A Muslim President? Was Ben Carson Right?

A Muslim President? Was Ben Carson Right?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Beliefs matter. “Ideas Have Consequences,” as conservative scholar Richard Weaver wrote in his classic of that title in 1948.

Yet, for so believing, and so saying, Dr. Ben Carson has been subjected to a Rodney King-style night-sticking by the P.C. police.

Asked by Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press” whether he could support a Muslim for president, Carson replied, “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Carson was not out of the studio before the airwaves were filled with denunciations. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said CAIR is calling on Carson to “withdraw from the presidential race because he is unfit to lead, because his views are inconsistent with the United States Constitution.”

In the name of tolerance, says CAIR, we cannot tolerate Carson.

And what does the Constitution say?

“[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

But Carson did not say no Muslim could serve. He said he would not advocate having a Muslim as president, that Islamic beliefs are inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution.

Is he wrong?

Or is it now impermissible to question a candidate’s beliefs about God, man, and the state, and about whether his religious convictions might affect his conduct in office?

A man’s religion is a part of who he is. While not an infallible guide to what he will do, it is often a reliable road map.

If Mormons still championed polygamy and declared that blacks could not be Mormons, would it be illegitimate to raise that issue?

Should a Quaker who believes in “turning the other cheek” not be pressed on whether his faith disqualifies him to be commander in chief?

If an Evangelical running for president believes the “end times” are at hand, would it be un-American to ask of the Armageddonite if his religious beliefs might affect his decision on war in the Middle East?

Islam means “submission.” And a believing, practicing, devout Muslim believes in submission to the teachings of the Prophet.

That means not only following the dietary laws and fasting during Ramadan, but adhering to the tenets of Islam on the modesty of dress in women, praying five times a day to Mecca, and treating false faiths like Christianity as the great heresies that they are.

Anyone recall a collective protest from the Islamic world when that Afghan convert to Christianity was facing an executioner’s ax?

Islam instructs its adherents not only on how to live their lives, but also how to organize their society.

Is Sharia consistent with the U.S. Constitution? Would not a Muslim presidential candidate have to reject Sharia for America, i.e, apostatize? And what is the penalty for apostasy in the Quran?

Would it violate the spirit of the Constitution to ask of a Muslim candidate whether he agrees with the Quran on the proper punishment for homosexuals, adulterers and thieves?

From the Maghreb to the Middle and Near East, in almost every society where Islam is the dominant faith, repression appears the rule.

Of the near 50 nations where Islam is the majority religion, where is the constitutional republic that resembles our own?

Carson says he would not support turning the armed forces of the United States over to a follower of a faith whose co-religionists have produced the modern Middle East. Why is that bigotry? Is Islam wholly disconnected to the horrors transpiring there?

Islam has bloody borders, observed Dr. Samuel Huntington. Of the ugliest terrorist organizations of which we daily read — Boko Haram, al-Qaida, ISIS, the al-Nusra Front, al-Shabaab — are not most of them proudly Muslim?

Given the sectarian war between the Shiites led by Iran and the Sunni led by the Saudis, would it violate the Constitution to ask our Muslim presidential candidate to which of these two he belonged?

Dr. Russell Kirk called ideology “political religion.”

Atheists who embraced the political religion of Marxism-Leninism created the Stalinist Empire. Atheist Germans who embraced National Socialism as the state religion produced the Third Reich. And Islamists created Sudan, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Undeniably, Muslims have proven to be good American patriots, as did the Christians and the Jews who came before them.

But in Europe today, we see hundreds of thousands of Muslims pouring in, adding to the millions there, and they are all not assimilating.

Those elites who say they would be fine with a Muslim president are probably dissembling. Because that is the politically correct thing to say; it makes them feel superior; and no such candidate is in sight.

Indeed, the same elites who call it outrageous that Carson said a Muslim should not be president are the first and loudest to decry any suggestion that our current president is a Muslim.

Liberals like the idea of a Muslim president — in the abstract.

Europe’s Real Existential Crisis

Europe's Real Existential Crisis

By Patrick J. Buchanan

However the Greek crisis ends, whether with Athens leaving the eurozone, or submitting and accepting austerity at the dictates of its creditors, the European Union appears headed for an existential crisis.

Greece borrowed and spent beyond its means, like New York City in the ’70s, and Detroit, Illinois, and Puerto Rico today. But the crisis of Europe is about more than budget deficits and bad debts.

All the momentum toward One Europe — the dream of the generation of Jean Monnet that drove Europeans toward ever-deeper union — seems to have dissipated. The momentum is now toward separation and dissolution.

The Greek crisis exposed one fault line in the union, the desire of the Mediterranean nations to build welfare states that their economies could not sustain without huge borrowing abroad.

Paying these debts is going to force ever-greater austerity on those nations. Eventually, their peoples may choose, as debtors do, to walk away, rather than pay.

But not only economics imperils the EU. There is the call of tribe and nation that has often before torn the Old Continent apart.

The U.K. Independence Party and National Front in France, both of which want out of the EU, have millions of supporters, and emulators across Europe. These parties appeal to national histories, heroes and cultures, while acolytes of the EU and eurozone sound like editorials in the Financial Times. Who would fix bayonets for Brussels and the European Commission?

NATO is a shell of what it once was. It is today, a virtual fraternity of freeloaders. With exceptions, like the Poles, Estonians and Turks, European nations have all slashed their defense budgets to beneath two percent of GDP. Angela Merkel is described as the Iron Chancellor for facing down Greece’s Alexis Tsipras, but she seems more like Willy Brandt when talking to Vladimir Putin.

A century ago, after Lloyd George and Clemenceau did their map work in Paris, one could walk from Baghdad to Cairo, turn south, and walk 5,000 miles to Cape Town, without leaving British territory.

Today, Britain and France, the imperial powers of Sykes-Picot, would prefer to have the Americans police the Middle East. Our allies have terrible memories of European wars that produced no comparable gains, and none of them, understandably, wants to fight again.

They have another concern in common. Their continent is being invaded.

From the failed states of the sub-Sahara to the war-torn nations of the Mahgreb and Middle East, the Third World is coming to occupy the Mother Continent.

On July 2, The New York Times had several stories on the Greek crisis, but several also on Europe’s immigration crisis.

Some 8,000 trucks were stranded at Calais and Dover, the opposite ends of the Channel Tunnel, as migrants piled onto the vehicles crossing into England. The threatened drivers could do nothing to prevent it.

“Migrants are streaming into Europe from North Africa and the turbulent Middle East,” said the Times, “The European Union has been trying to force countries to share the burden. But the bloc has so far failed to agree on how to do so. In Britain, the issue is particularly charged, and euroskeptic politicians are pushing for the country to leave the union, with immigration a chief complaint.”

Another headline on the same page read, “Russia Sees an Especially Potent Threat in Its Converts to Islam.” The story related the fears of a jihadist uprising within her borders as ethnic Russians convert to militant Islam and join the 15-20 million Muslims inside Russia already, and the two million in Moscow alone.

Russia and Europe have more in common than they realize — the same existential threat.

Another story in the Times, “Europe to Fight Islamic Radicals on Social Media,” reported on jihadist recruitment inside Europe.

A leader of Europol, said the Times, “has estimated that up to 5,000 people from Western Europe have traveled to Syria and Iraq, many to join the Islamic State. British officials believe that at least half of the 500 or so Britons who have done so have already returned home and represent potential threats…”

Europe has survived depression and the worst wars in modern history, though her wounds are terrible and lasting. But can Europe, with native-born populations that are aging, shrinking, and dying, survive a never-ending invasion of Third World peoples that Europe has never assimilated before? Especially when millions of these people profess a militant faith that has historically been alien and hostile to Europe?

The birth dearth in Europe has endured for 40 years. There is no end in sight to the Third World invasion, as the lands of the Middle East and sub-Sahara descend ever more deeply into tribal, sectarian and civil war, and send new millions of refugees streaming toward the Mediterranean coast.

Who or what will stop them? As Gen. Petraeus said on that road to Baghdad: “Tell me how this ends.”

Is the European Union Dying?

Is the European Union Dying?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As the European Coal and Steel Community of Jean Monnet evolved into the EU, we were told a “United States of Europe” was at hand, modeled on the USA. And other countries and continents will inevitably follow Europe’s example.

There will be a North American Union of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and a Latin America Union of the Mercosur trade partnership.

In an essay, “The E.U. Experiment Has Failed,” Bruce Thornton of Hoover Institution makes the case that the verdict is in, the dream is dead, the EU is unraveling, One Europe is finished.

Consider, first, economics. In 2013, Europe grew by 1 percent compared to the U.S.’s 2.2 percent. In December, unemployment in Europe was 11.4 percent. In the U.S., 5.6 percent. Americans are alarmed by the lowest labor force participation rate since Reagan, 62.7 percent. In Europe, in 2013, it was 57.5 percent.

Europeans may wail over German-imposed “austerity,” but the government share of Europe’s GDP has gone from 45 percent in 2008 to 49 percent today. In Greece, it is 59 percent.

Most critical is the demographic crisis. For a nation to survive, its women must produce on average 2.1 children. Europe has not seen that high a fertility rate in 40 years. Today, it is down to 1.6 children.

Europeans are an aging, shrinking, disappearing, dying race.

And the places of Europe’s unborn are being filled by growing “concentrations of unassimilated and disaffected Muslim immigrants, segregated in neighborhoods like the banlieues of Paris or the satellite ‘dish cities’ of Amsterdam.

“Shut out from labor markets, plied with generous social welfare payments and allowed to cultivate beliefs and cultural practices inimical to democracy, many of these immigrants despise their new homes, and find the religious commitment and certainty of radical Islam an attractive alternative.”

“Some turn to terrorism,” like the French-Algerian brothers who carried out the slaughter at the magazine Charlie Hebdo.

“Such violence,” writes Thornton, “along with cultural practices like honor killings, forced marriages and polygamy … are stoking a political backlash against Muslims.”

Populist parties are surging — the U.K. Independence Party in Britain, the National Front in France, and now the “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident,” PEGIDA, in Germany, These parties will soon be strong enough to enter governments, impose restrictions on immigration and demand assimilation.

Then the cultural conflicts may turn violent.

A fundamental question has troubled European unification since the Treaty of Rome in 1957, writes Thornton: “What comprises the collective beliefs of and values that can form the foundations of a genuine European-wide community? What is it that all Europeans believe?

“Europe and its nations were forged in the matrix of ideas, ideals, and beliefs of Christianity, which gives divine sanction to notions like human rights, the sanctity of the individual, political freedom and equality.

Today across Europe Christian belief is a shadow of its former self.

“Fewer and fewer Europeans regularly go to Church. … It is common for many European cathedrals to have more tourists during a service than parishioners. … This process of secularization — already well advanced in 1887 when Nietzsche famously said, ‘God is no more than a faded word today, not even a concept’ — is nearly complete today, leaving Europe without its historical principle of unity.”

Political religions — communism, fascism, Nazism — are substitute gods that failed. “Nor has secular social democracy … provided people with a transcendent principle that justifies sacrifice for the greater good, or even gives people a reason to reproduce.

“A shared commitment to leisure, a short workweek, and a generous social safety net is nothing worth killing or dying for.”

And who will die for Donetsk, Luhansk or Crimea?

Pacifism beckons. Every major European nation in NATO — Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland — will see defense spending in 2015 below 2 percent of GDP.

The idea of One Europe has depended on “the denigration of patriotism and national pride,” writes Thornton, “Yet all peoples are the products of a particular culture, language, mores, traditions, histories, landscapes. … That sense of belonging to a community defined by a shared identity cannot be created by a single currency.”

Christianity gave Europe its faith, identity, purpose and will to conquer and convert the world. Christianity created Europe. And the death of Christianity leaves the continent with no unifying principle save a watery commitment to democracy and La Dolce Vita.

From Marine Le Pen’s France to Putin’s Russia, nationalism and patriotism are surging across Europe because peoples, deprived of or disbelieving in the old faith, want a new faith to give meaning, purpose, vitality to their lives, something to live for, fight for, die for.

Countless millions of Muslims have found in their old faith their new faith. And the descendants of fallen-away European Christians of the 19th and 20th centuries are finding their new faith in old tribal and national identities.

Less and less does multiculturalism look like the wave of the future.

Rev. Wright’s Star Pupil

Rev. Wrights Star Pupil

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“A steady patriot of the world alone,

“The friend of every country — but his own.”

George Canning’s couplet about the Englishmen who professed love for all the world except their own native land comes to mind on reading Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

After listing the horrors of ISIS, al-Qaida and Boko Haram, the president decided his recital of crimes committed in the name of Islam would be unbalanced, if he did not backhand those smug Christians sitting right in front of him.

“And lest we get on our high horse … remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Why did he do it? He had to know that dredging up and dragging in real or imagined crimes of Christianity from centuries ago would anger Christians and obliterate whatever else he had to say.

Was it Edgar Allen Poe’s “Imp of the Perverse” prodding him to stick it to the Christians? Was it the voice of his old pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah “God damn America!” Wright muttering in his ear?

I believe this betrays something deeper. Obama revels in reciting the sins of Christianity and the West because he does not see himself as a loyal son of the civilization Christianity produced.

He sees himself as a citizen of the world who rejects the idea that our cradle faith Christianity is superior or that our civilization is superior. For he seems to seize every opportunity to point up the sins of Christianity and the West and the contributions of other faiths and civilizations.

Consider the bill of particulars in Obama’s indictment of crimes committed “in the name of Christ.”

Slavery was not invented by Christians. It existed when Christ was born. Fifth century Athens and the Roman republic had slaves. African slaves were brought not only to the New World in the 17th and 18th centuries but to Arabia and the Islamic world. Black African chieftains produced the captives for the slave trade.

Why then does Obama single out Christianity for indictment, when it was Christians and their teachings about human dignity, and Christian moral leaders and Christian nations that abolished the slave trade and slavery itself, which endured in the Islamic world into the 20th century?

Though he brought up crimes committed “in the name of Christ,” Obama did not mention the name of Muhammad.

An oversight?

As for the Crusades, there were indeed atrocities on both sides during these expeditions and wars from the end of the 11th to the end of the 13th century, with the fall of Acre in 1291.

But were the Crusades, military expeditions by Christian knights to liberate Jerusalem from the Muslims who had overrun these lands where Jesus had walked, preached, and died, unjust wars?

Obama seems to see the Crusades from the Saracen point of view.

But does he really believe that when Pope Urban II preached the First Crusade at Clermont in 1095 to have Christian knights relieve the siege of Byzantium and liberate the Holy Land, this was the moral equivalent of Bin Laden declaring war to rid the Islamic Middle East of Americans?

Not long go, our popular culture portrayed Crusaders as heroes, their cause as noble. Among the most famous was Richard the Lionhearted who led the Third Crusade. Gen. Eisenhower entitled his war memoirs “Crusade in Europe.”

Like his derisive remarks about Middle Pennsylvanians, that they cling with bitterness to their bibles, guns and antipathy to immigrants, Obama’s Prayer Breakfast digression reveals much more about who the man is.

He dragged in the Inquisition. Yet, as Alexander Solzhenitsyn noted, Vladimir Lenin ordered more people executed in his first days in power than did the Spanish Inquisition in 300 years.

In drawing parallels between Christianity and Islam, Obama misses a basic point. Unlike Islam, which, in one century, conquered Arabia, the Middle and Near East, the Holy Land, North Africa and Spain, until the Muslim advance was halted by Charles Martel at Poitiers in France, Christianity did not conquer with the sword, but with the Word.

Only after 300 years of persecution and martyrdom were the Christians, through the Edict of Milan, allowed to practice their faith.

Christianity was not imposed on the Old World, but embraced.

America’s problem: With Islamic fanaticism surging, with ISIS using the term “Crusader” as a curse word equivalent to “Nazi,” we have as leader of the West a man who partly shares the enemy’s views about the Christian Crusades, and who seems at best ambivalent about the superiority of the civilization that he leads.

Again, Canning’s words come to mind:

“No narrow bigot he; — his reason’d view

“Thy interests, England, ranks with thine, Peru!

“France at our doors, he sees no danger nigh,

“But heaves for Turkey’s woes the impartial sigh;

“A steady patriot of the world alone,

“The friend of every country — but his own.”

A Triumph of Terrorism

A Triumph of Terrorism

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Western media are declaring the million-man march in Paris, where world leaders paraded down Boulevard Voltaire in solidarity with France, a victory over terrorism.

Isn’t it pretty to think so.

Unfortunately, the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, its military-style execution, the escape of the assassins, and their blazing end in a shootout Friday was a triumph of terrorism not seen since 9/11.

Unlike the Boston Marathon bombing where the Tsarnaevs did not know or care whom they maimed or killed, the attack on Charlie Hebdo by the Kouachi brothers was purposeful and targeted terrorism.

And like a flash of lightning in the dark, it exposed the moral contradictions and confusion of the West.

During the slaughter the Kouachis shouted “Allahu akbar,” said they had “avenged the Prophet,” and spoke of ties to al-Qaida.

And the first response of President Francois Hollande?

These terrorists “have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”

This is political correctness of a rare order. Perhaps terminal.

Linking arms with Hollande in solidarity and unity Sunday was Bibi Netanyahu who declared, “I wish to tell to all French and European Jews — Israel is your home.” Colleagues urged French Jews to flee to Israel.

Marching on the other side of Hollande was Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas who seeks to have Netanyahu’s Israel indicted in the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Gaza. Solidarity!

In chanting “Je Suis Charlie,” the marchers showed support for a magazine French Muslims rightly believe is racist and anti-Islamic.

Yet, Marine Le Pen, leading in the polls for the French presidency, was blacklisted from marching for remarks about Muslim immigration that are benign compared to what Charlie Hebdo regularly publishes.

All weekend long, journalists called it an imperative for us all to defend the lewd and lurid blasphemies of the satirical magazine.

But as journalist Christopher Dickey points out, Muslims in the banlieues wonder why insulting the Prophet is a protected freedom in France, while denying the Holocaust can get you a prison term.

Hypocrisy is indeed the tribute that vice pays to virtue.

Moreover, all this chatter about freedom of speech and of the press misses the point. It was not the right to publish that provoked the slaughter, but the content of what was published.

When Aaron Burr challenged Alexander Hamilton to a duel, and killed him, he was not attacking the First Amendment freedom of the press, but rather Hamilton, for defamation of Burr’s character, which had helped to destroy Burr’s career.

What the commentators seem to be saying about the assault on Charlie Hebdo is that not only is what is spoken or published protected by the First Amendment, but those who print and publish vile things must never suffer violent consequences.

People who believe this is attainable are living in a dream world, and may not be long for this one.

Even as children you knew there were words you did not use about someone else’s girlfriend, mother, family, faith or race, if you did not want a thrashing.

That same day millions marched in France, Saudi Arabia was administering 50 lashes to blogger Raif Badawi convicted of insulting Saudi clergy, the first of 1,000 lashes over 20 weeks in addition to his 10-year jail sentence. Had Badawi been guilty of apostasy, he would have been executed.

Welcome to the new Middle East, same as the old Middle East.

And Islam and the Prophet were not the only targets of Charlie Hebdo. Catholicism was also. In one cartoon, Charlie Hebdo depicts the First and Second Persons of the Blessed Trinity in incestuous activity.

And we all supposed to march in solidarity with that?

A liberal secular West might find this a democratic duty. Not all will. When people are using the First Amendment to assault the somewhat older Second Commandment, “Though shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” they should not be surprised when devout followers of Abrahamic faiths take a pass.

These Islamic terrorists are sending us a message: In the post-Christian West, Christians may turn the other check at insults to their God and faith. We are not turn-the-other cheek people. Insult our faith, mock the Prophet, and we kill you.

An awakening and rising Islamic world — a more militant faith than Christianity or secularism — is saying to the West: We want you out of our part of the world, and we are coming to your part of the world, and you cannot stop us.

And Francois Hollande’s response? Show solidarity with Islam by ostracizing Marine Le Pen.

This is the true heir of Edouard Daladier of Munich fame.

The Kouachi brothers sent yet another message.

If you are a young Muslim willing to fight and die for Islam, do not waste your life as some suicide bomber in the wilds of Syria or Iraq. Do as we did; shock and awe your enemies right inside the belly of the beast.

Terrorism & ‘The True Believer’

Terrorism and The True Believer

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“A mass movement,” wrote Eric Hoffer in “The True Believer,” “appeals not to those intent on bolstering and advancing a cherished self, but to those who crave to be rid of an unwanted self.

“Their innermost craving is for a new life — a rebirth — or, failing this, a chance to acquire new elements of pride, confidence, hope, a sense of purpose, and worth by an identification with a holy cause.”

Such a man was Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a criminal with a decade-long record of drug-dealing, assault and robbery, who shot and killed a guard at Ottawa’s National War Memorial and then burst into Parliament and shot two others before being cut down.

A psychiatric evaluation of Zehaf-Bibeau in 2011 found, “He has been a devoted Muslim for seven years, and he believes he must spend time in jail as a sacrifice to pay for his mistakes in the past.”

Now Zehaf-Bibeau is known to his countrymen and the world. Now his deeds are celebrated by the Islamic State he sought to join.

To understand the appeal to such men of the Islamic State, despite its cruelties, beheadings, crucifixions, slaughter of prisoners, rape and sale into slavery of the daughters and wives of enemies, there are few better sources than the longshoreman-philosopher Eric Hoffer.

Why do young men and women travel from a free prosperous West to fight in Syria and perhaps die in a suicide bombing? What do they seek?

What does ISIS offer? And a more alarming question — why do these jihadists and terrorists continue to gain ground and attract new recruits?

Bin Laden may be dead, but he is world famous and by no means universally loathed for slaughtering 3,000 Americans. During the Bush era, he was more popular in the Muslim world than the U.S. president.

Al-Qaida may have been obliterated in Afghanistan, but has spread to Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, spawning imitators, like ISIS, from the Maghreb across the Middle East into black Africa.

Why are almost all the suicide bombers, the martyrs, on their side?

Wrote Hoffer: “All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action. … All of them irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all … demand blind faith and single-hearted allegiance.”

Does this not fairly describe the Islamic State?

Still, what does ISIS offer the young?

A second chance at a heroic life.

A cause to die for. A vision of a new world as Allah intended it. Communion and camaraderie. And should one die striking a blow against the infidel, there is martyrdom and a place of honor and happiness in the world to come.

To the True Believer, writes Hoffer,

“Chaos is his element. When the old order begins to crack, he wades in with all his might to blow the whole hated present to high heaven. … He alone knows the innermost craving of the masses in action, the craving for communion, for the mustering of the host, for the dissolution of cursed individualism in the zest and grandeur of a mighty whole. Posterity is king.”

Another attraction of the Islamic State is that it appears to be not only the strongest of the jihadist movements but also the most feared by America.

An indispensable aspect of mass movements is hatred, writes Hoffer. Mass movements can never rise and spread “without a devil.”

Indeed, he adds, “the strength of a mass movement is proportionate to the vividness and tangibility of its devil … the ideal devil is omnipotent and omnipresent. … The ideal devil is a foreigner.”

Superpower America fits the bill perfectly, assuming the devil role by intervening in the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Our presence in their war testifies to the truth of what their leaders preach: We are the ones America fears most.

In a West saturated in self-indulgence, to many young Muslims, this must have an appeal. Again, Hoffer: “There is no doubt but that in exchanging a self-centered for a selfless life we gain enormously in self-esteem. The vanity of the selfless, even those who practice utmost humility, is boundless.”

The Islamic State cannot defeat the United States. But in fighting against the United States, ISIS sends a message to an Arab and Islamic world where we are not loved that they are the enemies we fear most.

If you wish to fight the Great Satan, come join us.

Thus, while we are killing them, we recruit for them.

Moreover, in waging war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, we are not only sheltering the Shia Crescent of Iran and Hezbollah, we are fighting a Sunni war that Sunni powers like Turkey refuse to fight for themselves.

We are now on both sides of the Sunni-Shia sectarian struggle that has never been America’s war, and we have no credible strategy and no credible army to win it. Who got us into this?

Al-Qaida in Perspective

Al-Qaida in Perspective

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Apparently, the threat is both serious and specific.

The United States ordered 22 diplomatic missions closed and issued a worldwide travel alert for U.S. citizens.

The threat comes from Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, the most lethal branch of the terrorist organization.

“After Benghazi,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., “these al-Qaida types are really on steroids thinking we’re weaker and they’re stronger. …

“They want to drive the West out of the Mideast and take over these Muslim countries and create an al-Qaida-type religious entity … and if we ever take the bait and try to come home and create fortress America, there will be another 9/11.”

By the time this column appears, America may have been hit. Yet is it not time to put al-Qaida in perspective and consider whether our Mideast policy is creating more terrorists than we are killing?

In 2010 America lost 15 citizens to terrorism. Thirteen of them died in Afghanistan. The worst attack was the killing of six Americans at a Christian medical mission in Badakhshan Province.

Yet, in 2010, not one death here in America resulted from terrorism.

That year, however, 780,000 Americas died of heart disease, 575,000 of cancer, 138,000 from respiratory diseases, 120,000 in accidents (35,000 in auto accidents), 69,000 from diabetes, 40,000 in drug-induced deaths, 38,000 by suicide, 32,000 by liver disease, 25,000 in alcohol-induced deaths, 16,000 by homicide and 8,000 from HIV/AIDS.

Is terrorism the killer we should fear most and invest the lion’s share of our resources fighting?

Since 9/11, al-Qaida has not proven a terribly effective enemy. Some plots — the shoe-bomber on the airliner over Detroit, the Times Square bomber — failed from sheer incompetence. Other attacks have been thwarted by excellent U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism work.

Our home front has been well protected.

But by having fought a “war on terror” overseas in Graham’s way — invading, occupying, nation-building in Afghanistan and Iraq — we lost 6,000 soldiers and brought back 40,000 wounded Americans.

Were the wars in which we suffered such casualties, and that cost us $2 trillion and counting, really worth it? Did they make us more secure?

The Taliban are making a comeback. Iraq is sinking into civil, sectarian and tribal war. Our influence in the Islamic world is at a nadir.

And Graham concedes the enemy that we went over there to destroy, al-Qaida, is not only in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Mali, and is now “on steroids.”

Ten years ago, anti-interventionists warned that a plunge into the Islamic world would produce what it was designed to prevent. We could create more terrorists than we would kill.

For the root of 9/11 was Islamic hatred of America’s perceived domination and a fanatic determination to drive us out of their world.

They were over here because we were over there. And if we went over there in even greater force, even more Muslims would rise up to expel us from what is, after all, their neighborhood, not ours.

So the anti-interventionists argued.

Dismissing such warnings as “isolationism,” George W. Bush launched the war. The result? Precisely what opponents of the war had predicted, an al-Qaida that has metastasized and is now “on steroids.”

Now, Graham says, al-Qaida wants “to drive the West out of the Middle East” — their objective all along — and “take over these Muslim countries and create an al-Qaida-type religious entity.”

But was it not the United States that dumped over Moammar Gadhafi and opened the door to the al-Qaida that perpetrated the Benghazi atrocity?

Was not liberating Benghazi why we went to war?

We liberated it, but for whom?

Gadhafi, though himself a terrorist responsible for the Lockerbie Pan-Am bombing, was an enemy of al-Qaida. So, too, are Hezbollah, Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad. All are fighting to prevent a takeover of Syria by rebels whose principal fighting force is the Nusra Front, an affiliate of al-Qaida.

Does not Vladimir Putin have a point when he asks why America is arming an insurgency dominated by the sort of people who did 9/11?

Graham says al-Qaida wants to take over “Muslim countries and create an al-Qaida-type religious entity.”

Yet the Muslim country al-Qaida has the best chance of taking over is Syria. And we are arming the rebels who are allied with al-Qaida and who want to take over Syria?

“If we ever take the bait and try to come home and create fortress America, there’ll be another 9/11,” warns Graham.

Graham is saying we must stay in the Middle East and fight on until al-Qaida, which has grown since our intervention and because of our intervention, is annihilated.

Otherwise they create a caliphate and come over here and kill us all.

After 58,000 dead we left Vietnam. How many Americans have the Vietnamese killed since we left?