Wasting victory: Obama, the Congress, and the bin-Laden aftermath

With Osama bin Laden’s death it seemed for a moment that the U.S. government and the media might begin to assess why al-Qaeda and the Islamist movement are larger, more geographically dispersed, and more active in the United States then they were at 9/11. Having treated bin Laden for more than decade as a celebrity rather than as the thoughtful leader and modern manager he was, his death ought to have sidelined the Entertainment-Tonight approach to bin Laden/al-Qaeda/Islamist analysis and allowed all concerned — officials, journalists and citizens — a chance to step back and ask why America’s Islamist problem continues to expand. Two weeks after bin Laden’s death, however, the chance of such a clear-headed assessment — like the so-called Arab Spring — seems to be fading. [1]

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Israel-First claims control of tenure at Yale and Georgetown

Since Osama bin Laden died, my Israel-First friends have returned to attacking me with gusto. Good old british18@earthlink.net — I think his name is Mark Grayson, who claims to be a brilliant and wealthy lawyer — popped up to threaten me with legal action, and someone person called Alan Reynolds (iihmg@yahoo.com) has begun sending slanderous materials about me to the media outlets I appeared on or talked to this week, starting with the Dallas Morning News. Worth noting is that Reynolds recommends that people talk to the scholar Walid Phares rather than me. Readers of this space will recall that Mr. Phares’ name also came up in the mix during the last spate of Israel-First attacks on me.

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Libya: The road to invasion has been straight, not a slippery slope

The announcement this week that British, Italian, and French military officers are being sent to “advise” the Libyan resistance expands NATO’s intervention in Libya and adds to the number of U.S., French, and British Special and intelligence forces already on the ground there. As well, the Obama administration’s decision to send military equipment worth $25 million to the resistance deepens U.S. involvement. The “just-protecting-civilians” and “no-boots-on-the-ground” mantras emanating from Washington and NATO capitals are quite simply lies.

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U.S. policy in the Levant: Islamism for Syria, ruin for Israel

Let us, for a moment, return to the golden days of yesteryear when Arab tyrants could keep order in their countries by simply killing their opponents in any number necessary to hold power. No Arab tyrant was better at this than the late Syrian president, Hafez al-Assad. President Assad’s standout power-keeping moment came in 1982 at the Syrian city of Hama when the Syrian army’s massed artillery made rubble of much of the city and killed 20,000 or so people in an operation meant to annihilate the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (SMB). The Hama attack served Assad’s immediate goal, temporarily breaking the Brotherhood’s back and driving its survivors deep underground and into exile in Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and elsewhere, where they licked their wounds and prepared for the future.

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Will Mr. Obama kill enough Libyans to win his unnecessary and illegal war?

Several years ago, I was asked during a television interview why the U.S.-led coalition was not winning in Afghanistan. I responded by saying something close to: “Because we have not killed nearly enough of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and their civilian supporters.” At the time my answer struck me as a withering blast of the obvious, but it shocked and won denunciation from much of the media, pro-Republican and pro-Democrat. The pro-Democratic media, however, were especially upset and surprised — notably the hilarious, ban-the-1st-Amendment folks at “Media Matters for America” — that anyone in this day and age could believe, as the Confederate cavalryman Nathan Bedford Forrest memorably said: “War is about fighting, and fighting is about killing.”

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Lies in the air of Libya’s spring — The return of ‘unintended consequences’

The rising concern in Washington, London, and other allied capitals over what is happening in Libya is reminiscent of concerns about Iraq once it became clear that the aftermath of removing Saddam would not be a cakewalk for the U.S.-led coalition. This concern is best seen in the increasing number of U.S., UK, and French officials — named and anonymous — and pro-war journalists who are talking about the possibility of encountering “unintended consequences” from the Libyan intervention.

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Libya and Bahrain: Neutering the Constitution, heading for disaster

Next to the right to bear arms, I do not think there is a clearer statement in the U.S. Constitution than the one that says only Congress can declare war. Reasonable people can argue about other, less clear passages, but these two neither need nor will abide “explanation and interpretation” from our Ivy League betters. (NB: I once thought the same about Freedom of Speech, until the elite folks who feel duty-bound to perfect the rest of us riff-raff came up with the debate-stopping tool of laws against “hate speech.”)

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The sum of all fears

With the West focused on Libya, Egypt, and Yemen, it may be in tiny Bahrain where Washington pays the piper for 35 years of intervention in the Arab world. A prolonged Sunni-Shia shooting war in Bahrain would make other regional events pale in importance to the United States and the West. Bahrain could well be the place where the world as we know it ends.

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