THE ALEXANDER ALEXIS RAMPAGE

THE ALEXANDER ALEXIS RAMPAGE:

LET’S TRACE HIS Inputs

A Post-incident Analysis

Also on The Policy Think Site at – http://jaygaskill.com/AlexanderIncident.htm

By Jay B Gaskill

Yesterday, Alexander Alexis, a 34 year old male with a spotty history of anger outbursts, entered a secure naval facility (the U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command headquarters) in Washington, DC.  He murdered thirteen people before he was himself killed.

Leaving aside the obvious security questions (Alexis passed “a background check and …received a secret clearance from the Defense Department”), there are at least four key elements of a deeper investigation into the “How could this happen and why?” questions. So…I propose the following starting point:

  1. The Alexis incident will be another example of the “malogenic” infection process (see my discussion below) of an unstable, vulnerable personality.
  2. This incident reveals a “moral firewall” failure, all too typical of the postmodern culture, exposing the limits of the therapeutic, mediation models.
  3. Investigators, having presumably eliminated the terrorist associations and influences, now need to follow the mental inputs, looking for malogenic ‘tells’.
  4. Expect to find a toxic “noetic” trail in the Alexander’s three computers.

“Mr. Alexis, according to a Seattle police report, had been arrested for shooting the right and left rear tires of another man’s vehicle with a .45-caliber pistol before firing a shot into the air. Mr. Alexis described the incident to detectives as an anger-fueled “blackout,” according to the report.

“Mr. Alexis had also been arrested in Fort Worth in 2010 for discharging a firearm after an upstairs neighbor said he had confronted her in the parking lot about making too much noise, according to a Fort Worth police report.

“In 2008, he had been arrested outside Atlanta for disorderly conduct related to a dispute inside a nightclub, according to a police report from Dekalb County. No weapon was involved in that incident, according to the police.”

Predictably (in my view), an “official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation, said that the gunman, Aaron Alexis, had been exhibiting symptoms of mental illness since at least his early 20s, before he joined the naval reserve and then went on to be a military contractor. The official said Mr. Alexis has been described by people who knew him as paranoid and delusional.

“He had complained of hearing voices and ringing of the ears,” the law enforcement official said about Mr. Alexis, although it is not clear whether Mr. Alexis had sought medical treatment.”

Credit all of the foregoing quotes to today’s (September 17, 2013) New York Times piece –http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/us/washington-navy-yard-shootings.html?Pagewanted=1&_r=0&hp

MALOGENS – Our Dangerous Cultural Toxins

 

The term, malogens (malevolent moral/mental pathogens) originated from an article of mine, Malogens – A Case Study: Evil Influence & Evil Outcome. It was an analysis of a satanic murder in the Bay Area during which I discovered several insights, among them that –

“Children and young ‘adults’ are subjected to a seductive torrent of bizarre, unfiltered material, both emotionally and morally disturbing; it seethes through the culture and the adolescent sub-cultures like a computer virus. This toxic material is relatively harmless to those who are well rooted in the deep ethical traditions that have upheld humanity, but it is highly contagious to New Age addled juvenile minds.  These are the malogens, the information-carried toxins (really they are moral pathogens); they saturate the internet; they are carried by computers, cell phones and personal contact wherever “modern” juveniles congregate.

“Why are these toxins able to propagate so freely? There is no effective resistance. The New Age fog has disabled the faculty of critical intelligence among thousands of Northern Californians. These are the putative adults for whom the traditions of integrity and courage that animated the ‘Greatest Generation’ have long been forgotten.

“We inhabit a culture that is paralyzed by moral ambivalence and remains apparently unable – like the characters in Harry Potter who couldn’t utter the name of Harry’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort – to actually recognize and name evil, even when it makes one of its blatant appearances.”

In that Satanic killing case, I noted that the killer “was effectively disconnected from the great moral/ethical traditions that have sustained civil society, yet was strongly connected to an amoral and anti-moral subculture.”

{Reference – http://jaygaskill.com/Malogens.htm}

In a later article, addressing the Aurora, Colorado killings, I added these observations:

“Grave wickedness, especially when it takes the form of real Evil is a deep puzzle for all the sophisticated modern and postmodern minds among us because it exposes the naked vulnerability of a weakened moral immune system.  When the ‘can’t we all get along?’” models just don’t cut it; when ‘that nice young man’ executes a bloodbath; when that ancient most ancient enemy of humanity surfaces – the bland face of intelligent malevolence – our modern sensibilities prompt us to seek refuge in the medical, therapeutic models.  We tend to do this because we are clinging to a monumental lie: that all human-on-human ‘badness’ is psychosis, or a cry for help, the result of oppressive social conditions, or of neurological wiring issues.

“None of these social, physiological or psychological conditions belong to the moral category.  That category is Evil, which is a topic about which I have often been asked to share my insights. As a criminal defense attorney, a careful observer of the human condition, my experiences in New York City near ground zero on 9-11-01 led to some reflection, then to a panel discussion in the Bar Area.  As a result, I arrived at some fresh (and old fashioned) insights. The elevator version: Evil with a capital “E” is real; it is an overused and underappreciated term; in my moral universe it a narrow and very dangerous moral category.  When encountered in the real world, Evil is that which entails a robust, intelligent – even ruthless – moral response among the morally aware. But Evil presents difficulties for modern minds, because for many of these misguided souls, Evil does not even exist.” From “The Futility of ‘Shrinking’ Evil -And Other Lessons from the Aurora ‘Dark Knight’ Massacre

{Reference – http://jaygaskill.com/ShrinkingEvil.htm}

Not all “troubled youth”, not all schizophrenics, not all (in my former clients’ eloquent epithet) sick f***s, end up as bloody minded nihilists who leave a trail of dead bodies before they are apprehended or killed.  The therapeutic model has its merits but cases like this one expose its severe limits.

 

THE MISSING FIREWALL

 

The moral order, the essential foundational social architecture on which any civilization worthy of the name depends, is formed of the union of reason, moral intelligence, real world experience and valuable tradition.  It is our only firewall against the evil and nihilistic influences that inhabit the postmodern culture and (thinking of the three electricity hungry computers that occupied Mr. Alexis for countless hours) have deeply infiltrated the information swamp that saturates modern life.

The moral order is not ultimatelysustainable by mere feelings of good will or by some vague, oceanic compassion. As valuable as those attitudes and orientations can be, they do not of themselves stay the evil minds who acquire deadly weapons, nor do they prevent the malogenic infections of the vulnerable personalities among us.

Our vitally necessary moral firewall requires moral principles, implementing rules and the underlying confidence in their ultimate truth that only comes from deep tradition and the abiding belief that there is much more to human life than mere “stuff.”

there are more like this one

 

This is no idle, academic matter.  Terrorist ideologies readily attach themselves to the vulnerable minds that have been compromised by the malogenic influences that seethe through the culture. But if it’s not the work of jihad or Satan, it can just be nihilistic violence.

The moral order does not automatically perpetuate itself. There is nothing wrong with traditional morality, especially with its essential components, the biblical injunctions against mendacity, theft and murder, except its seeming rejection by over-sophisticated intellectuals who have promoted over-reliance on the therapeutic model.

I’ve addressed this on the philosophical level (http://jaygaskill.com/CoreHumanDiscovery.pdf ), but for most of us that is an unnecessary exercise.

We simply need to wake up to the fact that principle and rule-based moral teaching, grounded in faith and / or philosophy / and honored tradition, is no longer favored or taught as widely or with the conviction as it once was.

Alexis and others are providing us with more than horrific news stories.  They are the early warning signs of a decaying moral culture.

Watch closely over the next few weeks.

Will anyone seriously attempt to identify and unpack the moral toxins embedded is Mr. Alexis’s hard drives?

Will it matter?

Will we learn from it?

 

JBG

Copyright 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Contact for all permissions and comments: outlawyer.gaskill@gmail.com .

Jay B Gaskill is a California attorney who served as the 7th chief Public Defender for the County of Alameda, California.

 

ENTER STAGE RIGHT: V. PUTUN, THE CUDDLY HUMANITARIAN

THE WOLF SPEAKS TO THE SHEEP

ENTER STAGE RIGHT:

V. PUTUN, THE CUDDLY HUMANITARIAN

{Published on the Policy Think Site at <http://jaygaskill.com/PutinAsCuddlesTheWolf.htm>.}

By Jay B Gaskill

For The Policy Think Site www.jaygaskill.com

Vlad, the (former) KGB ruler of Russia, has come to President Obama’s aid bearing an olive branch … through clenched teeth.

Today, the New York Times ran Putin’s Op Ed.  {In fairness, I have reproduced it in full below – without advance clearance from the KGB or the NYT.)

Mr. Putin’s Op Ed is skillfully constructed. It is full of humanitarian buzz words and phrases – I call them “gushlets”. – No doubt they were cynically inserted by a Russian expert in “liberal-speak”.  I begin with an early response from key Israeli figures whose beleaguered country has by far the most to lose in this deadly game.

 

PART ONE: THE NOT FOOLED

New York Times 9-11-13

U.S. Backing of Russian Plan Leaves a Wary Israel Focusing on Self-Reliance

By JODI RUDOREN

“JERUSALEM — In tallying winners and losers from the unexpected turn toward a potential diplomatic resolution of the crisis over Syria’s chemical weapons, Israel lands squarely in the question-mark column.

“….many analysts worried that Mr. Assad, his Iranian patrons and the Lebanese militia Hezbollah would emerge strengthened, and that the main upshot of the episode would be a sense of American wavering on involvement in the Middle East.

“When the Iranians see this, they don’t fear a military threat,” Tzachi Hanegbi, an Israeli lawmaker with security expertise who is close to the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, told Israel Radio. “To the contrary, they feel the international coalition is weak and stuttering and not enough of a reason to give up their nuclear program.”

Dan Gillerman, a former Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, said the message to Iran was that “America’s allies cannot rely on it, that its enemies can do what they want and nothing will happen to them.” Avigdor Lieberman, Israel’s former foreign minister and Mr. Netanyahu’s political partner, reacted to the developments with what has become practically a mantra here, “We rely only on ourselves.”

 

PART TWO: FAWNS RUNNING WITH WOLVES

 

EXCERPTS

…from Mr. Putin’s Op Ed with JBG’s {running commentary}.

September 11, 2013

A Plea for Caution From Russia

By VLADIMIR V. PUTIN

“MOSCOW — RECENT events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies.

‘The potential strike by the United States against Syria, despite strong opposition from many countries and major political and religious leaders, including the pope, will result in more innocent victims …”

{Omitted in this discussion was any mention of the “innocent” victims killed in Russia’s brutal response to Muslim rebels in Chechnya, or of the potential immolation of Israel via an Iranian nuclear attack. JBG}

“From the outset, Russia  has advocated peaceful dialogue enabling Syrians to develop a compromise plan for their own future.’

{Somehow I missed that stunning Russian contribution to peace and freedom in Syria.  Was I asleep, or was Putin just making a joke? JBG}

“But force has proved ineffective and pointless. … In Iraq the civil war continues, with dozens killed each day.’

{Oh dear.  Saddam, the brutal and dangerous dictator was deposed, Iraq has a functioning civil democracy, slightly impaired because Obama has withdrawn support, and “dozens” are killed each day.  Has the Russian President checked Chicago, LA and Oakland lately? JBG}

“…civilian casualties are inevitable, including the elderly and children, whom the strikes are meant to protect.”

“We must stop using the language of force and return to the path of civilized diplomatic and political settlement.”

“We must work together to keep this hope alive, as we agreed to at the Group of 8 meeting in Lough Erne in Northern Ireland in June, and steer the discussion back toward negotiations.”

“If we can avoid force against Syria, this will improve the atmosphere in international affairs and strengthen mutual trust. It will be our shared success and open the door to cooperation on other critical issues.”

{No one in the Russian security establishment gives a crap about “civilian casualties”, not “using the language of force”, “keeping hope alive” or “improving the atmosphere.” JBG}

“My working and personal relationship with President Obama is marked by growing trust”

{Translation:I have never trusted this guy, but now I think I can play him’.}

[Putin opposes] “American exceptionalism, [Mr. Obama] stating that the United States’ policy is ‘what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.’ It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation.”

{Translation: ‘I, Vlad Putin, believe in Russian exceptionalism and there is no room for the American version. JBG}

“There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.”

{I can hear the snickers in the Kremlin from thousands of miles away.}

Vladimir V. Putin is the president of Russia.

 

CONCLUSION

We are dealing with international thugs.  The rules for this never change.  Do not show weaknessNever bluff.

An open-ended diplomacy initiative to Assad amounts to permission to dither and game us while continuing to fight a civil war to the death.  It is tantamount to an invitation to ignore us.

And it amounts to a message to the Mullahs-in-Charge who run Iran: Go ahead with your nuclear program, “make your day”.

A tough leader would give Assad a firm deadline then hit him hard when (not if) he fails to meet it.  A really tough leader with strategic vision would use this whole mess as a distraction while we prepare – in secret – to rain down the hounds of hell on Iran, taking out naval, military and suspect nuclear assets as a “got your attention yet?” warning for worse to come.

But if there is such a leader, he is absent from White House.

JBG

 

This piece follows three short articles by Mr. Gaskill posted at –

http://www.jaygaskill.com/OBAMATWAR.htm

http://www.jaygaskill.com/POTUSinTRAINING.htm

http://www.jaygaskill.com/HauntedObama.htm

 

Except for the quoted material, this is Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

Author contact – law@jaygaskill.com

 

FULL TEXT – WHAT PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID

My fellow Americans, tonight I want to talk to you about Syria, why it matters and where we go from here. Over the past two years, what began as a series of peaceful protests against the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad has turned into a brutal civil war. Over a hundred thousand people have been killed. Millions have fled the country. In that time, America has worked with allies to provide humanitarian support, to help the moderate opposition and to shape a political settlement.

But I have resisted calls for military action because we cannot resolve someone else’s civil war through force, particularly after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The situation profoundly changed, though, on August 21st, when Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people, including hundreds of children. The images from this massacre are sickening, men, women, children lying in rows, killed by poison gas, others foaming at the mouth, gasping for breath, a father clutching his dead children, imploring them to get up and walk. On that terrible night, the world saw in gruesome detail the terrible nature of chemical weapons and why the overwhelming majority of humanity has declared them off limits, a crime against humanity and a violation of the laws of war.

This was not always the case. In World War I, American GIs were among the many thousands killed by deadly gas in the trenches of Europe. In World War II, the Nazis used gas to inflict the horror of the Holocaust. Because these weapons can kill on a mass scale, with no distinction between soldier and infant, the civilized world has spent a century working to ban them. And in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 government that represent 98 percent of humanity.

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity.

No one disputes that chemical weapons were used in Syria. The world saw thousands of videos, cellphone pictures and social media accounts from the attack. And humanitarian organizations told stories of hospitals packed with people who had symptoms of poison gas.

Moreover, we know the Assad regime was responsible. In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area they where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighborhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.

Shortly after those rockets landed, the gas spread, and hospitals filled with the dying and the wounded. We know senior figures in Assad’s military machine reviewed the results of the attack. And the regime increased their shelling of the same neighborhoods in the days that followed. We’ve also studied samples of blood and hair from people at the site that tested positive for sarin.

When dictators commit atrocities, they depend upon the world to look the other day until those horrifying pictures fade from memory. But these things happened. The facts cannot be denied.

The question now is what the United States of America and the international community is prepared to do about it, because what happened to those people, to those children, is not only a violation of international law, it’s also a danger to our security.

Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons.

As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them. Over time our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield, and it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons and to use them to attack civilians.

If fighting spills beyond Syria’s borders, these weapons could threaten allies like Turkey, Jordan and Israel.

And a failure to stand against the use of chemical weapons would weaken prohibitions against other weapons of mass destruction and embolden Assad’s ally, Iran, which must decide whether to ignore international law by building a nuclear weapon or to take a more peaceful path.

This is not a world we should accept. This is what’s at stake. And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. The purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use. That’s my judgment as commander in chief.

But I’m also the president of the world’s oldest constitutional democracy. So even though I possessed the authority to order military strikes, I believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take this debate to Congress. I believe our democracy is stronger when the president acts with the support of Congress, and I believe that America acts more effectively abroad when we stand together.

This is especially true after a decade that put more and more war-making power in the hands of the president, and more and more burdens on the shoulders of our troops, while sidelining the people’s representatives from the critical decisions about when we use force.

Now, I know that after the terrible toll of Iraq and Afghanistan, the idea of any military action, no matter how limited, is not going to be popular. After all, I’ve spent four and a half years working to end wars, not to start them. Our troops are out of Iraq, our troops are coming home from Afghanistan, and I know Americans want all of us in Washington, especially me, to concentrate on the task of building our nation here at home, putting people back to work, educating our kids, growing our middle class. It’s no wonder, then, that you’re asking hard questions. So let me answer some of the most important questions that I’ve heard from members of Congress and that I’ve read in letters that you’ve sent to me.

First, many of you have asked: Won’t this put us on a slippery slope to another war? One man wrote to me that we are still recovering from our involvement in Iraq. A veteran put it more bluntly: This nation is sick and tired of war.

My answer is simple. I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria. I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan. I will not pursue a prolonged air campaign like Libya or Kosovo. This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.

Others have asked whether it’s worth acting if we don’t take out Assad. As some members of Congress have said, there’s no point in simply doing a pinprick strike in Syria.

Let me make something clear: The United States military doesn’t do pinpricks.

Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad or any other dictator think twice before using chemical weapons.

Other questions involve the dangers of retaliation. We don’t dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other — any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day. Neither Assad nor his allies have any interest in escalation that would lead to his demise. And our ally Israel can defend itself with overwhelming force, as well as the unshakable support of the United States of America.

Many of you have asked a broader question: Why should we get involved at all in a place that’s so complicated and where, as one person wrote to me, those who come after Assad may be enemies of human rights? It’s true that some of Assad’s opponents are extremists. But al-Qaida will only draw strength in a more chaotic Syria if people there see the world doing nothing to prevent innocent civilians from being gassed to death. The majority of the Syrian people and the Syrian opposition we work with just want to live in peace, with dignity and freedom. And the day after any military action, we would redouble our efforts to achieve a political solution that strengthens those who reject the forces of tyranny and extremism.

Finally, many of you have asked, why not leave this to other countries or seek solutions short of force?

And several people wrote to me, we should not be the world’s policeman. I agree. And I have a deeply held preference for peaceful solutions. Over the last two years my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warnings and negotiations. But chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.

However, over the last few days we’ve seen some encouraging signs in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin. The Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons and even said they’d join the chemical weapons convention, which prohibits their use.

It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force, particularly because Russia is one of Assad’s strongest allies.

I have therefore asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to met his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin. I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closet allies, France and the United Kingdom. And we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control.

We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies, from Europe to the Americas, from Asia to the Middle East who agree on the need for action.

Meanwhile, I’ve ordered our military to maintain their current posture, to keep the pressure on Assad and to be in a position to respond if diplomacy fails. And tonight I give thanks again to our military and their families for their incredible strength and sacrifices.

My fellow Americans, for nearly seven decades the United States has been the anchor of global security. This has meant doing more than forging international agreements. It has meant enforcing them. The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world’s a better place because we have borne them.

And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.

To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.

Indeed, I’d ask every member of Congress, and those of you watching at home tonight, to view those videos of the attack, and then ask: What kind of world will we live in if the United States of America sees a dictator brazenly violate international law with poison gas and we choose to look the other way? Franklin Roosevelt once said our national determination to keep free of foreign wars and foreign entanglements cannot prevent us from feeling deep concern when ideals and principles that we have cherished are challenged.

Our ideals and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria, along with our leadership of a world where we seek to ensure that the worst weapons will never be used. America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional.

With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.

Thank you. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

 

 

Mr. Obama's Haunting Moment

Firetruck

SEPTEMBER 11, 2012

Mr. Obama’s Haunting Moment

A Message from

Jay B Gaskill

 

I am haunted by memories today.

On this date in 2001, my wife and I were in Manhattan, smelling the dust, seeing the grief and tears at close range, walking the emptying streets of Mid-town, seeing a ravaged fire truck, crumpled like a run-over toy, people huddled on street corners, jets flying over skyscrapers….

But great evil generates an outpouring of great good. By September 12th, we sensed a surge of greatness and generosity among the people who remained in Manhattan, and who gathered in a nearby park. In the following days, all Americans hoped that President Bush would emerge as the strong leader that history demanded.

Then there he was, standing in the rubble at ground zero three days later, inspired by the rough men around him [You could tell he was comfortable with them – alter all, he ran an oil rig company and a baseball team.] Bob Beckwith, a firefighter was standing next to Mr. Bush in the rubble. As he later told Time Magazine:

“I got home and I told my wife, ‘I’m going down,’ ” he said, referring to the smoldering remains of the Twin Towers.

“At first, his family dissuaded him from going to Ground Zero, but after Beckwith discovered that one of his colleague’s sons was one of the hundreds of firefighters missing, he put on his old uniform, strapped on his helmet and went to join the rescue efforts.

“Beckwith had to finagle his way into Ground Zero when he approached the heavily guarded perimeter.

“I said, ‘Come on, guys. You know I got to get in there.’ I showed them my identification card from the fire department and so a couple of guys let me through,” Beckwith said.

“Once inside the perimeter, Beckwith got a firsthand look at the charred remains of the World Trade Center and immediately began working to find survivors.”

“And the president came and he is shaking hands with all the ironworkers and all the cops and all the firemen that were down there … and I figure he’s going over to the microphones, but he makes a quick right, and he puts his arm up and I said, ‘Oh my God!’ “

After helping the president onto the truck, Beckwith begins to crawl down, but Bush stops him.

“He says, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘Uh, I was told to get down.’ He said, ‘No, no, you stay right here.’ “

A voice called out “We can’t hear you Mr. President!” President George Bush picks up a bull horn:

President Bush: Thank you all. I want you all to know — it [the bullhorn] can’t go any louder —  I want you all to know that American today, American today is on bended knee, in prayer for the people whose lives were lost here, for the workers who work here, for the families who mourn. The nation stands with the good people of New York City and New Jersey and Connecticut as we mourn the loss of thousands of our citizens

Rescue Worker: I can’t hear you!

President Bush: I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!

Rescue Workers: [Chanting] U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

President Bush: The nation — The nation sends its love and compassion —

Rescue Worker: God bless America!

President Bush: — to everybody who is here. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for makin’ the nation proud, and may God bless America.

Rescue Workers: [Chanting] U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A.!

Such images and thoughts still haunt me as I watch our latest president wrestle with the consequences of his irresolution and reluctance in the face of America’s enemies.

OUR LEADER IN 2013

[]

Peggy Noonan on her blog in the Wall Street Journal

“The president has backed away from a military strike in Syria. But he can’t acknowledge this or act as if it is true. He is acting and talking as if he’s coolly, analytically, even warily contemplating the Russian proposal and the Syrian response. The proposal, he must know, is absurd. Bashar Assad isn’t going to give up all his hidden weapons in wartime, in the middle of a conflict so bitter and severe that his forces this morning reportedly bombed parts of Damascus, the city in which he lives. In such conditions his weapons could not be fully accounted for, packed up, transported or relinquished, even if he wanted to. But it will take time—weeks, months—for the absurdity to become obvious. And it is time the president wants. Because with time, with a series of statements, negotiations, ultimatums, promises and proposals, the Syria crisis can pass. It can dissipate into the air, like gas.”

[]

Mr. Obama, speaking to the American people last night, while backing down….

“Even a limited strike will send a message to Assad that no other nation can deliver. I don’t think we should remove another dictator with force. We learned from Iraq that doing so makes us responsible for all that comes next. But a targeted strike can make Assad or any other dictator, think twice before using chemical weapons.”

…over the last few days we’ve seen some encouraging signs in part because of the credible threat of U.S. military action as well as constructive talks that I had with President Putin. The Russian government has indicated a willingness to join with the international community in pushing Assad to give up his chemical weapons. The Assad regime has now admitted that it has these weapons and even said they’d join the chemical weapons convention, which prohibits their use.

It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed

“America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong. But when, with modest effort and risk, we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act.”

Frederick W. Kagan, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, former professor of military history at the West Point Military Academy, writing in The Weekly Standard

“American interests in Syria are clear: preventing terrorists from acquiring chemical weapons; depriving Iran of its most important ally and staging-base in the Middle East; and preventing al Qaeda from establishing an uncontested safe haven in the Levant.

“Syria’s use of chemical weapons by itself dramatically increases the risk of those weapons falling into al Qaeda’s hands. Any action the United States and its allies could take to dissuade Assad from continuing that use—thereby persuading him to keep the weapons locked up as securely as he can—is a step toward reducing that risk.

“The best solution, of course, would be to destroy the weapons or remove them from Syria. Simply bombing them from the air poses unacceptable risks, unless they are about to be seized by terrorists. There is a risk of releasing clouds of toxic gas that could kill scores or hundreds of innocent civilians, even when using advanced bombs designed to incinerate chemical weapons. Using such advanced munitions, moreover, would require putting manned aircraft over Syrian airspace, which in turn means attacking the Syrian air defense system in advance. Bombing secured bunkers also makes it impossible to determine with certainty whether all of the weapons were destroyed, while simultaneously exposing the storage facility to plunder by scattering (at the very least) its guard force.”

My PERSONAL take:

CONTEXT:

If you haven’t yet read them, I invite you to take a look at two brief pieces I posted earlier on The Policy Think Site (www.jaygaskill.com),

Obama at War: Bully like a Flea – Sting like a Butterfly

Our President’s Teaching Moment

 

My most recent article concluded with the observation that “many of Mr. Obama’s missteps have been less damaging than they could have been because he has been remarkably lucky. We should all wish President Obama good luck this time.

The President’s good luck, on this occasion, came in the form of a “rescue” by Russia’s Thug-In-Chief, V. Putin, who has proposed to “help” us persuade the embattled Assad regime to transfer its nerve gas weapons (some of which may represent the remnants of Saddam’s WMD cache) to the UN.

Peace is at hand? Don’t hold your breath.

Our President was spared the embarrassment of a full back-down or the ignominy of a botched attempt to punish a brutal dictator. He was spared by an authoritarian Russian leader with an agenda.

Over the last 4 years and 8 months, our president has demonstrated only one clear leadership skill.  It is his talent to do smooth, chameleon-like mutations of positions calibrated to advance his personal political advantage in the moment.

It is an act.  The act is wearing thin. 

 

So I am haunted by memories today – and by the “what ifs?” they inspire.

A thought experiment: Setting aside all your political / ideological leanings, ask yourself this-

 Given this President’ bundle of character traits, predispositions and decision-making disabilities, as we now see them revealed, would he be up to the challenge of a 9-11 attack?

JBG

Except for the quoted material from other sources,

Copyright © 2013 by Jay B Gaskill, Attorney at Law

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