HH: Joining me to talk about that development and many others is Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. Hello, Mark, welcome.
MS: Hi, Hugh, good to be with you.
HH: Well, it does seem as though the difference between a week is that the Middle East is on fire. On the weekend, we had 21 Coptic Christians beheaded. Yesterday, we had 40 plus people incinerated. Now we’ve got ISIS rolling out of the Libyan mainstream towards the Egyptian border. It does seem like it’s falling apart over there very quickly.
MS: Yes, and Libya is Obama’s war of choice. He chose, along with Monsieur Sarkozy, and Mr. Cameron to depose a generally toothless and harmless Col. Qaddafi. As a result, Libya is now a failed state. After the deaths of Americans in Benghazi and the body of the ambassador being dragged through the streets, Benghazi is now controlled by ISIS. The majority of ports on the Libyan coast are controlled by ISIS. But apparently, under the eunuch media of the United States, the President is not obligated to own his war of choice.
HH: How long, Mark Steyn, there was a story yesterday that people in Italy are afraid of an ISIS invasion. And how long do you think before they decide that one of those Mediterranean cruise ships looks like a good target for mayhem?
MS: Yes, you don’t have to make a lot of, I mean, they have moved very far very fast. And I mean, this is why John Kerry’s condescending remark that it’s silly for us to debate how best to deal with ISIS, the reason we’re debating it is because they are an insipient state in the making. They have all the characteristics of the state. They hold territory, they govern that territory, and they’re adding territory, so that they basically control an area, depending on how you define their newest turf in Libya, they control an area getting close now to the size of the British Isles. It is not a big stretch of the imagination to think that they are not serious about their stated goal to march on Rome. And if you consider, Hugh, just to look at this while we’re all obviously excited about the State Department, Marie Harf and the President talking up the jobs for jihadis economic outreach program, 9,000 French citizens are estimated by the French government to have volunteered for ISIS, 9,000. That’s about half the size of the total multinational force in Afghanistan, which is about 18,000 troops at the moment from four dozen different countries. IN other words, France has managed to muster a far bigger military contingent to fight for ISIS than it ever has for any of the French military incursions of the last half century, basically. So this idea that this is just something to do with sort of economic, lack of economic opportunity in the Syrian desert of the Libyan desert is actually insulting to us. And frankly, I’m tired of being insulted by this President and his minions.
HH: Mark Steyn, I’ll play for you that John Kerry quote in just a moment, but I wanted to ask you if you’ve read the article in the Atlantic by Graeme Wood about ISIS and its objectives?
MS: Yes, I have, and I didn’t agree with it. I didn’t agree with it all. In a sense, you know, I think ISIS is making its own rules here. I mean, I think at one level, you could, it’s not so very different, for example, from what Ibn Saud was doing in the Arabian Peninsula in the late 1920s. He’s basically laying down his rules and saying this is how you deal with, and he was such a bloodthirsty guy that the British didn’t want anything to do with him. And that’s why they wound up installing the Hashemites in Jordan and Iraq. But at the same time, what’s fascinating to me about ISIS is that it’s actually, it’s actually redefining evil. It’s mainstreaming barbarism on a scale that I think we have never seen. And it’s using social media, which the President, you know, all these like little parochial dweebs who cluster around the President and think you know, because he has Lena Dunham in a campaign ad, he has a marvelous command of social media. The best command of social media on the planet is ISIS. Everyone, they burned 21 people alive, and if you’re Hugh Hewitt or you’re me, or you’re John Kerry, you think oh, my God, this is repulsive, it’s disgusting. But it’s a turn on. It’s a turn on for guys like those 9,000 nominal French citizens who volunteer for ISIS. They were beheaded. The 21 guys who were beheaded were beheaded by a guy with an American accent. The fellow who killed people in, American citizens in Syria has a London estuary English accent. In other words, this idea that it’s these people came from the most developed, advanced economies in the world, and they decided that they would rather go to the desert and chops people’s heads off, because that’s a more fun job to have than being in the bureau of paperwork at human resources in the Department of Obamacare.
HH: Here is John Kerry earlier today talking about the debate about ISIS. Cut number two:
JK: There’s been a silly debate in the media in the last days about what you have to do. You have to do everything. You have to take the people off the battlefield who are there today, but you’re kind of stupid if all you do is do that and you don’t prevent more people from going to the battlefield. So we have a broad challenge here.
HH: Mark Steyn, we’re kind of stupid, you and I, I guess.
MS: No, no, I agree with him on that, that you wage war by using all the elements at your command. And in that sense, the military piece of this is a very small piece. You wage war against the ideology. And John Kerry and his boss, President Obama, and Marie Harf, and Josh Earnest are dishonest about the ideology. They will not name it. They will not name it. And in fact, they go out of their way to hedge and protect the ideology that does this.
HH: Well, the President does that because…
MS: And one could make the same criticism of the Danish and British prime ministers, and the German chancellor and all the rest. But actually, these guys are worse. They’re way beyond even the qualified identification of the enemy that the Europeans make.
HH: Yeah, because the President doesn’t think it’s ideological, Mark Steyn. Here he is doubling down today on what he said yesterday. I played it on the show yesterday. Here’s President Obama earlier today, cut number three:
BO: We must address the grievances that terrorists exploit, including economic grievances. As I said yesterday, poverty alone does not cause a person to become a terrorist any more than poverty alone causes someone to become a criminal. They’re millions, billions of people who are poor and are law abiding and peaceful and tolerant, and are trying to advance their lives and the opportunities for their families. But when people, especially young people feel entirely trapped in impoverished communities, where there is no order and no path for advancement, where there are no educational opportunities, where there are no ways to support families, and no escape from injustice and the humiliations of corruption, that feeds instability and disorder.
HH: Now Mark Steyn, it’s as though he had never, I’m sure he hasn’t read The Looming Tower, but it’s as though nobody briefed him on where Sayyid Qutb came from.
HH: No one even waved the Atlantic magazine at him. You might disagree with Wood’s conclusions, but at least he lays it out. This isn’t a jobs program problem.
MS: No, no, and it never has been. Muhammad Atta was a middle class engineering student, and the biggest kick in his life he got was flying a plane into the World Trade Center. Osama bin Laden went to summer school at Oxford. The guy who tried to shoot my friend, Lars Vilks, in Copenhagen this weekend, had had the benefit of a fast track Danish high school for gifted students. So this isn’t penniless goat herds who are driven by lack of economic opportunity. It’s about wanting to belong to the coolest gang on the planet, and a gang membership that somehow liberates them in a way that Obama offering them a community college scholarship or whatever cockamamie plan these idiots who are driving Western civilization off the cliff are about to come up with, it’s about something that liberates them and gives them a sense of identity. And this feeble, this feeble, I mean, it’s beyond embarrassing, this. The United States, with your tax dollars, Hugh, and mine, has opened up something called the International Center for Excellence in Countering Violent Extremism in Abu Dhabi. So in other words, in other words…
MS: If you’re Marie Harf, you can now take, if you’re a Marie Harf wannabe, you can now take a Master’s in countering violent extremism at the American Center for Excellent Achievement in Extremism in Abu Dhabi.
HH: Mark Steyn, I hope they have a Common Core on that, that we can make standard across the country. Mark Steyn, everything available at www.steynonline.com.
End of interview.