Childish things

There are so many strange, appalling things going on I can’t tell what to write about, so I thought I’d lump several items together and see if any common theme emerged.

First, the US really doesn’t fight wars any more.

Charged earlier this month with multiple war crimes in connection with the 2017 stabbing death of a detainee in Iraq, Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward “Eddie” Gallagher vows to fight for his freedom.

The 19-year Navy veteran has hired two high-powered criminal defense attorneys who specialize in military law — Colby Vokey of Dallas and Phillip Stackhouse of San Diego — and he’s exploring a civil rights lawsuit against Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents for alleged misconduct linked to his Sept. 11 arrest and detention in San Diego’s Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar.

An Article 32 hearing with a special military judge sent from Florida will begin to sift through the evidence against Gallagher on Nov. 14 in San Diego, according to Stackhouse.

The judge will then recommend which charges should be forwarded or withdrawn by an admiral who could convene a general court-martial. Gallagher has been accused of murder, aggravated assault, obstruction of justice and professional misconduct.

“While the burden is very, very low to send the charges to court, Chief Gallagher will, like he has on every combat deployment, fight. Fight to clear his name, fight for justice, and fight to expose the lies that are being made against him,” said Stackhouse in a written statement emailed to Navy Times.

Multiple criminal defense attorneys, senior military commanders in the Navy and several special warfare units told Navy Times that the ongoing war crimes probe isn’t focused solely on Gallagher but includes more than a dozen SEALs who also deployed between 2017 and early 2018 near what then was Islamic State-held Mosul, Iraq.

NCIS agents are not only probing a number of serious allegations involving the death of the detainee, but also images that allegedly depict SEALs posing with the body. They’re also exploring concerns about how Naval Special Warfare Group 1 officers and senior enlisted leaders handled the initial reports about war crimes and the internal investigation that followed in their wake, they say.

This happened in Iraq last year, in case you were wondering if we were still in Iraq.

Elsewhere,

A former Green Beret who told Fox News in 2016 that he killed a suspected Taliban bomb maker nearly a decade ago during combat operations in Afghanistan is now being charged in the man’s death — a move his lawyer says is an act of betrayal by the Army.

The murder charge facing Maj. Matthew Golsteyn comes after years of on-and-off investigations by the Army following an incident said to have taken place during his 2010 deployment. A military tribunal that probed the killing years ago initially cleared Golsteyn — but the investigation into him was re-opened after he spoke to Fox News’ Bret Baier.

“I think he’s been betrayed,” his attorney, Phillip Stackhouse, told Fox News on Friday when asked how the Army has treated Golsteyn.

The once-decorated soldier, who had been on voluntary excess leave amid the latest investigation, has been living in a newly bought home with his wife and a 2-month-old baby in Virginia, working for the International Association of Firefighters, Stackhouse said.

Golsteyn was informed of the murder charge earlier this week after being ordered back into active duty.

“They have insinuated to me that they have new evidence,” Stackhouse told Fox News. “I don’t believe there is any new evidence at all.”

We’ve been in Afghanistan since 2001. The incidents in question took place in 2010.

The attorney for Golsteyn and Gallagher, Phillip Stackhouse, appears quite busy defending US soldiers from their own government.

War is such a fraught, apex activity we even have its special status carved out in a time-honored quote: “All’s fair in love and war.”

War is violent action by a sovereign. There’s no High Court of Sovereignty weighing the scales of justice over it all. You either win it or you don’t. If you win, you get medals and a pension. If you lose, then you get charged as a war criminal. Nobody cares about the patriotic Iraqis or Afghans who thought they were doing their duty to God or their clan or their country by trying to kill American invaders–it’s war. Armies are gangs of tolerated killers. The US, an ideologically-crazed empire, is trying to prosecute these tedious, numbingly-detailed police actions in furtherance of a vague set of principles. Bullshit. This is war–kill them. And if you don’t want to kill them, then it’s not war and you shouldn’t fight it.

There’s a reason love is linked with war in that quote. The enthralled lover is also a sovereign, obeying no law but that of the heart. Lovers will lie, cheat, fabricate, abuse, even kill to attain the object of their desire. Short of actual assault or pederasty, the State doesn’t adjudicate matters of the heart. We don’t prosecute the devious seductions, false promises, and cruel rejections by lovers outside a few arcane, common law crimes, and usually not even then. The deterrent effect and economic utility to society for adjudicating affairs of the heart is practically nil. Love, like war, is an apex activity.

What else was out there to piss me off? Here’s news from Sweden:

A chemistry professor at Lund University dispatched a team of mercenaries into an Islamic State (also known as IS, Isis or Daesh) war zone to free one of her doctoral students and his family. Charlotta Turner, professor in Analytical Chemistry, received a text message from her student Firas Jumaah in 2014 telling her to to assume he would not finish his thesis if he had not returned within a week.

He and his family were, he told her, hiding out in a disused bleach factory, with the sounds of gunshots from Isis warriors roaming the town reverberating around them. Jumaah, who is from Iraq, is a member of the ethno-religious group Yazidi hated by Isis.

“I had no hope then at all,” Jumaah told Lund’s University Magazine LUM. “I was desperate. I just wanted to tell my supervisor what was happening. I had no idea that a professor would be able to do anything for us.”

Jumaah had voluntarily entered the war zone after his wife had rung him to say that Isis fighters had taken over the next-door village, killing all the men and taking the women into slavery.

“My wife was totally panicking. Everyone was shocked at how IS were behaving,” he said. “I took the first plane there to be with them. What sort of life would I have if anything had happened to them there?”

But Turner was not willing to leave her student to die without trying to do something.

“What was happening was completely unacceptable,” she told LUM. “I got so angry that IS was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research.”

She contacted the university’s then security chief Per Gustafson.

“It was almost as if he’d been waiting for this kind of mission,” Turner said. “Per Gustafson said that we had a transport and security deal which stretched over the whole world.”

Over a few days of intense activity, Gustafson hired a security company which then arranged the rescue operation.

A few days later two Landcruisers carrying four heavily-armed mercenaries roared into the area where Jumaah was hiding, and sped him away to Erbil Airport together with his wife and two small children.

“I have never felt so privileged, so VIP,” Jumaah told LUM. “But at the same time I felt like a coward as I left my mother and sisters behind me.”

Yes, you’re a coward Mr. Jumaah. But what I want to know is why heads of security at mid-tier Swedish universities are tied in to global mercenary networks ready to effect tactical rescues in Iraq. What the hell is going on in Sweden?

I’m glad the man’s family is wealthy enough to pay the university back. Maybe next time they can just coordinate the rescue themselves. By the way, there is a good chance that this was a targeted kidnapping and the “rescue” was actually a ransom payment. Lebanese clans often have rivals thrown in jail on some charge or other. Things get ironed out, ransoms are paid, honor restored. Idealistic Westerners have no clue. Let me highlight this quote from Professor Turner:

“What was happening was completely unacceptable,” she told LUM. “I got so angry that IS was pushing itself into our world, exposing my doctoral student and his family to this, and disrupting the research.”

No, madam, they are in their world, and your child-man student and his wealthy family are up to their necks in it. This is a good micro-scale illustration of the Sailer thesis: we invade the world precisely because we invite the world.

What I’m really supposed to be outraged about, according to the US media, is the clumsy murder of Jamal Khashoggi. The murder took place when Khashoggi visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain his divorce papers. He never came back out, and is alleged to have been murdered on the orders of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Here’s bin Salman consoling Khashoggi’s son, Salah.

salah and bin salman

I hope that cameraman figured out how to turn on the camera to document this heartwarming event or he’s following Jamal into the lye bath. Or maybe the camera doesn’t actually work. Such is life in inscrutable Middle Eastern monarchies.

The New York Times and other professional activists were duly outraged but that’s their full-time job. Khashoggi spent much of his life advising the Saudi monarchy before suddenly deciding he was a dissident. He pissed some people off so he got himself killed. What the teenagers who write for the Times don’t know and will never think to ask is that bin Salman has probably paid the Khashoggis their blood money, the Saudis will pretextually purge their intelligence service of its more troublesome elements, and hopefully they return whatever’s left of Mr. Jamal to his family for a proper Muslim funeral. Honor must be maintained.

If the adults were still running things, all this would go without saying and the adults would get back to doing the adult things. After all, we’re the most powerful State on Earth conducting its geopolitical affairs, not a bunch of women and their gay friends conducting the Episcopal General Convention.

nixon and saudis

Finally, there’s–what else–immigration. Here’s future President Beto O’Rourke talking with future voters in Juarez, Mexico last week.

beto o'rourke

Nobody at the US border right now is legitimately seeking “asylum.” Nobody at the US border right now is an actual “refugee.” Guatemala, Honduras, and the other Central American states are all real countries with architects, surgeons, tractors, cellphones, internet, and other trappings of industrial society. Like Baltimore, they have high crime rates which is a domestic governance problem, not an international cross-border problem.

O’Rourke is just getting face time with future constituents, because that’s all immigration is at this point: a democratic political weapon wielded against electoral opponents. The Left is fighting for territory for its people–serious business–in contrast to notional conservatives debating precious principle–child’s play.

And that’s the theme I came up with from all these stories: the West is no longer a serious place run by adults; it’s a playpen full of children.

“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I bcame a man, I put away childish things.” (I Corinthians 13:11).

5 thoughts on “Childish things

  1. The military has gone the way of police, which had gone the way of marriage. What young man in his right mind would want to be involved with any of them? What older man in his right mind would ever recommend them? All of them fraught with arbitrary peril.

    Liked by 2 people

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