Excerpt: My interest in the Vietnam War began in the early 1990s, when I took a college course on the history of the conflict. Part of what drew me to the subject was the visceral contempt that my peers, professors and intellectuals generally had not just for the war, but for its veterans. It seemed to me a profound wrong that the young men who had risked their lives in Southeast Asia were deemed less worthy than those who had stayed safe at home. The history of the war, as taught in my college classes, rested on two assumptions. First, that the war was unnecessary; the “domino theory,” the idea that a Communist takeover in Vietnam would cascade through the rest of Southeast Asia, was wrong. Ho Chi Minh was more of a nationalist than a Communist — and therefore, America needn’t have worried about “losing Vietnam.” The fact that most of the dominoes did not fall after South Vietnam’s defeat in 1975 was Exhibit A. The second assumption was that the war was unwinnable. According to the orthodox historical narrative, the United States never could have won the war because of the dedication of the Vietnamese Communists, which was said to be far superior to that of America’s South Vietnamese allies. No alternative strategies could have achieved success, and hence America was fated to abandon South Vietnam after sustaining prolonged casualties. (It seems the age of miracles is not yet over. Or maybe somebody at the Times has figured out that at least once in a while they need to consider inputs that aren't PC-approved. Dr. Moyar has done a really great job in this article, and we can only hope it is seen and understood by many whose misunderstanding of that war may be at least in part corrected. Or at least it'll provoke some thinking and reconsideration of that history, which has come to be so really important to understanding how conflicts can be entered into with good intention and justification, and yet be lost due to poor leadership and internal politics. Del)
Excerpt: A self-destructive president pushes Washington to the edge. The man can’t help himself. I’m speaking of course of our president, Donald Trump, whose talents at marketing and publicity brought him wealth and fame and, at the age of 70, the highest political office in the nation. Aggressive, flamboyant, unpredictable, and combative, Trump’s impulsivity has benefited him as a businessman and as a candidate, but not as a president. His desire to convey an image of speed and determination has resulted in executive orders stopped by judicial intervention and a legislature that is quarrelsome and confused. His popping off on Twitter creates scandals that should not otherwise exist, and inflames already high tensions in the capital. His firing of FBI director James Comey, then his changing explanations of the dismissal, birthed an enemy he does not want to have and alienated a staff whose loyalty he needs. Imagine another president whose administration comes under investigation. It’s not hard to do. How does he act? He does not mention the proceedings in speeches, he tries to avoid the topic altogether, he pursues his agenda to the best of his ability, and when asked about the matter in interviews he deflects the question by saying he won’t comment on an ongoing investigation, or by reminding the journalist that the truth will vindicate his people. Trump does the opposite. (This from a conservative writers. Trumpbots saying "it's all part of his clever plan" are growing weaker. ~Bob)
Excerpt: If [FBI director James Comey’s] memo exists, then there is compelling evidence that the president committed a potentially impeachable offense. Here is the alleged chain of events: First, Trump asked Comey to drop an investigation of a close former associate and a former senior official in his administration. Second, Comey refused. Third, weeks later Trump fired Comey. Fourth, Trump then misled the American people regarding the reason for the dismissal. Each prong is important, but it’s worth noting that the fourth prong — Trump’s deception regarding the reason for Comey’s termination — is particularly problematic in context. Deception is classic evidence of malign intent. There is no good outcome here. Either there is now compelling evidence that the president committed a serious abuse of power, or the nation’s leading press outlets are dupes for a vindictive, misleading story. Either outcome violates the public trust in vital American institutions. Either outcome results in a degree of political chaos. If the memo is real and as damaging as the Times claims, the chaos is likely greater, but don’t underestimate the cultural and political damage if our nation’s most prestigious press outlets run a story of this magnitude based on a malicious fiction. It’s time for facts and documents, not anonymity and allegations. It’s time for the truth.
Excerpt: Katyal is right. Honor killings are Islamic. But he is, to my knowledge, the first Western Leftist ever to admit that fact. Muslims commit 91 percent of honor killings worldwide. A manual of Islamic law certified as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy by Al-Azhar, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, says that “retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right.” However, “not subject to retaliation” is “a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring’s offspring.” (‘Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2). In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In this case the victim was the murderer’s sister, a victim to the culture of violence and intimidation that such laws help create. The Palestinian Authority gives pardons or suspended sentences for honor murders. Iraqi women have asked for tougher sentences for Islamic honor murderers, who get off lightly now. Syria in 2009 scrapped a law limiting the length of sentences for honor killings, but “the new law says a man can still benefit from extenuating circumstances in crimes of passion or honour ‘provided he serves a prison term of no less than two years in the case of killing.’” And in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that “Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values.”
Excerpt: What sets this story apart for me, at least, is that I know one of the sources. And the source is solidly supportive of President Trump, or at least has been and was during Campaign 2016. But the President will not take any internal criticism, no matter how politely it is given. He does not want advice, cannot be corrected, and is too insecure to see any constructive feedback as anything other than an attack. So some of the sources are left with no other option but to go to the media, leak the story, and hope that the intense blowback gives the President a swift kick in the butt. Perhaps then he will recognize he screwed up. The President cares vastly more about what the press says than what his advisers say. That is a real problem and one his advisers are having to recognize and use, even if it causes messy stories to get outside the White House perimeter.
Once again, yes, it is quite possible to be Muslim and be really OK with getting along with everyone else and there are millions of Muslims living in Western countries who are like that. However, that there is a sadly broad streak of fundamentalism in the world of Islam, where the passion for conquering the world is really deep, and the worst parts of some religious texts are considered to be the most important parts, cannot be denied. That would be like denying that some Germans who believed totally in the Nazi creed and policies existed. Unfortunately, the strong emotional drive of some in the West to hang onto fantasies about everyone being really OK, and multiculturalism is 100% a wonderful thing, just seems to roll along. We are seeing, after the many years of buildup of extremism and the pattern of atrocities, at last some reaction to radicalism in Europe. Long overdue and still not anywhere near where it needs to be to safeguard the societies there, but at least the sleepers may have one eye partially open now. --Del