Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kenneth Timmerman On "The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi"

By Sarah Jean Seman
July 19, 2014

Kenneth Timmerman has reported from the Middle East for 35 years. He was one of the first journalists on the scene after Iranian terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983.
When the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi left four Americans dead, Timmerman recognized the pathetically inadequate coverage.
“Iranians have been killing us for the past 30 plus years and the U.S. government has never done a thing,” Timmerman told Townhall. “I think it’s about time we stood up to the Islamic fascist government in Iran and made it clear that their continued murder of American citizens will not be tolerant any longer and we will make them pay a price for it.”
Timmerman utilized his contacts from the Middle East and his knowledge from time spent reporting on the ground in the countries to write “Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi.” Last week, Timmerman joined me for an exclusive interview.
Q: You write in the book that the Benghazi attacks were a culmination of a shift in U.S. policy that was set in motion by President Obama. What were the key moving points that led up to what happened in Benghazi?
Timmerman: The administration right in the beginning set off on a path to quote “improve relations with the muslim world.” This was an announced policy shift, it included also, an outreach toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. Obama claimed, inaccurately, that the Bush administration had no diplomatic contacts with the Iranians when, in fact, there had been 28 high-level meetings between Bush administration officials and the Iranian government that led to nothing.
Obama came this new stated policy and put it into effect immediately. He goes to Istanbul in April, he invites the Muslim Brotherhood to Washington to the White House for secret meetings also in April of 2009. In June, shortly after his speech at Cairo University, the pro-freedom demonstrations erupted in Iran after their failed, or stolen presidential elections, and there were 3 million people in the streets of Iran holding up signs in English: “Obama are you with us?” and he showed, very quickly, that he was not, and he was on the side of a radical Islamist regime in Tehran, rather than the people of Iran.
Fast-forward from there, to the ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia, the ousting of Mubarak in Egypt, and ultimately the ousting of Gaddafi, and what you have is a systematic reversal of American policy. The shift goes to essentially enhance radical Islamist regimes around the world, or to create them, as happened in Egypt and later in Libya. And that, I think, is what led directly to the Benghazi attacks. It showed weakness, and in the Middle East and the Muslim world, where I’ve been reporting from for the past 35 years, weakness invites attack.
Q: How did your knowledge of the Middle East add to the book?
Timmerman: Many of the players I know personally; I’ve met them, I’ve interviewed them. I’ve been to most of the countries that I describe. I was in Libya, witnessing Gaddafi’s submission to the United States in 2004. We actually got his weapons of mass destruction loaded onto a ship in Tripoli Harbor while I was there in March of 2004; brought back to the United States, both the uranium enrichment centrifuges and his ballistic missiles. This was a tremendous victory for the Bush administration.
Gaddafi also cut off his support for international terrorist organizations, and he truly did. He was an ally in the global War on Terrorism, he was cracking down on the al-Qaeda fronts in his country, and he was accepting Libyans that we had detained (either in Gitmo or Pakistan, or elsewhere) in his jails and treating them relatively humanely. And I can say that, because Chris Stevens was going into the jails to actually interview these prisons to make sure that they were not being tortured.
Gaddafi had become a de facto ally in the war against global terrorism and what do we do in response? We throw him over, in exchange for the terrorists we were trying to fight.
Q: Do you think Obama’s actions result from design or ignorance?
Timmerman: This was a policy of conviction on the part of the president and his closest advisors. He believed, for whatever reason, that the United States was at fault. That the hostility towards the United States that led to the September 11, 2001 attack was America’s fault and that we had to correct the image that we presented around the world, by kowtowing to dictators, by kowtowing to Islamic fundamentalists, and by pretending that radical Islam was as acceptable don’t know, democratic socialism in Europe.
Q: You discuss how former White House press Secretary Jay Carney played a part in the cover-up, and even more recently he criticized the GOP for politicizing Benghazi. What is the proper response to that claim?
I’ve notice that Jay Carney has since resigned, perhaps because telling lies on a daily basis just got too much for him. We only know the bare minimum of the facts, of what happened in Benghazi, that’s why I wrote this book.
I am only one person. I did not have big think tank people behind me, I did not have any major news organization behind me. I did have 35 years of experience in the Middle East and a pretty large rolodex of contacts. I went to defectors for the Iranian terrorism organization, for example, to ask the fundamental question: “Was Iran engaged at all in Benghazi?” The information that came back was astonishing. That should have been accessible to other reporters and other researchers, as well as to the U.S. government. I found out, also through my contacts, about an absolutely astonishing arms smuggling operation out of Libya to radical jihadi groups around the world, that appears to have been authorized, or at the very least explicitly tolerated, by John Brennan, who at the time was the president’s counterterrorism advisor. That is in violation of so many U.S. statutes it’s hard to number them on my hands and my feet.
Q: What would you like to see moving forward?
Timmerman: It’s time to tell the truth. It’s time to get the facts out. It’s time for the American people to understand and be told, authoritatively, that what happened in Benghazi was a state-sponsored terrorist attack by the Islamic people of Iran. And it’s time for the U.S. government to stand up to that very uncomfortable truth and do something about it.

Embracing the obvious truth

August 26, 2014

Damage To Israeli Synagogue
A synagogue in Asher is struck by rockets fired by Hamas.

It isn’t hard to understand the truth about Israel and Hamas.

Four-year-old Daniel Tragerman was murdered on Friday afternoon in his home in Kibbutz Nahal Oz by Hamas terrorists.

They shot him with a mortar launched from a school in Gaza’s Zeitoun neighborhood. At the time of the launch, the school was filled with civilians who had fled to the school for shelter.

They fled to the school for shelter because they were forced to vacate their homes.

They were forced to vacate their homes because Hamas terrorists were launching mortars and rockets at Israeli civilian sites, like Daniel Tragerman’s home, from their apartment buildings.

The moral and ideological divide between Israel and Hamas is so self-evident that the only way to ignore it is by embracing and cultivating ignorance.

This week Richard Behar published an in-depth investigative report in Forbes documenting how the US media is doing just that. As Behar demonstrated, the media is collaborating with Hamas in its war against Israel.

Behar cited example after example of how the US media, led by The New York Times have systematically ignored, obfuscated and downplayed Hamas’s war crimes while swallowing whole its bogus statistics and accusations against Israel.

The greatest threat to faux reporters like the New York Times Israel bureau chief Jodi Rudoren and her colleagues are people who refuse to accept their distortions and insist that the truth be told.

The most dangerous of the truth tellers are the non- Jews who stand up for Israel.

This week, former British Labour MP Denis MacShane published an op-ed in Haaretz where he spoke to this point. MacShane argued that for Israel to win the information war being waged against it must cultivate non-Jewish defenders.

In his words, “The British media… is awash with defenders of Hamas and Palestinian resistance. Hardly any are Muslims. In contrast, the prominent journalists – Jonathan Freedland, Daniel Finkelstein, Melanie Phillips, David Aaronovich – who support Israel are, well, Jews.”

MacShane argued that because they are Jews, readers dismiss them.

They “shrug their shoulders and think privately: ‘They would say that, wouldn’t they.”

Israel has an enormous reserve of support among non-Jews. But due to the mainstream media’s commitment to dishonesty and deliberate cultivation of public ignorance and moral blindness in their coverage of Israel, for many, the price of defending Israel is becoming prohibitive.

Israel’s enemies in the West do their best to reinforce this perception.

Consider the case of Jon Voight.

The celebrated Oscar-winning actor is an outspoken champion of Israel. Earlier this month, Voight published an open letter to Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in Variety where he harshly criticized the Spanish performers for their public statement condemning Israel and siding with Hamas in its war against the Jewish state.

In his words, “I am heartsick that people like Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused.”

Voight was viciously attacked for speaking out.

Last week, two UCLA professors, Mark LeVine and Gil Hochberg, co-authored an article published in The Huffington Post assaulting him for his views and his temerity to suggest that Israel is a moral, embattled democracy fighting genocidal forces committed to its destruction.

The two Jewish academics are supporters of the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.

The principal aim of the BDS movement is to make it socially unacceptable to support Israel. In 2010 LeVine and Hochberg signed a petition calling for California state universities to divest from companies that do business with Israel.

Online Hollywood commentators, such as Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, opined that Voight, who was nominated for an Emmy Award for his role in Showtime’s Ray Donovan series, was liable to lose his Emmy bid due to his support for Israel.

Hochberg and LeVine’s assault on Voight was a long-winded voyage into the post-Zionist and anti-Zionist literary moonscape. Their principal criticism of Voight was that he refuses to accept this intellectual wasteland’s rejection of the known facts of history.

Voight is not an academic, nor has he ever claimed to be an expert on Middle Eastern history. He is a non-Jewish American concerned about the future of America.

That is why he stands with Israel. Voight recognizes that when Israel is under assault, and its right to defend itself is denied while terrorists are supported, the US is endangered. And so he feels compelled to speak out, regardless of the price.

In his response to the threats to deny him the Emmy due to his support for Israel Voight told USA Today, “I’m not speaking to get awards. I’m speaking because I’m concerned about my grandchildren and the life they’re going to live, and the country they’re coming in to. I want to protect them.”

Another non-Jewish champion of Israel is former US senator and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum. Both during his tenure in the Senate and since, Santorum has spoken out strongly against Iran’s nuclear program, insisting that it is a serious threat not only to Israel, but to the US itself.

Like Voight, Santorum recognizes that the fate of the US is directly tied to the fate of Israel.

For his trenchant support for Israel, and his outspoken concern about Iran’s nuclear program, as well as his support for domestic issues where he has not shied away from taking controversial, inconvenient position, Santorum’s critics have demonized him.

But undaunted, he continues to speak out.

Last week, Santorum led a solidarity mission to Israel. The majority of his colleagues were non-Jewish opinion shapers from Iowa, the first state to hold Republican presidential contests. Santorum explained that his goal in coming to Israel was not simply to show Israelis that the American people support us. It was to build support among Republicans in Iowa for a robust US engagement in foreign affairs based on supporting Israel, fighting America’s enemies and preventing the forces of hatred, like Hamas and Iran, from expanding their power.

Santorum’s chief concern is that weary of foreign policy failures, more and more Republicans are embracing the isolationism most identified with Senator Rand Paul. Paul is currently polling well in Iowa.

Over the weekend Paul referred to Hillary Clinton as “a war hawk,” and said, “I think the American public is coming more and more to where I am.”

Santorum is convinced that if Iowans are educated about the nature of the threats emanating from the region, and of Israel’s singular contribution to the cause of freedom and stability, their position can become the basis for a Republican foreign policy that rejects isolationism and embraces US leadership in world affairs as the only way to secure the US and strengthen its embattled allies.

In other words, like Voight, Santorum’s support for Israel is rooted in his concern about America, and its future. Like Voight, Santorum recognizes that the growing penchant among elite opinion shapers to ignore truth in the pursuit of moral relativism and fake sophistication or isolationism constitutes a danger to America.

This week the New York Times descended to yet another low, reporting as fact totally unsubstantiated accusations by the son of a senior Hamas terrorist that Israel tortured him and used him as a human shield during a brief incarceration.

But it appears that the jig may be winding down.

More and more people are following the lead of men like Voight and Santorum, and insisting that the truth be told.

This week more than 190 Hollywood luminaries followed Voight’s courageous lead and signed a public statement condemning Hamas.

Quin Hillyer, a reporter for National Review who accompanied Santorum on his mission, wrote Monday, “My visit to Israel last week confirmed that Iran and its fellow jihadists have good reason to see Israel and the United States in the same light. Israelis and Americans share the same humane, Western values…

“Israel is an oasis in a desert – in the physical, topographical sense but also metaphorically. It’s an oasis of reason, human decency and justice appropriately grounded in mercy.”

MacShane is right. It is vital for more non-Jews, who refuse to deny the truth that screams out to be told, to stand up to the lies and publicly stand with Israel. It is the job of Israel and Jewish communities throughout the world to empower them by among other things, reducing the power of Israel’s enemies to make them pay a price for their decency.

Call the Islamic State What It Is: Evil

Sanitizing language about terrorists only works when people aren’t paying attention. 

I never liked it when George W. Bush used the term “evildoers” to describe al-Qaeda and other terrorists. A lot of other people objected as well, but for different reasons. I didn’t like the term because it always sounded to me like he was saying “evil Dewar’s,” as in the blended Scotch. (This always made some of Bush’s statements chuckle-worthy — “We will not rest until we find the evil Dewar’s!”) I prefer single malts, but “evil” always seemed unduly harsh.

The more common objection to “evildoers” was that it was, variously, simplistic, Manichean, imperialistic, cartoonish, etc.

“Perhaps without even realizing it,” Peter Roff, then with UPI, wrote in October 2001, “the president is using language that recalls a simpler time when good and evil seemed more easy to identify — a time when issues, television programs and movies were more black and white, not colored by subtle hues of meaning.”

A few years later, as the memory of 9/11 faded and the animosity toward Bush grew, the criticism became more biting. But the substance was basically the same. Sophisticated people don’t talk about “evil,” save perhaps when it comes to America’s legacy of racism, homophobia, capitalistic greed, and the other usual targets of American self-loathing.

For most of the Obama years, talk of evil was largely banished from mainstream discourse. An attitude of “goodbye to all that” prevailed, as the War on Terror was rhetorically and legally disassembled and the spare parts put toward building a law-enforcement operation. War was euphemized into “overseas contingency operations” and “kinetic military action.” There was still bloodshed, but the language was often bloodless.
Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a protégé of al-Qaeda guru Anwar al-Awlaki, shouted “Allahu Akbar!” as he killed his colleagues at Fort Hood. The military called the incident “workplace violence.”

But sanitizing the language only works so long as people aren’t paying too much attention. That’s why the Islamic State is so inconvenient to those who hate the word “evil.” Last week, after the group released a video showing American journalist James Foley getting his head cut off, the administration’s rhetoric changed dramatically. The president called the Islamic State a “cancer” that had to be eradicated. Secretary of State John Kerry referred to it as the “face of . . . evil.”

Although most people across the ideological spectrum see no problem with calling the Islamic State evil, the change in rhetoric elicited a predictable knee-jerk response. Political scientist Michael Boyle hears an “eerie echo” of Bush’s “evildoers” talk. “Indeed,” he wrote in the New York Times, “condemning the black-clad, masked militants as purely ‘evil’ is seductive, for it conveys a moral clarity and separates ourselves and our tactics from the enemy and theirs.”

James Dawes, the director of the Program in Human Rights and Humanitarianism at Macalester College, agreed in a piece for Using the word “evil,” he wrote, “stops us from thinking.”

No, it doesn’t. But perhaps a reflexive and dogmatic fear of the word “evil” hinders thinking?

For instance, Boyle suggests that because the Islamic State controls lots of territory and is “administering social services,” it “operates less like a revolutionary terrorist movement that wants to overturn the entire political order in the Middle East than a successful insurgent group that wants a seat at that table.”

Behold the clarity of thought that comes with jettisoning moralistic language! Never mind that the Islamic State says it seeks a global caliphate with its flag over the White House. Who cares that it is administering social services? Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot did, too. That’s what revolutionary groups do when they grab enough territory.

There’s a more fundamental question: Is it true? Is the Islamic State evil?

As a matter of objective moral fact, the answer seems obvious. But also under any more subjective version of multiculturalism, pluralism, or moral relativism shy of nihilism, “evil” seems a pretty accurate description for an organization that is not only intolerant toward gays, Christians, atheists, moderate Muslims, Jews, women, et al. but also stones, beheads, and enslaves them.

Who are you saving the word for if “evil” is too harsh for the Islamic State? More to the point, since when is telling the truth evidence you’ve stopped thinking?

— Jonah Goldberg is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and editor-at-large of National Review Online. You can write to him by e-mail or via Twitter @JonahNRO. © 2014 Tribune Content Agency, LLC

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Austria: Springboard for Global Jihad

by Soeren Kern
August 26, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Austrian government has announced plans to improve its intelligence gathering and analysis capabilities in an urgent effort to crack down on would-be jihadists in the country.

The decision by Austrian Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner to recruit 20 new intelligence officers to focus exclusively on the threat posed by radical Islam comes after police in Austria arrested nine Chechen immigrants who were on their way to wage jihad in Syria.

The move also comes amid growing concerns that Austria's shiftless Muslim youth are becoming increasingly radicalized and vocal in their support of the jihadist group Islamic State.

The Chechens—eight men and one woman, ranging in age from 17 to 32—were purportedly planning to travel to Syria over a land route that would take them from Austria through the neighboring Balkans and on into Turkey. Four of the individuals were arrested in the southeastern Austrian province of Styria, and five others were detained in the province of Carinthia. Both provinces border Slovenia.
According to an analysis published by the newspaper Der Standard, Austria has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria because Austria's geographic location provides easy access to land routes through the Balkans.

Austrian intelligence officials say that most of the 130 Austrians who are thought to have travelled to Syria are Chechens. The rest are immigrants from Bosnia, Kosovo and Turkey. Approximately 60 Austrian jihadists are currently on the front lines, 50 have already returned to Austria and 20 have been killed in action.

The returning jihadists are "ticking time bombs," according to Mikl-Leitner. Her concerns are echoed in a June 2014 report by the Austrian intelligence agency BVT, which is emphatic about the threat posed by returning jihadists. The document states:
"When fighters return from the warzone, their newly acquired combat skills, traumatic experiences and changes in behavior, plus the possibility that they have become highly radicalized, represent a considerable security risk for Austria. Those who return could become involved in proselytizing activities as well as in establishing new radical centers in which they could serve as instructors. Potential terrorist attacks could be perpetrated by so-called lone wolves but also by organized terrorist groups."
The report also warns of the "exploding radicalization of the Salafist scene in Austria." Salafism is an anti-Western ideology that seeks to impose Islamic sharia law in Austria and other parts of Europe. The document states:
"The number of young radicalized followers of violent Salafism in Austria continues to rise. In this context, the conflict in Syria is of urgent relevance for Austria, because systematic efforts are being made within Austria to radicalize and recruit people for the war in Syria.
"The conflict in Syria has become very popular among violent extremist Salafists in Austria. The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist. 
"So-called hate preachers can have a decisive influence on the radicalization and recruiting processes by means of ideological and personal indoctrination. Jihad is offered as the only adequate means to solving disputes between Muslims and non-Muslims. In Austria, this targeted manipulation is achieved through conspiratorial performances by charismatic leaders. Young Muslims, who are seeking alternative perspectives due to life crises, are often submissive victims to these 'radicalizers' and 'recruiters' and are often fascinated by the prospect of armed jihad."
In any event, Salafism is on track to becoming a permanent fixture of Austrian society, if demographics are any indication. The Muslim population in Austria now exceeds 500,000 (or roughly 6% of the total population), up from an estimated 150,000 (or 2%) in 1990. The Muslim population is expected to reach 800,000 (or 9.5%) by 2030, according to recent estimates.

Muslim students already outnumber Roman Catholic students at middle and secondary schools in Vienna, the capital and largest city of Austria, according to statistics compiled by the Vienna Board of Education (Stadtschulrat für Wien) and published by Radio Vatican website in March 2014.

The data—which show that Muslim students are also on the verge of overtaking Catholics in Viennese elementary schools—reflect an established trend and provide empirical evidence of a massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country.

In the current school year, 10,734 Muslim students are enrolled in Viennese middle and secondary schools, compared to 8,632 Roman Catholic students, 4,259 Serbian Orthodox students and 3,219 students with "no religious persuasion," the data shows.

As far as elementary schools are concerned, there are 23,807 Roman Catholic students, followed by 17,913 Muslim students, 11,119 "non-religious" students, 6,083 Serbian Orthodox students and 2,322 Protestants.

The statistics show that the only Viennese schools where Muslims remain a distinct minority are in thegymnasium, advanced secondary schools that place a strong emphasis on academic learning rather than on vocational skills. Students graduating from a gymnasium are more likely than others to be admitted to attend university in Austria.

Official statistics also show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners.
Meanwhile, Austrian jihadists are busy using social media to promote their cause, and to taunt counter-terrorism authorities. Before leaving for Syria in early 2014, a 19-year-old jihadist from Vienna named Firas Houidi wrote the following message on his Facebook page: "To the intelligence agent who may be reading this: Either you kill us or we continue, until the heads fly." In mid-August, Houidi, who goes by the nom de guerre Firas Abdullah II, sent a follow-up "greeting" from Syria that included a photograph of an artillery shell in a box ready to be shipped to Austrian authorities.

In another message, Houidi, who has a Tunisian immigrant background, wrote that it is not necessary for Austrian Muslims to travel all the way to Syria to wage jihad against infidels. "Even if you do not emigrate and fight, then do it in Austria," he wrote. "Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." After his Facebook page was suspended, he reportedly opened another one under the name "Firas Abdullah III."

Europol, the international police organization, has now issued an international arrest warrant for Houidi for belonging to a terrorist organization and for inciting to commit serious crimes.

Another so-called Austro-Islamist named "Abu Hamza al-Austria" produced an eight-minute recruitment videocalling on Muslims to wage jihad. He can be heard saying: "My name is Abu Hamza. I lived in Vienna until Allah called me and I obeyed his call." He continues:
"My brothers and sisters. When I lived in Austria, I thought it would be difficult to leave because I was used to a life of luxury. I imagined that in Syria there would be no water, very little food and drink. This is not the case. We live in houses that exceed western expectations. We live in villas with fireplaces and swimming pools. We have everything here. We have no fear of death. We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions."
The Islamist known as "Abu Hamza al-Austria," fighting in Syria, pictured from his jihadist recruitment video.

Austrian jihadists have also used social media to call on fellow Muslims to murder Yazidis, ethnic Kurdish non-Muslims, living in Austria. One image shows an Austro-Islamist brandishing a knife accompanied by a quote from the Prophet Mohammed: "We have come to you for no other purpose than to slaughter you." Another jihadist writes: "All Yazidis living in Vienna, report to me. My knife is extra sharp." Yet another writes: "Every dirty devil worshiper [the Muslim term for Yazidis], report to me, you will bleed for what you did to my brothers in Herford, in the name of Allah, you will bleed and be killed by my very own hands." Evidently, he was referring to jihadistclashes with Yazidis in neighboring Germany in early August.

In Vienna, supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State [IS] have set up a "fan club" to promote holy war. They sell camouflage baseball caps emblazoned with the IS logo and T-shirts with terrorist messages in Arabic. Austrian newspapers have published photographs (here and here) of IS sympathizers posing in different locations throughout Vienna with messages of support. One reads: "One billion Muslims support the Islamic State." Austrian jihadists have been seen wearing IS attire on Vienna subway trains. Others have postedcomments and photos on Facebook that glorify jihad and show weapons displays.

The propaganda has added significance because of Vienna's historic role in preventing Islam from overrunning Christian Europe during the Siege of Vienna in 1529 and the Battle of Vienna in 1683. Like Spain, Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe. Today's jihadists are simply fighting a new phase of a very old conflict.
Soeren Kern is a Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter.
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Review: 'The Greatest Comeback' by Patrick J. Buchanan

Nixon Rises Again

In December 1965, a 27-year-old journalist with slick black hair and pudgy cheeks, a Columbia Journalism School grad who had spent three years churning out conservative editorials for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and was now bored, looking for the Next Big Thing, saw it heading his way and pounced. Richard Nixon was coming to Belleville, Ill., to address local Republicans. Muscling his way through the private reception that followed, the young man reminded Nixon he had caddied for him at Burning Tree, ten years earlier, then announced: “If you’re going to run in ’68, I’d like to come aboard early.”

Nixon’s characteristically canny instinct to hire Patrick J. Buchanan — as an issues analyst, speechwriter, traveling companion, sounding board, and sotto voce emissary to the right wing — gave rise to a close working relationship that was to last nearly a decade, until a Marine helicopter ascended from the White House lawn on August 9, 1974.

At the time Buchanan approached him, Nixon must have been touched to find any hand outstretched. The mid 1960s were RN’s “wilderness years,” when the former vice president was still smarting from his razor-thin defeat at the hands of John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential election and his more thorough thrashing in the California gubernatorial election of 1962. The latter had produced RN’s wounded cry of self-immolation: “You don’t have Nixon to kick around anymore. . . . This is my last press conference.”

By 1965, the onetime wunderkind of American politics was himself bored, half-heartedly practicing law in New York, shunned by the Empire State’s liberal GOP establishment yet wondering whether the landslide defeat of Barry Goldwater in 1964 had created the opening for a return to presidential politics. The extraordinary success story that ensued is told with Pat Buchanan’s trademarks — astute political analysis, mischievous wit, and unerring instinct for the jugular — in this lively new memoir.

To re-create the major events, media coverage, and intra-party jockeying of five decades ago — the era of Reagan, Rockefeller, and Romney (George) — Buchanan draws on six filing cabinets he filled during his first three years at RN’s side. Untouched since then, the Buchanan papers are enriched by 1,000 memos to and from the boss, many annotated in the same prim scrawl that was later to appear in the margins of the Presidential News Summary that Buchanan would prepare in the Nixon White House. Unless Richard V. Allen or Alan Greenspan — two staff analysts who joined RN later, supervising foreign and domestic policy, respectively — is holding out on us, Buchanan’s trove probably represents the largest collection of papers from Nixon’s wilderness years and the ’68 campaign still in private hands.

The story of Nixon’s comeback has been told many times in the sprawling, though still nascent, literature surrounding our 37th president. Buchanan’s unique access to RN in this period and their rich correspondence deliver a wealth of intimate detail available nowhere else, making The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority indispensable reading for all students of Nixon, the presidency, the Cold War, and the upheavals of the 1960s.

The portrait that emerges is of a Nixon little remembered today, alas: a man insistent on recruiting the best talent and hearing a diversity of views, forever sending gracious notes to rivals vanquished or embarrassed, comforting subordinates under strain, making sure the right people got credit, hailing taxis for Little People, escorting blacks and Jews into segregated clubs, weeping uncontrollably when Dwight Eisenhower, a tormentor crueler than any in the Eastern Establishment or Washington press corps, passed away. In a national-security adviser, Nixon told Buchanan, “I don’t want someone I have to teach. I want someone who can teach me.”

While readers are treated to a healthy dose of score-settling — William Safire and Nelson Rockefeller, two liberal Republicans, fare poorly here, the latter lacerated as the decade’s most shameless opportunist — Buchanan also uses deep-level polling numbers and other data to examine, as a political scientist would, the shifting dynamics of the ’68 contest. Through RN’s notes and asides, we get his take on the year’s epochal upheavals: the Tet Offensive, the insurgency of Eugene McCarthy, the abdication of Lyndon Johnson, the craven eleventh-hour candidacies of Rockefeller and Robert F. Kennedy, and the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and RFK.

Where the book is of greatest value is in its combative reassertion of RN’s importance to the ascendancy of postwar conservatism. During Nixon’s first term — the zenith of Radical Chic — the Left, inflamed by the administration’s muscular approach to law-and-order and Vietnam, vilified him as a right-wing fascist and war criminal. Despite the hostility of the mass media, Nixon rallied America’s “silent majority,” administered euthanasia to FDR’s New Deal coalition and remade it in his preferred image, and won reelection in one of the great landslides of American history: 60.7 percent of the vote, 49 states.

A bold reordering of the world beyond America’s borders — China, SALT, the ending of American combat operations in Vietnam, the Cold War realignment of the Mideast — mirrored Nixon’s success in the remaking of domestic politics. As Buchanan notes, Nixon’s first term alone would have ranked him among the greatest presidents. Scandal undid him in his second term; but without him, the GOP triumphs of 1980, ’84, and ’88 could not have happened.

In later decades, however, after the disgrace of Watergate and the Soviet Union’s collapse, conservatives silently resolved never to speak of Nixon or 1972 again, preferring instead a mythology of Ronald Reagan as a wholly organic phenomenon,sua sponte in his success, beholden to no one and nothing but apple-pie charisma and James Baker’s campaign savvy (with passing nods, here and there, to Bill Buckley and Barry Goldwater).

Now, as argued by a conservative of Buchanan’s credentials — he was also Reagan’s White House communications director — the centrality of Nixon in the rise of the Right, his occasional deviations from orthodoxy notwithstanding, is finally inarguable. In meticulous detail, Buchanan recreates the intra-party tussles of ’68, the only time the GOP was forced to choose between Nixon and Reagan — and went with the seasoned politician so widely disparaged at the time as a “loser.” “Nixon was no ideologue, no true believer,” Buchanan writes. “Ideologically, he was himself an eclectic.”
He had instincts one could call conservative, but reflexive reactions that were liberal. . . . Nixon could be a social and cultural conservative in that revolutionary decade, and a foreign-policy hawk. But he risked defeat if he were perceived as a threat to Social Security or Medicare.
“No president after Coolidge,” Buchanan notes aptly, “had been an operational conservative. None rolled back the Great Society. None sought to repeal the New Deal. Not even Reagan, who made the effort but failed to carry out his commitment to shut down [Jimmy] Carter’s departments of education and energy.” This internal schism, between rhetoric and reality on Big Government, Buchanan identifies as “the great divide of the party from the days of Goldwater through the Nixon and Reagan eras, Bush I and Bush II, to the Tea Party.”
It would be the inexorable growth of the Leviathan state under Republican and Democratic presidents alike that would lead to the fiscal crisis that struck the U.S. in the 21st century. . . . By 1968 Americans, whatever they told themselves and others, had come to accept Big Government as a permanent feature of public life. Selling TVA [the Tennessee Valley Authority] and making Social Security voluntary were dead ideas before Nixon headed for New Hampshire.
“And one thing Nixon deeply resented,” Buchanan also correctly notes, “was [that] throughout his career, he was held to more exacting standards than his rivals and adversaries.” The double standards have continued after RN’s death.

The Greatest Comeback is an important account of the ’68 campaign, one that should improve Buchanan’s standing in the RN orbit, moving him beyond the minor role too often accorded him. Unfortunately, the text is often tediously repetitive (“Chicago was a disaster for Humphrey,” we are told five pages before hearing “Chicago had been a disaster for the Democrats,” and not far from where the same polling datum recurs three times in ten pages). It is also frequently self-serving, embodying Tony Snow’s observation that if the archetypal Washington memoir existed, its title would be “If Only They Had Listened to Me.”

One result of this bias is an emphasis on peripheral events where Buchanan’s personal archive is prolific, such as Nixon’s world travels in 1967, when Buchanan accompanied him. Of one critical episode — the back channel Nixon allegedly established to the South Vietnamese during the Paris peace talks, purportedly to prevent Hubert Humphrey from unleashing an “October surprise” — Buchanan has little to say; his brisk dismissal of the allegation, toward book’s end, displays some cogent argumentation but betrays the author’s exclusion from the relevant councils at the time and his ignorance of the voluminous evidentiary record of the affair.

Finally, an individual who was integral, even indispensable, to the story of RN’s ’68 comeback is largely absent from these pages, a spectral figure glimpsed only fleetingly in a few passing references: John N. Mitchell, Nixon’s friend, law partner, and campaign manager. The omission should be of concern to all readers, not just Mitchell’s biographer (whose book, a deeply researched contribution to the literature of the ’68 campaign, is likewise absent from Buchanan’s bibliography).

After all, Nixon’s own memoir stated flatly of Mitchell: “I counted him my most trusted friend and adviser.”
I believed that I owed my election as President in 1968 largely to his strength as a counselor and his skill as a manager. I had referred to him as one of the few indispensable men, and that was how I felt about him.
Can anyone imagine Ted Sorensen, in remembering JFK, reducing Bobby to a cameo? Yet of the complicated Nixon–Mitchell relationship, so central to RN’s rise and ruin, Buchanan tells us: nothing.
Why? Why, indeed, did Buchanan baffle his aging peers by refusing, three times over several years, to be interviewed for the Mitchell biography? The answer now appears clear, betraying some impulse toward Christian mercy for a figure still revered in Nixonland. For the few substantive references to Mitchell in The Greatest Comeback are all negative: He screwed up the speakers’ program at the convention; he ran too cautious a general-election campaign; he once yelled at Buchanan.

By eschewing thoughtful discussion of such an important figure, it seems Buchanan chose — hemorrhaging a bit of credibility — to observe the etiquette that if one has nothing nice to say, one should say (next to) nothing at all. For Pat Buchanan, that proudly serrated figure, it is nothing less than a Nixon-goes-to-China moment.

— James Rosen is the chief Washington correspondent for Fox News and the author of The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate. This article originally appeared in the August 11, 2014 issue of National Review.

A Beheading Ends All Illusions About Islam

Posted By Daniel Greenfield On August 25, 2014 @ 12:19 am In Daily Mailer,FrontPage | No Comments

In August 2012, James Foley retweeted a link to a CNN story asking “Right-wing extremist terrorism as deadly a threat as al Qaeda?”

The article concluded that indeed it was.

Three months later, Foley had been kidnapped. Two years later, on another August, a former branch of Al Qaeda chopped off his head.

In a New Yorker interview this year, which seemed to focus on the Lakers more than anything else, Obama wrote off ISIS as what happens when a “jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms”. He suggested that the answer lay in training the Iraqi police forces better.

That same month, ISIS had declared an Islamic State in Fallujah, the event that Obama was dismissively reacting to, and extended its reach beyond Iraq and Syria into Lebanon and Turkey. By June, the steamroller advance across Iraq had begun destroying the Iraqi military, never mind its police forces.

In April, Peter Bergen, the original author of the CNN article, had another piece contending that “right wing extremists” were now even “more deadly than Jihadists.” On August 18, he produced a CNN piece claiming that ISIS was no threat to Americans.

On the next day, ISIS chopped off James Foley’s head.

The incredibly deadly right-wing extremists have yet to show off the severed head of a journalist.

Obama has now been forced to hit ISIS with air strikes and to even put men on the ground while denying that the United States was at war with ISIS or that ISIS had anything to do with Islam.
And it was that denial which is at the root of the problem.

The official line was that there were two flavors of Al Qaeda; a transnational terrorist organization that had been defeated and local terrorist groups with no international ambitions. We didn’t have to worry about the junior varsity Jihadis of ISIS because they only wanted a little Lebensraum in Iraq and Syria.

It’s still the line being pushed by the White House spokesman even as American planes are bombing the JV Jihadis in Iraq after the junior team mixed a little genocide into their warm up routine.

But no one had bothered to inform ISIS that it wasn’t supposed to think big. When the Delta Force tried to rescue Foley back in July, the ISIS compound they raided had been named “Bin Laden”.
Obama’s foreign policy depended on these distinctions between “Good Jihadis”and “Bad Jihadis”, “International Jihadis” and “Locally Grown Jihadis” when there really is just one Jihad.

The Free Syrian Army that Foley reported on was composed of Jihadis, some of whom collaborated openly or covertly with the Al Nusra Front, another Al Qaeda in Iraq splinter group that has since pledged allegiance to ISIS. The Jihadis we were supporting were also supporting ISIS.
The Jihad doesn’t recognize national boundaries. ISIS set out to eliminate borders. It has struck out at any country within its reach and announced a five year plan to take over the Middle East and Africa.

It has a local name, but its ambition is limitless.

Back in 2012, CNN reported that U.S. intelligence believed that members of Al Qaeda in Iraq had taken part in the Benghazi attack. The myth of the provincial JV Jihadi who couldn’t be bothered to poke his head out of Iraq had about as much credibility as blaming the Benghazi attack on a YouTube video.

By the time that the Iraqi and Syrian Jihad was swarming with foreign fighters it should have been clear even to Obama that they weren’t a local phenomenon, but a transnational one.
Islam is not a religion of national boundaries. If it were, the territory of Islam would be limited to the general vicinity of what is today Saudi Arabia. The difference between local and transnational Islamic terrorist groups lies in capability, not ideology. Every Islamic group would become ISIS if it only had the weapons, the money and the manpower.

And thanks to the Arab Spring, ISIS got all three.

The Arab Spring was sold as a liberal, secular and democratic movement. It was none of these things. The Free Syrian Army was billed as all three when it was just the front for supplying Jihadist groups with American equipment. Covering up the truth made it necessary for advocates of the Sunni rebels to redirect the blame elsewhere. Foley played a role in blaming another journalist’s kidnapping on Assad. Foley’s own abduction was then blamed on Assad. If Americans knew that the Syrian opposition they were helping was holding Americans for ransom, it might be less inclined to give them weapons.

Even now the lies are holding strong.

Hillary Clinton rolled out her new “hawkish” profile by arguing that the United States should have done more to aid the Syrian rebels early on. The media bristles with articles which insist that the only way to beat ISIS is by allying with other Salafi Jihadists or with the Shiite Jihadists of Iran.
But you don’t defeat Jihadists by allying with them.

Obama tried to court the “moderate” Taliban in Afghanistan. Now the media claims that ISIS is too extreme even for Al Qaeda. Maybe we should ally with Al Qaeda? Before the Gaza War, Obama had embraced Fatah-Hamas unity and refused to cut off aid to their new “technocratic” government.
Then Hamas tried to pull off a coup while going to war with Israel.

The ceasefire agreement pushed by Obama and Kerry on Israel is the work of Qatar, the state sponsor of terror that hosted the “moderate” Taliban for negotiations, funded ISIS and Hamas, smuggled weapons to Libyan Jihadists and pushed the Arab Spring through its Al Jazeera propaganda outlet.

James Foley was brutally murdered because he misunderstood the situation on the ground in Syria, but no matter how many journalists get beheaded in Syria, a month from now Peter Bergen will run yet another CNN piece arguing that “right wing extremists” are the real threat.

No matter how often the heads roll, in the CNN studios someone decides that it’s time to warn us about the threat of “right wing extremism” or to explain to us that the only way we can live in peace with the extremist terrorists is by supporting the moderate terrorists.

No matter how many times the Syrian Jihadists show their true face, there will still be calls to arm them. No matter how many times ISIS, Hamas and all their cousins around the world quote the Koran and declare their global aims, they will be dismissed as JV teams that have nothing to do with Islam.

The price of Islam denial is death. It shouldn’t take a beheading for our elites to lose their illusions, but we have become the United States of James Foley. We don’t learn the truth until we lose our heads.

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Today's Tune: The National - I Need My Girl

Joe Torre deservedly immortalized among legends as Yankees retire No. 6 in Monument Park

There were other Yankees managers who won more World Series, but there has never been a better or more important Yankee manager than the man Derek Jeter has always called 'Mr. Torre.'

By Mike Lupica
August 23, 2014

Joe Torre receives a replica of his retired No. 6 from Yankees boss Hal Steinbrenner and his wife during the Stadium ceremony.
Photo: Howard Simmons/NY Daily News

On the day when they retired Joe Torre’s number at Yankee Stadium, on the other side of 161st St. from where he managed the last Yankees dynasty, he talked about how short the distance was from the place where the old Stadium once stood, but how long the journey was from the field to Monument Park.

The man who wore No. 6, that number now retired along with Ruth’s 3 and Gehrig’s 4 and DiMaggio’s 5 and Mantle’s 7 and Yogi’s 8, then spoke of being carried out to Monument Park, where the most famous Yankees are honored and remembered “on the shoulders of some very special players.”

Some of them were on the field with Torre for one more summer afternoon. David Cone, who saved the Yankees by winning the third game of the 1996 World Series, the first that Torre’s Yankees would win, was there. So was Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte, who pitched the game of his life in Game 5 that year, a 1-0 victory over the Braves in Atlanta.

Paul O’Neill was also on the field with Torre on Saturday, he sure was. It was O’Neill, running on a bum leg, running really on heart that night, who ran down Luis Polonia’s ball for the last out of Game 5. That one put the Yankees ahead three games to two. They came home and won the Series on a Saturday night at the old Stadium. And Torre, the Brooklyn kid who had never made the Series as a player and never came close in the other places he had managed, had finally won it all.

When it was over that night, some of the ’96 Yankees really did carry him on their shoulders near home plate. The Yankees were finally back on top, and Torre was on top at last. Now it becomes official that he is a Yankee immortal. There were other Yankees managers who won more World Series, but there has never been a better or more important Yankee manager than the man Derek Jeter has always called “Mr. Torre.”

“It feels like the World Series all over again,” Torre said in a text to Yankee broadcaster Suzyn Waldman before making one more trip up to the Bronx on Saturday, to be honored by the Yankee fans the way the team honored him.

The old Stadium is gone, of course, even though the best memories are on that side of 161st, for Joe and Jeter and just about everybody else. And it is not just the memories, it is the sound you remember from the place, and what it felt like when one of Torre’s Yankees would get a big hit or get a big out and you were sure that the sound of baseball was drowning out the sound of the 4 train.

There are still ballfields over there, in the new imagining of Macombs Dam Park. There is the frieze from the old Stadium. One home plate that sits right where the real one used to sit. And there are those memories, for the players and fans and the city and a child of the city, like Torre. There are all the moments we remember with such clarity, when Torre’s Yankees would do something, in the words of an old October hero named Scott Brosius, that would make the ground shake.

There were games being played on all the fields Saturday as the cheers for Torre came across the street. There were official games and pickup games and in one baseball corner of the Bronx, where big things happened once for the Yankees, a team in black uniforms from the Best Value Home Center was playing the International Baseball Reds, in their red uniforms.

Somehow, it seemed right, that there was the sound of baseball over here, too, on Joe Torre’s side of 161st, on the day when the Brooklyn kid who was first here watching the Brooklyn Dodgers play the Yankees in the World Series made a little more history for himself — in the summer when he was just inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame — uptown.
“When you get to this ballpark,” Torre said, speaking directly to Yankee fans once more, finding the right words as always, “you can feel the heartbeat.”

They cheered him again then, the way they used to, the sound of the heartbeat of the place. And then this day was the night of that first World Series all over, and the Yankees were on their way to being as big as they have ever been, and he was on his way to Monument Park. We just didn’t know it at the time.

We knew we were in the presence of old Yankee values even then, and grace. We just didn’t know we were in the presence of this kind of greatness from No. 6.

But we were.