Thursday, June 16, 2016

Richard Armitage Endorses Clinton

Richard Armitage, a high-profile Republican foreign policy specialist who held senior appointments in the Reagan and Bush administrations, has endorsed Hillary Clinton. This isn't that surprising -- I predicted months ago that the neoconservative wing of the GOP would find the Democratic Party might appealing in the era of Trump, and in general those conservatives primarily concerned with international relations have to find Trump especially terrifying.

To be sure, the endorsement of a pure beltway insider like Armitage is more likely to move pundit pens than to carry over any votes. But it still symbolizes the rapidly shifting sands underneath the feet of many Republican elites.

British Politician Murdered in Terrorist Attack, Brexit Motives Suspected

A British Labour MP Jo Cox has been stabbed to death murdered* in an attack reportedly linked to her opposition to Britain exiting from the EU (known as "Brexit"). The attacker, described as a 52-year old man, reportedly shouted "Britain First" before commencing the assault. Since this was an act of violence targeted to communicate a political message and to instill terror in a particular side's supporters and backers, I feel absolutely comfortable calling it an act of terror.

Both sides of the Brexit campaign have temporarily ceased campaigning. The issue comes to a referendum vote next week.

Thoughts and prayers go to Ms. Cox's family.

* I've seen conflicting reports on the weapon used, so I've updated the post.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Debate Link Turns 12!

The Debate Link turns 12 years old today. In the space of that time, I've gotten two degrees and started on a third, taught at two law schools, clerked for a federal appellate court, and even been a practicing attorney. This blog has managed to stay constant through all of that (though I haven't managed to keep up the frantic posting schedule of its early days).

Next year will mark the blog's Bar Mitzvah -- a momentous accomplishment indeed! Still, I suppose it's worth savoring the blog's last pre-teen years. It just grows up so fast!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Rumpelstiltskin Theory of Counter-Terrorism

Radical. Islamic. Terrorism. Is not like Rumpelstiltskin. You do not defeat it by speaking its secret name. The politicians and pundits who insist on clinging to this line of attack -- that somehow if we only said the magic words (or said them more often, or with the right intonation, or in the right order) we'd be in a vastly different stance with respect to global terrorism than we are today -- are treating terrorism with all the seriousness of a fairy tale. It is difficult for me to express in words the contempt I feel for these people. It is perhaps the height of treating genuine important policy issues and security threats as pure theater.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Things People Blame the Jews For, Volume XXVII: The Orlando Pulse Massacre

I woke up this morning to hear of a horrible tragedy: 50 people murdered at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The attack, which President Obama described as "an act of hate and an act of terror", was allegedly carried out by Omar Mateen. Mateen was an employee of G4S security; he reportedly had sympathies with the radical Islamic terror organization ISIS.

Yet of course it took less than a day for someone -- in this case Scottish artist and Holocaust denier Alison Chabloz -- to come out and say, no, it was the Jews who did it.

If embedding doesn't work, the tweet reads:
Aimed at politicising gay community
Wanting gays to become political enemies of Islam
Israel lobby
Gay lobby #Orlando #ZionistFalseFlag
I started this feature not because Jews uniquely are blamed collectively for the wrongs (imagined and real) committed by individual members. Every group experiences to that to some degree,  as the inevitable racist backlash against all Muslims for the despicable act of one member of the faith will no doubt soon demonstrate. What makes Jews seemingly unique is that many instinctively blame us for the wrongs committed by anyone. On our heads rest not just the sins we have committed, but the sins anyone has committed.

"Things People Blame the Jews For" is normally somewhat snarky in tone, but that seems inappropriate here and today. So I'll just say this: To lay the Orlando massacre at the feet of an entire religious, national, ethnic, or cultural group is an act of someone who either doesn't care about preventing future attacks, or actively wants to see more in the future. The person primarily to blame for this act of terror is no one but the person who committed it. The persons secondarily to blame are those who call upon or promote such acts. And the persons tertiarily to blame are those -- whether they be radical Islamic clerics or radical conservative activists -- who promote the idea that such acts represent the truth or the heart of Islam. If we don't want attacks like this to occur, we must be clear-sighted about who, precisely, was in the wrong.