Hat Tip: Judy Weddle
By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The conclusions of a high-level group of military men and legal scholars examining the details of last year’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas run counter to many of the media assertions made at the time. The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) report’s authors concluded at a recent event I attended that Hamas effectively used an “information campaign” during the Gaza War to convince the public that it was the victim, not the aggressor, causing Israel to adopt rules of engagement that may continue to bind the hands of policymakers for future wars.
“Hamas thinks they won this thing, and a lot of people in the world think Israel lost this thing, and a lot of people in the world think the Israelis were the aggressors and Hamas was the aggressed upon—and they had the narrative,” said Retired General Charles Wald, former Deputy Commander of United States European Command.
To win a military battle is to save lives by reestablishing peace. But the peace won by the Israelis is unstable if the aggressors continue to believe that their attacks secured them a public relations victory.
The media bear some responsibility for this outcome. As I pointed out last July, during the conflict, “The Washington Post and CNN have been reporting on the Palestinian death toll in a causal vacuum.”
“What should be reported is that the deaths are the responsibility of Hamas, which is committing the double war crime of targeting civilians with their missiles, and using their women and children as human shields,” I wrote. Similarly, these experts found, after examining primary source material and meeting with “senior Israeli, Palestinian and United Nations (U.N.) officials,” the central issue should not have been the presence of civilian casualties, but who was responsible for these deaths. Israel went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties and was very casualty aware, South Texas College of Law Professor Geoffrey Corn argued.
Professor Corn said he thought the report “does a wonderful job of highlighting” the difficulties of confronting an enemy who “views your compliance with the law or your commitment to comply with the law, as a tactical and strategic enabler for its own objectives.”
When examined in the context of responsibility, it is more than clear who bore the blame for the disproportionate number of casualties on the Palestinian side. The responsibility lies with Hamas, which used civilians as human shields, and was attempting to kill Israeli civilians.
The media were made aware of this evidence during the Gaza War, but ignored it because such conclusions didn’t fit their own preconceived narrative about this conflict.
These experts conclude that Hamas adeptly manipulated the international community as part of an information campaign to exert pressure on the Israelis for attacking Hamas at all, even if it originated as self-defense. “And it was interesting to me that it was almost as if the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] was fighting a combat campaign with a supporting information effort, whereas, for Hamas, they were fighting an information campaign that was enabled by military operations,” said Retired U.S. Army Major General Michael Jones, Former Chief of Staff at U.S. Central Command.
He suggested that Hamas adeptly used social media to get its message out while sending different messages to Western and Middle Eastern audiences. But it was also the mainstream media that were taken in by these claims, spreading Hamas’ assertions far and wide.
For example, as I previously noted, the civilian casualty numbers fed to the media came from the Gaza Health Ministry, historically run by Hamas, or the United Nations, which was partially relying on this ministry’s numbers. In other words, the media allowed one side of the conflict to dominate its headlines by controlling and feeding them data about the casualties.
At the event I raised the question of why the media weren’t giving the same treatment to the war against ISIS, in terms of focusing on civilian casualties, and these experts made some revealing conclusions.
Jones noted that you have to be in Iraq to see the collateral damage against ISIS, and the “history of western journalists with ISIS is not good.” In other words, since the media have experienced their own casualties they may be more hesitant to champion this particular set of aggressors.
Jones found that the Israeli military seemed to have the attitude “almost as if they’d given up on the information domain, feeling having been treated unfairly for so long it was almost an attitude of why bother, we know that people have written this story before they’ve gotten the facts, and that kind of thing.” But, he concluded, you still have to fight.
There are reliable reports that very little reconstruction is taking place in Gaza, largely because of a deadlock between Fatah, which controls the West Bank, and Hamas, which controls Gaza. Hamas is rebuilding its tunnels, and rockets, apparently in preparation to go to war with Israel again. In the meantime, the false media narrative continues in The New York Times this week through a column by Nicholas Kristof, who puts most of the blame for the Gazan’s plight on Israel. Not completely, but he leaves little doubt how he feels about it. But CAMERA, the pro-Israel media watchdog, takes Kristof to task for the many facts that he ignores, including significant efforts Israel has made to help alleviate the suffering in Gaza.
Given the status of our corrupt, biased media on this issue, it may be necessary for Israel to engage more aggressively in the information campaign by taking its message directly to the people and largely circumvent the mainstream media.
From the Genius of The Right Planet
The Council has spoken, the votes have been cast and the results are in for this week’s Watcher’s Council match-up.
One of the critical issues that we have to confront is illegal immigration, because this is a multi-headed Hydra that affects our economy, our health care, our education systems, our national security and also our local criminality. – Allen West
Illegal immigrants are to immigration what shoplifters are to shopping. – Jerry Agar
In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people. – President Theodore Roosevelt
A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation. – President Ronald Reagan
This week’s winning essay, The Right Planet’s – A Strong Warning from Trevor Loudon on Illegal Amnesty, is an in-depth look at amnesty for illegal aliens, the radical roots of many of its activists and how it is being used as a tool to subvert the basic fabric of the country. Here’s a slice:
For the past three years, Trevor Loudon, author of the book “Barack Obama and the Enemies Within,” has been trying to warn Americans about the Marxist takeover of the Democratic Party. If you listen to the video above, you can hear Trevor is losing his voice from all the rallies he’s been attending lately. He is trying, with every fiber in his being, to warn Americans of the dire consequences of ignoring the ominous slide toward pure socialism occurring now in the American body politic.
A little while back I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down and talking to Trevor Loudon at length when he visited Indianapolis. Many of the points he is making in his presentation to the Leadership Institute were the same ones he made during his visit to Indy.
I want to focus on some key points regarding illegal immigration Trevor made in his presentation.
Before 1995, the AFL-CIO labor union was lead by alleged anti-communists like Lane Kirkland and George Meany. But, in 1995, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and the Gramcsiist communists kicked out Lane Kirkland, replacing him with DSA member John Sweeney. Sweeney is currently President Emeritus of the AFL-CIO. He was president of the organization for four terms, from 1995 to 2009. Richard L. Trumka is the current AFL-CIO President.
The radical leftists took over every major labor union in the country, and purged the Democratic Party of all the moderates, dixiecrats, centrists and bluedog democrats—with Sen. Joe Lieberman being the last to go.
Today, there is not a single policy embraced by the Democratic Party that can be distinguished from the platform of the Communist Party USA or the Democratic Socialists of America. This is full-on Marxism-Leninism, ladies and gentlemen. I have been warning about this for years—Trevor, even longer. Now we have a situation where some twenty-thousand Marxists own the unions, and the unions own the Democratic Party. It was Vladimir Lenin who once wrote that the labor unions are “the transmission belts from the Communist Party to the masses.”
Trevor mentioned some key individuals worth noting in his presentation that have been major driving forces behind the “immigration reform” movement (i.e. amnesty) in the United States.
The first organized effort to bring Latinos into the Democratic Party started with hardcore communist Bert Corona in the 1950’s. It was Corona who set up the Viva Kennedy clubs that, for the first time, brought large numbers of Mexican-Americans into a Presidential campaign.
The former mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa—a hardcore Marxist, who cut sugar cane in Cuba for the Castro brothers—turned L.A. into a sanctuary city, and forbade the LAPD from enforcing immigration. The illegals flooded into California by the hundreds of thousands.
Communist Party supporter, and former head of the California senate, Gil Cedillo, pushed through the DREAM Act in California about three years ago, giving so-called “rights” to the children of illegal immigrants—euphemistically called “undocumented workers.”
More at the link.
In our non-Council category, the winner was Mark Steyn with The Enemy Of My Enemy submitted by The Noisy Room. This is Steyn’s take on Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress… and as usual with Steyn, he gets to the heart of the matter with his customary wit and brilliance. Do read it.
Here are this week’s full results. Only Rhymes With Right was unable to vote this week, but was not subject to the usual 2/3 vote penalty for not voting:
- *First place with 3 1/3 votes! – The Right Planet – A Strong Warning from Trevor Loudon on Illegal Amnesty
- Second place with 2 2/3 votes – The Noisy Room – Russia, the Caliphate and the Shadow of World War III
- Third place with 1 2/3 votes – Joshuapundit – Disgracing ‘The Spirit Of Selma’
- Fourth place with 1 1/3 votes – The Independent Sentinel – Shocker! What Barack Obama Doesn’t Know a Thing About
- Fifth place *t* with 1 vote – Nice Deb – US Backed Islamist Reportedly Now Leads ISIS in Libya
- Fifth place *t* with 1 vote – Bookworm Room – Getting a Progressive to yes on conservative ideas
- Sixth place with 2/3 vote – VA Right! – Justice Kennedy in King vs Burwell: Are State Exchanges really just Coercion?
- Seventh place with 1/3 vote – The Razor – Listening Is Still A Virtue
- *First place with 2 votes! – Mark Steyn – The Enemy Of My Enemy submitted by The Noisy Room
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Victor Davis Hanson – Israel, Jews, and the Obama Administration submitted by Joshuapundit
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Wolf Howling – The National Security Disaster That Is The Obama Administration submitted by Nice Deb
- Second place *t* with 1 2/3 votes – Politically Short – None Dare Call It Treason submitted by The Right Planet
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – FrontPage Mag – Obama Using the ‘I’m Completely Ignorant of the Internet’ Defense submitted by The Independent Sentinel
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – The National Interest – Confirmed: China Is Building 2nd Aircraft Carrier submitted by GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – Reason.Com – How to Count the Defensive Use of Guns submitted by The Razor
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – Ordinary Times – No, Democracy Is Not ‘Doomed’ submitted by The Glittering Eye
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – Kurt Schlichter – Let’s Destroy Liberal Academia submitted by The Watcher
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – Hot Air – Ted Cruz stands alone after the King Corn summit submitted by Bookworm Room
- Third place *t* with 2/3 vote – Seraphic Secret – Purim: The Non-Progressive Jewish Holiday
- Fourth place *t* with 1/3 vote – Watts Up With That – The drawn-out Mann lawsuit: Science is not taking a stand for Michael Mann submitted by VA Right!
See you next week!
Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum and every Tuesday morning, when we reveal the week’s nominees for Weasel of the Week!
And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council and the results are posted on Friday morning.
It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere and you won’t want to miss it… or any of the other fantabulous Watcher’s Council content.
By: Benjamin Weingarten
Conservatives are understandably depressed in the wake of Speaker Boehner and the Republican-controlled Congress’ predictable caving on executive amnesty.
Let me stop right there by emphasizing that I only said conservatives. Were our republic healthy, every single American would be depressed that President Obama’s amnesty—which on dozens of occasions he said he did not have the authority to enforce—will continue apace to the benefit of lawbreakers at the expense of American citizens.
Americans would be further demoralized at the notion that our president politicized the sovereignty of our nation represented by failing to protect its borders, all in a transparent attempt to win a permanent Democratic majority—which the shortsighted Republican establishment seem perfectly fine with, since they want immigration and the idea of “those racist Republicans” to become non-issues.
Some are lamenting the cowardice of our representatives, and to that I quote a former NFL Coach: “They are who we thought they were!”
I have even seen one article arguing that the Constitution itself has failed. But the Constitution and our Founders did not fail. Human nature has not changed between 1787 and 2015. There were undoubtedly plenty of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century booze-swilling, cigar-smoking iterations of John Boehner lumbering around Capitol Hill.
What has changed is the size and scope of government, the number and composition of people who are voting, and the public’s general indifference to and acceptance of the greed, graft, lying, and all matter of corruption that have become commonplace in public life. There is also a heck of a lot more bread and circuses to keep us fat, happy, and distracted from what our supposed leaders are doing.
Government Is Too Big to Control
Entitlement reform is not going to capture the imagination of the American people like a llama chase or the color of a dress. And it bears noting that many of the Founders themselves were involved in sordid activities, and even willing to accept a king.
But that king’s powers would have looked downright puny compared to those President Obama wields today; and what corrupt politicians did way back when feels less offensive than the systemic abuse and political malpractice on display now, in part because the nation our founders—exceptional citizen legislators—entrusted us with was substantially smaller and less intrusive.
Today, when you have hundreds of agencies and millions of pages of laws, when the federal government is among the largest employers in the world, hyper-regulating almost every aspect of our society, creating arcane and byzantine rules designed to reward one set of constituents or another over and above the American people, not to mention the rule makers, rule interpreters and compliance officers themselves—this naturally creates not only an unwieldy and unaccountable federal government, but one that will invite and reward people willing to pull the kinds of shenanigans we see today.
To the percentage of the public that is actually informed as to what is going on in government, there are simply too many egregious things occurring on a daily basis, not to mention again the Siren song of bread and circuses, for anyone to keep track of it all or know where to focus one’s energies and pitchforks.
The Failure Is Our Fault
What defines an informed voter itself is of course open to interpretation, given what the majority of people are taught in our hallowed Democrat-controlled community organizing institutions, also known as schools; and given that one can read The New York Times, Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Vox, and watch “The Daily Show” each day to qualify as informed by today’s standards, without knowing anything about what the other half of the country thinks and believes.
On amnesty specifically, as a lame-duck president without control of either house of Congress, Barack Obama is completely unchained, simply running roughshod over our laws. That a supposed constitutional scholar is rendering the system of checks and balances and separation of powers meaningless; that the executive branch is usurping the legislative branch, while congressmen say one thing and stand by idly doing another, is not a reflection that the Constitution or founders failed.
Rather, these travesties reflect that the American people are failing the founders.
We elected Barack Obama twice, in spite of his words, actions, and associations, which have unsurprisingly led to these disastrous six-plus years. The presidents who preceded him were not much better, though no one would have posed the question of them as Mark Steyn recently dared: “If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?”
We elected the congressmen who with rare exceptions (see Lee, Sen. Mike) continue to stand by while Rome burns, and who are derelict in their duty to defend and protect the Constitution, including against its brazen violator who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Welfare Versus Defense: Who Wins?
We have failed to persuasively enough make the case that we cannot thrive as a nation just by slowing government’s rate of growth and hiring smarter technocrats, but must literally be slashing the federal budget by 50 percent, abolishing agencies en masse, allowing Americans to opt out of the welfare state (including programs which can only pay my generation back in devalued dollars like Social Security), ensuring that we have not small deficits but massive surpluses to pay down our debt so the interest alone does not consume all the money we pay to the feds each year, and demanding a massive devolution of power back to the states and the people where it rightfully belongs.
And if our fellow Americans choose to live in socialist basket-case states, they are free to do so without reaching into your and my pockets at the point of a gun.
At root and underlying all of these issues, we have allowed the Left to control the media, academia, and the rest of America’s key cultural institutions, such that the vast majority of our fellow citizens are reflexively progressive and cannot even conceive of the types of changes I just mentioned. This is how the radical, morally and economically bankrupting leftist policies can be considered mainstream, while freedom can be considered fascistic.
This inherent progressivism narrowly underlies Republican acquiescence to the growing leviathan, and dictates the type of leaders that America broadly finds palatable, which has led us to this perilous place in our history in which all of our worst enemies are ascendant, while we are fast on the road to bankruptcy and serfdom, with our only choice between welfare and defense.
When entitlements and our armed forces are sitting side by side on the chopping block, which do you think a war-weary, economically pummeled American public is going to choose?
We Need a New Generation of Savvy Statesmen
No, the Constitution hasn’t failed, and our founders haven’t failed. We the people have failed during the hundred-year progressive march. So now we are burdened with the doubly difficult task of trying to win the long game of culture and the short game of politics.
I have much more faith in the latter over the former—that over time the chances are greater that we develop the strategy and tactics to beat an establishment incumbent class than win America’s cherished cultural institutions, which form our national soul.
Our national soul determines whether the Constitution is a piece of parchment or enshrines principles like equal rights for all and special privileges for none, that law resides above man, that men are not angels and that we must compel government’s non-angels to control themselves, and that the most important thing in America is protecting the rights of the minority, the most important of which is the individual.
And the inspiration for our national soul should reside not in our Constitution but in the Declaration of Independence that breathes life into it, a majestic document that we have ignored for far too long.
Don’t Blame Boehner—Blame Us
In any event, we the people have all the leverage in the world. The Boehners and Mitch McConnells will listen to us when the political cost of siding with the Chamber of Commerce is so great that their political lives depend on it.
Using the power of the purse as a lever to control the president, or threatening let alone bringing forth articles of impeachment are political remedies, and they are not being used not only because the Republican establishment that makes up the majority of the majority in Congress are risk-averse and often spineless, but because the majority of the American people are not demanding it.
That impeachment brings howls of racism alone shows a failure of our culture to separate the original sin of slavery from the demerits of the job done by this president, to separate identity politics from the individual.
Until and unless we devote all of our efforts to winning the long and short games with a constant, strategic, relentless full-court press, we are going to see amnesties ad nauseum, Obamacare not only not abolished but metastasizing, the federal budget and debt continue skyrocketing, comparatively small things like the Export-Import Bank chugging along and, yes, the welfare state expanding and our defenses shrinking while Islamic supremacists, Russia, China, and their proxies grow ever-bolder and more confidently bellicose.
We the people have much work to do if we want to keep any semblance of our republic, as Benjamin Franklin challenged us to do. And we hold the power in our hands.
But do we have the will and capability to exert it?
Ben Weingarten (@bhweingarten) is publishing manager and editor of TheBlaze Books. Ben is a graduate of Columbia University, where he majored in economics-political science and contributed to outlets including the Breitbart sites and the Ludwig von Mises Institute.
“I was shocked,” expressed Raphael Lemkin, the architect of the term “genocide”. “Why is a man punished when he kills another man? Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of a single individual?”
As a teen, Lemkin had heard news reports of the mass slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman soldiers, and was astonished at the scale of the horror he heard about. Lemkin would later lose 49 members of his family during the Holocaust, and coined the word “genocide” to describe the attempt to exterminate the Jews as a people, drawing on his knowledge of what happened to the Armenians beforehand.
Hitler himself infamously retorted “Who remembers the Armenians?” before he launched his plan to exterminate Europe’s Jews.
From 1915 until 1917, Ottoman authorities committed massacre upon massacre against ethnic Armenians within their crumbling empire. Armenians were variously tortured, raped, drowned, drugged, burned alive and taken on death marches into the Syrian desert, as 1.5 million Armenians perished.
Since then, the successor to the Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey, has embarked upon a cynical campaign of denying the Ottomans ever committed genocide. Turkey is a NATO member state, as well as a prospective EU member nation. The West views Turkey as vital for security in the Middle East; a fact which Turkey exploits ruthlessly, to blackmail its allies never to recognise the Armenian Genocide for what it was.
Israel too has been paralysed by Turkish threats, so that it too refuses to refer to the Armenian Holocaust by its proper name. As a Likud politician, Reuven Rivlin called for Israeli recognition of the genocide, but when he became President of the state, Rivlin quietly dropped this stance. Something is rotten when the closer you get to the top in Israel, the less you can speak about the Armenian Medz Yeghern that preceded the Jewish Shoah.
Article II of the Genocide Convention of 1948 defines genocide as; killing, causing harm, inflicting harsh conditions, preventing births within that ethnic group, and forcibly moving the group – all of which were well documented in sources from the time. Diplomats, journalists and missionaries attested to Ottoman crimes against the Armenians.
When Western officials pleaded with the Ottomans to stop their ongoing brutality, the Grand Vizier Talaat Pisha told the American Ambassador Henry Mortgentheau: “Let us do to these Christians as we please.”
Today in Israel, the Christian Empowerment Council is calling for the Jewish State to finally recognise the Armenian Genocide. Father Gabriel Naddaf says that Israel should do so urgently:
“What happened to the Armenians has many similarities to what happened to the Jews under the Nazis. Armenians and Jews must stand together, on the right side of history, as voices of evil try to deny the crimes of the past.”
Father Naddaf also stated “Before the Armenian genocide, the Ottomans committed genocide against the Greeks and against the Assyrians too. What did the Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians have in common? They were all hated as Christians by the Ottomans. But Israel is a beacon of hope for Christians today, so we should acknowledge where anti-Christian hatred has led to in the past.”
Father Naddaf added a word of warning: “Turkey is no friend to Israel. Hamas arranged to murder 3 teenagers last summer from their office in Turkey. Not Armenia! We must do justice to the Armenian people and to the indigenous Christians of the Jewish state. This way, we stop a future Hitler asking “Who remembers the Armenians?”