Gretchen Carlson is one of the best of the Fox News anchors and she just nailed it with her comment about the gruesome murder of James Foley by ISIS thugs. She quoted a State Department spokesman, who explained why we had not negotiated for the release of the journalist. “The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.”
“But isn’t that exactly what we did for Bowe Burgdahl?” Carlson asked. Burgdahl was the Islamic sympathizer whose parents were feted at the White House by President Barack Obama when his release was announced.
What many will miss is the deep faith of James Foley and how that factored into this story and American policy.
Keep in mind, ISIS is confronting Christians in Iraq with the following option: convert to Islam or die. And Christians are being executed in other Islamic countries for no other reason than their faith.
Before Barack Obama, every recent president since Reagan has been active worldwide in helping persecuted and martyred Christians. When I worked in the White House of George H.W. Bush we regularly helped get Christians out of prisons all over Africa and Asia. These included missionaries and educators but also journalists and relief workers. Bill Clinton helped establish the International Religious Freedom Act that worked with the United Nations to stop the slaughter. Unfortunately what we saw happen to James Foley is only a small vignette of killings of Christians worldwide. Senator Rand Paul has called for withholding foreign aid to nations who execute Christians just because of their faith. But he has had only two co-sponsors. And the Obama administration quickly quashed the idea.
The national media, who once winked at communism, hoping to avoid getting on their killing lists when they took over America, now seem to be courting the Islamic extremists. Leave us alone. Don’t hurt us or our families when we travel the world and we will not hurt you. Here, take our Christians. For years the media blurred the distinctions between Muslims and Christians in wars in Africa leaving most Americans ignorant of how religion was actually driving the crisis.
On all of these issues moderate Muslims are silent.
Meanwhile, being a Christian and being open about it can get you killed in the Islamic world, and left to die by a politically correct American government who will not ransom you. James Foley, whose Christian faith was no secret, once described to an audience at Marquette how prayer kept him alive during his captivity by Muammar Gaddafi.
As it turned out surviving Barack Obama’s foreign policy takes more than prayer.
“Israel defends its children with rockets. Hamas defends its rockets with children.” – Benjamin Netanyahu
After writing about the recent crisis between Israel and Hamas my post has been receiving comments by persons with revisionist views on the Holocaust. Rather than answer each one I thought I would write a separate post to make my own views clear.
Like most people, I share the terrible sorrow over the scenes of dying children in Gaza. And yet I cannot sanction the continuous , indiscriminate firing of rockets into populated areas of Israel either. The idea that the death rate is disproportionate is not much of a moral argument to me. An enemy in battle has no obligation to equalize the death rate for his opponents. If a Hamas rocket landed in a crowded street of Tel Aviv would they decrease their rate of fire?
Yes, I hate the sight of dying children. It is heartbreaking. So I wonder why has the Hamas – influenced government refused to accept an unconditional cease-fire which would stop that killing? And why are they openly saying that their latest attack is in retaliation for the Egyptian blockade of their border? Why are they not sending rockets into Egypt? And if Egypt, an Islamic nation, who has been persecuting Coptic Christians, is threatened by the Palestinian-Hamas government in Gaza and sees them as terrorists, why are we giving that government U.S. foreign aid?
The idea of some persons commenting on my blogs appears to be that the deaths of children in Gaza is evidence that the Jews are basically bad people. That even the Holocaust has been invented and/ or distorted for propaganda purposes.
My belief is that the deaths of these children in Gaza are very real consequences to a terrible war gone bad. But that the deaths during the Holocaust were also very real and the memory of those who suffered at the hands of a corrupt and evil government program is sacred. The Jews, as a people, cannot be seen outside of this context.
I do not come to my views of the Holocaust casually. As a youth I read the standard World War II books, mostly written by English and American writers, but this led to books by generals and participants on both sides of the conflict. By the time Albert Speer’s books were published I had read deeply on the subject including transcripts of Hitler’s table talk, the Goebbels’ diaries and all the personal accounts of secretaries, valets, around the principal figures. And of course I read hundreds of the biographies and autobiographies of that era.
The Nuremberg Trial was fascinating. I read all of the English versions of books by concentration camp survivors. And, even now, as new ones are translated and appear, I find them and read them as well. Very early I devoured all of the carefully researched David Irving books and later the Holocaust revisionist spin offs that followed. I read excerpts from the Irving trial and the tedious studies of Robert Jan van Pelt.
In my travels I visited battlefields including Kursk, St. Petersburg, Volgograd (Stalingrad). I visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, Sachsenhausen, Dachau, Buchenwald and some smaller concentration camps in Belgium and France. In some cases I made return visits, stepping off the cement foundations of the gas chambers to calculate if it were mathematically possible for so many to be shuffled in and out.
In Russia, Belarus and the Ukraine I stopped by the road and visited markers depicting the historical sites of various atrocities. With the collapse of the Soviet Union came the release of a whole new round of information giving insights and corrections to events.
Yes, there are mistakes in print everywhere. Just as there are in any other history, including presidential history, which I research as a career. But the Holocaust indeed happened and has been carefully chronicled in spite of Nazi efforts to keep it hidden. Martin Gilbert’s book, Holocaust, may be the most complete accounting and it can be mind numbing. Gilbert tracks it all, country by country, city by city, block by block and family by family. The predictable stories repeat over and over with the denial, right up to the end, until the door is shut behind.
I stubbornly read the stories of survivors because I know that the perpetrators wanted these people to die alone, unknown to the world. And the victims felt abandoned, so I want to be there with them, along with thousands of other readers, whispering between the pages, “I am here too, with you, we all now know what happened, you are not alone, you are not forgotten and I weep with you over the inhumanity of your captors.”
It would be a mistake for us to turn away from the faces of the dying children in Gaza. But it is also a shame for us to pretend that the Holocaust didn’t happen.
President Barack Obama’s shameless fundraising tours in the midst of a world in chaos have brought immediate comparisons to Ronald Reagan. Led by his erstwhile advisers, such as Michael Deaver, who understood imagery, Reagan would have been back in the Oval Office, looking presidential and sounding like the statesman he was. Reagan would likely have brought his government together, State Department, NSA, Pentegon, CIA and taken an assessment of how it could all impact on American economy and lives. He would likely have given a national address, reassuring the nation and signalling the world how we expect civilized people to act.
On the surface, Obama’s actions are incomprehensible. There is no explanation. Obama appears transcendent, not responsible for his own administration and uncaring about the world around him.
It has been the Obama style from the beginning. The economic crisis was the fault of the previous administration. When his own stimulus program could not produce one of the one million jobs he promised, it was replaced with more of the same and blame on congress for failing to immediately enact more of what wasn’t working.
The president declared that he had no responsibility for the IRS which was blatantly being used for political purposes, he had nothing to do with the failed Healthcare website and nothing to do with the Veteran’s Administration which was corrupt on his watch. Whatever happened to Harry Truman and his Oval Office motto, “the buck stops here?”
It was not just that the president was not in charge of anything, or seemed to know anything, or should be blamed for anything, it was also when we found out differently he didn’t apologize. When we learned, for example, that the $678 million , no bid, Healthcare website was awarded to Michelle Obama’s buddy from Princeton, the White House ignored it all. When a news agency asked about it they were charged with racism. When the president’s hand picked political lieutenant at the IRS claimed she had lost her emails the president defended her.
Sometimes, these juxtapositions can get downright comical. Recently, General Motors was fined millions of dollars by the Justice Department for faulty ignition issues when, in fact, at that time, the company was owned and being run by the U.S. government. Should the Justice Department fine itself? When Obama ran for re-election he bragged about saving the auto industry? But he has no responsibility for the company he bought. The President is too big to fail.
On closer examination, Obama’s recent actions make sense. He is angling for his post presidential role. He will either be the Secretary General of the United Nations or else he will be some NGO equivalent. Thus, he spent the week campaigning for the Democrat Party and ultimately Hillary Clinton whom he will need as an ally if he is to realize his ambition. Nor would he want to poke the Russians more than necessary.
And the Federal Aviation Administration’s sudden cancellation of all flights to Tel Aviv? At a cost to Israel of millions of dollars? At first we were told that the president didn’t get involved in such things. And given the fact that the president isn’t responsible for the economy, the IRS, his own Healthcare namesake and the Veterans Administration, to name a few departments, then one could almost believe it. What does he do with all that free time? But if he is now on track for his post presidency then it makes perfect sense. The U.N. votes solidly against Israel, with only American on her side. Obama will need to have some more of these anti-Israel moments to shore up his support from the African and Arab nations who dominate the the U.N. and will dictate the reach of any international role.
There was an awkward scene on CNN last week. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg snapped at Wolf Blitzer. The CNN reporter had asked if the FAA decision represented policy. Given Obama’s anti Israel record it was a reasonable question. And it had just been raised by a U.S. Senator. A testy Bloomberg was outraged at Wolf Blitzer for daring to ask such a thing. It was another shameful moment. Bloomberg has taken a lot of heat for his slavish support of Obama, in spite of his record toward Israel.
The irony was that Bloomberg’s very appearance was proof of the politics of the policy. If Tel Aviv was safe, and Bloomberg could fly there, then why was it ordered closed to all American airlines? And if it wasn’t safe, why was it opened up again after the American people reacted to the FAA’ decision with outrage?
Oh, by the way, as someone who once worked in the White House, I can tell you that no one at the FAA would make such an unprecedented and politically charged decision without the okay of the president of the United States. Sorry.
It all points to this very likely scenario. We will have Barrack Obama on the world stage for a very, very long time to come.
Below was a controversial “what would Reagan do” moment during the Egyptian crisis and the Arab spring. On this segment, several years ago, I voiced a lonely position that turned out to be prophetic.
America’s clumsy efforts to make herself safe continue to reach ridiculous proportions, making enemies instead of friends. Last April The Daily Sabah ran a story about a woman who was barred from entering the USA because of her name. The 33 year old French citizen, Alic Aida was told at the airport in Geneva that she could not be allowed to board the flight to New York City. She and her family were turned away without explanation. After the departure of the flight she persisted for more information and was told that her name in English sounded like al-Qaeda.
The mother of two children is of Yugoslav origin. Her family name is hundreds of years old.
According to 2012 data, there are 21,000 people on American’s “no fly list.” This is the same list that in 2004 had Senator Ted Kennedy flagged at airports. (You can’t be too careful.)
Anyway, we can all feel safer knowing that Alic Aida, her husband and two children, will not be on board a flight for their summer holiday in New York City. And hopefully others with suspicious names will be culled from the masses.
Meanwhile, if you were unlucky enough to be born with a suspicious name you might consider making a change. Ooop, this is coming from the desk of yours truly, Doug Wead.
American presidents can’t keep their hands off of other heads of state. It has become embarrassing. They touch their shoulders, their backs and hold their arms as they guide them to places to stand or sit. It is as if their guests were little children or blind men who need the assistance of the almighty American president-father. Kings, Queens or common dictators? It doesn’t matter. Our presidents manhandle them all, especially the women.
Not since George H.W. Bush have we had a president who has enough foreign policy experience to know what most American tourists have learned from their own world travels, namely, that you should not touch other people without permission. In some countries of Asia and Africa it is considered unsanitary and dirty, the ultimate offense. You respect the body of the other person. Shaking hands, a western habit, has only been recently accepted and even it is an offense to many of the masses. One can see the awkwardness in the faces of our visiting heads of state. Except in rare political instances, such as Queen Elizabeth’s encounter with Michelle Obama, they don’t touch back. They don’t say, “Thank you for helping me find my spot for the photo op, I was lost and couldn’t read my name on the floor of the stage.” Or, “Say, thanks Mr. President, for the assist in getting into my chair. Although I am younger than you I was afraid I was going to take a tumble.”
One can see when they are the host in their own country and our president is the guest, they are not hugging or manhandling him. He isn’t required to kiss on both cheeks in France. He is allowed to stand tall, with dignity, not inches but feet away from the French president. The ushers, doormen and military aides in many foreign capitals (including France) actually still wear white gloves.
My guess is that there are diplomats and analysts in the U.S. State Department who are horrified by this presidential behavior and have written eloquent, respectful memorandum, tediously explaining the toilet habits of masses of people from different cultures, offering excellent explanations for why and how these traditions have evolved. And why no matter how close they feel to their leader counterpart, it is often an offense to the people to see their nation’s leader pawed over. If so, such memorandum never made it past the White House sycophants who cannot stop telling the president-emperor how wonderful he looks in those clothes of his.
The fact is, the emperor is naked. America’s ignorant presidents from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Barack Obama make us look patronizing, rude and condescending. Their obsessive manhandling of foreign leaders and their small gestures of touch and feel, meant to endear, have had their part to play in the collapse of America’s foreign policy. It is not what the actions themselves have done as much as the contempt they express toward other nations and their cultures. If an American president is so isolated that he can’t get this obvious memo from Foggy Bottom, then what else is he missing? What other, more outrageous and idiotic mistakes are being made? No wonder America has moved from a country that is hated to a country that is now ridiculed in jokes around the world.
In years past I have despised the soft on communism apparatchiks at the State Department. Now, I admit that we need them to assert themselves. Someone needs to blow the whistle. American is losing its public relations battle worldwide out of ignorance and arrogance. We can see it on television. Yes, this touchy-feely tendency is only a symptom but it shows that the corruption is complete. Even our recent secretaries of state have been too cowed by the all powerful American celebrity president. Somebody needs to speak up.
George H.W. Bush, experienced as a diplomat and ambassador, a former head of the CIA, was America’s last respectable foreign policy president. He accomplished something that history had never seen. He united the world behind the effort to enforce the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. Yes, he didn’t finish off Saddam Hussein but that was part of the price for world unity and Saddam was clearly kept in check. Today, having finished off Saddam Hussein and seeing the death of tens of thousands, Iraq has turned into an Islamic nation. Christians who trace their heritage back to the apostle Thomas have been tortured, murdered and burned out. Being Gay or even looking gay has become a death sentence in Baghdad. Al Qaeda now operates freely in Iraq. And the American economy, suffering from a $2 trillion war that was off the books, has fallen into its second worst depression in history.
Critics are now berating President Barack Obama for backing down from world leadership. Maybe we should leave him alone.
The Obama State Department rejects the vote in the Crimea to rejoin Russia on the grounds that it violates the Ukrainian Constitution. But according to the Ukrainian Constitution, the pro Russian president Victor Yanukovych should never have been driven from power in the first place. Our feckless national media tells us that he was overthrown in a “popular uprising.” Would that work here? In the United States? Obama’s support is now below 42%. Can we demonstrate and force him out? Is that okay with the national media? Don’t hold your breath.
Our hypocritical foreign policy calls for supporting democracy when it does what we want it to do, or what our national media wants it to do, but we easily dismiss it when it does what we don’t. Like Iraq and Afghanistan where we re-wrote the constitution the way we wanted it to be written. Or in Egypt where they voted in the wrong man and so now we support the military.
I’m not against what we want. Nor am I always against what the national media wants. I like the women’s rights, for example, that we insist our newly created “democracies” enact. But I am against sending our sons to die to try to force other people to do what we want. Only to have it come undone later. If we truly cherish freedom, let’s let other people have it and mind our own business.
No one was a bigger hawk during the Cold War than I but before we rush into war over Ukraine stop for a moment and consider these very different circumstances.
1.) Communism is dead. Has anybody noticed? The threat of a newly formed communist governments killing millions of citizens, including teachers , students, intellectuals and Christians is over. Far from closing churches, there is a religious renewal sweeping the CIS.
In the 1990’s the Russian government rebuilt the Cathedral of Christ the Savior that Stalin had burned to the ground. It had originally been built to honor the victory over Napoleon and was the site of the world premiere of the Tchaikovsky Overture of 1812. When a rock band, Pussy Riot, climbed up on its altars and shouted and sang obscenities Vladimir Putin had them arrested. American politicians, such as Nancy Pelosi said that this was suppression of free speech. (Presumably, Pussy Riot is welcome to shout the “F” word and other obscenities in the well of the U.S. House of Representatives or maybe the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.)
2.) Kiev, not Moscow, was the first capital of Russia.
3.) Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union longer than Hawaii and Alaska have been American states. Imagine banishing them from the union? (Come to think of it, President Sarah Palin might like that.) Russian soldiers and naval officers have been in the Crimean city of Sevastopol since 1784.
4.) The people of Ukraine, east and west, elected a pro Russian leader because the previous pro western presidents were incompetent and corrupt. (Although Yulia Tymoshenko was a “looker.”) The economy was in a shambles. I had friends show up at their bank to learn that the government had taken half of their savings. Money soon fled the banks.
Meanwhile, crime was rampant. My translator and close friend was married twice and both times the spouse was murdered. A Ukrainian teenager who attends a private school I help administrate in Oregon had a brother killed over a parking place. Small wonder that during my annual visit a few years ago there were bumper stickers all over the Ukraine saying, “Give us your Putin.” At least he could maintain law and order.
5.) The American television executives, who liked the idea of war with Iraq, may not support a sustained war against Russia. The war in Iraq, however personal it was for George W. Bush, had the additional value of forcing America to jump into the frying pan with Israel and become a still bigger target of Islamic extremists. Now Israel was not alone in the world. It was Israel and us. But will those same television executives be ready to send hundreds of thousands to die for the people of western Ukraine? These are the people whose grandparents ran many of Hitler’s death camps, like Sobibor. Antisemitism is today stronger in western Ukraine than anywhere in the world outside of radical Islamic nations. Keep in mind. Until World War Two, western Ukraine was Poland. And before that, some parts were in the Austria-Hungarian Empire.
Most of all, a war over Ukraine would cause the death of thousands and thousands of innocent people who are now our friends. People with whom we work and love. So let’s calm down. Yes the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union is not coming back but a little tweaking of those borders based on language and politics is inevitable.