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Time to get tough

By Daniel M. Ryan
web posted April 10, 2017

Years ago, PETA-wannabe group Swiss Animal Protection released a very disturbing video purporting to show normal or tolerated business practice in the mainland Chinese fur industry. While watching it, the emotionless part of my brain said: “If the U.S. were at war with China, this film would make for potent war propaganda.”

In the wolf world, there’s a behaviour called “redirected aggression.” If a wolf gets alarmed by a nearby train or chainsaw cutting wood, he’ll turn on another wolf. Since he can’t attack whatever riled him, he instead goes after another wolf in the compound.

Clearly, PETA and its likesake depend upon displaced aggression when they release vids like that. Since we can’t get to the miscreants who were responsible for this horror, we turn on each other. If you’ve ever seen a vid of an SJW-greenie haranguing a mild-mannered dog owner for walking his dog ‘improperly’, you’ve seen that displaced aggression in action.

As Fur Commission USA points out, there’s good reason to believe that the above grisly video was staged: that the group in question deliberately paid a Chinese fellow to skin the animals alive. The Truth About Fur blog lists five reasons why the video is not representative of any sane practice in the fur industry. Significantly, three of them - "It would be dangerous for the operator", "It would take longer and be less efficient", "It would spoil the fur" – are solid business reasons.

It is upsetting to contemplate the thought of a greenie group cynically filming a deliberate act of animal sacrifice to get $$$$ and support, but those incidents do illustrate that we have powerful emotions that can be manipulated by cynical – sometimes sicko – propagandists. One of those emotions is definitely aggression. As I wrote above, that grisly and disturbing video could have easily been presented as war propaganda in an alternate universe.

The First Casualty Of War

Have you noticed that a war branded as humanitarian splits the respective “packs” in two? Over on the Dem side, the Hillary camp-followers have largely supported President Trump’s air strike on the Shayrat Air Base last Thursday. On the other hand, Sandersitas like Rep. Tulsi Gabbard have been protesting that the strike was unconstitutional. So has The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf.

The same split has erupted on our side. Ann Coulter, among others, criticized the Trump Administration for ditching America First and falling in with the globalists. Trump stalwart Michael Savage, drawing on his previous life as a microbiologist, pointed out that it’s...odd to see victims of sarin gas being treated by medics who aren’t even wearing gloves. If the victims were slaughtered by sarin gas, not wearing any protective material is a proven way to join the victims. Just like treating Ebola victims without so much as wearing a mask is a proven way to put yourself in a hospital bed alongside the victims.

To a depressing degree, war-talk in the public square is governed by unfenced emotion: “muh feels.” In a better age, there’d be a white-haired wise fellow who’d put on a bug-eyed face and say: “Ohh! You discovered what ‘civil war’ means! Good for you!” Since our age would rather have these folks in retirement homes, we instead see the usual suspects race to fill the wisdom gap. So instead of that oldster, we’ll be facing snarks from types that inform us, “Oooh! Abraham Lincoln killed his own people!” They won’t be the only ones snarking.

More seriously, depending on emotion lets in the people eager to flay America for its ‘hypocrisy’. It’s not as if that trick’s been used before. Unfenced emotion is not only impulsive, it’s also fickle. I’ve already read an article entitled “Nine civilians, including four children killed in U.S. Syria strike.” That article is a straight news story, but I’m sure you can guess what it’ll be grist for.

“Truth is the first casualty of war.” Yes, there is evidence that ISIS has chemical weapons. There’s also evidence that Assad’s government has chemical weapons. Based upon what we know of the region, knowledge gained in the school for folly, both are credible. We’ve learned the hard way that chaining the regimes in that area result in either an Islamist government or an unholy mess. The truth that’s been buried is that there are no good guys with clout in Syria. Case in point.

Toughening Up

Justin Raimondo has a list of several incidents which, it was later revealed, were Syrian-rebel whoppers. Why would this be unnerving? As the course of the Syrian civil war has demonstrated, letting Syria alone will mean that Assad’s government will win. Naturally, the rebel forces – which do include ISIS – have a huge incentive to tell whoppers that will get the United States on their side.

On the other hand, the Assad government has a huge and obvious incentive to minimize what they’re doing in the field. Both of these incentives imply that we’ll never know the truth.

In Robert Heinlein’s Stranger In A Strange Land, Jubal Harshaw says to Ben Caxton: “’There’s always a choice! This one is a choice between “bad” and “worse”—which is a difference much more poignant than that between “good” and “better.”'” The Syria mess is one of those choices: there’s no way forward that doesn’t include regret. It’s nice to hand out the pat answer of the non-interventionists, but the United States already has a real presence in the region. That makes the Syrian mess – the whole region’s mess – resemble the proverbial fellow who has a wild wolf by the ears. “Just let the wolf go” is a neat answer but not a wise answer.

In the fury of emotion, it’s hard to remember that last Thursday’s air strike was a small-scale operation. It’s the kind of tactical maneuver which, if done on the ground, would be headed up by a lieutenant. President Trump’s action, despite all the emotional talk you’ve read, is consistent with him testing the water: with him not yet deciding which course is bad and which is worse. As sundance doughtedly pointed out, King Abdullah III of Jordan is a clear beneficiary of the airstrike. As Muslim rulers go, it’s hard to think of a more faithful ally of the United States than King Abdullah. For one, he’s long said that racial Islamism is an “aberration” of Islam. For another, he and his country have put up an awful lot of Syrian refugees instead of pointing them to Europe.

Anyone else recall Obama’s foreign policy being pegged as reaching out to America’s enemies while snubbing America’s allies?

As per above, President Trump’s actions show that he has not yet decided which course is bad and which is worse. If he goes with non-interventionism, we have to toughen up by reminding ourselves that we cannot commandeer everything we see on the Internet by means of our governments. No matter how upsetting those sights are.

If President Trump does decide on intervention, we have to toughen up by taking to heart “War is hell” - in the same way that the World-War mudfoots did. War always has its hellish side; that won’t change. This is sufficient reason to think long and hard before going into one: not going into one suddenly or precipitously. But it’s also sufficient reason to stay the course once war is on: to be in it to win it. And, to gird oneself for the hellish sights and hellish unintended consequences which all wars bring. ESR

Daniel M. Ryan, as Nxtblg, is shepherding the independently-run Open Audi Initiative Prediction Market Shadowing Project. He has stubbornly assumed all the responsibility and blame for the workings and outcome of the project.

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