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Theodicy:the Justification of God and the Problem of Evil in Light of the Destruction of Japan by the Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011” Luke 13:1-5
Redeemer Church, Genesis Sunday School Class
Bryan E. Walker
Read Luke 13:1-5
There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? 5 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Introduction: I was taught in seminary that having sermon series’ was a good idea and that we should stay closely to the texts and not allow current events to drive our preaching. In the supposed effort to keep preaching relevant we should not forget that the Scripture is relevant in every age, it will never be irrelevant. That being said, I am convinced that there are times when current events are so huge that we must deal with them in a sermon or Bible study. We must bring God’s truth to bear on current events. Folks, this past Friday the country of Japan was dealt a blow that was, if not mortal to that nation, is at least a serious blow that will forever change Japan and even the world. Therefore, today I cannot help but depart from our studies in Genesis to look at God and natural disasters, or, “Theodicy: the Justification of God and the Problem of Evil in Light of the Destruction of Japan by the Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011.”
Let me begin by reading you some dates and locations and you tell me what happened: Sept. 8, 1900, Galveston; April 18, 1906, San Francisco; Oct 29th, 1929, New York City; Dec.7th, 1941, Pearl Harbor; Nov.22, 1963, Dallas; August 17, 1969, Biloxi, Miss; April 19, 1995, Oklahoma City; 9-11-01, New York/DC/PA; August 29, 2005, New Orleans; Nov.5, 2009, Fort Hood, TX. These dates and events are burned into the American soul because of the size and scope of the tragedies or disasters they represent. On that list are natural disasters, acts of war, financial disasters, terrorism, and crimes.
You have your own very personal dates of pain and trauma. It may be the anniversary of the death of a parent, spouse or child; perhaps it is an event of great shame or when a crime was committed against you, or maybe you simply witnessed a tragedy and it is seared into your memory. Perhaps it is the date you were divorced or some other personal tragedy.
Bad things happen, horrible things, shameful and painful things. Evil lashes out at you and it costs you something, it scares you and scars you. You are never the same.
The questions are inevitable: Why? Why me? Why now? Where is God? How can I cope with this? Will the pain ever stop? How can we go one? What is to be done? Is God really good? How can a good God allow this evil to happen?
The earthquake and tsunami in Japan is one of the top 5 worst earthquakes and top 2 tsunamis in recorded history. The island of Japan, the main island, has been moved 8’ to the east. There are large portions of the coast that have sunk below sea level and the sea has reclaimed it. Add to the natural part of the disaster the nuclear disaster that has followed- and we do not yet know how severe that is but it cannot be a good thing. Casualty totals are already over 1,000 and many thousands are just plain missing. The death toll could be several thousand, but tens of thousands have lost everything. The Japanese economy will take a devastating hit. The cost of damage will be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. On a personal note two of my friends from college ROTC are half Japanese and they have requested prayer because they have family in the stricken areas and they cannot contact them.
What are we to make of this disaster? How can we understand it? What are we to do? How does our faith relate to something this massive and evil? Though the Christian is still going to have some unanswered questions about evil, pain and suffering in this life, we do have a framework to understand these issues from God’s Word that will help us to see that God remains just and good, sovereign and merciful even in the midst of disasters like this. Our task is to worship God in the midst of our pain, trust him in the presence of evil, and proclaim the hope we have in the gospel of Jesus Christ while we warn the world of the wrath to come and minister to the hurting as much as we can. Worship, trust, preaching repentance, and ministry to others must be our motto in the face of this and any other tragedy or disaster.
I. Why Do Disasters Happen?
Any time a disaster occurs, whether personal, nationwide, or somewhere else in the world, the inevitable human question of “Why?” arises. To me, the very fact that we can ask this question reveals that we are created and not evolved, that we are created in the image of God and not descendents of the apes. This question shows us that there is a God, an omnipotent Creator who is just and holy and has a purpose for his universe and for man.
When we ask “Why?” we are challenging the rightness of the event. We look at an earthquake and instinctively feel and believe that it is not right, it is not the way it ought to be. We acknowledge that the world is not the way it Should be. Our response to disasters like tsunamis points us back to Gen.1:28 “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion…” The savage ferocity of a natural disaster is testimony of man’s original command given by God in the tranquility of Paradise and of Man’s subsequent fall, leading to impotence in the face of nature gone wild and our life in exile from Paradise. We have a creation mandate to rule the world and subdue it, but, due to our fallenness, we are unable. Our asking the question “why?” subtly points us to the fact of there being a right and wrong that is objective, outside of us, bigger than us. This objective right and wrong leads us to the Lord of Creation, God himself. We have a primal memory of Paradise and an awareness of God that causes us to look upon the world as it is and realize it is not as it once was, nor as it should be.
How did the world get in this kind of shape if God is all powerful and all good? Why would a good God allow this huge disaster? The technical, philosophical term for this question is theodicy, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodicy the question of why and how evil exists in God’s universe if he is both all good and all powerful. Many atheistic philosophers have used this question to reinforce their atheism by reasoning that a good God would not allow evil if he was all powerful. The presence of evil for the unbeliever confirms that God is either not good or not powerful enough to stop the evil, therefore God does not exist. Since the definition of God includes his goodness and omnipotence, there cannot be a God if evil is present.
For the Christian theologian, philosopher and average believer, this is clearly faulty reasoning and we should not fear the atheist’s false theories. The Scriptures teach that God allowed Lucifer to rebel and allowed man to be tempted and fall into sin. While God is not the author of sin or evil, he allows evil and sin to exist temporarily in order to accomplish his great work of Redemption and thus maximize His own glory. We know that God has created all that is, including the Devil, Col.1:16 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. The single largest assumption that leads us astray in this area is the idea that the universe exists for man; that man’s welfare and pleasure is the highest good in a man-centered universe. The universe is created by God for God to display his glory and to please himself as Creator. Folks, we live in a theocentric universe and should therefore look for the meaning of natural disasters and other evils in how they may fall into God’s plans, not in how they frustrate our plans.
In Genesis 3 we have the story of man’s fall into sin. As part of God’s judgment upon man he says,
17 And to Adam he said,
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your face
you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground,
for out of it you were taken;
for you are dust,
and to dust you shall return.”
What we see here is that the ground is cursed, and by that I believe we can take it as the entire natural world. Thorns and thistles case pain and choke out life giving food plants. Man will survive through sweaty, hard labor now, the easy life in the Garden of Paradise is ended. At the end of the chapter man is exiled from the Garden.
Paul writes in Rom. 8 19 “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now.”
This passage shows us that creation was adversely affected by the Fall of Man and is waiting eagerly to be changed back into what God wants. God’s plan of redemption in Christ does not stop with the hearts of repentant, believing sinners, it will ultimately change the natural universe, set it free, into a new heaven and a new earth.
17 “For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
18 But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create;
for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy,
and her people to be a gladness.
19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem
and be glad in my people;
no more shall be heard in it the sound of weeping
and the cry of distress.
20 No more shall there be in it
an infant who lives but a few days,
or an old man who does not fill out his days,
for the young man shall die a hundred years old,
and the sinner a hundred years old shall be accursed.
21 They shall build houses and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
22 They shall not build and another inhabit;
they shall not plant and another eat;
for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be,
and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
23 They shall not labor in vain
or bear children for calamity,
for they shall be the offspring of the blessed of the Lord,
and their descendants with them.
24 Before they call I will answer;
while they are yet speaking I will hear.
25 The wolf and the lamb shall graze together;
the lion shall eat straw like the ox,
and dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt or destroy
in all my holy mountain,”
says the Lord.
What all of this means is that earthquakes are a result of man’s fall into sin which affected the entire world. Natural disasters, plagues, etc. are the results of man’s sin being worked out in nature. They are impersonal and non-specific in that they afflict the just and the unjust alike. But they are absolutely under the sovereign authority of God and do not occur without the divine permission within his eternal plan. I absolutely do not believe in any random accidental event in God’s universe. Nothing escapes God’s notice or happens outside of his decreed and ordained plan and will.
7 I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the Lord, who does all these things.
This verse indicates that God is sovereign over the good things and the calamities as well. And in Isaiah 46-
8 “Remember this and stand firm,
recall it to mind, you transgressors,
9 remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
God declares the end from the beginning. Everything that has happened or will ever happen has been declared by God, ordained by God.
But does that then make God the author of evil? No, because of James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.
What does it mean then? God created the universe, the angels and man perfect but gave the angels and man a choice. Lucifer chose to rebel and then subsequently tempted Eve who fell and gave to her husband and he fell. All had as free of a choice as was possible for a created being underneath the authority of a sovereign God. The choices of Lucifer and Adam have brought about a condition wherein the world has natural disasters, the purposes of which fall into God’s plan that will ultimately lead to Redemption for the elect and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth, all for God’s glory.
II. Is The Earthquake and Tsunami God’s Wrath Upon Japan?
Japan is a pretty godless place. http://www.christianpost.com/news/more-people-claim-christian-faith-in-japan-1549/ Only about 2% of the Japanese are Christian. But can we say that this disaster is God’s judgment upon them?
What we see in the Bible when God judges a city is pretty much total destruction upon a specific people for a particular purpose. On Sunday nights a few years ago I was preaching a series in Exodus and we had been looking at the plagues for several weeks when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. In Exodus we see that the Hebrews were somewhat protected from the worst effects of the plagues. We see that the plagues had a specific purpose, to judge pharaoh, Egypt and their false gods and to redeem Israel from bondage.
Several months ago in our Genesis studies we saw there was the judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham pleaded with God to spare the cities if enough righteous men were found. There were no righteous men found, Lot and his family were led out by the angels and fire from heaven rained down. In Gen.6 only Noah and his family were found in God’s grace and the rest of the world was drowned in judgment. In Joshua we see God exercising judgment upon the Canaanites through the Israelite army and some supernatural events.
Would God be justified in judging Japan? New Orleans? America? Yes, and he would be justified in judging Fort Worth just as severely! Folks, while it may be possible to estimate fairly accurately the sinfulness of some cities as being above or below our own, do not fool yourself, we all continue to breath because of God’s forbearance, mercy, love, and grace. If any city or town or person in America got exactly what they deserved, we would all be destroyed slowly and agonizingly! We are all sinners and we all live in a sinful land.
That being said, I would rather not live in a city or a country known for its sinfulness. In the old days of Fort Worth wasn’t there a part of town not far from here known as hell’s half acre? But how sinful were the small towns along the coast that got blown away, washed out to sea in Japan? See, we are not able to play that game of deciding who deserves which punishment. We just don’t know and have to leave that up to God.
I believe that we could take any bad thing that happens to us and rightfully say it is God’s judgment upon us for our sins. But I also believe that we can truthfully say these things show us his mercy and grace because they are not as bad as they could be and when we deal with these events in faith God opens a whole new perspective for us. This is where our opening passage from Luke 13 comes in.
III. What Should Our Response Be To Disaster?
Job 1:13-22; 2:9-10; Worship and humble acceptance.
Luke 13:1-5 Repentance.
2Chron.7:12-22 humilty, prayer, seeking, turning.
Gen.19:17 Escape for your life, flee the city of destruction.
Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…”
IV. Be Prepared
1. Our time is coming. Two of the biggest earthquake zones in America are on the west coast (the infamous San Andreas Fault) and the New Madrid fault http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Madrid_Seismic_Zone If we were to have a magnitude 8 or higher earthquake it would be devastating. Japan has been building earthquake resistant buildings and we have not. We have seen what Cat. 5 hurricanes can do, earthquakes can be just as bad or worse. One of the largest dangers in the Atlantic is a volcano in the Canary Islands that is unstable and could collapse, sending a mega-tsunami that could wipe the entire Atlantic seaboard.
2. We ought to be prepared spiritually. Approaching disasters and tragedies with a calm, Roman stoicism is not a godly thing. We need to approach disasters in Faith, actively trusting in God to deliver us and to use us to minister to others in His name. Disasters are emotionally devastating, even for Christians, but when we are committed to worshiping the Lord in the midst of suffering, proclaiming the gospel and helping others, then perhaps God’s purposes for the disaster will be shown.
3. And we ought to be prepared physically for disaster to strike. As a practical matter I believe that Christians should be prepared for disasters ranging from a flat tire to a tsunami. Are you prepared?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
Tuesday, April 27, 2010- Congratulations to the State of Arizona for the recent immigration enforcement law passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer last Friday. This is a significant step forward in solving a CRISIS that the Federal Government has neglected for 20-30 years under both Republican and Democrat Presidents and Congress’s.
I am 100% in favor of this law because it is a reasonable effort to step in and fill the gap created by a Federal government that has utterly failed in one of its basic responsibilities. The law requires the police to ask for proper identification of someone who has given a reasonable suspicion to the police that they are illegally present in Arizona. Current estimates are that Arizona has about half a million illegals and it serves as the primary entry point into the country from Mexico for the illegals.
The liberals, demoncrats, foreigners, and racist people of color all hate the law for one reason: These various groups HATE the fact that America is dominantly white and has been exceptional and unique in world history; these groups want open borders so as to increase the power of liberal demoncrats and do away with the “whiteness” of America. They want to “fundamentally change America” as Pres. Obama has said repeatedly, and one way to do that is to bring in so many foreigners that America would be changed culturally and ethnically. My saying that does not make me a racist. Should not those who want to fundamentally change America be considered racist for attempting to deliberately change the ethnic make up of America BECAUSE America is not brown enough?
This law is NOT inherently racist. It will help round up all the illegal Swedes and Danes right along with those from Mexico and Guatemala. The law is color blind. The fact that 99.9% of all the illegals in Arizona are brown is not a result of the law, it is simply a demographic fact. The police are not going to be cruising around looking for groups of brown people to harass and check for immigration status. But when they see suspicious behaviour, this law gives them the tool to stop the suspect and check their papers. And by checking their papers we mean checking for a driver’s license or state issued ID, a green card, Visa or a passport. This is all reasonable. Will their be some police who might abuse this? Possibly; a tiny minority of police will behave badly in any jurisdiction. But this law simply seeks to allow local and state police the ability to enforce a federal law that has not been enforced by the feds.
In order for a nation to actually be a nation there are three things that are essential: 1) a distinct language; 2) a distinct history and worldview; and 3) clear geographical borders. If there is no border between US and Mexico, and if English is lost as the primary language, and if the third world culture of Mexico expands into the US, then we will cease being the exceptional nation that we have been for over 400 yrs now.
President Obama is going to throw the full force of his Justice Department at the Arizona Governor, Legislators and Police Agencies to entrap them in civil rights violations. They will sue Arizona to halt this. They will withhold funds for various federal projects. The Black racist/agitators like Al Sharpton will organize marches and protests (even though reducing the number of illegals will actually help the black community with finding jobs in this bad economy). ARIZONA NEEDS TO BE PREPARED TO ARREST FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS WHO TRY TO INTERFERE IN ARIZONA’S BUSINESS.
This is an excellent constitutional issue. The federal government has the responsibility to defend the borders yet has failed completely. The State of Arizona is not encroaching on the Federal government’s role, it is picking up the slack from the federal government. Arizona ought to file suit against the Federal government and charge them for abandoning their duty.
Texas, New Mexico and California ought to follow the lead of Arizona. The four governors need to get together and stand as ONE against the federal behemoth. This can be THE leading cause to reassert States’ Rights and the 10th Amendment because the Federal Government has completely failed in its responsibility. Each of these states should mobilize its National Guard, the Texas State Guard, and recruit a civilian militia to head to the border and enforce the law.
In 1916 General ” Black Jack” Pershing led an expedition into Mexico to round up Pancho Villa and his gang for committing crimes inside the border of the US. Today, it is normal for the Mexican Army to send troops across the border into America to escort the drug and human traffickers. The Mexican Army has shot at our Border Patrol and our Border patrol’s orders are to not pursue or even shoot back.
Where is the Pershing or the Patton of today who will stand up and take action?
Some will read this blog and accuse me of being racist. In my personal life I have friends of all colors, ages, etc. Theologically, as a biblical Christian, skin color makes no difference to me or to God. I enjoy America’s diversity and I WELCOME LEGAL IMMIGRATION. But the line must be drawn somewhere and to have an open, unsecured border is one place we should draw the line.
Congratulations Arizona! May Gov. Rick Perry of Texas follow suit. I hope y’all are ready for a big ol’ ruckus ’cause it’s a comin’. Stand firm, never retreat.
Immediately below is the Arizona SB 1070:
Here is an Op Ed from the NY Times by one of the authors of the bill explaining some points:
Following are various news stories about the passing of this bill:
Gov. Jan Brewer, Rep. AZ dismisses the threat from some to boycott Arizona over their new immigration law:
Pat Buchanan’s WND column here:
I believe it is time, past time, for the citizens to arise and force the government to do its job and to throw off the tyranny that has crept in upon us.
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 4 so far )
Could the revolt against the government in Kyrgyzstan be the result of a Russian plot (Read Vladimir Putin) to force the United States out of a crucial Air Base at Manas? This former Soviet State houses the most important base that the US military uses for resupply of its forces in Afghanistan. Russia tried just last year to force the Americans out by bribing the government of Kyrgyzstan with a couple of billion dollars in aid, but the US State Dept. agreed to pay more rent for the Air Base.
The coup d’etat which started yesterday seems to have been successful in ousting the US friendly government with hundreds of casualties.
Just today President Obama met with Russian President Medvedev and signed a nuclear arms reduction treaty that gives advantages to Russia. Read the story and the quote below.
“But no sooner had presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed an arms reduction pact in Prague as part of an effort to “reset” strained relations than a senior official in Medvedev’s delegation urged Kyrgyzstan’s new rulers to shut the base.”
Obama is the naive amateur here, and while he signs away our nuclear forces, the people he is dealing with stage a revolution designed to hurt our war effort in Afghanistan.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
The devastating 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on Jan. 12, 2010 has created a TEOTWAWKI scenario that “preppers” and “survivalists” should pay attention to and learn from.
The first lesson is that in this fallen, sin-filled world, disaster can strike anytime, anywhere from numerous causes. Haiti is the poorest place in the West for lots of cultural and political reasons. These poorest of the poor, who had next to nothing, had even that taken away. None of us are exempt. A tornado can devastate my home of Fort Worth, or a flood. An earthquake can strike our west coast or even in the heartland. A hurricane can devastate the gulf or east coast.
Second, culture and infrastructure matter. When you compare the loss of life in Haiti with a 7.0 earthquake with the loss of life in the Oct. 1989 earthquake in northern California, also a 7.0, you see that wealth and a strong culture have built a society that is more safe. 63 people died in the California quake and very likely 100,000+ died in Haiti.
Third, Government can never respond quickly enough in large scale disasters. While the response to the Haiti quake of 2010 was very fast and came from the US, China, Russia, France and many other places, it is still not fast enough to save many lives of those trapped in the rubble. It has now been 4 days since the quake. Statistically we are no longer in the rescue mode, we are in the recovery mode. I have read articles of Haitians complaining that our help was not getting there fast enough. Where was the World when Katrina destroyed New Orleans?
America is the favorite whipping boy of the world, but when disaster strikes, we are “firstest with the mostest!” And still we get criticized.
The lesson here though, is that Government cannot always save you in a disaster, You have to save yourself and your family. You may be spared instant death by God’s grace, but then you must be prepared to work out your salvation by being prepared in advance.
This means that in some huge disasters, all of your possessions, all the food and water, guns and ammo you have stored up is gone. Plan A failed, then Plan B fails. Now what? Plan C is mainly all about attitude and training because Plan C is what happens when you have NOTHING left from a disaster.
Some folks may have the means to have another survival kit stashed away from their primary residence, but close enough to get to on foot. More likely, however, Plan C will involve knowing where to go for assistance and safety. With hurricanes you can get some advance warning. Not so with tornados and earthquakes.
I almost always travel with THREE LEVELS of survival kits. I have on my person, almost always, a swiss army knife, a lighter, another knife and a few other things in my pockets. My next level is an over the shoulder bag, an Army mapcase, that has a LOT of other survival items. I am almost always armed with a handgun as well. In my vehicle I have a substantial survival kit that can be carried in my rucksack.
Notice, fourthly, that the situation in Haiti got very stoneage quickly; survival of the fittest, might makes right, the law of the jungle are coming into play. The people there do not have guns, they have machetes. And the gangs are taking over. Food fights. Killing over a water bottle.
Don’t think for an instant that it can’t happen here. A terrorist state like iran or North Korea launches a high altitude EMP nuke and 1/3 of America is now without electricity, communications or transportation? Yeah, it would go stoneage in a day or two. And we all have guns. Total anarchy can happen when technology fails a techno-society.
In the news article below, notice that masses of people from the Haitian capital of Port Au Prince are moving to the countryside. This is a valuable lesson for both city dwellers and those in the surrounding countryside. In case of a massive TEOTWAWKI event, many thousands will likely head for the countryside from the chaotic, dying cities, bringing the chaos and death with them.
Invision yourself living in the many small towns and rich agricultural lands of North Texas, within about a 75 mile radius of the DFW Metroplex after a great disaster. Hundreds of thousands of people pour out of the big cities and suburbs into Weatherford, Granbury, Denton, etc. And those are actually cities themselves. Look at the map for the smaller towns like Morgan Mill, Tolar, Perves, etc. They will be flooded with hordes of hungry, angry, desperate people.
If you can’t foresee the disaster and get out of Dodge in advance, then you will likely be stuck in the herd migration or, like me, you will decide to stay and fight it out in the city.
Don’t look for the blue helmeted heroes from the Ugandan Army serving with the UN. I doubt they will show up to help us. And if they do, I would have to consider if they are really here to help,or if they are here to takeover. It might be militia time.
In conclusion, pray for Haiti, but prepare for Hell on earth. It can happen here.
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Here is the text of President Obama’s speech about the Christmas Day 2009 Nigerian Underwear Bomber, given on Thursday, 01-07-10. The text is in light print, my comments are in bold.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon everybody.
The immediate reviews that I ordered after the failed Christmas terrorist attack are now complete. I was just briefed on the findings and recommendations for reform. And I believe it’s important that the American people understand the new steps that we’re taking to prevent attacks and keep our country safe.
First, this is a much more thorough speech and review of security measures than after the Ft Hood Battle with Major Nidal Hasan. The Ft Hood terror strike produced 14 deaths (including the unborn baby of one victim) and about 30 other casualties, yet the Underwear Bomber only injured himself and the one guy who jumped him. Why the focus on this attack and the burying of the Ft Hood attack? I suspect it is because the Ft Hood terrorist was a native born American from within the officer ranks of the Army and represents a more serious issue. Underwear Boy is from Nigeria and England, and was trained in Yemen. Plus, his attack came on board an airplane and he was directly linked to Al Qaeda.
This afternoon my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser, John Brennan, will discuss his review into our terrorist watchlist system; how our government failed to connect the dots in a way that would have prevented a known terrorist from boarding a plane for America; and the steps we’re going to take to prevent that from happening again.
Just like the Clinton administration failed to connect the dots (and the early Bush administration)! THEY are at WAR with US, but we are NOT at war with THEM.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano will discuss her review of aviation screening, technology and procedures; how that terrorist boarded a plane with explosives that could have killed nearly 300 innocent people; and how we’ll strengthen aviation security going forward.
So today, I want to just briefly summarize their conclusions and the steps that I’ve ordered to address them. In our ever-changing world, America’s first line of defense is timely, accurate intelligence that is shared, integrated, analyzed and acted upon quickly and effectively. That’s what the intelligence reforms after the 9/11 attacks largely achieved. That’s what our intelligence community does every day. But unfortunately, that’s not what happened in the lead-up to Christmas Day.
It’s now clear that shortcomings occurred in three broad and compounding ways. First, although our intelligence community had learned a great deal about the al Qaeda affiliate in Yemen called al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — that we knew that they sought to strike the United States, and that they were recruiting operatives to do so — the intelligence community did not aggressively follow up on and prioritize particular streams of intelligence related to a possible attack against the homeland.
Here is where the Bush doctrine of “preemptive warfare” would have helped. Yes, we had a drone strike kill some Al Qaeda in Yemen just a couple of weeks before, but that was apparently way too limited.
Second, this contributed to a larger failure of analysis — a failure to connect the dots of intelligence that existed across our intelligence community, and which together could have revealed that Abdulmutallab was planning an attack.
Third, this in turn fed into shortcomings in the watch-listing system which resulted in this person not being placed on the no-fly list; thereby allowing him to board that plane in Amsterdam for Detroit.
In sum, the U.S. government had the information scattered throughout the system to potentially uncover this plot and disrupt the attack. Rather than a failure to collect or share intelligence, this was a failure to connect and understand the intelligence that we already had.
And that’s why we took swift action in the immediate days following Christmas, including reviewing and updating the terrorist watch-list system and adding more individuals to the no-fly list, and directing our embassies and consulates to include current visa information in their warnings of individuals with terrorist or suspected terrorist ties.
Today, I’m directing a series of additional corrective steps across multiple agencies. Broadly speaking, they fall into four areas.
First, I’m directing that our intelligence community immediately begin assigning specific responsibility for investigating all leads on high-priority threats so that these leads are pursued and acted upon aggressively, not just most of the time but all of the time. We must follow the leads that we get, and we must pursue them until plots are disrupted. And that means assigning clear lines of responsibility.
Second, I’m directing that intelligence reports, especially those involving potential threats to the United States, be distributed more rapidly and more widely. We can’t sit on information that could protect the American people.
Third, I’m directing that we strengthen the analytical process, how our analysis — how — how our analysts process and integrate the intelligence that they receive. My director of National Intelligence, Denny Blair, will take the lead in improving our day-to-day efforts. My Intelligence Advisory Board will examine the longer-term challenge of sifting through vast universes of — of intelligence and data in our information age.
And finally, I’m ordering an immediate effort to strengthen the criteria used to add individuals to our terrorist watch lists, especially the no-fly list. We must do better in keeping dangerous people off airplanes while still facilitating air travel.
And we ought to go into Yemen and root out the “hundreds” of Al Qaeda training and operating there.
Taken together, these reforms will improve the intelligence community’s ability to collect, share, integrate, analyze, and act on intelligence swiftly and effectively. In short, they will help our intelligence community do its job even better and protect American lives.
But even the best intelligence can’t identify in advance every individual who would do us harm. So we need the security at our airports, ports and borders — and through our partnerships with other nations — to prevent terrorists from entering America.
It would really help if we checked out every single muslim who is about to fly. 99.9% of all the trouble is coming from…Baptists? No. Catholics? No. Buddhists? No. Atheists? No. IT’S MUSLIMS PEOPLE! If you are looking like a middle eastern person, if you are coming from a muslim country you must be searched and interrogated to fly.
At the Amsterdam airport, Abdulmutallab was subject to — to the same screening as other passengers. He was required to show his documents, including a valid U.S. visa. His carry-on bag was x-rayed. He passed through a metal detector. But a metal detector can’t detect the kind of explosives that were sewn into his clothes.
As Secretary Napolitano will explain, the screening technologies that might have detected these explosives are in use at the Amsterdam Airport, but not at the specific checkpoints that he passed through. Indeed most airports in the world and in the United States do not yet have these technologies.
Now, there’s no silver bullet to securing the thousands of flights, into America each day, domestic and international. It will require significant investments in many areas. And that’s why even before the Christmas attack, we increased investments in homeland security and aviation security.
This includes an additional $1 billion in new systems and technologies that we need to protect our airports — more baggage screening, more passenger screening and more advanced explosive detection capabilities, including those that can improve our ability to detect the kind of explosive used on Christmas. These are major investments. And they’ll make our skies safer and more secure.
Just profile the muslims Mr. President!
Now, as I announced this week, we’ve taken a whole range of steps to improve aviation screening and security since Christmas, including new rules for how we handle visas within the government and enhanced screening, for passengers flying from or through certain countries.
And today, I’m directing that the Department of Homeland Security take additional steps, including strengthening our international partnerships, to improve aviation screening security around the world, greater use of the advanced explosive detection technologies that we already have, including imaging technology, and working aggressively in cooperation with the Department of Energy and our national labs, to develop and deploy the next generation of screening technologies.
Now, there is of course no foolproof solution. As we develop new screening technologies and procedures, our adversaries will seek new ways to evade them, as was shown by the Christmas attack.
In the never-ending race to protect our country, we have to stay one step ahead of a nimble adversary. That’s what these steps are designed to do. And we will continue to work with Congress to ensure that our intelligence, homeland security and law enforcement communities have the resources they need, to keep the American people safe.
I ordered these two immediate reviews, so that we could take immediate action to secure our country. But in the weeks and months ahead, we will continue a sustained and intensive effort, of analysis and assessment, that we leave no stone unturned in seeking better ways to protect the American people.
I have repeatedly made it clear — in public, with the American people, and in private, with my national security team — that I will hold my staff, our agencies and the people in them accountable when they fail to perform their responsibilities at the highest levels.
Now this stage in the review process — it appears that this incident was not the fault of a single individual or organization, but rather a systemic failure across organizations and agencies. That’s why, in addition to the corrective efforts that I’ve ordered, I’ve directed agency heads to establish internal accountability reviews and directed my national security staff to monitor their efforts. We will measure progress, and John Brennan will report back to me within 30 days and on a regular basis after that. All of these agencies and their leaders are responsible for implementing these reforms, and all will be held accountable if they don’t.
Moreover, I am less interested in passing out blame than I am in learning from and correcting these mistakes to make us safer, for ultimately, the buck stops with me. As president, I have a solemn responsibility to protect our nation and our people, and when the system fails, it is my responsibility.
Over the past two weeks, we’ve been reminded again of the challenge we face in protecting our country against a foe that is bent on our destruction. And while passions and politics can often obscure the hard work before us, let’s be clear about what this moment demands. We are at war. Then why are we “arresting” this terrorist and giving him US Constitutional Miranda rights and a lawyer? We are at war against al Qaeda, a far- reaching network of violence and hatred that attacked us on 9/11, that killed nearly 3,000 innocent people, and that is plotting to strike us again. And we will do whatever it takes to defeat them. Except profile muslims in airports.
And we’ve made progress. Al Qaeda’s leadership is hunkered down. We have worked closely with partners, including Yemen, to inflict major blows against al Qaeda leaders, and we have disrupted plots at home and abroad, and saved American lives.
And we know that the vast majority of Muslims reject al Qaeda. But it is clear that al Qaeda increasingly seeks to recruit individuals without known terrorist affiliations, not just in the Middle East but in Africa and other places, to do their bidding.
That’s why I’ve directed my national security team to develop a strategy that addresses the unique challenges posed by lone recruits. And that’s why we must communicate clearly to Muslims around the world that al Qaeda offers nothing except a bankrupt vision of misery and death, including the murder of fellow Muslims, while the United States stands with those who seek justice and progress. Mr. President, Islam has been at war with the west since the 7th century. Read a history book!
To advance that progress, we’ve sought new beginnings with Muslim communities around the world, one in which we engage on the basis of mutual interests and mutual respect, It goes against the Koran to respect infidels like us and work together to fulfill the aspirations that all people share — to get an education, to work with dignity, to live in peace and security. Many of the terrorists are wealthy, educated, and have a view of peace that is linked to sharia law and the conquest of the West. That’s what America believes in. That’s the vision that is far more powerful than the hatred of these violent extremists.
Here at home, we will strengthen our defenses. But we will not succumb to a siege mentality that sacrifices the open society and liberties and values that we cherish as Americans, because great and proud nations don’t hunker down and hide behind walls of suspicion and mistrust. We must go on offense! That is exactly what our adversaries want, and so long as I am president, we will never hand them that victory. We will define the character of our country, not some band of small men intent on killing innocent men, women and children.
And in this cause, every one of us — every American, every elected official — can do our part. Instead of giving in to cynicism and division, let’s move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people. For now is not a time for partisanship; it’s a time for citizenship — a time to come together and work together with the seriousness of purpose that our national security demands.
That’s what it means to be strong in the face of violent extremism. That’s how we will prevail in this fight. And that’s how we will protect our country and pass it, safer and stronger, to the next generation. And you need to fire Janet Napolitano; she is useless.
Thanks very much.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
On Christmas Day, 2009, a wealthy, well educated Muslim young man from England attempted to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian student at a London school, the wealthy son of Umaru Abdul Mutallab, the retired chairman of one of Nigeria’s largest banks, had the explosives in his underwear. He was trained in Yemen and Al Qaeda has taken responsibility for the attack, claiming it was in retaliation for a US Predator attack a couple of weeks ago that killed many terrorists in Yemen.
The attempted bombing of Flight 253 failed due to two reasons: 1) Young Umar failed to detonate the bomb properly and it only caught on fire instead of blowing up;admittedly it is a rather difficult thing to practice blowing one’s self to smithereens, but you would think they would have some dry runs with inert chemicals. Maybe he peed his pants and that messed up the explosives?
2) An intrepid passenger a few seats over apparently leaped over several people and beat the hell out of the underwear bomber, they got a fire extinguisher and put out the sizable fire.
What failed was the expensive and extensive security system that is designed to prevent things like this from happening. 1) This dog of muslim loser was on the terror watch list. 2) He bought a one way ticket. 3)With cash. 4) And no luggage. 5) He was MUSLIM, HELLO! 6) He was a young man. WHY WAS THIS MAN ALLOWED TO FLY? Look, you can have all the nice watch lists and rules, but if the airlines cannot be relied on to get flights out on time, and lose your luggage, and have employee theft, of course the occasional stray muslim terrorist will get through explosives stuffed in his butt crack.
The reaction to this terrorist act would be humorous if it weren’t so pathetic. Janet Napolitano, director of Homeland Security must surely strike fear in the hearts of terrorists everywhere with her “the system worked” then, “the system didn’t work” statements. This is reason number 357 why the Obamasky rule is so pathetic. I think I would have picked some big city police chief, Director of the Highway patrol, or a an airborne ranger general, or some other big tough mean guy who hates terrorists and instills fear in the enemy. Janet Napolitano is inadequate for the task.
President Barack Hussein Obamasky reassured us after the attack that this was not part of a broader threat, it was an isolated incident. Hello! Didn’t he say that after the attack at Ft Hood by Major Malik Hasan? THEY ARE NOT ISOLATED INCIDENTS PEOPLE! WHAT LINKS ALL OF THESE ATTACKS, EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM, IS ISLAM!!!!
And for the TSA and airlines to come up with some stupid new regulations about not getting up to go to the bathroom 1 hr prior to landing or having anything in your laps for that last hour shows how desperate and ignorant we are. The logical conclusion to things like this is to fly naked at the position of attention.
POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS LITERALLY KILLING US. Was Abdul whatsisface a Baptist? Was he a Methodist? Lutheran? Pentecostal? Atheist? Jew? Hindu? Buddhist? HE WAS A MUSLIM JUST LIKE 99.9% OF ALL OTHER TERRORISTS! GET A CLUE PEOPLE, THE ENEMY IS ISLAM! OUR ENEMIES HAVE STATED THAT THIS IS A RELIGIOUS WAR. WE MUST START PROFILING BY RELIGION AND NATION OF ORIGIN TO MAKE OUR COUNTRY SAFE. This is really not very difficult. If you are muslim and want to fly you should be interrogated and stripped naked. If you pass inspection you get to fly.
Additionally, there should be two armed air marshals on every single fight. We are at war people!
Next, we should tell the Muslim world, that for every successful muslim terror attack on the US one muslim city will be bombed by a squadron of B-52’s or B-1’s. No precision guided munitions, just lots of nice 2000lb bombs dropped safely from 35,000 feet. That worked pretty well on Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, it should work on Islam. I know that sounds brutal and unjust, but we must deal with islam in the manner they understand. They are at war with us, we are not yet at war with them. A Nigerian city ought to disappear yesterday!
Has anyone noticed that this attack came on Christmas Day? Do you think that was just an accident? IT WAS INTENTIONAL PEOPLE! THEY ARE MUSLIMS AND THEY HATE CHRISTIANS! IT’S WHO THEY ARE! When we fight we are very careful about not shooting up mosques and not fighting on their holy days like the month of Ramadan. But on Dec. 25th, here’s a butt bomb on an airliner- Merry Christmas from Mohammad!
PREDICTION: There has been an increase in terror since Obama-the-muslim has been elected. Anyone else notice that? IT WILL GET WORSE WITH EACH DAY THIS IMPOSTOR IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. WE WON’T GET SERIOUS ABOUT ISLAMIC TERROR UNTIL THEY NUKE US. Has terrorism gotten better since Obama bowed to the Saudi king? Since he spoke in Egypt? Since he promised to close down Gitmo?
Here are the story links:
Below, Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano says the system worked:
but here she says it didn’t work:
Equality 7-2521Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today the Islamic fascist state of Iran testfired an intermediate range ballistic missile, nuclear capable and solid fueled. This missile has a range of 1200 miles which means it can hit all of our US military bases in the middle east, all of Israel, and southeastern Europe. Because it is solid fueled it can be launched more quickly and is more accurate. This type of missile is more versatile and can be set up with more ease in more places.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said it showed the need for tougher U.N. sanctions on Iran. Excuse me, have sanctions worked on Iran or North Korea before? How long have we been sanctioning Iran?
Here is the bottom line: Do you really want a radical muslim state to be armed with nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles? Do you think they just might give a nuke or two to somebody like Hamas or Al Qaeda? Do you think they might really attack Israel?
Our current policy will allow Iran to fully develop nuclear weapons and the missiles with which to deliver them. There are only two options: 1) Attack Iran now (or allow Israel to attack), 2) Allow Iran to get nukes and do whatever they want to us, Israel and the other Mid East nations.
What are the consequences of the above choices?
1) If we attack Iran now we will be vilified by the world, cause an oil crisis resulting in $300 a barrel oil and $10 a gallon gas in the US which will send us into the Great Depression part two and lead Obamasky to nationalize the oil companies. The Russkies will not be happy and likely retaliate in some manner, perhaps by invading the Ukraine or Georgia. China will also not like it and do something like call in our debt leading to yet more financial problems. North Korea may also take advantage of this chaos to invade South Korea.
2) If we do not attack now and Iran gets the nukes in the next couple of years, then you get a nuclear arms race between the various mid-East countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria. Though they are all muslims they hate each other and don’t trust each other. Imagine that. Then, at some point, the Iranians will attack Israel which country they have repeatedly made threats against simply out of hatred for the Jews. If Israel is attacked with nukes they will respond in kind and likely not just against Iran. If Israel feels its very existence is threatened I would look for the Aswan dam to be hit, flooding Egypt, Damascus would be hit, and maybe even Mecca. Burn the house down ya know.
What is not likely to happen is Peace in Our Time.
And who will be our President? Barack Hussein Obamasky.
Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, our only true hope.
I got this from Pamela Geller over at Atlas Shruggs. Sarah Palin spoke at the annual Gridiron Club meeting. Imagine, the Barracuda at the Gridiron! Enjoy!
To the Point News has this great account of Sarah at the Gridiron:
[The Gridiron Club, founded in 1865, is the oldest and most prestigious journalist organization in Washington DC. The annual Gridiron Dinner is attended by the media elite, at which the president is traditionally the speaker. This year, President Zero was the first president to refuse to address The Gridiron Dinner since Grover Cleveland.
[Last night, Saturday December 5th, the black tie dinner at the ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel had double the attendance of recent years – for instead of Zero, the speaker was Sarah Palin. The tradition of the dinner is that the speaker pokes fun at himself and the attendees. Sarah was such a hit there were dozens of the most liberal elite journalists in America laughing their heads off, many wiping tears of laughter from their eyes. Here’s her speech. It is as clever as it is funny.]
Good evening. It’s great to be in Washington. I am loving the weather [it was snowing]. I braved the elements and went out for a jog! Or, as Newsweek calls it, a cover-shoot. I feel so at home here in DC. I can see the Russian Embassy from my hotel room!
It’s a privilege to be here tonight at the Washington DC Barnes & Noble. Tonight, I’ll be reading excerpts from my new book. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? “Going Rogue.”
Yukon wasn’t sure if I’d go with that title and somebody suggested I follow the East Coast self-help trend and go with, “How To Look Like A Million Bucks…For Only 150 Grand.”
Todd liked, “The Audacity of North Slope.” [She nods to him as he’s at the head table]
Hey, I considered not having a title at all. I’ve said it before, but you Beltway types just don’t seem to get it. You don’t need a title to make an impact. But anyway, let’s get started.
I’ll begin my first reading on Page 209.
It was pitch black when we touched down in Arizona late on August 27, 2008. The next morning we drove to John McCain’s ranch in Sedona. John was waiting on the porch. Before he can say a word, I tell him, I’m quoting now,
“I know why I’m here, and I’m ready. But, I’m worried. The cost of credit protection for the largest U.S. banks is rising precipitously. Have you given any thought to the run on the entities in the parallel banking system? Do you realize the vulnerability created when these institutions borrow short term in liquid markets to invest long term in illiquid assets?”
John said, “you betcha!” I thought, “you betcha?” Who talks that way?
Well, sometimes you just have to trust your instincts. When you don’t, you end up in places like this. Who would have guessed that I’d be palling around with this group? At least now I can put a face to all the newspapers I do read.
It is good to be here and in front of this audience of leading journalists and intellectuals. Or, as I call it, a death panel.
To be honest, I had some serious reservations about coming to visit your cozy little club. The Gridiron still hasn’t offered membership to anyone from my hometown paper in Wasilla, the Matanuska-Susitna Valley Frontiersman. And my dad thought it was just a plain bad idea to leave the book tour for some football game.
He might have a point! [She waves to her parents at a table at the back of the room] Hi, Dad! Hi, Mom! They crashed the party, you know.
I’ve been touring this great, great land of ours over the last few weeks. I have to say, the view is much better from inside the bus, than under it!
But really, I am thrilled to be with you. And I’d like to thank the Gridiron for the invitation and Dick Cooper for his introduction.
To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, this has to be the most extraordinary collection of people who have gathered to viciously attack me since the last corporate gathering at CBS.
Despite what you have read, or more likely, despite what you have written, I do feel a real bond with all of you. I studied journalism, earned a communications degree and for a time only wanted to be a journalist. I was even a television sportscaster back home.
I’m guessing some of you probably got your start the exact same way… once there was television.
Let me get back to the book.
I know that many of you are still upset because I wouldn’t play that silly Washington game. You know, the one where all of you read a book in its entirety, from the first page of the index to the last.
But think about it, because you actually had to read the whole book in the vain hope of finding your name, you now know all about Denali, mom, dad, ungulate eyeballs, slaying salmon on the Nushagak and Ugashik near Alegnigak, where we make agootak and moose chili!
Still, I want to do something very special for this audience of Washington elite. So, I’ll read from the index–which I chose not to include in the hardback. Would you believe me if I said I didn’t include it because we wanted to save trees?
Under A we have…
Alaska, media not understanding. Pages 1-432.
Biased media. Pages 1-432
And under C…
Conservative media. See acknowledgments.
I’ll stop there.
I know this can be a long night, and as I understand it, we’re going to break with a Gridiron tradition. Normally, the Democrat speaker would deliver a speech after me. But instead, John McCain’s campaign staff asked if they could use that time for a rebuttal.
A lot has been made of a few campaign relationships. The closeness. The warm fuzzy feelings. John and I both agree all those staffers should just move past it. It’s history.
Let’s just say, if I ever need a bald campaign manager, it appears all I’m left with is James Carville.
I don’t want to say that I’ve burned a bridge, but I know all about canceling a bridge to nowhere.
That Democrat speaker I referred to is, of course, the one-and-only Barney Frank.
And I’m the controversial one?
Barney, the nation owes you and the government a debt. A huge, historic, unbelievable debt.
But, it’s good to be here with you, Mr. Chairman.
Because by Chairman, I don’t just mean the House Financial Services Committee. As far as I can tell, Barney’s also the Chair of AIG, CITI, and the Bank of America.
I don’t want to say that the U.S. Government is taking over the role of the private sector, but I have to admit, on the flight here, thumbing through a magazine and looking at a photo of President Obama with the President of China, the person next to me pointed at it and said, “Hu’s a communist.”
I thought they were asking a question.
Still, when I see this administration in action, I can’t help think of what might have been.
I could be the Vice President overseeing the signing of bailout checks. And Joe Biden would be on the road, selling his new book, “Going Rogaine.”
Speaking of books…. Did I mention mine? “Going Rogue” Makes a great stocking stuffer. Available now at a bookstore near you. Hey, I have to pay for my campaign vetting bill somehow.
Really, the response has been great. So I’ll close by reading a final passage.
…I’ve been asked a lot lately, “Where are you going next?’
Wherever I go I know that, as with anyone in the public eye, I’ll continue to have my share of disagreements with those in the media. Maybe even more than my share. It will come as no surprise that I don’t think I was always treated fairly, or equally.
But despite that, I respect the media very much. It’s important. A free press allows for vigorous debate! And that debate is absolutely vital for our democracy. So as hard as it can sometimes be, we must all look past personal grievances.
We must move beyond petty politics. And we must allow these incredibly talented and hard-working women and men to ask the hard questions and hold us, and our government, accountable. Because their mission is as true as the sun rising over the Talkeetna and Susitna Mountains….
Okay – so none of that is actually in the book. Not a word.
But I do believe it! And I believe we live in a beautiful country blessed with so many different people who want the best for their children, families and for our great nation. I’m so proud to be an American.
And that is what I’ll be talking about when I travel to where I’m headed.
No better place than here to announce where I’m going. I’m going to Iowa!
I’ll be there tomorrow from noon to 3:00 pm at the Barnes & Noble on Sergeant Road in Sioux City. Come early. Long lines are expected.
Thank you everyone. God Bless the U.S.A!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
President Obama’s strategy, announced in his West Point address on Tuesday, Dec.1, is doomed to fail. This failure is not Obama’s alone, but rests also in the laps of his Generals, and in the actions of the Bush administration. The failure is rooted in a confidence in a limited war strategy and a fundamental misunderstanding of the religious and historical roots of this war. In this article I will critique the President’s speech and express my reasons for believing the war in Afghanistan is a lost cause.
First of all, however, let me present my credentials. I am a lifetime conservative, have always voted Republican, was a US Army Infantry Officer during the Cold War and am the father of an active duty Infantryman in the Army. I have always been known as a “hawk”. I supported President Bush’s response to 9/11 and his invasion of Iraq, yet thought that his responses were too limited, too constrained and insufficient.
That is who I am, now allow me to critique Obama’s speech and strategy and offer my alternatives.
“To the United States Corps of Cadets, to the men and women of our Armed Services,” the first problem was the venue. Did Obama have the right to speak at the USMA at West Point? Certainly, he is the Commander in Chief. However, in making his speech there was he politically using the cadets, instructors and support staff as a prop? Chris Matthews even baldly stated that Obama was “going into the enemy’s camp” to give the speech.
It is a common perception among the military and amongst conservatives that Pres. Obama, and most other liberal politicians, is “anti-military”. This is seen in everything from the DOD budget to replacing the USMC band playing “Hail To The Chief” in favor of some piano player playing jazz when the President enters. So, yes, it would seem that the West Point crowd would be expected to be somewhat skeptical of the President’s speech. Numerous commentators noted the less than enthusiastic response to the President and his speech.
“to bring this war to a successful conclusion”- this is as close he gets to using the words “Victory” or “Win”. Like all good one-worlders, he cannot think in terms of winning wars. Everybody loses when you fight a war in his mind. It is a zero sum game.
“it’s important to recall why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place. We did not ask for this fight.” He goes into a decent explanation for the beginning of the war, and he at least calls it a war.
“a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world’s great religions, to justify the slaughter of innocents.” It is here that the single largest failure of Obama, Bush and the Generals comes in. On the one hand, you can say that Islam is one of the world’s great religions, but, if you actually study what Islam teaches, how they treat their women, and what Islam has done in history, there is NO WAY you can call it a great religion. 1) Islam has, from the very beginning, been spread by the sword. It is a barbaric and bloodthirsty religion of conquest. Islam’s stated goals are to either convert everyone in the world (a goal shared by Christianity) or kill them (not a goal shared by Christianity) or enslave them (not a goal shared by Christianity). 2) Islam has always been authoritarian, despotic and corrupt in every country it has ruled. It is anti-democratic. Do Islamic lands have equal rights for women? Do Islamic nations have real free speech, real religious liberty, real free press? Are Islamic countries actually tolerant?
By any objective standard, the history and teachings of Islam, compared with the history and teachings of Christianity demonstrates that Islam is an abysmal religion. Despite all the failings of Christianity and individual Christians, the bottom line is that Christianity has a God who sent his Son to die for us, while Islam has a god who tells you to send your son to die for him. Jesus said, “Love your enemies” and Muhammad says, “Off with their heads,” while he “marries” a 6 yr old girl (but doesn’t have sex with her til she is 9).
The failure of George Bush, BArack Obama and all the Generals is the failure to recognize that this is in fact A RELIGIOUS WAR AS DETERMINED BY OUR ENEMIES. TO FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THE ENEMY’S THINKING IS A CLASSIC MISTAKE IN STRATEGY. TO FAIL TO UNDERSTAND THE HISTORICAL AND THEOLOGICAL CONTEXT OF THE WAR IS A GROSS INEPTITUDE. As the 9/11 commission itself said, “They were at war with us, we were not at war with them.”
In past American wars we successfully adapted to the mode of warfare our enemies understood. In King Phillips’ War in 1675-76, the English colonists had to deal with an enemy who did not march out to war in formation. The Indians attacked at night, raided villages and killed or captured everyone. They used torture and hid behind trees, conducted hit and run raids. The colonists had to learn a whole new way of fighting. This was later used to good effect against the English in the Revolutionary War. In the wars with the Indians in the 19th century villages were razed, whole herds of buffalo were killed off, and the Indians starved. In WW2 in the Pacific Theater we learned that the fanatical Japanese who worshiped their Emperor, mixing religion with politics, war and honor, would fight to the last man, not surrendering in order to spare precious lives, but in order to extract honor for themselves and their emperor and kill as many of us as possible even for a losing cause. That led us to nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki. A proper response I might add. With the London blitz using night bombers and then the V-1 and V-2 rockets, the Nazis brought in the idea of punishing the civilian population. So we bombed Dresden.
But now, we are too civilized for all that. A bunch of towel heads learn to fly jet liners in our schools (but not to land) and we want to wage a limited war with rules of engagement that would make any civilian police department proud. Our Marines and Soldiers cannot fire if civilians are in the area. WE cannot do night raids and take people in for questioning. WE have to read the Miranda warning now. This is not waging war to win. Give me William Tecumseh Sherman and Unconditional Surrender Grant. Give me ol’ Blood and Guts George S. Patton. Firebomb their cities like they did New York.
Al Qaeda’s base of operations was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban — a ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere. He is stating that Al Qaeda and the Taliban took over because America and friends had turned our attention elsewhere. Even though we helped oust the Soviets from Afghanistan these people turned against us. They allowed their country to turn into a TAliban cesspool. Should we have intervened earlier in A-stan? If we did, the demoncrats would have caused a ruckus. Why would we want to intervene in a country like A-stan? We cannot prevent every national disaster in every country. But we can respond properly when a country attacks us. What happened in A-stan was not our fault. A people generally get the type of government they deserve (which explains much about Amerika today).
Just days after 9/11, Congress authorized the use of force against al Qaeda and those who harbored them — an authorization that continues to this day. The vote in the Senate was 98 to nothing. The vote in the House was 420 to 1. This is the equivalent to a declaration of war because the Constitution does not specify what terminology to use in declaring war. Notice the great degree of agreement on this then. But since then, in the political waters of today, how unified are we? Where are the demoncrats on this issue now?
For the first time in its history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked Article 5 — the commitment that says an attack on one member nation is an attack on all. And the United Nations Security Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to respond to the 9/11 attacks. America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al Qaeda’s terrorist network and to protect our common security. The NATO response has been underwhelming. The British have helped us the most, but they, too, have slashed defense spending in the last 15 years. One would think the Canadians would have helped us more. After our 60 years of defending Europe, and this is the thanks we get?!
Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a second war, in Iraq. The wrenching debate over the Iraq war is well-known and need not be repeated here. It’s enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq war drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy, and our national attention — and that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.- Obama can’t help himself, he MUST criticize the Bush/Cheney administration. While I did support the invasion of Iraq, it, like the invasion of A-stan, was conducted under Don Rumsfeld’s minimal force policy rather than the Powell doctrine of Overwhelming Force. While certainly that policy worked as far as defeating Sadaam Hussein and his military, it utterly failed to prevent the chaos after the war which led to the civil war in Iraq and the consequent disaster.
Limited War, minimal force, a small footprint, all seem to guarantee failure. The last war we actually won was WW2 where we went full out, whole hog, requiring Unconditional Surrender by our enemies. Korea- a draw and now the North has nukes. How did that Truman policy work for ya? Viet-Nam, a limited war, and a loss. Gulf War 1- we accomplished our limited objectives but in the long term, it failed because we had to go back to finish the job…oh wait…we are finished yet. Afghanistan… small footprint…now our longest war. If you are going to fight a war, then fight like hell to win, all or nothing. No holding back.
Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end– Not “winning” nor “victory”. Bush had a limited war so now we cannot be said to win, and Obama does not like to win anyway.
But while we’ve achieved hard-earned milestones in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated. After escaping across the border into Pakistan in 2001 and 2002, al Qaeda’s leadership established a safe haven there.– True, the Bush administration did not fight seriously in A-stan because Iraq had become such a problem. Why is that? Other than what I have already said, I would say it is because of the “Peace Dividend” proclaimed by Pres. George HW Bush and the cuts by Pres. Bill Clinton that HALVED our military. Despite going to war in 2001 Bush never increased the size of our military by more than about 10%. The US Army is seriously overworked and is beginning to suffer long term ill effects of the continuous deployments as we lose mid grade officers and NCOs. The Army needs to be DOUBLED IN SIZE to meet the current ops tempo and mission requirements. So too with the Navy, Marines and Air Force.
There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period. Instead, the review has allowed me to ask the hard questions, and to explore all the different options, along with my national security team, our military and civilian leadership in Afghanistan, and our key partners.– This is all BS. He is a war time Commander in Chief whose first priority was destroying the American Health Care system and nationalizing the Car industry. This reinforcement of A-stan should have been taken care of by April. This is inexcuseable dereliction of duty.
This review is now complete. And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.– The General requested between 40,000 and 80,000 troops and he is getting 30,000. This is a cagey way to appear to be supporting the generals but instead assuring failure so that the blame can be shifted to the military.
Here is where I go radical. I absolutely disagree with the generals on this. Arrogant of me, I know, as I was but a lowly Captain. But to do the job right, would require at least 500,000 if not 1 million. Here is the problem:
A-stan is a landlocked country and all of our air routes are going over not-too-friendly countries like former Soviet republics and Pakistan. The one land route through Pakistan is fraught with perils and is inherently unreliable. By any standard of military history, if you put a field army in a place that is impossible to quickly and reliably resupply, you are being foolhardy.
WHAT IF RUSSIA or CHINA exert enough pressure on Kyrghizistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to cancel all of our overflights and bases or potential bases?
The bottom line is we do not have a reliable means of supplying our troops in A-stan and to increase the size of our army there places more troops in harm’s way. If we had fought this war in the WW2 manner we would have invaded Iran first, (the real source of most of the Islamic trouble anyway, since 1979) and established a secure ground route through that country to Afghanistan.
After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. – This is the most stupid thing he could have said. He is attempting to reassure the American people that we will bring the troops home, and give hope to the troops, but he is also challenging the Karzai government to “get your act together or else…”. However, he is also telling the Taliban and al qaeda to hold on for 18 months then we will leave. This is incredibly foolish. No more stark contrast can be drawn between Bush and Obamasky. Bush said we will stay until the job gets done, Obamasky says, we are outta here in 18 months! Incredibly naive. This is the deal breaker and ensures defeat.
Because this is an international effort, I’ve asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. – Good luck with that .
Well, I could go on and on here, but let me leave it with this. I think that the idealistic American way of conducting limited wars for noble causes is bunk. If you have to fight, go in with everything you’ve got, kill off enough of the enemy to change their culture, move in, occupy and westernize them, take some reparations to pay off our war debt, then get out. Limited war does not work, it is costly in lives and treasure, and does not accomplish the goals. We must recognize that our enemy is in fact Islam and has been since the 7th century. We are trying to fight these muslims on our terms instead of theirs, and that is a losing proposition. Bush did some things right, but did some things wrong and now Obama is compounding the wrong things.
We need to either get out of A-stan or do it right.
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Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army Psychiatrist at Fort Hood, went on a very well planned shooting that has killed about 13 soldiers and wounded over 30, apparently using two handguns. He was shot by civilian police officer Sgt. Kimberly Munley.
It has been reported that Major Hasan had been upset about his upcoming deployment to Iraq. He had been recently transferred to Ft. Hood, TX from Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC.
Hasan was born in Virginia to parents of Palestinian background and is a lifelong muslim. As he was shooting the soldiers, he was yelling, “Allahu Akhbar” or- God is Great in typical jihadist fashion.
The interviews of experts I have heard have been careful to say this was not a terrorist act. However, though it has not yet been proven he had terrorist cell connections, he was known for protesting American foreign policy, the war “against islam”, and for trying to proselytize his patients.
If a muslim shoots up a liquor store, that is probably a crime. If a muslim enters an Army base and shoots up 40+ soldiers, that is terrorism. Wake up America!
Here is the link to my sermon on this topic:
And here are news/opinion links to the story:
More to follow.
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