Friday, May 26, 2017

Britain Should Seek Vengeance for Manchester, Not Justice

Now is not the time for weakness in the face of the jihadist threat.

By David French — May 25, 2017
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Soldiers walk with a police officer on Whitehall in London, Britain May 24, 2017

Let me share with you some deeply flawed words from the editorial board of the New York Times. I do this not because the Times is alone in its sentiment but because the paragraph below is perfectly representative of the wrong approach to fighting terror. Reflecting on the Manchester bombing, the editors say this:
Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.
To the contrary, Britain should seek vengeance. And if terrorists want to provoke a climactic confrontation in the Middle East, then the West should give them the battle they crave. Why? Because they’ll lose. Because they’ll be slaughtered. Because they’ll be exposed as the violent hucksters they are.

Underpinning the Times’s sentiment is the persistent, misguided belief that what we face isn’t a true war but rather a particularly challenging law-enforcement operation, in which armies stay largely sidelined, the cops do their work, and societies cope with terrorism in much the same way that they cope with other forms of criminal violence.

For those who subscribe to this view, the fundamental response to terror — in addition to mourning the dead and expressing love and support for their families — is to find precisely the people responsible and punish them precisely with the penalties prescribed by law. If we achieve less, then police have failed. If our response sweeps beyond those responsible for the bad act, then we have committed our own injustices and thus perpetuated the cycle of hate and violence.

In war, the goal is different. In war, the goal is to meet an attack with an overwhelming response — to find and punish those responsible for discrete acts, kill their allies, and annihilate their military organization. This martial act of vengeance and wrath — yes, vengeance — should be carried out in accordance with the laws of war, but the laws of war are no impediment to decisive military force.

Vengeance by itself is not wrong. The manner of the vengeance and its object defines its morality and effectiveness. History is littered with examples of vengeance-motivated atrocities, but it is also full of cases where vengeance (or the threat of vengeance) motivated entire societies to defeat mortal threats and deter even worse calamities.

The call for unconditional surrender in World War II was a departure from the norm in great-power conflicts, but it led to the ultimate defeat of Nazism and Japanese militarism, rather than to mere setbacks that would have allowed the Nazis and the Japanese to refit, re-arm, and try again. In multiple points throughout the Cold War, the threat of overwhelming retaliation kept conflicts limited, kept weapons of mass destruction off the field of battle, and helped the world avoid another catastrophic global conflict.

By contrast, terrorists count on Western restraint. They often presume that we’ll be unwilling to do what it truly takes to destroy their safe havens or that we’ll grow weary of conflict and ultimately acquiesce to their demands. And all too many voices in the West are eager to oblige. When law enforcement isn’t enough to prevent attacks, and when carefully limited military strikes prove ineffective, they argue that we should look to address the “legitimate grievances” that are said to ultimately drive jihadist motivations.

That is when terrorists win.

There exists already a model for successful vengeance. Osama bin Laden wasn’t prepared for massive American retaliation after 9/11. He didn’t expect to lose his safe havens and the vast bulk of his fighters. He thought America would respond as it had before, with ineffective cruise-missile volleys or perhaps even the same timidity that followed the Battle of Mogadishu. In fact, he said as much, speaking of American weakness to Western reporters. But he was wrong: He met American strength, al-Qaeda was left in ruins, and the threat of terror eased for a time.
In fact, there’s a consistent pattern to terrorist violence. When they obtain and maintain safe havens, jihadists are able to plan, train, inspire, and strike. When they are driven from their strongholds — pounded from the air and the ground — they lose much of their effectiveness and their appeal. Take your boot off their neck, and they rise again.

So, Britain, ignore the New York Times. Give in to your “thirst for vengeance.” In a manner that is consistent with the laws of war and the great tradition of British arms, make an example of ISIS. Destroy terrorist safe havens with prompt, decisive force, pursue terrorists wherever they flee, and send a clear message. Terrorists have sown the wind. They will reap the whirlwind. 
Avenge your fallen.

— David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, an attorney, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Book Review: 'Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty' by John B. Boles

The complex Thomas Jefferson in his place and time
Jonathan Yardley was the book critic of The Washington Post from 1981 to 2014.
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In the spring of 1962, John F. Kennedy held a dinner at the White House for Nobel Prize laureates from nations of the Western Hemisphere. Opening his remarks, he rather famouslysaid, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” Quite less famously, he continued, “Someone once said that Thomas Jefferson was a gentleman of 32 who could calculate an eclipse, survey an estate, tie an artery, plan an edifice, try a cause, break a horse, and dance the minuet.”
That was April 1962, and that was how Jefferson was then viewed: as a man of astonishingly varied and sophisticated knowledge and accomplishments, a Founding Father to rank beside Washington and Franklin. Then, a dozen years later, came Fawn Brodie’s “Jefferson: An Intimate History,” an inquiry into Jefferson’s relations with his slaves, most specifically the possibility of sexual relations with the house servant Sally Hemings. It sold well for a work of ostensibly serious history, though it aroused passionate indignation among Jefferson loyalists in Virginia and elsewhere, and it set Jefferson on the downhill course he has followed ever since. As John B. Boles says at the outset of this magisterial biography:
“Jefferson’s complexity renders him easy to caricature in popular culture. Particularly in recent years, Jefferson, long the hero of small d as well as capital D democrats, has seen his reputation wane due to his views on race, the revelation of his relationship with Sally Hemings, and his failure to free his own slaves. Once lauded as the champion of the little man, today he is vilified as a hypocritical slave owner, professing a love of liberty while quietly driving his own slaves to labor harder in his pursuit of luxury. Surely an interpretive middle ground is possible, if not necessary. If we hope to understand the enigma that is Thomas Jefferson, we must view him holistically and within the rich context of his time and place. This biography aims to provide that perspective.”
To say that it does so is massive understatement. “Jefferson: Architect of American Liberty” is perhaps the finest one-volume biography of an American president. Boles, a professor of history at Rice University, has spent many years studying Jefferson’s native American South in all its mysteries, contradictions, follies and outrages, as well as its unique contributions to the national culture and literature. This biography is the culmination of a long, distinguished career. I admire it so passionately that, almost 2 1/2 years into a happy retirement, I had no choice except to violate my pledge never again to write another book review.
To his study of this deeply controversial man, Boles brings an ample supply of what has been so lamentably missing in the discussion over the past half-century: a calm insistence on separating truth (so far as we can know it) from rumor and invective, and a refusal to judge a man who lived more than two centuries ago by the moral, ethical and political standards of today. Boles admires Jefferson and maintains a sympathetic attitude toward him through this long, immensely satisfying narrative, but he does not flinch when Jefferson’s behavior and attitudes seem, according to 21st-century standards, offensive at worst, inexplicable at best.
Because the focus in recent years has been almost entirely on Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery and his actions regarding the several hundred slaves who fell under his ownership, it is important to recall that there was vastly more to his long life than this. In Boles’s “full-scale biography,” Jefferson is presented to us “in all his guises: politician, diplomat, party leader, executive; architect, musician, oenophile, gourmand, traveler; inventor, historian, political theorist; land owner, farmer, slaveholder; and son, father, grandfather.” Without smothering the reader under mountains of detail, Boles briskly but authoritatively takes Jefferson from his birth in Virginia in 1743 to his death, at home in his beloved Monticello, on the Fourth of July, 1826, several hours before the death in Massachusetts of his old friend and occasional rival, John Adams, that other great Founding Father.
As Boles notes, the world into which Jefferson was born was so different from our own that we are hard-pressed to imagine it, yet it was out of this distant world that our own eventually emerged, and Jefferson was at the very center as the transformation from colony to nation got under way. He wrote the immortal Declaration of Independence, which gave voice to the convictions and hopes that impelled his fellow colonists into revolution. At the end of his life he said the Declaration was one of his three singular accomplishments, the others being the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1786) and the establishment of the University of Virginia a couple of years before his death.
He represented the new nation in Paris from 1784 to 1790, and while he was there delighted in and learned from the varied aspects of that city, whether musical or literary or architectural. In Philadelphia and New York, from 1790 to 1801, he participated in the formation of the new government and served a term as John Adams’s vice president, spending much of that term at Monticello, just as Adams spent much of his term at his Massachusetts home. He then sought and won the presidency in February 1801 in a breathtakingly close vote in the House of Representatives.
The accomplishments of his presidency are well known, most notably the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the Lewis and Clark expedition to the far West, though his second term was less successful than his first. He lived for more than a decade and a half after it ended, and while he continued to be active in the public lives of his nation and state, he found his greatest pleasures in Monticello and within the bonds of the family to which he was utterly devoted. His wife, Martha, had died in 1782, pleading with him on her deathbed not to marry again, a request that he honored willingly but one that probably had much to do with his later escape into the arms of Hemings.
Thanks largely to the diligent research of Annette Gordon-Reed and the two books that emerged from it, “Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings” (1997) and “The Hemingses of Monticello” (2008), we now know almost certainly as much as we ever will about this essentially mysterious connection. We do know that Hemings “gave birth to five children,” that Jefferson “was demonstrably present at Monticello nine months prior to each of these births” and that one of her children bore an almost uncanny resemblance to Jefferson. Gordon-Reed “argues that Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings, as unlikely as it might seem, probably had genuine mutual affection,” which if true can only leave us all the more puzzled by “his failure to emancipate his own slaves or work actively to end slavery completely.” Boles writes:
“Activists in Jefferson’s time . . . much less the abolitionists who emerged soon after his death, could not accept such a patient approach; nor can modern readers. Jefferson’s willingness to wait tells us a great deal about his character and also about his era, his race, and his class. As a wealthy white man, he saw little need for urgency; he believed, rather, that in God’s good time, emancipation would somehow be effected. In no other aspect of his life does Jefferson seem more distant from us or more disappointing.”
Disappointing, to be sure, but also understandable. He was a creature of his own time, not of ours, and at the end of this superb, utterly riveting biography, Boles strikes exactly the right note. He describes the “simple obelisk” erected over Jefferson’s grave at Monticello and then says: “It was a simple marker for a man of vast accomplishments and complexities, the supreme spokesman of America’s promise. Ironically, today he is often found wanting for not practicing the principles he articulated best. Yet Jefferson, despite his limitations, more than anyone else was the intellectual architect of the nation’s highest ideals. He will always belong in the American pantheon.”

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Muslim sex grooming paved the way for the Manchester Arena attack.

May 24, 2017

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The police escorted members of the public from the Manchester Arena in England. Credit Dave Thompson/Getty Images
In the months before weeping little girls with nails in their faces were carried out of the Manchester Arena, the authorities of that city were hard at work fighting the dreaded threat of Islamophobia.
While Salman Abedi, the second-generation Muslim refugee terrorist who maimed and killed dozens in a brutal terrorist attack, stalked the streets wailing, “There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is the messenger of Allah”, Manchester police were busy with more important things.
The Greater Manchester Police are one of only two police forces to list Islamophobia as a hate crime category. Earlier this year, Chief Constable Ian Hopkins honored Tell Mama for fighting Islamophobia. Tell Mama had lost funding earlier when its claims of a plague of violent Islamophobia fell apart. 
Shahid Malik, the chair of Tell Mama, had been photographed with the leader of Hamas. Appearing at the Global Peace and Unity conference, where plenty of terrorism supporters have promenaded, he boasted, “In 2005 we had four Muslim MPs. In 2009 or 2010 we’ll have eight or ten Muslim MPs. In 2014 we’ll have 16 Muslim MPs. At this rate the whole parliament will be Muslim.”
Last year, Hopkins had appeared at a Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) event at the European Islamic Centre along with Azad Ali. Ali has praised Anwar Al-Awlaki and other Al Qaeda figures. He justified the murder of British and American soldiers, he praised Hamas and Hezbollah.
Instead of arresting him, the Chief Constable appeared at the same forum with a terrorist supporter. 
Also present was Greater Manchester Police Crime Commissioner and Interim Mayor Tony Lloyd who came by to talk about "eradicating hate". This was at an event attended by Anas Altikriti of the Cordoba Foundation, who had backed terrorists murdering British soldiers and accused Jews of dual loyalty.
Tony Lloyd will be the Labour candidate in Rochdale; home of the Muslim sex grooming cover-up. 
Both Manchester Mayor Burnham and Chief Constable Ian Hopkins had appeared at MEND events. MEND’s Director of Engagement is Azad Ali.
After the attack, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vowed on camera, “terrorists will never beat us”. The terrorists don’t need to beat Burnham. He’ll eagerly collaborate without so much as a single slap.
Last year the left-wing politician fought the government’s efforts to crack down on Islamic terror. “It is creating a feeling in the Muslim community that it is being spied upon and unfairly targeted,” he whined.
Terrorists will never beat us. Unless they have their useful idiots operating on the inside for whom Muslim feelings come first and little girls being torn to pieces by shrapnel come last.
Burnham accused opponents of Islamic terror of racism, xenophobia and all the usual stuff. He insisted that there was a huge Islamophobia problem that was being hidden because Muslims were too afraid of the police to report this rash of imaginary crimes.
"There’s a lot of people in this country not necessarily at risk from ‘Islamic extremism’ but it’s far-right extremism," Andy insisted.
This is what led to the Manchester Arena bombing. Mayor Burnham sold out the police. The police sold out the people. The authorities were chasing Islamophobia when they should have been fighting Islamic terror.
Mayor Burnham and Chief Constable Hopkins pandered to Islamists, prioritized Islamophobia and dutifully opposed the government's fight against Islamic terror. 
The Islamophobia lie killed 22 people in Manchester. It happened on the watch of the GMP.
No one takes Islamophobia more seriously than the Greater Manchester Police. When Muslim sex grooming gangs were abusing little girls in Rochdale, the GMP dutifully covered it up. On one of the recorded interviews, a police officer can be heard yawning as a girl describes her abuse. 
An MP who had pursued these cases said that the authorities “were afraid of being called racist."
Even after Judge Clifton brought it out into the open, stating, “You preyed on girls because they were not part of your community or religion", Detective Chief Superintendent Mary Doyle insisted, "I think if we start to get ourselves hung up on race and ethnicity issues, we take away the real issues."
Detective Constable Maggie Oliver resigned from the GMP for its mishandling of the sex grooming cases. She has warned that offenders are still on the loose. “What I saw in Rochdale was police officers and senior cops acting without any shame because it was convenient to ignore the abuse they knew was happening,” she warned.
There’s still no shame. 
Oliver blamed Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy. Fahy had been knighted for “services to policing”. His “services” included warning that the British government’s Prevent crackdown on Islamic terrorists was contrary to “British values” and would alienate “non-violent Muslims”. 
"A lot of Muslims feel that there is a constant anti-Muslim narrative in the media,” he mewled.
Fahy was replaced by the GMP’s deputy chief constable. Ian Hopkins had cut his teeth on explaining the importance of Ramadan the same year that the GMP was apologizing to the victims of Muslim sex grooming. Even as the GMP fell from 8,000 to 5,300 officers, the new Chief Constable picked up a £172,000 ($223,000) salary. That was down from Fahy’s £206,000 ($267,000) package.
Chief Constable Hopkins declared that people have a right to be “safe from hatred”. After the Manchester Arena attack by a second-generation Muslim refugee, he warned, "We understand that feelings are very raw right now and people are bound to be looking for answers … it is vital that our diverse communities in Greater Manchester stand together and do not tolerate hate.”
Feelings will occasionally grow raw when picking the nails of the latest Muslim terrorist attack out of your child’s face or knowing that she has been raped by a dozen Pakistani men. It may even be possible that in their final dying moments, the victims of the Manchester Arena attack were afraid of Islam. 
If only they could be prosecuted after death.
The cowardly denunciation of Islamophobia was as strong as anything in Hopkins’ statement. It is Islamophobia, not the victims of Islam, that agitates the Chief Constable’s sensitive sympathies.
It was not the victims of Muslim sex grooming in Rochdale or its cover-up that outraged Hopkins. His greatest moment of outrage came when the London Times headlined the story of an Imam murdered by a fellow Muslim for not being Islamic enough as, “Imam beaten to death in sex grooming town.”
The headline was “offensive to the thousands of peaceful law abiding Muslims”, Hopkins complained.
It wasn’t the abuse of little girls that was the problem. It was calling it out for what it was.
The Jihad has been kept quiet through such shameful expediencies. When the head of the Clarksfield primary school complained about threats to blow up her car due to an Islamist “Trojan horse” plot to take control of the institution, the GMP found nothing.
Of course. Finding something might have been Islamophobic.
The Manchester authorities were in the business of fighting Islamophobia. They made that their priority. Not only did they lie about the true threat, but they wasted resources that might have gone to stopping the attack. The blood of innocent children is on their hands. But that’s nothing new.
Just ask the abused little girls of Rochdale. 
This time around the consequences were harder to brush under the rug. The world saw what happened in the Manchester Arena. And they were horrified. This time the victims couldn’t could be hidden away.
The question is whether anything will be done.

Iconoclast in the Promised Land

By Caroline B. Glick
May 23, 2017

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel, May 22 2017.
Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel, May 22 2017... (photo credit:GPO)

Israelis are greeting US President Donald Trump with cautious optimism. Their optimism stems from President Trump’s iconoclasm. Trump won the US presidential election based on a campaign of rejecting the prevailing narratives on US domestic and foreign policy that have long held sway among the elites. These narratives dictate and limit the boundaries of acceptable discourse in the US. Unfortunately, their relationship with facts and truth was never more than incidental. Indeed, in recent years that incidental link has vanished altogether along a wide swath of policy areas. On the domestic front, the most obvious examples of this disconnect between the prevailing narratives that dictate policies and the facts that guarantee the failure of those policies relate to US immigration policy and US healthcare policy.

American voters elected Trump because whether or not they supported his specific immigration and healthcare policies, they appreciated his willingness to state openly that the policies now in effect are having devastating impacts on American society.

As far as foreign policy is concerned, Trump’s willingness to buck conventional wisdom was most in evidence in his full-throated rejection of the foreign policy establishment’s refusal to acknowledge the obvious link between Islam and Islamic terrorism. Likewise, his rejection of president Barack Obama’s nuclear and financial appeasement of the Iranian regime worked to his electoral advantage. The elite media, and much of the foreign policy community, along with Democratic lawmakers, willingly joined Obama’s echo chamber and peddled the narrative that the nuclear deal would empower so-called “moderates” in the Iranian regime against so-called “hardliners.”

In stark contrast, the majority of the American public recognized that empowering your enemy both financially and militarily is a recipe for disaster.

Finally, Trump’s enthusiastic, unqualified support for Israel, his refusal to endorse the establishment of a Palestinian state and his pledge to move the US Embassy to Israel’s capital city Jerusalem were second importance only to his pledge to appoint Supreme Court justices that oppose abortion to his success in winning near wall-to-wall support from evangelical Christian voters.

It was because of his foreign policy iconoclasm that Israelis were, by and large, euphoric when Trump was finally inaugurated in January.

Since then, however, in significant ways, Trump has bowed to the narratives of the establishment. As a result, Israel’s euphoria at his election has been replaced by cautious optimism.

During his speech in Riyadh, in relation to both Iran and Islamic terrorism, Trump kept his promise to base his strategies for dealing with the threats on facts rather than narrative.

As far as Iran was concerned, Trump broke with convention by ignoring the meaningless presidential “elections” in Iran last Friday. Rather than embrace the common delusion that ballots mean something in Iran, when Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei decides who can run for election and decides who wins, Trump concentrated on facts. Iran is the primary engine of terrorism in the region and the world, he explained. Moreover, the world would be a better place, and the Iranian people would be better off, if the regime were overthrown.

On Islamic terrorism, Trump again ignored the advice of his national security adviser H.R. McMaster and refused to embrace the false narrative that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. Rather, standing before the leaders of the Islamic world, Trump exhorted them to confront “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Trump’s decision to make the case outright to the Muslim leaders was all the more astounding because on the eve of his speech, McMaster demeaned his refusal to embrace the narrative that Islam is peace in an interview with ABC News. In McMaster’s insubordinate words, “The president will call [Islamic terrorism] whatever he wants to call it. But I think it’s important that whatever we call it, we recognize that these are not religious people and, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”

McMaster then insisted that despite the fact that his boss continues to talk about “radical Islamic terrorism,” Trump is coming around to embracing the official narrative that Islam is unrelated to Islamic terrorism. “This is learning,” he said.

But while Trump has maintained his fact-based rhetoric on Iran, for instance, his actual policy is very similar to Obama’s. Rather than keep his campaign pledge and cancel the nuclear deal which guarantees Iran a nuclear arsenal in ten years, Trump chose to punt. He certified – wrongly – that Iran is abiding by the terms of the deal even as the Iranians are stockpiling uranium in excess of the amounts permitted under the deal and are barring weapons inspectors from entering their nuclear sites. So too, Trump has kept up Obama’s practice of keeping the public in the dark regarding what was actually agreed to with Iran by refusing to reveal the nuclear agreement’s secret protocols.

In other words, his policies have yet to match his rhetoric on Iran.

But then again, there is reason to give Trump the benefit of the doubt on Iran. It is more than possible that Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia and Israel is entirely about Iran. After all, Trump has enthusiastically joined the anti- Iran coalition that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu built with the Sunni regimes to try to mitigate the destructive consequences of Obama’s embrace of the ayatollahs. And he seems to be interested in using this coalition to rebuild US power in the Middle East while ending Iran’s unimpeded rise as a nuclear power and regional hegemon, just as Israel and the Sunnis had hoped.

The same inconsistency and lack of clarity about Trump’s intentions and his level of willingness to reject the establishment narrative on foreign policy is even more blatant in everything related to Israel and the Palestinian war against it.

During his speech in Riyadh, Trump repeated the obnoxious practice of his predecessors and left Israel off the long list of countries that are afflicted by terrorism. The notion at the heart of that deliberate snub is that terrorism against Israel is somehow different and frankly more acceptable, than terrorism against everyone else.

During his brief visit to Israel, Trump will also go to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This will be the two men’s second meeting in less than a month. By insisting on meeting with Abbas during his lightning visit to Israel, Trump signals that he agrees with the narrative view that the US cannot support Israel without also legitimizing and supporting the PLO and its terror funding kleptocracy, the Palestinian Authority.

Finally, even when Trump has adopted a position that repudiates the establishment’s line, the fact is that the establishment’s members dominate his foreign policy team. And as a consequence, they do everything they can to dilute the significance of his moves.

This was clearly in evidence in relation to Trump’s decision to visit the Western Wall on Monday. In the week that preceded his visit, embassy officers angrily rejected Israel’s request that Netanyahu join Trump during his visit to the Jewish holy site, insisting that the Western Wall isn’t in Israel.

In so acting, these Obama holdovers were backed by McMaster, who refuses to admit that the Western Wall is in Jerusalem, and by his Israel-Palestinians director at the National Security Council, Kris Bauman, who served on Obama’s anti-Israel foreign policy team and supports US recognition of Hamas.

In other words, even when Trump tries to embrace fact over narrative, his failure to populate his foreign policy team with iconoclasts like himself has made it all but impossible for him to abandon the anti-Israel narrative guiding US policy. None of this means that Israelis have lost hope in Trump. To the contrary. They have enormous hope in him. But they recognize that so long as the same hostile false narrative about Israel, and the establishment that clings to it dominate Trump’s thinking and policies, the promise of his presidency will not be met.


We need more than mourning in response to the new barbarism.

23 May 2017

Police officers on patrol in Manchester, England, on Tuesday near some of the first flowers left in memory of the victims of an attack at an Ariana Grande concert. Credit(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

After the terror, the platitudes. And the hashtags. And the candlelit vigils. And they always have the same message: ‘Be unified. Feel love. Don’t give in to hate.’ The banalities roll off the national tongue. Vapidity abounds. A shallow fetishisation of ‘togetherness’ takes the place of any articulation of what we should be together for – and against. And so it has been after the barbarism in Manchester. In response to the deaths of more than 20 people at an Ariana Grande gig, in response to the massacre of children enjoying pop music, people effectively say: ‘All you need is love.’ The disparity between these horrors and our response to them, between what happened and what we say, is vast. This has to change.
It is becoming clear that the top-down promotion of a hollow ‘togetherness’ in response to terrorism is about cultivating passivity. It is about suppressing strong public feeling. It’s about reducing us to a line of mourners whose only job is to weep for our fellow citizens, not ask why they died, or rage against their dying. The great fear of both officialdom and the media class in the wake of terror attacks is that the volatile masses will turn wild and hateful. This is why every attack is followed by warnings of an ‘Islamophobic backlash’ and heightened policing of speech on Twitter and gatherings in public: because what they fundamentally fear is public passion, our passion. They want us passive, empathetic, upset, not angry, active, questioning. They prefer us as a lonely crowd of dutiful, disconnected mourners rather than a real collective of citizens demanding to know why our fellow citizens died and how we might prevent others from dying. We should stop playing the role they’ve allotted us.
As part of the post-terror narrative, our emotions are closely policed. Some emotions are celebrated, others demonised. Empathy – good. Grief – good. Sharing your sadness online – great. But hatred? Anger? Fury? These are bad. They are inferior forms of feeling, apparently, and must be discouraged. Because if we green-light anger about terrorism, then people will launch pogroms against Muslims, they say, or even attack Sikhs or the local Hindu-owned cornershop, because that’s how stupid and hateful we apparently are. But there is a strong justification for hate right now. Certainly for anger. For rage, in fact. Twenty-two of our fellow citizens were killed at a pop concert. I hate that, I hate the person who did it, I hate those who will apologise for it, and I hate the ideology that underpins such barbarism. I want to destroy that ideology. I don’t feel sad, I feel apoplectic. Others will feel likewise, but if they express this verboten post-terror emotion they risk being branded as architects of hate, contributors to future terrorist acts, racist, and so on. Their fury is shushed. ‘Just weep. That’s your role.’
The post-terror cultivation of passivity speaks to a profound crisis of – and fear of – the active citizen. It diminishes us as citizens to reduce us to hashtaggers and candle-holders in the wake of serious, disorientating acts of violence against our society. It decommissions the hard thinking and deep feeling citizens ought to pursue after terror attacks. Indeed, in some ways this official post-terror narrative is the unwitting cousin of the terror attack itself. Where terrorism pursues a war of attrition against our social fabric, seeking to rip away bit by bit our confidence and openness and sense of ourselves as free citizens, officialdom and the media diminish our individuality and our social role, through instructing us on what we may feel and think and say about national atrocities and discouraging us from taking responsibility for confronting these atrocities and the ideological and violent rot behind them. The terrorist seeks to weaken our resolve, the powers-that-be want to sedate our emotions, retire our anger, reduce us to wet-eyed performers in their post-terror play. It’s a dual assault on the individual and society.

Memo from Manchester: Don’t Let the Swamp Win on Immigration

May 23, 2017
Police offices add to the flowers for the victims of Monday night pop concert explosion, in St Ann's Square, Manchester,  Tuesday May 23, 2017. A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with Monday's Manchester concert bomb attack. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left over 20 people dead and dozens injured. ( Martin Rickett/PA via AP)

Police offices add to the flowers for the victims of Monday night pop concert explosion, in St Ann's Square, Manchester, Tuesday May 23, 2017. A 23-year-old man was arrested in connection with Monday's Manchester concert bomb attack. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility Tuesday for the suicide attack at an Ariana Grande show that left over 20 people dead and dozens injured. ( Martin Rickett/PA via AP)
The excruciating facts keep on coming in. Twenty-two are dead, many of them children. About five dozen others are wounded, such that the death-toll may climb. The Islamic State jihadist network, having exhorted its willing Western-based recruits to attack in place, has claimed responsibility. And now comes the revelation that the suicide-terrorist, Salman Abedi, is yet another known-wolf—a young Muslim man in Britain who was on the radar screen of security services as a potential threat.
The 22-year-old bomber was a British-born son of Libyan refugees, who grew up in the Whalley Range neighborhood outside Manchester—an area that became notorious when two girls, honor students at the local high school, moved to Syria to live under Islamic State rule. Abedi carried out the atrocious bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester with an improvised explosive device that sprayed high-speed nails at his victims. The bomb type is commonplace in what Muslim terrorists like to call “the fields of jihad”—Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and so on. It is too soon to tell what kind of paramilitary training Abedi may have had. What we do know is that he roamed free because he was judged by the British government not to pose an “immediate” peril.
Once a Western society is infiltrated by a critical mass of sharia supremacists, there are barely enough investigative resources to cover the immediate perils—especially when inquiries into their ideology are condemned as racist “Islamophobia.”
It was to confront head-on that self-defeating approach that, following the San Bernardino jihadist attack that killed 14 Americans, candidate Donald Trump announced his much-derided intention to impose a temporary ban on Muslim immigration. As night follows day, Trump was branded an Islamophobe―a classic demagogic slur developed by the Muslim Brotherhood precisely to thwart examination of sharia-supremacist ideology. But the candidate’s intention was never to bar all Muslims from entering the United States; what he had in mind was a temporary measure until a workable policy solution could be devised (“until our elected representatives can figure out what is going on,” as he put it).
The policy solution Trump arrived at was enhanced vetting (which he at times calls “extreme vetting”). I know this not just from the now-president’s plethora of statements on the matter; I served on the commission (put together by Trump campaign adviser Rudy Giuliani) that counseled Trump. The point was never to ban Muslims, as has been misrepresented in press coverage and legal arguments over Trump’s so-called “travel ban” orders. The point was to ban those beholden to what Trump has called “radical Islamic” ideology (I prefer the more precise description “sharia supremacism”).
The strategy is based on what should be a widely known fact but, after a generation of willful blindness, remains obscure: Sharia supremacism, which demands that societies be governed by classical, repressive Islamic law (sharia), is a totalitarian political ideologyunder a religious veneer. It should not be regarded as a merely religious belief system as that concept is understood in our law.
Once this core premise is accepted, the legality of heightened vetting is plain to see. The United States has a long history of barring admission to political radicals who seek to overthrow our constitutional system. Indeed, to this day the oath taken by naturalized citizens requires a pledge of loyalty to our Constitution.
The public debate over this aspect of Muslim immigration has been numbingly uninformed. Federal courts and Islamist apologists have challenged the administration over the travel ban―a temporary measure to block entry into the United States by aliens from six Muslim-majority countries that are high-risk because their regimes are incapable of, or unwilling to, cooperate with U.S. immigration authorities. Ignoring the president’s sweeping constitutional and statutory authority to impose such temporary bans on national-security grounds, Trump Justice Department lawyers have been grilled on such diversions as the number of terrorist attacks committed against the United States by nationals of the six countries, and whether the president’s campaign rhetoric signals a closet agenda to ban all Muslims.
These questions miss the point. It is of course imperative to prevent the entry of trained jihadists who may have infiltrated groups of refugees and other aliens seeking admission. That, however, is a secondary problem.
The threat we face is not merely terrorism. The main threat is the ideology because of which terrorism thrives. As we see in Europe, and are reminded of in Manchester, enclaves of assimilation-resistant aliens adherent to sharia supremacism become the safe-havens in which jihadism takes root. It is there, among sympathetic residents, that the message of groups like the Islamic State has resonance―making the enclaves fertile ground for jihadist indoctrination, recruitment, training, fundraising, and harboring.
Yes, we must root out the terrorists of today. But we must be at least as concerned about the 10-, 13-, or 16-year-old who will become the Salman Abedi of tomorrow—a young Muslim who slides seamlessly into jihadism because of the anti-Western ideological precincts we have come to indulge.
To prevent that fate, we have to be prepared to scrutinize aliens for sharia-supremacist ideology. That means heightened vetting for aliens who seek to enter the United States from any country, city, town, or enclave where this anti-constitutional ideology—so hostile to liberty and equality―is prevalent. The objective is not, and has never been, to ban Muslims just because they are Muslims. As the president correctly noted in his speech on Sunday in Saudi Arabia, jihadist terror regularly kills and persecutes Muslims. The objective is to protect the religious liberty of all Americans from sharia supremacists―ideologues who systematically discriminate against both non-Muslims and Muslims who do not adhere to fundamentalist construction of Islam.
In an essential analysis of sharia encroachment in Britain, the Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern details the push by growing Muslim enclaves for autonomy to govern themselves under sharia, rather than British law. Sharia courts are proliferating. Increasing percentages of Britain’s Muslim population (now 3.5 million, about 5.5 percent of total population . . . and climbing) express sympathy for jihadists. There have been cover-ups of sexual-assault scandals and the pressure put on women to conform to Islamic mores. In Manchester itself, residents have received leaflets in their mailboxes from a Muslim group calling itself “Public Purity,” demanding a ban on dogs (which are considered unclean under classical sharia). A 23-year-old Manchester man, Raphael Hostey (a.k.a. “Abu Qaqa al-Britani), joined the Islamic State and became a key recruiter―of both jihadist fighters and jihadist brides.
It would be the height of folly to believe that what is happening in England cannot happen here. This is why the president’s travel-ban orders have been inadvertently counterproductive.
Because of the base allegations of anti-Muslim bias, the White House, Homeland Security Department and Justice Department have been goaded into defending themselves, in court proceedings, by claiming that the orders have nothing to do with Islam. The president’s orders, they maintain, relate strictly to the security shortcomings of the six particular countries cited. Indeed, the administration has bragged that the vast majority of the world’s Muslims (over 80 percent) are unaffected, and that the revised order scaled back the number of affected Muslim-majority countries from seven to six.
But how are we ever to avoid the influx of anti-American sharia-supremacists if our security personnel do not screen aliens seeking entry for ideological hostility? And how can that happen unless the Trump administration says, honestly and without apology, that we seek to subject Muslim alien visa seekers from sharia-supremacist hotbeds to enhanced vetting, in order to promote fidelity to the Constitution, assimilation, and the religious liberty of all Americans, including Muslim Americans—all of which are proper and essential goals of sound immigration policy?
Atrocities such as the Manchester bombing are always shocking, but that does not make them unpredictable. Suicide bombers are enabled by suicidal policies.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a former chief assistant U.S. attorney best known for successfully prosecuting the “Blind Sheikh” (Omar Abdel Rahman) and eleven other jihadists for waging a terrorist war against the United States – a war that included the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and a subsequent plot to bomb New York City landmarks. He is a recipient of the Justice Department’s highest honors, helped supervise the command-post near Ground Zero in lower Manhattan following the 9/11 attacks, and later served as an adviser to the Deputy Secretary of Defense. His several popular books include the New York Times bestsellers Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad and The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. He is a senior fellow at National Review Institute and a contributing editor at National Review. He is a frequent guest commentator on national security, law, politics, and culture in national media, and his columns and essays also appear regularly in The New Criterion, PJ Media, and other major publications.

Today's Tune: Matthew Ryan - Guilty

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Dangerous Woman" Meets Dangerous Man

By Mark Steyn
May 23, 2017

Image result for manchester bombing 2017
Injured concertgoers and police officers inside the arena after the explosion. (Credit Press Association, via Associated Press)

The pop star Ariana Grande has canceled the remaining dates of her "Dangerous Woman" tour following the murder of 22 fans (at the time of writing) and the injury of dozens more at her concert in Manchester. The Manchester Royal Infirmary reports that half the victims brought to the hospital overnight are children. The killer was a suicide bomber. Theresa May says the police believe they know his identity. The usual, predictable details will follow. [UPDATE: He's Salman Abedi, the Manchester-born son of Libyan refugees and another "known wolf".]

As The Independent's headline has it:
There's only one way Britain should respond to attacks such as Manchester. That is by carrying on exactly as before.
That's not actually the "only" way Britain could respond, but it seems the way to bet, judging from the responses of the political class. "Carry on" is a very British expression. One thinks of the famous scene in one of the most famous of the Carry On comedies, Carry On Up The Khyber, surely the most insightful film ever made about Afghanistan: as you'll recall, the revolting Khasi of Khalabar grows ever more enraged at the British Governor's refusal to let the shelling and destruction of Government House disrupt his dinner party. Even when the Khasi has the main course replaced with the head of a decapitated fakir, Her Majesty's viceroy declines to let his eye be caught by these vulgar attention-seeking jihadists. The film received unenthusiastic reviews from London critics in 1968. One would not have predicted that half-a-century later it would be official British policy on the home front.

Easier said than done, alas. A couple of hours ago, as I write, the Arndale shopping center in Manchester was evacuated, somewhat chaotically, with hundreds of customers stampeding for the exits lest they be the cause of The Independent's next carry-on editorial. The Arndale was the scene of the last big terror attack - in 1996, when the IRA totaled it. Two hundred people were injured, but nobody died, and you don't have to be a terror apologist like Jeremy Corbyn to find the bad old days of Irish republicanism almost quaint by comparison. A few weeks ago the BBC reported that "approximately 850 people" from the United Kingdom have gone to Syria and Iraq to fight for Isis and the like. That's more volunteers than the IRA were able to recruit in thirty years of the "Troubles", when MI5 estimated that they never had more than a hundred active terrorists out in the field. This time maybe it's the exotic appeal of foreign travel, as opposed to a month holed up in a barn in Newry.

Carrying on in Germany, Angela Merkel pronounced the attack "incomprehensible". But she can't be that uncomprehending, can she? Our declared enemies are perfectly straightforward in their stated goals, and their actions are consistent with their words. They select their targets with some care. For a while, it was Europe's Jews, at a Brussels museum and a Toulouse school and a Copenhagen synagogue and a Paris kosher supermarket. But Continentals are, except for political photo-ops on Holocaust Memorial Day, relatively heartless about dead Jews, and wrote off such incidents as something to do with "Israeli settlements" and "occupation" and of no broader significance.

So they moved on to slaughter 49 gays in a nightclub in Orlando - the biggest mound of gay corpses ever piled up in American history and the worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11. But all the usual noisy LGBTQWERTY activists fell suddenly silent, as if they'd all gone back in the closet and curled up in the fetal position. And those Democrats who felt obliged to weigh in thought it was something to do with the need for gun control...

So they targeted provocative expressions of the infidel's abominable false religion, decapitating a French priest at Mass and mowing down pedestrians at a Berlin Christmas market. But post-Christian Europe takes Christianity less seriously than its enemies do, and so that too merited little more than a shrug and a pledge to carry on.

So they selected symbols of nationhood, like France's Bastille Day, Canada's Cenotaph, and the Mother of Parliaments in London. But taking seriously assaults on your own nation's symbols would require you to take your nation seriously, and most western citizens are disinclined to do so. As the great universal talismanic anthem of the age has it, "Imagine there's no countries/It's easy if you try..."

So the new Caliphate's believers figured out that what their enemy really likes is consumerism and pop music. Hence the attacks on the Champs-Élysées and the flagship Åhléns department store in Stockholm, and the bloodbath at the Eagles of Death Metal concert in Paris and now at Ariana Grande's "Dangerous Woman" tour.

In the decade since the Canadian Islamic Congress launched their "flagrant Islamophobia' lawsuits over my book, various comrades such as Ezra Levant and Douglas Murray have noted, correctly, that a principled commitment to free speech has always been a minority concern - and an even smaller minority with respect to free speech about Islam. As the most learned imam John Kerry put it with respect to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, there was "a sort of particularised focus and perhaps even a legitimacy – not a legitimacy, but a rationale..." Those cartoonists, they were all wearing short skirts and asking for it.

Conversely, most other western citizens believe that, to invert Trotsky, if you're not interested in Islam, Islam won't be interested in you. Ariana Grande was eight at the time of 9/11, and most of her fans even younger. They have passed their entire sentient lives in the age of Islamic terror, yet somehow assume it's something compartmentalized and sealed off from them. "Dangerous Woman" is meant to be an attitude, nothing more - an edgy pose in a pop culture that lost any edge long ago; a great T-shirt, like the ones last night scavenged from the merchandising stands and used to bandage the wounded. It must come as a shock to realize there are those who take your ersatz provocations as the real thing, and are genuinely provoked by them.

"Carrying on exactly as before", as The Independent advises, will not be possible. A few months ago, I was in Toulouse, where Jewish life has vanished from public visibility and is conducted only behind the prison-like walls of a fortress schoolhouse and a centralized synagogue that requires 24/7 protection by French soldiers; I went to Amsterdam, which is markedly less gay than it used to be; I walked through Molenbeek after dark, where unaccompanied women dare not go. You can carry on, you can stagger on, but life is not exactly as it was before. Inch by inch, it's smaller and more constrained.

And so it will prove for cafe life, and shopping malls, and pop concerts. Maybe Ariana Grande will be back in the UK - or maybe she will decide that discretion is the better part of a Dangerous Woman's valor. But there will be fewer young girls in the audience - because no mum or dad wants to live for the rest of their lives with the great gaping hole in your heart opening up for dozens of English parents this grim morning. And one day the jihad will get lucky and the bomb will take with it one of these filthy infidel "shameless" pop whores cavorting on stage in her underwear. You can carry on exactly as before, but in a decade or two, just as there are fewer gay bars in Amsterdam and no more Jewish shops on the Chaussée de Gand, there will be less music in the air in western cities. Even the buskers, like the one in Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens today serenading a shattered city with "All You Need Is Love", will have moved on, having learned that it's a bit more complicated than that.

I am currently reading Douglas Murray's fine book, The Strange Death of Europe, which lays out, unsparingly, the central illusion of the last half-century - that you could demographically transform the composition of hitherto more or less homogeneous nation states on a scale no stable society has ever attempted, and that there would be no consequences except a more vibrant range of local restaurants. Mrs May declared this morning on the steps of Downing Street that she had held a top-level security meeting, or what they call in Britain a "COBRA", which sounds like something scary enough to do battle with SPECTRE; in that sense, it's a very butch acronym for a bit of bureaucratic furniture labeling (Cabinet Office Briefing Room A). But I'll bet the mood around the table was one of fatalism and resignation, outside a few micro-adjustments to the budget of counter-terrorism agencies and the number of CCTV cameras and the amount of security checks at "sensitive" "high-value" targets like department stores, and theatres, and restaurants and football grounds and pubs and chip shops and...

But the arithmetic is not difficult: Poland and Hungary and Slovakia do not have Islamic terrorism because they have very little Islam. France and Germany and Belgium admit more and more Islam, and thus more and more terrorism. Yet the subject of immigration has been all but entirely absent from the current UK election campaign. Thirty years ago, in the interests of stopping IRA terrorism, the British state was not above preventing the internal movement within its borders of unconvicted, uncharged, unarrested Republican sympathizers seeking to take a ferry from Belfast to Liverpool. Today it declares it can do nothing to prevent the movement of large numbers of the Muslim world from thousands of miles away to the heart of the United Kingdom. It's just a fact of life - like being blown up when you go to a pop concert.

All of us have gotten things wrong since 9/11. But few of us have gotten things as disastrously wrong as May and Merkel and Hollande and an entire generation of European political leaders who insist that remorseless incremental Islamization is both unstoppable and manageable. It is neither - and, for the sake of the dead of last night's carnage and for those of the next one, it is necessary to face that honestly. Theresa May's statement in Downing Street is said by my old friends at The Spectatorto be "defiant", but what she is defying is not terrorism but reality. So too for all the exhausted accessories of defiance chic: candles, teddy bears, hashtags, the pitiful passive rote gestures that acknowledge atrocity without addressing it - like the Eloi in H G Wells' Time Machine, too evolved to resist the Morlocks.

As I asked around Europe all last year: What's the happy ending here? In a decade it will be worse, and in two decades worse still, and then in three decades people will barely recall how it used to be, when all that warmth and vibrancy of urban life that Owen Jones hymns in today's Guardian is but a memory, and the music has died away, and Manchester is as dull and listless as today's Alexandria. If Mrs May or Frau Merkel has a happier ending, I'd be interested to hear it. If not, it is necessary not to carry on, but to change, and soon - before it's too late.

~Mark will have more to say about yesterday's events on the radio this afternoon, Tuesday, with Evan Solomon at 580 CFRA Ottawa live at 5.30pm Eastern.