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This Time in Turkey

The latest Islamist outrage occurred Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey, where at least three gun-toting suicide bombers slaughtered at least 36 people and seriously injured another hundred or so at the Ataturk Airport. At this point it’s unclear if it was the work of the Islamic State or the Kurdish separatists who have more frequently launched terror attacks in Turkey, although the experts guessing it’s the former and admitting it might yet be another group, but it any case it adds to the horrifying death toll of the past millennia and a half of jihad.
This time around was mostly a Muslim-on-Muslim slaughter, as has been common during much of the past millennia and a half of jihad, but of the course the victims at an international airport in such a cosmopolitan city as Istanbul included some infidels. At this point it’s not known if any of them were Americans, but we have several friends and family members who have travelled through what they all describe as the airport’s heavily secured hallways, so it could have been anyone from anywhere. Why any non-Kurdish Islamists would choose to target Turkey is also unclear at this point, as there any number of explanations.
There’s an ongoing resentment about all the years that Turkey’s Ottoman Empire ruled almost the entirety of the Islamic world, and even though that ended way back at the conclusion of World War I that’s no so long ago from the millenarian and a half perspective of jihad. The airport is Istanbul is named for Kemal Ataturk, whose reformers dragged Turkey out of the ruins of the post-Ottoman Empire and into something resembling the modern world, and from the Islamist point of view that’s even worse than the Ottoman Empire. The Turks have lately been involved in squabbles with everyone from Russia to Syria to the Syrian regime’s Islamic State enemies to of course those pesky Kurds, so the country has any of number of reasons to be attacked.
Since the good old days of Ataturk and his fellow “young Turks” the country has seen the more or less modern and cosmopolitan types in Istanbul and other urban areas demographically overwhelmed by the more fervently religious and therefore more fecund rural portions of the country, and Turkey has lately become Islamist and troublesome enough that its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and associate membership with the European Union have become problematic, but they’re still not nearly Islamist enough to spare themselves further Islamist terror attacks. It’s a tough spot to be in, but to quote an old song it’s nobody’s business but the Turks’.
As horrific as it was the Istanbul attack didn’t exceed the death count inflicted by an Islamist nutcase’s attack on the much softer target of an Orlando, Florida, nightclub not long before, so at this point in the millennia and a half of ongoing jihad everyone everywhere has to adjust its policies.
The American left tried to explain that larger death toll at an Orlando nightspot catering to homosexuals by a man who phoned into the police and clearly explained that he was acting on behalf on the Islamic State was actually the fault of those darned gun-toting and Bible-thumping Republicans, but this time at least the president admitted that it was some sort of unspecified “terrorism” and didn’t try to blame it Chick-fi-la or any bakers who decline to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, which would have been quite a stretch even for the president, and at this point it’s hard to guess what policy changes might be made. Both of the presumptive major party nominees hoping to succeed him have offered appropriate sympathy and outrage for the victims, and vowed the requisite resoluteness, and it remains to be seen which of them will win the next news cycle. Even the Democrat has lately started the using “Islamist” to describe all this jihad, and the Republican has been very stern if somewhat inconsistent and incoherent about it from the very beginning, but we’re not placing much hope in policy changes. Until the entirety of the barren west rouses itself against once again against the fecund forces of Islamism we expect the jihad will continue.

— Bud Norman

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Pompeo and Circumstance

The “anti-establishment” sentiment in the Republican Party has been simmering to a point lately that almost anyone who ever held any office is now presumed guilty of something or another, which is a healthy inclination up to a point, but at some other point it becomes necessary to be more discerning. That “anti-establishment” sentiment has been simmering for a while now, after all, at least here in the heartland, long enough for the more vigilant sorts of Republicans to have installed some pretty darned good public servants in office, and we’d hate to see any of these promising political babies thrown out with the proverbial bath water.
Here in the south-central Fourth District portion of reliably Republican Kansas our rising-through-the-ranks Rep. Mike Pompeo has twice lately attracted the attention of the national press, and on both occasions we think he acquitted himself well. First he asked the Islamic Society of Wichita to withdraw a speaking invitation to a controversial cleric with ties to the Hamas terrorist organization, then he took a leading role in a Congressional investigation into the latest problems demonstrating how awful the Obama administration’s awful nuclear deal with the terror gang running the Islamic Republic of Iran has become. On both occasions he was widely criticized by many of the national and local media, of course, but we expect he further endeared himself to the vast majority of voters he’s won the past few elections.
Pompeo’s widely publicized request to withdraw that invitation was merely a request, thoughtfully explained in terms of cultural sensitivity, and implied no threats, but even here in Wichita many of the local media were worried about the inevitable violent backlash against the city’s relatively tiny number of Muslims. Even the Islamic Society of Wichita agreed that the proposed speaker’s suspect background did make him a culturally insensitive choice right around Easter and in a city where the mosque just across the corner from one of our favorite dives was once frequented by one of the guys who made the first attempt to bring down the World Trade Center, and they threw in some unsubstantiated concerns about how the allegedly threatened armed militias showing might affect the neighboring Lutheran church, and they got some good press out of it, but the Hamas-loving cleric didn’t deliver his rant and we figure it worked out about as well as any of those drivers with the “Coexist” bumper stickers could hope for.
Those nationally-circulated criticisms of that awful Iran nuclear deal struck our south-central Kansas Republican sensibilities as ridiculous, too, given how awful that deal is becoming every day. Now it’s to the point that even the Obama administration is acting indignant about the intercontinental ballistic missile tests that Iran has been pumping up, along with all the chest-thumping they’ve been doing ever since the deal was not signed by anybody but somehow sealed, and we’re sufficiently well-attuned to and typical of the local mood to be confident that Pompeo won’t suffer any political damage from his common-sense stand. We’ve even had some Islamic controversies around here at the county level, with our favorite penny-pinching County Commissioner giving an impromptu rant against Islamism we didn’t find at all offensive but which set the local media all aflutter, and another making the obligatory visit to the mosque, which had already received much favorable media coverage for its culturally sensitive stand against Hamas-affiliated clerics, and here in the very middle of America the local consensus favors a plain understanding of the millennia-old conflict.
Pompeo’s been pretty stalwart on everything else we consider important, and our occasional disagreements have been principled enough for our tastes. He’s a steady Second Amendment man, a budget hawk enough to oppose the ethanol-like win-penergy subsidies that are very lucrative and popular in these windswept parts, and usually a reliable opponent of President Barack Obama. He and another worthy-of-doubt conservative supported Obama’s plea for Congressional authority to act in Syria, which we thought futile given that the Secretary of State John Kerry was assuring all those Democrats in the benighted regions outside Kansas that it would be mere “pinpricks,” and we’re still not sure it would have been a good idea, but given how badly it’s worked out and how vaguely plausibly future historians might be able to blame it on Republican obstruction we’ll have to again allow a measure of doubt. He also supported the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which we publicly opposed because we plausibly presumed that any deal the Obama administration could be improved upon by a subsequent Republican administration, but we don’t doubt his crack staff has actually read the thousand-plus-page monstrosity and come to more knowledgable conclusions, so we’ll again give him the benefit of the doubt, even though the current Republican front-runner’s so-loyal-he-could-shoot-someone supporters would string him up for it. In any case we agree with Pompeo’s generally free-trade philosophy, which is largely shared here even among the angry white men in the Fourth District of Kansas, where the two biggest components of the local economy are agriculture and aviation, which also happen to be the first and second biggest export industries of the country. Those portions of the country where industries more vulnerable to foreign competition are the drivers of the local economy might consider Pompeo a globalist establishment tool, but they can’t deny he’s looking out for his constituents.
Pompeo first joined Congress back in ’10, when the longstanding Republican incumbent decided to make an ill-fated run at the Senate and he wound up winning a crowded and distinguished primary field. After the ’08 elections the local Democrats were beguiled by the notion that their well-funded and Harvard-educated and Indian-American think thank veteran would have the same effect on the Fourth District here in reliably Republican Kansas that a Ivy League exotic did on the nation at large, but the backlash against Obama had already begun here and the locals weren’t buying any of it, and Pompeo was not only the top in his class at West Point and an iron-curtain commander of an actual tank and editor of the Harvard Law Review just like that Obama guy but also a hugely successful and never-once bankrupt businessman in the high-tech aviation industry, and we think he’s one of the high-quality guys we can point to that the past years of anti-establishment activism have brought to public service. We  think that that everyone-describes-as-conservative and former collegiate national champion Texas Sen. Cruz, who was also swept into office on an already-simmering “anti-establishment” mood,  is also one of those guys, and the same the south-central Kansans in this reliably Republican-all-along state have agreed with their votes on a recent windswept day, and if that makes us establishment then so be it.

— Bud Norman

Another Nervous Sept. 11

Today is September 11, and it seems as good a time as any to assess how America and the rest of Western Civilization are faring in the 1,400-year-old onslaught by the more bellicose adherents of Islam. We note with great relief and considerable nervousness that the west has suffered no attacks as deadly as the one that occurred in New York City and Washington, D.C., and over the skies of western Pennsylvania 14 years ago today, and hope and pray this will remain true throughout the day, but otherwise it doesn’t seem to be going very well for our side.
Smaller-scale but still horrific attacks on America and its allies have since become so commonplace they are largely forgotten after a 24-hour news cycle, and the ones in faraway places of which we know little, such as Mumbai and Moscow and Paris and London and Moore, Oklahoma, barely make an impression through the day. Each story comes carefully packaged with caveats about how it would be wrong to draw any conclusions about anybody but the particular individuals responsible for the carnage, who probably had legitimate grievances, not at all like the more infrequent stories about crazed white guys with guns who might have been listening to talk radio, and the cumulative death count is never mentioned. Although the death count is troublesome enough, the West’s instinct to ignore it is all the more so.
Meanwhile, the more bellicose adherents of Islam are rapidly gaining power in ever larger swaths of the religion’s Middle Eastern birthplace. A self-proclaimed Islamic State is imposing the most brutal and barbaric version of Sunni Islam in a growing portion of what was once Iraq and Syria, and the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism on behalf of Shiite Islam’s most murderous manifestation is about to get a $150 billion signing bonus from the West for a treaty that won’t prevent from them from acquiring nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to Western targets and implicitly acknowledges their rightful role to regional hegemony. Such assertiveness by the most bellicose adherents of both branches of Islam is troubling enough, but the West’s passivity is all the more so.
The head-chopping, crucifying, burning-at-the-stake depravity of the Islamic State has occasionally forced its way onto the otherwise pristine pages of America’s newspapers, but even the most stomach-turning stories always end with assurances from the administration that the Islamic State remains a “jayvee team” of terror and that the coalition of unaccountably moderate amateurs that has been assembled is somehow is not only holding its own against them but also the Syrian Assad regime’s professional Iranian-supported troops and the crack Russian soldiers that have lately been showing up in the middle of this convoluted conflict. This happy talk has lately been undermined by an Inspector General’s report, prompted by the complaints of more than 50 intelligence analysts working for the military’s Central Command, alleging that frank talk about the Islamic State’s worrisome gains have been censored. This seems all the more plausible given the administration’s determination to describe the Fort Hood, Texas, massacre as “Workplace violence” rather than Islamic terrorism, despite the culprit’s self-status status as as “Soldier of Allah” and his chants of “Alahu Akbar” as he gunned his victims down, or use any other explanation that will subtract from that troublesome death count of small-scale yet horrific terror attacks on American soil.
The same administration assures us that the deal delivering $150 billion and free reign to pursue intercontinental ballistic missiles and all sorts of ways to get nuclear warhead is the only alternative to what would surely be an unwindable war against the same Iran that president in his first successful campaign called a “tiny country” that “doesn’t pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union did.” There are still plausible options available to the Republicans and their more level-headed Democratic allies to scuttle the deal, but it remains to be seen if they’ll be willing to hold that crucial line. At this point, the best hope is that the deal will go down as an executive treaty that can be undone more a rock-ribbed president early in 2017.
Most of the rest of Western Civilization and its media seem to be on board, and only France, of all people, seem to have put much of a fight about it, and that this is not at all surprising is the most disturbing news of all. Europe’s government, if not its people, seem intent on welcoming what will eventually be millions of new arrivals from the lands where the most bellicose adherents of Islam predominate. A long-shot candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination thinks it plays well with his party to advocate that America take in at least a few hundred thousand, the same front-runner for the Republican nomination who’s grabbed the lead by talking tough about Mexican Catholics takes the same position as that Democrat regarding Islamic Syrians, and nobody seems to be insisting on the democratic and republican and unabashedly Judeo-Christian yet rigorously secular values that have Western Civilization during its 1,400-year onslaught by the more bellicose adherents of Islam. So far the West has ceded to demands that there be no criticism of Islam, that even the most belligerent emigres to the west be afford their right to undermine the hosting civilization, and that western culpability always be presumed.
That Republican front-runner has admitted that he can’t think of any favorite passages from the Bible, and we’re sure that all the Democratic contenders will think of something about greed and covetousness in the unlikely event they’re ever asked the same question, but on this day we’re reminded of of the book of Jeremiah, chapter six and verse 14: “They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. ‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.”

— Bud Norman

The Problem That Cannot Be Named

There is much going on the world that we are expected to believe has nothing to do with Islam. Just over the past weekend a symposium on free speech in Copenhagen was attacked by a gunman who murdered a cartoonist who dared portray Mohammad in a satirical manner, and later that same day in that city there was another murder outside of a synagogue where a young woman was having her Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Meanwhile the terrorist army calling itself Islamic State continues its bloody spree across a large swathe of the Middle East with mass executions by the most the barbaric methods proscribed in Koranic scripture, extending its influence into new countries and to within a few miles of the last American troops remaining in Iraq, with similar problems occurring in nations from Yemen to Libya and beyond.
No less a progressive personage than the President of the United States has declared that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” and described the Parisian kosher deli where other Jews were recently murdered as a “random” target, and assured the public that the Islamic State is a “jayvee team” of terrorism and “the tide of war is receding,” and insists on the tautology that known of this can possibly have anything to do with Islam because Islam is a religion of peace. He has issued the obligatory statement condemning the murder of the Danish cartoonist, without any mention of what might have motivated it, although he was too busy with golf and fund-raisers to comment on the attack at the Danish synagogue. If if all he knows about that attack is what he read in The New York Times he won’t even know that it was at a synagogue, and he’ll probably attribute that coverage to the same “if it bleeds it leads” journalism that prompts coverage of car wrecks and local crime, but he will no doubt be troubled to learn from that paper’s reports that “anti-Muslim sentiment is one the rise on in Europe.”
Despite his boasts of having pulled all but a relative handful of troops of Iraq, mostly those “advisers” who know find themselves within shelling distance of the Islamic State, and despite his many years of criticizing the congressional action that sent troops to Iraq in the first place, the president has dispatched troops to Kuwait and asked Congress to pass an authorization for the use of military force against whatever is causing this recent trouble. The authorization would only grant three years of military force and prohibits “enduring offensive ground combat operations,” which is facing opposition from both Republican hawks who find it too passive and Democratic doves who find it too bellicose, but at least it represents an acknowledgement that something is causing a problem.
Naming the source of that problem might be a good start toward solving it, but that step apparently must wait at least another two years. In the meantime, we’ll be too polite to admit that it is what the perpetrators insist it is.

— Bud Norman

With Friends Like This

Much ridicule has already been heaped on Secretary of State John Kerry for having James Taylor sing “You’ve Got a Friend” to the French last week, but we feel obliged to add a bit more. Not since Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered that apologetic misspelled “reset” button to the rapacious Russkies has American foreign policy been so embarrassing.
It’s not just that Taylor’s folky schtick was sappy even when it was popular way back in the ’70s, or that “You’ve Got a Friend” was just about the sappiest of it, but that the gesture was intended as an apology for the United States’ even more embarrassing failure to send a high-ranking figure to France’s march on behalf of freedom of speech in the wake of a murderous attack by radical Islamist terrorists against a satirical magazine that had published cartoons critical of radical Islamism. While the heads of state of every other significant country felt obliged to make the trip, America was represented at the march by its ambassador the country, a former campaign bundler for the Obama presidential campaigns, despite the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder was conveniently in Paris at the time, Vice President Joe Biden’s schedule was of course open, and the security concerns that were cited to explain the president’s absence didn’t keep Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from a spot at the lead of the march. The international and domestic criticism was so withering that the White House spokesman acknowledged the mistake, and Kerry and his guitar-strumming buddy from Martha’s Vineyard were dispatched to make amends.
Compounding the embarrassment even further was the obvious insincerity of the performance. The same president that declared to the United Nations in the aftermath of a terror attack on an American consulate in Benghazi that was falsely blamed on an obscure YouTube video critical of Islamism that “The future must not belong to those who slander that prophet of Islam” was never to going to march on behalf of the right to freely express opinions regarding religion. As France musters some uncharacteristic courage to confront the Islamist threat it has unwisely welcomed, it will take more than a washed-up folk-rocker to convince them they have a friend in the United States for at least the next two years.
Even James Taylor and John Kerry aren’t as embarrassing as that sad fact.

— Bud Norman

The Gathering Storm

Another 12 lives have been added to the casualty list from the Islamic fanatics’ war against the West, this time at the offices of a French satirical magazine that was deemed insufficiently reverent toward Mohammad, and there are the usual worries among the chattering classes that Islam will be blamed. The long-awaited backlash against Muslims in the west hasn’t happened yet, and the West’s governments and opinion-makers are as eager as ever to prevent it, but they are right to worry. Each new outrage tests the public’s patience and draws the world closer to an inevitable confrontation between the west and its sworn enemies.
America has already launched costly battles in Afghanistan and Iraq in response to the terror attacks on its soil on Sept. 11, 2001, and even as it withdraws from those conflicts with little regard for the consequences Europe is being forced to confront the broader war within its own borders. Shortsighted immigration policies have left many European nations with large Muslim populations that are rapidly growing while the indigenous ethnic population is at or below replacement levels, and the newcomers are not assimilating to the existing cultures but rather attempting to impose their own culture on their hosts. A generous welfare system and a condescending multi-culturalism seem to have only exacerbated the resentments in the Muslim ghettos that have sprung up across the continent, which are often radicalized Islamic states within the state. The excellent British writer Theodore Dalrymple offers a chilling description at City Journal of the situation in his adopted country of France, where bureaucratic planning has created a segregated ring around the major cities where the police and firemen and emergency medical personnel are afraid to go, filled with angry young men whose culture is defined by its opposition to the nation at large. He describes how the resulting crime and disorder are affecting the lives of ordinary French citizens, and how they have thus far resigned themselves to the situation, and how the arbiters of elite French culture have even championed the anti-French subculture of the ghettos, but the disorder has now killed 12 at a satirical magazine and will soon move on to the gay bars and will eventually threaten everything that even the enlightened French culture will inevitably find worth fighting for.
Already there are worries that there will be increased support in France for Marine Le Pen’s National Front, which has not had much success in shedding the image of her father’s unabashed fascist policies but is the only political party that has forthrightly challenged the creeping Islamization of France. Anti-immigration parties are finding increased support across Europe, and although the European and American press like to describe them all as “right wing” some are merely urging reasonable restrictions on immigration and assimilation policies for those already in the country along with the same sort of economic agenda that conservatives offer in America, but there are parties with a more authoritarian style that will also make gains in countries where the more established parties refuse to offer viable solutions to the pressing problems posed by an increasingly radicalized Muslim population. Wherever any resistance to the Islamic immigration is considered beyond the respectable limits of discourse, the disreputable parties will become increasingly popular.
The United States has a smaller, albeit growing, Muslim population, and it is not segregated and alienated to the same extent as In Europe. Nor are the parameters of the debate about Islam’s uneasy coexistence with the West so severely restricted, despite the best efforts of politicians and the academy and the establishment press and the entertainment industry. The death toll from radical Islam’s war against the West is nonetheless high here, and likely to grow higher, and the same willing blindness to the problem too often prevails at the highest levels of power. The anti-social ethos that Theodore Dalrymple describes in the ghettos outside Paris is eerily similar to what is found in the ghettos within America’s cities, right down to hip-hop music and fashion and government-subsidized bling, and the reaction by America’s intellectual elites to its anti-social and police-hating ethos is pretty much the same, and all that’s missing is radical Islam’s appeal to the spiritual void of those angry young men and its promise of something more meaningful. Post-modern Europe has nothing similar to offer, and America needs to recall the vision that once served that purpose.
The same apologetic and appeasing offer of debilitating support that America has offered its ghettos since launching a “War on Poverty” is what it now offers the Islamic world, but generous welfare systems and a condescending multi-culturalism are no more likely to work here than in France.

— Bud Norman

This Time In Paris

The President of the United States once declared to the United Nations that “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam,” and a group of terrorists made the point more emphatically on Wednesday when they killed 12 people at the office of a French publication that had dared to print cartoons they considered slanderous to their Islamic faith. They might yet be proved right, but one can hope that the resistance will continue.
The murders in Paris are only the latest atrocities in a longstanding war against anyone making critical comments regarding anything Islamic, which began during Mohammad’s lifetime and has been especially troublesome since the fatwa was issued by the mullahs of Iran against Salman Rushdie in 1989. Since then the Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh has been brutally murdered, the publishers of a Danish publication have gone in hiding, riots have raged through Egypt over a rarely seen YouTube video, and now 12 brave Frenchmen are dead. The response from the same western civilization that once protected free speech as a foremost value has thus far been acquiescent. The Dutch politician Geert Wilders was tried under his country’s restrictive “hate speech” laws for questioning the wisdom of unfettered immigration from Muslim countries, the masterful essayist Mark Steyn has found himself on trial before a Canadian “Human Rights Commission,” and Van Gogh’s courageously outspoken collaborator Aayan Hirsi Ali has been forced to leave the country for America and been banned from the graduation ceremonies of this country, where the maker of that rarely seen YouTube video was also sent to prison on questionable parole violations after the government officially condemned his views and falsely blamed him for the murder of four Americans at a consulate in Libya. The same American government questioned the judgment of that French publication for offending Muslim sensibilities, too, and has made a habit of declaring every act of Islamist terror “un-Islamic.”
This time around the response has been somewhat more forceful, with the President calling the attack “cowardly” and “evil” and appropriately offering America’s condolences and assistance, but there was no mention of anything to do with Islam, and his spokesman’s earlier statements even avoided the word “terrorism.” The Secretary of State went so far as to mention “extremism,” but neglected to mention exactly what was being brought to an extreme. After his previous equivocations France’s President Francois Hollande went with “cowardly” and upped that to “an act of exceptional barbarism,” but said nothing to suggest that the “no-go zones” where Islamist rule prevails on French soil would be invaded, or offered any assurances that might stem the tide of Jewish immigration from France that will soon it leave it virtually Judenrein, and there was the usual speculation that the disreputable parties of the nativist right would benefit from the failure of the reputable parties to acknowledge that this has anything to do with Islam. Those brave artists and journalists and intelligentsia across the western world who pride themselves on their withering attacks against Christianity or Judaism of capitalism or civilization or anything else that won’t provoke a violent reprisal are thus far eerily silent.
There are reports of large demonstrations across Europe protesting this outrage in Paris, which follow even earlier reports of growing resistance throughout the continent to the notion that the future must not belong to those who would slander the Prophet of Islam by disagreeing with anything his more irrational adherents might now choose to believe. If the popular sentiment is still strong enough perhaps the most disreputable parties won’t be empowered to deal with the problem, but both here and in Europe a frank acknowledgement of reality must become respectable. The terrorists who struck in Paris and are itching to strike here won’t be deterred until they understand that they cannot impose their will on the world, and that the future belongs to those who have a better idea.

— Bud Norman

A Full Day of Outrageous Presidential Remarks

Even on the slowest news days an opinion writer can almost always count on President Barack Obama to provide some outrageous remark to fulminate about. On Monday, though, the president provided more than the usual fodder.
One hardly knows where to begin, but it might as well be with the official White House statement regarding the latest horrific beheading of an American by the Islamic State, the bloodthirsty terrorist gang that was once dismissed by the president as a “jayvee team” and is now in charge of much of Syria and prematurely-abandoned-by-America Iraq. The statement appropriately offers prayers and condolences to the victim’s family, and accurately describes the murder as “an act of pure evil,” but then veers into the most bizarre apologetics. Referring to the terror gang by its preferred acronym, and to the victim by the name he adopted during his captivity to them, the statement adds that “ISIL’s actions represent no faith, least of all the Muslim faith which Abdul-Rahman adopted as his own.” The dubious claim that the Islamic State’s actions have nothing to do with Islam is by now an obligatory ritual that follows every act of Islamist terrorism, but that “least of all” defies any rational explanation. There’s no avoiding an implication that Muslims are far less inclined toward beheading infidels than the adherents of Judaism or Christianity or Buddhism of Hinduism or any other religion, which is clearly contradicted by copious evidence stretching from Iraq to Oklahoma, nor the conclusion that the president regards the victim’s conversion to his captor’s supposedly anti-Islamic creed as sincere. We can well understand a desire not to rile the non-beheading Muslim population, but the president’s remarks smack of a religious favoritism that is inappropriate and downright worrisome from an American leader.
Then there’s the report of the president’s advice to the protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, to “stay the course.” The previously little-known St. Louis suburb has endured rioting and looting and arson and assorted acts of mayhem ever since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager, and now that it appears a grand jury which has heard all the physical evidence and eyewitness testimony will conclude that the officer acted in self-defense against a violent behemoth who attacked him and was struggling for his gun there is a legitimate concern that more rioting and looting and arson and assorted mayhem will soon follow. A generous interpretation of the president’s remarks would be that he urges them to “stay on the course” of peaceful protest, rather than the course that has been taken, but even the peaceful protestors he was addressing have stated that “Rioting and looting are the tools of those without a voice.” Better advice would be for the protestors to respect the conclusion of the grand jury, and the facts that led it to its conclusion, but apparently the president who promised a post-racial America would prefer that a majority-black town be utterly destroyed.
Slightly less irksome are the president’s disavowals of Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology economic professor who has been caught on videotape gloating about the deceptions that were used to ensure the passage of Obamacare and the stupidity of the American voters who fell for them. The president’s previous admission that he “stole liberally” from the professor is more convincing, given the $400,000 the president paid for the professor’s advice and the if-you-like-your-plan-you-can-keep-your plan deceptions that were indeed built into the law, so only the most stupid American voters are likely to be fooled once again. Given the bone-chilling weather that has arrived ahead of schedule here in Kansas we are more annoyed by the president’s boast that the Republican majorities that have been installed in both chambers of Congress by a clear majority of voters won’t be able to stop his executive orders to combat global warming, but on a day so full of outrageous remarks even that doesn’t warrant a full column.

— Bud Norman

The Battle Spreads

As we write this the details of the Wednesday morning attack on Canada’s Parliament are still frustratingly few, but enough reliable information has emerged to conclude it was intended as yet another skirmish in the war that’s been waged against the west over the past 1,400 years or so by the more enthusiastic adherents of the Religion of Peace.
The gunman who murdered a guard at a national war monument and then fired off several rounds in the nearby Parliament building before being shot down has been identified as Michael Zehauf-Bibeau, who had been known as Michael Joseph Hall until his recent conversion to Islam, and with an admirable forthrightness that Americans can now only envy the government has declared it an act of terrorism. The attack came the same day that a three-month-old Israeli girl was killed by a Hamas terrorist who crashed a car into a crowded Jerusalem rail station and wounded eight others, two days after another recent convert to Islam crashed a car into two soldiers and killed one in a strip mall near Montreal, less than a month after yet another recent convert to Islam beheaded a former co-worker at a food distribution in plant in Moore, Oklahoma, all while the Islamic State terror gang continues its bloody conquest of more and more of the mideast and its supporters take the fight to the streets of Hamburg, Germany, and other European cities, and by now even the most exceedingly sensitive press are obliged to acknowledge an Islamic angle to these events.
This hasn’t prevented the most hackneyed cultural relativism and moral equivalence and anti-western self-loathing and cries of racism other apologia from being “tweeted” across the internet, and the gun control advocates are making their usual efforts to exploit the tragedy despite having held up Canada as an exemplar of sensible regulation for as long as we can remember, and in disregard of the satisfying fact that further bloodshed was prevented by a very rare armed Canadian, but an attack on the seat of government of a democratic North American nation requires more than the usual exertions. Such a culturally sensitive newspaper as The New York Times conceded that the attack “heightened fears that Canada, a strong ally of the United States in its campaign against the Islamic State militant group convulsing the Middle East, had been targeted in a reprisal, either as part of an organized plot or a lone-wolf assault by a radicalized Canadian,” and that inevitably heightens a fear that they won’t target a United States that lately doesn’t seem so strong. The Islamic State terror gang that has been beheading and other brutalizing those who don’t share their specific religious beliefs in Iraq and Syria are calling on their ideological brethren around the world to commit similar violence against the infidels, people from Hamburg to Ottawa to Moore are acting accordingly, and America its allies are no more immune to Islamist terrorism than they are the Ebola virus.
By this late paragraph we are once again obligated to acknowledge the vast of majority of Muslims who have no intention of running a car into you or shooting up your nation’s capitol or chopping your head off, and to wish them well in whatever efforts they are making to pacify the more enthusiastic of their co-religionists, but that troublesome minority among them will require stern measures. Canada is at a higher level of security, we are hopeful that our own government is acting with a bit more more nervous energy, even the Germans seem properly appalled at the Middle East’s battles being fought on their streets, and throughout much of the western there seems to be a necessary stiffening of the cultural spine. The Canadian Foreign Minister “tweeted” to Secretary of State of John Kerry that his his country’s resolve to fight the Islamic State would not be weakened, one can only hope that Kerry will be shamed into a similar resoluteness. In Israel and Germany public opinion has rallied against the terrorists, Canadians do not seem to be responding to their wounds with any sense of guilt for standing against the most brutal excesses of Islamism, and our sense is that the American electorate will not support a policy of appeasement in the upcoming election.

— Bud Norman

Christians, Yazidis, and Islamism

We have nothing against Yazidis, never having even heard of the people until we heard the alarming news that they were being slaughtered in Iraq by the terrorist army calling itself the Islamic State in Levant, but it does strike us a strange that they seem to enjoy such a favored status in the west. Many different kinds of people are being slaughtered by ISIL, after all, but it seems to have taken the Yazidis’ extreme misfortune to draw the rest of the world’s attention to the situation.
Those being slaughtered, and often by such brutal methods as beheading and crucifixion, are anyone in ISIL’s path who won’t willingly embrace its ancient and insane version of Islam. This includes any Shiite Muslim or even those Sunni Muslims who prefer a more peaceable approach to Islam, but also the adherents of a variety of other little-known religions as well as a significant number of Christians. ISIL was dismissed months ago by the President of the United States as a “jayvee team” of terrorists, and his officials continued to scoff even as it spilled over from its successful campaigns in Syria deep into Iraq, and it wasn’t until they had forced the last of Iraq’s Yazidis into the tenuous refuge of Mount Sinjar that he took the politically risky step of ordering air strikes and a limited American military presence in a country from which he had once proudly pulled all American troops. The speech explaining the decision was long on heartbreaking details about the Yazidis’ suffering, but strangely short on any mention of the threat that ISIL posed to the rest of a country that America had fought long and hard to liberate from such brutality.
The chilling thought that a religious minority in any country might be so brutally extinguished is ample justification for American action, and we welcome any reason for intervening in Iraq’s tragedy, even on such a limited and likely ineffectual basis, but it’s disappointing that the non-Yazidi victims of ISIL’s rampage didn’t warrant the same attention. We take a rooting interest in Christianity, and thus were particularly disappointed that our co-religionists who are being forced by ISIL to abandon their faith, be subjected to a harsh dhimmitude, or die didn’t rate more prominent mention as a causus belli. Nothing against Yazidis, as we mentioned earlier, but we’d like to think that America still regards a Christian’s life as having equal value.
There’s a plausible argument that the eradication of Iraq’s Yazidi population would represent a religious genocide, whereas the faiths of ISIL’s other victims would survive elsewhere, but we are unconvinced. What we can find of this Yazidi on the internet is inconclusive, with some sources saying it traces back to pre-Islamic faiths such as Zoroastrianism and other describing it as one of the many idiosyncratic variations of Islam, but almost all agree that it has a few adherents who had the good sense to vacate Iraq and head to more tolerant countries, and in any case all of ISIL’s infidel targets are danger of being eradicated from whatever land it manages to occupy. There’s also an understandable reluctance to take sides in the longstanding blood feud between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, on which we are also quite neutral, but we would expect American policy to favor the non-beheading and non-crucifying sorts of Muslims over the likes of ISIL. The apparent lack of concern for the rapidly diminishing population of Christians in a country where Christianity has been faithfully practiced since the Apostle Thomas first evangelized there in the first century will likely go unexplained.
One explanation might be that the administration does not wish to inflame more moderate Muslim sensibilities with any implication that the west’s resistance to Islamism Islamism is a Christian crusade, a point that even such a confessed Christian and stalwart anti-Islamist as George W. Bush went to great pains to make, but when you reel off all the sympathetic victims of ISIL it wouldn’t do any real harm to add Christians in passing. Perhaps it’s just the paranoia that is begin to infect the American Christian community, but we suspect it has more to with the modern left’s antipathy to our faith. The same administration that has made no mention of ISIL’s genocidal efforts against Christians has been in court arguing that evangelical businessmen and Catholic nuns should be obliged to pay for their less sexually repressed employees’ contraception, and is as insistent that “America is not a Christian country” as it is that “The future should belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Islamists might be beheading homosexuals and adulterers elsewhere, but here in the United States some Christians are still opposing gay marriage or declining to pony up for Sandra Fluke’s contraceptives, and the left has made clear its preference for the exotic “other.”
The ISIL leader who was freed from American captivity during our occupation of Iraq told his former captors that “I’ll see you in New York,” but until then the left will figure that he’s somebody else’s problem and only wish that he’d leave alone such a little-known and therefore sympathetic group as the Yazidis. They won’t notice that the only portion of the world that subscribes to anything like their values of tolerance and secular government and women’s right and gay rights and the rest of the leftist agenda is what used to be known as Christendom, or that a world rid of those stuffy Christians won’t be at all agreeable. The Caliphate that is being established in what used to be Syria and Iraq has no intention of stopping there, and must be resisted by everyone that doesn’t share its sadistic and insane beliefs. That includes the secular left, and it might as well reconcile itself to the fact that it also includes Christians.

— Bud Norman