Military Misadventures

The Trump administration launched an Apr. 6 cruise missile strike against an airbase in Syria in retaliation for a nerve gas attack alleged to have been carried out by the Assad regime which killed 86 people in a rebel held town.

Some of his more enthusiastic supporters are really unhappy, since he specifically campaigned against this kind of interventionism:

This has not gone unnoticed:

You don’t have to be a “Russian stooge”, have a doctorate in international affairs, or even serve in the military to be sick to your back teeth of endless military adventurism, particularly in the Middle East, the kind I along with millions of American voters voted against in 2016.

Apparently, the only difference between Clinton and Trump in this regard is that the enthusiastically hawkish Clinton would have done the same thing inside of three weeks of taking office, instead of three months.

The cruise missile strike accompanies news that the administration will pursue a policy of regime change to overthrow the Assad regime:

This necessarily evokes the question  as to what happens should the U.S., along with any “coalition partners” succeed.

I don’t think anyone, not even in the administration, has a clue nor will ever get one.

In the years since 9/11 there is ample evidence that this kind of meddling doesn’t work out very well, and there is no reason to believe it will work out well here.

This is not meant to be gratuitously callous to the suffering of those in Syria, nor those displaced by the civil war.

This is a simple admission of humility that the United States can neither house the entire world, fix its problems, nor remake it in our image nor should we try, no matter how powerful the guilt-tripping is from bien-pensant elitists:

No, Secretary Clinton, not only is it not our responsibility to intervene or otherwise meddle in affairs not our own, it’s not our place to do so, which would be yet another supreme act of hubris by the U.S. in the opening years of the 21st century.

Afghanistan alone with regard to the British occupation in the 19th century, and Soviet occupation in the 1980s provide crystal clear demonstration that empire-building is expensive and self-destructive, and I want no part of it, no matter how deeply involved the Russians are in the chemical attack.

I also have no patience for the kind of false choices offered by those who constantly beat the drum for the kind of wars that displace multitudes of people, and then help foist upon Europe in the name of empathy, diversity, and multiculturalism millions upon millions of migrants from such wars (as well as migrants of a more opportunistic bent) who have incompatible values, the result of this process which has been the accelerating destabilization of that continent.

We just can’t keep doing this forever.

If the Trump administration does follow through with any regime change plans in Syria, I have no reason to believe it will turn out any better than in Iraq, Libya, or Afghanistan — we will invariably be bogged down in a hostile country, boxed in for years (if not decades) with people who hate us, have values almost entirely incompatible to ours, and who would bring their own intercommunal conflicts with them into the United States as they have in Europe.

This time we will enjoy the close proximity of a fellow nuclear-armed power which we have recklessly antagonized.

For this long-time Christopher Hitchens atheist, ISIS, against whom the Assad regime fights, is much higher on the ledger of what I consider a threat than Putin or Assad and I don’t have to love either to understand that the axiom “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” can on occasion be true.

The reverse can also be true.

The Kurds fight ISIS while Turkey bombs them — Turkey is the nation whose leader recently told Turkish expats living in Europe to have five children instead of three, as they are “the future of Europe”, while waging political campaigns in European countries as though Turks living in Europe are colonists more than genuine citizens of their adopted countries.

The increasingly Islamist government of Turkey aids the enemies of the West while declaring a demographic war against them.

Whatever the long-term goals of Assad or Putin may be, ISIS is composed of people who dedicate their lives to killing or forcibly converting the entire world’s population to the worst interpretation of The Religion of Peace™ against which both can and have been effective in fighting.

Regardless of the likelihood of their success, I highly doubt either Assad or Putin are nearly as ambitious as ISIS, and despite any suggestions of keeping friends close but enemies closer, I don’t want Turkey under Erdogan that close.

As in the 2016 campaign, the Syrian civil war is a conflict in which outsiders must pick between lesser evils.

Bombing the enemies of ISIS is to choose the greatest evil — acknowledging that plain truth requires no approval of anything done in that war by Assad or Putin.

I knew voting for Trump would be a mixed bag for someone whose politics are as complicated as mine are by now.

But in doing this he’s deeply angered his base of supporters which he will need for victory in 2020.

If he keeps doing stuff like this, not only will his base abandon him, I wouldn’t be surprised if a substantial primary opponent emerges in the 2020 election.

With past as prelude in Iraq and Afghanistan, if the U.S. invades Syria, that might be the least of his problems.

Whatever Trump’s political future may hold in store, after nearly 17 years since 9/11 of entanglements in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere, enough is enough.

Attack on Parliament at Westminster

A car-and-knife attack outside the British Parliament has left four dead, another 20 wounded according to The Spectator:

Four people – including a police officer – have died and twenty people have suffered ‘catastrophic’ injuries in a terror attack outside Parliament. A 4×4 car was driven into pedestrians on the pavement of Westminster Bridge before being crashed into railings outside Parliament. It is believed a man armed with a knife then emerged from a vehicle and ran around the corner and into the entrance of the Palace of Westminster, where he fatally stabbed a police officer. The attacker was then shot two or three times by police. Foreign Office minister Tobias Ellwood is believed to have given first aid to the injured officer in the aftermath of the attack. The Telegraph are reporting that Ellwood – a former soldier whose brother died in the 2002 Bali terror attack – gave mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to the officer in a bid to save his life.

The details of the attack fit a growing pattern of terrorist attacks featuring assailants plowing vehicles into groups of unsuspecting victims:

Truck attack at a Christmas market in Germany — 12 killed, 50 wounded

Truck attack at a Bastille Day festival in Nice, France — 84 killed

Car and knife attack at Ohio State University — 11 wounded

Truck attack in Jerusalem — 10 wounded

The Daily Mirror tweeted a photo of the suspect:

There are some who claim based on “reports” to have the name of the attacker, but the Metropolitan Police have not yet released any such information as of the time of this writing:

The Daily Mail says Channel 4 got it wrong in identifying the attacker as Trevor Brooks/Abu Izzadeen’s lawyer as well as his brother both of whom reportedly say that he’s still in jail:

Channel 4 has since walked it back:

I’m not ready to pull the trigger on believing anything about the attacker just yet, at least until we hear anything definitive from local law enforcement, but I don’t expect to learn that the attacker is Amish.

However this shakes out, the story is still developing, and Denzel Washington’s words ring especially true if the attacker is in fact not Brooks/Izzadeen:

Added Mar. 23

The London Metropolitan Police have named the person believed responsible for the attack:

From their statement:

The man police believe to be responsible for the terrorist attack in Westminster yesterday, Wednesday, 22 March, has now been formally identified as Khalid Masood.

Masood, aged 52 (25.12.1964), was born in Kent and detectives believe he was most recently living in the West Midlands. Masood was also known by a number of aliases.

Masood was not the subject of any current investigations and there was no prior intelligence about his intent to mount a terrorist attack.

However, he was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including GBH, possession of offensive weapons and public order offences.

His first conviction was in November 1983 for criminal damage and his last conviction was in December 2003 for possession of a knife.

He has not been convicted for any terrorism offences.

Anyone with any information about Masood can call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline 0800 789 321.

Occupational Hazards In Education

Education isn’t an easy profession to endure, but teachers in Australia these days face a more ominous occupational hazard than say, repetitive motion injuries sustained from grading papers or typing up homework assignments:

Teachers at a primary school in Sydney, Australia have been threatened with beheading and other violence from young Islamic students, prompting one of them to quit her job. Students as young as those in Year 5, according to the Daily Telegraph, are making the violent threats and pressuring others to read the Koran at Punchbowl Public School in Sydney.

Documents given to the newspaper allege that three staff members have taken a leave of absence owing to stress, received counselling and been awarded compensation after bullying from Islamic students.

One female teacher reportedly quit her job after it got too much for her. She claims she quit after receiving death threats to her family from her year 5 and 6 students, with some saying they would behead her. The teacher also said she made numerous complaints back in 2014 about the extraordinary behavior in the class. For example, she said, she was abused by students after she stopped them from hanging a Syrian flag in the classroom.

In another example, she claimed she was pushed into a corner by students who began marching around her chanting the Koran.

Before you commit thoughtcrime by merely acknowledging that something might be a little off about this, repeat after me, before the police come to take you away:

Religion of peace

Diversity is our strength

Free speech is hate speech

The progressive-left has already made it abundantly clear that no conversations shall be had about these ideas, and that any criticism of a religious doctrine which commands the beheading of infidels is “gross and racist“.

Whenever anyone even meekly asserts that they’d really rather not be “culturally enriched” by suicide bombing, sharia law, or female genital mutilation, they risk character assassination in addition to actual assassination.

Dark humor aside, and the usual #NotAllMuslims caveats already in place and ready for me to repeat ad infinitum, what will it take for people in the west to wake up and realize that this is not compatible with Western civilization?

Whatever it takes, my greatest hopes lie with the liberal, secular Muslim reformers who risk their very lives to be murdered as apostates or heretics to speak of an Islamic Reformation so desperately needed for a soft landing between Islam and the West:

In ‘Current Year’ the BBC Asks ‘What is the Right Punishment for Blasphemy?’

Recently, Pakistan reached out to Facebook to help identify people suspected of blasphemy to aid in their prosecution, according to CNBC:

Under Pakistani law anyone suspected of blasphemy can be prosecuted and potentially sentenced to death.

According to Reuters, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said Thursday that an official in Pakistan’s Washington embassy has approached the two social media companies in an effort to identify Pakistanis, either within the country or abroad, who recently shared material deemed offensive to Islam.

Authorities in Pakistan have already identified 11 people suspected of blasphemy and would seek the extradition of anyone living abroad.

Facebook said it reviews all government requests carefully, “with the goal of protecting the privacy and rights of our users.”

After the news of this broke, the BBC, under the guise of the BBC Asian Network, asked not whether blasphemy laws are right, but instead asked what the “right” punishment for blasphemy should be:

The BBC attempted to “clarify” the bit as a “poorly worded question”, though I too don’t see how that makes the question any better.

The BBC Asian Network didn’t seem at all fazed by the fact that you can be murdered in Pakistan for criticizing one particular religion.

Gad Saad is a Lebanese Jewish atheist, and has been an open and vocal critic of religious extremism, especially since his family fled from that country’s civil war because his family faced summary execution for being Jewish:

Needless to say, he took a pretty good rip out of the BBC’s bizarre question:

It’s incredible to me that in “current year“, 2017 that this is even a question for any media outlets of western origin — that it comes more specifically from the “BBC Asian Network” makes little difference to me because the parent company is still the BBC.

That I’m an American makes little difference to me as well — I wouldn’t care for religious extremism propagandized at taxpayer expense were it from NPR, so I can imagine that British patriots wouldn’t either like that the extremist ideology of Lee Rigby’s murderers is funded by British taxpayers either.

It’s worth noting that one particular Muslim reformist — whom I’d seriously consider taking a bullet for — was none too pleased: