Friday, July 21, 2017
Blog

This week's syndicated column:

On Tuesday, I read a New York Times online report about a press conference held by Geir Lippestad, the defense lawyer for admitted Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik. I found one of Lippestad's statements of interest, and saved it for future reference. Little did I know it would disappear from the news website.

The statement was: "Asked if the rampage was aimed at the Labor Party or at Muslim immigrants, Mr. Lippestad said: 'This was an attack on the Labor Party.'"

The lawyer's statement is the first credible assessment of motive, and as such it is a significant piece of the story. So why did The New York Times cut it from the final version of the story online and in Wednesday's newspaper?

The answer, I think, has much to do with how Lippestad's opinion fails to accelerate the rush of Times insta-spin, and could even slow what looks like a swift-moving drive to limit free speech about Islamization in the West.

The "updated" Times...

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This week's syndicated column:

This week, the madness of the counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN), which drives the war in Afghanistan, reached new heights -- or depths -- as revealed by two news stories.

In Great Britain, a former Royal Marine told the Sun newspaper after the inquest into the 2010 death of Sgt. Peter Rayner that soldiers were prevented from opening fire at Taliban fighters in the act of laying IEDs so as not to disturb the local population.

So as not to disturb...?

In Iowa, a community mourns the death of National Guard soldier Terry L. Pasker, who, along with contractor Paul Protzenko, was killed last week in yet another attack by an Afghan army soldier. DesMoinesRegister.com reports: "The U.S. military considered the area so safe that soldiers didn't wear body armor, so as not to offend the friendly locals."

So as not to offend...?

Fear of offending has long been a salient feature of our culture. It has become an expression of a self-deprecating,...

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A friend writes in:

I was at Lowes buying mulch the other night. Even though it was 9 o'clock, it was little relief from the heat and humidity in the outdoor nursery. I looked up from piling mulch on my cart and saw two middle-aged Muslim women in flowing gowns and hijabs approaching. They pulled a cart up to a stack of mulch across from me and started tugging at bags. I smiled and said hello, but they barely grunted. "Boy, you all must be hot," I remarked, still smiling. "Oh no," snapped one, speaking with an Arabic accent. "We choose to wear this." "Yeah but isn't it hot?" "It actually acts as an insulator (from the heat)," she replied. "In Saudi Arabia, it's made of pure wool and it cools you." "Really." The ladies were struggling to get bags off the top of the stack. "You need some help?" I offered. "No!" both of them said in unison. Awkward silence. "Where are your men? They should be doing this instead of you." "They are helping to bring democracy to the...

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Sgt. Peter Rayner, age 34: "Unlawfully killed" in Afghanistan, says British coroner. By COIN, I would add.

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I don't quite understand the British system of inquiry into death on the battlefield, but I greatly admire these efforts to explain and expose to the public the circumstances surrounding, leading up to and, in the execution of counterinsurgency doctrine (COIN), directly causing each tragic and unnecessary casualty.

The Daily Mail reports on one such inquest this week. For illustrating the madness of COIN, the lead says it all:

Soldiers were ordered not to open fire on Taliban fighters planting mines in case they disturb local people, it has been claimed. U.S. military chiefs ordered troops to exercise 'courageous constraint' and even warned them they could be charged with murder if they shot any Taliban without permission from...

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The rapid and dramatic unraveling of British Government-Media/Police, aka Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., is the summer's surprise as revelations related to complicity in the "industrial strength" phone hacking scandal have dizzily downed or outed key and lofty Murdoch executives, Conservative Party officials, and British police officials, including the head of Scotland Yard who, claiming no wrongdoing, has just elected to resign as allegations of police-News Corp-politics cronyism and corruption swirl. There is no doubt glee on the Left over the Murdoch meltdown, but that may actually be eclipsed by the glee of pricey public relations firms whose services have been snapped up by News Corp. now in major damage-control mode.

And what does it all mean? I did a radio interview with Jerry Doyle on Friday to discuss the silence on this issue on the Right in the US, where Murdoch, of course, through Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, the Weekly Standard, and more has become practically the sole support of conservative(ish) voices in journalism  and punditry, certainly outside talk radio. How can that fact not have something to do with the silence? Paychecks influence. Hope of a paycheck someday influences, too. As a longtime critic of News Corp., of its truncated presentation of issues ranging from the origins of the housing bubble crisis (coverage truncated by Karl Rove?) to Islamization (non-converage resulting from No. 2 stockholder Prince Talal?), I think the lesson here is the frailty of the behemoth. Conservatives' growing dependency upon a singular personality or family for a platform always carried great risks, which we see realized in revelations of corruption and cronyism rhat demonstrate News Corp to be an insatiably, ruthlessly power-hungry actor, more than anything resembling a journalistic one. 

...

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9th/12th Royal Lancers, Leicester, 2009

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RTT News reports:

A NATO soldier, shot dead while on patrol in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, has been identified as British.

"An individual wearing an Afghan National Army uniform turned his weapon against International Security Assistance Force service members in southern Afghanistan today, killing one service member," an International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) press release said earlier without disclosing his identity or the location of the incident.

The British Defense Ministry said later that the soldier belonged to 9th/12th Royal Lancers, and was killed on a patrol with Afghan soldiers in the Nahr-e Saraj district of Helmand Province when his team was fired on. ...

Is this one and the same soldier? The reports about this NATO/British soldier killed Saturday by Afghan army are quite definite: He was shot on patrol. Yesterday, news reports about a NATO soldier, nationality unidentified, whom ISAF...

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ISAF caption: Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Afghanistan's National Security Advisor, and General Petraeus discuss the importance of reducing civilian casualties during a conference held at Headquarters ISAF. The conference provided an open forum for Afghans and ISAF officials to express their opinions and recommendations to help reduce civilian casualties.

---

I went to the ISAF website this a.m. to see if there was any further information on yet another NATO soldier's murder at the hands of yet another Afghan army member, this one not to be confused with last Saturday's attack, which killed...

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Sgt. 1st Class Terryl L. Pasker, 39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Paul Protzenko, former Connecticute Trooper First Class, 47, of Enfield, Connecticut, were killed on July 9, 2011, in Panjshir province, Afghanistan.

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Ever wonder how it was that two Americans were killed last Saturday by a uniformed Afghan intelligence service member? You didn't even hear about them? Reports of the attack were extra scant and brief, muttering something about a "dispute" with someone in Afghan intelligence.  

There was no dispute. From the Des Moines Register, a story of murder,...

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Eureka! COIN has "borne fruit" in Afghanistan!

Who cares what it means. So says Petraeus Maximus in yet another exit interview, this one with American Forces Press Services and posted at the Pentagon website:

During his last full week commanding coalition and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Army Gen. David H. Petraeus discussed his tenure there with NATO TV yesterday.

“What we have done is implement the so-called NATO comprehensive approach, a civil-military campaign … that does indeed embody many of the principles of the counterinsurgency field manual that we developed back in 2006, and which we employed in Iraq in the surge of 2007-2008,” he said.

...

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Gen David Petraeus: "No country has suffered more from Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida than Afghanistan."

That comment from a June interview with Military Times stopped me cold. Partly, it was the pat sweep of the superlative. But it was also the gratuitousness of the flip-side demotion of the American experience and sacrifice. The catastrophic terror attacks of 9/11 on our political and economic centers caused and still cause quite a lot of suffering, and they were just the beginning of a decade-long American crack-up, a self-ignited meltdown of reason and judgment that blinded us to the markers of the classical jihad in progress, causing us to set foundationally flawed policies accordingly, from war (COIN) to energy (dependence) from immigration (unprotected borders) to "outreach" (Muslim Brotherhood penetration). Blinkered, our strategists have spent billions and billions of dollars to send infidel armies to the umma to win "hearts and minds" (impossible) at a cost of thousands...

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This week's syndicated column:

Question: Who wrote the following?

"U.S. politicians must muster the courage to scrap the fable of energy independence once and for all. If they continue to lead their people toward the mirage of independence and forsake the oasis of interdependence and cooperation, only disaster will result."

(Hint: "Mirage" and "oasis" are giant clues to the name of the writer's country.)

Answer: Saudi Arabia's Turki al-Faisal wrote the above in a 2009 Foreign Policy magazine essay hectoring "misguided" U.S. politicians who promote American energy independence from Saudi Arabia, one of the top oil suppliers to the United States. This strategy, wrote the former ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom, is "political posturing at its worst."

Don't you just love lectures in democracy from potentates of religious dictatorships? In President Barack Obama, it looks as if Turki has found his turkey: a president with the Saudi idea of "courage"...

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Who said the following:

"U.S. politicians must muster the courage to scrap the fable of energy independence once and for all. If they continue to lead their people toward the mirage of independence and forsake the oasis of interdependence and cooperation, only disaster will result."

Hint: "Mirage" and "oasis" are clues.

Answer: Saudi Arabia's Turki al-Faisal, who delivered this point in a hectoring lecture against US politicians who promote US energy independence from Saudi Arabia in Foreign Policy magazine in August 2009.

Da noive, yes. But in President Barack Obama, Turki seems to have found his turkey: a US president with the Saudi idea of "courage" to destroy not just US chances for energy independence,...

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Ever get the feeling something else just might be happening in our world beside a certain 24/7-cable-covered murder trial? John Work isn't fooled. Today, at his blog, he notes a few little incidents that our news-challenged media remain permanently blinkered to:

1)  Barack Obama interceded on behalf of a convicted Mexican rapist-murderer to prevent his execution in Texas.

2)  In Peoria, Illinois, a mob of hundreds launched rocks, bottles and mortar-like exploding fireworks at police and firefighters who responded...

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The power bloc that brought us COIN strategy (spaghetti) ...

...  applies it to logistics:

This week's syndicated column:

In his slim book on Winston Churchill ("Churchill," Penguin, 2010), Paul Johnson reveals the secret of Churchill's strength as a wartime leader: He didn't treat military brass as the Oracle at Delphi and Solomon combined.

Churchill, Johnson notes, "benefited from a change of national opinion toward the relative trustworthiness of politicians and service leaders -- 'frocks and brass hats,' to use the phrase of his youth. In the first World War, reverence for brass hats and dislike of frocks made it almost impossible for the government ... to conduct the war efficiently."

In other words, it made it impossible to sack generals, even when the war was going disastrously. As Churchill put it, "The foolish doctrine was preached to the public through innumerable agencies that generals and admirals must be right on war matters and civilians of all kinds must be wrong."

Do you get where I'm going with this?

For years, the political right has taken...

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