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Who Are We At War With, And Who Is A Threat?

By 9.9.14

We in the West have been coming to wrong conclusions in answering the above questions.

Our “war” confusion is that we aren’t necessarily at war with countries and/or terror groups whose leaders have declared war on us. Thus the Islamic Republic of Iran established in February 1979 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini has avowedly been at war with the West ever since. As a result our policies are constrained by the perception that we are not at war with such adversaries. And so now with Islamic State — IS, ISIS or IL — of whom the Obama administration now says that they are not yet a threat to the homeland.

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The War on Terror Spectator

If Obama Had Been FDR

By 9.9.14

The words still resonate today, seventy-three years later. On December 8, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, his polio-stricken legs encased in iron braces enabling him to stand at the podium, asked Congress for a declaration of war against “the Empire of Japan.” FDR’s famous speech came immediately after the perfunctory acknowledgement of the vice president and speaker of the House. The speech described the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and opened like this:

Yesterday, December 7th, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The speech, delivered at 12:30 p.m., was short and to the point.

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Serve and Volley

The End of Civilization As We Have Known It

By 9.8.14

When a man is down two sets to one and he is on serve and behind 15-40, you find out what he is made of — in tennis, at any rate. In Roger Federer’s case, his hapless rival in that particular situation said it best: “[S]uddenly he start to mix everything,” said the French ace Gael Monfils after the match. He meant, he did what he needed to do to save the game, save the set, save the match.

Federer himself put it a little differently, mentioning afterward that he told himself to just go ahead and play the last point, since last point is what by all evidence it was. But his unstated meaning was: just let it be and play.

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The Nation's Pulse

Andrew Tahmooressi’s Imprisonment Is Something We Should Be Ashamed Of

By 9.8.14

What to make of the peculiar situation unfolding just across the border in Tijuana, where U.S. Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi languishes in solitary confinement for the crime of mistakenly crossing the border with his personal weapons in his truck on March 31?

Nothing to inspire confidence, for certain. In fact, Tahmooressi’s ordeal might just confirm many of our worst fears about the Obama administration.

The Tahmooressi story sounds more like a schlocky Hollywood script than a real-life tale. Its protagonist is a decorated Marine veteran of two tours of duty in Afghanistan, honorably discharged in 2012 and diagnosed with a severe case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); he was moving to the San Diego area specifically for treatment of his PTSD. And Tahmooressi’s ordeal is mind-bogglingly unjust; he mistakenly crossed the border from San Ysidro, California, into Mexico because he missed an interstate exit that would have taken him to dinner with friends. Instead, the twenty-five-year old war hero wound up at a Mexican border station driving a pickup truck full of his possessions, which included two rifles and a pistol, plus ammunition.

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The Charlie Watch

Boy Clinton Fails to Fill House

By 9.8.14

Billy-Bob Clinton showed up in Miami Friday night to tell Florida Democrats that Charlie Crist’s conversion to the Democrat party and all its leftist delusions is genuine. For anyone who has known Charlie for more than a few weeks, this is itself a delusion. But this is the Democrat establishment’s story, and they’re sticking to it. At least until November 4, or until Crist registers in yet another political party, whichever comes first.

Clinton’s other message was to impress on Democrats how important it is for them to vote in November. Democrats, the party of government, do well at turning out the faithful when there’s a presidential candidate to vote for at the top of the ticket. But they have a history of not reporting for civic duty in off-years. They didn’t turn out in any numbers for the August 26 primary. And, embarrassingly, they didn’t show up Friday night to hear one of the left’s rock-stars perform. Clinton had to deliver his sermon on the importance of showing up to a half-empty hotel ballroom. 

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Another Perspective

We Need Another Gulf War Effort

By 9.8.14

In August 1990, Saddam Hussein led what was then the fourth largest army in the world, a battle-hardened group that had just fought the ten-year Iran-Iraq War, into Kuwait to seize its oil fields.

It was a clear violation of international law and national sovereignty, but as usual, Saddam had his own list of rationalizations — northern Kuwait really belonged to Iraq — plus the law that might makes right.

So what did we do? America’s interests were clearly at stake — we were much more dependent on foreign oil — but we were obviously not going to fight the whole of Saddam’s army at such a distance. Instead, President George Bush, in what was probably the brilliant diplomatic effort of the century, spent a half year assembling a coalition of 36 nations from five continents lined up against Saddam. The entire Middle East signed on — they feared Saddam’s incursions were only beginning — but countries from Europe, Africa, South America, and Asia signed on as well.

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Loose Canons

ISIS, ISIL, NATO, and Obama

By 9.8.14

When President Obama sits down with congressional leaders this week to talk about fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria — “ISIS” — they’ll probably not agree on anything, not even the proper name of the terrorist organization that now controls about one-third of Iraq and a larger part of Syria.

The president insists on calling it “ISIL”, for “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.” The “Levant” — an archaic term — refers to the area off the Eastern Mediterranean Sea stretching from what is now Anatolia in Turkey, through Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt. By insisting on calling the terrorist micro-caliphate “ISIL,” the president is giving them credit for being a lot bigger than they really are.

One thing that they certainly won’t discuss is the best idea to come out of the House of Representatives in quite a while. Actually, it hasn’t come out yet and it’s a good idea with one major defect.

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A Further Perspective

Our Sentimental Humanitarian Age

By 9.8.14

I always thought it would be difficult to imagine a period in which the West would be more adrift than the 1970s. Being a child at the time, I was spared consciousness of most of that miserable decade. Thus far, however, the second decade of the 2000s seems likely to give the 10 years that spawned Watergate, stagflation, the Carter presidency, the Oil Crisis, Idi Amin, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, Jim Jones, Pol Pot, the Red Brigades, and the Iranian Revolution (to name just a few of the star attractions) a serious run for its money as a byword for Western decline.

One everyday sign of this malaise is the fact that much of the West remains, as in the seventies, mired in what’s now called the Long Slump. And persistently unhealthy economies are usually symptomatic of an unwillingness to acknowledge deeper problems. Examples are most Western governments’ reluctance to accept that it’s game-over for the regulatory and welfare state as-we-knew-it, or to do something about the growing cancer of crony-capitalism.

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Enemy of the Week

Manageable Corruption

By 9.5.14

Now they tell us. “Let’s be honest, the value of the luxury gifts and loans involved in the case, $177,000, is pretty petty,” writes the Washington Post’s Petula Dvorak for the prosecution in the case of the Virginia McDonnells vs. the U.S. which found the accused guilty on most counts. Isn’t it strange that Barack Obama received at least that amount in value from his Chicago backer Tony Rezko, who now sits in jail, while the Rezko equivalent in the McDonnell affair enjoys immunity while those he testified against face many long years in the pen. But who said life would be fair in a two-party state?

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The Obama Watch

CEOs Critique Obama

By 9.5.14

Bernie Marcus co-founded Home Depot in 1978, a bad economic time of rising unemployment, accelerating inflation and Jimmy Carter’s downhearted feelings of malaise.

Home Depot prospered, but in an interview with Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) in July 2011, the third year of Obama’s presidency, Marcus said the company wouldn’t have survived if it was launched in 2011 because of the federal government’s overblown and ever-increasing regulations.

At the time of the interview, the official July 2011 unemployment rate was 9.1 percent, with 13.9 million people unemployed and a labor participation rate (the percentage of the civilian non-institutional working-age population who are in the labor force) in decline, dropping by 193,000 people in July 2011 alone.

Here are several of the interview’s highlights:

IBD: “What’s the single biggest impediment to job growth today?”

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