‘Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging’: Junger’s must-read explains why America is tearing itself apart

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Roughly 17 years ago I exited the military after a stint as a mechanized infantryman in the U.S. Army. Even though the September 11, 2001, terror attacks and the nation’s “long war” had not yet begun, I found myself having a difficult time with the transition to civilian life. Understanding why I missed my old platoon — and why I felt a growing fear and sadness for the country I loved — took years (and a blog like this) to figure out, but author and former war reporter Sebastian Junger articulates it all in his must-read book Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging.

Americans who have not lived under a rock for the past 20 years have witnessed the slow-motion implosion of our culture.

  • Cable news pundits obsessively talk of “red states” and “blue states.”
  • The politics of personal destruction reigns supreme.
  • Saying “all lives matter” is interpreted in a Twilight Zone-ish twist by millions of people as somehow racist.
  • Americans watch carefully constructed social-media feeds that tell them all Republicans are the equivalent of Darth Vader, or that all Democrats have shrines to Fidel Castro in their bedroom.

In short, the modern world is deficient in something that is causing tens-of-millions of people to feel isolated, alone, and empty. The void is filled with confusion, and that in turn fuels the kind of anger and hate that was the hallmark of the 2016 election cycle.

Why is it that many soldiers and civilians who have lived through war sometimes get nostalgic for it?

What are the consequences for society when a person “living in a modern city or suburb can, for the first time in history, go through an entire day — or an entire life — mostly encountering complete strangers”?

Why are we often surrounded by others, yet “feel deeply, dangerously alone”?

One of the answers can be found in tribal societies. And no, your friendly neighborhood blogger is not saying Native Americans should have won the clash of civilizations at our nation’s inception. I am merely saying, like Mr. Junger, that we can learn from their ability to provide “the three pillars of self-determination — autonomy, competence, and community.”

Mr. Junger writes:

“After World War II, many Londoners claimed to miss the exciting and perilous days of the Blitz. (“I wouldn’t mind having an evening like it, say, once a week — ordinarily there’s no excitement,” one man commented to Mass-Observation about the air raids), and the war that is missed doesn’t even have to be a shooting war: “I am a survivor of the AIDS epidemic,” an American man wrote in 2014 on the comment board of an online lecture about war. “Now that AIDS is no longer a death sentence, I must admit that I miss those days of extreme brotherhood…which led to deep emotions and understandings that are above anything I have felt since the plague years.”

What people miss presumably isn’t danger or loss but the unity that these things often engender. There are obvious stresses on a person in a group, but there may be even greater stresses on a person in isolation, so during disasters there is a net gain in well-being. Most primates, including humans, are intensely social, and there are very few instances of lone primates surviving in the wild. …

Whatever the technological advances of modern society — and they’re near miraculous — the individualized lifestyles that those technologies spawn seem to be deeply brutalizing to the human spirit.” — (Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging (New York: Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2016), 92-93.

Tribe covers issues like PTSD, depression, and anxiety among combat veterans, but it would be a big mistake to solely think of it as a book for the military community. It is much more than that, because it is a blueprint for getting the nation on a path to cultural healing.

The author continues:

“The eternal argument over so-called entitlement programs — and, more broadly, over liberal and conservative thought — will never be resolved because each side represents an ancient and absolutely essential component of our evolutionary past.

So how do you unify a secure, wealthy country that has sunk into a zero-sum political game with itself? How do you make veterans feel that they are returning to a cohesive society that was worth fighting for in the first place? […] I put the question to Rachel Yehuda of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. …

“if you want to make a society work, then you don’t keep underscoring the places where you’re different — you underscore your shared humanity,” she told me. “I’m appalled by how much people focus on differences. Why are you focusing on how different you are from one another, and not on the things that unite us?” […]

Reviling people you share a combat outpost with is an incredibly stupid thing to do, and public figures who imagine their nation isn’t, potentially, one huge combat outpost are deluding themselves. (127-128).

Tribe is by no means “the” answer to the nation’s deep-seated cultural problems, but it is a significant piece of the puzzle. To get a good look at the big picture, I suggest pairing Mr. Junger’s quick-read with George Weigel’s Letters to a Young Catholic. Each book provides a template for transcending dead-end partisan bickering, and in turn getting America efficiently focused on  becoming a more-perfect union.

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Red Platoon: Clinton Romesha’s combat memoir will floor you. Buy it — now

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One of the rarest things on earth is the perfect blending between a warrior and a scholar. To meet such a man or to read his wisdom on the written page is truly a blessing, which is why I search … and search … and search for those moments. It is safe to say that Clinton Romesha, Medal of Honor recipient and author of Red Platoon, unequivocally belongs in that elite group. His memoir is exquisitely written, which feels somewhat odd to say given the subject matter.

For those who are unfamiliar with Mr. Romesha’s story — or, rather, the story of the men deployed to Combat Outpost (COP) Keating in Afghanistan on Oct. 3, 2009 — it is the stuff of legend. The former Staff Sergeant and his comrades were told to man an outpost that was in every way imaginable a death trap, and then when all their worst fears came true the majority of them found a way to survive.

Here is an excerpt that in many ways sums up what the book is about:

In 1958, a soldier named J. Glenn Gray wrote a book about soldiers in combat called The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle. Gray, who was drafted into the army as a private in May 1941, was discharged as a second lieutenant in October 1945 after having seen fighting in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. His book, which is both obscure and revered, touches on something that would later strike me as relevant to what was now unfolding at Keating as our counterassault came in danger of unraveling.

Gray wrote with elegance and precision about how the essence of combat basically boils down to an exchange of trust between two men — or two groups of men — each of whom are providing support by fire for the other. This simple agreement — you move while I shoot at the guys who are trying to kill you, then I will move while you shoot at the guys who are trying to kill me — depends on a willingness to place one’s life into the hands of someone else while in turn taking responsibility for that person’s life in your own hands. When this pact is executed well, it is not only extraordinarily effective but also tends to create a bond between men who enter into it that may stand as the most powerful connection they will ever experience to another human being.

There is, however, one thing that Gray doesn’t explore in his book, which is what can happen when one of the two parties who are supposed to be working in tandem fails — for whatever reason, legitimate or not — to keep his end of the deal. That was what appeared to be taking place right then with Hill’s machine-gun team.” — Clinton Romesha, Red Platoon (New York, Penguin Random House LLC, 2016), 243-244.

I cannot say enough good things about this book. It seems awkward to call a wartime memoir “flawless” (How does one give glowing reviews to true story where men died gruesome deaths without seeming inconsiderate or detached?), but that seems to be the best adjective to use.

Red Platoon is powerful, organized, thrilling, poignant, inspirational and educational all at the same time. It is intelligent, but relatable to a wide audience. It is honest, but respectful to all Americans involved — regardless of how they handled themselves on the battlefield.

In short, buy the book. It is awesome, and probably something I will come back to for many years to come.

RELATED: ‘Black Hawk Down’: Read the book because the movie can never do the men who died justice

‘Black Hawk Down’: Read the book because the movie can never do the men who died justice

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If you ask most people what they think of Black Hawk Down, then the vast majority of the time the response you’ll get will probably be something along the lines of, “Good movie.” That is understandable, given that it was a blockbuster film in 2001 produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Ridley Scott.

If you are like me, then perhaps you’ve always had an itch regarding the movie and, more importantly, the event — the downing of two MH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and the subsequent deaths of 18 American soldiers Oct. 3-4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia.

Sure, it made for a night out at the theater, but perhaps you’ve felt that it was somehow insulting to only know the tale through its Bruckheimerization.

As regular readers of this blog know, I have been working on a book in my spare time that will eventually see the light of day (we’re at the artwork stage now, so hang tight!). There are parts of the novel that required knowledge of Task Force Ranger, and at some point I admitted to myself that it would be literary heresy to not read Mark Bowden’s masterpiece to assist with authenticity. It is safe to say that there probably is not a more comprehensive retelling of the ill-fated attempt to capture two top lieutenants of a Somali warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid.

And if you do not think any of this is still relevant, then I suggest you start reading The New York Times. The paper reported Sunday in a piece titled In Somalia, U.S. Escalates a Shadow War:

The Obama administration has intensified a clandestine war in Somalia over the past year, using Special Operations troops, airstrikes, private contractors and African allies in an escalating campaign against Islamist militants in the anarchic Horn of Africa nation.

Hundreds of American troops now rotate through makeshift bases in Somalia, the largest military presence since the United States pulled out of the country after the “Black Hawk Down” battle in 1993. …

In March, an American airstrike killed more than 150 Shabab fighters at what military officials called a “graduation ceremony,” one of the single deadliest American airstrikes in any country in recent years. But an airstrike last month killed more than a dozen Somali government soldiers, who were American allies against the Shabab.

Outraged Somali officials said the Americans had been duped by clan rivals and fed bad intelligence, laying bare the complexities of waging a shadow war in Somalia. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter said the Pentagon was investigating the strike.

Who, exactly, are we fighting? Why are we there? Should we be there?

Mr. Bowden’s book provides many of the answers, which unfortunately raise more questions:

“In books and movies when a soldier shot a man for the first time he went through a moment of soul searching. Waddell didn’t give it a second thought. He just reacted. he thought the man was dead. He had just folded. Startled by Waddell’s shot, Nelson hadn’t seen the man drop. Waddell pointed to where he had fallen and the machine gunner stood up, lifted his big gun, and pumped a few more rounds into the man’s body to make sure. Then they both ran for better cover.

They found it behind a burned out-car. Peering out from underneath toward the north now, Nelson saw a Somali with a gun lying prone on the street between two kneeling women. The shooter had the barrel of this weapon between the women’s legs, and there were four children actually sitting on him. He was completely shielded in noncombatants, taking full cynical advantage of the Americans’ decency.

“Check it out, John,” he told Waddell, who scooted over for a look.

“What do you want to do?” Waddell asked.

“I can’t get that guy through those people.”

So Nelson threw a flashbang, and the group fled so fast the man left his gun in the dirt.” — Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down (New York: Grove Press, 1999), 46.

If you want to know what it’s like to have an entire city honed in on killing you and those you hold dear, then I suggest reading Black Hawk Down. The book can be a bit arduous at times — it’s like trying to eat a steak the size of your head — but there is no escaping it because a.) Mr. Bowden leaves no stone unturned, and b.) the experience for the men on the ground was grueling.

Perhaps the best endorsement of the book that I can give is this: I did not know much about the author before picking up the book, and was surprised to find out he is not a veteran. He’s just a reporter who did a damn good job telling a story.

Black Hawk Down is a book about courage and fear, the nature of war, success and failure on the battlefield, and most importantly the experiences of the men who fought valiantly to save one another in situation that was so surreal that it seem like “a movie.”

 It was not a movie — it happened — which is why those who care about national defense issues should read it sooner rather than later.

Kudos to Mr. Bowden for writing a book that will be read by military men and women for generations to come.

FBI shreds credibility with Hillary Clinton document dump before holiday weekend; NYTs wonders why Americans love WikiLeaks

Hillary Clinton CNN

It was only one month ago that FBI Director James Comey stepped in front of television cameras and raked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the coals for her “extremely careless” handling of the nation’s most sensitive documents — before stating the bizarre conclusion that no prosecution was warranted. In short, Mr. Comey confirmed that the rule of law in the U.S. is a joke — Washington “elites” really are above the law.

Friday’s document dump by the FBIa political move right before Labor Day weekend to minimize the fallout to a presidential candidate — demolishes whatever credibility the agency had left and demonstrates why millions of Americans do not care where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange gets his information from.

CNN reported Friday:

Washington (CNN)Hillary Clinton repeatedly told the FBI she couldn’t recall key details and events related to classified information procedures, according to notes the bureau released Friday of its July interview with the Democratic presidential nominee, along with a report on its investigation into her private email server.

Clinton told the FBI she “could not recall any briefing or training by State related to the retention of federal records or handling classified information,” according to the bureau’s notes of their interview with Clinton. The documents indicate Clinton told investigators she either does not “recall” or “remember” at least 39 times — often in response to questions about process, potential training or the content of specific emails.

What the network chose not to mention is that Mrs. Clinton literally linked her inability to recall operational security training to a concussion she suffered during a fall in 2012. The entire 58 pages are worth reading because they make clear — especially when coupled with Mr. Comey’s public statements — that Mrs. Clinton would be sitting in a jail cell if she had a different last name.

When the highest reaches of the FBI are no longer independent and it blatantly behaves as as political pawn, then America is in dire straits. I warned readers in April 2011 that Donald Trump was a canary in the mineshaft, and now he is the 2016 Republican presidential nominee. That is important because it is only when one understands how bad of a predicament we are in that he or she can put the acceptance of WikiLeaks into proper perspective.

Wikileaks Julian Assange

The New York Times wants Americans to shun Julian Assange because they see him as a tool of Russian President Vladimir Putin:

The newspaper wrote Aug. 31:

From the outset of WikiLeaks, Mr. Assange said he was motivated by a desire to use “cryptography to protect human rights,” and would focus on authoritarian governments like Russia’s.

But a New York Times examination of WikiLeaks’ activities during Mr. Assange’s years in exile found a different pattern: Whether by conviction, convenience or coincidence, WikiLeaks’ document releases, along with many of Mr. Assange’s statements, have often benefited Russia, at the expense of the West.

Among United States officials, the emerging consensus is that Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks probably have no direct ties to Russian intelligence services. But they say that, at least in the case of the Democrats’ emails, Moscow knew it had a sympathetic outlet in WikiLeaks, where intermediaries could drop pilfered documents in the group’s anonymized digital inbox.

In an interview on Wednesday with The Times, Mr. Assange said Mrs. Clinton and the Democrats were “whipping up a neo-McCarthyist hysteria about Russia.” There is “no concrete evidence” that what WikiLeaks publishes comes from intelligence agencies, he said, even as he indicated that he would happily accept such material.

Let us ask the following question about Mr. Assange by ironically quoting Hillary Clinton: “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

The Obama administration as a whole, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the FBI have obliterated the rule of law to protect Mrs. Clinton. Countless media outlets downplay or ignore the story, and other cultural institutions (e.g., academia, the entertainment industry), look the other way as corruption consumes us.

Does it really matter if WikiLeaks gets its information from Russia if it is one of the few organizations willing to expose corruption?

Vladimir Putin made this very same point in an interview with Bloomberg News on Friday — again, on the same day the FBI did whatever it could to protect Hillary Clinton.

Putin

The Russian president said September 2:

“Listen, does it even matter who hacked this data?” Putin said. “The important thing is the content that was given to the public. There should be discussion about this, and there is no reason to distract the public’s attention from the essence of the problem by raising some side issues with the search for who did it.”

It is with great sorrow that I find myself in agreement with Vladimir Putin on this issue. We used to rightfully lash out at Russia for spreading outright lies for its propaganda purposes; we now complain that Mr. Putin is responsible for truthfully exposing our own corruptionIf this does not convey just how far we have fallen, then nothing will.

Related:

James Comey’s decision on Hillary Clinton: Welcome to Animal Farm!

An open letter to James Comey and the FBI about Hillary Clinton’s missing server Snapchat joke

Hillary Clinton turns over server to FBI — after months — yet campaign still calls story ‘nonsense’

Hillary Clinton used personal email account for all State Dept. business: Laws are for little people

Loretta Lynch echoes Richard Gere’s 9/11 advice: Combat Islamic terror with ‘love’

Loretta Lynch

Actor Richard Gere was booed by firefighters at The Concert for New York shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks when he said the best “medicine” for al Qaeda was “love.” The story always stuck with me for its herculean weirdness, which is why Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s very same advice for victims of the June 12, 2016, terrorist attack in Orlando immediately caught my ear on Tuesday.

“To the LGBT community — we stand with you,” Mrs. Lynch said while at a press conference in Florida. “The good in this world far outweighs the evil. Our common humanity transcends our differences, and our most effective response to terror is compassion, it’s unity and it’s love. We stand with you today because we grieve together, and long after the cameras are gone will continue to stand with you as we grow together in commitment and solidarity and in equality.”

Terrorist Omar Mateen pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group as he killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a gay nightclub. The organization he adored throws gay men off tall buildings and takes women as sex slaves.

Question: Could anything be more distasteful than essentially telling Christian sex slaves in Iraq, Syria, and North Africa: “You’re not loving them hard enough,“?

The response to Islamic terrorism on American shores — the battlefield has no borders in this war —by President Obama is to a.) go Orwellian by censoring any information that helps citizens define the enemy, and b.) pretend as though scary-looking rifles are to blame.

For those who weren’t paying attention to the news on Monday, the FBI tried to release transcripts of Omar Mateen’s 911 calls without any reference to ISIS, Allah, etc. National mockery forced the agency to backtrack.

USA Today reported Monday:

The FBI and Department of Justice released a full transcript of the Orlando gunman’s 911-call on Monday afternoon amid outrage that the original transcript omitted reference to the terror group ISIL.

In a joint statement, officials said they released the partial transcript and omitted any reference to ISIL so as not to provide the terror group with additional publicity, which could be used for “hateful propaganda” purposes.

The White House is so determined to expunge the idea that Islam has something to do with Islamic terrorism that it now finds itself trying to go full 1984. Never go full 1984…

If you don’t believe your friendly neighborhood blogger, then perhaps you will believe the Department of Homeland Security.

The Homeland Security Advisory Council ordered officials just days before the Orlando massacre:

  1. Do not use the word “jihad.”
  2. Do not use the word “sharia.”
  3. Do not use the word “takfir.”
  4. “Reject religiously-charged terminology and problematic positioning by using plain meaning American English.”

If someone is trying to kill you and they say they are doing it to bring the world into accordance with Sharia law, then it is incumbent upon you to know what Sharia law means.

If officials refuse to familiarize civil society with the terminology used by enemies of the state, then they are putting countless lives at risk.

  • Imagine if officials refused to discuss Nazism during World War II.
  • Imagine if officials refused to discuss Communism during the Cold War.

It would be madness, wouldn’t it? That’s because intelligent people know that you cannot mobilize a population for a giant and prolonged undertaking without accurately defining the task at hand.

America has a commander in chief who would rather muddle and confuse the population to daunting security challenges than to inform them of uncomfortable truths. The president has greater fidelity to political correctness than to life-saving clarity, and for that the citizenry should be livid.

Christians are told to turn the other cheek, but one cannot do that when the head is separated from the neck.

It is right to pray for one’s enemies, but it is also just to defeat them on the field of battle.

The current administration is not up to the job of safeguarding liberty for future generations, and for that reason its allies deserve to be soundly defeated at the ballot box.

Heidi Czerwiec, PC professor, vows 9-1-1 calls for all ROTC training

Heidi Czerwiec UND ROTC

Sane Americans read the news on their laptops this week and wondered how it was possible that college students were left “afraid” and shaken by pro-Donald Trump chalk scribbles at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The answer can be found by looking at those in charge of so-called “higher education.” Take, for instance, University of North Dakota college professor Heidi Czerwiec, who made national news for vowing to call 9-1-1 every time she saw ROTC training in the quad outside her window.

Anyone who has been to a university with an ROTC program knows that cadets are unmistakable. One would have to be an idiot — or a poetry professor at UND — to not know the difference between ROTC cadets who are getting ready to train and, say, Jim-Bob McCooter wandering around campus with an AR-15 after he’s had one too many to drink.

US Army ROTC cadet command

Does Professor Czerwiec call 9-1-1 when she sees a cop on campus? Readers should not put it past her since the university had already informed faculty and staff via email that ROTC training would happen.

Regardless, in addition to a disgusting voicemail she sent to the ROTC program ( “You’ve created terror. You’ve achieved it.”), she wrote a letter to the Grand Forks Herald that said:

“I look up from my office computer to see two figures in camo with guns outside my window. My first thought is for my students’ and my safety: I grab my phone, crawl under my desk and call 911. The dispatcher keeps me on the line until someone can see if ROTC is doing maneuvers.

I can barely talk—first, with fear, and then with rage when the dispatcher reports back that yes, in fact, I’ve probably just seen ROTC cadets, though they’re going to send an officer to check because no one has cleared it with them. They thank me for reporting it.

A few minutes later, a university officer calls me back—not to reassure me, but to scold me for calling 911. He says ROTC has permission to do this exercise. When I tell him that this was news to 911 and that they encouraged me to call whenever I see a gun on campus, he seems surprised.

He also tells me that ROTC will be doing these exercises for the next couple weeks. So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 911 for the next couple weeks—and I will. Every time.

So I reply that I guess I’ll be calling 9-1-1 for the next couple weeks and I will. Every time,” Czerwiec wrote. “It’s not my job to decide whether people carrying guns at school are an actual threat. It’s my job to teach and to get home to my family. It’s already highly inappropriate to conduct unnecessary military maneuvers in the middle of the quad. But with school shootings on the increase and tensions at UND running high, it’s especially irresponsible. We’re already under financial and emotional attack. We don’t need to feel under physical attack, too.”

There’s only one problem with Czerwiec’s letter — it’s wrong. The University told WDAZ-8 that it did go through all the proper channels to clear its training. An email saying, “ROTC cadets will train in and around the quad, and may carry military equipment, including dummy weapons” was sent to staff one week before the training took place.

Do you know who misses emails on ROTC training? Answer: The kind of woman who would call an ROTC training center and say “You’ve created terror. You’ve achieved it,” because she was the only dunce on campus who didn’t read her email or have the common sense to know what ROTC cadets look like.

Perhaps Rob Port over at Say Anything Blog said best:

“Her angry voicemail left for the ROTC seems downright unhinged, as was her threat in the letter to the Grand Forks Herald to call 911 every time she sees the ROTC. She [now says] … that she only meant that she would call when she sees something ‘suspicious that is not obviously part of a drill,’ but that wasn’t at all clear from her letter. Words mean things. You’d think someone working in a university English department would understand this.”

You are sadly mistaken, Mr. Port. Professors like Ms. Czerwiec are more interested in creating “Safe Space America” than preparing students for the real world.

‘Islamophobia’ lecture follows Brussels terror attack

Brussels Belgium terror attack

Anyone who wants further evidence that Western Civilization is in its death throes should have been on Twitter Tuesday morning. The smoke had not yet cleared after attacks by the Islamic State group in Brussels, Belgium, when “Islamophobia” was trending on the social media platform.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw Belgium terror

BHH Brussels tweet

Somewhere in a subway station in Brussels a man was trying to keep his entrails from spilling out into broken glass after an Islamic terror attack, and women like Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and “@localblacktivist” all over the world were literally worrying about “Islamophobia.”

CNN reported Tuesday:

Three explosions that ripped through the Belgian capital of Brussels on Tuesday killed at least 26 people and wounded 130 more, according to Belgian media, and raised the reality of terror once again in the heart of Europe.

“We were fearing terrorist attacks, and that has now happened,” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel told reporters.

Belgian federal Prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw said it was too soon to know exactly how many people died in the bombings. Yet the Brussels Metro Authority reported that 15 died and 55 were wounded in the subway station blast. And Belgian media report at least 11 more people were killed in the two blasts in the Brussels Airport departure hall.

People wonder why someone like Donald Trump is popular, but it only takes a few minutes of watching world leaders react to Islamic terror attacks to understand his support.

Take, for instance, President Obama’s reaction to the Islamic terror attack in San Bernardino, California, last year. In a diplomatic way, Mr. Obama accused the media of spreading “Islamophobia” for ratings.

The president told CNN on Dec. 22, 2015;

“If you’ve been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you,” Obama said Monday, CNN reported. Look, the media is pursuing ratings. This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it’s up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things.”

The reason why news stories about Islamic terrorists “coming to get” westerners exist is because ISIS, al Qaida, and their ideological allies do precisely that. That isn’t a ratings grab — that is reality. We should never be paralyzed by fear, but we shouldn’t sacrifice honesty at the alter of political correctness, either.

Brussels Attack

Tuesday’s attack in Brussels comes less than six months after the Nov. 13, 2015, massacre in Paris, France, that killed 130 and wounded countless others. If this is what “contained” looks like — as Mr. Obama infamously said at the time — it is safe to say that world “leaders” are not doing their job.

Hillary Clinton had beyond ‘top secret’ emails on server. Time to prosecute

 

HIllary AP

Imagine a world where you are given access to intelligence documents that are classified beyond ‘top secret’ and then you ran them through your own personal email server. How long would it take before you were sent to prison for years? Not long, right? Well, it turns out that Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III found “special access programs,” or SAP, on the Democrat front-runner’s “home-brew” setup.

McCullough wrote Jan. 14 in a letter to Senior members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and other senior lawmakers:

“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels. According to the declarant, these documents contain information derived from classified IC element sources.”

The letter was received by Fox News earlier in the week and its contents were not disputed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and State Department inspector general.

Hillary Clinton’s response on NPR on Thursday: “I’m just going to leave it up to the professionals at the Justice Department because nothing that this says changes the fact that I never sent or received material marked classified.”

In a different time and a different place, pitchforks, stakes and torches would be out if Mrs. Clinton were not prosecuted for what is obviously a violation of a subsection of the Espionage Act related to “gross negligence” in handling government documents.

When you willfully set up your own email server to avoid Freedom of Information Requests … When you ignore those around you who tell you that is a bad idea … and when the most sensitive intelligence documents in the nation then go through that server, then you are guilty of gross negligence.

Fact. Case closed. There is no way around that.

Fox chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge further explained things on Thursday for those who still do not understand.

“It is the content that is classified – not the format it is in,” said Herridge. “To suggest to people that there is somehow a big rubber stamp with ‘classified’ that’s smacked on every document is completely misleading and that something you only see in the movies. Mrs. Clinton knows better because she had to have special training as secretary of state because she has classification authority.”

Anyone who cares about the rule of law should be shocked and horrified if Mrs. Clinton is not prosecuted by the Department of Justice. Others, including former CIA Director David Petraeus, were prosecuted for far less.

If the former secretary of state is not prosecuted, then it will send a incontrovertible message to millions of Americans that the “right” people are very much above the rule of law. When that happens, all bets are off.

Iran makes mockery of Obama, U.S. with seized sailors

Obama under stress

The Iranian government seized 10 U.S. sailors and two ships in the Persian Gulf shortly before President Obama’s final State of the Union address on Tuesday. GPS equipment was taken from the ship, the U.S. issued an apology, the sailors were eventually returned this morning, and now the White House is preparing to unfreeze $100 billion in Iranian assets as part of the summer’s nuclear deal. Iran’s actions were meant to send a message to the world: The United States is a joke. Sadly, it’s hard to argue.

CNN’s Jake Tapper was flabbergasted when White House press secretary Josh Earnest shrugged off the actions of Obama’s diplomatic “partner” as no big deal.

“What do you say to people who say Iran fired upon, not hit, but fired a warning shot of sorts toward an American ship in the last couple of weeks … they test-fired a ballistic missile in the past couple of weeks, and yet, in a few days, they are scheduled to have the relief of all those sanctions?” Tapper said Tuesday night. “The basic question being: This does not seem like a country that is ready to be welcomed back to the community of nations.”

Earnest’s response: But…but…we got a nuclear deal with Iran! A deal, man. Cut us some slack.

“[This] is why the United States and this president made it a priority to organize the international community to reach an agreement with Iran that will prevent them from obtaining a nuclear weapon,” said Earnest.

“I hear you, but they have 10 American sailors in custody right now, Josh. I think there are probably a lot of Americans watching right now that are wondering why we are about to give them sanctions relief when they have 10 Americans – wherever they have them. In a boat, in a cell, whatever,” Tapper replied.

To add insult to injury, Iran scolded the U.S. upon the sailors’ return.

“This incident in the Persian Gulf, which probably will not be the American forces’ last mistake in the region, should be a lesson to troublemakers in the U.S. Congress,” Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying by Tasnim news agency, Reuters reported.

There were about 10,000 ways Iran could have responded to two U.S. vessels that drifted too close or into its territorial waters, and it chose one of the most aggressive ways possible. It literally took U.S. forces captive and confiscated their equipment.

Ask yourself this question: For all of George W. Bush’s faults, would Iran have pulled a stunt like that under his watch — on the night of the State of the Union, no less?

The answer is “no.”

The country is in a sad place when Iran can seize American sailors with impunity and then laugh as a U.S. president oversees the release of $100 billion in Iranian assets just days later.

Iran seizes sailors

Obama, delusional, blames media for ISIS fears

Obama on media CNN screenshot

President Obama gave an interview with National Public Radio before heading off for vacation that should send chills down the spine of anyone who cares about national security. The president blamed the media for Americans’ fears of the Islamic State group instead of a.) the Dec. 2 terror attack in California, the deadliest on U.S. soil since 9/11, b.) the resiliency of ISIS, and c.) an aimless “strategy” to defeat the terror group.

“If you’ve been watching television for the last month, all you have been seeing, all you have been hearing about is these guys with masks or black flags who are potentially coming to get you,” Obama said Monday, CNN reported. Look, the media is pursuing ratings. This is a legitimate news story. I think that, you know, it’s up to the media to make a determination about how they want to cover things.”

How delusional does a man have to be to question media coverage of a terror group only weeks after 14 Americans were slaughtered in San Bernardino by its supporters?

How tone-deaf does a man have to be to question media  coverage of a terror group just weeks after it killed 130 during an attack inside Paris, France?

To add insult to injury,  Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, 20, was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Dec. 9 and charged with trying to join ISIS. He is the 10th Twin Cities resident facing such charges.

The president’s comments also come in the middle of a world-wide refugee crisis fueled by the U.S.-led coalition’s failure to destroy ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and parts of North Africa. Millions of people are scattered across the globe, ISIS explicitly says it wants to use the chaos to filter its members into western nations, and Mr. Obama wonders why networks are covering the story.

In short, Mr. Obama’s comments can be translated: “Can’t you guys just cover Steve Harvey screwing up the 2015 Miss Universe pageant? You’ll get ratings and protect my reputation at the same time! Come on, what do you say? You just need to cover for me one more year and I’ll be out of here.”

Steve Harvey ABC screenshot

The president did everything within his power to ignore the Middle East since 2008. He believed his own hype — that the world’s terrorism-related ills could primarily be traced by to George W. Bush — and in doing so he allowed al Qaeda’s mutation to thrive and grow.

The fear Americans have of ISIS is a rational response to a reality that Mr. Obama helped create. If the president is unhappy with news coverage now, then he should not have dismissed ISIS as a “JV” team on Jan. 27, 2014.