Monday, April 25, 2016

We Can Celebrate Harriet Tubman Without Disparaging Andrew Jackson. By Jim Webb.

We can celebrate Harriet Tubman without disparaging Andrew Jackson. By Jim Webb. Washington Post, April 24, 2016.


One would think we could celebrate the recognition that Harriet Tubman will be given on future $20 bills without demeaning former president Andrew Jackson as a “monster,” as a recent Huffington Post headline did. And summarizing his legendary tenure as being “known primarily for a brutal genocidal campaign against native Americans,” as reported in The Post, offers an indication of how far political correctness has invaded our educational system and skewed our national consciousness.

This dismissive characterization of one of our great presidents is not occurring in a vacuum. Any white person whose ancestral relations trace to the American South now risks being characterized as having roots based on bigotry and undeserved privilege. Meanwhile, race relations are at their worst point in decades.

Far too many of our most important discussions are being debated emotionally, without full regard for historical facts. The myth of universal white privilege and universal disadvantage among racial minorities has become a mantra, even though white and minority cultures alike vary greatly in their ethnic and geographic origins, in their experiences in the United States and in their educational and financial well-being.

Into this uninformed debate come the libels of “Old Hickory.” Not unlike the recently lionized Alexander Hamilton, Jackson was himself a “brilliant orphan.” A product of the Scots-Irish migration from war-torn Ulster into the Appalachian Mountains, his father died before he was born. His mother and both brothers died in the Revolutionary War, where he himself became a wounded combat veteran by age 13. Self-made and aggressive, he found wealth in the wilds of Tennessee and, like other plantation owners such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, owned slaves. He was a transformational president, hated by the reigning English American elites as he brought populist, frontier-style democracy to our political system.

Jackson became the very face of the New America, focusing on intense patriotism and the dignity of the common man.

On the battlefield he was unbeatable, not only in the Indian Wars, which were brutally fought with heavy casualties on both sides, but also in his classic defense of New Orleans during the War of 1812. His defense of the city (in which he welcomed free blacks as soldiers in his army) dealt the British army its most lopsided defeat until the fall of Singapore in 1942.

As president, Jackson ordered the removal of Indian tribes east of the Mississippi to lands west of the river. This approach, supported by a string of presidents, including Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, was a disaster, resulting in the Trail of Tears where thousands died. But was its motivation genocidal? Robert Remini, Jackson’s most prominent biographer, wrote that his intent was to end the increasingly bloody Indian Wars and to protect the Indians from certain annihilation at the hands of an ever-expanding frontier population. Indeed, it would be difficult to call someone genocidal when years before, after one bloody fight, he brought an orphaned Native American baby from the battlefield to his home in Tennessee and raised him as his son.

Today’s schoolchildren should know and appreciate that Jackson’s July 1832 veto of legislation renewing the charter of the monopolistic Second National Bank prevented the creation of a permanent aristocracy in our country. Jackson was virulently opposed in this decision, openly threatened by America’s elites. Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Vernon Louis Parrington called this veto “perhaps the most courageous act in our political history.”

Just as significantly, in November 1832, South Carolina threatened to secede from the Union. Jackson put a strong military force in position, letting it be known that if it attempted secession he would have 50,000 soldiers inside the state within 40 days, with another 50,000 to follow shortly after. Wisely, South Carolina did not call Jackson’s bluff, and civil war was averted for another 28 years.

Jackson was a rough-hewn brawler, a dueler and a fighter. For eight years he dominated American politics, bringing a coarse but refreshing openness to the country’s governing process. Jefferson called him “a dangerous man.” Quincy Adams termed him a “barbarian.” But as Parrington put it, “he was our first great popular leader, our first man of the people. ... one of our few Presidents whose heart and sympathy ... clung to the simple faith that government must deal as justly with the poor as with the rich.

Mark Twain once commented that “to arrive at a just estimate of a renowned man’s character one must judge it by the standards of his time, not ours.” By any standard we should respect both Jackson’s and Tubman’s contributions. And our national leaders should put aside their deliberate divisiveness and encourage that we do so.

Jim Webb, a Democratic U.S. senator from Virginia from 2007 to 2013, is the author of Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Czar Putin Is Getting the Better of America Again and Again. By Ralph Peters

Obama and Putin. Getty Images (2).

Obama dismisses Putin, but Czar is getting the better of us again and again. By Ralph Peters. New York Post, April 23, 2016.


To pinched-nostril commentators in the West, Vladimir Putin, Czar of all the Russias, is a boorish clown destined for ultimate failure. To me, he’s a genius.

I don’t like the guy one bit. But I have to respect his abilities.

The last time a minor power played its hand as well as Putin has played Russia’s was in 1203. Venice hijacked the Fourth Crusade to sack Christian Constantinople, leaving Venice wealthy and empowered. It also wrecked Europe’s bulwark against Islam, leading to seven centuries of jihad (resuming now, after a brief timeout).

Putin’s power plays won’t end well for Europe, either. But, like medieval Venice, he’s good at what he does.

The Czar on his throne. Putin by Platon for Time Magazine, 2007.

Taking over when Russia was flat on its back, Putin restored Russian pride, recreating the trappings of a great power. One of his key advantages has been precisely what effete Western commentators see as a weakness: He lacks credentials. He didn’t go to the right schools and doesn’t behave properly. He was a “lowly” KGB lieutenant-colonel. He’s crude.

So our prissy elites spent the last decade and a half mocking Putin. He spent those years enriching his country, reviving its military, expanding its territory, extending its influence abroad — and humiliating the United States of America.

Our diplomats play contract bridge while nibbling delicate sandwiches. Putin plays pistoled-up five-card stud. And he cheats.

Putin punished Georgia, reclaimed Crimea, invaded eastern Ukraine and — just this month — he rekindled the fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia to bludgeon oil-rich Azerbaijan away from its flirtation with the West.

Putin has backed Iran and is arming it with late-model air-defense missiles that will make any US or Israeli strike painfully costly.

He intervened successfully in Syria, smashing America’s feeble clients, generating another wave of refugees to further disrupt the European Union and leaving “President” Bashar al-Assad more securely in power than he’s been since the uprising started.

He’s punching way above his weight when it comes to NATO, too. With one dangerous provocation hard on the heels of another, he shows no sign of backing off. Rather, he’s having a high old time embarrassing the United States and its president.

On Thursday, his representative to the first NATO-Russia council in two years cynically turned the situation on its head, claiming that the US was the aggressor in every encounter — including that danger-close fly-by of a US destroyer in the Baltic. Putin’s man chastised our Navy for its recklessness.

Those incidents at sea, and many more in the skies, bewilder Western think-tank apparatchiks, who view them as counterproductive acts of folly and plain bad manners. But look at the situation through Putin’s eyes. Here’s what he gets when his jets scour our Navy’s decks with their exhaust:

He sends a message to NATO (especially, to its new, easternmost members) that, “Hey, the Americans won’t even defend themselves. You really think they’ll defend you?”

He sends a message to Russians that it’s the American military, not Russia’s, that’s hollow and rotten. It’s great propaganda that titillates Ivan and Olga (the latter almost as much as his bare-chested selfies).

His intelligence collectors study our electronic systems as they track the older jets that he sends out (he won’t reveal the signatures of his latest aircraft).

He accustoms us to aggressive behavior, conditioning us not to “overreact.” Were it to come to a sudden war in the 21st century, the side that pulled the trigger first would win. He’s training us to hesitate.

The Russians are well aware of the low morale in our scandal-plagued Navy. On top of that, they watched, enthralled, as the Iranians grabbed and tormented our sailors — only to be thanked by our secretary of state for resolving the crisis they created. Now the Russians believe that they can get away with anything, as long as Obama’s in office.

And in those famous words from the 1968 Democratic convention, “The whole world’s watching!” Putin doesn’t care what our elites think of him. He plays to a global audience. And that audience sees him as bold and successful, while it sees us as afraid and ineffective.

Of course, the DC establishment’s last-ditch defense of the “wisdom” of our feckless response to Putin is to conjure the spirits of economic disaster, the insistence that, while Putin’s a pain, the Russian economy’s tanking and he won’t be able to sustain his mischief much longer.

Well, Putin’s economy took a body blow, thanks largely to the drop in oil prices and partly because of (now wobbling) Western sanctions. But the ruble and Russia’s foreign reserves have stabilized. Import substitution is progressing. The oil price is inching back up.

Russians are much better off financially than they were before Putin appeared, and — most important of all — Russians expect life to stink. Deprivations that would shock Americans don’t even register. And Putin’s stage management of the economic downturn has been masterful. His popularity rating remains higher than Hillary Clinton’s and Donald Trump’s combined.

Unlike our leaders, Putin knows his people. He came from the streets, not from Harvard. And Russians have, for centuries, cherished the “myth of the good czar,” expressed, in the face of perfidy and corruption, by the peasant’s sigh of, “If the czar only knew . . .”

Putin put that myth on TV and online. His four-hour “audiences” are brilliant theater. He takes calls and e-mails complaining of Russia’s immemorial problems: bad roads here, corrupt bosses there, unpaid wages in a cannery. With barely a hand wave, the people’s woes go away.

When will we stop underestimating Putin? Western leaders have come and gone, but Putin’s still there. Barring acts of God, he’ll remain on his throne after the next two or three US presidents have left the Oval Office.

And now he’s accustomed to winning. To repeat myself from past columns, Putin has no reverse gear. He keeps going forward until he hits a wall.

There’s no wall.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Guide to Survival In the Middle East. By Mordechai Kedar.

A guide to survival in the Middle East. By Mordechai Kedar. Elder of Ziyon, April 20, 2016. Hebrew original here.


To my brethren and friends, the Jews who live in Israel and abroad.

It saddens me to let you know that those attacks from which we have been suffering today, yesterday, a week, a month, a year, a decade and a century ago, are indeed the same war that our neighbors have been waging against us for over 100 years. Sometimes they fight with a great fire, with tanks and ships and airplanes, and sometimes they fight with a simmering fire, “Terror” they call it, with explosions, stabbings and shootings. This war is called “Jihad” in Arabic, and it is directed at Jews wherever they may be.

It saddens me to remind you that this war began a long, long time before Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948. The pogroms of 1920, 1921, 1929 and 1936-39 were not caused by the creation of Israel, nor by the “occupation of 1948”, as our enemies refer to it. This war is most certainly NOT waging because of the “1967 occupation”. The Hebron Jews who got massacred were not a part of the Zionist movement. The Organization for liberation of Palestine (the Fatah) was established in 1959, and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (the PLO), in 1964, years before the “1967 occupation”.

It saddens me to remind you that the calls we heard during our war of independence were “Itbah al-Yahud” - “Slaughter the Jews” - Not the Israelis or the Zionists. This is because their problem is with Jews (and for that matter, Christians as well) refusing to live under the mercies of Islam as “Ahel D’ima” or “Proteges”, as obliged by their religion. To this day, in various Arab countries around the world children sing: “Palestine Baladna wa’al-Yahud Kalabna” - “Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs”. The dog, according to Muslim tradition, is an impure animal, and according to Sharia law if a Muslim is praying and a dog, a pig, a donkey, a woman, a Jew or a Christian passes before him, his prayer becomes impure and he has to start over.

It saddens me to tell you that a common chant with Israel’s enemies is: “Khybar, Khybar ya yahud, Jish Muhammad siaud” - Khybar is an oasis in the Arab peninsula in which Jews used to live until Muhammad slaughtered them in 626 AD. The chant is to remind people of what happened and says “Khybar, Khybar oh Jews, Muhammad’s army will return” - to do it again. According to the Koran, Surah 5:82, Jews are “Muslims’ fiercest enemies”, and in verse 60 it states that Allah’s curse and wrath are on the Jews and he turned them into monkeys and pigs. So, who gave them the right to own a country? Since when do they have the right to sovereignty?

The Language of Power

Despite what you may think, the peace with Egypt came about only after Sadat realized that despite the Arab’s efforts to eliminate Israel in 1948’s was of independence, in 1956’s Sinai war, in 1967’s six day war, in 1970’s war of attrition and in 1973’s Yom Kippur war which started as a complete surprise, Israel not only survived but managed to move the war into enemy grounds. Realizing that Israel is unbeatable, Sadat begrudgingly turned to peace, even if the peace will be temporary and based on the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah from 628 AD, in which Muhammad gave the Mecca infidels temporary peace for 10 years, only to retract it two years later.

The Oslo accords with Arafat did not stem from his belief in peace either. They were a con, a trojan horse which Arafat himself called “Treaty of Hudaybiyyah”. The entire purpose of the Oslo accords was to create a Palestinian entity with an army and weapons, one which will eliminate Israel when the time is ripe. He said it day in and day out, and our policy makers said that it was for “internal consumption only”, and when suicide bombers exploded in our streets, they called them “victims of peace”. Since when does peace require victims? And how long before the guns we gave them are turned on us?

It saddens me to tell you that all of Israel’s efforts to appease Hamas in Gaza were for naught, and that Hamas has turned from a terrorist organization to a terrorist state. Deadly rockets, attack tunnels, suicide bombers - those are all viewed as legitimate instruments by Gaza’s Jihad government. They do not give a single hoot about the lives, health, property or prosperity of the people, the women and children in the strip. The residents of Gaza are pawns in the hands of Hamas, the Jihadists and the Salafis, who make their current lives hell while “allowing” them to be sent to heaven.

It saddens me to tell the gentle peace lovers in Israel and around the world that the concrete and iron we were forced to provide Gaza’s Jihadists with to rebuild the destruction, were used to build tunnels of death - death to Israelis and death to the sons of Gaza. Instead of rebuilding their hospitals, schools and infrastructure, the Jihad people have built the infrastructure for death, suffering and disaster. You made the mistake, again, of basing your policy on hopes, dreams and delusions instead of on data and facts. And even the commentators (myself included) share the blame: We all said with one voice that when Hamas will assume responsibility over food, electricity and the livelihood of Gazan population, they will moderate, and become realistic and pragmatic. Well, we were wrong: The Hamas movement, despite its evolution from an opposition organization to a governing body, has left Jihad against Israel at the top of its priority list, and did not moderate its absolute negation of “The Zionist Entity” one bit.

The Blinding Peace Vision

It saddens me to spoil the “Two peoples, two states” party. What happens today in Gaza will, with absolute accuracy, happen in the Palestinian state you are trying to create in Judea and Samaria. Hamas will win the elections to the legislative assembly in the same way they did in January of 2006, and they will win the presidential elections. If not, they will simply enact a violent revolution just like they did in Gaza in June of 2007. And when that happens, what will you say? “Oops… We didn’t realize… we didn’t think…?” So, now you know and you don’t have to think. This should be your working assumption. And if today Gaza’s Hamas digs tunnels in the sand, the tunnels in Judea and Samaria will be dug in rock, making them that much harder to find and destroy.

And for those with a particularly short memory: In July of 2014 Hamas managed to close the Ben Gurion airport for a day with rockets they sent from Gaza. If and when they control Judea and Samaria, they will be able to close the airport with even a slingshot - they will have direct view of it from Bet Arieh hills. If you don’t believe me, just take a short drive to the hills just east of the airport, those that are in the “occupied territories” (occupied from whom, exactly?). Because of the wind patterns, most planes approach the runways from the east, passing exactly above those hills. Will Hamasland allow Israeli airplanes to approach and land from above its territory? And what price will Israel have to pay after a plane was taken down with a machine gun or an RPG? Shall we give them Jerusalem to keep them quiet?

Speaking of Jerusalem, what will you do when Hamasland serves you with an ultimatum: Jerusalem or war? Temple mount, or we close Ben Gurion Airport? And when the world shows their support of those demands, appeasing extremist Islam with Israeli payments, what will you say? And when the sharpshooters are again dropping pedestrians in Jerusalem over the walls of the Old City, just like their Jordanian brethren did in 1967, where will you hide? Behind concrete walls? Or a safety fence? Will you transfer Israel’s capital to Tel Aviv?

It saddens me to inform you that the worst thing to ever happen for hope and peace is the various peace movements, those who call upon Israel to let a terror state rise in Judea and Samaria and to give east Jerusalem up. In the Middle East, those who ask for peace, those who sing about their passion for peace and those who offer their land and their country in exchange for a piece of paper which says “peace”, are perceived as those who were defeated in war and are now begging for their lives. The peace movements have painted Israel as soft, weak and defeatist - an image which, in the middle east, does NOT get you peace. In this extremist, violent corner of the world in which Israel is trying to survive, being perceived as weak will earn you a swift kick in the you know what, and get you thrown out harshly on a good day, or beheaded on a normal one. In the middle east, “Peace” means that your enemies leave you alone because you are too strong, too aggressive and too dangerous to mess with. In the middle east, peace is only for the invincible.

Those who refuse to accept these facts, those who are not ready for blood, sweat and tears, those who are anxious for “peace now”, should not be in the middle east. It is a place for the strong, the brave, the determined, who firmly believe in their way. For all others, they should probably find a different place to live. Somewhere quiet and prosperous, like Paris, Brussels, Madrid, Boston or San Bernadino.

(h/t Miki for translation)

Don’t Give Up on Young Arabs. By David Ignatius.

Don’t give up on young Arabs. By David Ignatius. Washington Post, April 19, 2016. Also at Real Clear Politics.


As President Obama travels this week to Saudi Arabia, here’s a surprising snapshot of what young Arabs think: They’re scared about the Islamic State and terrorism; they yearn for more freedom and gender equality; they fear that the Arab Spring has made life worse; and they’re increasingly skeptical about the role of traditional religious values.

If these Arab reactions seem similar to what people would say in the West, maybe that’s the real takeaway. Despite all the violence and extremism that plague the region, most young Arabs have sensible modern reactions. This isn’t a world apart: Arab youths hate the turmoil that’s wrecking their countries and want a better, more stable life.

This portrait of the Arab world emerges in a remarkable survey by the public relations company ASDA’A Burson-Marsteller and the polling firm Penn Schoen Berland. It’s actually a time-lapse photo, because this “Arab Youth Survey” has been conducted annually for the past eight years. By reading the back issues, you can see hopes rising with the Arab Spring in 2011, and then crashing against the reality of violence and disarray.

Let’s start with this year’s headlines: In face-to-face interviews with 3,500 young people ages 18 to 24 in 16 countries, 77percent of participants said they were concerned about the rise of the Islamic State and 76 percent said the group would fail in its ultimate goal of establishing a caliphate. Asked to explain why young people were attracted to the group, 24 percent cited lack of jobs, but a larger 25 percent chose the answer: “I can’t explain it — I don’t understand why anybody would want to join.”

One intriguing finding of this study is that Arab youths are increasingly dubious about the role of religion and traditional values. Asked if they agreed with the statement “Religion plays too big of a role in the Middle East,” 52 percent said yes this year, with 61 percent of those in Arab Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia, sharing that view.

Women’s rights also get strong support: 67 percent of young Arabs said their leaders should improve the personal freedom and human rights of women. This progressive view had roughly equal support from young Arab men (66 percent) as women (68 percent). By the way, an even number of men and women were surveyed.

What kind of country do these young Arabs want to live in? The overwhelming answer in 2016, for the fifth year running, was the United Arab Emirates — a Muslim country that is increasingly open, tolerant, prosperous and adapting to the modern world.

The previous installments show how far the region has traveled over the past decade. In the 2009 and 2010 surveys, there was a yearning for democracy, with at least 90 percent of the respondents in most countries saying that living in a democratic country was important to them. But they still embraced a traditional world: 68 percent said their religion defined them as a person in 2010, and men were far less likely than women to support equal opportunity in the workplace. This Arab conservatism had eroded by 2014, when the percentage who agreed that “traditional values mean a lot to me” had fallen to just 54 percent from 83 percent in 2011.

The hurricane of the Tahrir Square uprising that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 was vividly captured by the survey. In January that year, 82 percent of Arab youth supported “traditional values.” A month later, that number had fallen 11 points. Those describing their political views as liberal jumped from 20 percent in January to 51 percent the next month. Young people overwhelmingly supported the overthrow of Mubarak in Egypt and the autocratic rulers of Libya and Yemen.

The optimism and idealism of the Arab Spring were real. But so was the disillusionment that followed. The share who agreed that “Following the Arab Spring, I feel the Arab world is better off” collapsed from 72 percent in 2012 to just 36 percent in 2016. Egyptians bucked that pessimistic trend, with 61 percent still positive this year about their revolution.

Here’s what I draw from this survey: Young Arabs are sadder but wiser; they want a freer, more modern life; and they’re skeptical about easy answers from religion or democratic elections. They know they’re in a long transition, and they’ve become more pessimistic, but they still affirm in each survey, “Our best days are ahead of us.”

A simple summary: Don’t give up on the Arabs. They’re living through hell, but they want the same modern, secure world that most people do.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Sebastian Gorka: We Will Lose a “Winnable” War Against Jihad If We Refuse to “Talk About the Enemy as They Are.”

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: We Will Lose a “Winnable” War Against Jihad If We Refuse to “Talk About the Enemy as They Are.” By John Hayward. Breitbart, April 11, 2016.

Dr. Sebastian Gorka. Interviewed by Stephen K. Bannon. Audio. Breitbart News Sunday, April 10, 2016. Soundcloud.


Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, appeared on Breitbart News Sunday to answer host Stephen K. Bannon’s challenge that, contrary to the title, his book doesn’t make the war against jihad sound very “winnable” at all.

Gorka said he was motivated to write the book because he has seen “sixteen years of right-wing Administrations and left-wing Administrations punt the ball, or completely drop the ball, on this war.”

“But we can win it, if we have the leadership,” he contended, saying his book contains “the recipe to win this war rapidly.”

Gorka argued that the “history of modern jihad” began in 1979.  “If you want to understand September the 11th, if you want to understand the Boston bombing, the Ft. Hood massacre, the recent massacre in San Bernardino, the recent attack in Brussels, it all begins in 1979,” he said.

“It begins with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that triggers the first organization that predates al-Qaeda, which was the Arab Services Bureau, the mujahadeen.  That’s where al-Qaeda begins in 1979.  Then we have the Iranian revolution, hugely important because we have one nation-state that says Islam can be re-integrated into politics.  It’s the Shia, yes, but this is a model for all Muslims: we can create theocracies, and be successful, and reject the Western model of politics,” Gorka continued.

He added a third highly significant event from that era, which most Americans haven’t heard of: “Three hundred jihadis, in 1979, armed with automatic weapons, sieged and captured the most important site in all of Islam, the Grand Mosque at Mecca.  And it is the consequences of that siege, in which the Saudi regime signed a pact with the devil, if you will, with the extremist fundamentalist clerics in Saudi Arabia — that’s where it all begins.”

The understanding between the Saudi regime and jihadis had the effect of turning both violent terrorism and Islamist ideology outward, buying peace for the Saudis at the rest of the world’s expense.  As Bannon noted, the siege was also a huge media event across the Muslim world, giving the radicals who captured the Grand Mosque a platform to express their beliefs and win converts.

Gorka proposed two reasons why the Western media has never assigned the proper historical significance to the siege of Mecca: it’s too complicated to explain for a mainstream press interested primarily in quick sound bites, and it reflects poorly on America’s nominal ally, Saudi Arabia.

“We made a strategic decision after World War II that Saudi Arabia would be our partner, would be our so-called ally, so we don’t want to talk about the fact that Saudi Arabia is, in part, responsible for the export of the most totalitarian ideology active today, which is global jihadism,” he said.

“During the siege, the King managed to identify the fact that these aren’t just a bunch of Koran-beating yahoos.  These 300 jihadis had the blessing, had the support, of key members of the Saudi clerical class, the ulamaa, the wise theologians – who said, ‘yep, Islam’s lost its way, we’re surrounded by apostates, the King is a puppet of the West, and we need a holy war to cleanse Islam,’” Gorka explained.  “When the King found that out, he invited these clerics to the palace for a little chat, and he said to them, ‘Gentlemen, I know who you are, and I know your connection to these jihadis.  Let me offer you a deal.  If you guarantee for me that my nation — my country, Saudi Arabia, and my family — will never, ever be threatened again by this kind of extremist violence, this jihadism, you will become the court ulamaa.  You will become the clerics to the House of Saud. You, your sons, and your grandsons will have jobs for life.’”

Crucially, the Saudi monarchy also offered the help finance the export of jihad ideology around the world, “and for the last 25 years, we have been paying the price for that deal,” Gorka said, counting among those toxic imports Salafism, Wahabbi Islam, and the Deobandi sect, which is far more influential in European and American mosques than most outsiders realize.

Gorka said it was crucial for Western leaders to “jettison this fantasy that you hear all the time, after 9/11, that Islam needs a ‘Reformation.’”  As he explained, the Christian Reformation was driven by the urge to “get back to basics,” such as studying the Bible and developing a fundamental understanding of the faith.  That is precisely the message of the Islamic “extremists” and jihadis of today. In their eyes, they are the Reformation.

The “dirty little secret that nobody wants to tell you,” as Gorka put it, is that the Islamist ideology of al-Qaeda or ISIS “is not fundamentally un-Islamic because it is the Seventh Century interpretation of Islam that comes straight from the Koran.” 

“The second half of the Koran is uber-violent.  It’s about killing infidels,” he explained.  “As a result, we don’t need more reformation to get back to basics because then we will empower the jihadis.”

In order to cut through political correctness and Washington static, Gorka had a provocative request for listeners: “Every American citizen who cares about the republic, after 9/11, you don’t have an excuse.  Buy a Koran.  Don’t listen to the conventional wisdoms that are being spewed out by the mainstream media.  Go to the primary source, and make a judgment for yourself about this religion.”

He also stressed the importance of understanding that, unlike the Bible and most other religious texts, the Koran is meant to be the unchallengeable word of God, dictated to Mohammed by the archangel Gabriel, rather than a series of stories and prophetic revelations that might be subject to reinterpretation by later authorities.  Gorka suggested it might be helpful to think of the entire Koran as if it were the Ten Commandments — except, of course, that the Koran is much more comprehensive, detailed, and particular than the rather terse Commandments.

In a similar vein, he challenged the common talking point that “jihad” refers to constructive, non-violent internal struggles against temptation by noting that on “twelve times as many occasions in the Koran, when the word ‘jihad’ is used, it’s not about peaceful inner striving,” but instead describes “martial war, kinetic war, defeating and suppressing the enemy until they convert to the One True Faith, or until you have successfully destroyed them.”

He noted that jihad is certainly understood that way by terrorists and Islamist leaders, such as ISIS, which waged an aggressive war of conquest to re-establish the Islamic “caliphate” abolished by Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk a century ago.

“The Islamic State now holds territory in multiple countries of the Middle East and Africa,” Gorka observed.  “This is stunning.  They hold territory in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and now Boko Haram has become part of the caliphate, which means anything that belongs to Boko Haram in Nigeria is part of the new caliphate.  That means we have more than six million people living on the territory of the new Islamic empire.”  He further noted that empire boasts some 76,000 fighters, many of them foreign recruits, and is making between $2 million and $4 million per day, with income streams ranging from banditry to legal taxation.

In Gorka’s estimation, the refusal of Western political leaders to understand the unique nature of Islam, and the significance of such historic events as the Grand Mosque siege, lies at the heart of the leadership vacuum that might cause us to lose the war against jihad, despite our enormous military, technological, and economic advantages.

For example, Western leaders have deliberately blinded themselves to the penetration of Western mosques by radical imams, refusing to ask critical questions about where immigrant clerics were educated.  Gorka said the Obama Administration is also politically aligned against one of the few successful examples of de-radicalization in the Middle East, the “coup” conducted against the Muslim Brotherhood by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt.

“We have to support those regimes, whether it’s Egypt or whether it’s King Abdullah in Jordan, who have a different understanding of Islam and modernity,” Gorka urged.  “We need more people like Ataturk — people who say, ‘Look, I’m the democratically elected head of this country, and I don’t care what the Koran says about killing infidels right now.  We don’t do that because we like America, we like the West, and I’m going to tell you what Islam is.’  The State Department doesn’t like to hear that because they want to have freedom of religion, but if you’re dealing with Islam that has a Seventh Century original version that is violent, we cannot do that.”

The Department of Homeland Security doesn’t like to hear that, either.  Gorka related an astonishing story of being approached by a DHS official, after he delivered an eight-hour presentation on jihad to law-enforcement officials, who told him the real threat facing America was not Islamist terror but “right-wing extremists” and offered the 21-year-old Oklahoma City bombing as evidence of this imminent threat.

“I doubt the average law-enforcement officer, or American taxpayer, would agree with the government line in Washington,” he observed.

Gorka compared that government line on Islamism to the authorities informing American troops to avoid potentially offensive terms like “Nazi” as they were preparing to storm the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, or the authorities in the Fifties telling law enforcement to avoid terms like “white supremacist” when dealing with the Ku Klux Klan because they were really just “misguided Democrats.”

“Today we can’t use the world ‘jihad.’  We can’t talk about religion.  It is banned.  And if you can’t talk about the enemy, you will not win,” he warned.

It’s no laughing matter that the enemy shares no such reticence when it comes to discussing us.  Gorka discusses Islamist godfather Sayyid Qutb and his landmark book Milestones, which can be downloaded in its entirety from The Gorka Briefing.  He remarked on how Qutb offered a savage critique of America as a land of decadence that had to be destroyed by the jihad –and he was writing in the 1950s, after visiting idyllic, wholesome small towns in the West.  Qutb’s work is almost universally read by jihadis, who, he noted, tend to be far better educated and deliberate in their ideology than the U.S. State Department gives them credit for.

“It is a totalitarian ideology that defines itself against us,” Gorka said of jihad.  “We are the antithesis.  Everything America stands for — individual liberty, based on the dignity of the human being made in the image of God — that is what must be destroyed or enslaved.  This is not random acts of violence.  It has a plan.  It has a strategy.”

In other words, and in summation, jihadis believe they are in a war, and they believe they have a workable strategy to win it.  Those are the two elements most sorely missing from the West’s political leadership, which, Gorka noted, does not like to speak in terms of defeating a jihadist enemy and is often profoundly uncomfortable with using terms like “enemy,” “victory,” or “war.”

“Think about one thing.  This is provocative, but I believe it.  Why do we have 22 vets commit suicide every 24 hours in America?” Gorka asked.  “Why do we have unprecedented levels of PTSD in this nation?  Our grandfathers saw some bad stuff in World War II, especially in the Pacific, especially when they liberated the death camps. But when they came home in the 1950s, they didn’t eat the barrel of a 1911.  Why?  Because they knew they were on the side of the angels.  Their President, their commander, told them, ‘This is a war against evil, and what you are going to see may be nasty, but it’s okay, guys, you’re on the side of Right.’  We don’t say that anymore.”

“If we don’t have a sense of victory, if we don’t talk about the enemy as they are, we could lose this war,” Gorka warned before sadly concluding that Europe, from whence he hails, has already lost it.  “America is ten years behind Europe, if you look at the threat internally, and not just from terrorism… We’ve got, tops, five years.  If the next Administration doesn’t go to war — with our Muslim allies — against the jihadists, we could lose this, either kinetically, or from the inside through subversion.  Five years, maximum.”

Breitbart News Sunday airs each week from 7 to 10 P.M. Sunday night on the Patriot Channel, channel 125 on the SiriusXM network.

You can listen to the full interview with Dr. Sebastian Gorka below:

Islam and the Radical West. By Bret Stephens.

Islam and the Radical West. By Bret Stephens. Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2016.


Years ago I had a chat with three young Muslim men as we waited in a Heathrow airport lounge to board a flight to Islamabad. I was going to Pakistan to report on the fallout from a devastating earthquake in Kashmir. They were going there to do what they vaguely described as “charitable work.” They dressed in white shalwar kameez, wore their beards in salafist style and spoke in south London accents.

I tried to steer the conversation to the earthquake. They wanted to talk about politics. Had I seen Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11”? I avoided furnishing an opinion about a film they plainly revered. The unvarnished truth about Amerika—from an American. Authority and authenticity rolled into one.

I think of that exchange whenever the subject of Islamist radicalization comes up. There’s a great deal of literature about how young Muslim men—often born in the West to middle-class and not particularly religious households—get turned on to jihad. Think of Mohammed Emwazi, the University of Westminster graduate later known as Jihadi John. Or Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, of Fort Hood infamy. Or Najim Laachraoui, who studied electrical engineering at the prestigious Catholic University of Louvain before blowing himself up last month in Brussels. Or Boston’s Tsarnaev brothers and San Bernardino’s Syed Farook.

It’s a long list. And in many cases investigators are able to identify an agent of radicalization. Maj. Hasan corresponded with extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Laachraoui seems to have come under the spell of a Molenbeek preacher named Khalid Zerkani. The Tsarnaevs took their bomb-building tips from “Inspire,” an online English-language magazine published by al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen.

But the influence of the Awlakis of the world can’t fully account for the mind-set of these jihadists. They are also sons of the West—educated in the schools of multiculturalism, reared on the works of Noam Chomsky and perhaps Frantz Fanon, consumers of a news diet heavy with reports of perfidy by American or British or Israeli soldiers. If Islamism is their ideological drug of choice, the political orthodoxies of the modern left are their gateway to it.

Take the most recent issue of Inspire. Mixed in with step-by-step photos on how to build a timed hand grenade and an analysis of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, there’s a long article on the oppression of blacks in America, starting with the killing of Ferguson’s Michael Brown. The Spring 2013 issue contains a “message to the American nation” from al Qaeda Commander Qassim Ar-Reimy in which he asks whether “meddling in our affairs and installing whomever tyrant agents and lackeys you want who kill and oppress [is] forgivable?”

“Leave us with our religion, land and nations and mind your own internal affairs,” the commander—now Emir—writes. “Save your economy, look after your concerns, for it is better than what you currently are.”

This isn’t the language of Islam, with its impressive tradition of conquest. It’s the language of the progressive left, of what Jeane Kirkpatrick at the 1984 Republican convention called the “Blame America First” crowd. It fits the left’s view of the West as the perennial sinner and the rest of the world as its perpetual victim. It is the language of turning the page on a decade of war, of focusing on nation building at home.

It strikes us as radical only because it comes from the pen of a terrorist. If it had appeared as an op-ed in the Guardian, it would elicit nodding approval from many readers, a dismissive shrug from others, but no big whoop either way.

In the early 1990s my former columnist colleague Thomas Frank came up with the clever phrase “commodification of dissent” to explain how capitalism turned all kinds of countercultural beliefs and radical ideas into just another product in a box, to be sold and distributed through the usual channels. “Fahrenheit 9/11” might have been a political revelation or even a call to arms for some impressionable young Muslims from Tower Hamlets, but to Hollywood it was $222.5 million of box office gold. That made it a winner in the marketplace of ideas, and who can quarrel with that?

The commodification of dissent may have the effect of blunting the impact of all kinds of extreme notions. But it can dull us to their extremism, leaving us astonished when someone turns notion into action. The catharsis of violence seems like an interesting idea in the pages of “The Wretched of the Earth.” In practice, it’s scores of young men and women gunned down in a Paris concert hall.

We’ve become lazy in our thinking about Islam and the West. Whether the Islam practiced by al Qaeda or ISIS is “radical” or merely traditional isn’t the question. It’s whether the West can recognize that the moral nihilism of today’s Jihadi Johns is the logical outgrowth of the moral relativism that is the default religion of today’s West.

The Islamic State of Molenbeek. By Roger Cohen.

The Islamic State of Molenbeek. By Roger Cohen. New York Times, April 11, 2016.


BRUSSELS — There are military trucks parked in Molenbeek, and soldiers with submachine guns patrol the jittery streets of the Brussels district that has been the epicenter of European terrorism in recent months. On the Place Communale idle youths loiter, shooting glances at the police. This is where the Paris and Brussels attacks, with their 162 dead, overlap.

Salah Abdeslam, the only surviving direct participant in the Paris attacks, hid in Molenbeek before his arrest on March 18. Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected chief planner of the Paris attacks, lived in Molenbeek. In all, at least 14 people tied to both attacks were either Belgian or lived in Brussels.

One of them is Mohamed Abrini, a Belgian of Moroccan origin who grew up in Molenbeek and was arrested in Brussels on Friday. He has told the police he is “the man in the hat” caught on surveillance cameras leaving Brussels airport after two accomplices blew themselves up on March 22. Cameras also placed him in Paris last November with the Paris attackers.

Sleepy Brussels: goodbye to that image. Yet even today there’s something soporific about this French-speaking city marooned within Flemish-speaking Flanders, beset by administrative and linguistic divisions and the lethargy that stems from them, home to a poorly integrated immigrant population of mainly Moroccan and Turkish descent (41 percent of the population of Molenbeek is Muslim), and housing the major institutions of a fraying European Union.

It is hard to resist the symbolism of the Islamic State establishing a base for its murderous designs in the so-called capital of Europe at a time when the European idea is weaker than at any time since the 1950s. A jihadi loves a vacuum, as Syria demonstrates. Belgium as a state, and Belgium as the heart of the European Union are as close to a vacuum as Europe offers these days.

Belgium — a hodgepodge of three regions (Flanders, French-speaking Wallonia and Brussels), three linguistic communities (Flemish, French and German) and a weak federal government — is dysfunctional. That dysfunction finds its most powerful expression in the capital, where Flemish geography and French culture do not align. The administrative breakdown assumes critical proportions in Molenbeek, the second-poorest commune in the country, with 36 percent of people younger than 25 unemployed.

As Julia Lynch noted recently in The Washington Post, Molenbeek’s radicalism is not new. It was “home to one of the attackers in the 2004 commuter train bombings in Madrid and to the Frenchman who shot four people at the Jewish Museum in Brussels in August 2014. The Moroccan shooter on the Brussels-Paris Thalys train in August 2015 stayed with his sister there.”

This is an outrage. Splintered Belgium had lost control of Molenbeek. A heavily Muslim district of Brussels had in effect seceded. If this were the extent of the problem, it would be grave. But Molenbeek is just the most acute manifestation of a European failure.

The large-scale immigration from Turkey and North Africa that began a half-century ago at a time of economic boom has — at a time of economic stagnation — led to near-ghettos in or around many European cities where the jobless descendants of those migrants are sometimes radicalized by Wahhabi clerics. As the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, warned recently, an extremist minority is “winning the ideological and cultural battle” within French Islam.

The fact that the jihadis, often Syrian-trained, are a minority, and that many Muslims who immigrate to Europe are leading successful and integrated lives, is little consolation. After the carnage in Paris and Brussels, the laissez-faire approach that had allowed those clerics to proselytize, private Muslim schools to multiply in France, prisons to serve as incubators of jihadism, youths to drift to ISIS land in Syria and back, and districts like Molenbeek or Schaerbeek to drift into a void of negligence, has to cease. Improved intelligence is not enough. There is an ideological battle going on; it has to be waged on that level, where it has been lost up to now. The moderate Muslim communities of Europe need to do much more.

Europe, of which Brussels is a symbol, presents an alarming picture today. The Dutch, susceptible to propaganda from Russia, have just voted in a referendum against a trade agreement with Ukraine for which more than 100 Ukrainians died in an uprising in 2014. The British are set to vote in June on whether to leave the Union. The euro has sapped economies insufficiently integrated for a common currency. A huge refugee flow has raised questions about a borderless Europe. President Putin plots daily to do his worst for the European Union.

There is a vacuum. Vacuums are dangerous. The answer is a reformed, reinvigorated and stronger Europe, not the kind of division that produced Molenbeek — a microcosm of what fragmentation can bring.

My two older children were born in Schaerbeek. My daughter, now a doctor in New Mexico, took some of her first steps at Brussels airport. This is not the Europe I imagined for them.