Tuesday, September 29, 2015

An Unteachable President

For Obama, it isn’t the man in the arena who counts. It’s the speaker on the stage.


Barack Obama told the U.N.’s General Assembly on Monday he’s concerned that “dangerous currents risk pulling us back into a darker, more disordered world.” It’s nice of the president to notice, just don’t expect him to do much about it.

Recall that it wasn’t long ago that Mr. Obama took a sunnier view of world affairs. The tide of war was receding. Al Qaeda was on a path to defeat. ISIS was “a jayvee team” in “Lakers uniforms.” Iraq was an Obama administration success story. Bashar Assad’s days were numbered. The Arab Spring was a rejoinder to, rather than an opportunity for, Islamist violence. The intervention in Libya was vindication for the “lead from behind” approach to intervention. The reset with Russia was a success, a position he maintained as late as September 2013. In Latin America, the “trend lines are good.”

“Overall,” as he told Tom Friedman in August 2014—shortly after ISIS had seized control of Mosul and as Vladimir Putin was muscling his way into eastern Ukraine—“I think there’s still cause for optimism.”

It’s a remarkable record of prediction. One hundred percent wrong. The professor president who loves to talk about teachable moments is himself unteachable. Why is that?

Some of the explanations are ordinary and almost forgivable. All politicians like to boast. The predictions seemed reasonably well-founded at the time they were made. Mr. Obama wasn’t really making predictions: He was choosing optimism, placing a bet on hope. His successes were of his own making; the failures owed to forces beyond his control. And so on.

But there’s a deeper logic to the president’s thinking, starting with ideological necessity. The president had to declare our foreign policy dilemmas solved so he could focus on his favorite task of “nation-building at home.” A strategy of retreat and accommodation, a bias against intervention, a preference for minimal responses—all this was about getting America off the hook, doing away with the distraction of other people’s tragedies.

When you’ve defined your political task as “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”—as Mr. Obama did on the eve of his election in 2008—then your hands are full. Let other people sort out their own problems.

But that isn’t all. The president also has an overarching moral theory about American power, expressed in his 2009 contention in Prague that “moral leadership is more powerful than any weapon.”

At the time, Mr. Obama was speaking about the end of the Cold War—which, he claimed, came about as a result of “peaceful protest”—and of his desire to see a world without nuclear weapons. It didn’t seem to occur to him that the possession of such weapons by the U.S. also had a hand in winning the Cold War. Nor did he seem to contemplate the idea that moral leadership can never safely be a substitute for weapons unless those leaders are willing to throw themselves at the mercy of their enemies’ capacity for shame.

In late-era South Africa and the Soviet Union, where men like F.W. de Klerk and Mikhail Gorbachev had a sense of shame, the Obama theory had a chance to work. In Iran in 2009, or in Syria today, it doesn’t.

Then again, that distinction doesn’t much matter to this president, since he seems to think that seizing the moral high ground is victory enough. Under Mr. Obama, the U.S. is on “the right side of history” when it comes to the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine, or the killing fields in Syria, or the importance of keeping Afghan girls in school.

Having declared our good intentions, why muck it up with the raw and compromising exercise of power? In Mr. Obama’s view, it isn’t the man in the arena who counts. It’s the speaker on the stage.

Finally, Mr. Obama believes history is going his way. “What? Me worry?” says the immortal Alfred E. Neuman, and that seems to be the president’s attitude toward Mr. Putin’s interventions in Syria (“doomed to fail”) and Ukraine (“not so smart”), to say nothing of his sang-froid when it comes to the rest of his foreign-policy debacles.

In this cheapened Hegelian world view, the U.S. can relax because History is on our side, and the arc of history bends toward justice. Why waste your energies to fulfill a destiny that is already inevitable? And why get in the way of your adversary’s certain doom?

It’s easy to accept this view of life if you owe your accelerated good fortune to a superficial charm and understanding of the way the world works. It’s also easier to lecture than to learn, to preach than to act. History will remember Barack Obama as the president who conducted foreign policy less as a principled exercise in the application of American power than as an extended attempt to justify the evasion of it.

From Aleppo to Donetsk to Kunduz, people are living with the consequences of that evasion.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

On Islam, Ben Carson Is Right and Charles Krauthammer Is Wrong


The unique demands of the nation’s highest office conflict with orthodox Islamic teaching.

Does Charles Krauthammer get Islam wrong because he gets the Constitution wrong? Or does he get the Constitution wrong because he gets Islam wrong?

This conundrum comes to the fore — and not for the first time — after Dr. Krauthammer’s serial denunciations of Dr. Ben Carson. In a Sunday Meet the Press interview, Carson opined that Islam is inconsistent with the United States Constitution and, therefore, that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation” — meaning he would not recommend that voters elect a Muslim president.

Dr. K decries Dr. C’s remarks as “morally outrageous,” albeit “sincerely felt.” With Democrats in distress, the columnist fears Republicans are undermining their golden 2016 opportunity: “It is certainly damaging to any party when one of its two front-runners denigrates, however thoughtlessly, the nation’s entire Muslim American community.”

But what loseth a man if he denigrates a tiny community — a large percentage of whose members are Islamists reliably aligned with Democrats — but gains the esteem of a vast political base convinced that Washington is insane on matters Muslim?

My great respect for Charles Krauthammer having been oft expressed, I will refrain from the usual throat-clearing. Precisely because he is so influential, and we are in such perilous times, I must dissent from an argument that is constitutionally wayward and, on Islam, willfully blind.

To his credit, Krauthammer does not flatly misstate the Constitution, as did some of Carson’s rivals in the GOP nomination chase. Making like a CAIR echo chamber, they frivolously accused Carson of violating the Constitution’s prohibition against establishing a “religious test” for holding public office. (CAIR, the Council on American–Islamic Relations, is a Muslim Brotherhood–created press agent for Islamic supremacism masquerading as a civil-rights group. It predictably called on Carson to withdraw.)

Of course, Carson did not call for the enactment of a law disqualifying Muslims from serving in public office, which is what the religious-test clause actually forbids. He merely offered his personal opinion that it would not be wise for Americans to elect a Muslim president.

Krauthammer’s argument is more sophisticated and more dangerous — a bellwether of how progressive constitutional jurisprudence corrupts the thinking of even brilliant conservative analysts. He writes:

The Constitution is not just a legal document. It is a didactic one. It doesn’t just set limits to power; it expresses a national ethos. It doesn’t just tell you what you’re not allowed to do; it also suggests what you shouldn’t want to do.

Nonsense. If the Constitution is a “didactic” document, it is a damned poor one, since its objective is to limit government and maximize individual liberty. Despite the Constitution’s clarity in this regard, government has exploded in size and scope over the last century. Why? Because the “national ethos” — actually expressed by progressive scholars and jurists, not by the Constitution itself — has obscured a central truth: If the Constitution is in the business of making “didactic” suggestions, the “you” to whom they are addressed is the government, not the people.

The Constitution is not a pedagogical tool, teaching us values. It is a legal and political limitation on government’s intrusion into the realm of free thought and action. It is in that realm that we acquire values, knowledge, and common sense. Thus armed, Americans have been taking the belief systems of candidates for public office into account since the Constitution took effect in 1789. There is, moreover, a cottage industry of scholarship on how the religious beliefs of the framers and of presidents have shaped the course of American history. It would defy logic to ignore the patent connection between a candidate’s convictions and how he is likely to govern.

Ben Carson did not say Muslims are unfit to hold public office. He said he does not think a Muslim should be president. “Congress,” he elaborated, “is a different story.” He might very well vote for a Muslim to serve in the legislature, with the caveat that it would depend on “who that Muslim is and what their policies are” — same as with anyone “of any faith.”

If we are to explore the Constitution as a didactic document, the distinction Carson draws between the presidency and other high offices is worth pondering. It reflects the actual reasoning of the framers — which had nothing to do with keeping faith out of the voting booth.

Neither literally nor in spirit does the Constitution forbid automatic disqualifications for the presidency based on an American’s status. Recognizing that they had created a uniquely powerful office the abuse of which could gravely damage or even destroy the republic, the framers took pains to limit eligibility to “natural born” citizens. Is the Constitution trying to teach us that naturalized citizens cannot love our country every bit as much as those fortunate enough to be born here? Of course not. It is drawing a common-sense line.

Because of concerns that apply singularly to the presidency, the Constitution spares the American people the fear that the office could fall into the hands of a person who still feels bonds of loyalty to another sovereign. As related in the Heritage Foundation’s invaluable Guide to the Constitution, John Jay wrote George Washington during the Philadelphia convention to urge that the Constitution “declare expressly that the Commander in Chief of the American army shall not be given to nor devolve on, any but a natural born citizen.” Another iconic American jurist, Joseph Story, later explained that this eligibility requirement “cuts off all chances for ambitious foreigners, who might otherwise be intriguing for the office.”

By contrast, there is no such restriction against naturalized citizens’ serving in Congress, on the federal bench, or in other high offices. The list of those who have done so with patriotic distinction is too long to catalogue. Notice, though, that this fact has never been thought to require removal of the prudential limitation on presidential eligibility. When questions were raised about whether John McCain, Barack Obama, and Ted Cruz were natural-born citizens, they took pains to prove that they were. They did not attack the constitutional requirement as outdated.

We don’t get to choose where we are born. One’s belief system, by contrast, is a personal choice by the time one is an adult. Islam is not a foreign nationality, but it is a foreign belief system, core tenets of which are counter-constitutional. So consider this: A person may not be president if he was born in Canada, brought here two weeks later, naturalized as a child, and loves America as the only country he has ever known. Is it really “morally outrageous,” then, to opine that a person should not be president if he has made an adult decision to adhere to a belief system that, in its classical interpretation, runs afoul of the Constitution — even if he is an authentically moderate, pro-American Muslim who, in his own mind, has bleached away these offensive aspects of Islam?

Here we arrive at political correctness: the verbal gymnastics by which Krauthammer, like most Washington pols and pundits, consciously avoids Islam’s ills. In condemning Carson on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program, he inveighed:

Unless you fancy yourself an Islamic scholar, which I assume Dr. Carson doesn’t, you have to concede that in any religion — Christian, Jewish, Islamic, or whatever — people bring their own interpretation and understanding of that. And again I say, there are a lot of Muslims in America — I don’t know whether it would apply universally — but there is nothing intrinsic in the religion that would make a believer — and there are all stripes of believers in the U.S. and around the world — [inimical] to the Constitution. And if you think that’s true, then I think you’re making a pronouncement on a religion that you are not an expert on.

This is wrong on several levels. Most significantly, it highlights the key error about Islam that American commentators have been making throughout the quarter century of jihad waged against us: Pace Charles, Americans are under no obligation to figure out what is “intrinsic” in Islam — to divine the “true” Islam, if there actually is one.

There are sundry interpretations of Islam. Yet, for our limited national-security and liberty-preserving purposes, it is undeniable — except to those who are in terminal denial — that a mainstream interpretation of Islam rejects the foundations of our Constitution, beginning with our core premise that the people are sovereign and may govern themselves irrespective of the totalitarian dictates of sharia.

It makes no difference to us whether this mainstream interpretation of Islam is a faithful rendering — much less the faithful rendering. For our purposes, what matters is that many millions of Muslims, rightly or wrongly, adhere to this construction. One need not fancy himself an Islamic scholar to see that it derives from Islamic scripture, although Dr. Krauthammer must know that there is no shortage of globally influential Islamic scholars who vouch for this literalist fundamentalism — see, e.g., Reliance of the Traveller, the classic sharia manual endorsed by the faculty at Cairo’s al-Azhar University (the seat of Islamic learning since the tenth century) and the International Institute of Islamic Thought (the Muslim Brotherhood’s American think tank, whose self-proclaimed mission is “the Islamization of knowledge”).

Krauthammer thus makes another rudimentary error in addressing Islam as if it were a mere “religion,” like any other one. Throughout this column, I have used the term “belief system,” rather than “religion,” advisedly. Islam, in its classical interpretation, is a comprehensive sociopolitical system with its own legal code. Yes, it has some strictly theological tenets (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the conceit that Mohammed is the final prophet). These, however, comprise but a small percentage of Islamic belief, which covers the full extent of political, economic, and social life — from warfare to hygiene, in exacting rules resistant to change. That is why in virtually every Islamic society — i.e., wherever sharia is incorporated into law — the separation of spiritual and political life is rejected; it is why we find misogyny, anti-Semitism, homophobia, ruthless discrimination against religious minorities, hostility to freedom, suspicion of reason, and backwardness in economics and education.

No one is denying that there are millions of Muslims, including scholars, who are repulsed by this interpretation. We are fortunate to have many of them living in our country as solid American citizens — some even serving in the armed forces. But this does not change the facts that (a) many Muslims living in our country adhere to supremacist Islam and (b) those who do not are rightly seen as reformers and modernizers — which is welcome but only underscores that mainstream Islam needs reform and modernizing.

What most cries out for reform and modernization are those aspects of Islam that defy the principles of liberty and equality safeguarded by our Constitution. The job is perilous because those who seek to change ingrained aspects of Islam take their lives in their hands. The reformers merit our admiration, and it is in our interest to help them try to succeed. It is also in our interest, though, to realize that they may not succeed, and that we must protect our country in any event.

The presidency is also unique because it is the only office for which the Constitution prescribes an oath. The president must swear to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Given that a mainstream interpretation of Islam requires Muslims to follow sharia, and that classical sharia is antithetical to our Constitution, there is no moral outrage in recognizing the dilemma the oath could pose for a devout Muslim.

There is wisdom, not shame, in concluding that we’d rather not have to worry about the potentially divided loyalties of a Muslim president, just as the Constitution relieves us of worry over the potentially divided loyalties of a foreign-born president.

Like naturalized citizens, Muslims can be extraordinary Americans. But until Islam is reformed in such a way that a pluralistic, pro-liberty Islam is the world’s dominant Islam — and Islamic supremacism is the marginal exception, not the all-too-familiar rule — it is perfectly reasonable for Ben Carson, and any other American, to oppose the idea of a Muslim president of the United States.

Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Friday, September 25, 2015

What Next?

the weekly Standard

It's been two weeks since a majority of Congress sought to register its disapproval of the Iran deal but fell short of the votes necessary to break a filibuster or override a presidential veto, and most politicians and commentators have moved on.

It’s understandable to want a mental break after a long and hard-fought struggle. But the world hasn’t taken a break. The consequences of the deal are already reverberating. 

On Monday, September 21, Iran self-inspected a key suspect nuclear weapons site without international inspectors present. “This deal is not built on trust,” President Obama had told us. “It is built on verification.” But apparently we trust Iran to carry out that verification. That same day, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a two-and-a-half-hour emergency meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin (followed by a meeting of Russian and Israeli military chiefs) to discuss Russia’s military presence in Syria.

The front page of the Wall Street Journal on September 22 captured the new Middle East, with a picture of Netanyahu meeting Putin at the top, and below it the headline “Russia, Iran Team Up in Syria.” Putin is depicted as the central player with whom sworn enemies Iran and Israel have to deal. And where is the United States? At best, watching from behind. At worst, making life more difficult for our friends and allies. We’ve become like William Macy in the 2003 movie The Cooler, whose very presence and proximity turns people’s luck bad.

Such is the strategic reality that has emerged from the Iran deal. It has put an exclamation point on a collapse of American leadership that had been building during the entire Obama administration (and the last part of the Bush administration, too). It signaled a decisive reversal of decades of American dominance of the Middle East. Following our feckless blunders in withdrawing from Iraq, drawing but not enforcing a red line in Syria, and declaring quasi-war but doing very little against the Islamic State, the Iran deal was the straw that broke the camel’s back of American credibility in the region. It blessed the emergence, 15 years hence, of a nuclear-weapons-capable and ballistic-missile-armed Iran, enriched and empowered a vehemently anti-American and anti-Israeli, terrorist-supporting regime, and spurred nuclear proliferation in the region.

What is to be done? We can mitigate some of the deal’s costs in the near term, walk away from it as soon as possible, and act to prevent rather than enable or try to contain a nuclear-armed Iran. These must be fundamental elements of any successful U.S. national security policy. 

How does one begin?

First, don’t obsess about sanctions. Recognize that eagerness to do something can get in the way of doing what is needed. Sanctions can be an important tool of foreign policy, but they are a limited tool. Lawmakers concerned about the threat of Iran’s nuclear program naturally gravitated toward sanctions as one of the few areas where the legislative branch can lead and set foreign policy. But this also gave many members of Congress an easy but ultimately ineffective out. Sanctions did not succeed in pressuring the regime in Tehran to cease its nuclear program. Even as they damaged Iran’s economy, the regime continued installing new centrifuges. Obama was right when he said, “Sanctions alone are not going to force Iran to completely dismantle all vestiges of its nuclear infrastructure.” Sanctions are only one supporting element of a new policy against Iran.

Second, stick to what works. The sanctions fixation obscured a strategy that actually has an empirical record of reining in illicit nuclear programs: a credible military threat. Tehran suspended parts of its nuclear program in 2003-04, when the mullahs worried they’d be next after the United States toppled Saddam Hussein. The Iraq war also led Muammar Qaddafi to destroy his nuclear program. More recently, in September 2012, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu drew a red line at Iran acquiring a bomb’s worth—about 155 kilograms—of 20 percent enriched uranium. At the time, Iran was already dangerously close to this threshold; but it never crossed it. Hearing and, more important, believing Netanyahu’s implicit threat, Iran chose to keep its stockpile from exceeding Israel’s red line.

Third, the next president—especially if he or she wisely walks away from the deal—must use this credible military option not only to prevent Iran from going nuclear but also to confront Iran more broadly in the region. We can never be safe, nor can we ever regain international credibility, if Iran develops nuclear bombs or runs free as a dominant regional power. Attaining the capability to prevent these things will require freeing the U.S. military from the shackles of sequestration and boosting its capacity in the Middle East and beyond.

We have compared this period to the late 1930s, when the West, tired of war, failed to confront the strategic challenge of Nazi Germany. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin fiddled as Europe began to burn. But even in Baldwin’s last year in office British military spending increased significantly, and it rose further under Neville Chamberlain, a total of 83 percent between 1936 and 1939. At least Chamberlain recognized that Britain had to rearm, even while he pursued appeasement.

Obama, however, is slashing defense budgets. After five years of sequestration, the United States is on course to have the smallest Army since 1940 and the smallest Navy since 1930. As a group of retired high-ranking military leaders put it in a report commissioned by the Jewish Institute for Natioal Security Affairs: “Should the worst happen—should Iran threaten the security of our allies, should it decide, after 15 years, to sprint for a nuclear weapons capability—the U.S. armed forces will rise to challenge, but they will do so with less manpower, fewer capabilities, more antiquated platforms and a lower level of readiness than they have now or have had in a very long time.” It is amazing—and appalling—that the United States will not have an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf as the Iran deal goes into effect. The United States must also continue efforts to develop weapons to defend against Iranian aggression—particularly missile defense systems—as well as, if necessary, to degrade and destroy their nuclear infrastructure, whether through cyberattack or the 30,000-pound, bunker-busting, Fordow-penetrating Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP).

Fourth, boost the military capability of Israel and of our Arab allies, while ensuring Israel retains its qualitative military edge. The United States can help Israel acquire the tools to be more self-reliant both in its offensive and defensive capabilities. Congress has a big role to play here. Congress, with Obama’s support, has supplied Israel with financial aid for its Iron Dome system, which worked well in the war with Hamas in Gaza last year, but which will not suffice in the face of Hezbollah’s tens of thousands of rockets and missiles. The United States can significantly augment Israel’s missile defense capabilities, as well as work with it to improve its anti-mortar capabilities. American offensive help to Israel can begin with offering Israel MOPs and the spare B-52s that can deliver them. B-52s could also help Israel in a war with Hezbollah, which would surely be part of any conflict it has with Iran. Serious thought must be given to how else best to boost Israel’s defensive and offensive capabilities, and to do so in a manner dramatic enough to signal Iran, as well as others, that we will stand by Israel.

Britain required a new leader, Winston Churchill, in 1940 to finally address the Nazi cancer. The United States needs a new leader as well, a Republican with a firm understanding of America’s role in the world and the steel to pursue our interests properly and relentlessly. Still, re-armament helped provide the tools when Britain regained its will. When we have an American leader willing to restore America’s place in the world and actually prevent a nuclear Iran, that president too must have the tools—as must the Israelis—to do the job. 

Ben Carson and Islam


Hard on the manufactured controversy over what Donald Trump did not say about President Obama and Islam, we now have a controversy over what Ben Carson clearly did say about Islam – namely, that he does not believe it is consistent with the U.S. Constitution and that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.”

These assertions would not be nearly as hotly debated if the political class and the media had not sought for decades to suppress all discussion of Islam – other than mindless blather about its being a “religion of peace.” If we had been having the adult discussion we should have been having, it would be well understood by now that Islam is not merely a religion but a comprehensive societal framework with its own legal system.

Why is that important to grasp? Because in the West, we recognize a division between the spiritual realm and political life – a division reflected in our Constitution. Mainstream Islam recognizes no such separation. While Islam unquestionably has tenets that we would recognize as religious in nature (e.g., the oneness of Allah), it is also teeming with rules that control law, governance, the economy, military affairs, social life, hygiene – virtually everything we see as the realm of politics and self-determination.

Islam’s sharia is a code premised on the principles that Allah has prescribed the ideal way for human life to be lived; that people are required to submit to that prescription; and that Islamic governments exist to enforce that requirement. Our Constitution, to the contrary, is premised on the principles that we are free to choose how we will live; the laws we make are not required to comply with the principles of any religion; and that government is our servant, not our master.

 The Constitution has nothing to say about Islam’s purely religious tenets. It could not be more obvious, though, that mainstream Islamic ideology and the Islamic law that reflects it are not consistent with the Constitution. As I have repeatedly catalogued, citing an authoritative sharia manual endorsed by, among other prominent Muslims, the scholars at al-Azhar University (the center of Islamic scholarship for over a century), Islamic law rejects the premise that people are free to govern themselves as they choose, rejects freedom of conscience, rejects freedom of speech, rejects equality between Muslims and non-Muslims, rejects equality between men and women, justifies wars of aggression against non-Muslims, and rejects our safeguards of liberty and privacy – prescribing draconian penalties, often including death, for apostasy, homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, and other personal choices.

 When we discuss “Islam,” it should be assumed that we are talking about both a religion and a political-social ideology. Clearly, one can accept the religious tenets and not the ideology. But if someone asks a public figure about “Islam,” the term should be understood as conveying a belief system that is not merely, or even primarily, religious. And if that is not what the questioner intends, then the burden should be on the questioner to clarify.

When Dr. Carson said Islam is inconsistent with the Constitution, he meant that Islamic ideology is inconsistent with the Constitution. That is so patently true that a question about whether this is the case should be considered frivolous. Carson was not saying that being a Muslim who accepts the purely religious tenets of Islam is inconsistent with fidelity to the Constitution. In fact, when asked if he would consider voting for a Muslim for Congress, he replied that this would “depend on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.”

That makes perfect sense – a pro-Constitution Muslim who accepts Islam’s religious tenets but rejects the imposition of sharia on society would be fine; an adherent of Islamic ideology who seeks to impose sharia on society (i.e., an Islamist or Islamic supremacist) would not. This, undoubtedly, is why Carson included Muslims within the broad group of people he could support (persons of “any faith”) provided that their statements and actions suggest “things that will elevate this nation and make it possible for everybody to succeed, and bring peace and harmony.”

What Carson said should not be controversial. That it is says more about the state of our politics than it does about Carson.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Krauthammer: Double suicide: the presidential campaign of 2015

● They are running a presidential campaign decrying wage stagnation, income inequality and widespread economic malaise — as if they’ve not been in office for the past seven years.

● Their leading presidential candidate is 27 points underwater on the question of honesty and is under FBI investigation for possible mishandling of classified information.

● Her chief challenger is a 74-year-old socialist with a near-spotless record of invisibility in 25 years in Congress. The other three candidates can hardly be found at all.

● The only plausible alternative challenger, Joe Biden, has run and failed twice and, before tragedy struck (to which he has responded, one must say, with admirable restraint and courage), was for years a running national joke for his endless gaucheries and verbal pratfalls.

For the GOP, this has all been a godsend, an opportunity to amplify the case being made every day by the Democrats themselves against their own stewardship. Instead, the Republicans spent the summer attacking each other — the festival of ad hominems interrupted only by spectacular attempts to alienate major parts of the citizenry.

The latest example is Ben Carson, the mild-mannered, highly personable neurosurgeon and one of two highest-polling GOP candidates. He said on Sunday that a Muslim should not be president of the United States.

His reason is that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution. On the contrary. Carson is incompatible with a Constitution that explicitly commands that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Ever. And it is no defense of Carson to say that he was not calling for legal disqualification of Muslims, just advocating that one should not vote for them. That defense misses the point: The Constitution is not just a legal document. It is a didactic one. It doesn’t just set limits to power; it expresses a national ethos. It doesn’t just tell you what you’re not allowed to do; it also suggests what you shouldn’t want to do. For example, the First Amendment allows you to express whatever opinion you want — even, say, advocating the suppression of free speech in others. But a major purpose of the Constitution is to discourage and delegitimize such authoritarian thinking.

Carson later backtracked, saying that he meant opposing someone not because of his identity, ethnicity or faith but because of his ideology — meaning that he wouldn’t want in the White House an Islamist who seeks to impose sharia law.

Neither would I. Unfortunately, that’s not what Carson had said. In the original interview, he said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” It would not have been hard to attach any of the appropriate restrictive adjectives — radical, extreme, Islamist — to the word “Muslim.” He didn’t.

Indeed, Carson gave the correct answer minutes later when he said he wouldn’t apply his presidential religious test to congressional candidates. In that case, “it depends on who that Muslim is and what their policies are.” Which is, of course, the right answer, the American answer, the only possible answer to the same question about a candidate for the presidency.

Carson is not one to cynically pander. Nor do I doubt that his statement about a Muslim president was sincerely felt. But it remains morally outrageous. And, in a general election, politically poisonous. It is certainly damaging to any party when one of its two front-runners denigrates, however thoughtlessly, the nation’s entire Muslim American community.

Particularly when it follows the yeoman work done by the other leading GOP candidate to alienate other large chunks of the citizenry. Three minutes into his campaign, Donald Trump called Mexican American immigrants rapists who come bringing drugs and crime. He followed that by advocating the deportation of 11 million illegal immigrants. And sealed the deal by chastising Jeb Bush for speaking Spanish in answer to a question posed in Spanish.

Trump’s contretemps with women enjoy even more renown — his attacks on Megyn Kelly (including a retweet calling her a bimbo) and his insulting Carly Fiorina for her looks.
Muslims, Hispanics, women. What next? Who’s left?

It’s a crazy time. One party is knowingly lurching toward disaster, marching inexorably to the coronation of a weak and deeply wounded presidential candidate. Meanwhile, the other party is flamboyantly shooting at itself and gratuitously alienating one significant electoral constituency after another


The key paragraph in the Krauthammer article is this:

“Neither would I. Unfortunately, that’s not what Carson had said. In the original interview, he said, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” It would not have been hard to attach any of the appropriate restrictive adjectives — radical, extreme, Islamist — to the word “Muslim.” He didn’t.

But this is where Krauthammer is wrong.  The tenets of Islam include jihad and Sharia law. You do not have to add the appropriate restrictive adjectives for they are part of Islam itself, however difficult for us it is to accept this fact.

This is why Nonie Darwish is right and Krauthammer is wrong. She wrote in WHY BEN CARSON IS RIGHT:

“The media claim that the majority of Muslims are "moderate," but they ignore that fact that in the Muslim world, the "moderates" are out of power and always will be. The reason is not because they represent the true peaceful Islam, but because Islamic guides and books are not on their side. Islamic books, including the Quran, don’t support the concept of “moderation,” peace or forgiveness, but support the concepts of vengeance, retaliation and jihad. It is a fact that Islamic books have always sided with radicals, with no exceptions.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Iran’s Nuclear Selfies

The Wall Street Journal

 Tehran provides its own samples from Parchin. The IAEA is pleased
U.N. nuclear chief Yukiya Amano from Japan speaks during an
interview in Vienna, Austria on May 12, 2015.

The current fad of the “selfie” photograph has a new category with the news that Iran has been allowed to self-inspect its suspected nuclear site at Parchin. The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed Monday that Iran had turned over samples that the Iranians had themselves collected from the military site that IAEA inspectors haven’t been allowed to visit in a decade.

The Iranians did take IAEA director Yukiya Amano on a supervised tour of Parchin on Sunday, and he announced himself well pleased with what his agency received. “The agency can confirm the integrity of the sampling process and the authenticity of the samples,” Mr. Amano said.

But their authenticity and integrity are not the decisive issues. What matters is whether they provide a complete picture of Iran’s previous nuclear work. On that score Mr. Amano has to settle for whatever Iran provides him. He also isn’t about to say that the self-inspection process he recently endorsed has produced inadequate results—at least not if he wants to keep his job.

We are a long way from the go-anywhere, look-at-anything inspections that President Obama promised during negotiations. The Parchin selfies are especially dangerous because they are likely to set a new arms-control precedent for inspecting contested military sites in the future.

Gone are the kind of intrusive inspections that even Saddam Hussein had to tolerate until he kicked out inspectors. This is now the era of the selfie inspection, when rogue regimes provide their own samples, and inspectors-at-a-distance announce their gratitude for the cooperation.

Israel Project Managing Director of Press and Strategy Omri Ceren on news that Tehran tested nuclear sites on behalf of U.N. weapons inspectors


Dispelling the myth that Sharia is as American as apple pie.

The leftist media's uproar against Ben Carson’s personal opinion against electing a Muslim U.S. president must be met with a much stronger and direct response from mature and informed Americans.

Dr. Carson’s opinion about Islam is correct, but the lack of a supportive counter-uproar by Americans is giving power to the leftist mainstream media. The Left cannot or will not accurately and objectively determine the dangers of an Islamic president, while there are also those leftists who just don’t want to know the truth.

The media claim that the majority of Muslims are "moderate," but they ignore that fact that in the Muslim world, the "moderates" are out of power and always will be. The reason is not because they represent the true peaceful Islam, but because Islamic guides and books are not on their side. Islamic books, including the Quran, don’t support the concept of “moderation,” peace or forgiveness, but support the concepts of vengeance, retaliation and jihad. It is a fact that Islamic books have always sided with radicals, with no exceptions.

The only acceptable advocacy regarding Islam in America today is the propaganda that "moderate" Muslims are the real Muslims who reject Sharia and jihad. This is wishful thinking and pure fantasy. Meanwhile Muslim countries call Jihadists and Sharia-lovers the real Muslims.

It is a fact that wherever Islam goes fanatical, Sharia adherents take over simply because Islamic law says they must. And with them come misery, conflict, instability, strife, hatred and horrific violations of human rights that always end with huge numbers of refugees and escapees from the tyranny of Sharia. The whole world was flooded with Armenians after the Islamic Turkish genocide.

Western media have abdicated their duty to inform U.S. citizens of any ideology that threatens their way of life. The Left treats all religions and ideologies as equal, except for Christianity and capitalism. The media uses shaming to silence the natural wish of Americans to protect themselves. That is why it is in the West that the expressions of "moderate" and "radical" Muslims were conveniently coined in order to satisfy a leftist agenda -- which holds that a "moderate" Muslim is just as good as a believing moderate Christian in regards to governing with respect to the constitution.

But the truth is that the U.S. Constitution was the product of the Bible and it is, at the same time, in conflict with Islamic values.

Our mainstream media also ignores the fact that because of Islam and its laws, Muslim leaders in all Muslim countries have no choice but to rule with an iron fist because of the constant threat of assassination, coup d’états, and fear of being accused of apostasy and treason against Islam. Islamic law clearly and repeatedly states that any Muslim leader who rejects Sharia and jihad must be removed from office, violence not excluded, for dereliction of Allah’s law.

But the mainstream American media continue to shame Americans for fearing the obvious and to engage in spreading positive propaganda in support of Islam, describing it as American as apple pie.

An American Muslim president’s secret service detail will really have its work cut out for it if he (and under Islam it can only be a “he”) breaks any part of Sharia. The Muslims who would kill him will be suicidal heroes of Islam. And the story will continue repeating itself over and over again.

Islam is a dying religion that must constantly expand to stay alive and the West is giving it the much needed life-line and undeserved respectability it needs.

Religion is not and should not just be a nametag or a fad, but it is by nature a belief system that determines views and actions that should be in harmony with one’s culture and political system. A Muslim American president, if he calls himself a Muslim, will be in constant conflict between the values of his faith and the U.S. Constitution.

Islamic values are the antithesis of Biblical values. Islam violates almost all the 10 commandments and is extremely critical of Biblical values. Islam allows killing, taking possessions (stealing) from non-Muslims and deception by lying. It also encourages vengeance on behalf of Allah, hatred, the violation of basic human rights of minorities and women. Under Islam, loving your neighbors is forbidden if they are non-Muslim and respecting the sovereignty of non-Muslim nations is against the law. Islam by nature is not designed to co-exist, but to replace.

So it is not unreasonable to conclude that if a person states that they are Muslim, that they must then mean that they believe in Islamic books and commandments. For an American to claim that he is a Muslim but that he would rather follow the U.S. Constitution is contradictory and does not make sense. Islam unfortunately has enabled Muslim minds to incorporate two opposing ideas at the same time and feel perfectly comfortable with them. Is that what we want from our potential Muslim president?

The reason there is neither peace nor political stability in the Middle East is precisely because Sharia stands in the way between Muslim leaders who don’t want to follow Sharia 100% and those who do. Just imagine if Christian and Jewish leaders and theologians were in constant disagreements and wars over which of the 10 Commandments to follow and which ones to ignore. Then imagine them killing each other over this disagreement. That is the eternal unsolvable problem of Islam. Islamic commandments, namely Sharia, demand obedience or death. Obey or die -- and such a choice is against our Constitution, culture and Bible.

As a result of the Islamic theological mess, the political system suffers tremendously from instability and chaos. No Arab leader can survive unless he rules by Sharia and that is the crux of the problem behind the Islamic chaos.

Muslims who wish to apply Islam correctly, like the Muslim Brotherhood, threaten to assassinate the so-called moderate Muslim leaders. And they do kill the “moderates” whom they call apostates. It is not America’s job to decide what is the real Islam and what is not because even Muslims themselves are not settled over this.

By welcoming a Muslim as an American president, even if he is one by name only, Americans might as well welcome an Arab Spring right here in America to destroy the American political system, as we know it. History teaches us that wherever Islam goes, political instability, strife, demonstrations, coup d’ etats, chaos and threats of assassinations follow.

The mainstream media will most certainly enjoy reporting on the joys of a first Muslim president until a Sharia committee informs them that their services are no longer needed. They’ll also be informed that to continue will result in their death.

Dr. Carson is right because to elect a believing Muslim to the presidency conflicts with our Constitution and Bill of Rights. If that is not enough to change the minds of those who criticize Dr. Carson, then how about just a few samples of the hundreds of Islamic laws that violate our Constitution and that anyone who calls himself or herself a Muslim must abide by:

1)  A Muslim Head of State can come to power through seizure of power, meaning through force. This law allows for the violent removal of a Muslim head of state if he refuses to rule by Sharia. Will the leftist media object to an underground Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS-style tactics forming in every state against our newly elected Muslim leader and the U.S. government for refusing Allah’s opportunity to bring America under Allah? That has happened in numerous Muslim countries, many of which used to be Christian originally, so why not in America if it welcomes an Islamic leader to the White House?

2)  It is obligatory to obey the commands of the Caliph, even if he is unjust. Will the mainstream media dare to challenge an unjust Muslim leader? According to Islam they are not allowed and that is why there is no free press in any Muslim countries.

3)  A Muslim will not get the death penalty if he kills a non-Muslim, but he will get it for killing a Muslim. What will happen to equal rights under the law?

4)  Sharia dictates death by stoning, beheading, amputation of limbs, and flogging even for crimes of sin such as adultery. What will happen to cruel and unusual punishment?

5)  A woman’s value is half that of a man's, and that includes her testimony in court. How will those who claim America’s war on women is unjust feel about that?

6)  It is necessary for a Muslim to lie if the purpose is obligatory. That means that for the sake of abiding by Islam's commandments, such as jihad, a Muslim is obliged to lie and should not have any feelings of guilt or shame associated with this kind of lying. What if our nice and moderate Muslim president is practicing this principle of lying for the benefit of Islam?

The day America elects an openly or secretly Muslim president is the day America will start its Arab Spring. That nice "moderate Muslim" president the U.S. media are shaming us into accepting will suck America into Islam’s orbit of chaos, never to return to what America once was.

Nonie Darwish is author “The Devil We Don’t Know” and president of "Former Muslims United."

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Temple Mount riots – when will Israel start fighting back lies that the al-Aqsa mosque is being desecrated?

I was out of the country for six days and what did I hear? Al-Aqsa is being desecrated, say the Palestinians.  Abbas: ‘Filthy’ Jews’ Feet Not Allowed on Temple Mount

One just has to read Raphael Israeli’s excellent book Hatred, Lies, and Violence in the World of Islam  to understand why the Palestinians are lying.  But the real question is why do we tolerate this?  How many times in the last 20 years did we hear the same ludicrous accusations repeated time and again? The worst case was in 1996 when 70 people were killed and Israel could have countered the lies by simply publishing the map of the Temple Mount, but never did. Below is an article written in 1999.  

September 1996. 
The Arab League called the opening of the northern gate of an old archaeological tunnel that lies alongside the Temple Mount: "a part of an Israeli Zionist plot to destroy the Aqsa mosque”.

  The 1996 riots.  This map would have shown that Arafat’s claims that the al-Aqsa mosque was In 
  danger were preposterous. The map was never published anywhere. 



Mladen Andrijasevic
Goran Andrijasevic 

On April 4, 1999 in the travel section of The New York Times, under the title 'What's Doing in Jerusalem' there appeared an article by Deborah Sontag which listed interesting places to visit and things to do in the city. One would easily have read this travelogue and moved to other sections of the paper, if it were not for one item. The paper recommended a visit to the Western Wall tunnel. Now, we agree that the memory of most of us is short, but surely we can still remember what took place there only two and a half years ago? Two and a half years ago, on September 23, 1996, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu opened the northern gate of an old archaeological tunnel that lies alongside the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The Arab League called the opening: "a part of an Israeli Zionist plot to destroy the Aqsa mosque". Arafat called it "a blatant violation of Islam's holy sites". The claim incited Palestinian anger. They started shooting at Israeli soldiers and 56 Palestinians and 14 Israeli soldiers were killed. 

History will judge the wisdom, or lack of it, of the decision to open the new gate to the tunnel. However, we can examine the role the media played already today. 

The problem is that anyone with a street map of the Old City of Jerusalem, or anyone who has visited the site in person would immediately see that the Arab League's claim was, quite plainly, totally absurd. From the opened northern gate of the tunnel to the walls of al-Aqsa there is a distance of 450 meters or 500 yards. So the claim would be comparable to saying that a new door at the New York Stock Exchange would endanger the World Trade Center, or that a new gate at the Hotel de Ville would pose a danger to the foundations of Notre-Dame. If you face the Western Wall, the controversial tunnel will be on your left - the disputed northern exit being 400 meters away! - and the al-Aqsa mosque will be some 100 meters ahead and to the right. If there were any danger, (for instance by way of splitting of the bedrock), then the Jewish worshipers would have been the ones concerned most since the Western Wall is in between! 

Did the world media report that the distance from the gate to al-Aqsa was 450 meters? They did not. What they did say was that: "Palestinian protest was triggered by Israel's opening-up ... of an ancient tunnel that runs alongside the Haram-al-Sharif, the site of al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem " or that " the reason for the recent worsening in relations between Jordan and Israel was the opening of the tunnel near the Islamic holy sites". 'Near' is a relative term. The Moon is near the Earth if compared to the distance to the Sun. In the context the media used it , 'near' was completely misleading and false. The real question that should have been asked is whether the opening of a two meter gate can threaten a structure half a kilometer away. Common sense indicates that it cannot. 

So how is it possible that at the end of the twentieth century, at the time when the private life of a sitting American President can be spread around the globe through the Internet, when satellites can read number plates from hundreds of kilometers up, virtually no one considered it newsworthy to inform the public of the simple, yet crucial fact that the gate is 450 meters from al-Aqsa? (True, there have been a few voices of protest, e.g. Charles Krauthammer).The global lie was propagated for days and was the main news item. Moreover, this is not some abstract issue with subtle nuances but a verifiable geographical fact of the physical world. In other words, any day – today - you and we can go to the Old City of Jerusalem and walk the 450 meters ourselves. 

It can be argued that the distance is irrelevant. But surely the validity of a claim of the danger to al-Aqsa, the result of which 70 people lost their lives, (and which in all probability had stirred the hatred of many in the Moslem world against Jews) is worth investigating? 

It is the very nature of the media in a democracy to provide information on major events in a more or less balanced way. In this instance the media failed miserably. They committed a blunder or stupefying proportions for which they have not apologized to this day. For if our civilization (both Western and non-Western) can close its eyes and completely disregard geographical facts and the laws of physics in order to go along and parrot some narrow political interest of the moment - then we are in trouble. 

Today all this is compounded by complete amnesia. If the opening of the northern gate to the tunnel posed a threat then - how come it does not do so today? The distances have not changed. Stones and walls stay put. Will not the stroll of tourists going to adversely affect the foundations of the al-Aqsa mosque some few hundred yards away? 

When will the media finally begin to admit that it was a case of inexcusable disinformation. We have no doubt that years from now historians will be baffled at how this could have happened. It is time to dig our heads out of the sand and analyze this unique incident lest we repeat the same mistake again, with potentially even more dire consequences.