Our old friend Andrew Sullivan seems to be trying on his conservative hat once again. In a column at New York magazine titled “Why Do Democrats Feel Sorry for Hillary Clinton” (a sensible essay, if fairly predictable), he includes an interesting criticism of people who have apparently been trying to spin the whole United Airlines kerfuffle as a battle in the social justice wars:
Do you know the real reason Dr. Dao was so brutally tackled and thrown off that United flight? It was all about white supremacy. I mean, what isn’t these days? That idea is from the New Republic. Yes, the cops “seemed” to be African-American, as the author concedes, so the white-versus-minority paradigm is a little off. Yes, this has happened before to many people with no discernible racial or gender pattern. Yes, there is an obvious alternative explanation: The seats from which passengers were forcibly removed were randomly assigned. New York published a similar piece, which argued that the incident was just another example of Trump’s border-and-immigration-enforcement policies toward suspected illegal immigrants of color. That no federal cops were involved and there is no actual evidence at all of police harassment of Asian-Americans is irrelevant — it’s all racism, all the time, everywhere in everything.
It’s easy to mock this reductionism, I know, but it reflects something a little deeper. Asian-Americans, like Jews, are indeed a problem for the “social-justice” brigade. I mean, how on earth have both ethnic groups done so well in such a profoundly racist society? How have bigoted white people allowed these minorities to do so well — even to the point of earning more, on average, than whites? Asian-Americans, for example, have been subject to some of the most brutal oppression, racial hatred, and open discrimination over the years. In the late 19th century, as most worked in hard labor, they were subject to lynchings and violence across the American West and laws that prohibited their employment. They were banned from immigrating to the U.S. in 1924. Japanese-American citizens were forced into internment camps during the Second World War, and subjected to hideous, racist propaganda after Pearl Harbor. Yet, today, Asian-Americans are among the most prosperous, well-educated, and successful ethnic groups in America. What gives? It couldn’t possibly be that they maintained solid two-parent family structures, had social networks that looked after one another, placed enormous emphasis on education and hard work, and thereby turned false, negative stereotypes into true, positive ones, could it? It couldn’t be that all whites are not racists or that the American dream still lives?
No doubt that Sullivan will find plenty of reasons in the future to gratuitously attack conservatives, but for the time being let’s welcome him back to the sensible side, especially inasmuch as he he dares to write about the importance of the two-parent family structure, which no doubt sends the crybully left into paroxysms of rage.
Happy Easter to you and yours. Easter, the day we celebrate the resurrection of Christ and the Hope we have in Him. Because who wants to go through this life, with its inevitable trials and tribulations, heartaches and sorrows, without some sort of solid Hope to hold onto? My feeling is, if one’s hope is in the goodness of man, then this life is doubly-bound to be one rough and disappointing ride. And to what end?
For the sake of their country, their culture, and their very selves, liberal post-Protestants should find a mainline congregation and start attending every week.
Do it for your political philosophy: More religion would make liberalism more intellectually coherent (the “created” in “created equal” is there for a reason), more politically effective, more rooted in its own history, less of a congerie of suspicious “allies” and more of an actual fraternity.
Do it for your friends and neighbors, towns and cities: Thriving congregations have spillover effects that even anti-Trump marches can’t match.
Do it for your family: Church is good for health and happiness, it’s a better place to meet a mate than Tinder, and even its most modernized form is still an ark of memory, a link between the living and the dead.
Douthat also has an exhortation for atheists as well:
Finally, a brief word to the really hardened atheists: Oh, come on. Sure, all of that beauty and ecstasy and astonishing mathematical order is because we’re part of a multiverse or a simulation or something; that’s the ticket. Sure, consciousness and free will are illusions, but human rights and gender identities are totally real. Sure, your flying spaghetti monster jokes make you a lot smarter than Aquinas, Karl Barth, Martin Luther King. Sure.
Just go to church, guys. The mainline churches’ doors are open. They need you. America still needs them.
(Note: this post did not get published late on Easter Sunday because the author was at church. It was because of pancakes. Blueberry, to be specific. Although a believer (but not a liberal), I have happily not attended church for many years, in spite of Douthat’s encouragements.)
A Detroit emergency room physician has been charged with allegedly performing female genital mutilation on young girls, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
In a news release, the DOJ said Jumana Nagarwala, of Northville, Michigan, allegedly performed the procedures out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan, on girls who were 6 to 8 years old.
According to the *complaint filed, two of the parents confirmed to investigators were aware that Nagarwala did the procedure, but others denied knowledge of the procedure or said it didn’t happen.
The news release said this is believed to be the first case under law 18 U.S.C. 116, which criminalizes female genital mutilation.
“According to the complaint, despite her oath to care for her patients, Dr. Nagarwala is alleged to have performed horrifying acts of brutality on the most vulnerable victims,” acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said. “The Department of Justice is committed to stopping female genital mutilation in this country, and will use the full power of the law to ensure that no girls suffer such physical and emotional abuse.”
The vicious brutality as told by the little girls involved in this case:
The children were told it was a “‘special’ girls trip,” according to court documents. The first victim told federal agents that she underwent a procedure “to get the germs out” of her, and she identified Nagarwala in a photograph as the doctor who performed the operation. A medical examination performed under a search warrant found that her “labia minora has been altered or removed, and her clitoral hood is also abnormal in appearance.”
The second victim who described her ordeal in the complaint said she screamed as Nagarwala gave her a “shot” that “hurt really badly.” The girl said she could “barely walk” after the procedure, and that her parents “told her that the procedure is a secret and that she is not supposed to talk about it.”
…[A]uthorities say they believe she has subjected numerous more girls to the procedure, including children in the metro Detroit area. Authorities would not comment on whether more charges are coming, but the case appears to be the tip of the iceberg if the FBI’s words are any indication.
“This investigation has identified other children who may have been victimized by Nagarwala,” FBI agent Kevin Swanson wrote in an affidavit that was unsealed Thursday. “(Investigators) interviewed several minor girls in Michigan about FGM (female genital mutilation). In these interviews, multiple minor girls informed child protective services and forensic interviewers that procedures had been performed on their genitals by Nagarwala.”
Nagarwala denies having committed these atrocities, and said that, “she had no knowledge of the procedure being performed on anyone in her cultural community.”
Most of the reports I read avoided naming any particular religion or culture that is mostly associated with the practice of FGM. The Washington Post, whose masthead smugly reminds readers that democracy dies in darkness, put it this way:
According to the complaint against Nagarwala, members of a particular religious and cultural community are known to use the procedure — which some see as a way to curb sexuality in girls. The complaint did not identify the community but said Nagarwala was a part of it.
*Complaint uploaded by Katie Pavlich here. It’s a grim read.
When one considers the increasing occurrences of FGM in the United States, it is shocking to read about a study released last year by two U.S. doctors who obscenely suggested that the way to limit the practice of FGM in the U.S. is to appease cultural demands by permitting the practice of “nicking”:
A controversial new study published in the Journal of Medical Ethics says “nicking” the genitals of young girls is an acceptable compromise for the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the West.
Arguing that criminalizing FGM in Western countries such as the U.S. and U.K. has pushed the practice underground, the authors suggest a “compromise solution” that would legally permit a minimal form of genital mutilation “in recognition of its cultural and religious obligations.” Despite being perceived as a practice linked to Islam, FGM is a cultural practice that has no basis in religion. No religious texts prescribe FGM, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while Human Rights Watch says the practice is “erroneously linked” to religion and “is not particular to any religious faith.”
In the study, published on Monday, U.S.-based authors Dr. Kavita Shah Arora, director of quality, obstetrics and gynecology at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland and Dr. Allan Jacobs, professor of reproductive medicine at Stony Brook University, write that “in order to better protect female children from the serious and long-term harms of some types of non-therapeutic [FGM], we must adopt a more nuanced position that acknowledges a wide spectrum of procedures that alter female genitalia.”
The authors define the de minimis, or minor, versions of FGM that should be permitted as “removal of the clitoral hood or a ritual nick on the external female genitalia” and do not believe they “reach the threshold of a human rights violation.” Nicking the vulva and removing the clitoral hood shouldn’t be considered child abuse, according to the authors. They go on to argue that by undergoing these acceptable procedures in the U.S., girls can avoid the risk of being sent abroad for more extensive and harmful procedures—a practice known as “vacation cutting.”
“If a girl, by undergoing a small vulvar nick in infancy, forestalls subsequent vulvar infibulation done under dangerous conditions, we would consider this a worthwhile trade-off,” the study says. The authors add that all procedures should be performed with “adequate analgesia.”
In other words, let’s practice another form of mutilation. There’s just something rich about two doctors determining what constitutes a human rights violation on little girls and deciding that another form of mutilation is okay. What the hell? How about protecting little girls from this heinous practice by aggressively pursuing any and all who commit these crimes in the U.S. where it is illegal and hold parents and doctors accountable for the severe damage they do to these little girls. Little girls who will forever carry the scars of this barbaric practice, both in their hearts and on their bodies for the rest of their lives.
Nothing makes me angrier these days than the thought of paying tens of thousands of dollars per year to a university full of entitled leftists looking to brainwash my children with politically correct claptrap about “hate speech.” Nowhere is this sort of attitude more blatantly on display than in this editorial at The Wellesley News:
Many members of our community, including students, alumnae and faculty, have criticized the Wellesley community for becoming an environment where free speech is not allowed or is a violated right. Many outside sources have painted us as a bunch of hot house flowers who cannot exist in the real world. However, we fundamentally disagree with that characterization, and we disagree with the idea that free speech is infringed upon at Wellesley. Rather, our Wellesley community will not stand for hate speech, and will call it out when possible.
Wellesley students are generally correct in their attempts to differentiate what is viable discourse from what is just hate speech. Wellesley is certainly not a place for racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia or any other type of discriminatory speech. Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government. The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.
This being said, the tone surrounding the current discourse is becoming increasingly hostile. Wellesley College is an institution whose aim is to educate. Students who come to Wellesley hail from a variety of diverse backgrounds. With this diversity comes previously-held biases that are in part the products of home environments. Wellesley forces us to both recognize and grow from these beliefs, as is the mark of a good college education. However, as students, it is important to recognize that this process does not occur without bumps along the way. It is inevitable that there will be moments in this growth process where mistakes will happen and controversial statements will be said. However, we argue that these questionable claims should be mitigated by education as opposed to personal attacks.
We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way. It is vital that we encourage people to correct and learn from their mistakes rather than berate them for a lack of education they could not control. While it is expected that these lessons will be difficult and often personal, holding difficult conversations for the sake of educating is very different from shaming on the basis of ignorance.
First of all, this piece rates about a C minus on the basis of its writing alone. “We have all said problematic claims” is a phrase that would get a strikethrough from my red pen. I’d tell the authors to reword that sentence so it doesn’t sound like a slow seventh-grader wrote it. And I don’t think the authors understand what they are saying when they write: “Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech.” Do they mean to say that shutting down speech is hate speech? I think they meant to say: “Rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not free speech; it is hate speech.” That would still be a nonsensical statement, but at least it would convey the message the authors intended to convey — even if that message is a vapid parroting of leftist cant.
Also — and now I’m getting really picky, but I can’t help myself — it’s “hothouse flowers” and not “hot house flowers.” A “hot house” is a house that is hot. A “hothouse” is a greenhouse — which is not the same thing as a green house, which is a house that is green. Another stroke of the red pen! Or take this monstrosity of a sentence: “The emotional labor required to educate people is immense and is additional weight that is put on those who are already forced to defend their human rights.” Bleccch! How does someone who writes this badly get into college, much less become a college newspaper editor?!
I could go on, but you get the point. Everyone expects students to emerge from these institutions as brainwashed P.C. robots. Is it too much to ask that they at least learn some basic writing skills?
But I would award an F to the authors of this diatribe on the basis of content. The founding generation did not intend to prohibit speech that is “hateful and damaging” when it ratified the Bill of Rights. In addition to writing instruction, these students need some remedial civics and history classes.
But the rhetoric isn’t just wrongheaded — it is, at times, positively menacing:
This being said, if people are given the resources to learn and either continue to speak hate speech or refuse to adapt their beliefs, then hostility may be warranted. If people continue to support racist politicians or pay for speakers that prop up speech that will lead to the harm of others, then it is critical to take the appropriate measures to hold them accountable for their actions.
Conform or be cast out.
It’s not enough to respond to speech with speech, you see. You must “adapt” your “beliefs” or “hostility may be warranted.” If you bring speakers to campus whom we don’t like, we will have to “hold you accountable” — whatever that means (and it sure sounds like punishment of some sort, doesn’t it?).
Gee, this editorial is starting to sound “hateful and damaging,” isn’t it? And in a very real way, with the violence we have seen at Berkeley and Middlebury College, the sort of attitudes on display in this ignorant editorial are more “problematic” (to use the editors’ laughable and repeatedly used term) than anything Charles Murray ever said. Sentiments like this tend to lead to the throwing of Molotov cocktails. They result in professors wearing neck braces.
Why, viewed in the correct light, the sentiments expressed in this editorial are positively hateful!
Maybe The Wellesley News needs to be shuttered, and its editors brought up on vague disciplinary charges for their hate speech. In the name of free speech.
It’s what the founding fathers would have wanted, don’t you think?
Yeah, I don’t have anything. After a week of vacation my “blog about whatever is going on even if it seems stupid” muscles are atrophied.
Looks like we killed some allies in Syria. Trump just learned that North Korea is not a simple issue from a ten-minute talk with the leader of China. I hope you weren’t too wedded to his positions on China as a currency manipulator, or replacing Janet Yellin, or the Ex-Im bank, or the importance of NATO, because he just flip-flopped on all that in one day (yesterday).
None of this really inspires me. There’s an erratic clown in the Oval Office, but you either already knew that or already refused to accept it, and in either case there’s nothing I can do about it.
What else? I had a nice trip last week. My parents’ second date was seeing “La Traviata” at the Metropolitan Opera. (I used to think it was their first date but then learned that after they had agreed to go as their first date, they went to dinner once beforehand.) Last week my family saw the same opera with my mom in New York, so that was neat. We looked at schools for our daughter, who says she wants to move away from California for school.
We visited Cornell, and while touring the music building we ran into the man who, when I sang in the Sage Chapel Choir, had been the associate conductor. He told me that the choir disbanded 12 years ago. Nobody was coming to services any more. I denounced the godless campus to my family.
Colleges renovate everything — with all the money they are swimming in, from robbing hardworking parents of their savings (don’t talk to me about paying for college; it makes me angry) — meaning nothing looks like it did when you attended.
Also it was cold.
Anyway, talk about whatever. If anyone was on spring break last week with kids or whatever, tell us what you did. Tell us a lawyer joke, or any joke. You can talk about politics of course, but today it bores me.
In less than one week, what is likely to be the most interesting read this spring — nay, make that for all of 2017 — will hit the bookstores. Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes promises to provide us with a backstage look at the magnificently glorious implosion of the Once and Future Inevitable Next President of the United States of America, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, email@example.com. Earlier today, The Hillran an excerpt from the book that should have us salivating at the juicy gossip that awaits us. To whet your appetite, here are some great pulls from that excerpt:
Hillary was so mad she couldn’t think straight. She was supposed to be focused on the prep session for that night’s Univision debate in Miami, but a potent mix of exhaustion and exasperation bubbled up inside.
She’d been humiliated in the Michigan primary the night before, a loss that not only robbed her of a prime opportunity to put Bernie Sanders down for good but also exposed several of her weaknesses. [. . .] And now, Jake Sullivan, her de facto chief strategist, was giving her lip about the last answer she’d delivered in the prep session.
“That’s not very good,” Sullivan corrected.
“Really?” Hillary snapped back.
The room fell silent.
“Why don’t you do it?”
[. . . ] So for the next 30 minutes, there he was, pretending to be Hillary while she critiqued his performance.
Every time the Yale lawyer and former high school debate champ opened his mouth, Hillary cut him off. “That isn’t very good,” she’d say. “You can do better.” [. . .]
I’m sorry, but can’t all of you absolutely envision that entire scene, complete with the beta-males in her campaign walking on eggshells around her and Her Clintonic Majesty sneering and fuming as she rails at everyone in her orbit? And then some more:
In her ear the whole time, spurring her on to cast blame on others and never admit to anything, was her husband. Neither Clinton could accept the simple fact that Hillary had hamstrung her own campaign and dealt the most serious blow to her own presidential aspirations.
That state of denial would become more obvious than ever to her top aides and consultants during one conference call in the thick of the public discussion of her server. [The typical cast of Clintonian schmucks] were among the small coterie who huddled in Abedin’s mostly bare corner office overlooking the East River at the campaign’s Brooklyn headquarters. Hillary and Bill, who rarely visited, joined them by phone.
Hillary’s severe, controlled voice crackled through the line first. It carried the sound of a disappointed teacher or mother delivering a lecture before a whipping. That back end was left to Bill, who lashed out with abandon. Eyes cast downward, stomachs turning — both from the scare tactics and from their own revulsion at being chastised for Hillary’s failures — Hillary’s talented and accomplished team of professionals and loyalists simply took it. There was no arguing with Bill Clinton.
You haven’t buried this thing, the ruddy-cheeked former president rasped. You haven’t figured out how to get Hillary’s core message to the voters. This has been dragging on for months, he thundered, and nothing you’ve done has made a damn bit of difference. Voters want to hear about Hillary’s plans for the economy, and you’re not making that happen. Now, do your damn jobs.
“We got an ass-chewing,” one of the participants recalled months later.
My word, what I would have given to have witnessed those smug and entitled phonies and frauds being dressed down by King Sleaze His Loathsome Self! Can you imagine taking a verbal lashing from the likes of Bill Clinton and being so cowed that you dare not tell him where to shove his unsmoked cigar (no, Monica, I’m not talking about there)? Even as we quibble and kvetch about the mindless soap opera that the new administration is turning out to be, let’s all be thankful that this infamous band of horrible people were blessedly denied return access to the levers of state power.
Sometimes the pre-published excerpts from a book turn out to be the best bits, but I have a feeling there are going to be a lot more nuggets in this tome. Yeah, Jonathan Allen is an ex-Vox juiceboxer, but he does at least have the good sense to keep that item off of his amazon.com author page. Amie Parnes is something of a enigma, having no biography page at amazon or The Hill. The two of them collaborated on a book about Hillary Clinton two years ago that appears to be quite a bit hagiographical, but stories of abject failure tend to bring out the curmudgeonly cynic in all of us, so here’s hoping that this book is everything that I believe it can be.
In a paper presented last week at a conference in Chicago, two political scientists compared Republican senators’ voting records to their perceived levels of conservatism among grassroots activists. . . . What they found was that some of the senators with the most traditionally conservative voting records—like Arizona’s Jeff Flake, and Nebraska’s Ben Sasse—were viewed among activists as fairly moderate. Meanwhile, former Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions—whose record is considerably more moderate than many of his peers’—was viewed as one of the chamber’s most conservative lawmakers.
The explanation for these discrepancies?
The paper’s authors—Daniel Hopkins, from the University of Pennsylvania, and Hans Noel, from Georgetown— have a theory: Sasse and Flake were both outspoken Trump critics during the election, whereas Sessions was one of the president’s earliest and most vocal cheerleaders.
Indeed, it appears many of the grassroots-level Republicans surveyed for the paper—the kind of people who make small-dollar donations to candidates, volunteer for phone banks, and staff local campaigns—believed that the more loyal a senator was to Trump, the more conservative he was.
Anyone who has opposed big-government policy positions held by Donald Trump and then been called a leftist knows this already. It’s not surprising. Public choice theory holds that citizens have little motivation to learn about the positions of public officials. Nor do they have much reason to learn free market economics, the history of the Constitution, or the less obvious nuances of policies that infringe on liberty (take Net Neutrality as an obvious example of that last point). Accordingly, the positions of the most visible politician from a party — such as the President of the United States — tend to be adopted by the vast majority of voters as the “right” position.
This is why it is so ruinous for Donald Trump to have become the standard bearer of the Republican Party — which is the reason I left it last May. Perhaps it’s also time to shed the meaningless mantle of “conservatism” — a word that has no real meaning when it is defined by Donald Trump — and exclusively refer to myself as a classical liberal. (This is a stance that has the added benefit of confusing Trumpers who don’t know the historical meaning of the word “liberal.”) The disease of Trumpism easily spreads — whether in the Republican party or in “conservatism” generally — when the president himself is its champion:
“If Trump is shaping and changing the next generation of Republican foot soldiers to think of conservatism as what he thinks it is … instead of what Paul Ryan thinks it is, he’s going to lead the party in that direction,” Noel said. . . . And as long as grassroots Republicans are demanding fealty to Trump from their elected leaders—lest they be branded “moderates” and made vulnerable to primary challenges—Trumpism has a good chance to flourish and spread throughout the GOP.
Massive infrastructure programs during a time of crushing debt. Support for unsustainable entitlements without reform. Health care provided by the government, and movement away from repeal of ObamaCare. Ruinous tariffs. These are the policies now deemed “conservative” by many members of the voting public. These are the goals that threaten to become part of the fabric of the Republican and even “conservative” belief system.
At times I feel like I’m standing on a beach, facing a fast-approaching 60-foot tidal wave of statism, and shaking a stick at it angrily as it rushes towards me. I know that any moment now I’m about to get carried by the giant wave and dashed against the rocks — but it’s too late to run. All I can do is hold my ground, stare it down, and hope that someday my example will mean something to someone else.
I have no fascinating commentary on this story other than to note that the free market often beats government force. Here, an airline was overbooked — well, not exactly overbooked, as they needed the seats to fly four crew members to another city — and rather than offering an amount sufficient to motivate people to voluntarily give up their seats, they called in the cops. Today, as of this writing, the stock is plunging 3%. That’s $675 million in market capitalization. Even if the stock recovers, there’s the lawsuit and the reputational damage to consider. That alone should easily add up to millions of dollars.
Offering $1000 or $1500 to give up a seat looks better and better, huh?
Last week, editor-in-chief of Mother Jones Clara Jeffery decided if Pence wouldn’t eat dinner alone with women other than his wife, it meant he wouldn’t hire women for top jobs in the administration. A few days ago, Jeffery made another ridiculous assumption. This time regarding Native Americans:
Gee, Clara, it’s mighty white of you to tell Indians what we think and feel, and that our place is at the table of perpetual victim. Because where else would it be, right??
The tomahawk was created by Algonquian Indians and widely used by Native Americans and European colonialists alike. The iconic “pipe tomahawk” design of the colonial era was made using metal heads provided to tribes as gifts and goods from the British Navy.
Naming weapons and vehicles after Native American tribes and icons are a common practice in the U.S. military, including the Apache, Black Hawk, Iroquois, and Chinook helicopters and the Seminole and Mohawk airplanes.
By a 54-45 vote with three red state Democrats up for reelection in 2018, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, joining with 51 Republicans in voting to seat him on the court. Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia missed the vote due to health issues.
We have had ample reason to criticize Senate Majority Mitch McConnell in the past, but from the moment that we learned of the passing of the great Justice Antonin Scalia the majority leader has been nothing short of a conservative stalwart from how he handled Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to his ability to keep his caucus together and invoke the Reid Option in ending the Democrats’ filibuster. No doubt we’ll have reason to criticize him again down the road, but let’s take this moment to extend to him our most sincere thanks and congratulations for his fine work.
Since last night’s actions in Syria, I’m sure a number of us have been asking the same question. Charles C.W. Cooke certainly has, and he provides his thoughts about the issue. His observations are likely to be met with objection from certain corners.
Quoting David French, we are reminded of this:
If Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution means anything, it means that the president must obtain congressional approval before taking us to war against a sovereign nation that has not attacked the U.S. or its allies and is not threatening to attack the U.S. or its allies…. As Senator Paul said, “The first thing we ought to do is probably obey the Constitution.”
Well, plain and simple, we were not attacked nor were we threatened with attack by Syria.
Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.
If we weren’t attacked, nor threatened with attack by Syria, were the strikes an issue of “vital national security interest of the U.S.,” or was the action a humanitarian issue as our response was compelled by the the grotesque assault on the Syrian people by the Assad regime? As Cooke points out, the arguments against this being an act of war run along the lines of, it’s just a “minor military operation,” or “a targeted strike,” or, as I’ve been reading, the airstrikes were simply a justified warning. No more, no less. And yet, consider this:
If a country were to lob 59 missiles at an U.S. military installation in the middle of the California desert, we would rightly regard that as an “act of war.” We certainly wouldn’t say, “don’t worry, it’s just a minor military strike.” Does the fact the Syria’s government is gassing its own people change that? No, it does not. Why not? Because the question here isn’t whether America is morally justified in hitting Assad’s air bases (it is), or whether doing so is a good idea (it may be), or whether America is a more virtuous country than Syria (it is). Rather, the question is of constitutional legality. If the United States had been gassing Americans in Hawaii at the time Japan hit Pearl Harbor, that strike would still have been an act of war — yes, even if Japan had used it as its casus belli – and Americans would have rightly seen it as such. We should not set a double standard when the roles are reversed. If we need to hit Assad, I’m open to the argument. But Congress must be asked for permission.