Crazy Things Progressives Believe

These days I live in a state of almost continual amazement, bedazzled by the things progressives believe. Earlier this week the New York Times had to print a correction which is probably the number one all time winner in a long line of their recent corrections: “Correction: September 8, 2014

An earlier version of a summary that appeared with this article misstated the former title of Dick Cheney. He was vice president, not president.”

Seriously, someone was hired to and does write for the major progressive publication in America who thought that Dick Cheney had been our president. And what we are led to believe is a legion of equally bright and sharp-eyed editors seem to have shared this mistaken belief.

Mark Landler of that same publication reported on the president’s brief remarks on ISIL (or ISIS, take your pick) this week, with this gem: “Unlike Mr. Bush in the Iraq war, Mr. Obama has sought to surround the United States with partners.”

There must be a new disease, Progressive Dementia, affecting the Old Gray Lady. Though they aren’t the only publication to be struck dumb by it

26 days after the September 11 attacks, Operation Enduring Freedom commenced in Afghanistan. The campaign to oust the Taliban from power, rid the region of al-Qaeda, and build a sustainable post-war Afghan government eventually involved 58 nations, many of them non-NATO members. In Iraq, 45 nations joined the United States in the March, 2003 mission to oust Saddam Hussein from control in Baghdad. By April, Angola and Ukraine had committed to joining the mission, raising the total number of coalition countries including the United States to 48.

Traditional American allies like Canada, France, and Germany objected to the Iraq War and refused to participate in initial combat operations. The United Nations, too, declined to sanction the campaign to change the regime in Iraq. This gave birth to the prevalent myth that the United States engaged in a unilateral operation in that Mesopotamian nation.

This is powerful lore, and it is enjoying new life as commentators and politicians and seek to defend Obama’s strained efforts to justify an indirect response to what his White House has determined are “terrorist” attacks on the United States.

So who are our allies in this latest Obama creation -- a sort of video game conflict where we have no boots on the ground and yet somehow know where the enemy is?  

After meetings at last week's NATO Summit, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke of a newly formed  "core coalition." President Barack Obama said it would take on ISIS. The nations are Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Turkey, in addition to the United States.

Turkey, a NATO member, is the only nation in that group located close to ISIS, which is also known as ISIL and calls itself the Islamic State. It has taken over parts of Iraq and Syria.

Two short days later Australia, Britain, and Germany aren’t so certain to be forming part of the war core any more.

By September 11 Turkey made clear it would not allow its airbases to be used to fight ISIS.  

Oddly it appears we are counting mostly on Iran’s help in Syria and Saudi Arabia’s in Iraq although I had thought they were major enemies of each other and certainly no reliable allies of ours. Pity the U.S. servicemen and women with the hokey-pokey commander-in-chief (we put the troops in, then we take the troops out). I expect our only ground intelligence will have to come from Moslem Brotherhood members at the core of this administration.

At the moment Sunnis supported by the Saudis and others are beheading Shiites and Shiites are beheading Sunnis, a situation David Goldman has likened to Europe’s Thirty Years’ War, a prelude to what he considers the death of Islam. 

That is what civilizational decline looks like in real time. The roots of the crisis were visible four years ago before the so-called Arab Spring beguiled the foreign policy wonks. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrian farmers already were living in tent camps around Syrian cities before the Syrian civil war began in April 2011. Israeli analysts knew this. In March 2011 Paul Rivlin of Tel Aviv University released a study of the collapse of Syrian agriculture, widely cited in Arab media but unmentioned in the English language press (except my essay on the topic). Most of what passes for political science treats peoples and politicians as if they were so many pieces on a fixed game board. This time the game board is shrinking and the pieces are falling off.

The Arab states are failed states, except for the few with enough hydrocarbons to subsidize every facet of economic life. Egypt lives on a $15 billion annual subsidy from the Gulf states and, if that persists, will remain stable if not quite prosperous. Syria is a ruin, along with large parts of Iraq. The lives of tens of millions of people were fragile before the fighting broke out (30% of Syrians lived on less than $1.60 a day), and now they are utterly ruined. The hordes of combatants displace more people, and these join the hordes, in a snowball effect. That’s what drove the Thirty Years’ War of 1618-1648, and that’s what’s driving the war in the Levant.

Obama also keeps insisting that ISIS/ISIL is not “Islamic”. Most think this defies belief, given that the first “I” in either acronym stands for “Islamic”, the slaughters are being carried out in Islam’s name and are perfectly consistent with the Koran and the long history of that religion. As are the demands that non-believers either convert, pay the Jizya tax, or be executed.

Just One Minute commenter “daddy” sees some upside to this rhetorical legerdemain:

A nice thing about ISIS/ISIL not being Islamic, is that when we capture their warriors we shouldn't have to feed them Halal Foods, nor should we have to be respectful of the Quran and not pee on it or flush it down the toilet, or have to put on Infidel proof plastic gloves to handle the damn thing.

If we did have to do all that stuff it'd be a tacit acknowledgement that they are Islamic, so now that the President has cleared that up for us and we know ISIS/ISIL is definitely not Islamic, we can dispense with all that.

Good to know that the future does not belong to th[ose] who slander the Prophet of Islam by claiming to be Islamic when they ain't.

And while we are on the subject of Democrat Party theologians and Middle East culture, how many remember that after Suha Arafat accused Israel of using poison gas, Hillary Clinton gave her a warm embrace and big kiss? Years later during a campaign swing she responded to criticism before a Jewish audience by appealing to her greater understanding of the Middle East: ''Some of you may or may have not been to the Middle East,'' Mrs. Clinton said, ''but a kiss is a handshake.”

To her husband oral sex isn’t sex and to Hillary a kiss to a person who just uttered a blood libel against Israel is just a handshake, and doubtless the same audience believed them both. Progressives are funny that way.

In contrast, when he appeared this week at a Conference of Middle Eastern Christians sponsored by top Clinton donor Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury (to bring attention to their persecution at the hands of Moslems) Senator Ted Cruz was booed for defending Israel. Without a teleprompter or notes he argued “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews then I will not stand with you,” and walked off the stage.

He didn’t stick around to kiss any of the other speakers (it’s just like a handshake in the Middle East, remember). Speakers like Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, “who has defended Hezbollah’s right to attack Israel and has called for a meeting with the Iranian-backed terrorist group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.” or “Syriac Orthodox Church Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, who boasted on his official Facebook page last week about his Sept. 5 meeting with a “high level delegation from Hezbollah.” or “Antioch Church patriarch Gregory III Laham, who has blamed terrorist attacks against Iraqi Christians on a “Zionist conspiracy against Islam” aimed at making Muslims look bad. It is actually a conspiracy planned by Zionism and some Christians with Zionist orientations, and it aims at undermining and giving a bad image of Islam,” Laham said in 2010, according to the Daily Star.”

I’d like to think Cruz will be remembered for his courage and honesty: “Those who hate Israel hate America. Those who hate Jews hate Christians. If those in this room will not recognize that, then my heart weeps. If you hate the Jewish people you are not reflecting the teachings of Christ. And the very same people who persecute and murder Christians right now, who crucify Christians, who behead children, are the very same people who target Jews for their faith, for the same reason.”

But I wouldn’t be surprised if the New York Times will someday have to issue a correction along these lines: “We erred when we said Ted Cruz kissed Suha Arafat after she accused Israel of using poison gas. It was the wife of some other American political figure.”

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