Thursday, June 12, 2014

Obama must be proud

Our friends at Power Line opine on Obama's performance in Iraq:

The only problem is that Barack Obama may actually take this literally. To him and his leftist ilk, turning Iraq into Vietnam is not a bug, but a feature.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The potential of Benedict Bergdahl

Take this article with a grain of salt, but Robert Spencer has a piece giving 5 reasons to believe Bowe Bergdahl is not just guilty of being AWOL (Absent Without Leave) or desertion but of treason. To me, the most damning is actually Number Five:
5. The precision of post-desertion IEDs.
Former Army Sgt. Evan Buetow, who served with Bergdahl and was present the night he disappeared, says flatly:
Bergdahl is a deserter, and he’s not a hero. He needs to answer for what he did.” Even worse, Buetow recounted that days after Bergdahl vanished from the U.S. base, there were reports that he was in a nearby village looking for someone who spoke English, so that he could establish communications with the Taliban. Soon afterward, Buetow recalled, “IEDs started going off directly under the trucks. They were getting perfect hits every time. Their ambushes were very calculated, very methodical.”
Bergdahl knew where the trucks would be going and when; said Buetow: “We were incredibly worried” that the Taliban’s “prisoner of war” was passing this information on to his captors in order to help them place their bombs most effectively.
Forget rumors of his statements and whatnot. This is not rumor, but quantifiable evidence from his colleagues as to how how enemy tactics changed after Bergdahl ended up with the Taliban.

And by rumors, I am talking about the alleged letter that Bergdahl left behind:
2. The note he left behind.
Fox News reported Tuesday that according to “sources who had debriefed two former members of Bergdahl’s unit,” the deserter “left behind a note the night he left base in which he expressed disillusionment with the Army and being an American and suggested that he wanted to renounce his American citizenship and go find the Taliban.”
That letter has been reported in multiple media outlets. But now, it seems, there is serious question as to the existence of the note:
Three days ago, the New York Times cited a “former senior military officer” for the claim that Bergdahl had left a note behind in his tent the night he disappeared saying “he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life.” Pretty strong evidence of desertion; in fact, it’s the only hard evidence of Bergdahl’s motives that allegedly exists. The same day, Fox News reported that two unnamed former members of Bergdahl’s unit also claim that he left a note, and that the note suggested not only desertion but an intent to renounce his citizenship. All of this came as a shock to Saxby Chambliss, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who had read the classified file on Bergdahl and saw nothing in there about a note.

That’s when things started to get weird.
Chambliss later said he was told that the report of the existence of the note was wrong.
The military’s classified 35-page report on Bergdahl’s disappearance also says nothing about a note. [...]
Did the letter mysteriously disappear or did it never exist at all?
A cautionary tale that reports gathered in wartime can have errors and omissions, not always or even usually intentional.

But the evidence of Benedict Bergdahl so far seems persuasive.

The Price of Moral Vanity

In the past I have used the term "moral vanity" to describe the desire of a person to show how much they care more than everyone else. Moral vanity usually manifests itself in 1. Committing ineffectual and sometimes dangerous or even counterproductive acts a to address a particular issue that carries intense emotion; and 2. A refusal to accept any criticism or even questioning of those acts, going so far as to insult and demonize those that do so.

Well, in a must-read column today, Roger Simon comes up with a similar, perhaps better term: Moral Narcissism.
Moral Narcissism is an evocative term for the almost schizophrenic divide between intentions and results now common in our culture.  It doesn’t matter how anything turns out as long as your intentions are good.  And, just as importantly, the only determinant of those intentions, the only one who defines them, is you.
In other words, if you propose or do something, it only matters that you feel good or righteous about what you did or are proposing, that it makes you feel better personally.  The results are irrelevant, as are how the actual activity affects others.
Also, although it pretends (especially to the self) to altruism, moral narcissism is in essence passive aggressive, asserting superiority over the ignorant or “selfish” other. It is elitist,  anti-democratic and quote often, consciously or unconsciously, sadistic.
The Obama administration is loaded with moral narcissists, including, obviously, the president himself — Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton etc.  The media and Hollywood are also clearly stuffed to the gills with moral narcissists.
Obamacare is a perfect example of moral narcissism in action.  Never mind that the public didn’t want it. Never mind it was an atrociously planned bureaucratic mess (in fact that comes with the territory).  It was what Barack Obama wanted — for himself.
Moral narcissism creates an atmosphere of dishonesty bizarrely similar to Islamic taqqiya.  In Islam, the believer is permitted to lie to the non-believer because the believer has the greater truth.  For the moral narcissist, lies becomes truth in almost the same manner. Some like Dan Rather (a moral narcissist par excellence) could thus pronounce the Bush National Guard papers real when anyone with an IQ in triple digits could see that they were fake.  They felt real to Dan. And, crucially, that made him feel good about himself.
As an aside, you might want to keep that taqqiya in mind when developing opinions on agreements and treaties with predominantly Muslim and especially Islamist parties. Anyway, Simon cites this characteristic as pushing the inexcusable Bowe Bergdahl trade:
In the Bergdahl affair, what really was operative in the prisoner swap was Barack Obama’s feelings about himself.  Never mind that Bergdahl may have been a deserter whose sympathies were with the enemy.  Never mind that many U.S. servicemen had already been killed attempting to rescue him. Never mind that the five released prisoners were all likely to resume their lives of terror as soon as possible, murdering who knows how many more people.  And never mind that the release of the terrorists would only encourage the Taliban to kidnap more hostages. What mattered was how Barack perceived himself.
Forget arrogance, incompetence, and a barely concealed anti-Americanism. The single unifying feature of the Obama administration is its utter selfishness.