Rand Paul is right about ISIS and his opponents have become hysterical

June 11, 2015

“If you are afraid of being lonely don’t try to be right.” – Jules Renard

Lost in the recent GOP debate is the fact that Senator Rand Paul was the first public figure to call for a declaration of war against ISIS.  He did so because he said they represented a threat to the United States.  So why are so many of the other GOP candidates attacking the Senator?  What’s their beef?

The real irritant to the other GOP contenders is that Rand Paul would not only go to war with ISIS, he would have blocked the creation of ISIS in the first place.  Three years ago Rand Paul warned that American arms to Syrian rebels would would almost certainly end up in the hands of Islamic radicals.

And Rand Paul was not the only one.

Micheal Shank, a board member at George Mason University’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution warned as early as 2013 that we were setting up another Middle East war with an even more vicious enemy.  Warning about the Syrian rebels Shank said, “Regardless of the vetting procedures in place, the sheer factionalized nature of the opposition guarantees that the arms will end up in some unsavory hands. The same militant fighters who have committed gross atrocities are among the best-positioned of the rebel groups to seize the weapons that the United States sends to Syria.”

Shank gave an historic litany of how the same policy had worked in the past. “Arming one side of Syria’s multi-sided and bloody civil war will come back to haunt us. Past decisions by the U.S. to arm insurgencies in Libya, Angola, Central America and Afghanistan helped sustain brutal conflicts in those regions for decades. In the case of Afghanistan, arming the mujahideen in the 1980s created the instability that emboldened extreme militant groups and gave rise to the Taliban, which ultimately created an environment for al Qaeda to thrive.”

In a chilling description of the horrors that were to come, Shank profiled the type of warrior on the ground in Syria and what we could expect.  “When you lift the curtain on the armed groups with the most formidable military presence on the ground in Syria, you find the Al Nusra Front and Al Farough Brigades. Both groups are closely aligned with Al Qaeda and have directly perpetrated barbaric atrocities. The Al Nusra Front has been charged with beheadings of civilians, while a commander from the Al Farough Brigades reportedly ate the heart of a pro-Assad soldier.”

The U.S. Senate and the administration, both lavished with money from the arms lobby, ignored the warnings.  Getting rid of the weapons – even if meant giving them away and even if mistakes were made – assured that more could be manufactured and sold.

A year later, in September, 2014, the United States was still arming the rebels.  Over strenuous objections from the Turkish government  President Obama airdropped ammunition, grenades and rocket propelled grenade launchers to Syrian rebels.  Senator Rand Paul was one of the few voices of reason but there were others warning that yet again, we may be giving the enemy the bullets they will use to kill our men.  Almost immediately the airdrop was picked up by Islamic radicals and their videos showed the event to the world.

Within two years of Rand Paul’s warning ISIS emerged from the petri dish of the Syrian civil war and raced across the Middle East in American made tanks and Humvees destroying cities and Christian communities that traced their unbroken heritage back to the apostle Thomas.  Today, Senators who scoffed at Rand Paul’s warnings two years ago now bristle with indignation calling any question of their failed policies as “unpatriotic.”  Meanwhile the embarrassed Obama White House complains to media outlets that they should stop using videos that show American tanks racing across the deserts with black ISIS flags flying.

Senator Rand Paul recognizes that there are unintended consequences to American actions and that America, itself, should clean up its own messes.  And so he immediately called for the war to destroy ISIS. There is no doubt that their use of social media makes them dangerous even on American soil.  Nevertheless, Rand Paul’s political enemies, shamed by their own actions, now seek to force a different narrative.  Paul suggests that a little humility is in order.

Senator Paul has made it clear that he will commit America troops to defeat her enemies.  He has called for an increase in the Defense Budget.  But he has also made it clear that he is deeply concerned about the lives of that same tiny percentage of men and women are being sent back to war, over and over again.  Their suicide rate is astronomical and closely mimics their divorce rate, the result of the longest wars – and therefore the longest separations among military families – in American history.  And the children of those soldiers are now being raised in broken homes.

Having a president who will consider the consequences of his actions and who will only commit to war with deliberation just might be what the nation needs.  Let us defeat ISIS.  But let us not create another one.


Some Chibok Girls Celebrate Freedom, Light Candles for Lost Sisters

April 14, 2015
     Today is the first anniversary of the Boko Haram terrorist abduction and enslavement of hundreds of teenage school girls from Chibok, Nigeria.  The terrorists took the girls from a State run boarding school, driving them off  into the forests.  Several of the girls escaped.  Their names are changed to protect their identity but their harrowing stories are told in this BBC report.  One of them hid in the compound when the raid took placed, two of them jumped from speeding trucks racing away from the scene of the attack and two of them escaped from the Boko Haram terrorist camp making their way back to civilization through dangerous, terrorist held, territory.
     Today, the girls are students at Canyonville Christian Academy in Canyonville, Oregon where they continue to pursue their educations.
     Last night students, representing thirty countries, lit 219 candles at the school in Canyonville, Oregon.  The candles represented Chibok girls still missing

     The following letter, composed by students and teachers, will be read aloud at today’s special ceremony.
chibok girls
     “To the girls still held captive. You may think that you are forgotten. But you are mistaken.  We have never stopped thinking of you, never stopped praying for you and never stopped loving you.  You are not alone.  You are not forgotten.  And one day the whole world will celebrate your freedom.  Someday people everywhere will say of any lost and hopeless cause, don’t give up, be brave, remember the Chibok girls?  Remember how they finally came home?  We will be waiting for you with open arms.  You are not alone.  You are not alone.”
     Tonight, the Empire State Building will be lit up in special colors to honor the Chibok girls.  For those wishing to help the girls donations can be made to the Chibok Girls’ Scholarship Fund.

 

 

 


Benjamin Netanyahu’s Dark Prophesy

March 3, 2015

There have been more than 100 speeches by heads of state before joint sessions of congress.  But none like the one today by Israeli President, Benjamin Netanyahu.  Doug Wead talks about the speech and compares it to other moments in history.  Wead says Netanyahu’s  warnings about “an Iran with all the nuclear weapons it want in ten years” is a sobering prophesy that deserves discussion.


Has President Goodluck Johnathan freed the captives? Will the Chibok girls come home?

October 17, 2014
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According to news reports coming out of Nigeria the government of president Goodluck Johnathan may have successfully negotiated the release of the 276 captured Chibok school girls from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.  As of this moment there has been no confirmation from the Boko Haram and none of the girls, declared as slaves by their Islamic captors, have been freed, although an estimated 50 have escaped.
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If the reports are true it would be a stunning diplomatic victory for the Nigerian president.  Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has announced it will declare Nigeria an Ebola Free Zone, a claim that the United States cannot make. International observers are praising Nigeria for its thoughtful and measured action in dealing with the Ebola crisis while faulting the United States for its arrogance and complacency in responding to the danger.
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Boko Harma, which means “Western Education is Forbidden” has received worldwide condemnation for its campaign of rape, murder and torture of children across Africa. An estimated 5,000 have been murdered this year.
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While many American news organizations have characterized the conflict in Nigeria as a war between Christians and Muslims, the toll of death and destruction has been markedly one sided with Christians refusing the fight back. Tracking by the Jubilee organization out of Fairfax, Virginia has shown that in the last two years more Christians have been killed in northern Nigeria alone than in all other countries of the world combined.
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Speaking before the Hudson Institute and other forums, Nigerian human rights activist, Emmanuel Ogebe offers a compelling litany of the atrocities of recent years.
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Bokko Haram suicide bombers attacked St.Finbarr’s Catholic Church in Rayfield killing 13, including the boy scouts who welcomed visitors and operated the church gate.
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More than 200 were killed in a single day of brutal massacres in Kano State.
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When Christians dared to vote in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, their city was burned to the ground by Islamic jihadists.
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Larger cities are no guarantee of safety. A prominent pastor was dragged from a taxi on a city street and stabbed to death for refusing to convert to Islam on the spot.
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A Church of Christ congregation was attacked in Jos Plateau State, killing two women, a one year old child and injuring 50.
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The countryside can be especially dangerous. 500 Christian villagers in Dogo Nahawa were massacred by Muslim herdsmen.
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In 2012, Muslims killed 88 villagers and burned 187 houses in Jos North.  When survivors and mourners, led by a Christian Senator Gyang Dantong held a burial service the next day, the Nigerian Senator was, himself, murdered and 13 other mourners along with him.
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For several years, the United States government of president Barack Obama turned a blind eye to the calamity, refusing all calls to name Boko Haram as a terrorist organization.  In December, 2012, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton stunned African leaders by raising the alarm over the massacre of elephants while ignoring the human slaughter of Christians in nearby Nigeria. “Our goal is to inform more people about his crisis,” she said, of the threat to the elephants, “attacks are multiplying at an alarming rate.”
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In November, 2013, the United States, responding to widespread outrage from human rights organizations finally determined that the Islamic organization, Boko Haram, were indeed terrorists.  At the same time the U.S. government insisted that news reports claiming that the terrorists were funded by Al Qaeda was false.  Other news reports say that the group receives substantial financial support from British and Saudi Arabian Islamic communities.
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In April, 2014 the Boko Haram descended on the Northern Nigerian village of Chibok where they kidnapped 276 teenage girls from a State run boarding school.  According to reports of girls who escaped, they were ordered at gunpoint to convert to Islam.  Boko Haram announced that the the girls, some as young as 13, would be sold as wives or used as sex slaves by Islamic warriors.
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With the dramatic kidnapping of the Chibok girls politicians worldwide, including Democrat and Republican politicians in the United States who  had been silent about the plight of Nigerian Christian civilians, rallied to “Bring back our girls.”
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If the recent Nigerian negotiations with the Boko Haram are true, it will result in a miracle return from captivity for the girls whose fate was was being mourned by millions worldwide.

Why was James Foley left to die?

August 22, 2014

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.

An article in The Hill says the Pentagon clearly broke the law in the Burgdahl case.  The Associated Press just ran a story on the hypocrisy of the difference between the two hostages.

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 – Hamas and the Holocaust Revisited

July 29, 2014

“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.

 


Is Obama too big too fail? Why is he acting so strangely?

July 26, 2014

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.


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