June 22, 2014
By David Paulin
Former President George W. Bush is remaining mum on the tragedy unfolding in Iraq. But as an army of bloodthirsty Islamists rampages across Iraq with the goal of establishing a 7th century religious tyranny — a caliphate — it’s worth recalling who years ago had predicted this would happen if the Democrats got their way.
It was President George W. Bush and his top officials.
They warned early on that Iraq was ripe for the rise of an Islamic caliphate — either in a failed state created by Saddam Hussein or, they later contended, if the U.S.-led coalition bugged out without leaving behind a stable Iraq. For instance, two years into the U.S.-led occupation, in 2005, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld warned that a premature withdrawal would be disastrous — and he foresaw what has in fact happened. He explained, “Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East, and which would threaten legitimate governments in Europe, Africa and Asia.”
Vice President Dick Cheney also warned of the rise of a caliphate if the U.S. withdrew before Iraq was capable of governing and defending itself. “They talk about wanting to re-establish what you could refer to as the seventh-century caliphate” to be “governed by Sharia law, the most rigid interpretation of the Koran,” he said.
Gen. John P. Abizaid, then America’s top commander in the Middle East, also offered prescient testimony in 2005 to the House Armed Services Committee, forseeing what the terror masters would do in a weak Iraqi state. “They will try to re-establish a caliphate throughout the entire Muslim world. Just as we had the opportunity to learn what the Nazis were going to do, from Hitler’s world in ‘Mein Kampf,’ we need to learn what these people intend to do from their own words.”
Liberals jeered such dire predictions — and especially at the repeated use of the word “caliphate.”
The New York Times, for instance, ran a piece on December 12, 2005, that mocked the forgoing Bush-administration officials for their warnings of a “caliphate” — portraying them as foreign-policy amateurs peddling an alarmist view of the Middle East. Wrote reporter Elisabeth Bumiller: "A number of scholars and former government officials take strong issue with the administration’s warning about a new caliphate, and compare it to the fear of communism spread during the Cold War. They say that although Al Qaeda’s statements do indeed describe a caliphate as a goal, the administration is exaggerating the magnitude of the threat as it seeks to gain support for its policies in Iraq."
Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, obviously don’t believe what’s printed in The New York Times. ISIS, incidentally, has reportedly been preparing to make its move for several years — right under the radar of the Obama administration. Were they emboldened by President Obama’s endless apologies to the Muslim world? Or the deadlines he’d set for leaving Iraq and Afghanistan? Probably all of the above. But what no doubt really energized them was President Obama’s failure to negotiate a deal with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that would have left sufficient U.S. troops in Iraq.
President Bush, for his part, issued a prophetic warning in 2007 when vetoing a Democratic bill that would have withdrawn U.S. troops. “To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States,” he said. "It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaeda. It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale. It would mean we’d allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan. It would mean increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous."
A little history is worth recalling. Saddam’s failure to account for his weapons of mass destruction, including remnants of his toxic arsenal (some of which was in fact found), gave the Bush administration legal cover for going into Iraq. But only a fool would believe weapons of mass destruction were the only reason for the war. The U.S.-led invasion, or liberation, was in fact part of a vision to remake the Middle East: a long-term project to liberate millions in Iraq; nudge the region toward modernity; and above all make America safer in a post-9/11 world — all by correctly defining who the enemy was and taking the war on terror to them.
The Bush administration certainly encountered setbacks in Iraq and made mistakes; the fog of war invariably upsets the best-laid plans of politicians and generals. But Iraq only plunged into utter chaos after President Obama brought home U.S. troops, despite warnings that Iraq was not ready to govern or defend itself. The blood and treasure that America spent in Iraq has been squandered.
The terror masters were energized in Syria, thanks to the Obama administration’s tepid support of moderate rebels there. Now they are on the march, just as President Bush and his top officials had predicted. After they establish their regional caliphate in Iraq and Syria, expect them to next turn their attention toward their real enemies: America, Israel, and the West. Oil prices are bound to go through the roof, sending the global economy into a tailspin.
President Obama and his foreign-policy advisers have blood on their hands. But if Obama remains in character, he’ll do what he usually does — blame it all on George Bush.
June 14, 2014
"I'd like someone to really, really explain why this happened."Originally published on September 11, 2013, at the American Thinker blog and FrontPage Magazine
By David Paulin
It has been a heartbreaking scene at 9/11 ceremonies in recent years: children honoring mothers or fathers they can't remember - yet desperately want to know.
Emma, a middle-school student, joined her mother, grandparents and hundreds of others at the state park, the site of a 9/11 memorial that includes 154 stone plaques on the manicured grounds. Each bears the name of a 9/11 victim who had ties to Connecticut. One is Emma's father: William Christopher Hunt. Emma was 15 months old when her dad died with nearly 3,000 others at the World Trade Center. A 32-year-old vice president of Eurobrokers, he had worked on the 84th floor of the South Tower.
"What do I remember about my dad? Nothing. Absolutely nothing," Emma told a reporter covering the event. Even so, Emma said that when she goes to bed at night, she gazes at a photo of both her and her dad taken on her first birthday. "It's on my bedside table. It's the last thing I look at night. And I tell him, 'Good night, daddy. I love you. I love you always.'"
She explained, "Everything I know about my dad I know because someone in my family tells me things about him. Mostly, it's my grandma. She tells me stories about him when he was a kid. Or how I'm like him. But I don't really know, because I can't remember him."
Emma remained composed during the first part of Tuesday's ceremony, according to Marian Gail Brown's article in the Westport News. Emma, Brown wrote, "tucked her bright orange-red hair away from her freckled face" as she listened to each speaker: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman; and a local minister and rabbi. But "then came the reading of the names of the 161 victims of 9/11 with Connecticut connections in alphabetical order. 'Laurence Abel'... 'Allen Patrick Boyle'...'Sandra Campbell'...'Judith Florence Hofmiller'...Emma grabbed her mother by the knee and squeezed. Two more names before the 71st name. Emma leaned into her mom. Her shoulders shook. 'William Christopher Hunt.' Her body convulsed. And the tears poured out. Her mom rubbed her back and pulled her adolescent half-girl, half-woman body toward her, whispering to Emma."
As heartbreaking as that moment was, it wasn't as heartbreaking as other things that Emma revealed; specifically, that her teachers don't talk much about 9/11. Emma, however, said she wishes they did discuss the terror attack -- even though she worries about what might be said about why her father died.
It's a troubling revelation. Does she perhaps worry she might be taught the version of 9/11 told by the anti-American left; by people like Ward Churchill, the former ethnic studies professor who infamously called people like her father "little Eichmanns"? That characterization delighted the left, whose members believed that America got what it deserved on 9/11 because of the evils it had visited on foreign lands.
Emma is perhaps too young to learn about the nuances of why they hate us; yet a question she asks goes to the heart of the matter: "I'd like someone to really, really explain why this happened."
Why hasn't anybody told her?
Connecticut's 9/11 ceremony was indeed sad -- though not in the way that those who didn't talk to Emma might have thought.