Hither, Thither and Yon: February 25th 2009

Hither Thither & Yon

In today’s edition, listed in no particular order:

  • Jews and Norwegians and Pakistanis and Turks
  • President Obama faces off against Sun Tzu
  • should faith-based charities to take government money?
  • Pakistani Muslims resemble Calvin’s nemesis, schoolyard bully, Moe
  • Dropping 900 million USD in the toilet
  • The courage to speak Kurdish in Turkey
  • Mumbai-style Attacks in America?
  • Another questionable appointment to the Messiah’s discipleship
  • My hope for a Republican ticket in 2012.

The Institute for Global Jewish Affairs has a book which has sold out its print copies, but is still available for downloading as a .pdf. Or you could read it on line:


From the Introduction:

In recent years the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has published several articles about the Nordic countries, Jews, and Israel in both the Jewish Political Studies Review and Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism. Gradually a picture has emerged of these countries that differs greatly from the often superficial friendliness the visiting tourist experiences…

…This volume aims to provide a more strategic picture of the Nordic countries’ attitudes toward Israel and the Jews than is available elsewhere in English.

Our research clarifies that in recent years part of the societal elites, particularly in Sweden and Norway, have been responsible for many pioneering efforts to demonize Israel. Prominent among the perpetrators are leading socialist and other leftist politicians, journalists, clergy, and employees of NGOs. This demonization is based on the classic motifs of anti-Semitism, which often also accompany its new mutation of anti-Israelism.

Darker Attitudes

Behind the Nordic countries’ righteous appearance and oft-proclaimed concern for human rights often lurk darker attitudes. This volume’s main purpose is to lift their humanitarian mask as far as Israel and Jews are concerned. This disguise hides many ugly characteristics, including the financing of demonizers of Israel, a false morality, invented moral superiority, and “humanitarian racism.” Such humanitarian racists think-usually without expressing it explicitly, sometimes not even being conscious of it-that only white people can be fully responsible for their actions while nonwhites cannot (or can but only to a limited extent).

A journalist for the Norwegian conservative daily Aftenposten reacted to the prepublication of this author’s essay on Norway in this volume, stating that its tone was “extraordinarily shrill.” This was a bizarre remark in view of the tone of the daily that employs him. Assuming that he was writing in good faith, it illustrates a major problem: being in denial about matters that occur in one’s own environment.

– – – – – – – –

In recent years Aftenposten has published a variety of extreme anti-Semitic cartoons, articles, and letters to the editor. Before World War II it also published anti-Semitic articles. No overview of twenty-first-century West European anti-Semitism can be complete without reference to this paper. The facts presented in this volume about this Norwegian “quality daily” demonstrate how hypocrisy and anti-Semitism converge.

[Here is] one example of [this convergence]. In Norway, Jewish ritual slaughter has been forbidden since well before World War II, under Nazi influence. On the other hand, except for Norway, Japan, and Iceland no countries allow whaling. The Norwegian quota for the 2008 season is the highest, with over one thousand whales to be killed. These mammals are harpooned and die in an exceptionally cruel way.

Meeting Israel’s Challenges?

Arrogance and double standards toward Israel often go together. Would Norway and Sweden have remained democracies if they had had to cope with the kinds of challenges Israel has faced in the past decades? There are several indications that they would not have.

In May 2008, Håkan Syrén, commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, warned that if security conditions were to deteriorate the country would not have the protection it needed. In the same month it became known that at the Oskarshamn nuclear plant safeguards were lacking “to ensure that security checks are performed on everybody entering the plant.” The facility’s operating company OKG reacted by saying it hoped to remedy the situation by October 2008.

In Norway General Robert Mood, inspector-general of the army, “has described the army’s current capability as only being able to defend perhaps one neighborhood in Oslo, much less the entire country.” In June, the Norwegian vice admiral Jan Reksten, commander of the country’s troops in Afghanistan said that the Norwegian base at Meymaneh is less secure than “similar bases” belonging to other NATO forces. Colonel Ivar Haisel, the base’s future commander said that if the Taliban attacked as they had in May the Norwegians would no longer have weapons superiority.

…[T]hese countries would not fare well if they had to face Israel’s challenges.

Indeed, they would not. I remember reading several years ago of some Jewish young men in Malmö who decided to emigrate to Israel in order to join the IDF. They felt safer there than in their own home town.

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Another tale of a Favorite Islamist Activity: Bullying young Christian girls

Two female Christian students of Fatima Memorial Hospital’s nursing school in the Pakistani city of Lahore, have been accused of desecrating verses of the Quran, the Muslim holy book, days after their Muslim roommates desecrated a picture of Jesus Christ which they had hung in a shared hostel room.

ANS has learnt that some days back the Muslim nursing students took a strong exception to the hanging of Jesus’ picture on the wall.

Islamic tradition explicitly prohibits images of Allah, Muhammad and all the major figures of the Christian and Jewish traditions.

Muslim students desecrated the picture by tearing it up and hurling it down after the Christian students refused to remove it voluntarily.

The administration of the Nursing School allegedly took no action against the Muslim students, who committed the alleged profanity.

Christian-Muslim tension among students of the nursing school escalated on Feb. 13 when the Muslim students, who still harbored acrimony against their Christian roommates, accused them of desecrating Quranic verses.

The National Director of Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), Mr. Joseph Francis, and Chief Coordinator of the Sharing Life Ministry Pakistan, Mr. Sohail Johnson, visited scene of the incident after a Christian woman Fouzia informed Sohail by phone about the incident on Saturday morning (Feb. 14).

Talking to ANS by phone, Mr. Sohail Johnson, pointed out a dichotomy between the versions of the Muslim Medical Superintendent, Ayesha Nouman, and the Christian hostel warden, Martha.

In an apparent bid to cover up the matter, Ayesha told the visiting activists that things had returned to normal and the Christian girls who were accused of blasphemy were at the hostel.

Martha, the Christian hostel warden, however, disputed her superior’s version, claiming that the Christian girls accused of blasphemy were not currently staying at the hostel, Sohail told ANS.

“She expressed ignorance about the whereabouts of the nursing students and would not speak any further on the subject for fear of getting into possible trouble herself,” said Sohail Johnson, whose ministry primarily works for Christian prisoners…

Something I fail to understand about Pakistani Christians is the need to hang Christian ikons where they are likely to offend the hyper-sensitive majority population. What gives with that??

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US to donate ‘$900m in Gaza aid’

The United States is preparing to donate some $900m (£621m) for Gaza, an Obama administration official said the aid would not go to Hamas, the group that controls the territory, but it would help the Palestinian Authority, the official added.

Umm…isn’t this kind of like giving Calvin his lunch money only to have the school bully, Moe, take it from him? How long does the clueless US think that the Palestinian Authority will be permitted to keep their mitts on that money? Maybe 15 minutes?

Any US aid would have to be approved by Congress, where some are wary that funds could still end up with Hamas.

Well, duh…who are these “some” who are “wary”? Let’s all donate a clue bag to the rest of them. Couldn’t hurt – never can tell, they might stumble over a clue on their way to shake some lobbyist’s hand.

The donors’ conference in Egypt next week will discuss humanitarian and reconstruction needs in the Gaza Strip after Israel’s recent military offensive.

Two separate Palestinian surveys have put the cost of the damage at just under $2bn.

It will probably be more than that if the Palestinians continue lobbing rockets into Israel. Shouldn’t maybe they disarm the PA and Hamas first? Yeah, I know it can’t be done, so let’s just flush this 900 million down the nearest Congressman’s freezer and be done with it. Save everyone a trip, not to mention those endless hours of toxic jibber-jabber.

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MP breaks language law in Turkey

This is one brave and crazy dude. Turkish Kurds are heavily suppressed by their government. Among many other restrictions, they may not give their children Kurdish names, nor is the Kurdish language is permitted to be uttered in public.

So now this MP shows up in Parliament and gives a speech…in Kurdish:

A prominent Kurdish politician has defied Turkish law by giving a speech to parliament in his native Kurdish.

Ahmet Turk was addressing his party in parliament when he suddenly switched language from Turkish to Kurdish.

The live broadcast on state TV was immediately cut, as the language is banned in parliament.

Some one-fifth of Turkey’s population are ethnic Kurds, but speaking Kurdish in public was banned until the 1990s, as it was seen as a threat to unity.

The Kurdish language is, however, still banned in all state institutions and official correspondence.

Fight for votes

When Mr Turk defied the law, party members gave him a standing ovation. There was praise from Kurds here in the south east too – where people described the speech as a brave move, long overdue. They also called for all restrictions on the use of Kurdish to be lifted.

Ahmet Turk’s party – the DTP – is already facing closure, accused of fuelling separatism, and his speech in Kurdish could well strengthen the case against it.

All this reflects the mounting fight for Kurdish votes in next month’s important local elections.

The governing AK party has set its sights on winning in this region – and points to a new state TV channel in Kurdish as proof of its good intentions.

But many Kurds insist there is little real change here yet.

While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently spoke Kurdish on the campaign trail to attract their votes, when ethnic Kurdish politicians use their mother tongue they are still prosecuted on a regular basis.

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More Bully Boy Muslims in Pakistan

Muslims Murder Christian Employee for Requesting His Paycheck

The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has just learned (February 17) that three Pakistani Muslim men murdered one of their Christian milk collection employees who demanded his wages for the pay period.

The employee, Ashraf Masih, was 30 years old and had started the job two months ago in the village of Shajwal, Chak 172, GB. Two Muslim brothers, Muhammad Arfan and Muhammad Nadeem, and their nephew, Muhammad Imran, hired him to collect milk from various farms and houses.

In January, after working for a month, Ashraf came to collect his wages, but Arfan and Nadeem said that they would pay him two months’ wages in another month.

Desperate to support his family, Ashraf returned on February 1 and demanded his wages. This enraged the three Muslim men, who said, “You are Esai [a derogatory term for Christians] and you demanded your pay from Muslims, what courage you have. We will finish you right now. Then go to your Esa [Christ], He will give you everything.” After killing Ashraf, the three men fled.

Babu Victor, a Catechist of the Catholic Church in Pakistan, told ICC that a formal request for the police to investigate the case had been registered at the nearby police station of Dijkot, and police had started the investigation. At press time, the police had not found the murderers.

My heavens! How hard it must be to find three family members who run a dairy. Obviously it’s beyond the powers of the local keepers of the peace. I sure hope there is someone to look after his wife and children.

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Mumbai Fireworks Headed Your Way?

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III issued a new warning Monday that terrorists are prepared to conduct Mumbai-style attacks on U.S. soil.

In a speech before the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington, D.C., Mueller said that small terror networks “with large agendas and little money can use rudimentary weapons to maximize their impact.”

The FBI director then added ominously: “And it again raises the question of whether a similar attack could happen in Seattle or San Diego, Miami, or Manhattan.”

Mueller said that terror groups could use homegrown radicals, rather than foreign terrorists, to infiltrate the country. He noted that there are “pockets of people around the world that identify with al-Qaida and its ideology” but act independently of its leadership.

He revealed that a 27-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, Shirwa Ahmed, engaged in a suicide bombing in Somalia last year.

“A man from Minneapolis became what we believe to be the first U.S. citizen to carry out a terrorist suicide bombing,” Mueller said.

“The attack occurred last October in northern Somalia, but it appears that this individual was radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota,” Mueller added. Authorities have said as many as 20 young Somali men reported missing in Minnesota may have returned to Somalia to take up arms.

Mueller warned that events in far-off places around the globe could have repercussions at home.

“World politics often shape terrorist and criminal threats against the United States,” he said. “A crisis in the Horn of Africa may well have a ripple effect in Minneapolis.”

You don’t say? Do you think perhaps this ripple effect is enhanced by permitting these very same terrorists to live in this country? Well, I guess if you’re from Minneapolis, it don’t make no nevermind. Minnesota is not the Land of Lakes. It is pre-eminently the Land of Loonies.

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Another Obama Appointee with a Murky Past

By: Ronald Kessler (and CNN material)

This joker, John Deutch, lost his security clearance the last time around. No, he wasn’t like Sandy Berger – he didn’t stuff archival material in his socks and underwear. In fact, he makes Berger look cute by comparison.

Here’s CNN’s take on the story:

Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair has appointed controversial former CIA Director John Deutch to serve on an advisory panel reviewing the intelligence community’s technical capabilities.

Ex-CIA director John Deutch lost his security clearance in the mid-1990s for mishandling top secret documents.

Deutch, who was President Clinton’s CIA director for a year and a half in the mid-1990s, lost his security clearance for mishandling classified information.

At the time Deutch left the agency in late 1996, CIA security officials discovered top secret documents on Deutch’s home computer, which was a violation of strict CIA policy.

The 74 classified documents included memos to the president and other cabinet officials as well as classified material from the time Deutch served as deputy defense secretary.

CIA Director George Tenet suspended Deutch’s security clearance, the toughest action he could take against the former official. Deutch voluntarily gave up his Pentagon clearance.

Yep…all he had to do was to wait for the Dems to regain power and he was back in business.

Kessler continues:

The appointment of John Deutch to an advisory panel on spy satellites violates President Obama’s pledge to hold everyone in his administration to the highest ethical standards.

Heh. Obama’s “highest ethical standards” were formed by his mentors back in Chicago. Mentors like Bill Ayers who bragged about getting away with his crimes, or his spiritual advisor who was overly fond of damning America. Not to mention all the tax-challenged members of his team. Sheesh. “High ethical standards” and Chicago politics don’t inhabit the same universe.

Deutch, who headed the CIA from May 1995 to December 1996, agreed in writing in January 2001 to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents. Just after that, President Clinton pardoned him and 175 others as Clinton was leaving office. Deutch’s infraction was thus more serious than Tim Geithner’s or Tom Daschle’s failure to pay income taxes.

So we have a Clinton re-tread with a criminal record -oops, a pardon – with access to sensitive intel.

“Deutch essentially walked away from what is one of the most egregious cases of mishandling of classified information that I have ever seen, short of espionage,” Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said after the pardon was announced.

Deutch placed 17,000 CIA files, including files classified TOP SECRET/CODEWORD and those referring to highly sensitive covert operations, on his unclassified home computers. One such file was a memo to Clinton and then-Vice President Al Gore. It noted that the information was so sensitive that Deutch was sending it to only a few other people, including FBI Director Louis Freeh and Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

Because the computers connected to the Internet, and because Deutch often gave out his e-mail address, foreign intelligence services could easily have downloaded classified material from his computer.

Just a silly, innocent mistake. Anyone could have done it.

CIA technicians discovered the security breach in December 1996 when they visited Deutch’s house and asked to see his agency computers as he was preparing to leave office. The CIA had agreed to give him a no-fee consulting contract for one year allowing him to keep the three Macintosh computers.

What’s the deal? Any FOB is an FOO, right?

L. Britt Snider, the CIA’s inspector general, launched an investigation and gave a copy of his report to Congress and the Justice Department. Snider noted that the CIA initially conducted its own internal investigation of Deutch’s use of home computers, but he concluded the review was a sham. Actions taken by Deutch’s aides had the “effect of delaying a prompt investigation” of the matter, Snider’s report said.

“It was apparent from our investigation,” Snider told me for my book “The CIA at War: Inside the Secret Campaign Against Terror,” that Deutch “felt he could do pretty much as he pleased. What’s more, nobody really wanted to challenge him.”

In August 1999, George Tenet, Deutch’s successor as director of Central Intelligence, yanked Deutch’s security clearances. By then, Deutch had returned to MIT’s Chemistry Department, where he has continued as a professor. Because Deutch could no longer obtain a security clearance, he could not act as a consultant on classified matters. In 2007, CIA Director Michael Hayden reinstated Deutch’s clearances so he could consult with him, along with other former CIA directors.

But, remember, Bush is evil, Bush is evil, Bush is evil…repeat till it takes.

Aside from his security breaches, Deutch was instrumental in imposing a risk-averse atmosphere on the CIA. If a potential asset had been involved in so-called human rights violations – a euphemism for having knocked someone off or engaged in torture – or had had substantial criminal violations, top agency officials had to sign off on the recruitment, a process that could take a month or two.

Yet that kind of person was exactly what the CIA needed to penetrate organizations like al-Qaida. Placing restrictions of that sort on spy recruitment was like requiring FBI agents to obtain high-level approval to recruit Sammy Gravano, who murdered 19 people, before he could present evidence against John Gotti and the Mafia. Who else would know about a Mafia boss’ crimes besides another murderer?

In other words, Deutch was an obstacle to the security of the U.S. He knows this and Obama knows this. So why the appointment, hmm? Is this just the cloudy, ethically contaminated waters that Obama swims in? Maybe he can’t see it .

“The human rights violation rule had a chilling effect on recruitment,” former CIA official William Lofgren told me. “If faced with two possible recruitments, are you going to go after the one with a human rights violation or the one with no human rights violation?”

The result was that “people retired in place or left,” Lofgren said. “Our spirit was broken. At the CIA, you have to be able to inspire people to take outrageous risks. Deutch didn’t care about us at all.”

Clinton did not ask Deutch to continue at the CIA during his second term in office. When Deutch left the CIA, agency employees breathed a sigh of relief.

White House insiders say Obama was aware of most of the tax problems of his recent nominees but decided he could skate by and go ahead with them anyway. Deutch’s appointment is but another example of that hubris.

Well, they can take another deep breath and hold it, because Obama , via Blair, has invited him back into the magic circle.

I hope to do a feature on Dennis Blair tomorrow. Hint: he’s worse than his appointee, Douche.

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From the Acton Institute:

Charitable Choice and Secular Goods

by Hunter Baker

Charitable choice, the direct government funding of religious organizations for social service work, was designed to maintain the freedom of religious charities from excessive interference while allowing them to work for the public good. Yet the Obama administration is looking to draw sharper lines on church-state interaction and to eliminate the ability of faith-based groups to hire only those who believe as they do.

Erecting a higher barrier between church and state may satisfy some forces in the culture wars, but it is an unnecessary move that will prevent much good from being done.

In the early to mid 1990s, a book by David Osborne and Ted Gaebler titled “Reinventing Government: How the Entrepreneurial Spirit is Transforming the Public Sector,” briefly dominated American politics. The big idea behind this wonky manual for public policy reform was that government is competent at deciding what should be done, but is substantially less good at figuring out how to do it. So, the strategy should be to define outcomes and then be open to creative solutions for how to achieve them. Those creative solutions could include contracting out with corporations and charities. Government would provide the goal, but beyond that private entities would have the latitude to figure out the best way to achieve it.

Part of the logic of “Reinventing Government” was that monolithic government agencies and programs were of a piece with the industrial New Deal era and that we, as a budding information society, were ready to move on to faster, more flexible, less control-oriented solutions. The book was a hit. Just as soon as Bill Clinton took office, Vice-President Al Gore was given the assignment of applying the book’s principles to the federal bureaucracy.

When Congress included charitable choice provisions designed to smooth the path of government funding for religious social service providers in late 1990s welfare statutes, the move fit the spirit of the decade. Decentralization and openness to private approaches for public goals made sense. Acute observers might have noted the resemblance of the attitude to the notion of subsidiarity in Catholic social thought.

The potential fly in the ointment has been that religious entities (primarily Christian ones) conduct a large portion of the charitable activity in the United States. On the straight logic of decentralization and effectiveness, that should make little difference. But matters of church and state are flashpoints in the culture wars. Secularists worry that government funding will encourage the growth and persistence of religious institutions they wish would hurry up and fade away.

The key problem with the Obama administration’s intent to secularize the operation of religious charities is that there is no work from these charities without employees who share the spiritual and temporal mission. [iow, meaning matters. My emphasis – D] Neither will time-tested methods, which count on spiritual exhortation and reformation, be able to deliver their goods. The entire reason groups like Prison Fellowship can be more effective in preventing recidivism by offenders is that they address the spiritual person rather than the merely material person.

It is true that religious charities will continue to operate and do good for their communities without government assistance. Should the new Justice Department crack down on spiritual affinity and spiritual content, though, the scale of the benefit that can be achieved will be substantially reduced. The question is whether a particular view of church-state interaction should prevent the expansion of programs that may be more successful in helping Americans than their secular and/or governmental counterparts.

Part of the problem stems from the way we use the word “secular.” To us, “secular” means “without God” or “without reference to religion.” The word secular has taken on that meaning the same way liberalism has become synonymous with left-wing collectivism instead of carrying the word’s more classical association with freedom. The solution to the problem may be to reinvent secularism, or at least to rediscover another meaning for it.

If we look to earlier historical usage, then we discover a more helpful definition of the secular. Secular once meant “in the world.” Using this definition, we could then ask whether the work of a religious charity results in any good “in the world.” Thus, if a ministry like Prison Fellowship can demonstrate effectiveness in its purely voluntary program for prisoners at a state penitentiary, then it should qualify for government funding. Why should Prison Fellowship or another worthy ministry qualify for “secular” funding? Because these have proven they produce “secular” goods like reduced recidivism.

Deciding what is secular and what is not — using the above framework — should make the decision to fund faith-based charities easier for policymakers concerned with religio-political implications. They need not destroy the spiritual distinctiveness of religious institutions in order to sustain charitable operations and reap a public benefit. There are good, principled rationales for easing the barrier between public welfare and private charity, even when that charity operates on a religious basis. Whether religious organizations wish to court the danger of government influence by accepting such funds is another question.

If Americans realize that their favorite faith-based charity is going it alone, without the Uncle O’bama (he’s my black Irish uncle) wad o’ cash, then they will make up the difference. Even in hard times, people give to Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army, etc.

It was a devil’s bargain ever to accept the porkulus teat.

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From Michael Yon:

“The United States of America Does Not Torture”

President Barack Obama has spoken. His words beamed around the world. I am in Asia preparing for a long year in Afghanistan and other contended places, but stopped to listen closely to President Obama’s words. Most of the things that President Obama talked about will take years, or many years, to implement. But one thing can happen NOW. No more torture.

I believe we can beat the terrorists we face without torture. In fact, we can fight them better and more effectively from high ground than from low ground.

Thank you President Obama for moving to the high ground.

The President and the Reporter need to re-read their Sun Tzu, especially the part where he says:

There are three ways in which a ruler can bring misfortune upon his army:

1. By commanding the army to advance or to retreat, being ignorant of the fact that it cannot obey;

This is called hobbling the army.

2. By attempting to govern an army in the same way as he administers a kingdom, being ignorant of the conditions which obtain in an army;

This causes restlessness in the soldier’s minds.

3. By employing the officers of his army without discrimination, through ignorance of the military principle of adaptation to circumstances.

This shakes the confidence of the soldiers.

I suggest to you, dear reader, a perusal of the comments on Mr. Yon’s post, which you will find at the URL above. You will notice that for the most part, his military interlocutors disagreed most respectfully with Mr. Yon and his President. It wasn’t unanimous, but certainly a majority saw things somewhat differently, especially those who’d been exposed to any Muslim torture tactics.

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Bobby Jindal’s response to the President’s speech last night left something to be desired in the way of passion. Mr. Jindal is going to have to acquire some fire in the belly if he wants to go any further than the governorship of Louisiana.

Jindal is a man of intelligence and integrity. He has massive experience in bending dysfunctional bureaucratic messes to his will and making them operate in some semblance of order.

But in order to succeed, he has to be willing to stop playing “Mr. Nice Guy”. Surely his Hindu ancestry tells him that is a recipe for loss after loss after loss.

I have a solution: it is obvious that the current POTUS does not like General Petraeus. However, many of the rest of us do. He performed miracles of diplomacy and toe-to-toe negotiating with gangsters as he helped rebuild Iraq.

Given our Messiah’s view of the military, I predict that the good General will be resigning before the next election. Just in time to write his book (suggested working title: Less Hyped Hope and More Work, Please) and begin the process of campaigning for president.

Jindal would make the perfect running mate. They could work in tandem to rebuild what this greedy Congress and seemingly ineffectual president will destroy.

Petraeus and Jindal. Not a bad combination. Both are first generation Americans, too. They could revive our listless exceptionalism.