Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ category

No Canada

June 12, 2016

No Canada, PJ MediaDavid Solway, June 11, 2016

(Europe? Obama’s America? Leading or following into the abyss? –DM)

burning_toronto_canada_police_car_banner_6-6-16-1.sized-770x415xcToronto police car torched during the G20 protest on June 26, 2010. Photo by arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com.

Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber  may have been tactless when he spoke of the “stupidity of the American voter,” but I suspect he might have trotted out the same insult had he surveyed the West in general or the Canadian electoral scene in particular. After all, Canada, a comparatively peaceable country that regards itself as an “honest broker” in international affairs and a beacon of cultural—and multicultural—enlightenment, is fundamentally no different from other Western countries marching down the Hayek Highway. I have written before of the collective foolishness of a presumably educated nation installing a majority Liberal government to manage its affairs despite the readily available evidence of the social and economic malaise that left/liberal politics have inflicted on Western democracies. A cursory reconnaissance of the U.S., the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and others should have sounded a clear warning to Canadians, or at any rate to anyone still capable of cerebral functioning.

But no. We fell for the media hatefest against the Conservative party and its leader Stephen Harper, while subscribing to our own version of “hope and change” as represented by the jejune and deceptive Justin Trudeau and his troupe of trendy mediocrities strutting on the national stage. How could we have travelled this route? As David Mamet points out in The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, we “reject any request for information about the actual mechanics of this ‘Change,’ by referring to ‘Hope’.” Unfortunately, hope is not a policy or a platform, and it is certainly not an expression of a practicable future. It should come as no surprise, then, that electoral promises have been duly and rapidly broken in favor of vanity projects and that a host of destructive policies have been legislated, or are about to be legislated. To take a number of examples:

  • By introducing Bill C-14, the Liberals have reified their advocacy for physician-assisted dying, depriving doctors and health professionals of moral choice on the issue. Claiming a “deep respect” for Parliament, they have nevertheless imposed substantial limits on debating time.
  • Trudeau is eager to engineer a change to our “first past the post” electoral system, replacing it with one of a wide variety of possible reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation and online voting. The proposed reforms, based on vote transferability and leftist coalitions, would both introduce an element of needless complexity into the electoral process and, in Canada’s multiparty system, which leans collectively to the left, virtually ensure a permanent Liberal majority. A transformation this vast should require a national referendum, but Trudeau’s minister of Democratic Institutions—a label straight out of Orwell—cites a Twitter hashtag #electoralreform as sufficient reason to sidestep a plebiscite. The 30-year-old, out-of-her-depth, Afghan-born, newly created Minister Maryam Monsef is hostile to referenda because they supposedly exclude the “marginalized.” As National Postcolumnist Rex Murphy comments, “Evidently, women, people of color, the disabled—build your own list—are allergic to voting in a referendum.” But she is merely doing the bidding of her leader, who intends to strike a committee, in which Canada’s one conservative party will be outnumbered 9 to 3 by left-oriented parties, to determine the best way to implement what is nothing less than a political coup. The Liberals have recently shown signs of relenting on the referendum issue, but the situation reveals their arrogant disregard of the people they presumably answer to.
  • The Liberals deny that they inherited a balanced budget from the previous Conservative government and have now projected a $30 billion debt, sure to increase in the future, that will serve not only as a fiscal drain on the present but as an economic drogue on generations to come.
  • Trudeau eliminated selective income splitting for families, a measure ostensibly intended to deprivilege the “wealthy” and thus burnish the party’s popular image, but obviously designed to work against the traditional family structure by making it more costly to sustain the stay-at-home wife/mother arrangement. Cost, however, is not a personal consideration for Trudeau, as it happens, heir to a multi-million dollar trust fund. The nannies looking after his children will soak the Canadian taxpayer $100,000 per annum. Indeed, when he visited Washington to confer with Obama, he was accompanied by a 44-member entourage consisting of celebrities, fundraisers, in-laws and, of course, the nannies, at taxpayers’ expense.
  • Trudeau has enthusiastically endorsed the feminist agenda and established a gender-balanced cabinet, irrespective of merit or competence. The embarrassing spectacle that Chrystia Freeland, minister of International Trade, made of herself o Bill Maher’s show is no accident. We can expect more of such sophomoric ineptitude in the years ahead. A government that eschews proven or demonstrable talent in favor of gender parity, much like our current universities, and hires or appoints on the basis of sex is monstrously irresponsible.
  • To strengthen their “social justice” credentials as the party for the times, the Liberals, who long ago jumped on the same-sex marriage bandwagon, have, additionally, projected Bill C-16 providing for an up to two-year prison sentence for anyone convicted of fomenting “hate propaganda” against transgenders. The word “hate” clearly furnishes enormous latitude for interpretation and renders critical discourse problematic and even dangerous, now that the Criminal Code is about to be amended. It seems that freedom of expression contracts with every new piece of social legislation, by no means astonishing in a country whose left/liberal Supreme Court has already pronounced that truth is no defense in cases where offense is given to marginalized groups or individuals.
  • No less damaging, Trudeau’s well-documented sympathy for Islam has resulted in the importation of many thousands of so-called “Syrian” refugees, all improperly vetted, who will swell the welfare rolls, glut an already grossly dysfunctional single-payer medical network, further disrupt a progressively concessionary educational system, and create more social havoc in the form of Sharia ghettoes and eruptions of Muslim-inspired violence. Bet on it. As Muslim reformer Tarek Fatah reports in the Toronto Sun, Liberal Senator Grant Mitchell accused him of lying and of Islamophobia (!) when Fatah testified to the Senate about Canadian mosques that feature seditious preaching against secular democracy, about Israel as “useless garbage,” and about the necessity of spilling blood. “While this was unfolding,” he continues, the Trudeau government “had authorized a $200,000 grant to a southern Ontario mosque with links to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

In moving decisively to the left and bringing in programs that will inevitably fray the economic fabric of the country while diluting its traditional substance, Trudeau boasts that “Canada is back”—a slogan, Murphy writes, “that’s saccharine and weirdly jingoistic at the same time,” as if his election were “a victory, not for [the] party—which it was—but for the country itself.” Such hubris is both typical and unforgivable.

Perhaps what is no less troubling is that the cultural sycophancy practiced by the Liberals has now infected the Conservative party, which, despite its objection to Liberal spending and dubious policy initiatives, has, under interim leader Rona Ambrose, slotted the same-sex marriage plank into its party platform. “I think our party got a little more Canadian today,’ Calgary MP Michelle Rempel said after the convention vote. Indeed it did, and that’s a real shame. The Conservatives didn’t stop there. Ambrose has suddenly discovered that she too is a fan of legislation to prohibit criticism of transgenderism; “who you love, how you identify,” she pontificates, “should never be cause for fear or anxiety.” Interestingly, when the Daily Caller asked if she would then support or approve of pedophilia, no reply was forthcoming. By striving to emulate the Liberals as a matter of crass and misguided expedience—as if the Liberal base comprising the general run of leftists, Muslims, aboriginals, journalists, talking heads, environmentalists and global warmists, colonies of indoctrinated students and the entitlement crowd will gratefully change their voting habits—the Conservative party has betrayed its principles and its core constituency.

The real problem, however, is not the political party or the leader in question, but the intellectual laxity of the electorate. Canadians, who have always preened themselves on their moral and intellectual superiority to Americans, in reality merely ape the customs and usages of their neighbors to the south, generally a decade or so later. Mutatis mutandis, we would have flocked to the polling stations to vote for an Obama, a Hillary or a Bernie. The Donald would have been anathema.

Admittedly, there is a rather more modest Trump-like figure on the conservative scene who seems interested in running for the leadership of the party with a view to the 2019 federal election, namely, successful businessman and TV personality Kevin O’Leary. (See CBC’s Dragons’ Den and ABC’s Shark Tank.) Responding to questions about a potential leadership bid, O’Leary said he was not prepared to sit in perpetual Opposition, preferring to wait until he sees whether the party is willing to jettison the political hacks who led it to defeat. “I’m proud of the country,” he continued, but “I’m depressed that it’s not competitive and I see so much incompetence, mediocrity and stupidity when it comes to managing it and I’m just tired of it.” Like Trump, O’Leary is nothing if not confident. “One way or another,” he says, “I’m going to figure out how to fix it.” But in the present narcoleptic milieu his prospects are probably slight.

Ten years hence the country may wake up, as innumerable U.S. citizens appear to be doing today. This is assuming we still have a country that is anything like the country we used to have. Given an oppressive direct and indirect tax structure, the proliferation of “hate speech” laws, the discursive ravages of political correctness, the faux “social justice” agenda, the malignant influence of feminism on business, government, the courts and the academy, the ongoing inroads of Islam into the body politic and the culture at large, the faddish convictions of the intellectual and artistic communities swimming with the brackish tides, and the flaccid surrender of the public to these toxic developments—including the reluctance to seek out and process reliable information, as Mamet intimated—the issue is alarmingly moot.

To arrive at reasonably dependable insights for one’s political thinking, one needs to distrust any single media outlet and take the time to review multiple sources in order to factor out feasible assumptions in making political choices. It takes work, civic dedication and the willingness to pay attention. Laziness is not an option. A rudimentary knowledge of history is also essential. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in a January 6, 1816 letter to Colonel Charles Yancey: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.” This is true not only of the American republic but of any democratic nation, and Canada is no exception. Lacking a vigilant and enlightened citizenry, there can only be worse to come.

Decree by government decree, the ship of state is listing ever further portside, abetted by the shifting weight to the left of a lumpen public. This is how a once-proud nation must eventually founder. Captivated by a liberal/socialist media consortium and unwilling to do our homework, we have become increasingly sanctimonious and uninformed, denizens of Gruberland. Even hockey may not save us.

The Unserious West and the Serious Jihadists

April 15, 2016

The Unserious West and the Serious Jihadists, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, April 15, 2016

Obama 0000

The Obama administration and the “nuisance of terrorism.”

Instead of paying the price of aggression, partly because of the Cold War, more recently because of Western failure of nerve and civilizational exhaustion, Muslims have been the beneficiaries of billions in Western aid, Western arms, Western defense against enemies, Western lax immigration policies, Western appeasement, and Western suicidal ideas like cultural and moral relativism. In short, Muslims have never accepted their defeats, and have never experienced the humiliating cost of their aggression, because the modern West has never forced them to pay for it.

*********************************

In Terry Gilliam’s dystopian film-classic Brazil, London is under assault from a 13-year-long terrorist campaign that Londoners won’t stop and so just live with. A bomb goes off in a restaurant, and the waiters scurry to screen off the mangled and dying so survivors can continue eating. When reminded by a journalist that “The bombing campaign is now in it 13th year,” the Deputy Minister laughs, “Beginner’s luck!” The West today is rapidly approaching the surreal insouciance of Gilliam’s fantasy.

Think about Obama, hanging out with head of terror-state Raul Castro at a baseball game during the Brussels attacks that killed 34, including four Americans. Obama told Chris Wallace that the terrorists “win” if we don’t go about our daily business, like the diners in Brazil ordering dessert among the screams and moans of the dying and wounded. After all, ISIS is not an “existential threat,” as the president keeps saying, and more of us die in bathtub falls than are killed by terrorists. Obama apparently thinks he has achieved John Kerry’s goal during the 2004 presidential campaign to reduce terrorism to a “nuisance” like prostitution.

I suppose the absurd security measures we endure every time we board a plane is the sort of “nuisance” Kerry and Obama are talking about. I guess we “win” when we dutifully take off our shoes and coats, put our computers and three ounces of liquids in a tray, and submit to aggressive wanding by surly TSA functionaries. Are such silly measures now part of the daily life we should just get on with? Of course Obama’s attitude is preposterous, and he should know that it is the terrorists who “win” every time an 80-year-old has to endure being felt up by a federal worker. Meanwhile, in breach tests of TSA inspectors in 2015, 95% of fake explosives and contraband sailed through the screening process.

These inefficient and intrusive procedures have been put in place mainly to avoid stigmatizing Muslims. Such obeisance to politically correct proscriptions against “profiling” is just one of the myriad ways in which we tell the jihadist enemy we really aren’t serious about the latest battle in the 14-century-long war of Islam against the infidel West.

Take Obama’s Executive Order 1341, which banned waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” of captured jihadists. Now only those practices in the Army Field Manual can be used to question detainees, despite the fact that the document is public and so jihadists can use it to train terrorists how to resist. Forget that one technique, waterboarding, is legal under U.S. law, and generated actionable intelligence––according to former CIA chief George Tenet, waterboarding a few high-value suspects helped foil over 20 al Qaida plots against the U.S. Those facts cannot outweigh Obama’s need to preen morally and gratify international anti-Americanism.

More recently, his notoriously political CIA director John Brennan displayed once again this administration’s lack of seriousness about the war against Islamic jihad. In 2009 Brennan “corrected” 14 centuries of Islamic scripture, practice, and law by calling jihad a way “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral good.” Obviously, the most revered Shi’a Islamic theologian, the Ayatollah Khomeini, was wrong when he said, “Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers,” or “Those who study jihad will understand why Islam wants to conquer the whole world.” That’s also the “moral good” for which ISIS wages jihad.

Brennan apparently learned nothing since 2009 about the nature of this war. Responding last week to Donald Trump’s promise to bring back waterboarding of detainees, Brennan huffed that should any president revoke Obama’s executive order and allow waterboarding and other EIT’s, “I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about, because this institution needs to endure.” Only someone profoundly unserious about his duty to protect the lives and safety of his fellow citizens would promise to disobey the Commander-in-Chief just so the bureaucracy he oversees can “endure,” whatever that means. The CIA has one job, protecting America’s security and interests, and it will “endure” only by successfully doing so, not by moral exhibitionism.

This lack of seriousness is endemic in this administration. Refusing to call ISIS “Islamic,” even going so far as to censor comments by French president François Hollande that used the word, bespeaks a dangerous frivolity. So too do symbolic tactics like droning an endless parade of ISIS “number twos” instead of committing enough forces and dropping enough bombs to make a strategic difference in the region. Instead, the American-led bombing campaign has averaged a mere seven strikes a day, with 75% of the planes returning with their bombs. Meanwhile Russia was averaging 60 strikes a day, freed from the squeamish rules of engagement that inhibit our forces from taking out an oil truck because it would kill the driver. Obama’s war against ISIS is a symbolic one typical of unserious politicians.

Our problem, however, goes beyond the politicians. Too many of us have failed to understand that this war did not begin on 9/11. It did not begin when al Qaeda declared war on us in the 90s and attacked our embassies and naval vessels. It did not begin in 1979, when our alleged neo-colonialist depredations supposedly sparked the Iranian revolution and created today’s Islamic (N.B., Mr. President) Republic of Iran, the world’s premier state sponsor of terrorism. It did not begin in 1948, when five Arab nations, all but one members of the U.N., violated Resolution 191 and attacked Israel. It did not begin when after World War I the victorious Entente powers exercised mandatory powers, granted by the League of Nations and codified in international treaties, over the territory of the Ottoman Empire that had sided with the Central Powers.

All these acts of aggression were merely the latest in a war begun in the 7th century when Islam attacked the eastern Roman Empire and began its serial dismemberment of the heart of Christendom, the old word for the West. For a thousand years the armies of Allah successfully invaded, conquered, occupied, enslaved, and raided the West, in accordance with its doctrine of jihad in the service of Muslim domination, and in homage to Mohammed’s injunction, “I was told to fight all men until they say there is no god but Allah.” This record of success began to end in the 17th century with the rise of the modern West and its technological, economic, and political advantages.

But the war didn’t end with that Muslim retreat, even after what bin Laden called the “catastrophe” –– the demise of the Ottoman Caliphate, and the division of its territory into Western-style nation-states. The West won that battle, but it did not win the war. One reason is the Muslim nations of the Middle East never suffered the wages of their aggression. They sided with the Central Powers in World War I. They sat out World War II––apart from the many thousands who fought on the side of the Nazis––and received fugitive Nazis as guests after the war. Their serial aggression and terror against Israel has never been repaid with bombed-out capitals or punitive postwar reprisals. Their governments have never been punished for funding and proliferating mosques and madrassas teaching hatred of the infidel and terrorist violence in the service of jihad.

Instead of paying the price of aggression, partly because of the Cold War, more recently because of Western failure of nerve and civilizational exhaustion, Muslims have been the beneficiaries of billions in Western aid, Western arms, Western defense against enemies, Western lax immigration policies, Western appeasement, and Western suicidal ideas like cultural and moral relativism. In short, Muslims have never accepted their defeats, and have never experienced the humiliating cost of their aggression, because the modern West has never forced them to pay for it.

Thus they look at our unserious, godless culture of consumption and frivolity, of self-loathing and guilt, and these serious believers are confident that 350 years of defeat in battle have not led to defeat in the long war. And so the war goes on. The frivolous Western dogs bark, but Allah’s caravan moves on.

The anatomy of denial

November 23, 2015

The anatomy of denial, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, November 23, 2015

boko_haram_main

Western secularism has rendered us incapable of understanding passionate religious beliefs. The banishment of faith from public life is nearly complete in Europe, and we Americans are on the same trajectory.

In contrast, most Muslims are intensely religious to a degree most Westerners can hardly imagine. Religion suffuses their lives, most noticeably in the muezzin’s daily five calls to prayer, and the commands of Allah and the words and deeds of Mohammed are a living presence in every aspect of a devout Muslim’s life. Nor is this religiosity a private affair kept away from the public square, and compartmentalized in people’s lives apart from politics, economics, or foreign policy.

************************

The murder of 27 hotel guests in Mali’s capital city by Boko Haram, now an al Qaeda franchisee, highlights yet again the delusional futility of asserting that, as Hillary Clinton put it in a tweet, “Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” Like Obama, Hillary also vigorously condemns the use of a phrase like “Islamist radicalism.”

These evasions are contrary to the history and doctrines of Islam consistent over 14 centuries, and contradict the professed motives for the continuing violence perpetrated across the globe––27,295 deadly attacks just since 9/11–– by Islamic terrorist groups who emulate the Prophet and take seriously his injunction to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them, and lie in wait for them in every ambush” (9.5), one of 109 verses––the direct commands of Allah–– that order war against infidels.

Moreover, that most Muslims do not engage directly in such violence, or may even condemn it, does not change the fundamental doctrines that justify it, no more than the millions of Catholic women who use birth control invalidate the church’s doctrine against contraception. The doctrine of jihad has been part of Islam from its beginning, enjoined by the Koran and Hadith, and confirmed and celebrated by the most eminent Islamic historians, jurisprudents, and theologians. One of the most famous, the late-14th century writer Ibn Khaldun, wrote in the Muqaddimah, “In the Muslim community, the holy war is a religious duty, because of the universalism of the Muslim mission and the obligation to convert everybody to Islam either by persuasion or by force.” When we see Muslims in the 21st century killing and dying in service to this traditional religious imperative created in the 7th century, it is perverse blindness to claim that there is no connection between Islam and Islamic terrorism.

The more important question is why anyone would assert something that would have struck our Western ancestors––for a thousand years the victims of Muslim invasion, occupation, enslavement, and slaughter–– as a dangerous fantasy. One rationale appeared in the months after 9/11, when George W. Bush distinguished al Qaeda from the larger Muslim community and engaged in outreach to the latter, inviting imams to the White House and proclaiming Islam the “religion of peace.” The idea was that alienating millions of Muslims would make it harder to fight the jihadists, and even aid in their recruitment. This tactic, of course, has been an obvious failure for over a decade, as there is no evidence that being nice to Muslims––for example, rescuing Afghan and Iraqi Muslims from murderous autocrats––changed traditional Muslim attitudes toward infidels, and predisposed them to turn on their fellow Muslims.

The better answer lies in several bad ideas spawned by modernity. Western secularism has rendered us incapable of understanding passionate religious beliefs. The banishment of faith from public life is nearly complete in Europe, and we Americans are on the same trajectory. What remains of religion is reduced to a private life-style choice, commercialized holiday traditions, and a vague comforting “spiritualism” that makes few demands on its adherents. Secularists relentlessly patrol the public square to attack any sign that religious belief is stepping outside its private ghetto. And any recognition that the Judeo-Christian tradition contributed to the foundational beliefs of the West––equality, unalienable rights, and freedom––is attacked as spiritual colonization and “fundamentalist” bigotry. Hence Obama calls “shameful” the suggestions that Christian Syrians, currently suffering a genocidal persecution, be prioritized over the mostly economic Syrian refugees.

In contrast, most Muslims are intensely religious to a degree most Westerners can hardly imagine. Religion suffuses their lives, most noticeably in the muezzin’s daily five calls to prayer, and the commands of Allah and the words and deeds of Mohammed are a living presence in every aspect of a devout Muslim’s life. Nor is this religiosity a private affair kept away from the public square, and compartmentalized in people’s lives apart from politics, economics, or foreign policy. As Bernard Lewis writes,

In most Islamic countries, religion remains a major political factor, for most Muslim countries are still profoundly Muslim in a way and in a sense that most Christian countries are no longer Christian . . . in no Christian country at the present time can religious leaders count on the degree of belief and participation that remains normal in the Muslim lands . . . Christian clergy do not exercise or even claim the kind of public authority that is still normal and acceptable in mot Muslim countries.

Lacking the constant public presence of spiritual reality in our own lives, we find it hard to accept that religious doctrines advocating violence against the unbeliever, or basing all social, economic, judicial, and political order on a code of law formulated over a thousand years ago, can be real enough to compel violence against innocents. This failure of imagination has been a powerful enabler of our feckless strategies.

So too has been our ignorance of history. Worse yet, what history we do rely on is false or ideologically warped. Few politicians in charge of our foreign policy seem to be aware of the long, violent assault of Islam against the West, the chronicle of massacre, slaving, kidnapping, occupation, and exploitation, all in service to the commands of Allah and the practices of Mohammed. At the same time, our president invents the mythic “golden age” of enlightenment and tolerance in Muslim Cordoba, harps on the Crusades and the Inquisition, excoriates Israel for defending itself against the progeny of invaders, colonizers, and immigrants to the ancient Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria, and apologizes for imperialism and colonialism. Meanwhile Muslim Turkey is in its fifth decade of the occupation of northern Cyprus that followed an invasion accompanied by ethnic cleansing, population transfers from Turkey, and the destruction or vandalizing of 300 churches.

A good example of this bizarre historical ignorance is the demonic role assigned to the 1916 Sykes-Picot agreement. An ISIS billboard in Iraq reads, “We are the ones who determine our borders, not Sykes-Picot.” In this false history borrowed from self-loathing Westerners, the imperialist French and English divided up the Ottoman Empire in an act of stealth colonialism. This history is false, and strangely diminishes the region’s Muslims, making them the mere passive pawns of external manipulators. But as Efraim Karsh points out in his indispensable new book The Tail Wags the Dog, the region’s leaders “have been active and enterprising free agents doggedly pursuing their national interests and swaying the region pretty much in their desired direction, often in disregard of great-power wishes.” The true history of the region shows that the disorder today has two main sources: the doctrines of Islam that keep the region mired in a premodern, tribal mentality; and the disastrous decision of the Ottoman sultan to join the Central powers in World War I, against the advice of the British, who wanted not colonies, but an Arab empire to replace the Ottomans’.

Such distorted history, in which the West is to blame for dysfunctions created by Muslims themselves, justifies an apologetic tone like that of Obama’s Cairo speech, and rationalizes Muslim violence as an understandable reaction to historical injustice––just as John Kerry did in his despicable comments that the Charlie Hebdo murders had a “rationale that you could attach yourself to.”

Finally, multiculturalism, which is an expression of this false history that makes the West the global villains deserving of payback from the oppressed dark-skinned “other,” compromises a robust and muscular response to Islamic violence. The lexicon of political correctness, predicated on the commandment never to blame the victim “of color,” leads to the sort of duplicitous evasions mentioned earlier, in which traditional Islamic doctrine disappears as motivating force, and effort is wasted on pursuing remedies––economic development, flattering outreach, or democracy promotion––that will not solve the problem of metastasizing jihadism. Moreover, like the British sympathizers with Germany in the 20s and 30s, the charges of racism and neo-imperialist oppression thrown around by the multiculturalists foster a spirit of appeasement and accommodation, sapping our morale and inhibiting our response.

The denial of Islam’s sanctified violence, confessional intolerance, and global ambitions is the biggest impediment to our destroying the enemy. The solution is simple, and memorably expressed in the New Testament: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Contentions| Not Just a Bad Deal — A ‘Sheer Fantasy’

August 19, 2015

Contentions| Not Just a Bad Deal — A ‘Sheer Fantasy’, Commentary Magazine, August 18, 2015

To appreciate the key paragraph in Senator Bob Corker’s Washington Post op-ed opposing the Iran deal, you need to review his extemporaneous remarks at the August 5 hearing of the Senate Banking Committee – addressed to both the witness, Under Secretary Wendy Sherman, and to his Democratic colleagues. Corker was one of the few Republican senators who did not sign Senator Tom Cotton’s letter to Iran, and he worked across the aisle to craft the Congressional review of the deal. On August 5, he spoke first to the Democratic senators sitting there: “I want to say that I think Senator Donnelly, Senator Heitkamp, Senator Warner, Senator Tester, Senator Schumer, Senator Menendez all know that I have been very open to supporting an agreement.” Then he recounted a Saturday phone conversation he had had the previous month with Secretary of State Kerry, when “I actually thought he was listening to what I was saying.”

I was standing in my driveway, and I emphasized the importance of these last pieces [of negotiations]. And I’m talking about the inspections. I’m talking about the … possible military dimensions [PMD]. We all know they’re involved militarily. And how important that was, not just from the standpoint of what it said, but the indication to us — that we were really going to apply these things, that we were really going to be tough and make this agreement stand.

And when I got the documents – and I’ve been through all of them extensively – I have to say my temperature rose very heavily. And then when I saw that we were lifting the conventional ban in five years, the missile ban in eight years, and on the front end, lifting the missile test ban on top of what these agreements said, I was very troubled. …

I was very discouraged with the final round … But I worked with Senator Cardin, my friend – I began with Senator Menendez – over an excruciating period of time to make sure that the way this agreement, the Iran Review Act, we got the documents, and we got them in a way that was acceptable to y’all. We spent all weekend with you, the White House, and others on this Iran Review Act, and we were to get all agreements, including the side agreements. Now, the very entity that we’re counting on to do the inspection – we can’t even get a copy of the side agreement that lays out how we’re gonna deal with Parchin. And I would say to everyone here, if you haven’t been down to the Intel area you ought to see what Iran is doing today, while we’re sitting here, in Parchin. …

We can’t even see the agreement that relates to how we’re gonna deal with the PMD. By the way, all sanctions relief occurs regardless of what they do with the PMD. All the IAEA has to write is a report. But if they “D-Minus” it, meaning they don’t tell us much … sanctions relief still occurs. … [T]hese issues that we have been so concerned about, we saw they were just punted on, negotiated away, issues that we, with great sincerity, talked with the administration about, and yet they were just punted on.

At that time, Senator Corker had not yet met privately with IAEA Director General Amano, or in executive session with Under Secretary Sherman, where he was promised oral explanations – but no documents – regarding the IAEA agreements with Iran. Corker’s statement today contains a revealing conclusion about what senators learned from those sessions:

[T]he inspections process is deeply flawed. Through verbal presentations regarding possible military dimensions, many in Congress are aware of the unorthodox arrangements agreed to by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the administration and our negotiating partners to keep from upsetting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Those actual agreements remain secret, but we know that at best they are most unusual and speak to the P5+1’s low commitment to holding Iran’s feet to the fire.

At the same hearing, Senator Cotton questioned Under Secretary Sherman about why the documents are classified: “This is not a U.S. government document, it’s not a covert action, it’s not subject to sensitive collection methods of our intelligence community, Iran knows what they agreed to, you know what’s in [them] … [and] U.S. law that was in fact signed in the middle of these negotiations required Congress to receive the text of all agreements, to include agreements to which the United States was not a party.” Sherman emphasized how important it is to safeguard confidential IAEA agreements with all countries. But the real reason may have been revealed in this colloquy:

COTTON: How long are these documents?

SHERMAN: Very short.

COTTON: Like the Roadmap itself?

SHERMAN: I’d have to stop and think back, but it’s very short.

The Road-map For the Clarification of Past and Present Outstanding Issues Regarding Iran’s Nuclear Program, with its reference to the two secret “separate arrangements,” is set forth on the IAEA website (you can also watch the smiling Iranians at the signing ceremony on YouTube). So we know exactly how long the Roadmap is: 398 words.

Perhaps what is most noteworthy about the side agreements is not the allegedly confidential nature of them, but the fact that they are scandalously short. At the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on August 4 regarding the Iran deal, there was this colloquy between Ambassador Robert Joseph, who headed the negotiations with Libya in 2003 that dismantled Libya’s nuclear program, and Senator Corker:

JOSEPH: [I]n terms of what may or may not be in these secret agreements, my sense is that if these agreements did provide for a real way forward on PMD and on Parchin you’d see them.

CORKER: They’d be on the table.

JOSEPH: You’d see them. Why, you know, after four years of stonewalling on these issues by Iran, we for whatever reason could think that these are going to be resolved by a couple of side agreements and they’re going to be resolved by mid-December? My view is that’s just sheer fantasy.

Sheer fantasy, but under the Roadmap the fantasy will play out until the IAEA issues its report on December 15 – two months after Congress must vote on the deal.