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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 7, 2012.
Friday, 7 December 2012
The Fifth Circle Of Hell, Or, That Day I Read No Further

From a self-description of a university in Alberta:

"MacEwan is a vibrant, innovative institution focused on comprehensive student learning."

Posted on 12/07/2012 6:21 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Friday, 7 December 2012
Peacocks at the Pentagon

“There is nothing as agonizing to the fine skin of vanity as the rough sand of truth.”
                                              – Bulwer Lytton

The Davis Petraeus saga is another urban legend; a myth about a great man felled by a single flaw or indiscretion. The truth is that Petraeus is a bit player in a larger, uglier drama, the political corruption the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and that exclusive four star glut that sits atop the military.  And the rot didn’t start with Petraeus.

Recall Army Chief-of-Staff George Casey taking to the airways to rationalize the Fort Hood Islamist massacre in 2009. Somehow “diversity” and Muslim sensitivities were more important than twin dangers of domestic sedition or troop safety on American bases.  Casey was thrown at the Sunday chat shows, like the more recent Susan Rice mendacity tour, to spin a politically correct message.

Indeed, a four-star public relations campaign reinvented the English language to avoid words like victory in all those Muslim wars. The new term for retreat is “drawdown.” And real goals like winning or victory have been corrupted with terms like “nation building,” or worse still, military gibberish like “transition.” Euphemism is the first refuge of analytical cowards. CIA, if not the entire Intelligence Community, takes a bow here too. Only a loser needs to create another word for failure.

In the interests of such political correctness, relevant terms like Islam, Islamist, Muslim, and even terrorist have been stricken from the public vocabulary with JCS help. Witness the recent Benghazi fiasco! The debate is not over mayhem or atrocity committed in God’s name. National politicians and the military brass are arguing whether or not to use the word “terrorist” in their reports dealing with Muslim barbarities.

And consider the ‘inside baseball’ spat over doctrine to be used against the nameless enemy; the counter-terror versus counter-insurgency (COIN) debate within the military.  Petraeus apologists believe that the former ISAF commander reinvented the US Army with new doctrine; and then rode the COIN horse to promotions and prominence.

In truth, COIN played little or no role in Iraq or Afghanistan for two reasons; the force ratios required by Army doctrine, impractical theory, were never achieved. And both conflicts, like most Muslim wars, are civil, not insurgent. These internecine Islamic fights are between Sunni and Shia or between autocrats and theocrats. Neither NATO nor the US Army has the charter or doctrine to resolve these or any other religious or tribal civil wars. Evolution might be the only solution to any Muslim pathology.

COIN had nothing to do with tactical “success” in Iraq or Afghanistan either, but such distractions may contribute to strategic defeat. Theoretical illusions, even those nursed in the halls of ivy, are blinders. Theory, or more honestly, politicized military doctrine does not win wars.

Combat Petraeus-style doesn’t just presume to alter military doctrine; it presumes to alter the nature of war. Unfortunately, war is not about hearts and minds or social services; it’s about winning and losing. Kick enough azimuth and hearts always follow. Even terrorists understand this. And that understanding explains why Islamists are winning now - on a global scale.

War is a time-tested primal exercise, not a venue for intellectuals, polite politics, or poseurs. Combat is the definitive zero sum enterprise; the competent live, the inept die. With skill and luck, the righteous might prevail. But there are no guarantees.

There are no draws and you can’t spin a loss. The enemy and toxic ideology needs to be beaten first; and then the diplomatic social workers and nation builders can be deployed.

As with COIN, Petraeus has been taking bows for the “surge” in two countries, but especially, the so-called “turnaround” in Iraq. Alas, tactical success there has only two parents; bribery and the US Marine Corps.

Sunni allies were bribed for the short haul as they are bought in so many Muslim tribal cultures. This perennial CIA tactic is myopic too. When the money runs out, all you have left is another well-equipped foe. Consider the blowback in Afghanistan. All those mujahedeen that used to be romanticized, when they were fighting the Soviets, are now killing Americans with better gear.

And the US Marine victory in Fallujah had nothing to do with COIN doctrine either. The Marines took that city with the same tactics that Marshal Georgy Zhukov used to take Berlin; house-to-house fighting. What the Marines didn’t destroy in Fallujah, they killed.

David Petraeus and John Allen seem to have been a perfect fit in Tampa; sun, fun, and bimbos – military camp followers. How do senior flag officers use cyber drop boxes and send thousands of emails to married groupies and not think such behavior is compromising?  Do they not know that NSA can read their mail? And those who defend all of this as “private” are correct – as long as character doesn’t matter. Character is how you behave when no one is watching.

Yet, someone is always watching. The night before the Petraeus ‘sierra’ hit the public fan, he and Broadwell were a couple at the annual Office of Strategic Services (OSS) awards dinner. “Wild” Bill Donovan and “Vinegar” Joe Stillwell must be spinning in their graves.

Jim Clapper didn’t fire the CIA chief for private behavior; Petraeus was fired for public, professional stupidity.

Nonetheless, both political parties are tripping over each other with accolades for Petraeus. They argue that drop box sex is a private, not a professional failing – which is simply another way of saying that personal integrity doesn’t matter.  If character doesn’t matter, then America has the top brass that it deserves.

Or maybe we expect the Joint Chiefs to entertain, not lead; but then again, even the Village People might be embarrassed by today’s four star peacocks.

The Joint Chiefs live in a bubble. They learned nothing from the Boorda incident. Recall that Admiral Jeremy Boorda, then Chief of Naval Operations, ate his gun over a bit of ribbon.  Boorda awarded himself a few valor devices that he had not earned. He had never seen combat; but the admiral embellished his chest hair at the expense of JCS reputation anyway.

The fruit salad debate may seem trivial to those who have never seen combat; but for real warriors, such pretense is an insult. The logic of awards and decorations is simple. It’s easier to pass out buttons and bows than it is to give a promotion or a pay raise. Therefore, most awards are for attendance, not achievement. Senior officers like Petraeus get awards or decorations for changing their skivvies – or their address.

Indeed, if you audit the sentiments of troops or their dependents; the cynicism about flags like Petraeus is universal.  One veteran seemed to think that American senior officers resembled Muammar Gadhafi. Another underlined the Petraeus political career track with questions:

“How does an officer with no personal experience of direct fire combat in Panama or Desert Storm become a division CDR (101st Airborne) in 2003 … (and how does) a man who served repeatedly as a sycophantic aide-de-camp, military assistant and executive officer to four stars get so far?”

Nonetheless, the men who presume to lead continue to parade on the E-Ring in drag. Petraeus alone had nearly 50 badges, awards, and decorations on his Class A blouse; yet, no Combat Infantry Badge (CIB). After West Point, between cadet and general, Petraeus attended seven (sic) schools before getting his first star.

This is a chap who probably never saw a firefight, and then at a distance, until very late in his career. Yet, he and the Joint Chiefs still need fork lifts to get dressed in the morning. Such are the hazards of softening “soldiers” at Princeton instead of hardening them in combat.

With no signs of prudence or modesty at the Pentagon, maybe Congress should mandate a limit on gold braid and other uniform claptrap; no more than two rows of fruit salad and then only ribbons for heroism or combat tours. Appearances - and restraint - matter.

America has the best grunts, sergeants, and junior officers in the world. They deserve good models, they deserve better generals. They deserve modest flags promoted for valor and achievement – warriors with personal and professional integrity. No officer who fails to serve in combat as a junior or field grade officer should command any storied fighting division, no less an entire theater.


G. Murphy Donovan is a military veteran and former Intelligence officer.

Posted on 12/07/2012 6:49 AM by G. Murphy Donovan
Friday, 7 December 2012
One-fifth of males at youth jails are Muslim
 One in five young men in youth jails is Muslim, an increase of nearly 25 per cent on last year, figures released today show.

The proportion of youth offenders in custody from black and minority ethnic communities also rose three percentage points to 42 per cent in 2010-11, according to the report by the chief inspector of prisons.

Around 17 per cent of the population of England and Wales is non-white, while it is estimated that about 5 per cent of people in the UK are Muslim

The annual review of children and young people in custody showed that the proportion of males in young offender institutions (YOIs) identifying themselves as Muslim in 2011-12 rose to 21 per cent from 16 per cent the previous year and 13 per cent the year before that.

Posted on 12/07/2012 12:05 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 7 December 2012
Israel's Latest Act Of Self-Defense

From FoxNews:

How close did Israel just come to its own Cuban missile crisis?


December 07, 2012

Hundreds of Iranian-made, long-range missiles already smuggled into Gaza provided a secret sense of urgency behind Israel's recent campaign against Hamas, and the the Jewish state acted with the Obama administration's full knowledge, intelligence experts told

Jonathan Schantzer, a former counter-terrorism analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, said the real agenda behind Israel’s assault last month on Hamas’ munitions stockpiles and smuggling tunnels was not simply to end the daily barrage of relatively primitive rockets that have become part of daily life in Israel. The real mission was to eliminate as many as 100 Iranian-built Fajr5 missiles - with the power to reach Tel Aviv - that had been sneaked into Gaza through Egypt. The Obama administration knew in advance of the operation and agreed that the missiles, built in a Sudanese factory, had to be neutralized to protect millions of Israeli citizens who were now within range of the deadly Iranian weapons, according to Schantzer.

“The U.S. was fully aware of what was going to come in Gaza,” Schantzer, now vice president of research at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told “They said nothing for the first few days of the operation; there was dead silence from [Obama]."

Israel essentially achieved its main aims within the first few days, said Schantzer, noting that Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., said as much when he remarked on Day Three of the campaign: "We have run out of good targets.”

Rocket attacks from Gaza were commonplace in Israel prior to the campaign, dubbed "Operation Pillar of Defense," with at least 750 projectiles falling on the area close to the border since January. The attacks were ratcheted up in early November, which seemed to prompt Israel's move and the deployment of its vaunted "Iron Dome" defense system. But behind the scenes, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) had a more pressing need to launch their intense bombardment on Hamas’ weapons stores.

Israel's elimination of senior Hamas figure Ahmad Jabari as he drove in broad daylight in Gaza also fits into Schantzer's narrative.

“Ahmad Jabari, along with another major Hamas figure, Mahmoud al Mabhouhk, [who was assassinated in Dubai in 2010], was a key part of the procurement network for the Fajr missiles and there is little doubt that Israel was keen to take out the man responsible,” Schantzer explained.

Schantzer contends that the operation actually began three weeks earlier, when, on Oct. 23, the Iranian-owned Yarmouk armaments factory in Sudan - believed to be the assembly plant for the Fajr5 missiles that have a range of up to 45 miles - was devastated by air strikes for which the Sudanese government holds Israel responsible. Israel, and for that matter the U.S., both deny any knowledge of the attack.

Sudanese Information Minister Ahmad Bilal Osman, told Al Jazeera the day after the attack, “Israel has accused Sudan of sending arms to Hamas. These allegations are not correct. The factory manufactures ordinary, legal weapons.”

When asked how Sudan would respond to the incident, Osman answered, “We definitely won’t attack Israel itself…but we have a right to tackle the interests of Israel wherever they are from now on.”

It may not have been coincidental that the destruction of the Sudanese factory occurred at exactly the same time that a joint Israeli/U.S. military exercise, ‘Austere Challenge’, involving some 3,500 U.S. troops, was taking place in Israel. Some military analysts have suggested that the exercises and the Gaza operation were part of a dry run for a potential future incursion into Iran.

The suggestion of American knowledge and approval of the alleged Israeli attack in Sudan and the subsequent offensive in Gaza, undermines the theory that Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were not on speaking terms after the elections, in which Netanyahu expressed support for Mitt Romney. The grave threat posed by the Fajr5 rockets may have been enough for both leaders to agree that something had to be done – and fast.

“The fact of the matter is that there was a significant upsurge in rocket fire from Gaza in the weeks leading up to the operation," an Israeli administration source told "Once the need to respond was there, it made sense to take the opportunity to act against the most dangerous weapons. Those (the Fajr rockets) were the first targets. There was a need to minimize their ability to target major population centers in Israel.”

The apparent coordination between Israel and the U.S. raises questions about the role of Egypt, which was credited with helping broker a cease fire between Israel and Hamas. The missiles were almost certainly smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, with the likely knowledge of  President Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of Hamas. 

“There’s little doubt that Iranian-built rockets came from Sudan through Egypt, and that Egypt’s security forces weren’t interested in intercepting the missiles," Eric Trager, of the Washington Institute, an expert on Egyptian affairs, told "Morsi was more interested in furthering his own internal agenda than worrying about foreign policy issues at that time.”

Had Israel not acted when it did to destroy Hamas’ new and more lethal stockpile of weapons, the situation could have escalated, drawing other parties into a wider Middle East war.

“I think that Washington and the international media have been so lazy in their coverage of this conflict in terms of identifying what actually happened,” Schantzer said. “Both the Israeli intelligence community and Israeli officials referred to the presence of Fajr5 missiles in the hands of Hamas as 'game changing rockets,' a change that very nearly produced Israel’s own Cuban missile crisis.”

For more detail see the interview with Jon Schanzer and Shoshana Bryen in this month's NER.

Posted on 12/07/2012 1:59 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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