Wednesday, April 23, 2014
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This week's column:

The battle over whether to admit Turkey into the European Union seems eternal, at least among the EU's rulers. Among the peoples of Europe, when granted the rare chance to go to the ballot box -- increasingly window-dressing as far as the EU's soft totalitarians are concerned -- there is little argument. In fact, there is bona fide consensus: NO to Turkey becoming a part of Europe. Why? Because, culturally and historically, it is not.

Tell that to British Prime Minister David Cameron, who just visited Ankara to present himself as Europe's leading booster for Turkish EU membership (a move the United States has meddlesomely supported), pandering so low a prayer rug could give him cover.

Dubbing himself Turkey's "strongest possible advocate for EU membership and for greater influence...

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The Colorado GOP's Scott McInnis: Giving new meaning to responsibility

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I don't pretend to have mastered the ins and outs of a hot and hotly contested race for the governor's mansion in Colorado where US borders angel, former presidential candidate and former GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo is now making good on his threat to enter the primary race as a third-party candidate if lame-o GOP candidates didn't drop out and the state party didn't put up credible candidates.

One of the non-credibles staying in the race is the ethically challenged Republican Scott McInnis, who, as Coloradoan.com puts it, is plagued by "the controversy surrounding the plagiarized water writings he produced as part of a two-year, $300,000 agreement with the Hasan Family Foundation after he left Congress in 2005."

What's up with that? McInnis seems to bristle at the question. At a recent appearance, the Coloradoan reports:



McInnis did not discuss the controversy surrounding the plagiarized...

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Some people just know how to live. Take those Yalies lucky enough to summer on "the Vineyard" -- Martha's natch. They all look forward to:    

Yale Day in the Sun!

From Yale Vineyard Alumni:

Please join the Yale family for our “Yale Day in the Sun on Martha’s Vineyard.”

GnT's? Boating? Croquet maybe? Not exactly.

Enjoy an afternoon of intellectual stimulation, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.

Yeah?

The afternoon begins with lectures from two of our esteemed Yale colleagues, Master Jonathan Holloway, Professor of History, African American Studies and American Studies presenting, “The Right Kind of People: The Silences in a Civil Rights Narrative.” And Omer Bajwa, Coordinator of Muslim Life at Yale presenting, “Muslim Life at Yale and Beyond: Engaging the Sacred & the Secular.”  

Then have fun in the sun with a cocktail reception.

I don't know Master Holloway, but what could be more fun  -- in or out of the sun -- than a lecture...

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From Spiegel Online:

A local Berlin politician ... is under fire for inviting Dutch populist Geert Wilders to a meeting on Islam on October 2. Rene Stadtkewitz, who is known for his anti-Islamic views, has refused to cancel the invitation, and now faces eviction from his party's parliamentary group in the city assembly ....



Rene Stadtkewitz, 45, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), looks set to be excluded from the CDU's parliamentary group in the Berlin city assembly after inviting Wilders to Berlin on October 2 to discuss integration and Islam. He had also discussed founding a branch of Wilders' Freedom Party in Germany.



Frank Henkel, the CDU's regional parliamentary group leader, gave Stadtkewitz an ultimatum:...

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Cameron-Erdogan: The start of a beautiful friendship

Things are moving faster than it appeared, the rails greased by the unctuous British PM Cameron. Indeed, Turkish PM Erdogan is already declaring a "golden age" of Turkey-UK relations.

You've heard of the Full Monty? Behold the Full Dhimmi.

From the BBC:

UK Prime Minister David Cameron has condemned the blockade of the Gaza Strip, describing the territory as a "prison camp."

He also criticised Israel for launching an attack...

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The argument over whether to admit Turkey to the European Union seems eternal, at least among EU elites. Among the peoples of of Europe, when give the rare chance to make their will known at the ballot box -- increasingly window-dressing as far as the soft totalitarians of the EU are concerned -- there is little argument. There is bona fide consensus: NO to Turkey becoming a part of Europe. Why? For one thing, because it is not.

Tell that to British Prime Minister David Cameron, currently in Ankara selling the inclusiveness-for-Turkey-line (something the US has quite meddlesomely clamored for), pushing Tukish membership in the EU as an antidote to -- updated...

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That July 2011 "exit date" from Afghanistan has always had the phony feel of window-dressing, as confirmed here, which has failed to cloak the massive American build-up of infrastructure in the area that seems less short-term and makeshift than reorienting and permanent.

More proof of the exit fantasy was confirmed yesterday at the State Department. It subsequently showed up in the Indian press but, as far as I can tell, clear missed the US media.

From the Hindustan Times:

...

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This week's syndicated column:

A clarifying bomblet drops in the final paragraph of the opening installment of the big Washington Post series on what is best described as National Intelligence Sprawl:

"Soon, on the grounds of the former St. Elizabeth's mental hospital in Anacostia, a $3.4 billion showcase of security will rise from the crumbling brick wards. The new headquarters will be the largest government complex built since the Pentagon ..."

National security meets mental hospital: How tragically appropriate. And yes, these inmates will definitely be running the asylum -- some of the Post-estimated 854,000 Americans with top secret clearance now filling massive new government complexes all over the country -- another unwanted legacy of 9/11. Some of my conservative brethren worry that the Post series reveals national security secrets. The question is, with nearly a million people possessing top secret clearance, how many secrets are left to reveal? Is it possible that our...

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I just taped a segment with Frank Gaffney for Secure Freedom Radio and he alerted me to this rousing ad against the mosque at Ground Zero.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Petraeus Sharpens Afghan Strategy"

WASHINGTON—Gen. David Petraeus plans to ramp up the U.S. military's troop-intensive strategy in Afghanistan, according to some senior military officials, who have concluded that setbacks in the war effort this year weren't the result of the strategy, but of flaws in how it has been implemented.

So predictable. Of course, the lead author of counterinsurgency strategy (COIN) is going to see flaws in its implementation, not the strategy itself.

The officials said Gen. Petraeus, who took over as allied commander in Afghanistan this month and is conducting a review of the war, intends to draw on many of the same tactics he implemented to turn around the war in Iraq—and which his predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, introduced in Afghanistan.

But the officials said Gen. McChrystal put too much attention on hunting down Taliban leaders, at the expense of the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy which focuses...

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This is a picture of Northern Ireland Lieutenant Neal Turkington, 26, who was one of three British soldiers killed by a "renegade" Afghan Army soldier at a British base last week. Afghan authorities say the attacker, who remains at large, "was Sergeant Talib Hussein, who was sent to the unit, part of 215 Maiwand Corps, eight months ago. They say he was probably already involved with the Taliban."

Fast thinking, Poindexter.

But guess what? Questions remain. The LA Times reports "the motive for Tuesday's attack in the Nahr-e-Sarraj district remained unclear."

Maybe the Times...

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From the AP (via Andrew Bostom):

BAGHDAD – Anti-American Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took a rare, public step into the political arena Monday, meeting in neighboring Syria with the man directly challenging Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his office.

That man would be Our Guy Allawi.

The talks between al-Sadr, who is nominally allied with al-Maliki, and former premier Iyad Allawi, who heads the heavily Sunni-backed Iraqiya coalition, appeared to be as much about showing al-Maliki that al-Sadr is keeping his options open as it was about any firm political agreement between the two men in the offing.

Al-Sadr rarely travels outside of his home base in Iran where he lives in self-imposed exile. His followers won 39 seats in the 325-seat parliament in Iraq's national election in March, giving him considerable sway over who becomes the next prime minister.

Iran, Iran: Does Iran have anything to do with any of this?

Following the ballot, al-Sadr...

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Ann Marlowe of the Hudson Institute considers "the war over the war" among Republicans sparked by Michael Steele, arguing we're due for a belated "reckoning" on controversial if prevailing counterinsurgency policy. She also cites recent comments by Newt Gingrich on the cultural disjunction between us and Afghans that is at the flawed heart of the matter.

Writing at the Daily Beast, Marlowe, who recently completed her sixth "embed" with American troops in Afghanistan, writes:

The former House Speaker cautioned that it wasn't quite so simple, saying that "counterinsurgency doctrine doesn't go deep enough for some place like Afghanistan. You're dealing with Afghan culture that is fundamentally different than us, in ways we don't...

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For actual years now, I've been writing that the foundational fallacy of COIN, whether in Iraq or Afghanistan, is that success depends not on what American forces do, but on how alien peoples react to what American forces have done.

In Iraq, that translated into "surge till they merge," a two-step process in which US forces would amass to provide security, and Iraqis would then, the theory went, automatically react to that American-produced security by forming a more perfect union or something. We're still waiting.

In Afghanistan, American forces are supposed "to secure and serve" the Afghan population, as Gen. Petraeus put it recently. The secured and served Afghan population is then supposed to react by supporting the US-propped Karzai government. We're still waiting for that, too, in the process, ordering our troops, as noted many times here, to participate in a dangerous and degrading popularity contest with the ... Taliban.

Or is it a trial?

The Washington Post recently reported...

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Talk about burying the lede. The last 'graph of the widely anticipated Wash Post takeout on National Intelligence Sprawl says it all, or at least  quite a lot: 

Soon, on the grounds of the former St. Elizabeths mental hospital in Anacostia, a $3.4 billion showcase of security will rise from the crumbling brick wards. The new headquarters will be the largest government complex built since the Pentagon ....

National security meets St. E's: How tragically appropriate. And yes, the inmates will definitely be running this asylum -- some of the estimated 854,000 Americans with top secret clearance currently and clandestinely spilling out of massive new government complexes all over the country. My conservative brethren seem concerned that the Post report reveals a slew of largely post-9/11 national security secrets. The  question is, with nearly...

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This week's syndicated column: Just how entertaining was that Russian spy ring story that came in with a flurry of late-June arrests and went out with a Russo-American agent swap last weekend?

Two thumbs up, judging by the reviews, or was that news coverage? Sometimes it was hard to tell. In fact, something about the way the startling fact that allegedly post-Cold War Russia was running a ring of deep-cover agents in this "reset" era was put over made it seem as though there was little distinction between spy fact and spy fiction. Or, rather, that the main significance to spy fact was its place in our pop-culture attic of spy fiction.

"Details of the Russian spy network, outlined in two FBI complaints and a government press release, tell a spy story that is part John le Carre and part Austin Powers," reported Newsweek. "Russian spy case 'right out of a John le Carre novel'" headlined the Christian Science Monitor. "A sensational summer spy tale that already seemed ripped from the pages of Le Carre...

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Photo: Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Jamal Khashoggi in Alwaleed's Riyadh office.

No, it's not a new pub serving non-alchololic beer, it's a new media venture between Rupert Murchoch and Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, whose business relationship grows ever cosier (see here and here, for example, to catch up on the whole affair).

From Canada's CBC News, with thanks to Fjordman:

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has announced plans to launch a 24-hour Arabic-language news channel in partnership with Rupert Murdoch's Fox network.

...

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This week's syndicated column:

I've sworn off predictions, having guessed wrong that a deeply apologetic Gen. Stanley McChrystal would keep his Afghanistan command. But what about GOP chairman Michael Steele? So far, at least as I write, he is weathering his own Afghan storm after dubbing the protracted counterinsurgency, President Obama's war -- as though the Obama policy were not in fact an extension and intensification of the Bush administration plan -- and then noting that history tells us war in Afghanistan is unwinnable.

But not always, as I learned after consulting Andrew Bostom's invaluable compendium, "The Legacy of Jihad." Turns out Islamized Turkic nomads came out on top, conquering the Hindu Kingdom of Kabul in the late 9th century, ending Hindu rule in Afghanistan with a victory that was, as a 13th-century-Indian-chronicler put it, "the result of treachery and deception, such as no one had ever committed."

That's one way to win. I have long argued that counterinsurgency's...

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The Politico headline on this story -- "Petraeus' emails on Israel leaked" -- is misleading. The story here is "Leaked E-mails Show CENTCOM General and Journalist (Max Boot) Work Damage Control on  Petraeus' Israel Problem."

Background -- lots -- here and here.

Secondary highlights: 1) Petraeus is a butterfingers (he inadvertently sent out the Boot emails, which were leaked to The Nation's Philip Weiss; and 2) he uses an emoticon to sign off. (-:





...

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Ruth King of Ruthfully Yours sent around this Washington Times piece by Rowan Scarborough that notes the apparent irony that "in less than three years, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus has risen from the brunt of ridicule by Democrats to President Obama's most valuable field general."

Rather than indicating heightened powers of perception on the part of Democrats, I would argue that the hosannas Gen. Petraeus is greeted with everywhere now are inspired by an overall numbness to what his "victory" in Iraq actually means, which is not a lot, at least not for the US.

The piece goes on to document this sea change in attitudes and quotes Petraeus' ex-public affairs officer:

Col. Steven Boylan, who was Gen. Petraeus' spokesman in Iraq and now teaches at Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College in Kansas, recalls a tense, politically charged Washington.

"I don't think it would be unfair to say the issues of '07 were very divisive, and there was a lot of controversy...

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Catchy cover story by Mehdi Hasan in the British weekly the New Statesman.

Opening question:

David Petraeus, George Bush’s “main man” in Iraq and an American military icon, is now expected to win what many consider to be the unwinnable Afghan war. Is the US once again succumbing to the cult of the generals?

Excerpts:

On 23 June, the president of the United States, Barack Obama, sacked his top commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal. The general and his aides were quoted making disparaging remarks about their commander-in-chief, and other senior colleagues, in a now famous article in Rolling Stone magazine.

In announcing the dismissal of McChrystal, the president said he had made his decision not on the basis of "any difference in policy" nor out of "any sense of personal insult", but because the article had eroded...

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele's comments on Afghanistan -- Afghanistan is a war of Obama's choosing, and if Obama is a student of histroy (who said?), he should know that you don't engage in a land war in Afghanistan -- have triggered calls for his resignation from Bill Kristol, Liz Cheney, Charles Krauthammer and no doubt others by now. Aside from the fact that Afghanistan is not a war of Obama's choosing  -- he has merely chosen to intensify and prolong the nation-building policy (agony) begun by George W. Bush -- the main point of neocon/con concern here is Steele's disavowal of the war effort. Kristol writes:

It’s an affront, both to the honor of the Republican party and to the commitment of the soldiers fighting to accomplish the mission they’ve been asked to take on by our elected leaders.

There are, of course, those who think we should pull out of Afghanistan, and they’re certainly entitled to make their case. [Thanks, Bill.] But one of them shouldn't be the chairman of the Republican...

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This "non-vetted" CNN iReport of a couple of weeks ago is still  making the rounds. I don't know if it's true, but it's truly frightening. Links from the original.

More cheery Gulf news and video here.

A dire report circulating in the Kremlin today that was prepared for Prime Minister Putin by Anatoly Sagalevich of Russia's Shirshov Institute of Oceanology warns that the Gulf of Mexico sea floor has been fractured “beyond all repair” and our World should begin preparing for an ecological disaster “beyond comprehension” unless “extraordinary measures” are undertaken to stop the massive flow of oil into our Planet’s eleventh largest body of water.

Most important to note about Sagalevich’s warning is that he and his fellow scientists from theRussian Academy of Sciences...

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I'm not sure how National Review continues to fly the conservative banner after endorsing the non-conservative John McCain (and that's the nicest word for him) over the conservative J.D. Hayworth in the Arizona GOP primary -- an exercise, as Andy McCarthy gamely observes in his compelling dissent from NR's endorsement, the magazine tends to avoid.  

"Why Endorse McCain?" the title asks. Why, indeed!  For the record, I came out for Hayworth some months ago when another "conservative" force weirdly came out for McCain as well -- Sarah Palin....

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Photo by Paul Avallone

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This week's syndicated column:

Anyone who believes that Gen. David H. Petraeus plans to overhaul the rules of engagement (ROEs) in Afghanistan due to the critical mass of ROE-caused casualties finally catching American's attention just wasn't listening to the general at his Senate confirmation hearing this week. But judging by both senatorial deference on the topic (Petraeus was confirmed 99-0) and a practically MIA media, that describes a lot of people.

Here's the first ROE question, submitted to the general prior to the hearing: "If confirmed, what general changes, if any, would you make to the current ROEs?" In response, Petraeus wrote: "One of my highest priorities, should...

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