Category Archives: War Commentary

Mattis “Alone”

It seems pretty clear that we need a thorough house cleaning at the Pentagon after the disaster of the past eight years. And probably every other agency and department as well. The civil service system has resulted in a permanent government, that tends to itself rather than the nation and people.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: EPA workers fight to prevent the nomination of Pruitt. That is not part of their job description. Can them.

[Saturday-morning update]

Who “rules” the United States?

These days an architect of the overreaching and antidemocratic Waters of the U.S. regulation worries that her work will be overturned so she undertakes extraordinary means to defeat her potential boss. But a change in policy is a risk of democratic politics. Nowhere does it say in the Constitution that the decisions of government employees are to be unquestioned and preserved forever. Yet that is precisely the implication of this unprecedented protest. “I can’t think of any other time when people in the bureaucracy have done this,” a professor of government tells the paper. That sentence does not leave me feeling reassured.

Opposition to this president takes many forms. Senate Democrats have slowed confirmations to the most sluggish pace since George Washington. Much of the New York and Beltway media does really function as a sort of opposition party, to the degree that reporters celebrated the sacking of Flynn as a partisan victory for journalism. Discontent manifests itself in direct actions such as the Women’s March.

But here’s the difference. Legislative roadblocks, adversarial journalists, and public marches are typical of a constitutional democracy. They are spelled out in our founding documents: the Senate and its rules, and the rights to speech, a free press, and assembly. Where in those documents is it written that regulators have the right not to be questioned, opposed, overturned, or indeed fired, that intelligence analysts can just call up David Ignatius and spill the beans whenever they feel like it?

Hey, give the little tyrants a break; they’re trying to save the planet.

[Bumped]

Muslim Slavery

A Georgetown professor says it’s not so bad. Meanwhile, at least fifty million Muslims support violent defense of their religion.

Seems low.

[Update a few minutes later]

A fourth Muslim group refuses federal funds to fight Islamic extremism. Gee, it’s almost as though they don’t have a problem with it.

And more on the joys of Muslim slavery from Rod Dreher:

Just past the 1:00 mark, Brown says that slavery under Islamic law was not comparable to chattel slavery in the American South, in part because the slaves of Muslims had rights. He said it was in fact comparable to feudalism in medieval Europe — something “social,” not “economic.” When the questioner persists in his challenge to Brown’s take on slavery in Islam, Brown goes on to say that it’s an undeniable fact that Muhammad held slaves.

“Are you more morally mature than the Prophet of God?” Brown says. “No, you’re not.”

So, there you have it. If Muhammad held slaves, how bad could slavery really be?

It’s a challenging point, actually: if the Prophet behaved in a certain way, who are Muslims today to stand in judgment of him and what he did? If we say that slavery is evil, are we not implicitly condemning the Prophet as an evildoer? Can a Muslim do that and still be a good Muslim? I don’t know.

It’s worth pointing out that in the New Testament, St. Paul doesn’t condemn slaveholding, which was common in his day, nor does he explicitly endorse it. He simply recognizes it as a fact of life, and tells slaves and slaveholders how to treat each other. (See here for more information.) However, the principles of Christianity led in modern times to the rejection of slavery among Christians. To canonize someone as a saint does not mean that they led perfect lives, only that the led lives of heroic Christian virtue. The only perfectly sinless life was that of Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless, it is worth considering whether or not Islam today has within it the resources to oppose slavery, which continues to exist in some Muslim countries. The line I quote above can be used to justify slavery (if Muhammad held slaves, who are Muslims to condemn other Muslims who own slaves?), or, I suppose, to undermine confidence in Muhammad and his teaching.

One of these religions is not like the other.

One of the infuriating things about the Zinnization of education is the notion that too many young people have that America invented slavery, rather than sacrificing over half a million men to end it, at the urging of Christians.