Now its London. I’ll ask again: NOW have you had enough?

It seems as though it was only a few days ago that I was writing in response to the Manchester bomber.  We now witness another clearly coordinated attack on innocents in London. The Metro Police have reacted quickly as we all would expect. This evening, besides the event itself, there are two things that should be concerning to Britons and all of us in the west.

First it is the fact that we are still RE-acting. Police are reacting. This is still being treated as a law enforcement matter. Do not get me wrong. I am glad that Metro is there. These are the things that the police should be for, not issuing traffic tickets. As I asked following the Manchester attack I must ask again: When will it be enough? How many more attacks do our citizens endure before we start treating this as what it is? These people ARE AT WAR WITH US. When do we go on offense? This will not end until we do.

The other concern this evening is that I hear the Prime Minister issued a prompt statement wherein she stated that they are “treating this as a POTENTIAL terrorist attack”. NO! Ya think?!

Potential? Madame Prime Minister just who is it that you are concerned about? Are you concerned about your own people, or are you more concerned that you might piss off a few muslims? Potential my ass!

More on this tomorrow morning.

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Accorde Paris Adieu…

Hunter S. Thompson’s famed alter ego, the great Gonzo, once spoke wistfully of his equally renowned attorney, Laszlo: ” Laszlo? He is gone. He will be missed. Not by me, but….” I must admit to sharing much of the same sentiment in the wake of the President’s announcement this week that the US would be exiting the Paris Climate Accord. The wailing and gnashing of teeth which has followed this announcement is as spectacular in scale as it is hyperbolic in tone. Why if NASA had announced the discovery of a giant asteroid in an unalterable collision course with the planet that would still have to compete for a place on the front page. For the many who seem to be at worst horrified, or at the least deeply saddened, I do not count myself in their numbers. It will be missed, but not by me.

In spite of the voluminous reports to the contrary I suspect that in the country as a whole there are more in my column with this topic. Some of these are people who are able to approach the question rationally and thus conclude that the argument for climate change as presented simply does not measure up to sound science. There are others who without making a thorough examination of data merely discount the whole idea for no other reason than an inherently skeptical nature. And, lest we forget, there are undoubtedly those who just don’t give a shit. On an emotional level I would have to identify as being in that third category. On an intellectual level I find myself in equal measure of the first two.

In weighing any issue it is first important to call something what it is, otherwise there is no prayer of having all reading off the same script. If the definitions are not agreed upon all the debate in the world is utterly futile and this is where our problems begin.  Twenty years ago the term was “global warming”.  Implied in this by those carrying the banner was that the term referred to global warming as the product of human activity.  As years passed and data was compiled which would clearly contradict the warming trend the label was altered to “climate change”. As before the implication remained that this was a result of human activity. So in either case one is presented with terms that say one thing, but are intended to imply something beyond what is on it’s face. Regardless the words used to define the issue let us just say for argument’s sake that the concern underlying what is expressed is the human impact upon long term climatology. This is in fact what is being asserted by the leaders of this “movement”. Just consider, as another example, the “health care” debate. In that instance the real subject is not health care, rather health insurance.

The Paris Climate Accord defines the problem using the term climate change, so as a matter of simplification we shall stick with this term for discussion. Ostensibly this accord proposes a set of actions and policies to be implemented by the signatories for the purpose of curbing those human activities which have been deemed detrimental to the long range trends of the mean global temperature. For the purpose of quantification the benchmark has been set to contain the rise of that mean temperature to no more than 2 degrees fahrenheit by the end of this century. This is a convenient set of parameters as statistically speaking the vast majority of those alive today will not be around at the end of the term to see whether or not, A) that the goal has been met, or B) that the proposed climate models were in any way correct. More importantly those responsible for establishing the plan will not be around to defend the results whether they be good, bad or indifferent.

Another important factor in weighing a question is to gather data from multiple sources. Our liberal friends are constantly reminding us that diversity it critical. Following their logic one might be safe in assuming that this same principle will apply in data collection. Aside from this it is a practice that is essential to proper scientific method. While science is to be blind, impartial to any considerations other than raw data, reality does require one additional element. One has to consider the source.  This is especially true in this case as it seems that many carrying the banners and sounding the horns are not scientists, rather they are politicians, celebrities and other curious varieties of public figures. To be fair I realize that these are only the mouthpieces, not those actually conducting the science, but these people do like to cite “the science” and the “consensus of scientists”.  So then we must ask ourselves who are these scientists?

The scientists most often cited as the source affirming the climate-change-by-man credo are climatologists.  On it’s face the label seems clear enough, doesn’t it? A climatologist is someone who studies climate.  Well, that much is true. If one cares to, and indeed I am one who does, burrow down deeper into what a climatologist is this is best explained in this way. A climatologist is a meteorologist with either two or four additional years of post graduate work in their field. Or not. A meteorologist who has been visible on a major network, whatever other credentials they may possess, is regarded among those to adhere to the premise of climate change (the movement, not the phenomenon) as a credible source to affirm their belief. Into this mix one can also count the avuncular and beloved “Bill Nye the Science Guy”.  William is photogenic, more or less, possesses an engaging personality on camera, and I will admit does seem to be rather knowledgeable in science in a general sense.  This does not, however, automatically make him an accredited authority in the study of climate. There are numerous scientists who reside within the academic community who are recognized as authorities in this field. Many hold titles in prestigious institutions where they are ostensibly professors. The TA’s of course perform this less dignified task; their primary role is to conduct research. Theirs is the realm of theory. Now theory in and of itself is not a bad thing, per se, I don’t wish to imply that it is. Theories are formed based on a set of observations and are designed to be then tested in practice.

There are a couple of problems I see with these sources. The research scientist with tenure at a major university, aside from the pure science, performs another important function. Universities don’t bring these people on board their faculty so they can fuel the research out of their own coffers.  These scientists are brought on board so that their credentials lend feasibility to the endowment of grants, many of which come from government. If you think that there are no politics involved when obtaining one of these grants then you are sorely mistaken my friend. This is where politics only begins to be injected into this equation. It sets the stage for circumstances often found, for right or wrong, in many crime investigations. A detective or set of detectives may have for whatever reason formed a working theory of what may have occurred.  When this happens there is the tendency not to follow facts where they may lead, instead seeking evidence or facts that will fit the theory at the exclusion of anything which may contradict that theory. Although this may not be proper procedure a detective’s experience and prior knowledge of the parties involved may well provide a sufficient intuition for pursuing a theory which does ultimately lead to justice being rendered. In these cases this behavior may be forgiven. Not so with science. Science is not about intuition or consensus. There is no reason not to think that this has occurred in this particular science. In fact there is some rather high profile evidence of the deliberate falsification of data to fit the theory from no less than a former Fellow of East Anglia University who had been on the inside of an “official study” of climate change.

The other problem that I have with these sources comes from where common sense beckons. If a goodly number of climatologists are an advanced form of meteorologist then logic would dictate that one look at prior performance.  Meteorologists that we see on television are always needing to qualify those occasions when they’ve gotten it wrong by explaining that it is not an exact science. I’ve always been mildly humored by the forecast of a 20% or 40%, or any % chance of rain. Or snow. To my way of thinking it’s 50%: it is going to rain, or it isn’t.  But I understand that it is not as simple as that. A percentage of a chance of one weather phenomenon or another is built upon models, based on probabilities. They are at best an informed guess. This is not meant as a criticism with which to tar the entire profession. It is just a simple fact. They can forecast probabilities, but at the end of the day they can only work with what nature gives us. My point here is just to cast a justified level of skepticism to the accuracy of weather or climate forecasting.  We are talking about a science that has in most cases only a little better than 50% accuracy rate in forecasting what the weather will bring for the next 5 days. Never mind 5 years, or as is the case with the climate change commandos 50 or 100 years.  Questioning the validity of this science as it is repeatedly shoved down our throats is not “climate change denial”. It is an entirely reasonable question to ask if we want to stake so much upon policies which are rooted in nothing more than models that may have no better than a 50% chance of being correct. It’s like playing Russian Roulette with 3 of the 6 chambers filled. Who would do that?

It is utterly ridiculous and dishonest to brand someone as a climate change “denier” because they don’t automatically subscribe to your pet theory. I don’t deny climate change, I simply dispute your version of it. There is climate change. There always has been and there always will be. The last truly momentous climate change occurred with the end of the last Ice Age, which I would point out there is ample science to prove that this occurred over tens of thousands of years. Climate will change and there is not one damned thing we can do about it.  The entire premise is deeply flawed. Climate is changing because of human activity; ergo, reducing or eliminating the activity will change the climate in the other direction or halt the climate’s move in it’s current direction. If there is any denial happening it is a denial of reality on the part of the climate change argument.

Denial is a hallmark of liberal or progressive thought.  Socialism doesn’t work because it denies human nature.  Inserting political correctness into the daily interactions between the sexes does not work because it denies human nature.  Prohibitions do not work because they deny human nature. Progressives deny God, or as I like to think of it Nature, because it presumes an authority greater than their own. They don’t want to eliminate God; they want to be God. Their tireless efforts to convince all of humanity that we are on the course of climate catastrophe if we do not follow their way is one of the greatest proofs that they want to be God. It’s not enough for them to deny human nature. Now they just want to deny Nature period. We can have endless debate about God, the nature of God or the wrath of God. Our history shows that we will never agree, but as to the wrath of nature? There is no denying that. You don’t have to like it, I’m sure that most of us don’t, but that does not change the facts. Nature will do as it sees fit whether we are here or not.

So farewell Paris Climate Accords! You will be missed, but not by me.

In sympathy of pre-election blues

My young friend at A Paradoxical Millennial has graced us once again with his analysis of British electoral politics. Yesterday he posted Pre-Election blues; or, something of a rant 

http://aparadoxicalmillennial.com/2017/06/01/pre-election-blues-or-something-of-a-rant/

After having read his thoughts I did post a comment with a promise of some further elaboration, which follows here.

APM has expressed a lament which has become increasingly common in the western democracies of late, that being the poor choices which major political parties have foisted upon us all at the ballot box. This is by no means a new phenomenon, though it has certainly been voiced by more and more of the electorate as we traipse gingerly into the 21st century. APM, a self identified millennial, is a member in good standing of that club who are a rather large factor in a rising chorus of disenchantment with the state of our political processes.  It is a product of the expanding and rapidly accelerating information age in which they have clawed their way to adulthood.

Throughout much of our modern history information has been controlled, filtered through select mediums to present a particular tone to the public narrative. Fifty years ago the average voter was informed by what version of events were reported through the existing media infrastructure: the major broadcast networks, news publications such as The Times, The Washington Post, etc. Reporters and editors selected what was to be reported and how, and perhaps more importantly what was not to be reported. Outside of their sphere, in the reality where the proverbial rubber meets the road, the latter of these are what are correctly identified as “lies of omission”. The late Marshall McLuhan exposed this rather widely. Many among us are familiar with McLuhan’s famous quote “The medium is the message”. Others may not be aware of another of McLuhan’s gems, “A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

For decades a narrative was formed by this elite class of our media. This narrative, by virtue of nothing more than it’s source, was regarded in most circles of society as the gospel truth. As an institution they were empowered to see to it that the public would all read from the same script. This “fifth estate” was part of a three legged stool of media, academia and government. As with any three legged stool each of the legs were essential to keeping it upright. Take away any of the three and the stool will teeter over onto the floor. The information age has steadily eroded this formula. The millennials have grown up in and are now an integral part of a population that finds itself beset with as many sources of information as the ether can hold. There are still filters, but these are no longer all connected to the same guiding hands.

From my own historical perspective this is both good and bad.  It is good in the sense that it creates a set of conditions which allow for a legitimate and potent challenge to the universal narrative. It is at the same time bad in that it invites that circumstance which McLuhan warned of: point of view substituted for insight and understanding..  With so many sources, each which may carry the taint of a bias, it becomes more of a challenge to the consumer of information to separate the facts from fiction. What should be remembered in order to hold this in it’s proper perspective is that McLuhan warned of this danger before, not after the advent of the information age. Although it may not have been his intent he had rightly identified that the media, as defined in his age, was guilty of making their point of view a point of fact. Even as we have transcended the prior order of our media sources the traditional media establishment still engages in the same old set of rules. They refuse to accept that the once exclusive control that they exercised over “messaging” is being steadily wrested from their grasp. One can often hear them publicly expressing their resentment at this in overt terms and even more often observed in their increasing departure from even the pretense of objectivity. Out of this is born a new mantra: fake news!

The major networks and the major political parties of both the UK and the US rely upon the upper tiers of academia to serve as the farm club system to keep their rosters filled. Whether it is BBC or ITV, NBC, CBS or CNN, Labour or Tory, Republican or Democrat, they all bathe in and emerge from the same filth. These form a sub-society, segregated from society at large, who all drink the same purple kool-aid from the same font. Their cult has created an orthodoxy to which all members must pledge their unadulterated allegiance above all else. Anything less makes them instantaneous candidates for expulsion from the club. There is to be but one truth: their truth, and no other may challenge it. Academia, the media and government are merely the institutions. The establishment are those inhabiting these institutions and it is growing increasingly evident to the public that they do not mean to relinquish their hold upon these any time soon.

APM observes that the Labour Party continues to spout the same nonsensical gibberish that led to the winter of discontent which punctuated their dismal rule in the seventies. They’ve nothing new to offer. The same can be stated for the Democrats here in the US. Their rhetoric has been virtually unchanged for the past fifty years. Both continue to mouth the same tired platitudes while inching ever closer to the end of their limb. They are not climbing higher up the tree; merely reaching for the next skinny branch that isn’t there before they ultimately plummet. Everyone on the ground can see this and some have even tried to warn of their peril. It is not that they can’t hear the warnings, they simply refuse to heed them. And indeed, why should they? They’ve no reason to think that they should try anything different. They seem to have their constituencies locked up and as long as these continue to greedily parade to the trough to accept what they are being fed there really is no incentive for change, is there? That’s a more polite way of saying , ” Idiots! You all get what you deserve!”

On the other side of this coin one finds the Tories and the Republicans, who also seem to refuse to believe what they are being told and what their eyes should plainly see. Like the liberals they continue to cater to the disparate groups which comprise a coalition of their base constituency. Though not uttered in so many words their actions have consistently demonstrated that they also worship at the altar of “big government”, the only distinction being that their version of big government is better. In the financial crisis of 2008 the phrase “too big to fail” was coined. I think this missed the mark, it is rather “too big to succeed”. There is a common theme present in the platform of either: Vote for us because we’re better than the other guys.  In fact it’s not even a “vote for us”. Both sides make the appeal that one must vote against the alternative.

We have not been presented with the choice of casting an affirmative ballot for quite some time. Our choices have been restricted to only exercising a vote against one side or the other.  Whether we are talking about Brexit or the election of Trump, for as much of an upset of the status quo as either may be, I do not believe that these represent an affirmative vote at all. For all of the talk attributing these to populism, nativism, bigotry or any other condemnation from the establishment these electoral shifts represent none of these. In both instances these translate as still being a vote against the alternatives. It is a declaration of “A pox on both your houses!”

It remains to be seen if Trump will truly be the change agent that he has promised. In Theresa May I fear that my English cousins are not being offered a change agent. Instead it is a choice to elect more of the same, just so long as it isn’t Labour! In both cases I suspect that their elections will result not in something significantly better, rather they are options that will be “less bad”. It’s a bit like being wheeled into surgery and being told just before the anaesthetic ” We’re going to be removing your left leg today “, and upon waking discovering that they had only removed your left foot. You still won’t be happy with the results, but at least it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

As an electorate we should perhaps try to think of ourselves as the long-suffering wife discouraged by the poor treatment from her spouse.  Some years ago there was a young mother in our neighborhood who would come to meet for evening walks. She and her husband had two children under the age of five at the time and both were engaged in the early stages of their medical careers.  This young woman frequently vented her frustration with her husband’s behavior. Her chief complaint was that while she continued to break her back at work while still taking the lion’s share of parenting duties she would find that on his days off he would spend the majority of his time playing video games. I typically chose not to get involved in any way with this sort of marital dispute, having enough of my own to contend with. After hearing her whine about this state of affairs for the umpteenth time I cast caution to the winds and rushed in where angels fear to tread. I asked her, ” So how long has this been going on?”. Her reply was that it had been going on since the birth of their first child. I then asked her “Well when did you decide to say something about it?” Her next response was equally disheartening, admitting that she had not said anything yet because she was afraid to. I understood this, it’s a familiar dynamic in young marriages, but I did not succumb to sympathy. I then very simply stated to her, ” If you have accepted it and continue to accept it then you’ve no right to expect anything different. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to use the carrot or the stick, but if all you do is continue to whine to the rest of us the story never changes.” She never spoke of the problem again, at least not in my presence. I don’t know if they resolved this conflict and as I had no stake in the outcome it doesn’t matter one way or the other. For the amount of time I have left on this earth I think that most of the damage has been done where government is concerned. If they began to apply the proper remedies today I would still very likely be cold in the ground before there would be substantial improvement. So in this likewise I may have little stake in it. My advice to millennials is, however, the very same as I had offered to our old neighbor.  If you keep accepting what you’ve been fed you will doubtless continue to get more of the same.

This, of course, leaves the question: How many more Brexits and Trumps will it take before they start getting it right? That will be up to you.

Grave rhymes with Brave

Remember the fallen, not just this day

The dads, sons and brothers who did not make their way

Back home to the loved ones they fought to defend

Who in far away places instead met their end

So many, so young, before their time died

They answered the call with honor and pride

On the sea, in the sky, in jungle and sand

They surrendered a life that was otherwise planned

So today of all days remember the brave

Those soldiers and sailors sent to the grave

Summers in Purgatory

Got my stack of Mad magazines                                                                                                          and a box of crayons

That should hold me a while

Fresh batteries in the radio                                                                                                                  Jug of water and a bag of chips

Get me through ’til this is over

Oh, here’s the weather now                                                                                                                  sunny skies, mid 70’s today

Guess it won’t matter tomorrow

Other side of the world Arvid waiting                                                                                                flies buzz in the goat droppings

He doesn’t have a radio

But it’s all the same

Here or there

And nowhere…

That’s where we’ll be tomorrow

 

Recalling the day the Earth shifted it’s axis

There was a day back in 1992 that I have long been convinced signalled the end of civilization. In the tangled undergrowth of my memory I am unable to weed out the precise date, only the year. The herald of the end was delivered via the 11:00 PM local newscast. On this day there were two events which occurred, over a thousand miles apart, and were both recorded for the eager appetites of the news consumer.

Paul Ruebens, better known to us of a certain age as the infamous Pee Wee Herman, was busted for masturbating in a public theatre. This report came complete with his mug shot, looking nothing like Pee Wee. A later report informed the viewers that on the same day a long and tense afternoon passed in the parking lot of a Shell gas station on the east side of Columbus, Ohio.

An employee had spotted a container of some kind on the property which they considered “suspicious”. This individual then dutifully phoned the authorities to report the disturbing irregularity. Upon the arrival of a city police cruiser with two uniformed officers there was made a brief examination of the “package” from a safe distance. These two seasoned veterans determined that it was better to err towards the side of caution, calling in the department bomb squad to take control of the scene.

It was never explained by anyone just what there was about this container that was the source of suspicion. Nonetheless the bomb squad did arrive in full protective regalia and proceeded to cordon off the area. Hours passed with additional squad cars arriving to join the fray, parking around the cordoned perimeter in a blinding display of red and blue flashing lights. Police radio static crackled in the air, the siren call to local television news vans which then also arrived to further snarl traffic. Some passers by occasionally tried to assemble and observe the action, or lack of, in the hope of learning what demanded such a heavy police and media presence.  These curious citizens were quickly dispatched by officers, no doubt out of a concern for public safety.

One can only assume that there must have been some debate amongst the bomb squad as to proper procedure.  Most of the afternoon had passed and as the clock approached rush hour they finally finished suiting up with their hoods and gloves to make their approach on the package.  It had loomed there, ominously,  as the sun passed overhead to the west. It seemed to be mocking them in it’s inanimate smugness. Without making any more detailed examination it was gingerly lifted from the pavement to be placed within a blast blanket and cautiously removed from the site.

The news report concluded to inform the public that the suspicious parcel was transported in the bomb squads blast resistant van to their training facility and from a safe distance it was detonated. It is not known what method was used for this detonation, but in the department’s official statement it was revealed that the contents of the suspicious box, upon further examination post detonation, were discovered to be nothing more than a collection of old skin magazines.

I had sat through this report hearing it all while not really paying close attention. It was one of those many occasions when one may sit with the television only playing as background. It took several minutes for the enormity of it all to sink in. Pee Wee Herman jerking it in a Florida theatre and the Columbus bomb squad detonates a box of porno mags. On the same day! What are the odds of that, I thought to myself at the time. Surely it must have been a sign. Maybe it was. Maybe we’re all just missing it. Anyway, I thought it worthwhile to provide the reminder. It’s about as relevant as the rest of what passes for news these days.

 

After Manchester:Have you had enough now?

I had prepared a post for today that was of a more humorous nature. Ironically it is a story which involves a bomb squad and a controlled detonation. In light of the sobering events last night in Manchester I have considered that this would be in poor taste and will post it later.

I have expressed strong opinions on terrorism and how it ought be dealt with before. In this particular instance I am stirred to a more ferocious reaction due to my particular attachment to the city of Manchester. I feel a very strong bond with our mother country. There is a lot of English blood running through these veins. To me Manchester, more than London, more than Southampton, Bristol, Bath or the chalk downs of Wiltshire, represents the spirit of Britain. All of these bombings and Islamist attacks infuriate me, but this one perhaps more than all others.

It has been more than the attacks themselves that anger me. It is the reaction to, or in some instances the lack of reaction, that I find even more disturbing. To some this may seem a rather curious statement so I will explain.  What is troubling to me is that after so many times we are still reacting. What will it take to become proactive in addressing this scourge?

There has long been a mindset present amongst the political class of the west to treat this as a matter of  law enforcement, which by its very nature is a reaction. Laws are only rules, words written on paper. They do nothing in and of themselves to prevent any act. They only empower the authority of the state to impose the prescribed sanction upon the offender after the crime has been committed.  I am of the mind that some basic law and some semblance of order (as spontaneously reached by the participants) is all well and good. I’m no advocate for complete anarchy, but as I have said before as a society we have devolved from “the rule of law” to the “rule of lawyers”. We have so many laws as to diminish the value of any law at all. I don’t mean this in any religious context, but cite a biblical reference as a sound illustration. In the new testament Jesus admonishes the Pharisees for having (I’m paraphrasing here, rather than chapter and verse) become so consumed with adherence to their many laws and customs  as to have become blinded to the spirit of the law by the letter of the law. It was suggested instead, and I dare say this is the essential theme of the new testament, that there was given a new law: to do unto others as you would wish done unto you. To love your neighbor as you love yourself. The ideal inherent in this was that if as a people we were to follow this one law all of the others would fall into place behind it.  Sort of a roundabout way of admitting that all the laws in the world will make no difference to any who will not follow the prime law. It embodies the concept of the spirit versus the letter.

Even where the west has taken a more proactive approach, the application of military force, it has been done so in many ways by half measures. I do not wish to insult the peril and sacrifice that our fine young men and women in the armed forces have subjected themselves to. They are the instrument, the tip of the spear as is said.  I commend each and every one of them for what they have done and are still doing. There is nothing halfway in serving as the boots on the ground. Ever. The half measures statement applies to the policy, the way that political leadership have exercised this power.  On the one hand they speak of such resolve and dedication to eradicate the threat, making a great show of our arsenal and deployments to aggressively root out the bad actors. On the other hand, however, they take such great pains to be almost apologetic for it. Constantly uttering public assurances that this is not a war with Islam and defining terms of engagement with more concern to avoid at all costs any collateral damage from occurring from any combat action. Essentially it has been a policy that says this: we want to show that we are actually doing something about this problem, or at least be able to say so, but we don’t really want to piss off anyone in the process of doing it. Well sorry to burst your bubble, but the purpose of a military is to, when required, kill enemies and break their stuff. It’s really not any more complicated than this.

What is treated as a law enforcement policy is a reaction. What should be treated as a defense policy is to be proactive. When one enters a fight, regardless the scale or nature of the conflict, announcing at the outset that you will be pulling punches in the upcoming bout is rather counterproductive to one’s stated objective, isn’t it? It would seem that our leaders in the west have deluded themselves into believing that this war can be prosecuted under a set of terms and rules of our own choosing and that the enemy will abide by the same. Can they not see how catastrophically foolish this is? I believe that they can: they simply refuse to.

This is the direct consequence of politically correct thought and social engineering policy directed by the state infecting every level of government, including our military. Instead of concerning themselves with a military prepared to fight the next war, rather than the last war, they have instead been preoccupied by matters of such profound importance as “don’t ask/don’t tell”. Apparently no one ever bothered to tell these Einsteins that the culture within a military has already long had practices and traditions in place to adequately address any of these concerns. Did they really think that only in the late twentieth century homosexual men would sometimes gravitate towards an all male environment? There have been gay soldiers throughout history, it is not a new phenomenon. And soldiers and officers alike have long been aware of it. One would have to expect that in such an environment there might be some jibing and tasteless remarks about sexuality in general, not just homo-sexuality. We are after all not talking about choir boys. And if a soldier carries his weight and does his duty he will have at least the begrudging respect of his comrades, regardless their sexual preferences.

At least the attitude at the top of the defense department under this new administration has been changed, we can hope for the better. And in what has been said thus far, with regard to policy, is a marked departure from the feckless and misguided direction of the previous eight years. Of course it remains to be seen what will actually be done, but early indications are at least promising.  As it pertains to the attack in Manchester it might be reasonably concluded that it comes in reaction to the President’s address to muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia this week. I’ve not actually heard this yet, but I am confident that it will take little time for the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC to assign blame for this attack squarely upon the back of the administration for what they will interpret as the provocation in that address.  It may well be a reaction, a statement to challenge the message contained in the Saudi address, but it is disingenuous to suggest that it is the cause.

Part of our difficulty, as with so many other things out of the New York to Washington DC orbit, is that the issue has been defined in the most incorrect language. I don’t mean incorrect in the sense of the language being impolitic. I mean that the choice of words to define what we are engaged in are simply wrong: they do not say what needs to be said. We have heard the term countless times for the past fifteen years now. The war on terror. It is a war on terror, not a war with Islam.  No, I’m afraid that is wrong. Terror is a tactic. Tactics are means employed by an enemy to effect their desired outcome, whether that be material enrichment, revenge or the advancement of an ideology. What we are at war with currently is the latter of those three. We are, in fact, engaged in a war with Islam. Not by our choosing, there were no high level international strategic planning sessions to say ” Hey! What about we declare war on the religion of Islam?” Islam is at war with itself and the more aggressive faction of that war has in fact been at war with western civilization since 1979. They began attacking us, not the other way around. It actually reached back a bit further than 1979, but for the most modern iteration of the conflict this serves as a good marker.

The last great clashes of civilizations and/or ideologies were the second world war and it’s byproduct, the cold war. These were conflicts of ideology: democracy versus Nazism first and subsequently democracy versus Communism. In both instances these were battles between “free” societies and totalitarian states.  It was possible to assign these to a geographic marker, the ideologies embodied by a geopolitical state. States, like laws, are not in fact “physical” entities in a true sense. They are an abstract.  We were not at war with the state of Germany or the state of the Soviet Union in the literal sense. We were at war with the ideology and the barbarism as embodied in and exercised by those states. There was no confusion in determining the distinction. We were at war with the ideology, or again as with Islam they were at war with us. We did not start the conflict. There was a clarity in the purpose of the execution of the war. Rationally we could recognize that not every individual citizen of Nazi Germany were to blame or were willing combatants, but we clearly identified that the German state as controlled and guided by the Nazi thugs was where the ideology “lived”. Thus the instrument of war was rightly directed at the German state. It may well have been regrettable, but our conscience was clear. We did not allow for the distinctions made for the “innocent” Germans to in any way hamper our successful prosecution of the war.  Though their lives might have been extinguished by our bombs or bullets their blood was on the hands of the regime that carried them into the conflict.

War is by its very nature an ugly business. As the day approaches it won’t be hard to locate any veteran who can tell you this. Memorial Day is for those who served and more so for their comrades who did not share the trip home. World War two was a war conducted as any war should be: with an eye toward it’s unfettered and victorious conclusion. A victory defined on our own terms and no other. Not of our choosing, but when put upon us resolved to put all necessary means to it’s conclusion at the earliest possible date with an enemy entirely vanquished. Not piecemeal, not by half measures. We entered knowing full well that there would be many casualties. Trying to conduct a war by half measures only ensures more casualties, prolonging the agony and placing the ultimate victory in jeopardy.

In his address to the muslim world leaders this week the President was not offering provocation. Though couched within the most forceful while still diplomatic language the message was essentially this. We all recognize there is a problem. We are no longer going to pretend that it does not exist. It is a problem for us in the west and it is a problem for all of you in the Islamic world. It is in your best interest to aid in eliminating the problem. We are prepared to put forth our stake in this and we expect your active help. And finally understand that absent this it will become entirely your problem when we are left to resolve it on our own.  The academics and theorists will wring their hands and proclaim our doom at taking such a bellicose posture with the Arab states. I suspect that their greatest fear is being exposed that their way has not worked, but only made a bad problem even worse.

When there is a bully in a neighborhood, or any other setting for that matter, there are four groups of people who will be engaged with that bully for good or ill. First there are the victims. Next there are those who will join in the bullying. Then there are those who will stand silent and watch it occur. And finally there will be those who will stand against the bully. If all you ever have are the first three categories the bully never goes away, but only grows stronger. When this happens the people are then left with only two choices: join in the bullying or become victims themselves. And it is here, then, that it boils down to the more simplified dynamic: you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution.

If we expect to defeat Islamic terrorists we must go and destroy them where they live. People from Islamic countries, innocent or no, must be barred entry to our societies until the conflict is brought to a victorious conclusion. Muslims that are already in our societies need to be registered and subjected to constant scrutiny. If they are truly innocent then they need fear nothing. If they truly believe in and support our values of liberty and equality they need fear nothing.  This becomes a situation akin to objecting to voter ID laws under the guise that these promote discrimination against minorities. Minorities, the same as any other citizen, are required to present a government issued ID for financial transactions. They are required to have a government issued drivers license to legally drive on public roads. They must present official government issued documents to obtain said driver’s licence. And, if they have the good fortune of appearing youthful enough, they will be required to present a government issued ID to purchase alcohol or cigarettes. Why one even needs to present a government ID at the pharmacy. So what possible objection could there be for being asked to provide an official ID to vote? Unless, of course, your motive is to commit voter fraud. If anyone has any other rational explanation for this I’m all ears. So likewise if you are a muslim or of middle eastern descent living in a western country and you are entirely innocent of any malicious intent then you have no reason to cry foul at the scrutiny. It may be an inconvenience, but no more so than any of the other examples provided above. It is not our fault that people from your culture have chosen to make war on us, and only in the most cowardly of fashions I might add.

The Manchester attack was clearly designed by both timing and venue to target children. Whether the bomber was a lone wolf or attached to ISIS or Al Queda, Hamas, Hezbollah or any other organized terror group makes no difference. The motive and the results are the same. Here is an irony for you.  Those who you may hear shrieking the loudest for the protection of muslims’ civil rights are of the same cloth that when attempting to champion any of their other pet causes will gird their position from assault by proclaiming that it is “for the children”. So taking a page from their book I might just as well say that any of the measures listed above, though objectionable to some, are no less valid and permissible because it is in the interest of protecting our children.  And in this case, weighed against the horrific juvenile casualties in Manchester last night, I could make this as an honest assertion and bearing a straight face.  I somehow suspect, however, that those of that particular political inclination will manage to find some way to disagree.

I would ask that today all Americans set aside for the moment any consideration of the man who holds the office.  Whether one happens to approve of the man or not the office of the Presidency represents all of us before the world this week in diplomatic visits to the Middle East, Israel and the Vatican. Take a moment to appreciate the serendipitous nature of an American President conducting an official state visit to the Holocaust Memorial in Israel on the morning after the Manchester bombing. It is a memorial to victims of an hateful ideology that is now rivalled by an equally hateful ideology with a stated purpose the same as the Nazis: the extermination of the Jewish people. Islamic radicalism has taken on an even bigger mantle to include all of western society. It is an evil that must be treated the same if it is to be defeated. As Americans we should all be proud to be represented by a Presidency expressing solidarity with all those who would resist barbarism and tyranny in whatever form it may take. All the more so as it is done in the shadow of a monument remembering not just Jewish suffering, but all human suffering.

It used to be said that politics end at American shores. The political left, academic establishment and the networks and major news outlets shredded this maxim and tossed it into the dustbin long ago. They are more concerned with protecting their bankrupt ideology than they are with protecting American lives.  The same might be said for their counterparts in Britain with respect to British lives. This morning I pose this question to all of them: Have you had enough now?