That would explain a lot. Wouldn’t it?
I’m somewhat surprised that the blogosphere hasn’t had more to say about Policy Exchange’s survey of British Muslims (BBC). The findings are, I would think, more than a little troubling. The most worrisome part is the fact that younger Muslims in the UK (aged 16-24 in the survey) are easily more radical than older Muslims (aged 55+).
The first lesson learned is the most obvious: “multiculturalism” is far worse than assimilation (no surprise to yours truly, and something the aforementioned think tank also makes plain). In fact, in the very thing it was supposed to do, i.e., makes “outsiders” feel more welcome, the multicultis have done worse than the Anglophiles of yore. The other lesson is a bit harder to catch, unless one is aware of Central Asian history.
The largest ethnicity within British Islam, by far, is Pakistani (Times of London, cited by Ice Viking). When taken into account, the difference between older and younger Muslims is all the more striking. Those in the “over-55s” – as the Brits call them – entered adulthood in the early 1970s at the latest, while no one in the 16-24 category was even born before 1982.
Why does that matter? Because the most important years in recent Pakistani history were the late 1970s. It was during that period when General Muhammed Zia ul-Haq took power in an army coup (1977) and began implementing the step-by-step Islamicization of Pakistan (aided by Saudi funds and Wahhabist support). It should be noted that Zia also maintained a strong friendship with the United States until the day he died in a suspicious 1988 plane crash, and according to Daniel Pipes, he eased up on the Wahhabization toward the end of his regime. That said, Zia still allowed his nation to be infected with a Wahhabist-tainted radicalism that led future Pakistani leaders (including Pervez Musharraf) to support the Taliban and al Qaeda until 9/11/01 (and to a lesser extent, keep and “hands-off” policy on the Taliban to this very day).
Now we can see that Zia’s Wahhabization not only made Pakistan more problematic for the current W-B-K war, but also allowed the infection to spread to the largest Pakistani diaspora - Great Britain. Here in the United States, where the Saudis have used their wealth to ensnare more than 4 in every 5 American mosques (Jerusalem Post), this is a lesson we cannot ignore.
Citizens of this good Commonwealth who do not spend time in Northern Virginia (I’m not sure my Spotsylvania home counts, but my Falls Church office certainly does) typically pride themselves on staying as far away from the region as they can, and not without merit in many cases. However, they do miss what I consider a treat: The Washington Times‘ irascible Wesley Pruden.
John Warner is against the war in Iraq and he sleeps better knowing the anti-war crowd is about to bring the Americans scuttling home. Surrender is an odd sleep aid for an ex-Marine. Probably something borrowed from John Murtha’s prescription bottle . . .
John Warner called in an impressionable young reporter for The Post to boast, despite “the guilt he still carries because of the Vietnam War,” of how he had “grown” into someone mellow enough to sleep better than a man in his ninth decade should expect to (though he didn’t say he could still sleep through the whole night).
“I gotta tell you,” he told his interviewer, “I’ve gotten to that wonderful age in life — I don’t worry. If you do what in your heart you feel is right, go to sleep. Don’t worry. I go to sleep and I don’t worry.”
It’s nice not to worry, and nice to see an old man’s guilt finally assuaged, but it’s not so nice to think of how guilt is assuaged by the blood of young men abandoned to a whim of the transient opinion of a fickle public. It’s a Washington thing.
Beautiful; absolutely beautiful.
The left side of the blogosphere is buzzing about Senator Jim Webb’s letter to the Secretary of State on the issue of the Iranian mullahcracy (RK). Personally, I can understand why the Secretary would be skittish to provide a direct answer, although I do think some answer was appropriate. More to the point, any attempt by Rice to respond is hampered by one critical fact: my junior Senator did not ask the right question.
This was the query around which Webb’s letter was centered: “Is it the position of this administration that it possesses the authority to take unilateral action against Iran, in the absence of a direct threat, without congressional approval?” It sounds simple and straightforward, but Webb seems to have forgotten something – the Administration already has congressional approval.
Webb’s mistake is that he focused on the 2002 Congressional resolution that authorized force against Saddam Hussein; he should have paid more attention to the initial authorization passed by Congress in the aftermath of 9/11/01 (emphasis added):
(T)he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
It is now beyond doubt that the Iranian mullahcracy “harbored such organizations or persons.” As noted by the 9/11 Commission (cited my Michael Ledeen in National Review Online), not only did the mullahcracy allow several 9/11 hijackers to travel through Iran – without any way for outsiders to trace it – but even sheltered 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his family for a time. If that’s not harboring, I don’t know what is (see also Kenneth R. Timmerman’s Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran excerpt as reprinted by the Washington Times).
The arguments regarding the liberation of Iran (which I would support) have been going back and forth for quite a while, but the question of the President’s power to do so is relatively new. However, for those who believe Congressional authorization is required (as I do), the fact is – whether Senator Webb likes it or not – it has already been granted.
The foot-in-mouth disease is spreading. Senator Joseph Biden, author of a resolution vehemently opposing the President’s new strategy in Iraq (which includes 21,500 new troops), drops this whopper (Richmond Times-Dispatch – emphasis added):
It’s not the American people or the United States Congress who are emboldening the enemy. It’s the failed policy of this president, going to war without a strategy, going to war prematurely, going to war without enough troops, going to war without enough equipment.
Words fail me.
Well, that didn’t take long.
Less than two weeks after Virginia Republicans announced the transportation tax hike that was “non-negotiable,” one of the Republican Senators who backed it (Fred Quayle), is dropping it for a statewide gas tax endorsed by Democrats (Washington Post). Said Mr. Quayle, “I’ve always felt that gasoline taxes and sales taxes were the best approach to it. That puts the burden where it should be.”
With Quayle, Chichester, and Russ Potts, the Dems would only need one more Senator to get 21 votes for the statewide gas tax, while it looks like the plan is to hold close to the rest of the transportation deal (including putting the gun to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to impose regional taxes) in the hope the Delegates cave, and I predict they will.
This is what happens when you support tax increases: you end up hiking them far more than you ever wanted.
I’ve spent a lot of time and bandwith ripping my two sad-sack Senators (Jim Webb and John Wobbly Warner), and their abysmal role in the debate over the President’s new strategy in Iraq, but until now, I have been lax in presenting my own view of the country’s liberation, and what I think should transpire in the years to come. I have only mentioned the reason I support the President’s position: namely, the fact that he now understands the threat to Americans and Iraqis from the Iranian mullahcracy, and is prepared to act accordingly.
However, there are several on the President’s “side” who seem unwilling to accept the reality of what we face there. The fact is, if we really wish to complete the liberation of Iraq (and we should), we will have to maintain a heavy presence their until at least 2010, when a new Iraqi government will be formed. Any attempt to leave sooner will undermine the President’s plan before it can really begin.
To understand why, we have to realize just what the Iraqi people are facing. Al Qaeada and various Saddamist elements are still present in Sunni areas. Iranian-backed militias, especially Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, is a major and violent force in Baghdad itself. Iranian-tainted political parties are at the heart of the Iraqi government, including Prime Minister Maliki himself.
Yet I still believe the President’s plan can succeed if given enough time (at least three years), and the reason for that can be found in the initial aftermath of Iraq’s 2005 election.
Most Americans remember that period as the time Iraqi’s leaders could never seem to agree on a government. However, there was more to it than that. It was in those early months of 2006 that the United Iraqi Alliance (the lead Shiite list and the largest political “party” in Iraq) began to split along pro-Iranian and anti-Iranian lines. Meanwhile, Kurdish, Sunni, and secular groups had formed a cross-party alliance that actually outnumbered the UIA in elected Members of Parliament (MPs). In time, UIA’s rupture could have created a political coalition just large enough to form a government with Sunni, secular, and Kurdish leaders (a 2/3 majority is required), while shutting out the three Iranian-backed factions (S.C.I.R.I., Dawa, and the Sadrists) within UIA. The bombing of the Shiite mosque in Samarra literally razed this effort to the ground. The UIA members, fearing all Shiites were in danger, came together and the other groups were forced to deal with the group as a whole, leading to Maliki’s election as Prime Minister (This is why I have always wondered if Iran didn’t have a hand in the Samarra bombing, especially now that we know it has funded Sunni and Shiite terrorists in Iraq).
However, the potential for a future government free of Iranian influence is still there. The Fadheela Party (Washington Post) has now pulled out of the UIA, and could very well run on its own in the next elections (scheduled for December 2009). However, none of the anti-Iranian Shiites will be strong enough to challenge the Tehran-tainted parties within their midst without the presence of American troops battling the Tehran terrorists, and we can hardly expect Maliki and his Iranian-backed government to resist the infiltration without American troops keeping a very close eye on him. Thus, victory over the Khomeinists can only be achieved once the Iraqi people can elect a government that is just as determined as we are to keep Iran out of Iraq.
Some might wonder: what this has to do with al Qaeda? Actually, it has a great deal to do with it.
Whatever our views of al Qaeda and the Saddamists, for many Iraqi Sunnis, they were a far better tyrant that the Iranian mullahs. So long as the United States seemed uninterested in Tehran’s efforts to turn Iraq into a satellite, most of these Iraqi Sunnis were driven by fear or hatred to align with al Qaeda or Saddam’s old henchmen. Now, as they see the President just as worried about Iran as they are, the tide appears to be turning, as more Sunni leaders come on board (Washington Times). Thus it is no surprise that the Administration continues to make clear Iranian interference will not be tolerated (United Press Int’l via Washington Times).
Unfortunately, there is still the matter of the Maliki government, whose ties to Iran likely make it radioactive in many Iraq Sunni circles. The Administration must be aware of this. As I’ve noted before, what makes the President’s strategy new is not just the additional troops, but the focus on making Sunnis full partners in the new Iraq. Leaving Iraq with Maliki in charge will not accomplish this.
Therefore, as I believe we cannot leave Iraq until we have kicked the al Qaedists, Saddamists, and Khomeinists out of Iraq, that means we cannot leave while Maliki is still Prime Minister. However, any attempt to remove him by coup would cause even further damage to America’s prestige, and leave the Iraqi people deeply betrayed. Success requires waiting until the Iraqi people vote Maliki out, which I do believe can happen so long as we continue fighting all three terrorist factions (rather than focusing solely on the first two as we did for years, save the brief and half-hearted fight with al-Sadr in 2004).
Thus, any politician who talks about America leaving Iraq before early 2010 (when the new government is formed) is, in my view, dangerously wrong – and that goes for the Administration and its supporters as well as for the Democrats and the Wobblies. We cannot achieve freedom for Iraqis and victory for America unless and until we kick the Wahhabists, the Saddamists, and the Khomeinists out of Iraq.
John McCain has several qualities that have made him an appealing candidate for President. They were actually enough to earn my vote in the 2000 Virginia primary.
That said, the 2008 McCain campaign is largely driven by one factor: electability. McCain has for years been perceived as the candidate most likely to appeal to the center while holding enough of the Republican base to defeat the Democratic nominee (usually assumed to be Senator Hillary Clinton). That perception is based on one seemingly immutable (and for right-wingers, maddening) fact: McCain was the MSM’s favorite Republican.
Well, those days are gone. MSM has a new GOP favorite for 2008: Chuck Hagel (Newsweek and Washington Post). As the media dumps McCain for its new beau, I expect the Arizona Senator’s support to take a glide path downward over the first half of 2007, then nose dive sometime in the summer as it dawns on the base that they don’t have to nominate him after all.
This could make Giuliani far, far stronger when 2007 ends; what it means in the battle to become “Conservative candidate X” is anyone’s guess.
Ever since the liberation of Iraq began, those who have opposed it have repeatedly insisted it was damaging to our military. It was the singular argument that turned Jim Webb from sullen crank into a Senator, and led numerous Democrats who were once in uniform to run for Congress (and win). Ex-presidential candidate John Kerry and current candidate Christopher Dodd cite the complaints of the late Captain Brian Freeman in their strident opposition to the President’s plan to complete the liberation (Washington Post). Webb went further last week, openly asserting that the military opposed “the way this war is being fought” – before saying no one else could speak for the military.
So, naturally, when NBC finds men in the field in Iraq who wish Americans could see why its liberation was still necessary (h/t Kat), these folks on the left would rethink their arguments, right?
Actually, they did just that, and came up with a new one for our military: sit down and shut up.
Don’t take my word for it; check out the latest from Post blogger William Arkin:
I’m all for everyone expressing their opinion, even those who wear the uniform of the United States Army. But I also hope that military commanders took the soldiers aside after the story and explained to them why it wasn’t for them to disapprove of the American people.
These people trotted out any opponent of the war with an epaulet, ribbon, or stripe. Now they want those who are in the field and risking their lives to just clam up and let them (the war critics) make meaningless everything they have ever done?
To quote my favorite tennis player, John McEnroe (who admittedly may cringe if he sees his quote being used here): “You can not be serious“!
Arkin’s post is the essence of left/center-left arrogance on this issue – calling the military force “mercenary,” hinting they could be duped into becoming pawns in “a military coup where those in the know, and those with fire in their bellies, save the nation from the people,” and then having the audacity to call them “young and naive.”
I know full well those who do not support the liberation of Iraq have well-considered reasons, even if I disagree with them. I know, unlike some of my fellow “hawks,” that more than a few “doves” really do care about the fate of the men and women in uniform sent to complete this difficult mission.
So let me say this to all of you on that side of the debate who are reading this, if you actually care about our military veterans, take the time to listen and respond to arguments they make rather than demanding they shut up. You asked that of us when every dove in uniform spoke; you owe the men and women serving in Iraq at least that much – instead of the muzzle.
It is now common knowledge that the coalition on the American right is fraying, if not splitting like a ripe melon. The “fusionist” movement that began when Ronald Reagan brought together anti-Communists, social conservatives, and classical liberals (i.e., libertarians) seems to have run its course, with the latter growing increasingly concerned about the ongoing struggle to complete the liberation of Iraq.
We must remember that the combination of a strong military and a limited government in a political coalition is quite rare in American history. In fact, Reagan’s Republican coalition completed a transition that ended roughly 110 years (1860-1970) during which the party that endorsed larger government (the Republicans before 1932, the Democrats after) supported a strong military and a robust foreign policy. In fact, the only period where the party of smaller government was also the more militaristic party (I do not use that term pejoratively) was during the Jacksonian era (1829-1849).
For this reason, most consider an active, “tough” foreign policy and limited government to be contradictory in political thought. I would disagree, and I believe history would show that I am correct: limited government cannot survive without military strength, and vice versa.
The reasons my view seems counterintuitive (at best) is due to the nature of government itself. Since the military is by definition a part of the government, its growth would lead one to assume the rest of government should follow (likewise the contrapositive, a drawdown in civilian government should lead to a similar military effect). Moreover, many classical liberals today are very distrustful of governments in war time seeking authorities and powers that they are reluctant to give up when peace dawns.
However, I believe these notions reverse the true nature of actor and reactor in society; it is not the government’s actions that concern me, but the actions of the people.
It is no secret that large government fosters societal dependence, and thus saps the natural strength (physical and psychological) of the individual. As a person becomes more dependent on government to survive, rather than the other way around, (s)he becomes more subject to that government’s whim. This can, of course, lead a nation into wars it might otherwise avoid (another standard classical liberal concern), but it rarely leads to successful wars.
Consider the nature of the autocracy at war when faced with a republic at the other end of the field. The United States routed Mexico in the 1840s despite serious internal divisions on the war itself, and a numerical disadvantage in the field. Likewise, throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Great Britain, the second most free nation on earth, repeatedly succeeded in military endeavors against nations less free (its only catastrophic defeat in two centuries came at the hands of the only nation with a freer populace – the United States). Moreover, during the great (albeit imperfect) battles between tyranny and freedom (World War II and Cold War I), the very nature of the autocracies (Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union respectively) did tremendous damage to the non-democratic side (best summed up by John Lewis Gaddis in We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History – “who is about to tell the authoritarian in charge when he is about to do something stupid?”).
I would, however, take this a step further. It is the nature of humans to be more willing to defend that which they have helped build. That was the beauty of America in her past (and to a lesser extent, still is today). The average American not only had selfish reasons to defend America (the home, the family, etc.), or patriotic reasons (the nation as home), (s)he had the personal reason of knowing American was something (s)he helped build, helped form, and helped to maintain. The less one has government do, the more one does for oneself, and thus the more one is determined to defend what they have made and done. To use modern parlance, if one is a stakeholder in society, rather than its pensioner, one is far more likely to defend that society, rather than submit to occupation or decay and merely minimize the effect on one’s own life. Thus, the more an individual must rely on him- or herself, the more willing they will be to see beyond themselves to the outer world, and respond to the threats that face society.
Thus it should not surprise us that it was during the Jacksonian era (the last time small government and assertive foreign policy were combined in the majority party) that America reached the Pacific Ocean over 900 years earlier than Thomas Jefferson himself predicted she would. Likewise, it was under Reagan and his hand-picked successor that the most dangerous tyranny on earth up to that time collapsed in a heap of rubble, and America achieved a global position never before seen in the history of the world.
Now, classical liberals would have little objection to what I have written so far. They would, however, wonder why a strong military and/or assertive foreign policy is necessary to protect a free republic. This insistence by classical liberals that such things are not necessary – that America can thrive as a non-interventionist, commercial republic – is why I can never consider myself one of them, and thus prefer the label that titles this blog.
What most classical liberals fail to understand is that the United States of America has been under threat from the moment of its very creation in 1776. Great Britain spent nearly 30 years after the Treaty of Paris trying to undermine the new republic – to the point of trying to seize the Old Northwest and create a Native American buffer state there and later, exempting New England from the War of 1812 embargo to encourage Royalist and dovish factions there. Europe’s machinations during the Civil War nearly ended it as a Confederate victory. Both Hitler and Stalin envisioned American cities burning to the ground in fiery destruction (the former planned for it well before the United States entered World War II). To this day, our mere existence sends Wahhabi terrorists, Chinese Communists, African tyrants, and all of their murderous henchmen into a rage. Even the so-called periods of “peace” seem merely way stations from one war to the next, because of American weakness abroad. The 1920s saw America enter arms control agreements for the first time in her history; twenty years later our enemies had tremendous, albeit temporary, advantages in firepower because they cheated the agreements while we honored them (the Soviets played the same game decades later).
What we must realize is that a strong military and a limited, “weak” civilian government go hand in hand. An America vigorously defending her interests abroad and keeping her enemies at bay is more able to avoid emergency security measures at home. As an imperfect example: we can be far more rigorous in our standards of rights in our legal system if we keep enemy combatants in the military justice system where they belong. More to the point, we can be less worried about Wahhabists, Ba’athists, and Khomeinists committing acts of war in the U.S. if we defeat and kill them in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Iraq.
Liekwise, a strong military is well nigh impossible without physically and mentally strong Americans to serve in it; meaning government must not be in the business of doing for us what we can do for ourselves.
Whatever one thinks of Jackson (my great-great-great-great grandfather, Thurlow Weed, was the lead anti-Jacksonian political operator of his time in New York; he battled with Jacksonian Martin Van Buren for a quarter-century) or Reagan (one of my personal political icons), it was no secret that the political coalitions they formed were among the most successful in foreign affairs America has ever seen. They relied on a strong America abroad, supported by strong Americans at home. It is a lesson I hope classical liberals and “compassionate conservatives” can learn, and for all our sakes, I hope they learn it quickly.