Thursday, February 02, 2023

In his slim book on Churchill, Paul Johnson unearthed a highly instructive quotation to highlight the foundation of some of Churchill's greatest strengths as a wartime leader: He didn't worship, defer to, and otherwise treat military men 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, even under Lloyd George at his apotheosis, to conduct the war efficiently.

I.e., sack the generals. Johnson continues with Churchill's own words: "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...

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Wen Jiabao taking in a little Hamlet in Stratford-on-Avon this week. Or: To censor or not to censor; that's not the question....


It's not that anyone believes Chinese dictator -- sorry, "premier" -- Wen Jiabao when he says, as in London this week, "tomorrow's China will be a country that fully achieves democracy, the rule of law, fairness and justice."

Obviously, this is just the sugar to make the medicine go down. But the economic prostration of the West to the Chinese totalitarians, cushioned by our piles of "Made in China" belongings, feels better if we also convince ourselves that our concept of human rights is part of the Grand  Exchange: Flatscreens for us; Freedom for them.

Dream on. The Danish paper Information published a scoop of all scoops this week, a series of stories based on a most unusual...

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"There Goes the Neighborhood," Shariah Finance Watch reports today. What does that mean?

From the must-read story:

In downtown Washington, there is a major real estate development known as CityCenterDC. This $700 million development is described as a combination of office space, retail space and residential space.

The owner of this development, which will be one of the biggest in all of the District, is Qatari Diar Real Estate Investment Company. This is the real estate investment arm of the emir of Qatar himself, who rules the Gulf nation.

At this point it may also be worth mentioning that the emir of Qatar has also been involved in funding other projects here in the US. For example, in 2009, he granted $576,000 to the American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA), the non-profit operated by Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, the primary promoters of the controversial Ground Zero mosque project. The $576,000 grant from the ruling regime of Qatar was...

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Ordinary or extra-ordinary, our elected officials should explain this (with thanks to Marine Mom).

The Army Times reported on May 25,  2011:

More than 7,170 soldiers will deploy to Iraq beginning in mid-summer -- despite a security agreement that requires U.S. forces to depart the country by Dec.31.

The deployments are part of the regular rotation of forces and will include a division headquarters of 775 soldiers and two brigade combat teams totaling 6,400 soldiers, according to a Defense Department announcement Tuesday.

The soldiers will begin deploying in mid-summer and continue through the fall.

The deploying units are:

• 3rd Infantry Division headquarters, Fort Stewart, Ga.

• 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

• 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.


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This week's syndicated column:

We have watched, rapt, as Barack Obama deliberated over exactly how many troops to withdraw from Afghanistan. The White House mission, as I see it, was to present the illusion of winding down an unpopular war without also disavowing or halting the disastrous Bush-Obama brand of nation-building -- which continues, we are told, until 2014. Life-and-death troop movements came to resemble a contest to guess how many jellybeans are in the jar. Distracted, no one seemed to notice the ground shifting ... in Iraq.

While we were looking the other way, the Iraq of anyone's lingering "surge" dreams vanished. But not under the drifts of rubble from the latest car-bombings to further bury the "fragile" security once secured by U.S. troops. Dream Iraq -- the "ally in the war on terror," the veritable Switzerland of Sunni-Shiite cooperation surge-improved security was supposed to enable -- completely disappeared (if it was ever there) in the hardened, U.S.-won corridors...

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After a long, long, long court process, Geert Wilders has been acquitted of "inciting hatred" of Muslims by speaking with fearless clarity about Islam.  

Rejoice, sons and duaghters of liberty.

But keep your poweder dry. As Reuters reports:

 Minorities groups said they would now take the case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, arguing the ruling meant the Netherlands had failed to protect ethnic minorities from discrimination.

"The acquittal means that the right of minorities to remain free of hate speech has been breached. We are going to claim our rights at the U.N.," said Mohamed Rabbae of the National Council for Moroccans.

Wilders, who has received numerous death threats and has to live under 24-hour guard, argued that he was exercising his right to freedom of speech when criticizing Islam.



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Believe me, they're celebrating at the Weekly Standard over this "get":

Matthew Continetti writes:

In a speech tonight, President Obama is expected to announce the staggered withdrawal, over the course of the next year, of the surge troops in Afghanistan. Don't expect Minnesota congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann to praise his decision. Here's what Bachmann had to say on Afghanistan during a recent interview with me:

On Afghanistan, I firmly believe that we are a point where we've got ot stay the course, and we've got to finish the job. Reports coming out of Helmand right now are positive. ... David Petraeus, who wrote the book on counterinsurgency and on the surge strategy, ...

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More evidence (not) that the Iraq "surge" was an epic success, ready for fabulous replication throughout the Islamic world.

First, Iraq's clerics are saying US forces mission will be "haram" after 2011; now, Iraq's parliament is accusing "US institutions" of stealing  $17 billion.

(Please,  pretty please, can our troops remain in Iraq forever?)

The Australian reports:

Iraq says $US17 billion is missing, and was stolen by corrupt US institutions.

"Nujaifi [speaker of Iraq parliament] is visiting the United States to discuss several issues, including...

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Grand Ayatollah to US troops: Here's your turban, what's your hurry?


One of the strangest national spectacles ever is that of the US apparently begging Iraq ro allow US troops to remain in Iraq after the 2011 deadline for withdrawal.

As I've written before, this seems to be a naked ploy by the Obama re-election campaign to prevent the country from unravelling completely during the 2012 campaign. But it's not going over well with "religious authorities" according to a poll of sorts of Sunni and Shiite leaders conducted by Moqtada al Sadr.

According to Iran's Fars News Agency, there's also a fatwa against US troops -- I mean, "infidel occupiers" -- remaining past the 2011 deadline.

Senior Iraqi Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Kazzem...

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Photo by Paul Avallone


The debate over Afghanistan -- which this week comes down to how many troops Barack Obama will announce he is withdrawing from that wretched country beginning in July through 2012  -- is being conducted with a blindfold and earplugs on.

The discussion centers  on, obsesses over whether the promised "drawdown" will be "only 5,000 troops," the token withdrawal that Afghanistan-hawks want,  up to an "aggressive" plan to withdraw over the next year all of the 30,000 troops ordered by Obama into Afghanistan as...

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Above is an oil painting of former NY Gov. George Pataki, 66, the measured, trad-con, sunny-skies image he apparently hopes will endure on history's canvas.

Below is a word picture of former NY Gov. George Pataki, 66, that is rather more vivid. It is from the closing paragraph of a report in the Sunday New York Times on the recent nuptials of Christopher Nixon Cox, grandson of the former president, and Andrea Catsimatidis, daughter of the owner of Gristides supermarkets "and other holdings." It was a cosy affair for 700 guests at the Waldorf Astoria....

“I’m so happy,” said Ms. Catsimatidis, in a dress by the Lebanese designer Reem Acra. As she spoke, George E. Pataki, New York’s former governor, grooved behind her on the dance floor, pumping his arms to the orchestra’s rendition of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

The cultural Jeckyll meets the cultural Hyde.


Read More » picks up today on a story that didn't exactly splash onto frontpages across the country when it occured on June 10, reporting:

A U.S. congressional delegation was kicked out of Iraq after the leader of the group, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., asked Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki if a portion of future oil revenues could be used to pay back the United States for money spent over the course of eight years following the 2003 U.S. invasion to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The ouster came amid efforts by U.S. officials to get al-Maliki to request an extension of U.S. troops in Iraq past the Dec. 31 deadline when all U.S. troops are supposed to be out of the...

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TEN CONGRESSMEN led by Reps. Walter Jones (R-North Carolina) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) filed suit today against "Defendant Barack Obama" in federal court charging that the war in Libya is unconstitutional, in violation of the War Powers Act, and calling for it to come to a halt.

Besides Jones and Kucinich, the lawsuit is signed by a bipartisan group of members of the House including Howard Coble (R-North Carolina), John Duncan (R-Tennessee), Roscoe Bartlett (R-Maryland), John Conyers (D-Michigan) Ron Paul (R-Texas), Michael Capuano (D-Massachusetts), Tim Johnson (R-Illinois) and Dan Burton (R-Indiana).

Kudos and thanks.

Link to 36-page suit here.

ABC reports:

The Kucinich lawsuit is just the latest in a series of headaches for the administration related to Libya.

Kucinich had worked to push a resolution through the House...

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News Flash: Since the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration has engaged in a trust-building effort with Pakistan....

I'm trying to be calm.

What this means after the US zeroed in on OBL living in plain Pakistani sight, the US has addressed the yawning chasm of suspicion by reaching out to Pakistan with intelligence....

It's difficult.

To be more specific, as the Washington Post reports today, "twice in recent weeks, the United States provided Pakistan with the specific locations of insurgent bomb-making factories, only to see the militants learn their cover had been blown and vacate the sites before military action could be taken, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials."


The incidents are expected to feature prominently in conversations between Pakistani officials and CIA Director Leon Panetta, who arrived in Pakistan on Friday....

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This week's syndicated column:

My best guess is the sun is hot. I feel its heat. I see by its light. I understand its role in the growth of crops and other living things. If I were to come across scholarly data attesting to its high temperatures, I would probably look at the fiery pictures (if there were any) and turn to something else.

On one level, I approach a new study on violence and Islam in the Middle East Quarterly in much the same way. That is, I've lived through 9/11 and the 17,298 Islamic terror attacks since (as tabulated by the website I've seen pictures of Muslims rampaging around the world over a cartoon. I also understand Islam's animating role in the terror and subversion designed to extend Islamic law (Shariah) to a point where an Islamic government, or caliphate, rules the world.

But there is something transfixing about the new study, "Shari'a and Violence in American Mosques."...

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Over the weekend, Drudge posted an alarming story from high on the page: "China Divests 97% of Holdings in US Treasury Bills."

What does that mean? I checked with financial hawkeye George Ford for his take. As I read it, there's good news and bad news in his analysis (below). The good news is, China is not our worst financial enemy after all. The bad news is, we are. In fact, the real story isn't China's divestiture of 97 percent of its holdings in US treasury bills, but rather what will happen next to those holdings.

George Ford writes:

The easiest way to explain it is by extending the original Drudge headline: "China Divests 97% of Holdings in US Treasury Bills; Bernanke Will Buy Them -- With Ease."

The US Fed holds much more US debt than China. Since 2008, the Federal Reserve has added about $800 billion in US Treasuries to its balance sheet, for a total as of last month of $1.4 trillion. China holds about $850 billion, or 9.5% of the total. Japan holds about the same amount as China....

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Boy Scouts from Troop 95 (left to right) Zac Wright, 12;, Nathan Peters, 11; and leader Scott Peters help set flags along the route that Lance Cpl. Peter Clore’s cortege will follow on its arrival today in New Philadelphia, Ohio. Photo by Times-Reporter.


This week's syndicated column is dedicated to Lance Cpl. Peter Clore (1988-2011).


The Karzai Ultimatum story is entering national consciousness in three parts. (1) U.S.-led airstrike on May 28 kills Afghan women and children in Helmand Province. (2) Afghan President Hamid Karzai delivers ultimatum on U.S. airstrikes -- stop, or else Afghans will revolt against U.S. “occupation.” (3) US-led forces (ISAF) apologize.


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Back in March, I couldn't quite believe the Libya Hawks would morph from science fiction into policy but they did. Now, we enter a new dimension of horror as they cement an alliance between the GOP leadership and the Obama White House to extend this unlawful war for no American interest and plenty of American cost.

From the AP:

The House postponed a vote on a resolution demanding an end to U.S. involvement in Libya amid fears that Democrats and Republicans would unite in backing the measure and hand President Barack Obama an embarrassing foreign policy defeat.

The GOP leadership had scheduled a vote Wednesday on the resolution by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, that “directs the president to remove United States Armed Forces from Libya ... not later than 15 days after the adoption” of the measure. The vote was delayed as the leadership and Obama administration realized frustrated lawmakers likely would support it.

Nearly three months after Obama launched air strikes to...

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AP photo: A Marine carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Lance Cpl. Peter J. Clore Tuesday, May 31, 2011 at Dover Air Force Base.


The Karzai Ultimatum Story is entering national consciousness with only three parts:

1) US Air Strike on Saturday May 28  Kills Afghan Women and Children;

2) Karzai Delivers Ultimatum on US Air Strikes

3) ISAF Apologizes.

There is another part, an all-important prequel: The Marine who was killed by small arms fire, also on Saturday May 28. Neither Karzai, nor, come to think of it, ISAF are paying much attention to him. Turns out the 23-year-old Ohio native was a dog handler, just six weeks in Afghanistan, who was leading a patrol to clear IEDs, making way for still more patrols, just the way Gen. Petraeus likes them. After the Lance Cpl. was hit, his fellow Marines pursued five attackers...

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Two recent Big Stories the MSM is either confused, dishonest or silent on concern tthe British government  reaffirmation of its 2009 decision to ban conservative radio host Michael Savage from entering Britain, and the arrest of Serb leader Ratko Mladic after fifteen years in hiding.

While dissimilar in obvious respects, these two cases both reflect the dangers of double standards and anti-democratic, arbitrary power in the hands of bureacrat-ideologues.

Don't miss Aaron Klein's reflections on Savage, or Julia Gorin's essay on the meaning of Mladic's arrest.

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