NSA

Doesn’t know the extent of the Snowden damage:

This is criminal. Every single thing he did should have left an audit trail, both as a guard against misuse, and for damage assessment in a case just like this.

I didn’t say “criminal incompetence,” because if the need for an audit trail is obvious to such as me, it surely must have been obvious to higher-ups at NSA. If the systems lack the capacity for this, it’s because somebody doesn’t want the records kept. That suggests abuse at a systemic level. (It also undercuts claims of extensive auditing here.)

Then there’s the incompetence of letting someone like Snowden have such free-ranging access to the system: “The NSA had poor data compartmentalization, said the sources, allowing Snowden, who was a system administrator, to roam freely across wide areas. By using a ‘thin client’ computer he remotely accessed the NSA data from his base in Hawaii.” Snowden and Bradley Manning. That’s who’s in charge of our secrets?

Hey, I’ve got an idea! Let’s put the federal government in charge of our health care!

A Policy On Egypt

Support Al Sisi:

What’s realistic and desirable is for the military to succeed in its confrontation with the Brotherhood as quickly and convincingly as possible. Victory permits magnanimity. It gives ordinary Egyptians the opportunity to return to normal life. It deters potential political and military challenges. It allows the appointed civilian government to assume a prominent political role. It settles the diplomatic landscape. It lets the neighbors know what’s what.

And it beats the alternatives. Alternative No. 1: A continued slide into outright civil war resembling Algeria’s in the 1990s. Alternative No. 2: Victory by a vengeful Muslim Brotherhood, which will repay its political enemies richly for the injuries that were done to it. That goes not just for military supremo Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and his lieutenants, but for every editor, parliamentarian, religious leader, businessman or policeman who made himself known as an opponent of the Brotherhood.

Question for Messrs. Graham, Leahy and Paul: Just how would American, Egyptian, regional or humanitarian interests be advanced in either of those scenarios? The other day Sen. Paul stopped by the Journal’s offices in New York and stressed his opposition to any U.S. policy in Syria that runs contrary to the interests of that country’s Christians. What does he suppose would happen to Egypt’s Copts, who have been in open sympathy with Gen. Sisi, if the Brotherhood wins?

Of course there’s the argument that brute repression by the military energizes the Brotherhood. Maybe. Also possible is that a policy of restraint emboldens the Brotherhood. The military judged the second possibility more likely. That might be mistaken, but at least it’s based on a keener understanding of the way Egyptians think than the usual Western clichés about violence always begetting violence.

There’s also an argument that since our $1.3 billion in military aid hasn’t gotten Gen. Sisi to take our advice, we may as well withdraw it. But why should we expect him to take bad advice? Politics in Egypt today is a zero-sum game: Either the military wins, or the Brotherhood does. If the U.S. wants influence, it needs to hold its nose and take a side.

Yes. And the right side.

This should be obvious. It’s frightening that it is not, to either Obama or McCain.

The Muslim Brotherhood

…and Obama’s strange love affair with it:

What is the explanation for this absolutely self-destructive, even idiotic, policy on our part?

There can be only one — the president of the United States is actually psychologically disturbed. He does not react in a normal manner. I know that’s a vicious and importunate thing to say, but the reaction to Egypt (and to Benghazi, for that matter) is not one of a psychologically healthy human being.

It’s more than the narcissism of which he is often accused, as bad as that is. It’s a form of extreme neurotic attraction to (notably Islamic) religious fascism. Obama is not a Muslim, but he has these deep feelings about it (some of them related to imperialism, others to his absent father, no doubt) that allow him to overlook, or rationalize, all that hideous misogyny, homophobia, and jihadist fanaticism, that loathing of democracy and freedom, even when it could not be more obvious. To Obama, those abhorrent — monumentally illiberal — behaviors and ideologies almost seem irrelevant. But they are the most relevant of all.

And then there’s this:

It’s not as if the MB is subtle. They have proclaimed who they are since their founding by Hasan al Banna in 1928 and have not wavered in any significant way since in their global jihadist goals. They have also been unstinting in their massive misogyny, homophobia and rigid support of Shariah law über alles (quite literally über alles, since the Brotherhood were — virtually the last still unrepentant — allies of Hitler in WWII).

You know, liberal stuff.

He would never say it of course, but the president must at some level admire the old ally of the MB. Interestingly, yesterday was the 79th anniversary of the plebiscite that gave him supreme power in Germany. I imagine the president is envious of 90% approval of 95% of the electorate. But not so much so that he’s unwilling to use his 53% from last year to behave as though he has just as much support for his dictatorial lawlessness in the support of his agenda.

[Update a couple minutes later]

Even ignoring the Nazi connection, his sympathy for the MB really shouldn’t be that surprising. His father was Muslim, he was raised as a Muslim. As I’ve said many times, I don’t believe that he is really a Muslim (or a Christian) because in order to be either one must believe in a higher power than yourself, and he’s far too narcissistic to be either. Plus, as Glenn notes, he “grew up on already-outdated anticolonial twaddle.”

[Update early afternoon]

Kristallnacht in Egypt.

Well, they are the heirs to the Nazis.

[Bumped]

[Update a few minutes later]

This is key, from that last link:

Many forget that Hitler had a very uneasy relationship initially with the German military. It was the only viable force in Germany that could have deposed Hitler and the Nazis as they started to consolidate power. But the military never did so and Hitler acted quickly to take control of the military to prevent any such opposition from developing. It was only late in the war in 1944 that a small number of senior military officers finally tried to assassinate Hitler to get rid of him and end the war.

But what if the German military had acted much earlier? Hitler in essence consolidated his power in the two years from 1932 to 1934 through a complicated series of actions, including plots like the Reichstag fire, the Night of the Long Knives, and the passage of various laws that effectively swept away all of his opposition. If the German military had crushed Hitler, his SA Brownshirts, the Hitler Youth, the SS, and all of the other Nazi Party affiliates in 1933, perhaps millions of people would not have died in a genocidal war and Nazi concentration camps. The history of Europe might have been completely different.

Fortunately, the Egyptian military has acted before Morsi and his own Muslim Brotherhood Brownshirts had the full opportunity to consolidate their power. Morsi and his clan are thugs with views no different than those who stood in the docks at Nuremburg from 1945 to 1949. If we can learn anything from the history of the 1930s and Nazi Germany, we should be hoping that the Egyptian military is successful in crushing the new version of the Nazis in the Middle East. That is the only way that a real democracy will ever have a chance to be born in Egypt.

Yes.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!