Friday, May 29, 2015

RIP Iraq

RIP Iraq
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 29, 2015

To listen to Barack Obama say “I don’t think we’re losing” pertaining to Iraq is demonstrative of his fecklessness as a leader and grandly obtuse. Seeing him utter such bull Durham to the American people puts Obama on stage at the theatre of the absurd. Perhaps he should have just said “I don’t think.”

Having witnessed the fall of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province, a mere 70 miles west of Iraq’s national capital of Baghdad to the bloodthirsty savages calling themselves an Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), Obama cavalierly said, “it is a source of concern.” Never one to overstate a situation, there is no sense of urgency from the Obama administration as the quagmire in the Middle East becomes ever more perilous for Christians, Jews, and anyone not willing to kow-tow to ISIS.

Iraq is lost partly because of Obama’s ego. To think he knows more than the State Department or the generals who actually oversee the war/conflict – declared or undeclared, is part of his greater shortcomings – it’s all about him. Iraq is lost partly because of Obama’s legacy, which is akin to his ego. Wanting to end all wars/conflicts would be a giant gold star on his record, to be sure, but at what cost? The piper is now being paid as a too soon withdrawal of troops from Iraq is costing the lives of thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children.

President George W. Bush, on July 12, 2007 delivered some prophetic words during a White House news conference:
                        “I know some in Washington would like us to start leaving Iraq now. To             begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we’re ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States. It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al-Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”

Sadly, to a word, all of the above has come to fruition. Like Bush, dislike Bush, it matters not. What matters, is that Obama listened to no one and the death of Iraq and the good men, women, and children are on his head and narrow shoulders. Iraq, and for that matter, the internally strife-ridden Syria, could end up absorbed by Iran which would be catastrophic on a grand scale.

For it is not just Ramadi that has fallen. ISIS already controls 36,000 square miles of Syria – roughly the size of Great Britain – rich with gas and oil fields and a strategic bastion for the ISIS savages. Most recently, ISIS captured Palmyra replete with its 2000 year old Roman antiquities that are now in jeopardy. ISIS has a penchant for destroying historical items that serve them no purpose, just as they wantonly destroy as much humanity as possible. And back in Iraq, Mosul, the second largest city in the country, which fell in June 2014, as well as Fallujah, which fell in January 2014, are two major cities under ISIS control as are the locales of Al-Baghdadi, Baiji, and Tikrit. Mount Sinjar is also under ISIS control.

The United States cannot continue to play the game it is playing. First it is in, and then it is out, but without any rhyme or reason. It’s a deadly game of musical chairs as once the music stops and a chair is pulled away, no one knows who will fall next. Without a full commitment, it is too risky for American, or any foreign troops to attempt to ward off ISIS. ISIS is committed to fight to the death and they don’t care whose deaths are wrought.

On the other hand, retreating, or pulling out before the job is done, prior to achieving total victory, is called surrender. If that is not losing, I wonder what Barack Obama’s dictionary looks like.

The barbarians are not marching toward the gate, they are sprinting toward it and they must be stopped. There supposedly is a coalition containing 60 countries – 60 – that should be able to destroy ISIS and put them out of our misery. Problem is, Obama has done nothing to lead, seems to not want to lead, and lacks political will, thus the other 59 countries have little faith in the United States to be the world leader it has been predestined to be. 

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Free Speech or Fatwa

“I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” – attributed to Voltaire (1694-1778)

Free Speech or Fatwa
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
May 14, 2015

As a Constitutional Conservative and fervent supporter of free speech and expression, supporting Pamela Geller’s May 3rd Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest was a no-brainer. While those on the left, who claim the mantle of free speech and tolerance but are the biggest hypocrites in that realm only support that with which they agree, condemned Geller, it is they who did not activate their brains.

For all those donning t-shirts and claiming “je suis Charlie,” following the terrorist attacks on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo as well as a Parisian kosher market on January 7 of this year, where are your je suis Pamela shirts in support of her freedom of expression?

Responding to Geller’s event, in a most cowardly and heinous manner were two terrorist thugs, Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi, who failed in their attempt to slaughter the 150 attendees, but were put down like rabid dogs by Garland police – the real heroes of the day.

Commentators from all the major news outlets on television castigated Geller and her organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative. This includes several members of the right of center Fox News Channel, such as Bill O’ Reilly, who disingenuously claims to support the First Amendment, but took Geller to task for what he called the inappropriateness of her event. O’ Reilly did not excoriate Geller for exercising her rights of free speech and expression, but that it was unwise.

There is no law against being unwise, Mr. O’ Reilly.

The ultra-liberal MSNBC commentator Chris Matthews suggested that Geller’s event, held at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, TX, was the root cause of the terror attack that disrupted the exhibit and contest. Then Matthews attempted to backtrack his ridiculous remarks by saying that Geller was perhaps not the cause of the terrorist’s actions, but instead she was provoking, taunting, or daring. Is there a difference? Is he also suggesting that crime victims are to blame because they own a business or have wealth?

Matthews and other commentators, while entitled to their opinions, do not seem to have grasped the concept of supporting the speaker, even if you don’t endorse the message. It’s easy to support the speech with which we agree; the real challenge is supporting the speech with which we disagree – and vehemently at that. Matthews is feckless as he apparently does not support Geller’s First Amendment rights – the same amendment that has protected his words his entire 40-plus year career.

Regardless of the event, it seems whenever Muslim extremists disapprove of something, they take to violence as the answer, shooting, beheading, firebombing, immolating their way to what they believe will be Islamic glory, when in reality they are guaranteeing their fast track to hell.

After all, do other religion’s believers take the same tack as Muslims? Did the global Jewish community go on killing sprees following the International Holocaust Cartoon Contest in 2006? This was a state-sponsored event by the Iranian despotic regime as part of their continued Holocaust denial scourge. Or how about this year, when the Iranian government sponsored the second International Holocaust Cartoon Contest? Apparently it’s alright for Iran to deny the Holocaust and expect no physical retribution, but draw a couple of cartoons of a pedophile masquerading as a deity and all hell breaks loose.

How is a Muhammad cartoon contest any more inciting than when the Nazis marched in Skokie, IL on June 25, 1978? (“Illinois Nazis. I hate Illinois Nazis!” – Jake Blues) Yet, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in favor of the National Socialist Party of America on the grounds of the First Amendment. They gathered before an even larger group of protesters who simply drowned out the Nazis using voices and signs, not violence.

Where were the fire bombings and massacres by Jews when the Protocols of the Elders of Zion began to appear in print in various machinations in the 1890s? This anti-Semitic tome played on the traditional fears and stereotypes about Jews, and yet there was peace in the land, save for the pogroms against the Jewish population.

And what about that hideously egregious disgrace called “Piss Christ,” depicting a Crucifix in urine veiled as art? If anything would incite Catholics and other Christians to violence, certainly something that virulently offensive would do it, yet physical actions were not the order of the day in 1987, as calm as well as verbal and written objection reigned supreme.

Free speech and expression are the law of the land in these United States whether we the people agree with the notions or not. Pamela Geller exercised her First Amendment right and the Muslim response was to attempt to slaughter her and her supporters, then issue a fatwa on national television. When seasoned news commentators begin to parse what should be protected speech versus what should not be protected speech, the system fails and no one’s speech and expression are protected. Remember, as Abraham Lincoln stated rather adroitly on June 16, 1858, “a house divided against itself cannot stand” – and the United States is far too divided these days.

Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.