Thursday, April 23, 2015


This editorial is from the Augusta Chronicle, April 23 and it is right on!

Starved for moral leadership

Too many leaders worldwide turning blind eyes to increasingly horrific terrorism

Those of us who came afterward have long wondered: How could America and the rest of the world have stood by and done so little for so many years of the Holocaust?

We need not wonder any longer.

Today, America and the rest of the world are similarly doing little about the repeated and ongoing mass slaughter of Christians by ISIS and other Islamic radicals.

Not that many years ago, most of us were horrified at the occasional solitary beheading. Now it seems there are mass executions every few weeks.

Have we become so desensitized? Is a shrug of the shoulder the only action the mass murders will inspire now?

Just over a week ago, a dozen Christians were thrown overboard by Islamic radicals during a Mediterranean crossing of refugees from Africa to Italy. More recently, ISIS – the so-called Islamic State – reportedly executed some 30 Ethiopian Christians in Libya. In February, it was some 20 Coptic Christians from Egypt, also in Libya.

President Obama once famously snickered that ISIS was “the J.V. team” – in short, nothing to worry about.

After being proved horribly and catastrophically wrong, Mr. Obama promised in a national address last fall that, “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, (ISIS) through a comprehensive and sustained counter-terrorism strategy.”

“Mission Accomplished”? Hardly. In fact, it’s difficult to say even “Mission Undertaken.” While its territorial base has ebbed and flowed, ISIS has grown in reach, influence and number, all in the shadow of this president’s empty rhetoric.

In short, the president’s desire to “degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS appears less than half-hearted.

Where is the passion for defeating the most savage enemy the modern world has known since the Nazis? Where are the public pronouncements? The call to action to save Christianity in the Mideast? The revulsion at all the beheadings? The conviction to put a stop to them?

Sadly – and tragically, as dozens and hundreds continue to die horrible, unjustified deaths – this president seems to have no grip on the reality that the office of president of the United States carries with it an unofficial and unseen capacity for moral leadership.

If nothing else – even if he were unwilling to mobilize more U.S. forces to defeat this enemy – the president could use his bully pulpit to marshal the forces of good to stand up to this unbridled evil.
Look around the world today and ask yourself if the world isn’t in dire need of moral leadership.

Nor is moral leadership a strictly religious undertaking. Fact is, ordinary people show moral leadership in their everyday lives. Surely our elected leaders should do the same.

The ongoing extermination of Christians in the Mideast today cries out for such leadership.

Liberal pundit Kirsten Powers rightly called out Obama on Tuesday for his chilling indifference toward the Christians thrown overboard: “He failed to interject any sense of outrage or even tepid concern for the targeting of Christians for their faith.”

“This is the greatest persecution of Christians in our lifetime,” noted commentator Glenn Beck. “So why have Americans turned a blind eye?”

Why did the world do the same in the 1930s? Fact is, we’ve got less of an excuse than they did back then. Today, we have so much  more information, so much more instantly, about what’s going on.

Shame on this world for not rising up against this as one.

Why is this allowed to go on? For his part, Beck guesses that “we feel helpless and we don’t know what to do, so we do nothing.”

That’s where leadership can make a difference – the kind that commentator Greta Van Susteren showed in a heartfelt broadcast this week.

“Why did it take so long before the world finally stopped Hitler?” she asked viewers of her show. Whereas many may not have known of the atrocities back then, she said, today “We have proof. We have video proof. We have no excuses.

“Our generation – my generation – can either bury its head in the sand while the brutal beheadings continue, or we can stop it.

“We need all the great nations (to rise up against ISIS), and we need one leader to lead all those great nations. I don’t care who takes the lead. I just know what’s right.

“My generation just can’t continue to look the other way.”

Mr. President, enough stagecraft and empty promises. Rally the world against this evil.
When it comes to morality, there is no “leading from behind.”

Of course, the massacre hasn’t reached the level of the Holocaust. That makes it no less abhorrent.
And it makes our silence and relative inaction no less immoral.


JusadBellum said...

Step 1. Pull out all ground troops from Iraq (borders both Iran and Syria.

Step 2. encourage the "arab spring" including the toppling of various dictatorships will full awareness of the chaos and arms depot raiding that will occur.

Step 3. Be "surprised" when dozens of now heavily armed terror groups spring out of the ground and begin behaving like all such terror groups.

These people are sold to us as the smartest administration EVAH!

But let's suppose they ARE....

Consider this framework: what if Obama's admin had decided in 2008 to shift America's strategic alliance from the Sunni Muslims to the Shiite Muslims from a realpolitik theory that Persians would make a much more stable regional Hegemon from which the US could effect long term control and reap long term benefits vs. a dozen deeply troubled Sunni regimes, kingdoms, despots etc.?

If that's their game then all that's happened suddenly makes a great deal of sense and is not "stupid" at all. Of course it's a breathtakingly shocking example of misdirection and lying to allies, betrayal of vast swaths of people who put their trust and lives in the US' hands.

Similarly with US domestic policy: what if Obama's game has all along been to favor not the African Americans but the Hispanics as the most favored ethnicity for long term promotion? Again, from that framework what has happened makes sense and doesn't look at all 'stupid'.

ISIS is a Sunni equivalent of the Hispanic drug cartels - ruthless but mostly to fellow Sunnis and effective in destroying the Arab world's economic independence such that in the end, they will have depopulated it more effectively than any Shiite could have hoped for, leaving the whole region much easier for the taking.

Anonymous said...

I did not back Obama either time, but I can't completely blame him for the ISIS situation, as unfortunately his predecessor blundered us into the 2003 Irag war. Yes, Saddam was evil, but he more or less allowed Christianity to be practiced there, unlike the ISIS crowd. Just like after World War 1, we gave the Germans the Treaty of Versailles, which paved the way for Hitler in the 1930s. Being the world's policeman has its downsides....

JusadBellum said...

Anonymous, let's suppose a successful democratic mayor reforms the police department and reduces crime by 50% in a particular part of your city.

Then a republican mayor is elected and decides to eliminate all the policies that worked and eliminates all the actual police units involved.

Then crime comes roaring back.

Now, whose fault would you pin the spike in crime? On the originally successful policing policy and mayor or the mayor who eliminated the successful program?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure what your "crime point" is here. What I do know is that the 2003 war against Saddam Hussein led to a Republican debacle in the 2006 midterm election cycle, which followed by Obama's election 2 years later led to Obamacare...which unfortunately the Church has to battle court by court to stop or at least minimize its negative impacts. Even Catholic conservative Pat Buchanan questioned the 2003 war. What we also must admit---as if it is not apparent now---is that the Middle East overall simply is not capable of building the democratic institutions to which the West is accustomed. Things like a free press, freedom of religion, the rule of law. Israel is the only real democracy in that region. I'm not against our involvement against IRIS, but simply want to point out that our involvement in the Middle East over the decades has not always bore good fruit.

DJR said...

It's not difficult at all to understand why the U.S. president would do nothing to counter what is happening in the Middle East.

The citizens, and governing authorities, of the United States have countenanced the murders of tens of millions of innocents right here in our own backyards. Millions upon millions of abortions... and still counting.

What members of ISIS have done absolutely pales in comparison.

Militant Muslims at least have a reason for doing what they do. What is ours?


Paul (from a secret location) said...

This is what the world looks like after seven years of cruise control and the parking brake on when it concerns Truth, His Church and morals.

JusadBellum said...

Had we pulled out of post-War Germany in 1955 or post-war Korea in 1964, it's entirely likely that both would have slid into communist tyranny.

So the lesson of ISIS is not that it was an 'obvious' mistake to topple Saddam in 2003. The lesson is that pulling out troops ENTIRELY leaves a power vacuum that is filled by the ruthless.

There's a reason Kuwait, the emirates and Saudi Arabia are not in turmoil and it has to do with massive presence of US military bases in those regions propping up their governments.

But this is all about one thing: projecting US power in a region for a wider geo-strategic purpose.

Why are we there at all?

To 'guarantee the free flow of oil'. Now this means two things (at least). One, our hegemony is such that Europe and Asia both need the oil that comes from that region. Us sitting smack dab on top of it guarantees our global dominance as we sit astride the natural resources both West and East need for their economies. Consider it a non-nuclear deterrence.

Two, by forward deploying half of our Navy and air force into that region in the very region that both Europe and Asia rely on for shipping and natural resources, we also park a huge amount of national assets where it's highly unlikely for them to be nuked.

There's a reason why the world buys US treasury bonds people and it's not their love of our freedom or persons. It's because we militarily occupy the key choke points of global economic progress: physical, intellectual, financial, etc.

If we pull out of that region and unilaterally disarm, that whole structure goes "poof" and along with it the deficit spending of $2 trillion per year.

Now Left or Right, if you think the USA is capable of surviving a 40% cut in federal spending without falling apart.... that's the situation.

I personally think it's all madness and we're riding a tiger. But I don't see any way to get off the tiger's back without a great deal of bloodshed.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

The "Status of Forces Agreement" that paved the way for the removal of troops from Iraq was drafted by the George W. Bush administration in the fall of 2008 and ratified by Iraq in November of that year.

Blaming this on Obama is simply to ignore the facts.

The term "Arab Spring" was first used in 2003 in a New York Times Magazine article, “Dreaming of Democracy,” by George Packer. That's five years before Obama's first election.

The term was first used in 2005 by an Arab writer, in February 2005, three years before Obama was elected.

Long before Obama appeared on the scene, Ronald Reagan and his neo-con advisors were supporting and arming the Afghan Mujahideen in a foolish attempt to defeat Soviet attempts to make inroads into Afghanistan. The Mujahideen evolved into the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. Robert gates, CIA Director and Secty of Defense, confirmed in his memoir that the US backed the Mujahideen in the 1970's.

I agree it is madness and that we are riding a tiger, but this madness and ride started long before Obama arrived on the scene.

JusadBellum said...

I never blamed Obama for putting the US on the tiger's back. Only for pulling out ALL US forces. He could have re-negotiated to keep some forces on the ground but chose to let the clock run out and then accepted the complete evacuation of ground troops who at a minimum could have saved Mosul and countless Christian lives.

Somehow Obama's not responsible for Libya turning into a failed state or Syria or Iraq or Yemen?

With respect to the Mujahadin, it's not a given that they would have necessarily morphed into Al Qaeda. Again, after the Soviet's departed the CIA immediately left as well - thus leaving the typical power vacuum which the young Taliban filled.

The story of foreign policy blunders is largely a story of either leaving before things have stabilized or going into an otherwise stable area and totally de-stabilizing it.

Libya was 'stable'. Now it's a complete failed state.

Iraq was stable. Now it's split in two.

Yemen was PROCLAIMED a stable state by Obama just last year: now it's in full civil war.

But again.... these are all blunders only if our presupposition is that the status quo ante is still the USA's goal. If Obama decided in 2009 to switch allies and adopt Iran as our new regional ally all this makes perfect sense and leaves the USA in an identical hemispheric hegemonic situation astride the shipping lanes and world's oil supply.

Before Reagan there was Carter. Before Carter, Nixon. Before Nixon, LBJ.... going back far enough we can blame this all on Woodrow Wilson or Teddy Roosevelt.

But at the end of the day we are the world's super-power and we have an $18 trillion debt, an annual real budget deficit of nearly $2 trillion and over 100 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Mathematically this doesn't end well. If we're not all careful what we see in the Levant with Isis could become our own future and when that day comes we won't be bickering over which "side" is most at fault. We'll be trying to figure out how not to be crucified or eaten.

Paul (from a secret location) said...

Everyone his their problems. Someone started this, someone didn't stop that.

Whatever madness is happening now is happening under Pres. Obama's watch. As far as the USA is concerned Pres. Obama now owns it and needs to govern because of his ownership -- an ownership he wanted. Own it. If he is kicking the can down the road, he is also stomping on the can making it much worse for whoever inherits the can.

For a party that is so focused on "firsts" why not focus on the hard things first?

Christians are dying for no just cause.

How about leading the entire world in Christian prayer? Demonstrate to ISIS that the world neither revolves around ISIS nor bows to it.

Daniel said...

As often happens here, the comments on this blog seem to be living in a dream world, one where the Mideast was a safe and peaceful place before the current president took office.
Sadly, that area has been a violent madhouse as long as any of us has been alive. A lot longer, actually, and our efforts there haven't exactly helped.
A little knowledge of history is a dangerous thing. Many of you seem to be either too young to remember Mideast history or too old or just willfully ignoring it.
Does Munich ring a bell -- either the Olympics or the excellent movie? It's worth a look.
How about the name Leon Klinghoffer? Anyone remember the Reagan years when hijackings and terrorist attacks skyrocketed? Does anyone remember the 200-plus Marines blown to bits in Lebanon in 1983 by Hezbollah? Does anybody remember how Reagan's crew traded missiles for hostages to Iran (Hezbollah's masters)? You probably don't want to remember how we funded and armed the insurgents who became al Qaeda.
Then there were the George Bush years, when we de-stabilized Iraq -- at the cost of thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. That in turn de-stabilized Syria, and we are dealing with the fallout today. (Yes, President Obama withdrew American troops from Iraq -- several years after "Mission Accomplished" -- on the timetable set by Bush.)
You probably have also forgotten about the 100-plus Americans who died in attacks on U.S. embassies during the W. Bush years. No doubt, the world is a more dangerous place today than it was 15 years ago.
Pretending that none of this happened is silly and harmful and disingenuous.

Anonymous 2 said...

Why do we keep on forgetting George Santayana’s words: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”?

George said...

The Mideast has not been a violent madhouse as long as any of us have been alive. Not unless you would characterize 20th Century Europe and Russia in the same fashion. Sure, In recent years the Middle East has become a terrorist madhouse, especially under our current president. One would think the current occupant of the White House would have learned from the mistakes of his predecessors. Unfortunately this has not been the case. It is possible that things can improve, but in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya things are much worse. His inaction has allowed ISIS to strengthen and spread and wreak havoc on Christians and other minorities. It has been a long time since we have seen this level of brutality and carnage in the lands of Arabia. His overtures toward and trust in the regime in Iran seem to exhibit a spell-binding naivete, and if not that, then a misguided geopolitical strategy. Our current president signed on to whatever may come and so must take responsibility for his actions. He owns this repetition and compounding of past mistakes.

Unknown said...

I agree with Daniel, even if I think his scope is too narrow and recent.

The problems in the Middle East pre-date any living POTUS; however, the writing on the wall has been there just as long. We ignored it (whether justifiably or not) until it was too late. Oh well.

George—it depends on what you mean by 'violent madhouse'. If you're referring to the de facto state of anarchy in the current ME, then no, mid-century Russia wouldn't qualify.

If, on the other hand, you include state-sponsored violence... well, I think the USSR would more than qualify as a 'violent madhouse'.

Anon 2 may remember an exchange he and I had a while back regarding US involvement in Syria—needless to say, I couldn't have been more wrong.

The worst part about all of this, in my opinion, is not Washington's response. I no longer expect anything competent to come out of our government (whether state or federal). No, the worst part is whilst ISIS slaughtered Christians, people ON THE INTERNET—meaning they would have seen the news in some way or another—argued about...
(wait for it)

A frigging dress.

Talk about sickening.