begin to support the Alliance’s troops—but tentatively and incompetently. All war colleges teach that bombs from aircraft or artillery are useful in ground combat only insofar as they fall on enemy troops so close in time to the arrival of one’s own infantry and armor that they render the enemy physically unable to resist. Whether in the two World Wars, in Vietnam, or in Kosovo, whenever significant amounts of time have passed between bombs falling on defenders and the arrival of attackers, the defenders have held. The Afghan civil war is very much a conventional war. Nevertheless, U.S. officials began to take seriously the task of coordinating bombing and preparing the Northern Alliance for serious military operations only after more than a month of embarrassment. In the initial days and weeks, the operation was a show of weakness, not strength.
The U.S. government’s misuse of force was due to its desire to see the Taliban regime lose and the Northern Alliance not win—impossible. When the Alliance did win, the tribal nature of Afghanistan guaranteed that the tribes that stood with the losers would switch sides, and that they would sell to the winners whatever strangers were in their midst. This, however, underlined the operation’s fundamental flaw: just as in the Persian Gulf War, the objective was so ill-chosen that it could be attained without fixing the problem for which we had gone to war. We could win the battle and lose the war.
Hence the worst thing about the campaign against Afghanistan was its opportunity cost. Paraphrasing Livy, Machiavelli tells us “the Romans made their wars short and big.” This is the wisdom of the ages: where war is concerned, the shorter and more decisive, the better, provided of course that the military objective chosen is such that its accomplishment will fix the problem. By contrast, the central message of the Bush Administration concerning the “War on Terrorism” is hardly distinguishable from that of the Johnson Administration during the Vietnam War: This war will last indefinitely, and the public must not expect decisive actions. In sum, the Bush Administration concedes that the objectives of its military operations will not solve the problem, will not bring victory. Whatever its incidental benefits, the operation is diverting U.S. efforts from inconveniencing any of America’s major enemies, and it is wasting the American people’s anger and commitment.
You Can’t “Spin” Defeat Sensing mounting criticism at home and abroad for ineffectiveness, President Bush addressed the world and the nation on November 8. But he did not address the question that troubled his audiences: Do you have a reasonable plan for victory, for returning the country to the tranquility of September 10? Conscious that economic activity and confidence in America were sinking, he tried to rally the public by invoking the cry of the passenger on Flight 93 who attacked the hijackers: “Let’s roll!” But the substance of what he said undercut the spirit. Rather than asking Americans to take security into their own hands, he asked Americans for indefinite tolerance of restrictions on their freedom. Typical of the result was a New York Times interview with a young laid-off professional. When he watches the news, he said, “it feels like the world is going to hell, like nothing is going to get better.” That is defeat.
What would victory look like?
Part II: Victory
For Americans, victory would mean living a quiet and peaceable life, if possible even less troubled by the troubles of other parts of the world, even freer from searches and sirens and friction and fear, than on September 10. Hence all of the U.S. government’s actions subsequent to September 11 must be judged by how they relate to that end. So what should be the U.S. government’s practical objectives? Who is the enemy that stands in the way? How is this obstacle to be removed? In sum, as Thucydides’ Archidamus asked the Spartans, “What is to be our war?”
The Tranquility of Order
Our peace, our victory, requires bloody vengeance for the murder of some 5,000 innocent family members and friends—we seek at least as many deaths, at least as gory, not to appease our Furies, nor even because justice requires it. Vengeance is necessary to eliminate actual enemies, and to leave no hope for any person or cause inimical to America. Killing those people, those hopes, and those causes is the sine qua non of our peace—and very much within our power.
Fortunately, our peace, our victory, does not require that the peoples of Afghanistan, the Arabian Peninsula, Palestine, or indeed any other part of the world become democratic, free, or decent. They do not require any change in anybody’s religion. We have neither the power nor the right to make such changes. Nor, fortunately, does our peace depend on making sure that others will like us. We have no power to make that happen. Neither our nor anyone else’s peace has ever depended on creating “New World Orders,” “collective security,” or “communities of power.” International relations are not magic. Our own peace does not depend on any two foreign governments being at peace with each other. It is not in our power or in the power of any third party to force such a peace except by making war on both governments. Much less does our peace depend on a “comprehensive peace” in the Middle East or anywhere else. It is not in our power to make such a peace except by conquering whole regions of the world. Our peace and prosperity do not depend on the existence of friendly regimes in any country whatever, including Saudi Arabia. That is fortunate, because we have no power to determine “who rules” in any other country.
Virtually all America’s statesmen until Woodrow Wilson warned that the rest of mankind would not develop ideas and habits like ours or live by our standards. Hence we should not expect any relief from the permanent burdens of international affairs, and of war. Indeed, statesmen from Washington to Lincoln made clear that any attempt to dictate another people’s regime or religion would likelier result in resentment abroad and faction at home than in any relief from foreign troubles. We can and must live permanently in a world of alien regimes and religions. The mere difference in religion or mode of government does not mean that others will trouble our peace. Whether or not any foreign rulers make or allow war on America is a matter of their choice alone. We can talk, negotiate, and exercise economic pressure on rulers who trouble our peace. But if they make war on us we have no choice but to make war on them and kill them. Though we cannot determine who will rule, we surely can determine who will neither rule nor live.
What do we want from the Middle East to secure our peace? Neither democracy nor a moderate form of Islam—only that the region’s leaders neither make nor allow war on us, lest they die. We have both the right and the capacity to make sure of that. But is it not necessary for our peace that the countries of the region be ruled by regimes friendly to us? No. By all accounts, the Saudi royal family’s personal friendship with Americans has not affected their aiding and abetting terror against us. It is necessary only that any rulers, whatever their inclinations might be, know that they and their entourages will be killed, surely and brutally, if any harm to Americans originates from within their borders. Respect beats friendship. Do we not have to make sure that the oil of the Middle East continues to fuel the world economy? Is this not necessary to our peace? Indeed. But this does not burden us with the impossible task of ensuring that Saudi Arabia and the Oil States are ruled by friendly regimes. We need only ensure that whoever rules those hot sands does not interfere with the production of the oil that lies beneath them. That we can do, if we will.
In sum, ending the war that broke out on September 11 with our peace will require a lot of killing—to eliminate those in any way responsible for attacking us, and those who might cause further violence to us or choke the world’s economy by troubling the supply of oil. It turns out that these mostly are the same persons. Who then are the enemies whose deaths will bring us peace?
It’s The Regime, Stupid
When the suicide pilots of September 11 died, they made nonsense of the notion that terrorism was perpetrated by and on behalf of “senseless” individuals, and that the solution to terrorism lay in “bringing to justice” the bombers and trigger pullers. If this notion were adhered to, the fact that the terrorists had already gone to justice should have ended the matter, except for some ritual exhortation to states to be a bit more careful about madmen in their populations.
But these terrorists were neither madmen nor on the edges of society. They came from well-established families. They had more than casual contacts with the political movements and intelligence services of their own regime and of neighboring countries. They acted on behalf of international causes that are the main sources of legitimacy for some regimes of the Middle East, and are tolerated by all. These causes include a version of Islam; a version of Arab nationalism; driving Westerners and Western influence form Islamic lands; and ridding the Arab world of more or less pro-Western regimes like that of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates. Moreover, peoples and regimes alike cheered their acts. In short, these acts were not private. Rather, they were much like the old Western practice of “privateering” (enshrined in Article I of our own Constitution, vide “letters of Marque and Reprisal”), in which individuals not under formal discipline of governments nevertheless were chartered by governments to make war on their behalf.
Since the terrorists of September 11 are dead and we sense that their acts were not merely on their own behalf but rather that they acted as soldiers, the question imposes itself: Whose soldiers? Who is responsible? Whose death will bring us peace?
Islam is not responsible. It has been around longer than the United States, and coexisted with it peacefully for two hundred years. No doubt a version of Islam —Islamism—a cross between the Wahabi sect and secular anti-Westernism, is central to those who want to kill Americans. But it is neither necessary nor sufficient nor possible for Americans to enter into intra-Muslim theological debates. Besides, these debates are not terribly relevant. The relevant fact is that the re-definition of Islam into something harmful to us is the work of certain regimes and could not survive without them.
Regimes are forms of government, systems of incentives and disincentives, of honors and taboos and habits. Each kind of regime gives prominence to some kinds of people and practices, while pushing others to the margins of society. Different regimes bring out different possibilities inherent in the same people. Thus the Japanese regime prior to World War II changed the meaning of the national religion of Shinto from quaint rituals to militant emperor-worship. Germany meant vastly different things to the German people and to the world when it was under the regime established by Konrad Adenauer, as opposed to the one established by Adolf Hitler. In short, regimes get to define themselves and the people who live under them.
Note that Palestine’s Yasser Arafat, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, and Syria’s Assad family have made themselves the icons of Islamism despite the fact that they are well known atheists who live un-Muslim lives and have persecuted unto death the Muslim movements in their countries. Nevertheless, they represent the hopes of millions for standing up to Westerners, driving Israel (hated more for its Westernness than its Judaism) out of the Holy Land, and undoing the regimes that stand with the West. These tyrants represent those hopes because they in fact have managed to do impressive anti-Western deeds and have gotten away with it. The Middle East’s memory of the Gulf War is that Saddam tried to drive a Western lackey out of Kuwait and then withstood the full might of America, later to spit in its face. The Middle East’s view of Palestine is that Arafat and the Assads champion the rights of Islam against the Infidels.
Nor are the Arab peoples or Arab nationalism necessarily our enemies. America co-existed peacefully with Arabs for two centuries. Indeed, the United States is largely responsible for pushing Britain and France to abandon colonial and neo-colonial rule over Arab peoples in the 1950s. U.S. policy has been unfailingly—perhaps blindly—in favor of Arab nationalism. It is true that Egypt’s Gamal Abdul Nasser founded Arab nationalism on an anti-American basis in the 1950s. It is true that in 1958 the Arab Socialist Party’s (Ba’ath) coup in Iraq and Syria gave Arab nationalism a mighty push in the anti-American direction. It is true that the Soviet Union and radical Arabs created the Palestine Liberation Organization as an anti-Western movement. But it is also true that Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and, since 1973, Egypt have been just as Arab and just as nationalistic, though generally more pro-Western.
How did the PLO and the Ba’ath regimes of Syria and Iraq gather to themselves the mantle of Arab nationalism? First, the Saudis and the Emirates gave them money, while Americans and Europeans gave them respect and money. Saudis, Americans and Europeans gave these things in no small part because the radical Arabs employed terrorism from the very first, and Saudi, American, and European politicians, and Israelis as well, hoped to domesticate the radicals, buy them off, or divert them to other targets—including each other. Second and above all, we have given them victories, which they have used as warrants for strengthening their hold on their peoples and for recruiting more terrorists against us.
Today Iraq, Syria, and the PLO are the effective cause of global terrorism. More than half of the world’s terrorism since 1969, and nearly all of it since the fall of the Soviet Union, has been conducted on behalf of the policies and against the enemies of those three regimes. By comparison, Libya, Iran, and Sudan have been minor players. Afghanistan is just a place on the map. Factor these three malefactors out of the world’s political equation and what reason would any Arab inclined to Islamism or radical nationalism have to believe that such causes would stand a chance of success? Which intelligence service would provide would-be terrorists with the contacts, the money, the training to enter and fight the West or Israel? For whom, in short, would they soldier?
The Iraqi, Syrian, and the PLO regimes are no more true nationalists than they are true Muslims. They are regimes of a party, in the mold of the old Soviet Union. Each is based on a narrow segment of society and rules by physically eliminating its enemies. Iraq is actually not a nation state but an empire. The ruling Ba’ath party comes from the Mesopotamian Sunni Arabs, the smallest of the empire’s three ethnic groups. The ruling faction of the party, Saddam’sTikriti, are a tiny fraction of the ruling party. The Assad family that rules Syria is even more isolated. The faction of the local Ba’ath party that is their instrument of power is made up almost exclusively of Alewites, a neo-Islamic sect widely despised in the region. It must rely exclusively on corrupt, hated security forces. Yasser Arafat rules the PLO through theFatah faction, which lives by a combination of buying off competitors with money acquired from the West and Israel, and killing them. Each of the regimes consists of some 2,000 people. These include officials of the ruling party, officers in the security forces down to the level of colonel, plus all the general officers of the armed forces. These also include top government officials, officials of the major economic units, the media, and of course the leaders of the party’s “social organizations” (labor, youth, women’s professional, etc.).
All these regimes are weak. They have radically impoverished and brutalized their peoples. A few members of the ruling party may be prepared to give their lives for the anti-Western causes they represent, but many serve out of fear or greed. The Gulf War and the Arab-Israeli wars proved that their armies and security forces are brittle: tough so long as the inner apparatus of coercion is unchallenged, likely to disintegrate once it is challenged.
Killing these regimes would be relatively easy, would be a favor to the peoples living under them, and is the only way to stop terrorism among us.
On Killing Regimes
It follows that killing regimes means killing their members in ways that discredit the kinds of persons they were, the ways they lived, the things and ideas to which they gave prominence, the causes they espoused, and the results of their rule. Thus the Western Allies de-Nazified Germany not by carpet-bombing German cities, which in fact was the only thing that persuaded ordinary Germans that they and the Nazis were in the same boat. The Allies killed the Nazi regime by killing countless Nazis in battle, hanging dozens of survivors, imprisoning hundreds, and disqualifying thousands from social and economic prominence. The Allies promised to do worse to anyone who tried Nazism again, left no doubt in the minds of Germans that their many sorrows had been visited on them by the Nazis, and made Nazism into a dirty word.
Clearly, it is impossible to kill any regime by killing its people indiscriminately. In the Gulf War, U.S. forces killed uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqis whose deaths made no difference to the outcome of the war and the future of the region, while consciously sparing the much smaller number who made up the regime. Hence those who want to “bomb the hell out of the Arabs” or “nuke Baghdad” in response to September 11 are making the same mistake. Killing must be tailored to political effect. This certainly means invading Iraq, and perhaps Syria, with ground troops. It means openly sponsoring Israel’s invasion of the PLO territories. But it does not mean close supervision or the kind of political reconstruction we performed in Germany and Japan after World War II.
It is important that U.S. forces invade Iraq with the stated objective of hanging Saddam and whoever we judge to have been too close to him. Once those close to him realize that this is going to happen and cannot be stopped, they will kill one another, each trying to demonstrate that he was farther from the tyrant than anyone else. But America’s reputation for bluff and for half measures is so entrenched that the invasion will have to make progress greater than in the Gulf War in order for this to happen. At this point, whether or not Saddam himself falls into U.S. hands alive along with his subordinates, it is essential that all be denounced, tried, and hanged on one charge only: having made war on America, on their own people, and on their neighbors. The list of people executed should follow the party-government’s organization chart as much as possible. It is equally essential that everyone who hears of the event be certain that something even more drastic would follow the recrudescence of such a regime. All this should happen as quickly as possible.
After settling America’s quarrel, America should leave Iraq to the peoples who live there. These would certainly break the empire into its three ethnic constituents: Kurds in the North, Mesopotamian Sunnis in the center, and Marsh Shiites in the South. How they may govern themselves, deal with one another and with their neighbors, is no business of ours. What happens in Iraq is simply not as important to us as the internal developments of Germany and Japan were. It is enough that the Iraqis know that we would be ready to defend whatever interest of ours they might threaten. Prestige is a reputation for effective action in one’s own interest. We would have re-earned our prestige, and hence our right to our peace.
In the meantime, we should apologize to Israel for having pressured her to continue absorbing terrorist attacks. We should urge Israel to act decisively to earn her own peace, which would involve destroying the regime of the PLO in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel could do this more easily than we could destroy Saddam’s regime in Iraq. The reason is that the regime of the PLO, the so-called Palestine Liberation Authority, is wholly dependent on Israel itself for most basic services, from money and electricity to telecommunications, water, food, and fuel. Moreover, the PLO’s key people are a few minutes’ driving distance from Israeli forces. A cutoff of essentials, followed by a military cordon and an invasion, would net all but a few of these terrorists. The U.S. could not dictate how they should be disposed of. But it would make sense for Israel to follow the formula that they deserve death for the harm these criminal gangs have done to everyone with whom they have come in contact, even one another. With the death of the PLO’s gangsters, Palestinian politics would be liberated from the culture of assassination that has stunted its healthy growth since the days of Mufti Hussein in the 1920s.
After Iraq and Palestine, it would be Syria’s turn. By this time, the seriousness of America and its allies would speak for itself. A declaration of war against the Assad regime by the U.S., Israel, and Turkey would most likely produce a palace coup in Damascus—by one part of the regime eager to save itself by selling out the others—followed by a revolution in the country. At that point, the Allies might produce a list of persons who would have to be handed over to avert an invasion. And of course Syrian troops would have to leave Lebanon. Americans have no interest in Syria strong enough to require close supervision of successors to Assad. But Turkey’s interest might require such supervision. The U.S. should make no objection to Turkey’s reestablishment of a sphere of influence over parts of its former empire.
Destroying the major anti-Western regimes in the Middle East might come too late to save the moribund government of Saudi Arabia from the anti-Western sentiments that it has shortsightedly fostered within itself. Or the regime might succumb anyway to long-festering quarrels within the royal family. In any case, it is possible that as a consequence of the Saudi regime’s natural death, the foreigners who actually extract and ship the oil might be endangered. In that case, we would have to choose among three options: 1) letting the oil become the tool of whoever might win the struggle (and taking the chance that the fields might be sabotaged in the war); 2) trying to build a new Saudi regime to our liking; or 3) taking over protection of the fields. The first amounts to entrusting the world’s economy to the vagaries of irresponsible persons. The second option should be rejected because Americans cannot govern Arabs, or indeed any foreigners. Taking over the oil fields alone would amount to colonial conquest—alien to the American tradition. It would not be alien, however, to place them under joint international supervision—something that Russia might well be eager to join.
Our Own Worst Enemies? What stands in the way of our achieving the peace we so desire? Primarily, the ideas of Western elites. Here are a few.
Violence and killing do not settle anything. In fact they are the ultima ratio, the decisive argument, on earth. Mankind’s great questions are decided by war. The battle of Salamis decided whether or not there would be Greek civilization. Whether Western Europe would be Christian or Muslim was decided by the battle of Tours. Even as the U.S. Civil War decided the future of slavery and World War II ended Nazism, so this war will decide not just who rules in the Middle East, but the character of life in America as well.
Our primary objective in war as in peace must be to act in accordance with the wishes and standards of the broadest slice of mankind. In fact, the standards of most of mankind are far less worthy than those prevalent in America. America’s Founders taught this, and forgetting it has caused harm. Alliances must always be means, never ends in themselves, and as such must be made or unmade according to whether or not they help secure our interest. Our interest in war is our kind of peace. That is why it is mistaken to consider an ally anyone who impedes the killing of those who stand in the way of our peace. With allies like Saudi Arabia, America does not need enemies.
When involved in any conflict, we should moderate the pursuit of our objectives so as propitiate those moderates who stand on the sidelines. Individuals and governments stand on the sidelines of conflict, or lend support to one side, according to their judgment of who will win and with whom they will have to deal. “Extremist” is one of many pejorative synonyms for “loser.” The surest way to lose the support of “moderates” is to be ineffective. Might is mistaken for right everywhere, but especially in the Middle East. Hence the easiest way to encourage terrorism is to attempt to deal with “the root causes of resentment against us” by granting some of the demands of our enemies.
Learning to put up with security measures will make us safer, and is a contribution we can all make to victory. On the contrary, security measures will not make us safe, and accustoming ourselves to them is our contribution to defeat. The sign of victory over terrorism will be the removal of security measures.
The Arab regimes that are the matrices of terrorism have nothing going for them except such Western shibboleths. Their peoples hate them. Their armies would melt before ours as they have melted before Western armies since the days of Xenophon’s Upcountry March. They produce nothing. Terror is their domestic policy and their foreign policy. The oil from which they get the money that they lavish on themselves and on terrorism comes from revenues that Westerners give them to satisfy Western ideas of what is right. The regimes that are killing us and defeating us are the product of Western judgments in the mid-20th century that colonialism is wrong and that these peoples could govern themselves as good stewards of the world’s oil markets. They continue to exist only because Western elites have judged that war is passé. It is these ideas and judgments, above all, that stand in the way of our peace, our victory.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Angelo Codevillahttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngAngelo Codevilla2017-08-23 10:39:382017-08-25 16:01:05Victory: What It Will Take to Win
America • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Immigration • Intelligence Community • Middle East • Satire • Terrorism • The Courts • The Media • Trump White House
Editor’s Note: The following is an open letter to the editor of the Los Angeles Times, penned by our good friend and contributor, Edward J. Erler.
A Letter to the Los Angeles Times
To the Editors,
Security experts warn us that terrorism has become an “inevitable reality” of the modern world and that we must learn to accept it as the “new normal,” just one more annoying facet of urban life like traffic, crowds, the homeless, and unhealthy air. But terrorism demands something more than just acceptance—it demands our open and enthusiastic embrace! Our embrace of terrorism is a demonstration of our authentic commitment to diversity. It is an authentic commitment because it means we are willing to risk our lives—and the sovereignty of our country—to substantiate our commitment to diversity, not only to ourselves, but to the world. President Trump’s attempt to ban potential terrorists from seeking refuge in the United States would make the demonstration of that commitment much more difficult, and I am confident the High Court will see his Executive Order as merely a pretext to prevent the nation from expressing its highest aspiration—an aspiration that is validated by the progressive forces of history. Those who support freedom know that “freedom is not free,” as those who support diversity equally understand that “diversity is not free.” Both freedom and diversity require sacrifice. It is time that the nation confronted this explosive reality head on.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Edward J. Erlerhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngEdward J. Erler2017-06-06 02:34:202017-06-12 21:12:21Should We Embrace the “Inevitable Reality” of Terrorism?
Center for American Greatness • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Democrats • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Europe • Middle East • political philosophy • Religion and Society • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Left
The excruciating facts keep on coming in. Twenty-two are dead, many of them children. About five dozen others are wounded, such that the death-toll may climb. The Islamic State jihadist network, having exhorted its willing Western-based recruits to attack in place, has claimed responsibility. And now comes the revelation that the suicide-terrorist, Salman Abedi, is yet another known-wolf—a young Muslim man in Britain who was on the radar screen of security services as a potential threat.
The 22-year-old bomber was a British-born son of Libyan refugees, who grew up in the Whalley Range neighborhood outside Manchester—an area that became notorious when two girls, honor students at the local high school, moved to Syria to live under Islamic State rule. Abedi carried out the atrocious bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester with an improvised explosive device that sprayed high-speed nails at his victims. The bomb type is commonplace in what Muslim terrorists like to call “the fields of jihad”—Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and so on. It is too soon to tell what kind of paramilitary training Abedi may have had. What we do know is that he roamed free because he was judged by the British government not to pose an “immediate” peril.
Once a Western society is infiltrated by a critical mass of sharia supremacists, there are barely enough investigative resources to cover the immediate perils—especially when inquiries into their ideology are condemned as racist “Islamophobia.”
Sharia supremacism, which demands that societies be governed by classical, repressive Islamic law (sharia), is a totalitarian political ideology under a religious veneer. It should not be regarded as a merely religious belief system as that concept is understood in our law.
It was to confront head-on that self-defeating approach that, following the San Bernardino jihadist attack that killed 14 Americans, candidate Donald Trump announced his much-derided intention to impose a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. As night follows day, Trump was branded an Islamophobe―a classic demagogic slur developed by the Muslim Brotherhood precisely to thwart examination of sharia-supremacist ideology. But the candidate’s intention was never to bar all Muslims from entering the United States; what he had in mind was a temporary measure until a workable policy solution could be devised (“until our elected representatives can figure out what is going on,” as he put it).
The policy solution Trump arrived at was enhanced vetting (which he at times calls “extreme vetting”). I know this not just from the now-president’s plethora of statements on the matter; I served on the commission (put together by Trump campaign adviser Rudy Giuliani) that counseled Trump. The point was never to ban Muslims, as has been misrepresented in press coverage and legal arguments over Trump’s so-called “travel ban” orders. The point was to ban those beholden to what Trump has called “radical Islamic” ideology (I prefer the more precise description “sharia supremacism”).
The strategy is based on what should be a widely known fact but, after a generation of willful blindness, remains obscure: Sharia supremacism, which demands that societies be governed by classical, repressive Islamic law (sharia), is a totalitarian political ideology under a religious veneer. It should not be regarded as a merely religious belief system as that concept is understood in our law.
Once this core premise is accepted, the legality of heightened vetting is plain to see. The United States has a long history of barring admission to political radicals who seek to overthrow our constitutional system. Indeed, to this day the oath taken by naturalized citizens requires a pledge of loyalty to our Constitution.
The public debate over this aspect of Muslim immigration has been numbingly uninformed. Federal courts and Islamist apologists have challenged the administration over the travel ban―a temporary measure to block entry into the United States by aliens from six Muslim-majority countries that are high-risk because their regimes are incapable of, or unwilling to, cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities. Ignoring the president’s sweeping constitutional and statutory authority to impose such temporary bans on national-security grounds, Trump Justice Department lawyers have been grilled on such diversions as the number of terrorist attacks committed against the United States by nationals of the six countries, and whether the president’s campaign rhetoric signals a closet agenda to ban all Muslims.
These questions miss the point. It is of course imperative to prevent the entry of trained jihadists who may have infiltrated groups of refugees and other aliens seeking admission. That, however, is a secondary problem.
To prevent that fate, we have to be prepared to scrutinize aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology. That means heightened vetting for aliens who seek to enter the United States from any country, city, town, or enclave where this anti-constitutional ideology―so hostile to liberty and equality―is prevalent.
The threat we face is not merely terrorism. The main threat is the ideology because of which terrorism thrives. As we see in Europe, and are reminded of in Manchester, enclaves of assimilation-resistant aliens adherent to sharia supremacism become the safe-havens in which jihadism takes root. It is there, among sympathetic residents, that the message of groups like the Islamic State has resonance―making the enclaves fertile ground for jihadist indoctrination, recruitment, training, fundraising, and harboring.
Yes, we must root out the terrorists of today. But we must be at least as concerned about the 10-, 13-, or 16-year-old who will become the Salman Abedi of tomorrow—a young Muslim who slides seamlessly into jihadism because of the anti-Western ideological precincts we have come to indulge.
To prevent that fate, we have to be prepared to scrutinize aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology. That means heightened vetting for aliens who seek to enter the United States from any country, city, town, or enclave where this anti-constitutional ideology—so hostile to liberty and equality―is prevalent. The objective is not, and has never been, to ban Muslims just because they are Muslims. As the president correctly noted in his speech on Sunday in Saudi Arabia, jihadist terror regularly kills and persecutes Muslims. The objective is to protect the religious liberty of all Americans from sharia supremacists―ideologues who systematically discriminate against both non-Muslims and Muslims who do not adhere to fundamentalist construction of Islam.
In an essential analysis of sharia encroachment in Britain, the Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern details the push by growing Muslim enclaves for autonomy to govern themselves under sharia, rather than British law. Sharia courts are proliferating. Increasing percentages of Britain’s Muslim population (now 3.5 million, about 5.5 percent of total population . . . and climbing) express sympathy for jihadists. There have been cover-ups of sexual-assault scandals and the pressure put on women to conform to Islamic mores. In Manchester itself, residents have received leaflets in their mailboxes from a Muslim group calling itself “Public Purity,” demanding a ban on dogs (which are considered unclean under classical sharia). A 23-year-old Manchester man, Raphael Hostey (a.k.a. “Abu Qaqa al-Britani”), joined the Islamic State and became a key recruiter―of both jihadist fighters and jihadist brides.
Atrocities such as the Manchester bombing are always shocking, but that does not make them unpredictable. Suicide bombers are enabled by suicidal policies.
It would be the height of folly to believe that what is happening in England cannot happen here. This is why the president’s travel-ban orders have been inadvertently counterproductive.
Because of the base allegations of anti-Muslim bias, the White House, Homeland Security Department and Justice Department have been goaded into defending themselves, in court proceedings, by claiming that the orders have nothing to do with Islam. The president’s orders, they maintain, relate strictly to the security shortcomings of the six particular countries cited. Indeed, the administration has bragged that the vast majority of the world’s Muslims (over 80 percent) are unaffected, and that the revised order scaled back the number of affected Muslim-majority countries from seven to six.
But how are we ever to avoid the influx of anti-American sharia-supremacists if our security personnel do not screen aliens seeking entry for ideological hostility? And how can that happen unless the Trump administration says, honestly and without apology, that we seek to subject Muslim alien visa seekers from sharia-supremacist hotbeds to enhanced vetting, in order to promote fidelity to the Constitution, assimilation, and the religious liberty of all Americans, including Muslim Americans—all of which are proper and essential goals of sound immigration policy?
Atrocities such as the Manchester bombing are always shocking, but that does not make them unpredictable. Suicide bombers are enabled by suicidal policies.
Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Andrew C. McCarthyhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngAndrew C. McCarthy2017-05-23 21:15:372017-07-12 14:50:21Memo from Manchester: Don’t Let the Swamp Win on Immigration
Administrative State • America • Congress • Defense of the West • Democrats • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • First Amendment • Foreign Policy • Immigration • Middle East • Obama • Religion of Peace • Republicans • Section 2 • September 11 • Terrorism • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Leviathian State • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House
The temporary nationwide injunctions placed on President Trump’s most recent executive order, issued March 6 (“Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”) by two federal district courts are the latest skirmishes in progressive liberalism’s war against the idea of the sovereign nation-state and the exclusive citizenship that attaches to “separate and equal” nations (to use the language of the Declaration of Independence).
The district court decisions perfectly represented Secretary of State John Kerry’s parting advice to the American people when he warned the nation to prepare itself for a “borderless world.” The argument now seems to have clearly entered what progressive constitutional scholars have called the “post-constitutional era,” an era where the Constitution is only an afterthought in the advancement of Progressivism.
The March 6 order replaced an identically titled executive order that Trump issued on January 27. The first executive order was enjoined primarily on due process grounds because it did not accord resident aliens and visa holders requisite due process rights. A legal doctrine that has developed over the years holds that while aliens seeking entry to the United States generally have no due process rights, when they develop ties, as legal residents and green card holders do, they acquire some due process rights. Thus legal residents and green card holders as well as those already holding visas were not included in the redrafted order.
A provision of the first order giving admissions preference to Christian minorities in majority-Muslim countries was also eliminated because it was thought to provoke unnecessary Establishment Clause issues. The second executive order was redrawn to meet the legal objections lodged by the federal district courts and, by and large, it was thought that the Justice Department lawyers had succeeded in meeting all the constitutional objections. But one could hardly predict the depths to which the federal district courts would delve in dredging up tendentious and wholly fabulous new arguments to defeat Trump’s revised order.
Departing from Precedent… and Common Sense
More than a century ago, the Supreme Court stated the common sense of the matter as it was understood by every American since the founding:
It is an accepted maxim of international law that every sovereign nation has the power, as inherent in sovereignty, and essential to self-preservation, to forbid the entrance of foreigners within its dominions, or to admit them only in such cases and upon such conditions as it may see fit to prescribe. [Ekiu v. U.S., 142 U.S. 651, 659 (1892).]
Some half-century later, the court made another commonsensical statement of the necessary consequences of sovereignty:
The exclusion of aliens is a fundamental act of sovereignty. The right to do so stems not alone from legislative power but is inherent in the executive power to control the foreign affairs of the nation. . . . When Congress prescribes a procedure concerning the admissibility of aliens, it is not dealing alone with a legislative power. It is implementing an inherent executive power. Thus the decision to admit or to exclude an alien may be lawfully placed with the President, who may in turn delegate the carrying out of this function to a responsible executive of the sovereign. [Knauff v. Shaughnessy, 338 U.S. 537, 542-543 (1950)]
Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.
This language is remarkable for the fact that it does not contain any limits or qualifications on the president’s discretion. Until the recent decisions enjoining President Trump’s executive orders, case law by and large, has supported the president’s broad authority to act under this provision. Until now, courts have always recognized that the President’s power over national security and foreign policy is extensive, deriving from inherent powers embodied in Article II of the Constitution and powers delegated by Congress. Courts almost always defer to the executive in these two areas.
What the Order Said
The second executive order is designed to protect the citizens of the United States “from terrorist attacks, including those committed by foreign nations.” It seeks to accomplish this goal by improving “the screening and vetting protocols and procedures associated with the visa-issuance process” in order to detect “foreign nationals who may commit, aid, or support acts of terrorism and in preventing those individuals from entering the United States. It is therefore the policy of the United States to improve the screening and vetting protocols and procedures associated with the visa-issuance process and the United States Refugee Admissions Program.”
Section 2 of the executive order suspends for ninety days entry of all immigrants from six designated terrorist nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Iraq had been included on the first order, but was dropped on the second because it was thought to be unjust treatment to deny categorically entry to those who had cooperated with the American war effort in Iraq: translators, advisors, combatants and others, although everyone seems to agree that the vetting in Iraq continues to be inadequate.
These six nations were designated state sponsors of terrorism before the Trump took office and were treated as such in various actions by the Obama administration. The principal reason that these countries are listed in the executive order is that they do not have adequate screening and vetting procedures in place to minimize “the risk of erroneously permitting entry of a national . . . who intends to commit terrorist acts or otherwise harm the national security of the United States.” The risk, according the executive order, is “Unacceptably high.” Indeed the heads of the major security agencies in the Obama administration warned that active terrorists will inevitably slip through security screening cracks of our own security apparatus. Trump quite reasonably believes that emigrants from terrorist-designated nations should undergo more thorough screening in the sending nations than they currently receive. This is a national security priority.
The two decisions, State of Hawaii and Ismail Elshikh v. Trump and International Refugee Assistance Project v. Trump issued temporary nationwide restraining orders against the March 6, 2017 Executive Order. Both decisions were announced on March 15. The Justice Department has announced that it will appeal the International Refugee Assistance case, which was decided in Maryland federal district court, presumably calculating the appeal would have better chances in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals than in the notoriously liberal-radical Ninth Circuit. One interesting difference between the two decisions, which are otherwise quite similar, is that Judge Watson in the Hawaii case found both Section 2, banning entry for 90 days from the six designated countries unconstitutional, as well as section 6, which suspends the refugee program for 120 days. Judge Chuang found fault only with Section 2. The Justice Department asked Judge Watson to reconsider his section six ruling, but he refused to do so.
The Hawaii case produced a thoroughly dishonest decision exposing progressive “post-constitutionalism” for the absurdity that it is. Judge Watson, an Obama appointee, granted standing to Hawaii because of the likely injuries it would suffer to its university system and the loss of revenue it would incur due to decreased tourism. The university system would suffer a financial loss, the state argued, since it recruits students from the six designated countries and tuition revenues will consequently be diminished. There are also “non-monetary losses, including damage to the collaborative exchange of ideas among people of different religions and national background on which the State’s education institutions depend.”
“The University trades in ideas and the diversity of ideas,” plaintiffs alleged. The universities, after all, “have a mission of global engagement” and their mission would be mutilated by the ban on emigration from terrorist designated nations. National security considerations must therefore be seen in the light of its effects on diversity and global engagement.
The Maryland case did not include the state as a plaintiff, although Judge Chuang, also an Obama appointee, allowed the Middle East Studies Association to assert claims that the executive order “would make it more difficult for certain members to travel for academic conferences and field work, and that the inability of its members to enter the United States threatens to cripple its annual conference, on which it relies for a large portion of its early revenue.” It is difficult to credit claims such as these when weighed against the executive order’s national security claims. Nevertheless, Judge Chuang thought the association would likely prevail in asserting its constitutional claims.
Both cases held that plaintiffs were likely to prevail in their argument that the executive order violated the Establishment Clause. The plaintiff in the Hawaii case, Ismail Elshikh, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Egyptian descent, is the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii. He is married to a Syrian woman who is also Muslim. His mother-in-law, also Muslim, seeks a visa to enter the United States from Syria. The six-nation ban would prevent her from visiting her son-in law, daughter and grandchildren, as we learn later in the opinion, solely because she is Muslim.
The question has always been whether an individual has a right to assert a claim alleging the violation of an individual right under the Establishment Clause. The familiar language of the First Amendment is that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . .” Although conceding that “the injury-in-fact prerequisite can be ‘particularly elusive’ in Establishment Clause cases because plaintiffs do not typically allege an invasion of a physical or economic interest,” Judge Watson nevertheless contends that psychological injuries are enough to confer standing.
Government endorsement of religion treats members of disfavored religions as second-class citizens and outsiders and sends a message that government is hostile to their religion. In Dr. Elshikh’s case, he was “deeply saddened by the message” conveyed by the Executive Order and “that a broad travel-ban was ‘needed’ to prevent people from certain Muslim countries from entering the United States.” Judge Watson concludes that “these injuries are sufficiently personal, concrete, particularized, and actual to confer standing in the Establishment Clause context.”
The idea that a subjective feeling of sadness was a real or significant injury and likely to prevail as sufficient evidence that the executive order disfavored the Muslim religion to such an extent that it was an endorsement of non-Muslim religions and therefore an establishment is far-fetched, not to say ludicrous. Likely to prevail at trial? Hardly. Not if Madison and other drafters of the Bill of Rights were members of the jury. Proof of establishment must surely rest on stronger evidence than the hurt feeling or hysterical musings of perfervid imaginations.
Both cases give standing to plaintiffs for Establishment Clause claims and both relied on Lemon v. Kurtzman, the 1971 case that created the standard for determining when government action is tantamount to an establishment of religion. The most important part of the Lemon test is that the law or government action must have a secular purpose; it must be neutral with respect to religion. Both judges admit that the executive order on its face is neutral. It addresses the issues of terrorism and the adequacy of screening and vetting in the designated countries.
But both judges note that since the six countries are overwhelmingly Muslim, they dismiss almost out of hand the government’s argument that this is not proof of animus against Muslims because these countries only represent a fraction of the world’s Muslim population. Judge Watson’s conclusion is that it is “no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam.” One certainly does not have to have an advanced degree in logic or metaphysics to see the logical flaw in the Judge’s conclusion. After all, it is terrorism that is targeted, not Islam. Not all Muslim countries are designated countries; not all Muslim nations pose imminent threats nor do all lack proper vetting and screening procedures.
What convinced both judges that the natural security purpose of the executive order was merely pretext was not the language of the order, which contains religiously neutral language, but the ex cathedra statements of Donald Trump and his staff during the presidential campaign. According to Judge Watson, the campaign language reveals “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the executive order.” The remarks of campaign advisers, Rudolph Giuliani and Stephen Miller, were also rehearsed to demonstrate animus against Muslims. The fact that presidential rhetoric leading up to the actual executive order had gradually evolved into the neutral language of national security cannot disguise or minimize the religious animosity that still rests at the core of the order. The national security reasons of the order are merely pretextual and there is a “dearth of evidence indicating a national security purpose.”
Although Judge Chuang’s legal analysis is considerably more sophisticated that Judge Watson’s rather casual assumptions about what passes for constitutional analysis, he accepts the argument that Trumps ex cathedra statements are more dispositive in determining the executive order’s purpose than the plain language of the order itself. While both judges seem to realize that interpreting the text of the order is their first obligation, both are too impatient to reach a result that satisfies their predisposition to reach a progressive result that looks forward to a “world without borders” to be deterred by taking the text of the order seriously. Both judges pick up any constitutional bludgeon that falls readily to hand—here, the Establishment Clause.
Judge Chuang notes that plaintiffs in the Maryland case raise the issue of whether any national security issues are involved at all since the executive order does not identify any terror activities that have been committed by foreign nationals from the designated countries. He seems to imply that the absence of any past terrorist acts precludes any national security action to meet anticipated or potential risks. Hardly solid logic, but it is the logic both Judge Watson and Judge Chuang seem to indulge. Only in the post-constitutional era does the nation have to endure an act of terror before it can prevent acts of terror!
Judge Chuang concludes there are “legitimate questions whether the travel ban for the Designated Countries is actually warranted.” In Chuang’s opinion there are simply no genuine security issues involved in the order. The security concerns are merely thinly disguised pretexts for religious animus. If the security issues were real, the judge remarks, then “generally courts should afford deference to national security and foreign policy judgments of the Executive Branch.” He cites the 2010 case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Projectas authority. The judge, however, quickly avoids the necessity of judicial deference by repeating his categorically denial that the executive is engaged in making judgments about national security: “In this highly unique case, the record provides strong indications that the national security purpose is not the primary purpose for the travel ban.” Rather Judge Chuang and Judge Watson both have decided that the national security purposes of the order are merely elaborate pretexts to indulge the Trump Administration’s pervasive animus toward Muslims. Judicial deference to the Executive therefore is not warranted because no national security issues are implicated!
The Justice Department has announced it will appeal the Maryland ruling. If the Fourth Circuit finds—as it surely must—there are genuine and pressing national security interests involved in the executive order, then the court must show proper deference to the executive branch, not only to the president’s powers under Article II of the Constitution, but to the broad statutory authority granted to him by Congress.
The court’s first obligation is to the text of the executive order, not the rhetorical flourishes, hyperbole and transparent exaggerations of campaign speeches. In the Humanitarian Law Project case, Chief Justice Roberts, writing for a 6-3 majority, noted that deference was due to the executive branch in national security and foreign policy matters because
concerns arise in connection with efforts to confront evolving threats in an area where information can be difficult to obtain and the impact of certain conduct difficult to assess . . . [C]onclusions must often be based on informed judgments rather than concrete evidence, and that reality affects what we may reasonably insist on from the Government. . . . The Government, when seeking to prevent imminent harms in the context of international affairs and national security, is not required to conclusively link all the pieces in the puzzle before we grant weight to its empirical conclusions.
This is surely the situation we face as a nation today, a situation that is thoroughly understood by the Trump administration. The increasing threat of worldwide terrorism and the threat to the American homeland will continue to be a concern in the immediate future. A “world without borders” is obviously not the solution—it will exacerbate the problem.
The election of Trump gave the nation some respite to shore up the nation’s defenses against those who would demonstrate “who we are as a people” by increasing diversity through accelerated refugee programs and deluding the American people that diversity and openness are our greatest security against terrorism. Trump appealed to the American people in terms of citizenship and borders. The executive order is part of that appeal and the minions of the administrative state have rallied to defeat it.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Edward J. Erlerhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngEdward J. Erler2017-03-27 11:00:432017-04-03 05:45:59Constitutional Buffoonery from the Federal District Courts
America • Americanism • Big Media • China • Congress • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Economy • Education • Government Reform • Greatness Agenda • Immigration • Republicans • The Culture • The Left • Trump White House
Illegal immigration has plagued the United States for decades. The business, political, media, and academic elite in America today insist that the unfettered movement of all people will, among other things, lead to a greater level of innovation. According to this theory, whenever America becomes less inviting to foreigners, that talent chooses to go elsewhere. As Ángel Cabrera, president of George Mason University argued recently, that loss of foreign talent was “others’ gain.”
The implication is that President Trump’s strict stance on illegal immigration is somehow harmful to America because it diminishes the likelihood that foreign innovators will look for a better life in the United States.
This is nothing but an old straw man argument deployed by the Left and corporatist Right. Fact is, Trump has never favored ending all immigration into the United States. He has quite vociferously defended legal immigration into the country, especially when that immigration is in the national interest.
Cabrera also asserts, “Immigrants or their children started more than 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies, according to the Kauffman Foundation, and more than 50 percent of billion-plus startups had at least one foreign-born founder.”
But what Cabrera fails to acknowledge is that absolutely none of these individuals came to the United States illegally. So, presumably, the president’s “draconian” stance on illegal immigration would not have deterred these legal immigrants.
When Trump speaks of building a wall, or temporarily halting immigration from a handful of Middle Eastern and African countries over national security concerns, he is not isolating America. He is defending it from those who seek to harm our people. It has nothing to do with racism or fear mongering.
Unlike Cabrera and his fellow globalists, Trump understands that illegal immigration is quite different from legal immigration. Indeed, it is a grave threat that the president must neutralize.
Just this week, there was an horrific incident reported in Rockville, Maryland about an innocent 14 year-old girl who was brutally raped by two immigrants, aged 17 and 18, at her school. The older of the two immigrants crossed into the U.S. illegally seven months ago. Turns out, the two young men were classified as “Dreamers.” This, as Rockville debates whether or not it will become a sanctuary city and politicians strive to make Maryland a “sanctuary state” for illegal immigrants.
Globalists offer dubious moral arguments in support of illegal immigration. They make the empty promise that these immigrants will, by and large, contribute more to society than “lazy” working-class folks who supported Trump. Because our own poor are so repugnant to these globalists, they would like to import a new lower class beholden to them. So they claim illegal immigrants are really the future and whoever recognizes this fact first will win politically and economically.
Or so the narrative goes. Reality is quite different.
Look at the two young men who raped that poor girl in Maryland. They came from Guatemala and El Salvador, countries that have been destabilized by the Mexican drug war. Does anyone really believe either of these two young men would become the next Steve Jobs?
Of course not.
America should start focusing its own human resources. We have to invest in developing our own human capital. The United States needs serious education reform that can maximize the potential of all of our people. This is something that America has lacked for decades.
For the last 20 years, countries like China and India were making serious investments into their educational systems. They wanted to create the next wave of global innovators, business leaders, and scientists. Meanwhile, in America, we concoct lame Common Core standards and worry about whether or not little Johnny can tinkle in the girls’ restroom.
We spent the last 20 years telling our kids they were the best simply because they existed. In China, meanwhile, children are rigorously conditioned at a young age to compete academically; they are encouraged by their families and the state to seek employment in fields such as science, technology, engineering, and math (all while their “civic” instruction teaches that the West is their enemy). Chinese leadership recognized that the source of their own strength is in its people at the very moment that the United States appears to have forgotten this basic truth.
Economists describe “human capital” as the “skills, creativity, and enterprise” of a country’s populace. Nobel laureate economist James Heckman insists that countries such as the United States must “invest in families and nurture the cognitive and social skills in children from birth to age 5 […] The payoff—7% to 10% on the dollar—in greater academic success, future productivity and economic prosperity is the best investment around.” And, as Susan Ochsbhorn wrote, “By some estimates, human capital creates two-thirds of a modern economy’s wealth.”
There’s a reason that, in 2012, KPMG’s global Tech Innovation Survey found 43 percent of respondents said Silicon Valley’s “crown would be passed elsewhere” and that a plurality of respondents (45 percent) believed that China was the “country most likely to be the next innovation center.”
Many analysts believe that quantum computing will be the future of computers. Do you know which country just had some of the greatest breakthroughs with this technology? China. Last September, China launched its quantum Internet satellite. This technology, if it works as planned, likely will revolutionize the way that we communicate globally. It could potentially replace the Internet as we know it today.
What’s more, it will confer an unimaginable strategic advantage upon China’s armed forces. Toward that end, the Chinese created a quantum radar that they claim can penetrate American stealth technology, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Not so long ago, such revolutionary and complex technology would have been pioneered in the United States. But this is what happens when America no longer invests in its future.
In terms of gross domestic product (GDP), China is the second-largest economy in the world today and the largest in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). They are producing future innovators and industry leaders at amazing rates.
This is an odd turn of events, if Cabrera’s arguments on the necessity of open borders hold true.
After all, China is a relatively closed society with strict immigration policies (to say nothing of its mercantilist trade policies). Yet, here China is beating out “free trade” states like the United Kingdom and Canada, and chipping away at America’s lead. Indeed, China is slated to overtake the U.S. economy (in terms of GDP) as early as 2018.
Something isn’t quite right here. How is China so successful if it has such restrictive immigration policies?
People like Ángel Cabrera are completely wrong. Illegal immigration helps no one—least of all the victims of illegal immigrants. If America wants to compete (and win), it must invest in the people who are already here. Open borders are not the path to prosperity.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Brandon J. Weicherthttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngBrandon J. Weichert2017-03-23 14:10:132017-07-26 15:58:04Open Borders Do Not Lead to Prosperity
Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Foreign Policy • Middle East • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The ME Agenda
After an extensive career as a scientist working and studying in the Middle East, Philip Haney decided to put his extensive expertise and experience with Arabic culture and language to use for the American government after 9/11 by becoming a founding member of the Department of Homeland Security. But as the years advanced, Haney noticed that all was not well in the department.
There was a decided inclination to misunderstand the nature of the so-called “war on terror” as a kind of police action rather than the work of looking after national security. Obama administration officials, especially, argued for extending protection of rights to foreign nationals that ought to have been understood to apply only to American citizens. In addition, a creeping kind of political correctness took hold of operations—with requests coming in from administration officials to scrub records unfavorable to certain groups and individuals with questionable ties to known terrorist organizations—making it increasingly difficult for agents to do their jobs properly.
Soon enough, Haney found himself on the wrong side of the political divide at DHS and then learned he was a target of no less than three bogus internal investigations. After having reached a point where he could retire with honor, he did so and then wrote See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad. In this book and in his subsequent work, Haney is working to inform Americans about the misguided strategies of DHS and other agencies within the government that are undermining national security and, in some cases, willfully misrepresenting the nature of the threats we face for reasons that the reader can surmise from the evidence he gathers.
On Monday, Seth Liebsohn and Chris Buskirk interviewed Haney on the “Seth and Chris Show” which airs weekdays in Phoenix from 3-6 p.m. on KKNT. Their discussion is jaw-dropping. Have a listen here:
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Julie Ponzihttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngJulie Ponzi2017-03-22 14:36:032017-03-22 14:36:03Is the Department of Homeland Security Submitting to Jihad?
2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Congress • Conservatives • Deep State • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • First Amendment • Government Reform • Immigration • Middle East • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • The Resistance (Snicker) • Trump White House
I suspect that nearly all readers of American Greatness are familiar with John Adams’ famous statement about the rule of law in his Constitution for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, approved by the voters in 1780. “In the government of this commonwealth,” Adams wrote, “the legislative department shall never exercise the executive and judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them: the judicial shall never exercise the legislative and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it may be a government of laws and not of men.”
Adams memorably articulated a sentiment that had long been recognized as essential to the preservation of political liberty. Every part of his formulation is worth bearing in mind.
But at the present moment, it is Adams’ third admonition concerning the judiciary that compels our attention. Consider the actions by various district court judges in response to Donald Trump’s two executive orders seeking to ban travel to the United States from certain countries: Are they not instances of the judiciary seeking to exercise powers that, according to statute and the Constitution, belong to the executive branch?
Glancing at the alarming disgorgement of commentary on the subject in these last few weeks as Trump’s original travel ban and, just a few days ago, his revised travel ban were subject to nationwide temporary restraining orders, I conclude that that question will be a long time in being settled, if it ever is.
Do you really believe that the travel ban violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment? I don’t, but even lawyers have to eat, so I suppose we’ll have to sit back as acres of wood pulp are darkened for the publication of their hermeneutical ingenuity explaining how the president’s efforts to keep the country safe are a violation of due process, equal protection, the Establishment Clause, or some other innocent but abused phrase from the Constitution.
Let’s let that play out. What has me murmuring under my breath at the moment is Adams’ concluding exhortation, that the separation of powers he outlines might conduce to the desirable end of a government ruled by laws, not men.
Generally, that famous phrase—a government of laws not men—is taken as naming a prophylactic against capricious or arbitrary rule by individuals. Even the sovereign, it was said, is subject to the law. Recognition of that fact was at the center of what made Magna Carta “magna.” But the response to Trump’s travel bans—as indeed, several other responses to his election—reminded me that there is another, just as important side to the desideratum “a government of laws not men.”
What does it mean that several hundred thousand females converge on Washington, D.C., in pink hats and vagina costumes to whine that Donald Trump is “not our president”? What does it mean that on college campuses across the country, students, often abetted by faculty and the occasional outside agitator, protest that Trump is “illegitimate”? That various pundits, some on the Right as well as the Left, warn against “normalizing” Donald Trump? And, perhaps most worrisome, what does it mean that a smattering of judges across the country argue that the president’s executive orders are illegitimate, unconstitutional because (cutting to the chase) they are this president’s orders?
As Josh Blackman has pointed out in a series of essays at the Lawfare weblog, the basic legal arguments made against Trump’s travel bans turn as much on their being promulgated by Donald Trump as on any constitutional objections. In “The Legality of the 3/6/17 Executive Order, Part III: The Establishment Clause,” for example, he shows how Judge Leonie Brinkema, writing in February in Aziz v. Trump, made Donald Trump, not the legality of his actions, the main issue. “At its heart,” Blackman writes,
the court’s Establishment Clause analysis isn’t about the executive order. Rather, it is about the person who signed it. In a section titled “The President’s Public Comments,” the court lists several statements made by Donald Trump “on the subject of immigration to the United States by Muslims.” Consider the level of generality. These were not statements concerning the executive order itself, or even statements about the executive order ultimately adopted. They are statements about Donald Trump’s personal views on “the subject of immigration to the United States by Muslims.”
Judge Brinkema has applied a “forever taint” not to the executive order, but to Donald Trump himself. For example, the government defended the selection of the seven nations in the initial executive order because President Obama approved a law that singled out the same seven nations for “special scrutiny” under the visa waiver program. Judge Brinkema rejected this reasoning: “Absent the direct evidence of animus presented by the Commonwealth, singling out these countries for additional scrutiny might not raise Establishment Clause concerns; however, with that direct evidence, a different picture emerges.” That is, if Barack Obama selected these seven countries for extreme vetting, it would be lawful, because he lacks the animus. But because Donald Trump had that animus, it would be unlawful. No matter that Trump excluded forty-three other Muslim-majority nations that account for 90 percent of the global Muslim population. Even though three of the included nations are state-sponsors of terrorism! It will always a “Muslim ban” because of comments he made on the O’Reilly Factor in 2011, a policy he adopted in 2015, and abandoned after his lawyers told him it was illegal. She admits as much. “A person,” she writes, “is not made brand new simply by taking the oath of office.” Not the policy. The person. Trump.
Thus we see another way in which the principle of “a government of laws not men” can be violated. It used to be that we were on the lookout for individuals arrogating to themselves the power of the law. Now we find individuals denying our lawfully elected representatives the legitimacy to exercise their rightful authority.
We know from history that the first sort of violation is an invitation to tyranny. Some otherwise intelligent people seem not to appreciate how the latter is an invitation to anarchy and mob rule.
It is too early, I think, to say how this will end. Perhaps, as I hope, the odor of insurrection will dissipate and President Trump can go about the nation’s business with the presumption of legitimacy he deserves. But that may not happen. In which case, this observation from Alexander Bickel’s The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics (1962) is pertinent: “Enforcement crises must be resolved by the use of the minimum force necessary, but above all decisively and promptly, so that the futility of resistance is never in the slightest doubt. Those who pass from litigation and political obstruction to overt insurrection must not be led to expect that will be negotiated with.”
Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact email@example.com
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Roger Kimballhttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngRoger Kimball2017-03-19 00:01:552017-07-12 14:45:10A Government of Laws, Not Men
America • American Conservatism • Americanism • Center for American Greatness • Conservatives • Defense of the West • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Economy • Government Reform • Immigration • political philosophy • The Culture • The Media • Trade • Trump White House
The rise of Donald Trump, last year’s Brexit vote, or the rise of alternative Right parties (such as Germany’s Alternativ für Deutschland and France’s National Front parties) all represent nationalistic movements. They may take different forms, but the concept of globalism has taken a pretty serious hit these last few years. In this morass, the globalists in the West continue to warn against the dangers of returning to nationalism. But all of this talk is self-serving.
Looking at the way nationalism has taken hold throughout the world, the question arises: Did nationalism ever really go away?
While it is true that mass political movements can appear, at times, from out of nowhere (particularly when they are of the populist bent), the movement usually builds support from the fringes of polite society and then works its way to the center. During economically prosperous times and periods of security, such movements are held back by the ruling class. However, as economic, demographic, and security considerations change for the worst, these populist movements have the ability to surge forward.
The globalist critique of nationalism is that it embodies the worst aspects of the last century. It encourages parochialism, they claim. Nationalism inspires political violence, they assert. Oh, and, most importantly, nationalism encourages its adherents to place their own interests ahead of others (what a novel concept!). While some of these points may be objectively true, contextually, many of these fears are unfounded (particularly with the current strain of Western nationalism sweeping across Europe, Canada, and the United States).
Let’s just look at the form of nationalism that is popular among the “Trumpist” and the Tea Party wings of the Republican Party (we shall ignore the left-wing populism that Bernie Sanders represented, since that movement went nowhere electorally). Are these people white nationalists out to engage in pogroms directed against immigrants? No.
What do these American nationalists want?
A better economy, for starters. They want more sensible immigration laws (i.e. simple enforcement of existing laws). These individuals want better trade deals. Also, they’d like to see America’s young men and women in uniform go to war for real American interests and then return home, as our grandfathers and great-grandfathers did. As Mackubin T. Owens wrote recently, ours is a “civic nationalism,” not an ethnic one.
Europeans worry more about right-wing nationalism, because of Europe’s nasty history with fascism. Yet, what are Marine Le Pen’s National Front Party in France or the AfD in Germany calling for?
First, they’d like the mass rapes that Muslim immigrants are committing to stop. Second, they’d prefer their already bloated welfare systems to pay out benefits to their own people rather than to foreigners who probably shouldn’t even be in Europe. Third, they’d prefer their countries not become battlegrounds between the United States and Russia, as they were during the Cold War. Finally, these movements would prefer to see political decisions left to their own governments rather than in the hands of detached globalists in Brussels.
Of course, we cannot deny that there are racist elements within these right-wing movements. That’s unfortunate. But, is this wave of nationalism represented more by ethnicity or by simple civic nationalism, as in America? I’m not really hearing radical solutions being called for in places like the United States, France, or Germany. It sounds much more technocratic than anything else. President Trump insists upon better trade deals that benefit America. Le Pen’s National Front and Germany’s AfD want to protect their citizens by defending their nations’ borders. Trump, Le Pen, and the AfD all seem to have made their peace with the welfare state. They just say they’d “manage it better.”
How is this radical or revolutionary? How is this dangerous? As a conservative, I shudder at the thought of maintaining our bloated welfare state, but I also recognize that the taxpayers have been paying into these systems with the promise that they would have access to its benefits in return. These are sensible expectations on the part of the voters in each country. What’s more, the appreciation of leaders like Trump and Le Pen is a logical next step for those voters seeking to preserve their countries.
Globalists often claim that nationalism went extinct when the Cold War ended. They believe that the alphabet soup of international, multilateral institutions that were created represent the “end of history.” Much like the Communists of yore, who believed that they alone understood the scientific progression of history, the globalists concluded that the end of the Cold War marked their ascendancy to permanent power. Everything in our society (and other Western states) was tailored accordingly.
Yet, none of these global elites ever cared to ask for the consent of the governed. Indeed, they routinely ignored and mocked those they presumed to rule. When the globalist policies (whether it be the Iraq War or the inequitable response to the Great Recession of 2008) had clearly failed most people, the globalists changed the metrics for success. Under such circumstances, the majority of people who had been left behind and ignored for so long decided to exercise the one thing that would get the elites’ attention: they voted for open and avowed nationalists.
These nationalists are not like your grandfather’s nationalists, either. They are more technocratic than anything. Oh, sure, they want make some drastic changes here and there. But, for the most part, they just want to enforce laws already on the books and secure their countries in an increasingly unstable world. The nationalists were always among us, they were just kept silent during the “good” economic times. Now, however, there is no denying that times are as bad as they’ve ever been for a majority of people globally.
Nationalism never died. It is stronger now than it has ever been. That’s not a bad thing, either.
Content created by The Center for American Greatness, Inc is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00Brandon J. Weicherthttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngBrandon J. Weichert2017-03-05 16:28:422017-07-24 23:08:30Nationalism Never Died (We Just Ignored It)
Administrative State • America • Americanism • Declaration of Independence • Defense of the West • Democrats • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Economy • Education • Foreign Policy • Immigration • Infrastructure • Trade • Trump White House
As Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg spoke of America by referring to the four score and seven years that had passed since its birth, President Trump envisioned an America twelve score and 10 from its birth; its 250th birthday, or sestercentennial. That would place us in 2026, a year and a half following an eight-year Trump presidency. Our rendezvous with that year has the potential to indicate an America alive with the revolutionary spirit that began its existence or a doddering nation, content to live in misery and delusion, on life support.
Trump’s theme in this speech before a joint session of Congress was his campaign’s theme: Make America Great Again! The usual suspect pundits and politicians praised the speech for its tone and patriotism and comparative lack of partisan divisiveness and its alleged distance from the “darkness” of the inaugural address. Even the leftists at CNN, led by Van Jones, declared that with this speech “he became President of the United States of America.”
The uplifting notes nicely disguised the clear partisan (and I don’t use that word as an epithet) purposes, unchanged from his campaign. President Trump showed he can deploy a variety of rhetorical weapons, depending on his audience. One reason for the changed tone is his respect for constitutional forms. Though not a State of the Union message, one mandated by the Constitution, it functions as this constitutional duty to apprise Congress of his intentions and, as such, it should be as an occasion of dignity. This was above all a law and order speech, conveyed to the putative law-making branch of government.
The Founders envisioned the president speaking primarily to Congress, not directly to the people. President Trump’s speech emphasized the executive’s duty to enforce the laws, not only the Constitution and the laws of the land but the natural law upon which America is based.
In that spirit, Trump posed to Congress an unanswerable question that reflected these principles: “To any in Congress who do not believe we should enforce our laws, I would ask you this question: What would you say to the American family that loses their jobs, their income, or a loved one, because America refused to uphold its laws and defend its borders?” In unity with the Declaration of Independence, Trump maintains that securing “safety and happiness” are the great purposes of legitimate government.
To recover this common-sense moral horizon, the president began his speech with a reference to Black History Month and attacks on Jewish houses of worship and cemeteries. The Jewish Bible is the beginning-point of Western Civilization, and slavery was the original sin of America. How we deal with our origins and our flaws and apply these to our current crises is the challenge Trump poses to Congress.
Slaves in Egypt, slaves in America. We are now free, but our liberty remains threatened. Moreover, all citizens are threatened by the new slavery of the administrative state. Throughout his improbable campaign and into his presidency Trump’s speeches showed he understood that the contemporary threat to freedom is this new Slave Power, abetted by political correctness and shilled for by privileged elites.
It’s no wonder that the lines that stirred the most audible boos were these: “I have ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims. The office is called VOICE—Victims Of Immigration Crime Engagement. We are providing a voice to those who have been ignored by our media, and silenced by special interests.” Trump is a full-throated abolitionist for our times.
This continued his campaign themes. In his October 22, 2016 Contract with the American Voter speech at Gettysburg, Trump reiterated his campaign themes of limiting government to legitimate purposes and restoring the bedrock principle of rule by the consent of the governed. He cast a spotlight on inner city ills early on, in for example his May 26, 2016 speech on energy.
His speech to Congress reiterated his America First foreign policy that would protect America and its interests and reject progressive global diplomacy. “My job is not to represent the world,” he said. “My job is to represent the United States of America.” Earlier, Trump had even quoted then Congressman Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts on the benefits of tariffs.
I believe strongly in free trade but it also has to be fair trade. It’s been a long time since we had fair trade. The first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, warned that the “abandonment of the protective policy by the American government… will produce want and ruin among our people.” Lincoln was right—and it’s time we heeded his advice and his words. (Applause.) I am not going to let America and its great companies and workers be taken advantage of us any longer. They have taken advantage of our country. No longer. (Applause.)
The final section of the speech tied these issues together and returned to the theme of his opening lines. They soared to a height in the president’s recognition of the widow of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, killed in action in Yemen.
Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity. For as the Bible teaches us, there is no greater act of love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. Ryan laid down his life for his friends, for his country, and for our freedom—we will never forget him.
We hear strains of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address with its recollection of memory, sacrifice, national identity, rebirth, and world destiny. Trump’s speech brought together devotion to law and the grand themes of western civilization.
Our relationships as citizens are largely those of commerce and utility, but they can flourish and grow into something higher, such as the friendship of virtue that the President and Congress celebrated with Owens’ widow. But politically the higher friendship and its patriotism are dependent on the success of the lower, the prosperity of the country. America cannot project power around the world unless we have a robust economy. Our higher purposes can be realized only if our basic needs are satisfied.
In concluding his address he speculated on what the United States would be like in America’s sestercentennial year of 2026. He recalled the now familiar inventions celebrated on the centenary of the Declaration, such as the telephone. What advances would we see in less than a decade?
The arts and sciences will advance in astonishing ways. But progress in the human condition, the president implies, will always remain dubious. The inner cities might improve, or they might not. Congress may accept its constitutional responsibilities, or it might not. The moral dilemmas and choices abide, as we are always in danger of backsliding into slavery. But the possibility for “a new chapter of American Greatness” is the strongest it has been since Lincoln.
America • Big Media • Conservatives • Cultural Marxism • Defense of the West • Democrats • Department of Homeland Security • Donald Trump • Foreign Policy • Immigration • Religion of Peace • Terrorism • The Constitution • The Courts • The Culture • The Left • The Media
Amid all the drama, it is appropriate to focus on what got lost in the mainstream media firestorm.
Reportedly, just 109 out of 325,000 people who entered the United States on the first day (that is, 0.00034, or 0.034 percent) were held up for questioning. Of that 109, only several dozen were detained longer than a few hours. Now ask yourself why all the drama over 109 people, most of whom endured only relatively minor inconvenience and were free to go on the same day? Doesn’t that suggest this is an issue which was intentionally blown out of proportion in support of a broader political agenda?
Trump’s order relies on existing law, signed by President Obama, and targets only the seven countries previously approved by Congress (with strong Democratic support) and Obama in 2013-2016 as places where jihadist violence is strong and thus a national security concern.
The executive order is not a “Muslim ban” because there is no specific mention of Muslims in it. There are 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world. The vast majority are not covered by the order.
The executive order institutes a 90-day moratorium on entry of people from those seven countries, a 120-day suspension of refugee admissions, and an indefinite hold on Syrian refugee admissions in order to provide time to review existing policies. Since when does a new administration not have the right to review (and possibly to change) existing policies, especially when that administration ran on the explicit platform of doing so?
Trump’s order caps total future refugee admissions at 50,000 a year, a rate equal to close to the average rate of the 15 years before Obama’s dramatic expansion in 2016. One of my friends wrote these words while on a cruise near Australia and New Zealand: “To hear CNN International tell it, the refugees are being drawn and quartered, held without food or water, and not allowed to communicate with anyone.”
Obama admitted an average of 50 Syrians per year for the first four years after the Syrian civil war began in 2011. He boosted the number to 1,682 in 2015 and then 13,000 last year—without any visible vetting criteria in place. Given the jihadist presence in Syria, why is it unreasonable to be concerned about importing extremists if more are allowed into the United States? The European experience shows that some of the terrorist attacks were carried out by people who came in as refugees. Why should it be acceptable for the United States to accept similar risks? If people are looking at it as a humanitarian issue, why the years of silence toward Obama and now rage at Trump?
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar have refused to admit any Syrian refugees. Why? What might they know that we either don’t know or don’t appear to want to know? Why the silence from the people protesting against the executive order? How interesting that, after talking to Trump within 48 hours of signing the order, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi announced their support and funding for a new, out-of-the-box, way to respond to the Syrian and Yemeni refugee crisis, providing safe zones for these people in their home regions.
Sixteen Muslim countries (Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq—except Iraqi Kurdistan—Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan , Syria, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen) refuse to allow entry into their countries by people with Israeli passports. Eight of those countries (Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) won’t admit people —regardless of religious or national heritage—whose passports show entry into Israel. Those are far more restrictive actions than the Trump order. Why the silence from the people protesting against this new order? Such intolerance is no small part of the Muslim tradition. How will that longstanding practice reflect on their willingness to assimilate into American life?
Sharia law is incompatible with American law yet many polls show a majority of Muslims around the world favor the imposition of sharia law. Many Muslim religious and cultural norms involving monogamy, equal rights for women, converting from Islam to Christianity, tolerance for minorities and gays are also incompatible with American cultural norms. During my travels, I found out it was illegal to bring Bibles and rosaries into Saudi Arabia, as well as to hold any form of Christian worship services. Non-Muslims are not allowed in Mecca and Medina. Are Muslims coming into America willing to assimilate, to waive a desire to bring sharia law and some of their conflicting cultural norms into our country?
Do we really want to import what has already gone on in Rotherham (ask the 1,400 sexually abused children), Paris (ask the police who can’t patrol certain neighborhoods), Cologne (ask the women who were assaulted in public places), and Stockholm (ask about the violence)? Why is it politically incorrect to talk about these actual events, which have adversely affected real people’s lives in numerous countries? Why does the Left either excuse or ignore such behaviors? Are you willing to live with these kinds of behavior in your neighborhood?
Trump’s executive order is a necessary first step toward addressing the fundamental question: How to differentiate between Muslim immigrants who share our values and want to escape the horrors of their country versus those who wish to bring their culture with them?
It is in our nation’s self-interest to develop an effective way to distinguish between those two groups. Responsible people care about developing a thoughtful response. We could use more such people in the public square.
https://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.png00D Hawthornehttps://kittyhawk.amgreatness.com/app/uploads/2020/01/american-greatness-logo_201x37.pngD Hawthorne2017-01-30 14:36:202017-01-30 14:36:20Perspective on Trump's Immigration Order