American Elephants


Are We Capable of Learning From History? by The Elephant's Child

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What do you do with human nature? Good and Evil? There have been many articles portraying the Islamic State, ISIS or IS, as pure evil—yet they see themselves as purifying their world by eliminating those who do not worship their real God properly. They are tearing down shrines and archeological monuments as antithetical, destroying the past as portrayed by rival religions. They are not just demanding adherence to their version of Islam, but those who don’t submit instantly are slaughtered, executed, crucified, beheaded or buried alive. All in the name of religion. Clearly, they believe they are doing good.

Obama, to all appearances, believes that America’s assumption of world leadership has been immoral and has caused almost all the world’s problems over the past century, and we need to let others take the leadership position so we can be something more like a big Belgium. He has been forced by world events to take notice, but he doesn’t want to do it, he finds the ways prescribed to tackle events disagreeable, and he would much prefer to just tell everybody to stop it and start getting along. To make matters worse he keeps telling everyone that he won’t do anything actually unpleasant because he would prefer to be admired. That has no restraining effect on our enemies. That Nobel Peace Prize was a long time ago.

This is in total agreement with a major sector of the Democratic Party. Elizabeth Warren, leftist crackpot, said that “the president has now taken two very targeted actions, and those two actions will change the mix of what’s happening in Iraq, and we’ll just have to monitor it.”

“The point is there has to be a negotiated solution in Iraq, but we don’t negotiate with terrorists. This is partially a question of whether the U.S. government negotiates or whether we have the Iraqi government doing these negotiations, and how we help support them as they try to maintain an integrated country, and a country that better represents all of the people who live there.”

I don’t think the president’s actions will change anything, except IS will spread out more so they are not such good targets. Nobody is interested in the slightest in negotiation, or in sharing a nation. It is way too late for that. There may be a moment in time when antagonist forces are open to just stopping their losses, but that was before they became the richest terrorist group on earth and the best equipped.

Obama is still certain that he can negotiate a settlement between Hamas and Israel, that somehow he can persuade the Israelis to give up enough land and freedom to satisfy Hamas and there will be a “two-state solution.” He really cannot get it through his head that Hamas just wants all Israelis dead. Genocide.

Understanding human nature means grasping the depths to which human evil can descend. We read about it, but we just don’t get it. The media, to protect our sensibilities, carefully blurs the heads and the bodies of the victims of the Islamic State. We have a picture today of a little kid, 7 years old, with a decapitated head in a bag over his shoulder. You can’t see the head, just the bulge in the bag. Small children are being offered weapons so they can go kill infidels for the glory of Allah. What do you do with the mentality that glorifies killing and celebrates blood lust?

There are lessons to be learned from every conflict, but we seldom learn them. We prefer to be entertained, and wait for the media to tell us what they believe we ought to know. The media, in general, are not up to the task. We have an obligation to study up, to understand our own times and our own history. We expect our representatives to manage our affairs responsibly, and we elect representatives who are neither responsible nor qualified.  Will they learn the lessons of history?

Democracy cannot thrive without a certain diet of truth. It cannot survive if the degree of truth in current circulation falls below a minimal level. A democratic regime, founded on the free determination of important choices made by a majority, condemns itself to death if most of the citizens who have to choose between various options make their decisions in ignorance of reality, blinded by passions or misled by fleeting impressions.
………………………………………………...Jean-Francois Revel



“Leaving Iraq? As If This Was My Decision” Part II by The Elephant's Child

It is true that the Bush administration had agreed to end our troop presence. Iraq, naturally wanted to govern their own  country on their own. They were aware that their military needed more training in order to keep the peace. If we were going to stay, Obama had to negotiate a new “status of force agreement” with the Iraqis.

Why that didn’t happen is a complicated question, and Iraqis wanting to be in control of their own country was part of the answer, but only part. Obama was ambivalent about retaining any force in the country. The American officials who were negotiating with the Iraqis were left without guidance from the White House for months.

Dexter Filkins who wrote a definitive piece for The New Yorker quoted an Iraqi politician: “The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible.”

This was Obama’s most important political promise. I’m not at all sure that it is actually what Americans wanted. The media’s favorite cliché is “war weary.” In the face of a long political campaign centered on mostly meaningless phrases, ending the War in Iraq was one of the few real promises. Obama proudly declared “Mission Accomplished.”

It may not have made any difference, but troops on the ground would have given us a large measure of influence. The Middle East is not much given to peaceful elective government. See Rick Lowry’s piece in the New York Post.

Without the United States as an honest broker, it has been downhill ever since. Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the former deputy commander in Iraq, told Filkins, “Everything that has happened there was not just predictable — we predicted it.”

Iraq is perhaps the purest expression of the Obama doctrine.




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