Getting serious about getting serious about terrorism

One of the frustrating lines of punditry we’ve seen in the wake of the Paris attacks has been the idea that we have to “get serious,” which means paying less attention to the number of non-combatants we kill in airstrikes. I’m not mischaracterizing their position. Ted Cruz, for example, said ISIS, “will not be deterred by targeted airstrikes with zero tolerance for civilian casualties.”

Consider this: “During one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.”

Or this: “Attempts to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,147 people, as of 24 November.”

Or this:

Every independent investigation of the strikes has found far more civilian casualties than administration officials admit. Gradually, it has become clear that when operators in Nevada fire missiles into remote tribal territories on the other side of the world, they often do not know who they are killing, but are making an imperfect best guess.

The president’s announcement on Thursday that a January strike on Al Qaeda in Pakistan had killed two Western hostages, and that it took many weeks to confirm their deaths, bolstered the assessments of the program’s harshest outside critics. The dark picture was compounded by the additional disclosure that two American members of Al Qaeda were killed in strikes that same month, but neither had been identified in advance and deliberately targeted.

Or this:

Based upon the averages within the ranges provided by the New America Foundation, the Long War Journal, and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been an estimated 522 U.S. targeted killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia since 9/11, which have killed 3,852 people, 476 (or 12 percent) of whom were civilians.

What percentage of civilian casualties would Ted Cruz find more acceptable? 15? 20? More? How high could he get away with before his boosters withdrew their support?


Earth to liberal colleges: The World Ain’t Fair

Reprinted from the Press and Journal

Things sure have changed since the late Bill Buckley wrote his classic “God and Man at Yale.” Back when the National Review founder’s jeremiad against academia’s entrenched liberalism first hit the scene, the enemy was godless collectivism.

As a young graduate, Buckley penned his scathing work to reveal the leftist ideology taught at America’s third-oldest university. His goal was to awaken Yale alumni to the fact that their proud alma mater no longer taught the principles of Christianity and moral law.

Nearly a half-century later, Buckley has failed in his crusade. Yale is still a hotbed for Keynesian economics and secular humanism. But the Ivy League University has gone further than instilling students with a love of big government. It has reached the end point of liberalism, becoming a coddle factory for overly sensitive undergrads.

This past Halloween, the country was forced to witness an Ivy League-level temper tantrum in New Haven, CT. Yale students, upon being told to not be so uptight about offensive costumes, went into a frenzy that would make a pampered preschooler blush.


Conservative boogeymen and the progressives who love them

I have an article over at The Daily Caller concerning the recent bouts of hysteria that have hit academia and the media.

This stuff is way, way bigger than college students being fragile babies, but Alexander correctly notes that, not for the lack of material, the media can’t seem to find an angle on it.

But it’s interesting to see the polemical contortions my favorite blogger had to tie himself into to save his article for polite society. He starts the blog post off with a caveat about how he started criticizing social justice back in 2010, saying that back then, only “wingnutty lesbianism-causes-witchcraft” circles bothered criticizing it.

He’s gesturing toward a quote made by Pat Robertson back in 1993, which has gotten lot of mileage since then as an example of a conservative being stupid.

“The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women,” the televangelist said. “It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”

It’s important to note that that happened once, decades ago. And before we even know what he’s talking about, Alexander has to reassure readers that he isn’t right-wing bigfoot, like he needs to do that to get dispensation to have an opinion on people who are at the intersection of crazy and fashionable.

The fact that it’s expected to have these caveats isn’t the fault of Alexander or any other particular writer. But it speaks to nature of our cultural assumptions and of the parameters that define these debates. We live in a culture that uncritically believes in right-wing boogeymen.

We saw it at Yale with the boogeymen that wanted to legitimate the oppression of students by refusing to crack down on Halloween costumes. Mizzou had a supposed shit-smearing Nazi boogeyman that led to someone acting like an injured soccer player and going on a multi-day hunger strike. And then we had to have otherwise reasonable people reassure us that might be looking at these instances of boogeyman hysteria with the wrong kind of critical eye.

Go check it out.

In the Republican debate Marco Rubio implied he would shoot down Russian jets over Syria

Last night during the Republican debate Marco Rubio and several other Republican candidates argued for a no fly zone over Syria. Part of the context of the no fly zone was standing up to Putin. Imagine this conversation between President Rubio (or Hillary or any of the candidates supporting a no fly zone) and Putin.

Rubio: Hi Putin, we’re going to establish a no fly zone in Syria

Putin: OK…?

Rubio: Please remove any air support you have been giving the Syrian Army. From now on, coordinate with American forces if you want to bomb ISIS

Putin: We will continue flying our planes

What does Rubio do? Does he threaten to shoot them down? Does he actually shoot down Russian planes? Does he back down? Rubio is leading in the prediction markets for the Republican nod. Hillary is leading for the Democratic nod. The people most likely to be president next year are saying they would enforce a no fly zone in Syria, implying they would shoot down Russian planes to do so. This should scare you.

Reclaiming the metaphysical battlefield

Dismayed by the Left’s continual series of cultural victories over the Right? Wondering what options are left to fight back, besides leaving the country?

I propose a battle strategy in my Taki’s Mag piece today. An excerpt:

As the U.S. succumbs to gender madness at home, unapologetic masculinity is taking off abroad. Russia’s strongman president Vladimir Putin openly trashes the moral relativism of the West while standing up for traditional values. China just eliminated its one-child-per-family policy in order to assuage its growing population of unmarried men. The Middle East is being overrun with an Islamic caliphate that practices Sharia law and encourages patriarchal family structure.

Our adversaries are proudly aligning themselves with patriarchy. Perhaps it’s time for the country that whipped the Nazis and put Soviet communism in the grave to rediscover its spine and get back to traditional gender roles.

So how do we begin to reverse the damage done by the left’s deranged view of biological reality?

The answer is easy: start being men and women again. Okay, you might say, but what does that mean, exactly?

Read the rest here. And make sure to read the comments. Some snarky interlocutors say I have no business giving manly advice when I resemble a metrosexual beta male – not an inaccurate observation!

Also check out my Taki’s piece from last week on why the government hates conservatives and wants them to drop dead. It’s a real pick-me-up!