Monday, November 23, 2015


Yes, this is a Drudge Report link, but the story (from England's Telegraph) makes a point worth considering:

The story:
Once the dust has cleared, the Belgian police service is likely to face heavy scrutiny over how the Paris gang were allowed to go undetected and how [suspect] Salah [Abdeslam] managed to give them the slip, writes Matthew Holehouse.

In Brussels, a city of 1.2 million people, policing is divided by six rival forces, while the city is governed by 19 different mayors....

Eddy Lebon, of the police union Sypol, told La Libre that the Belgian forensics service is "anaemic". Laboratories are being cut from 23 to 14, and may go down to 5. "They don't have the white powder to reveal fingerprints at the scene of a crime."

"Last fall, we stopped the recruitment of 600 police officers, 15 days short of their entry to the academy. If this absurd economy had not happened, today they would be entering service..."

"I could tell you about our cars that have 230,000 kilometres on the clock and tremble above 80 kilometres an hour, but I prefer to discuss our IT issues, the obsolete equipment we use for wiretaps and the state of our weapons."

Vincent Gilles, president of the SLFP Police union, said: "In the federal police, there is not enough money to buy new trousers for police officers, and young recruits make do with old overalls. Some teams are armed with 20 year-old rifles, with too few to go around, not to mention the lack of body armour."
So here's a thought: What if ISIS isn't really all-powerful? What if it's not an unstoppable band of international terrorists able to strike anywhere in the Western world at will, all because mom-jeans-wearing Obama gave the group the leeway to develop superpowers out of an overabundance of political correctness? What if ISIS has been able to strike several times in France this year not because it's the most terrifying threat ever, but because France is just across the border from Belgium, a country where the authorities are struggling to take the most obvious steps to combat it?

An AP story from a couple of days ago tells us more:
Until 2006, Belgium had a very permissive gun law by European standards, and many weapons used in the 1990s Balkan wars easily found their way into the Belgian criminal underworld. At the same time, the Justice Ministry was hurt by austerity measures, rendering it powerless to dig into the root causes of the problem.

"It is relatively easy to get your hands on heavy arms in Brussels," said Brice De Ruyver, a professor of criminology at Ghent University, who was security adviser to the prime minister from 2000 to 2008. "That applies to terror and serious crime. That is because the illegal arms trade has been neglected far too long. ... And once you have a reputation, it is tough to get rid of it."

... The number of police zones has been reduced from 19, but the current six is still considered an anachronism given the need to unify forces in combating extremism....

Extremist ideology has also been allowed to thrive due to police neglect. For years, the leader of Islamic radical group Sharia4Belgium directed one of Europe's more potent recruitment machines for fighters in Syria. Yet it was only this year that he was sentenced to 12 years in prison as the leader of what a court determined was a terror group. "Sharia4Belgium has been able to act with impunity for too long," said De Ruyver.
Oh, and there's this problem across the EU:
Add to that a system in which policemen are often blocked from crossing borders -- lacking jurisdiction to work in neighboring countries -- while criminals can take advantage of Europe's open border policy, and it becomes clear why Belgium is attractive for terrorists.
The message we're hearing right now, particularly from conservatives, is: ISIS is unstoppable and we're all going to die. Thanks, Obama! But obviously there's are plenty of sensible, non-controversial steps that could be taken to stop the group that haven't being taken yet in Belgium, or in Europe as a whole. It's reasonable to assume that more than just an intervening ocean makes America less vulnerable -- yes, conservatives, under President Obama.


Tom Hilton said...

Comment from a friend of mine a few days ago: "I find it interesting how much of all this seems to have been centered in Western Europe's nearest equivalent to a failed state." Remember that time Belgium went nearly two years without an elected government?

Victor said...

Our conservatives will also use this as an example of how European Socialism leaves a nation unprotected.

Too many taxes go for schools, nannies, and health care, and not enough to the police and military.

So, cut taxes on the rich, and increase them on the poor - and for God's sake, get rid of the social safety nets, which suck up money from protecting our exceptional nation.

I'd better stop. I'm starting to sound like one of them...

Feud Turgidson said...

I'll start by noting that this sort of piece is the sort of thing that first got me interested in reading Steve M.'s NoMore posts.

I'm intrigued by that whole area--from NE France around Lille and to the south in Arras, where the lawyer Robespierre was born, east into the Land of Legendary & Magical names:

(a) Flanders (where in its field "the poppies grow ... row on row"; from the Siege of Breda and other battles and campaigns over the 80 Years War nominally between Orange and Spain and ostensibly about saving immortal souls, or preserving the Holy Roman Empire, or land, or power, or possibly nothing more than holding back the tide of history; from the historical novels of Perez-Reverte around hischaracter the line soldier Viggo Mortensen, uh .. uh, Diego Alastriste);

(b) Brabant (where Wagner chose to set one his knightiest operas, Lohengrin);

(c) Schaerbeek ('Notch Creek', where Jaques Brel was born: drops mic);

Antwerp, Liege (where they got Standards), Bruges, soccer-mad Anderlecht, the Monsters of Mons, Knokke-Heist & the Mol, Geel (they come together & conGeel), Lier (they come together in packs), Duffel (D'bags), the poussees of Puurs, Wingene (I KNEW it: It's freaking GENETIC!) Wavre (Is it pronounced like QB Brett says his last name? NO F.W.! Its French Walloon locals pronounce it Wah-rruh, while its Dutch Flemish locals pronounce it Way-verr; Breaking: BRETT FAVRE REMAINS HERITAGE-IGNORANT WINKY-WANKING DOOFUS), the Ypres of WWI infamy, if this is Ghent why isn't that Ghenk?, for crying out loud WATERLOO, the real one, and Boom ... BOOM!

And yet at the same time it's the bureaucratic Afghanistan to civilized industrialized commercialized western Europe. It brings to my mind London Bridge before the Great Fire, and Revolutionary Paris as depicted in Dickens' A Tale of 2 Cities: an unauthorized unregulated tenement suspended above a straight drop down to the street (or river), the whole thing hanging precariously off sticks attached to adjacent yet separate buildings.

There's no central national policing authority that can sweep the residences in these quaintly named cities and towns in search of kids having Caliphate 2.0 wet dreams. There's not even a central body that can authorize anything like that. If they took a vote, few would show up at the polls, and still less would pay any attention to the result.

It's a puzzlement. Personally, if I were God, I'd arrange for the Walloons to head west and for France to absorb them all, and for the Flemish to head north in the Netherlands or Denmark on a similar arrangment, then end by pointing at emptied out Belgium and telling the ME Kurds Here you go, folks: your new Kurdish state home.

Victor said...

While we're playing 'If I were God,' after WWII, I'd have told the Jews that their promised land of Israel was in the Western or South-Western US, and not the deserts of the Middle East.

South or North Dak-Isreal.
Or, Mont-Israel or Wyo-Israel.
Maybe Col-Israel or New Mex-Israel?
Maybe even Holly-Israel, a small nation-state in California. Hell, Hollywood has long been accused of being run by Jews.

Of course, no matter where in the US, the refugees would have had to deal with good old fashioned American anti-Semitism!

So, maybe not a good idea, either.

*Snark* - lest anyone misunderstand.
And yeah, not too funny, either. I know...

Ten Bears said...

Give any thought, Vic, to how people in Montana, N & S Dakota or Wyoming might have felt about that?

'Bout like the Palestinians, I bet