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May 26, 2010

THOMAS FRIEDMAN'S MOMENT OF M0RAL CLARITY


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THOMAS FRIEDMAN'S MOMENT OF MORAL CLARITY


In Mr. Friedman's latest Op Ed, “As Ugly as it Gets” (New York Times – link: www.nytimes.com/2010/05/26/opinion/26friedman.html?ref=todayspaper ), he achieves an almost bright line moral coherence in the context of the cozy embrace of that murderous Iranian figurehead president by the leaders of Brazil and Turkey. Here's the pull quote:


“Turkey and Brazil are both nascent democracies that have overcome their own histories of military rule. For their leaders to embrace and strengthen an Iranian president who uses his army and police to crush and kill Iranian democrats — people seeking the same freedom of speech and political choice that Turks and Brazilians now enjoy — is shameful.”


Bravo.


But there is a caveat. This administration and a plurality of the liberal commentariat have given every possible signal to indicate that forcibly preventing the odious Iranian regime from developing a deliverable nuclear arsenal is off the table. Regrettably, this view, if implemented in the bizarre “nuke whisperer” style of Mr. Obama's face-to-the world, will inevitably lead to war in the Middle East. Not just any war, mind you, but one accompanied by the profound destabilization of all the power relationships there, a local arms race, and – here's the rub – the further entrenchment of the anti-democratic regime of radical, homicidal mullahs in Iran and elsewhere. Like so many uncomfortable truths of the real world, practical side of things, partial moral clarity – an improvement over the moral obtuseness of the radical left, to be sure – is a bit like a partial birth abortion. It is a death-prescription, IN THIS INSTANCE for thousands, possibly millions of innocent people.


There remains a slim chance that the Israelis, who have the single biggest stake in promoting a neutral, disarmed Iran, may be able to pull the Islamist nuclear stinger without suffering more than a few thousand casualties. The risk of failure is significant, especially if the hostility to Israel evidenced by the Obama administration leads to a hands-off policy, even when the Jewish state is in extremis. This time, the IDF will need more than diplomatic support because the Iranian military forces and their proxies – Syria and the bloody-minded Hezbolah – will be engaging in a full-on war.


Indeed, there are credible rumors, Mr. Friedman, that the forces of darkness are planning for a preemptive attack on Israel. Would that change your moral calculus?


This administration is becoming increasingly easy to read. The Occam's Razor principle – the simplest explanation that covers all the available evidence is most likely to be true – leads me to a disturbing place, to wit: This is an ideology-driven presidency willing to double-down in order to get the most out of what will probably be a single term. The Israel piece fits perfectly into the soft antisemitism of the anti-Zionist left, a perfect fit for a man who was comfortable to take his family to a church for twenty years that was run by a raving pastor whose pronouncements chill me to the bone. The Rev. Write was fully capable of blaming the world's troubles on “the Jews” and – how soon we forget – had no problem praising the work of that crypto-Nazi, Louis Farakan.


Pray that I'm wrong. If it's actually as bad as I fear, look for these signs:


(a) Rahm Emanuel is demoted or re-situated outside the administration.

(b) Insider Jewish opinion, the kind that is driven by background leaks, shifts sharply against this president.


Hint: The second sign is now very much in play.


JBG


SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION SECTION


Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition. More on the Bridge to Being Blog at http://jaygaskill.com/blog2/ .


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May 04, 2010

THE TIMES SQUARE BOMBER & THE VIRUS

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Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, an allegory for the human condition.  Google 'jay b gaskill/lost souls coffee shop. And read Jay Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones.  Google 'jay b gaskill/the stranded ones'

 

This article is also posted at: http://jaygaskill.com/TheTreasonVirus2.0.htm

 

The Treason Virus 2.0

THE TIMES SQUARE BOMBER
By
Jay B Gaskill
 

[][][]

 

 

FROM BBC

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8660370.stm

 

“A US citizen of Pakistani origin is due to appear in court in New York later in connection with a failed car-bomb attack in Times Square on Saturday.

Faisal Shahzad was arrested at John F Kennedy airport on Monday night on board a plane about to leave for Dubai.

 

“Investigators say he has told them he was acting alone and has no connections with foreign militant groups.”

HERE IS MY PREDICTION: 
PEEL THIS ONION
YOU WILL FIND A PATHOGEN AT THE VERY CORE

 

Remember Major Nidal Malik Hasan?  Recall his shooting rampage at Fort Hood?  Were you shocked and puzzled by the bizarre notion of an American citizen as a rogue Islamist terror nut?  How about the secret connections to the radical internet mullah, Anwar al Awlaki, then operating out of Yemen?

Review my analysis at the time, still posed at – http://jaygaskill.com/TheTreasonVirus.htm

Lest we forget, please allow me to review parts of that thread:

HEADLINE:  RARE VIRUS ENDANGERS TROOPS.

 

Another, presumably unrelated headline (my own summary)

 

ROGUE ISLAMIST SHRINK SHOOTS FIFTY AMERICAN SOLDIERS ON AMERICAN BASE.

 

The first story (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/06/rare-virus-poses-new-threat-to-troops/ ) describes a biological pathogen.

 

The second story, the Fort Hood massacre, (http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fort-hood-shootings7-2009nov07,0,1269467.story ) describes a moral pathogen.

 

It seems beyond reasonable dispute that the Fort Hood shooter/murderer (Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan) was a devout follower of Islam.  As other suppressed details emerge, it will only get worse.

 

Dr. Hasan was an educated man.  It is almost axiomatic that most mental health professionals don’t become berserk mass murderers, particularly while serving in sensitive positions in American military facilities.    

 

About the Religion of Peace

 

There are pockets of enlightened, peaceful Islamic scholarship and teaching, most of which are taking place in safe havens in the tolerant West.  All those sparks of tolerance acknowledged, there still is no Islamic Reformation. 

 

After the death of Mohammed in the 7th century, there never again was a single Muslim Voice, no Muslim Pope, no Muslim Martin Luther, no one to lead the faith out of its pre-medieval fundamentalism.  The religion remains multi-focal and widely distributed - much like software tied to a common operating system, in this case the Qu’ran. 

 

Software and Viruses

 

The software metaphor is useful because, like all distributed belief systems, Islam is subject to anti-moral viruses.

 

An anti-moral virus is an actively malevolent set of ideas, capable of being carried by an ideology or other widespread belief system, much as living organisms carry infections. 

 

I believe that the Islamist virus stems from a siege mentality, a deep sense of grievance and of being under attack from a decadent, profoundly immoral culture.  We know that the virus is deadly because of its fruits.  One cannot look at the carnage of 911 or the incident at Fort Hood without horror and revulsion.  Surely, we think, this cannot be sanctioned by a truly moral deity, the ruler of the Universe, the Father of the Abrahamic faiths. 

 

An anti-moral virus attaches itself to selected precepts from the Islamist tradition (precepts that post-reformation Muslims will say were taken out of context, but for now stand alone as co-equal injunctions from God’s Prophet).  Among these precepts are the classification of Infidels as unclean, the religious approval for their forcible conversion to Islam (with a tradition of beheading the resistant-apostate) and the sanction for glorious, violent martyrdom in the cause. 

 

Caution: This is a functional analysis, not a critical theological one. 

 

My scholarly friends who are deeply familiar with Islam will quickly point out why a careful and enlightened reading of the Qu’ran does not support terrorism, the slaughter of innocents, and so on. 

 

But Dr. Hasan was an intelligent, well educated man and there has, as yet, been no Islamic Reformation. 

 

The anti-moral virus is active in the Muslim culture.  I believe Major Hassan was infected.

 

Who ELSE is infected?  Just HOW do you tell? 

 

JIHAD-AS- THERAPY

 

We need a new DSM IV* category for rogue mental health professionals suffering with “HME Syndrome”, the Homicidal Martyrdom Escape Syndrome, or “HMES”. 

 

* The vaunted DSM IV is the cookbook diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals to classify mental disorders.  [Buy one if you’re curious -- http://allpsych.com/books/index.html#r .] 

 

I am convinced that Major Hasan was psychologically trapped and that, having been “infected” with an anti-moral virus, he presented an extremely high risk of ‘going jihad”....

 

[][][]

 

THE TIMES SQUARE BOMBER IS MAJOR HASAN REDUX
 

[][][]

 

Who ELSE is infected?  Just HOW do you tell? 

 

Reuters: 

 

“Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested late on Monday at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York after being removed from a plane as it was about to take off for Dubai, officials said.

 

“Shahzad, 30, was due to appear in federal court later on Tuesday to face charges of ‘driving a car bomb into Times Square on the evening of May 1,’ officials said. Had the bomb detonated, many people could have died, experts said.

 

“’He's admitted to buying the truck, putting the devices together, putting them in the truck, leaving the truck there and leaving the scene,’ the law enforcement source told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

 

“’He's claimed to have acted alone. He did admit to all the charges, so to speak,’ the source said...

AP

 

Shahzad, 30, had recently returned from a five-month trip to Pakistan, where he had a wife, according to law enforcement officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation into the failed car bombing.

Shahzad became a naturalized U.S. citizen last year shortly before traveling to Pakistan, a federal law enforcement official in Washington said, speaking on condition of anonymity amid the ongoing investigation.

 

“Investigators hadn't established an immediate connection to the Pakistani Taliban—which had claimed responsibility for the botched bombing in three videos—or any foreign terrorist groups, a law enforcement official told the AP.”

 

[][][]

 

Do take the time and mental energy over the next few weeks to peel this onion.  At the core you will find the same virus that animated Major Hassan. 

 

Here are four predictions to track:

 

[ONE]

 

In Shahzad’s case, we will soon discover actual connections, internet, cellphone and personal contacts, linking him to at least one radical Islamist cleric.  These will be the infection points.

 

[TWO]

 

There will be the usual, ‘but he was such a nice young man’ chatter by the usual clueless suspects.  Missing in these accounts will be a description of Shahzad’s compromised immune system.

 

[THREE]

 

The case will be handled as a routine criminal matter, framed by a lot of political posturing.  This serve will mask the underlying problem.

 

[FOUR]

 

This sort of thing will happen to peaceful Americans again and again until we, as a culture and a awakened nation, are able to get our collective minds around what it means to live in a time when our the prevalent cultural and moral ambivalences are being actively tested and exploited by predatory moral certitude.

 

 

In 2003, I addressed the core issue in an essay, Secular Steel, still posted at http://jaygaskill.com/secular.htm .

 

I began that essay with this paragraph:

 

“Civilizations whose leaders and members are not rooted in the sterner part of the moral order cannot summon the will to defend themselves when challenged by a more cohesive, more fervently motivated adversary.  There is a Darwinian logic at work here that favors the triumph of the religious society over the complacently hedonist culture, the “blood sweat and tears” rally over the “make flowers not war” withdrawal, and the committed, brave heart over the timid, ambivalent soul.”

 

Today, seven years later, I remain firmly persuaded that we Americans will prevail only when we recover, reaffirm and commit to our founding principles, as captured in that tolerant, but tough creed from the Declaration of Independence...

 

We proudly hold up these self-evident truths as a sacred gift we and all free peoples have been endowed with the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and to this end we have made a place in the world where these rights will be defended with integrity, courage and blood.

 

JBG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 03, 2010

THE NUKE WHISPERER'S CHALLENGE

 

Read Jay B Gaskill’s Lost Souls Coffee Shop, a collection of stories told one dark night.  Google “jay b gaskill/lost souls coffee shop” for more information.

 

All contents, unless otherwise indicated are --
Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 & 2010 by Jay B Gaskill
Permission to publish, distribute or print all or part of this article - except for personal use - is needed.

 

As posted on The Policy Think Site: http://www.jaygaskill.com   
The Human Conspiracy Blog: http://www.jaygaskill.com/blog3 

 

 

Forwarded links are welcomed. For reprint permissions:
Contact Jay B. Gaskill, attorney at law, via e mail at law@jaygaskill.com

 

And read Jay B Gaskill’s new thriller, The Stranded Ones, a near future America where copyright and patent protections create a new “secrets” industry and underground alien technologies bring the highest prices. 

 

Google “jay b gaskill/the stranded ones” for more....

 

 

Yesterday’s Times Square bomb car incident perfectly frames this national security discussion -- see the end of this piece....
This piece is also posted in htm format: http://jaygaskill.com/TheNukeWhisperer2.htm
 

The Nuke Whisperer
Why Iran Cannot Just Be ‘Deterred’ or ‘Sanctioned’
By Jay B Gaskill
“VIENNA -- Iran is poised to make a significant leap in its ability to enrich uranium, with more sophisticated centrifuge technology that is being assembled in secret to advance the country's nuclear efforts, according to U.S. and European intelligence officials and diplomats.
“Iran's apparent gains in centrifuge technology have heightened concerns that the government is working clandestinely on a uranium-enrichment plant capable of
producing more nuclear fuel at a much faster pace, the officials said.
“U.N. nuclear monitors have not been allowed to examine the new centrifuge, which Iranian officials briefly put on display at a news conference last month. But an expert group's analysis of the machine -- based on photos -- suggests that it could be up to five times as productive as the balky centrifuges Iran currently uses to enrich uranium.”
Washington Post, May 2
LINK:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/01/AR2010050101689.html?hpid=moreheadlines
Victor Davis Hanson:
“A nuclear Iran would be analogous to the lunatic homeowner with a huge personal arsenal who periodically threatens his neighbors with terrible retaliation should their leaves drift over his property — without necessarily intending to spray anyone with machine-gun fire. Who wishes to try to keep up property values, or even to live, in such a neighborhood?’
See his full piece -- http://www.victorhanson.com/articles/hanson043010.html
The Reality Check
Iran will not be deterred from its nuclear goals by diplomatic threats or international sanctions.  Its ruling clique intends for Iran to become the Middle East’s next nuclear power by any means necessary.  Once Iran’s regime achieves the status of a nuclear weapons-endowed power, it cannot be reliably deterred from using that destructive capability against our friends and allies. 
Moreover, the achievement of nuclear weapons capability will harden the domestic control of the ruling mullahs, setting back hope of regime liberalization for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, our president appears to have moved into a hostile relationship with our most stalwart democratic ally in the Middle East region (Israel).
Deeply naïve liberals (by contrast, Senator Joe Lieberman is a deeply realistic liberal) have softened the ground for a new, softer policy. Their ongoing legacy of toxic naiveté has infected the current Democratic Party leadership to the end that our new president might actually believe that diplomacy without teeth can produce results in the ground and that “Israel needs to be saved from herself” much in the same way his rhetoric suggests that America needs to be saved from its own history. 
Behind this line of thinking lurks the delusion that all the world’s countries are run by elites whose decisions are determined by rational self interest calculations, and therefore can simply be reasoned with.  The notion that all nations’ foreign policy and military ambitions calculations can be measured in terms of Dollars, Euros and Renminbi and Rial is the banker’s delusion.  History is replete with examples of whole countries that enthusiastically spilled blood for overarching, non-economic goals.  If nations always behaved like conservative bankers who all go to the same club, we would not have experienced the horrors of World War II, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, and radical Islam would not be engaged in a suicidal jihad against the West.
Delusional naiveté has led this administration to the potentially disastrous miscalculation that the mullahs can be deterred by a nuclear balance of power. 
This thinking also has the seductive quality of the “it’s no longer our worry” syndrome while ignoring the ripple consequences of our abandonment of close allies to the wolves:  A destabilizing nuclear arms race ending, inevitably, in the retaliatory exchange of mushroom clouds and decimated cities, the destabilization of civilization itself, will follow.
Suppose we take away the element of fatal naiveté from all this.  The simplest remaining theory that fits all the facts is chilling: POTUS actually prefers the reasonable and probable outcome of his polices, to wit: the elimination of “the Israel problem”, secretly “acceptable”.   In this view, our new President would be revealed as one of those anti-Zionists for whom the prospect of Israel’s extinction (without American fingerprints) would not present any insurmountable moral difficulties. 
In fact, this line of thinking is revealed a growing whisper campaign within the Beltway, a narrative that talks in code of countries like Israel and Taiwan as “strategic liabilities”
I choose not to parse this question too closely.  Any “friend” so misguided as to enable your deadly enemy is functionally indistinguishable from the enemy itself, and has become allied with the forces that seek your extinction. 
During the campaign, I proposed that Senator Obama was the chameleon candidate.  That appears to be our best hope right now, because a chameleon can still change.
So... is our “nuancer-in-chief” just a naïve nuke-whisperer?   I suspect that this will be seen in the unflinching, cold light of history as the kindest possible view we could have taken of our new president’s evident vacillation on Iran and overt hostility to Israel.  Of course POTUS could simple get lucky.  Results always affect historical narratives as if the outcome was known from the beginning by the players – as it never is. 
At some point, liberal caution becomes sympathy with the enemy, which soon mutates into tool of the enemy which - heavens forbid- becomes the enemy. 


Thankfully, we are not there...yet.   Thankfully, Mr. Obama has not yet lost the game.
I am persuaded that only military action in the form of concentrated, sustained air strikes against selected strategic targets in Iran will be sufficient, under the present circumstances, to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability within the next 10 to 18 months.  [Note this gives the president a breather only through the coming congressional elections.]  Nothing short of that concrete, on-the-ground action will sufficiently degrade the Iranian regime’s bomb-making capabilities; and nothing short of that will to buy the necessary time for other solutions to emerge.  
I still hope and pray that our new president will ultimately approve the stern necessary actions in time, but I am deeply worried the he will not.
We must stop and reverse the spread of nuclear weapons in the world’s most volatile region or suffer a calamity of epic proportions.  Yes, there will be blowback in the form of unrest in Iran and a temporary surge in oil prices, among other foreseeable effects. 
But the alternative, the reliance on ineffective sanctions and charm, will fail.  And that failure will ignite a chain of events, a regional nuclear arms race and the eventual use of those weapons, killing millions and poisoning the planet for generations.
For President Obama, this presents the single major legacy choice of his administration, the one that will define his presidency forever.   The assessment of history will not be generous to any leader whose hesitation and ultimate inaction helped auger in a new hell on earth. 
I cannot think about this pivotal historic moment without recalling some lines from Yeats prophetic poem, “The Second Coming”:

“...Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
“...a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
...a shape...is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
[....]
What rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
      
William Butler Yeats
  

Yes, the “rough beast” is the specter of nuclear-armed radical Islam, the arrival of a new nightmare that will make the Cold War’s “tuck and cover” school drills and civil fallout shelters seem trivial by contrast.

The shocking fizzling car bomb incident in Times Square (a deadly, but amateurish attempt, resolved serendipitously and locally by Manhattan cops) serves as a brilliant light, illuminating the entire national security posture of this administration...rather like an X-Ray scan revealing the absence of vertebral bone.  

In a perfect world with perfect intelligence and a president with the tested toughness of, say, a Harry Truman, we all could go to sleep at night secure in the knowledge that there really is an effective Plan B to handle a rogue Iran when diplomacy fails (something that holdover Sec-Def Gates has publicly disputed[2]) and that our fanatical adversaries in Iran are on notice.  Sadly, we have two untrained “political officers” in key national security positions (homeland security and the CIA[3]) and the all too typical Rodney King mindset running Foggy Bottom.

The next step is up to our new, as yet untested president. 

Tick..tick...tick....

JBG


 


[1] Homeland Security Chief, J. Napolitano, a former governor, has no professional national security credentials.

[2] See -- http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1983216,00.html .
[3] CIA head, L. Panetta, a former congressman and political staffer, has no national security or espionage credentials. His nomination was actually opposed by key democrats for CIA head until assurances were made that the brilliantly qualified Stephen Kappes would serve as Panetta’s number two.  Mr. Kappes announced his resignation from the premier spy agency this April.


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