If you want an in-depth breakdown of complex military strategy, I’m not your guy. But there are a few simple points from President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan yesterday that people are either misinterpreting or missing entirely, and when even a rube like me can see what’s wrong with your argument, you might have a problem. Don’t be consumed by tribalistic instincts to love or hate the speech, whether based on your feelings of Trump or of intervention in general.
To be clear, I’ve been tough on Trump many a time. The fact that I have to write that disclaimer any time I let him off the hook is silly and absurd, but whenever I don’t, I get accused of sycophancy. If that’s your game (you know who you are, Mr. Commenter), put away the venom and use your brain for a moment. Most of you are fair-minded, however, and I appreciate your hearing me out.
First off, we can’t blame Trump for the situation he inherited in the Middle East. I don’t care whose fault it was or what should have been done earlier, but to act like Trump has a simple decision to make in a war that predates his presidency by 16 years is unfair and unrealistic. As Steve Berman points out, Trump demonstrated on Monday that he feels the weight of his office on this issue. Trump has never served in the military, but he has 1) a tremendous amount of respect for those who do, perhaps his best quality, and 2) several generals on his staff that appear to be influencing his military strategy. This is excellent. Trump does not have the expertise to make decisions for Afghanistan alone. The fact that he seems to be involving Mattis, McMaster, and Kelly so heavily in this process is comforting. This sentiment materialized as one of my favorite lines from Trump’s speech: “micromanagement from Washington, D.C., does not win battles.” Let the generals do their jobs.
Many are quick to condemn the shipment of 4,000 additional troops, and maybe that’s not the best decision (I’m not the strategist, remember), but this is just an extension of the first point. That increase came at the request of Trump’s generals. When you’re the president, particularly one without military expertise, and your commanders ask for reinforcements, the correct answer is always: “I’ll get you those troops as soon as possible.”
Almost everyone is questioning, “Why didn’t Trump tell us the specifics of his plan?” I have a better question: why do you feel entitled to military intel? What does it benefit the American public to know every detail of the war effort? Would it not be detrimental to our own interests to broadcast how many troops will be deployed, when they’ll arrive, what vehicles they’ll use, which tactical strategies they’ll implement, and when they’re coming home? It is absolute lunacy and baffling naivety to support the spreading of this kind of intelligence so our enemies can hear it. They shouldn’t know what they’re up against; they shouldn’t be able to just wait us out. As Ronald Reagan expressed, “I don’t think we should’ve used nuclear weapons [in Vietnam], but I think the North Vietnamese should’ve gone to sleep every night worrying about whether we would.”
My favorite moments from the speech came in Trump’s iterations of this philosophy. We will finally be switching from Obama-style arbitrary timetables to real-life ground conditions, something for which I’ve been screaming for years. We won’t tell our enemies when and where we’re going to attack, “but attack we will.” This is excellent. I don’t need to know my military’s next move. All I need to know is that my military is in good hands, and with Trump putting his generals back at the helm, that seems to be the case.
For those upset that we’re not pulling out of Afghanistan entirely, come back to reality whenever suits you, preferably soon. We have no obligation nor plans to liberate the Middle East, but we have a vested interest in ensuring our country doesn’t fall prey to increased terror. Clintonian “hands off” strategies in the Middle East led to 9/11, and I’m not in favor of making that mistake again. Obama’s timetable approach led to more casualties than occurred under Bush. Clearly neither is the answer.
Finally, Trump’s speech differed from Bush’s rhetoric in one huge way: nation-building. We’ve learned that “the desire for freedom” does not, in fact, reside “in every human heart” — at least not enough to make them fight for it. Trump announced that we won’t be seeking to establish democracy abroad, and that’s terrific. We will inevitably build up Afghanistan somewhat as we seek to rid it of terror, but only insofar as it benefits our mutual interests. This is neither warhawking nor isolationism; it’s just smart.
Trump’s speech was excellent. I feel like I always do after a good first installment of a trilogy: that was a nice setup, now I hope they capitalize on it. The speech had a few minor problems, but those have been blown up by enough commentators, in my opinion. Someone needs to stand up for what Trump actually said, and this time, what he actually said was spot on.
Armbands and the death of a Republic
Weeks ago, David Hogg and sister unleashed a new fashion statement for “their” movement. In an attempt to copy Tinker, they want people to protest guns by wearing armbands. The movement Lauren Hogg named #ArmbandsForChange encourages students to make their own armbands, a surprising move for people trying to capitalize off of the death of 17 students. Nonetheless, obvious criticism and comparisons to Nazis ensued. However, I believe Corey Stallings of LowderWithCrowder correctly opined:
Before you break out the hammer and nails to crucify me, I’m not saying the kids are Literally Hitler. I’m not a leftist, after all. I know their choice of armbands wasn’t intentional and they’re copying student hippies from the ’60s. Alls I’m saying is a group of armband-clad underaged lemmings marching in the name of big government isn’t the best look, regardless of their intentions.
We have to cut the kids a little slack on account of their ignorance. They lack experience and perspective to understand the complexities of issues and their actions. This is also why it’s silly to let them dictate American gun policy.
Also, while we’re on the subject, armbands, ribbons, and other grandstanding gestures don’t do anything for a cause. I have yet to find a single person who changed their opinion on a subject thanks to a clever Twitter hashtag. Facts and stats, on the other hand, are effective like Michael Moore taste-testing for Little Debbie. Unfortunately for anti-gunners, facts to back up their views are scarce. Which leads to the dependence on superficial gestures. Which might accidentally harken back to Nazis.
The March for Gun Confiscation is taking place, and while armbands aren’t a major theme, the implications of what they are doing are a reason for liberty overs everywhere to brace themselves. Mob mentality has a dark history and they compare to a little-known story that impacted the Founding Fathers and our history.
Not Quite Tinker
Tinker v Des Moines is a case about students who wore armbands to protest US involvement in the Vietnam War. This is what 14-year-olds learn about in high school government classes. In both cases, armbands are involved; however major differences arise. For Tinker, it was a passive method of protest. Also, Tinker was honest, in that, the Vietnam War was the subject of protest. The Hoggs, on the other hand, want major gun restrictions, to put it mildly. They mask this intent under the guise of protesting gun violence, a term coined by gun control activist in the first place. The scopes of these respective protests are vastly different. One protested a poorly executed military misadventure, the other wants to take away the rights of the people. The latter is quite aggressive. As Stallings noted, the facts aren’t on their side, so they rely on emotions to dictate policy and conversation. They are trying to awaken the mob. Emotions and intimidation are all part of a time-tested means to advance evil. The Nazis are only one example. Another brought down a Republic.
The Dutch Republic
Before the United States, the Dutch had a Republic. The Dutch Republic was a maritime empire dominating Europe in world trade. They even had the world’s first stock market. But all the while, the Dutch struggled with a division between people who believed in the ideals of Republicanism(Republicans or Patriots) or the people who wanted a strong government leader, the Orangist (monarchists). The Orangist supported the royal family, in this instance is William III Orange.
There’s a Dutch movie on Netflix called Admiral. It’s about how Admiral de Ruyter, one of the greatest admirals of all time, navigated both war and politics. Better action scenes than most of Hollywood. It features Charles Dance, who played Tywin Lannister, so there’s some familiarity for the American viewer. Anyway, in the movie, the Orangists are depicted wearing Orange armbands.
In history, Charles II made an alliance with the French and German states to coordinate an invasion of the Netherlands. The statesmen, Johan de Witt had long helmed the Republic and through multiple wars, but this war would be his last. The alliance caused such a panic, that mob rule took over. The Orangists seized Cornelius de Witt, Johan’s brother for “conspiring against William III” and tortured him. Violent demonstrations took place. Johan de Witt resigned. He shortly after went to see his brother. The mob seized the de Witt brothers and tore them to pieces and hung the remains against a lamppost. 1672 was the fall of the Dutch Republic. Though the rise of William III, the eventual King of England following the Glorious Revolution, would save them from England, the Dutch Golden Age was ending.
The mistakes made in the Dutch Republic were noted by the Founding Fathers. In Federalist 20, James Madison critiques the Dutch Republic as an example of a failed confederacy. He refers to the United Netherlands as “imbecility in government.”
A weak constitution must necessarily terminate in dissolution, for want of proper powers, or the usurpation of powers requisite for the public safety. Whether the usurpation, when once begun, will stop at the salutary point, or go forward to the dangerous extreme, must depend on the contingencies of the moment. Tyranny has perhaps oftener grown out of the assumptions of power, called for, on pressing exigencies, by a defective constitution, than out of the full exercise of the largest constitutional authorities.
The Founding Fathers put in place many precautions in order to prevent mob rule or imbecility in government as seen in the Dutch Republic. The confederacy, Madison argues was ineffective, and true patriots know that we must avoid the same mistakes.
Hoggs and Mobs
Whether it be larger forces than them or they themselves, their actions are dangerous. I don’t believe that these kids were trying to be Nazis; however, they are, likely knowingly, trying to incite a mob. A more accurate comparison than Nazis would be that they are like the Orangists, wearing orange coincidentally used to protest guns every June. Their protest is assertive and, if successful, will strip the natural freedoms away from many Americans, especially their age group of young adults. Their armbands are identifiers in which they intend to normalize and further mobilize their calls to control the liberties of the people. Calls to actions such as theirs are why the people necessitate a Constitution empowering a unique federal system including a Bill of Rights to specifically protect freedoms from a single tyrant and or the tyranny of the majority.
The Republican Party showed its true stripes and proved David Leach right all along
Over the recent years, the Republican Party told us that they needed control of the House. We gave them the House. Then they said we can’t do enough, we need the Senate. We gave them the Senate. Then they said we can’t do enough, we need the White House. We gave them the White House, even if it’s not the guy they really want. But now I turn on the cable news shows and they now say they just have a thin majority.
Can’t the Republican Party make some kind of stand for little “r” republicanism? Can’t it make a stand for conservatism? Can’t it make a statement for liberty and freedom? Can’t it make a statement for private property rights? Now it needs a greater majority that is basically mission impossible, especially in the Senate.
The Republicans overwhelmingly have decided to pass the omnibus bill which was put together by mostly progressive thinking lobbyists. Granted military spending will be increased but so will the Democrats beloved welfare programs which they have used to buy votes and gain more and more power. It will also fund Planned Parenthood which in spite of shining a light on shady dealings of fetal parts, getting abortions for underage girls under the table, or not really investing in pap smears or mammograms as it will continue to keep its bread and butter of pre-born baby murder going strong. I really believe that many politicians in both parties benefit from abortion due to the fact they seek constant sexual flings with just about any women who work under them as these young ladies try to move ahead in their careers.
The Democrat leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer (his pet projects will be funded) are so happy with this bill cause they know it’s only going to benefit Washington and the Democrat Party.
For all the faults Rand Paul has, including his support of Mitch McConnell’s last election campaign, I have to give him credit for speaking out against this current omnibus spending bill. It seems that if the Democrats want to spend more of the taxpayers’ money it is wrong. If the Republicans want to spend more money, than its OK…but it should not be OK.
Sadly conservatives who have not read Pastor Cary Gordon’s book A Storm A Message A Bottle http://cornerstoneworld.org/a_storm_a_message_a_bottle or watched his series of animated videos Five Steps to Political Epiphany. http://stepstopoliticalepiphany.com/ They will protest the election by sitting out the election, instead of using their write-in blank or third-party options since Duverger’s law forbids this. Meanwhile, President Trump might go down in history as the bigger spender than Barack Obama.
We can’t any longer tolerate any more excuses. Regardless if the Democratic left is in the majority or the minority they seem to have the power in the elected branches of government. They have the power in other areas of government no matter what. We can learn one thing from Bible Believing Christians when they start a new denomination when breaking away from a bigger one. They break away because the establishment in the old denomination they are breaking away from does not repent of their apostasy (while claiming new truths). They try and they try, but like the American Gladiator event Pyramid they just knock you down to the bottom time and again. The only thing you can do is to let them go their way and let the denomination implode as they try to prevent themselves from being corrupted. It proves Jesus that you can’t put new wine into old sheepskins. We must do the same thing and try to build a new political party that can replace the Republican Party. The Grand Old Party is not what it used to be.
Mr. President, you made a choice and that choice was to sign the bill and take what you can get. Conservatives like myself, Steve Deace and Mark Levin, would call this a betrayal of conservatism. Either you are naive and/or a fool about politics, or a true charlatan, or something in between. All I can say to you is only “proved” that Benjamin Wilhelm and David Leach correct, and it will show in this midterm election. You screwed the pooch just as the Republican Party elite has done many times before, and the Democrats wildest dreams are coming true. Your likely impeachment, single-party rule, making America a new Soviet Union or some kind of socialist experiment, and the Democrats desire to become Demi-Gods.
Your own words you said on TV so many times are coming back right at you like a boomerang…”You’re Fired.”
Is Operation Choke Point making a comeback in GOP-controlled Washington?
In 2013, Barack Obama and Erik Holder launched Operation Choke Point (OCP), an initiative that gave the government power to use banks and financial institutions to track down companies suspected of illegal activities.
Like just about everything else Obama did, OCP violated our Constitutional rights—in this case the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure. However, the community organizer also used OCP as a back-door method to dismantle the Second Amendment by using banks to shut down “risky” gun dealers by denying them bank services. In 2015, a gun store in Hawkins, WI, was driven out of business when their bank closed their account simply because they sold guns and ammo.
Obama’s dictatorial use of OCP eventually led to the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (FICPA) in 2016. Co-sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, the bill was designed to prevent the government from using banking services to target firearms businesses for doing nothing more than exercising their Constitutional rights.
But all of this transpired before the high school shooting in Parkland, FL. Since that tragedy, there’s been a new willingness by Trump and the GOP to abandon liberty in the name of safety. Gone is the commitment to protect the Constitution. Instead, a Dianne Feinstein-friendly approach to chipping away at the Second Amendment has taken its place.
Already on record as being in favor of denying due process rights in order to seize our guns, Trump has joined hands with Republicrats, Trumplicans, and Democrats—sorry if that was being redundant—to advance a host of anti-Second Amendment schemes.
One such scheme is a proposal known as “Fix NICS.” Though supposedly an improvement to background checks, this bill is so flawed that it would give government the power to seize guns simply for having unpaid parking tickets. Bad news, right? That’s not the worst of it. Fix NICS is part of the new Omnibus bill to finance the government for the rest of the year.
Since we’re talking about gun control and finances once again, it looks like Operation Choke Point could be on the way back. Citigroup announced yesterday that they will cease doing business with firearms dealers unless they adopt a host of anti-gun proposals, such as not selling guns to anyone under 21.
According to Citigroup’s head of global public affairs, Ed Skyler, this new policy isn’t intended to “rid the world of firearms.” However, it should be noted that Skyler served under former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for eight years. As you’re probably aware, Bloomberg is the founder of Everytown for Gun Safety, a major player in the anti-Second Amendment movement.
Will Trump and the GOP keep OCP from making a return? Will they stop people like Bloomberg? Or will they cave to anti-gun hysteria and welcome them into their Constitution-killing fold. Based on recent history, the answer to these questions aren’t looking too good.
Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.