Thursday, May 07, 2009
Even in this long winter of discontent for conservatives, I am optimistic about America. Even this early on, it's obvious to me that the Obama Administration is wearing clown shoes. Just like Hollywood tries to make Tom Cruise look 6' 2" through creative camera angles, shot composition, and discretely hidden wooden boxes and ramps, the mainstream media will continue to try to make the Obama Administration look competent and successful. But they can't fool most of the people all of the time. It's already clear to America's grass-roots conservatives where the GOP went wrong in 2006 and 2008, and when new faces in the party return to classical principles with clear and steady voices, enough additional voters will respond. There will be disaster repair to do, and that for quite a while. But I'm still mostly optimistic about America in the long term.
I wish I were as optimistic about the world, but it seems to me that we're re-living 1934. Or is it 711?
I have no doubt whatsoever that in articles like this one, Mark Steyn is being an alarmist. But as much as I'd like to, I can't find any reasonable basis to argue that Steyn's ringing a false alarm (emphasis mine):
So it will go. British, European, and even American troops will withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, and a bomb will go off in Madrid or Hamburg or Manchester, and there will be nothing left to blame except Israeli “disproportion.” For the remnants of European Jewry, the already discernible migration of French Jews to Quebec, Florida, and elsewhere will accelerate. There are about 150,000 Jews in London today—it’s the thirteenth biggest Jewish city in the world. But there are approximately one million Muslims. The highest number of Jews is found in the 50-54 age group; the highest number of Muslims are found in the four-years-and-under category. By 2025, there will be Jews in Israel, and Jews in America, but not in many other places. Even as the legitimacy of a Jewish state is rejected, the Jewish diaspora—the Jewish presence in the wider world—will shrivel
... It may be some consolation to an ever-lonelier Israel that, in one of history’s bleaker jests, in the coming Europe the Europeans will be the new Jews.
Please read the whole thing.
Outside Europe, though, in the tiny country they've reclaimed on the Mediterranean's east coast, the old Jews will still have the familiar role they had in Holocaust 1. "Never again" is going to have to be modified to read "Never (quite that slowly) again." The new holocaust will turn millions of Jews (and others) into smoke and ashes in a matter of seconds, minutes, and hours, not weeks, months, and years. Such Jews as are left, there or (mostly) in America, will have the ruinous "comfort" of Israel's retribution in a similarly compressed timetable, with Tehran left in a mix of smoking radioactive ruins and green glass that will make Berlin circa May 1945 look positively lush and undamaged. Thereupon those mullahs who love death as we love life will re-declare their own victory. And as history is repeated and we re-write it, the question will be asked again: "Who could have prevented this, given who had the capabilities (if not the requisite moral clarity and courage)?" The answer will, ironically, be identical to the title of Steyn's recent book: America Alone.
Iran will have its bomb before the end of Obama's first term. After that, it's a dice throw: I'd guess maybe two chances in twelve that it gives a bomb to "plausibly deniable" terrorists who'll explode it in America, against maybe seven chances in twelve that the target is Tel Aviv. Maybe you count the number of spots on the dice differently, or you think it will be during the term of the POTUS elected or reelected in 2012 that Iran gets its bomb, or you think that the bomb will instead have come directly from Pakistani stockpiles. But whatever tweaks to the probabilities you'd like to apply, you must admit that almost all of the plausible scenarios carry risks so huge that they make mockery of the phrase "Never again."
I don't want to bask in the self-righteous glow of I-Told-You-Soism as I replay clips from Bush-43's Greatest Hits — "grave and gathering dangers," the "Axis of Evil," and most of all, the urgent warnings that we must at all costs prevent "the world's most dangerous weapons" from falling into the hands of "the world's most dangerous regimes." But I have zero confidence — I laugh aloud, in the blackest and bleakest of humor — at the notion that the Obama Administration will do anything except embolden our, and Israel's, enemies, and I believe instead that The One and his minions (including Hillary) will end up actually abetting and accelerating Iran's acquisition of weapons of mass destruction.
I understand how the American Left has deluded itself into mass denial of these probabilities, even though they have no answer to alarmists such as Steyn. What I — as a male American WASP who admires Israel, counts many Jews among his very best friends, and has tried to raise his own children to appreciate the horror of the Holocaust — genuinely can't understand, and don't anticipate that anyone will ever be able to forgive in hindsight, is how a large majority of American Jews are letting themselves be so deluded. My saying that may make some of them angry, and they may argue that I have no standing to kvetch. But I reject that; everyone has standing to say "Never again," because by virtue of being human everyone has the right and the moral obligation to reject inhumanity on that barely imaginable scale.
The only strings preventing the United States from ensuring that Iran doesn't get nuclear weapons are those we have used to tie ourselves down. The longer we wait to break them, the greater the cost will be, and we've waited so long already that the costs now would be fearsome indeed — fearsome in comparison to anything except the probable future that will be brought about by our failure to act. When we fail to act, the costs will be incalculable, and there will be so much blame to go around that I'll still flagellate myself for having done nothing much more than writing a rant like this one. "That was it, Grandfather? You pointed out Obama's clown shoes on your blog?" And I'll nod, and then hang my head and weep.
Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Holocaust 2 and sent a trackback ping are listed here:
(1) stan made the following comment | May 8, 2009 7:08:55 AM | Permalink
Why do Jews vote for a party that sells out Israel? Why do blacks vote for corrupt politicians who sell out their kids? Why do union workers vote for a party that protects corrupt union bosses that rip them off?
They've been brainwashed with the same big lie -- Republicans are mean-spirited, hate-filled, racist, sexist, homophobes intent on exploiting workers and raping the environment.
(2) Mark L made the following comment | May 8, 2009 6:09:22 PM | Permalink
Elections have consequences.
This may not be the change the American public voted for, but it is the change that they are getting.
(3) DRJ made the following comment | May 8, 2009 6:09:35 PM | Permalink
I agree with every word you've written, but what makes me weep is that there are fewer and fewer of us who believe this. Instead, there are far too many people who view everyone but themselves as worthless.
(4) Marianne Matthews made the following comment | May 8, 2009 6:56:16 PM | Permalink
I, too, agree with you Beldar. And I keep remembering Pastor Niemoller's famous quote from the Second World War, to the effect that: "First they came for the communists, and I did not protest, because I was not a communist... then they came for the trade unionists and I did not protest because I was not a trade unionist ... and then they came for the Jews, and I did not protest because I was not a Jew...and then they came for me, and nobody protested, because there was no one left to protest ..." This is only an approximation of what he said, but the meaning is clear. Unless decent people protest and protect each other, there will be no decent people left when the chips are down.
We could not do anything but hope that Obama make sound decisions in running America. Let not lose hope...All prayers for America.
(6) jb made the following comment | May 9, 2009 10:04:50 AM | Permalink
As a Texan-American-Jew, I can not understand why my co-religionists continue to vote against the interests of Israel. Mark Steyn forgot to mention the cruelest joke of all: The best way for people like me to support Israel is to drive a bunch of evangelical Christians to the polls on Election Day.
(7) Marianne Matthews made the following comment | May 9, 2009 10:39:36 AM | Permalink
jb ... As a Texan-American WASP, who is 81 years old and has always supported Israel, I and my fellow geezers would be deeply grateful if someone like you would drive us to the polls on election day... a kind thought, my dear. It would save us from community organizer/ACORN type interference.
Not all of us Christians are evangelical -- I'm sort of Episcopalian, and deeply distressed at the direction our church has been taking. But I will fight for my country in the only way I have left -- thoughtful, confrontational protests. And I always vote -- even if someday they may have to carry me in on a stretcher.
(8) glenn made the following comment | May 9, 2009 11:32:32 AM | Permalink
Some of my liberal friends get upset with me when I tell them that when (not if) The US abandons Israel we will lose any claim we might have had to moral standing in the world. After that it's all downhill. And you may not have to worry about that conversation with your grandchildren.
(9) voirdire made the following comment | May 9, 2009 3:08:47 PM | Permalink
The story is always the same . . . you know it, but you just can't quite believe it's really happening. The others are joking and taking no note . . . it's like a day-dream . . . if you could just wake up . . .
(10) Mike made the following comment | May 10, 2009 8:44:34 AM | Permalink
Yes, but doesn't that Michelle Obama have nice arms?
(11) jb made the following comment | May 10, 2009 1:14:58 PM | Permalink
If you live in the Midland-Odessa area, I will be happy to give you a ride to the polls. Thanks you for your support.
(12) Kevin made the following comment | May 10, 2009 7:36:16 PM | Permalink
I can't agree with you on this. If nothing else, the look on Obama's face after his first CIA briefing makes me think that he will attempt to stop this sort of thing from coming to pass.
Even if it does, I can't help but wonder why we would take out Iraq and expend our nation's now-limited taste for war on one that really didn't need to be fought. Saddam's tyranny was a far lesser international threat than the millenialism of Ahmadinejad.
If I'm wrong, you have my full permission to give all the "I told you so"s and "Your dad was really naive as a twenty-something"s you want to your grandkids.
Kevin, the problem is that there is nothing but "the look [of concern] on Obama's face" that the Obama Administration is doing. Stern looks, public appearances to rock-star receptions, and empty rhetoric -- that's it.
Iran doesn't deny having a nuclear program. They boast of it. They laugh at us as they insist that it's for "peaceful" purposes. Every single intelligence agency outside Iraq was convinced Iraq also had one, and Iraq unquestionably did during many years prior to the 2003 invasion. The best projections were that Saddam would have a nuke before the end of this decade -- i.e., that he was far closer than Iran was then, about as close as Iran is now. Saddam certainly wanted us to think he had such a program. Saddam already had a history of using WMDs against his regional enemies and his own people (the Iranians, and then the Kurds and Shi'ites respective). His military forces were firing on our overflying aircraft every single day, he'd tried to kill George H.W. Bush, and only a few of the nearly two dozen separate justifications in Congress' joint resolution authorizing the use of force to topple Saddam directly related to WMDs. So tell me, Kevin: What relevance is that history -- that successful deception by Iraq over its then-current WMD capabilities in 2003 -- going to have when Iran nukes Israel? Specifically, how is that history supposed to justify, in hindsight, America's inaction -- its failure to pummel Iran with anything more than The One's stern glances -- as Iran pursued and got its bomb?
Bush-43 would have dealt decisively with Iran and with North Korea but for the fact that, indeed, America's willingness to wage war if need be -- and yes, it needs to be -- had been exhausted in Afghanistan and Iraq. But whose fault is it that we have such a limited taste for war? Of that, there can be no doubt whatsoever: Just as when we shamefully fled our national obligations and interests in Vietnam, leaving our allies there and their neighbors to suffer millions of deaths and decades of communist tyranny, the current irrational aversion to even the credible threat of military force is entirely the fault of the Hard Left -- people who've been systematically lying about and badmouthing everything good that America and its allies have done in Iraq, Afghanistan, and for that matter, everywhere else (including mediating partial dispute resolutions that have, incredibly, kept open warfare from erupting between Israel and its Arab neighbors since 1972). The American Hard Left and its European equivalents echo the propaganda -- all the problems in the Middle East are the fault of the Great Satan (America) and the Little Satan (Israel), blah blah blah. I know you know this; you've told me before that you see through it.
In the entirety of the American operations in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11/01, we've suffered fewer American KIAs than the Union Army suffered between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Cold Spring Harbor, and they didn't gain an inch of territory, while we've liberated two nations. Your grandfather's troopship, all by itself, carried more Marines and soldiers to Iwo Jima than we've lost in liberating those two countries. It's miraculous that our armed forces are so incredibly good now -- so incredibly able to accomplish so much with so little relative loss of life and injury, and able to save so many of those who're injured, compared to past generations' war-fighters. But that will, I respectfully submit, make our national guilt all the greater when -- at a tiny fraction of the casualties we suffered in just one of the WW2 Pacific battles your grandfather fought in -- we could have put a decisive stop to Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Interesting odds. Too bad that nuking America and nuking Israel are not necessarily mutually exclusive propositions.
Doing both at the same time would be much more difficult in many respects, of course, than doing either separately; but hardly impossible, I should think, and much more desirable from many angles, I suppose.
And I'm quite sure that somebody on the other side of the world (or maybe not nearly so far away) has been putting a great deal more thought into getting such things accomplished than I have done here.
(15) Kevin made the following comment | May 10, 2009 9:35:35 PM | Permalink
I agree that if such a thing happens, it will have been entirely avoidable and monumentally stupid of the Obama administration to have allowed it to happen.
I just disagree with your position on how likely it is to happen. Perhaps naively, in which case as I said earlier, feel free to rag on me to my kids someday. I imagine we'd both be happier for you to be proven wrong. =)
(16) Gregory Koster made the following comment | May 12, 2009 3:59:55 AM | Permalink
Dear Mr. Dyer: Where to begin? Start with the response of so many American Jews:
Ron Rosenbaum is an American Jew, practicing journalism. He is not, I believe, an observant Jew. Graduating form Yale in 1968 took care of that, I think. He's a sharp fellow, as his book EXPLAINING HITLER shows. Yet at times the evil spell of 1968 Yale reclaims him and he spouts gibberish. You can read the sensible Rosenbaum at Pajamas Media. Here's a good example. This article shows a good sensibility to a great danger to Israel, Jews, and the United States, and is not too proud to blow a trumpet. Yet at almost the same time he babbles like a fool in SLATE: here. (It's true that he may be writing for SLATE's audience i.e. self-righteous witlings who know all the evil in the world flows from the right. But he can't be that hard up for dough.) The sober appreciation of a great danger is chucked overboard and he blithely babbles about airport thrillers being convenient windows into the "paranoias" and "fears" of "our culture" i.e. the sort of stuff Sarah Palin would read. The unpanicky mind that can gaze at Hamas and describe the great danger it represents suddenly giggles and rolls its eyes derisively at visions of possible consequences of Hamas & Co.
Such a bifurcation is common among our elites. Without knowing statistics, I would bet that American Jews who voted for Obama are elite school products, and the younger they are, the stronger their idiocy as the elite schools have gotten progressively worse and worse. See, e.g. Duke University and the Lacrosse Scandal for a splendid example of how far the rot has gone.
Where did The One graduate? What is his background? There's a mess of ingredients for a devil's brew. Said brew has only been accentuated by his wife, family, friends, employers, church and colleagues. Nor do I believe the slobbers of the press about his brilliant intelligence, let alone wisdom. Shrewdness, low cunning and ruthlessness are not wisdom and maturity, though the press, with its taste for treachery. He's no mastermind, save in self-advancement, with his dreadful wife pushing him so she can get her entitlements.
Thus, the future. Grim prospect. Yet the fatalism this seems to provoke in you and many of your commenters is infuriating. The One and his motley gang can be counted on to retreat, bawling piteously that it isn't their fault, even while kicking their internal opponents i.e. you and me. That leaves the opposition to retrieve the situation. In the past you've expressed admiration for Winston Churchill, and I dare say such admiration is widely shared among your readers (me too.) Yet how do you think WSC felt in 1935 and 1936 and 1937 and 1938 and 1939, right up to the start of the war? He faced a daunting government machine that spied on him, briefed the press against him, tried to get his constituency association to toss him out, said he was an agitator who should be shot or hanged (the Lord Chancellor right after Munich.) Allies? Few, junior, and carrying little weight in the scales. Move forward to the summer of 1940, when WSC ascends to power. Think his situation is more daunting than the one we face now?
I don't think much of your Civil War example. Take it another way: in four years, the American Civil War, at a cost of 600,000+ dead successfully suppressed a rebellion and cured the evil of slavery. Six years and one month after the invasion of Iraq, seven years and seven months after the American involvement in Afghanistan, the best that can be said is that the Iraq campaign promises eventual success, and Afghanistan has not fallen to radical Islam, and Libya has been disarmed. Meanwhile Pakistan totters more and more wildly, Iran marches onward to a bomb, Turkey threatens to regress to Ottoman weakness, brutality, and instability, and the Trashcanistan "republics" in Central Asia promise a fertile breeding ground for radical Islam. Worst of all, America has been divided in a way not seen since the Civil War. The division engendered by Vietnam was always trivial in comparison, because American retreat had no consequences domestically, though Southeast Asia paid an appalling price. The same cannot be said for retreating today. For all the elite sneers that what I've written is an apocalyptic delusion, the danger of radical Islam is real and will not be stopped without death for many.
How did we get where we are? Here, George W. Bush and the American public do not look good. Geo. W. saw, clearly, the peril the 9/11 attacks meant. So too, the American public which wanted action. Where both failed was in thinking American military power as it existed was enough. Hence the disastrous decision to "authorize the use of military force" instead of declaring war, with the necessary consequences of such a declaration, e.g.:
a) repealing the Bush tax cuts and raising income taxes sharply
b) a draft of American men and women
c) military conduct of the war that responds to public opinion in wanting victory instead of jealously guarding "military prerogatives" for a strategy that fails
d) seven dollar a gallon gasoline and their other equivalents for petroleum prices from taxes to i) help pay for the war and ii) help wean the nation from Middle East oil, a chronic poison to
e) shutting down the domestic agenda until the war is won. No more yelling about abortion nor national health care, nor global warming, nor drug wars. A war on this scale requires every bit of energy and judgment to carry it through. Imagine if Franklin Roosevelt had summoned the military and naval heads, George Marshall and Ernest King, to his office in June 1943 and said, Well boys, put the war on the back burner for a time. I've got to get national health insurance through!
f) a savage domestic struggle against higher education. No more corrupt institution exists in this nation, and that's saying something with the reptile press and bar and flourishes here. Let a debate commence, a debate with consequences for such quacks as Ward Churchill and the culture that exalts him, and a feeding of lawyers into the same meatgrinder they shove everyone else into. A fine example of this can be found in the interview Glenn Reynolds conducted with Jack Goldsmith here in which ol' Jack quavers that he felt panic in that the law machine he was guiding might suddenly turn on him, to his peril.
Grim enough for you? I'm not done: your son, your rightful pride and joy, would soon be facing the draft, and be sent to Central Asia, with a high likelihood of being killed or mangled.
Worst of all: as harsh as this program is, it does not guarantee victory. Unlike the British in the Second World War, there is no "America" to fall back on. As you say Mark Steyn's title says it all: AMERICA ALONE. It's a grim daunting prospect. The notion that your grandchildren will rebuke you is far less likely than you think, if for no other reason than a nuclear armed Iran would touch off a conflagration that would spread to Pakistan, India, and God knows where else. The nuclear apocalypses that make the dumb Ron Rosenbaum giggle might come true. See what giggles pass his lips then.
"In War," wrote Churchill, "Resolution." A grim motto, but an inspiring one. One, however that has not been tried. This has been tried. To what end?
(17) Thomas Jackson made the following comment | May 18, 2009 10:34:00 PM | Permalink
The odd thing is that if America is hit with a nuclear terrorist attack who will have facilitated it? Who will have disarmed and hindered America's security and intelligence forces? And what would an American response look like. I believe it will not be at all what we would expect, instead of a rage against the likely terrorists I believe it will be against the professional political class and its allies (the MSM, lobbyists, staff) and those who have tried to equate America with the terrorists and evil. It will not be a pretty time.
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