Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Romney has no reason to apologize. He relied on his contractor to follow the law. If people want to hold Romney accountable for that, then I suggest that the Boston Herald start interviewing the Boston Globe's janitorial staff and landscaping services to determine whether their contractors have the same issue. After that, some enterprising blogger could follow the executives of the Boston Globe (owned by the New York Times) to see at which restaurants they eat and at which golf courses they play to determine whether they have carefully scrutinized all of these places to ensure no illegals work there."

Apocalyptic Assassins

"Detectives believe that a sizeable team travelled from Russia to smuggle the polonium-210 into Britain and shadow Litvinenko. There is a suspicion that Litvinenko’s mobile telephone was bugged and the surveillance team knew of his meeting with the Italian security expert, who had taken part in a parliamentary investigation in Rome into KGB dirty tricks." [ Insiders have been speculating that it couldn't have been a KGB FSB hit since if they would have done it, it wouldn't have been so sloppy. Two alternatives come to mind: 1) The Tinfoil Apocalypse leads to the conclusion that we have been outstripping not only our morality but also our competence and the Russians are not immune. 2) The Russians may have decided that this would be a cool way to get into the terror biz. And interestingly, these alternatives are not necessarity mutually exclusive... And of course, though I can't find the link this minute, others have noted there is another danger lurking in this episode. The Islamofascists now have a real example of the disruption that even a relatively minor radiation incident can cause in the West. Not. Good. -ed. ]

That Old Slow Mo

"This may also mark a defeat for the old-line CIA crowd, which has done its very best to stigmatize anyone who argued in favor of supporting pro-democracy forces in Iran. [ Damn that democracy crap anyway. What a stupid idea. -ed. ] General Hayden, the current head of CIA, has shown a refreshing ability to think things through, and he may have played a role in the latest revelations. [ Well, he won't be lasting long methinks. Hope he doesn't have any skeletons in his closet. -ed. ] There should be a lot more such information, if anyone is interested, but there’s a lot of political opposition to it, both inside and outside the government, since it is seen as good for Bushitler, and hence taboo. We’ll see.

You’d think that this would put an end to the jolly talk about “negotiating” with the mullahs and their Syrian pals. And you’d also think this would compel our leaders to look for ways to make life difficult for Tehran and Damascus. But then, you’d have thought that quite a while ago, wouldn’t you? I certainly did.

Faster, please. Every day lost produces more victims at the hands of the mullahs." [ Hojjatieh? What Hojjatieh? -ed. ]
"So the captain apparently made his decision to delay the flight based on many complaints, not one. And he consulted a federal air marshal, a U.S. Airways ground security coordinator and the airline’s security office in Phoenix. All thought the imams were acting suspiciously, Rader told me.

Other factors were also considered: All six imams had boarded together, with the first-class passengers - even though only one of them had a first-class ticket. Three had one-way tickets. Between the six men, only one had checked a bag.

And, Pauline said, they spread out just like the 9-11 hijackers. Two sat in first, two in the middle, and two back in the economy section. Pauline’s account is confirmed by the police report. The airline spokeswoman added that some seemed to be sitting in seats not assigned to them.

One thing that no one seemed to consider at the time, perhaps due to lack of familiarity with Islamic practice, is that the men prayed both at the gate and on the plane. Observant Muslims pray only once at sundown, not twice.

It was almost as if they were intentionally trying to get kicked off the flight,” Pauline said. A lone plain clothes FBI agent boarded the plane and briefly spoke to the imams. Later, uniformed police escorted them off.


Bomb-sniffing dogs were used to sweep the plane and every passenger was re-screened, the airline spokeswoman confirmed. Another detail omitted from press reports.

The reaction of the remaining passengers has also gone unreported. “We applauded and cheered for the crew,” she said.

“I think it was either a foiled attempt to take over the plane or it was a publicity stunt to accuse us of being insensitive,” Pauline said. “It had to be to intimidate U.S. Airways to ease up on security.”

So far, U.S. Airways refuses to be intimidated, even though the feds have launched an investigation. “We are absolutely backing this crew,” Rader said.

Tucked away in the police report is this little gem: one of the imams had complained to a passenger that some nations did not follow shariah law and his job in Bakersfield, Calif. was a cover for “representing Muslims here in the U.S.”

So what are the imams really up to? Something more than praying it seems."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Hojjatieh Again

"However, a more ominous thing IBD reports has to do with Ahmadinejad’s religious mentor:
Mesbah-Yazdi, an ideological mentor to Ahmadinejad, is an extremist cleric
who endorses the use of suicide bombers against Israel and for confrontation
with the West.He is also campaigning to succeed Grand Ayatollah Ali Khameini as
head of the Iranian Islamic state, and his ties to fellow fundamentalist
Ahmadinejad give him a leg up. If he wins, as appears all too probable, Iran
will be taking another step away from democracy and toward war.

As those who are prone to wave off Ahmadinejad’s ramblings are fond of pointing out, the real power in Iran lays not with him but with the head of the Iranian Islamic state.Given this interesting news, we now have a new name and a new situation to monitor. One should assume, if Ahmadinejad is a reflection of his religious mentor, should Mesbah-Yazdi eventually replace Khameini, the situation in Iran may worsen and Ahmadeinejad’s threats will have to be taken much more seriously. How nice. " [ And how predicted. -ed. ]
"In an irony that must rank as one of the most curious in history, the insurgency in al-Anbar finds it must continue precisely because of the threat of a US drawdown. At the end of a sequence of blunders, Sunni strategists have managed to add yet one more. It is a continuation of a failed policy which begun with the Sunnis defying the US Armed Forces; that led to US Armed Forces building up a Shi'ite Army; that resulted in the crushing of Sunni strongholds. It continued in their absurd response to defeat: provoking civil unrest in an internal conflict they could not hope to win. That civil unrest has come within a handsbreadth of politically driving America from Iraq. And now they realize too late that an American withdrawal means their inevitable massacre in a war they are now too weak to win. The Sunnis find themselves, as Westhawk puts it, looking at a political "chasm" they cannot cross. And because they cannot cross, they fight, however pointless it may be."
"Microsoft senior vice president and head of Microsoft research Rick Rashid said that "the number one producer of new computer science students capable of doing work at Microsoft is China," he said, adding that India is in second place with the United States in third. "The United States still has the largest number of trained people but I think we'll lose that."

"If you look at engineering overall, you get concerned. In my particular field of computer science, it's reasonable to start panicking," he said. The pipeline of new graduates is getting smaller and the likelihood that future jobs will be done outside of the United States is growing, he said.

Part of the problem with getting engineers is the state of education and United States, panelists said."
"Columbia University officials are lowering the boom on some graduate journalism students suspected of cheating on, of all things, an ethics exam.


I think we can guess where they come down on "fake but accurate.""

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"THERE’S SO MUCH THAT JIM BAKER doesn’t understand and never has understood; I honestly don’t know where to begin. Perhaps a good place to start would be in 1941 when the Palestinian leader, Mufti al-Husseini, journeyed to Berlin and aligned himself, his people and his movement with the Nazi agenda of annihilating the Jews. Since that time (which was actually seven years before Israel was born), extermination of the Zionist Entity and those inside of it, not any kind of peace agreement, has been the lodestar of the Radical Muslim world. To think that this leopard is suddenly going to change its spots or be satisfied with a Sudentenland-sized chunk of Israel is ludicrous. When Ahmadenijad said he wanted to wipe Israel off the map, he meant it.


But the Iranian mullahs will be even happier. The Baker Commission report will give them the same feeling that Hitler got in Munich – these men will not fight. They will see a solid chunk of the American body politic eager to sell out an ally while making concessions to our enemies without requiring those enemies to fire a single shot.

But here’s the killer part: Even if President Bush does the right thing and shoves this report in a part of James Baker’s anatomy where the sun don’t shine, the Commission will still do incalculable harm
. The media, the Democrats and even many Republicans have already given the Baker Commission the sheen of omniscience once wrongly bestowed upon the 9/11 Commission. Regardless of the obtuseness of the Baker Commission’s recommendations, they will be hailed as genius and indisputable by wide swaths of the public.

Our country will look ridiculous. And a country like ours can’t afford to look ridiculous. Or weak. Especially at this point in history.
"The "two distinct paths" show themselves rather obviously in the final result. The ISG clearly weighed the competing visions for Iraq, withdrawal and commitment, and came up with something that satisfies no one. They suggest the gradual withdrawal of American troops, but won't say whether they should stay elsewhere in Iraq, in a neighboring country (if any would host them), or sent home altogether. The ISG wants to put pressure on Nouri al-Maliki, but apparently not by applying any specific timetables.

Will this satisfy anyone? Hardly. The Left wants an explicit withdrawal with firm timetables to prevent any dallying by the Bush administration. They do not want 70,000 American troops left in Iraq as "trainers", nor do they want combat organizations left in the quieter regions of Iraq. Supporters of the Bush foreign policy goals in Iraq will find themselves aghast at some of the more ludicrous explicit stands of the ISG. In the only area where they climb out onto a limb, they insist on direct negotiations with the two terror-sponsoring nations in the region, Iran and Syria, to assist in the security of Iraq -- the clearest case of the fox guarding the henhouse since Daladier and Chamberlain put the Sudetenland in the care of Adolf Hitler.

In the end, the ISG will turn out to be a footnote in the policy battles over Iraq. This conclusion marginalizes the panel and its members by its own lack of honest evaluation and commitment to freedom over expediency.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Ed Morrisey recently raised objections to statements by Newt Gingrich concerning internet counterterrorism (which were apparently mischaracterized by the media source, according to Newt's staff and a timely update on Captain's Quarters). Ed's objections amounted to concerns about an idealized choice between First Amendment freedom and national security. It turned out that Newt wasn't really addressing the "Ellsberg Syndrome", but the central thesis is similar. The problem is that this is a "boiled frog" scenario. Because the damage has been perpetrated in relatively small increments over a long period of time (and because the initial attempt to supress Ellsberg was unsuccessful) we appear to have become desensitized to the full consequences of such betrayal

The constraint on action doesn't really appear to be a legal matter, but a matter of political will. Were a President to prosecute a case such as the recent disclosure by the NYT he'd earn the undying enmity of the Press, for the rest of his tenure. Or more to the point, the disdain that is at least partly covert would become openly rebellious. Mainstream media would sooner compromise the nation than pass up the opportunity for a delicious "gotcha". (The Ellsberg case is generally regarded as the beginning of "gotcha journalism", because it helped define the successful careers of Woodward and Bernstein.) And absent any serious consequences about the only thing that might retard such a stampede is an increasingly incipient patriotism and moral integrity. [ Rrrrrbt. -ed. ]
"But nothing matches reality if you want fantasy. We have 650,000 dead people in Iraq, as estimated by the Lancet, many of whom died in Baghdad airstrikes without any airstrikes in evidence. We have two countries attacking other countries that have become completely invisible. Magicians in The Prestige would be totally outclassed. We have documents composed in Microsoft Word that go back to the 1970s. It is better than Back to the Future. And all of it is real. Like Jamil Hussein who has been seen, or so we are told, by AP reporters. But maybe Hussein really is one of the live-action human props in this toonscape. Just right for a new movie combining elements of Eragon and Jurassic Park. "In a world of fiction, something has survived." Something. But it doesn't have to be true."
"Consider, for example, the disingenuous claim of CAIR spokesperson Rabiah Ahmed that Muslims have to "walk on eggshells" in order to avoid the kind of treatment that befell the six imams. The circumstances that led to that treatment, and the near absence of other such instances, suggest that, when flying, Muslims need only resist the urge to pray loudly before boarding, to switch seating assignments to a configuration used by terrorists in previous incidents, to ask for seat-belt extensions which could be used as weapons, and to shout anti-American slogans pertaining to al Qaeda and the war in Iraq.

I assume that few American Muslims have such impulses. Does CAIR disagree
"America is a uniquely charitable country. So when you hear that "Americans are cheap," just remember: We gave $260 billion in charity last year. That's almost $900 for every man, woman, and child."
"Here it is in two sentences: The FBI was prevented from freezing terrorists' assets and catching terrorists because somebody leaked what they were about to do to the New York Times, and the NYT proceeded to warn the terrorists themselves! Now the NYT says that because it was just promoting the "public's right to know" and the First Amendment, its phone company should be immune from having to give evidence to permit a grand jury to decide whether any crimes were committed as part of this debacle.

And here it is in a mere ten words: Someone committed treason, and the NYT is okay with that."
"But to focus on these parts of his letter, however silly and objectionable they may be, would be to miss the main point. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the Hugo Chavez of the Persian Gulf. He knows that soon he will have his finger on the nuclear trigger.

Citing from the Quran at the close of his letter, he says that if Americans “repent” of their “injustice,” they will be blessed with many gifts. “We should all heed the divine Word of the Holy Qur’an,” he says.

The context of this particular verse (28:67-28, Sura “Al-Qasas,” or The Narration), is very clear. It follows a graphic description of destruction and devastation that will befall those who fail to repent of their injustice.

It also sets out the terms of the tradition Muslim warning to the enemies of Allah. “And never will your Lord destroy the towns until He sends to their mother town a Messenger reciting to them Our Verses.” This is is precisely what Ahmadinejad is doing in his letter.

Dump Bush, allow the Muslims to destroy Israel, and adopt Islam — or else you will be destroyed. This is Ahmadinejad’s message."
"This letter follows the same rambling, barely coherent pattern of his open letter to George Bush earlier this year. In it, he attempts to deflect attention from the intransigence of his own regime in their pursuit of nuclear weapons by continuously blaming the Jews for all the ills of the world."
"Is this more Baker-Scowcroft realpolitik? Or is it just another case of wishful thinking on the capacity for peace from current Palestinian leadership? If we've reduced ourselves to having to choose which flavor of terrorism we'll tolerate, we have dramatically lowered our expectations on the war against terrorists, probably to the point of losing entirely.

Olmert, for once, provides an example of firmness on the issue. He will not allow the Badr Brigade to move into Gaza nor any of his other offers to take effect until the Palestinians return Shalit, unharmed. That might be the start of a more realistic look at the futility of appeasement, a lesson that the West needs to learn all over again, it would seem."
"Among the other predictable casualties of the regional strategy will be the people of Israel. Jim Baker's hostility towards the Jews is a matter of record and has endeared him to Israel's foes in the region.

What could be more appealing to the latter than an international conference that will simultaneously undo the experiment in freedom in Iraq and compel Israel to make further territorial concessions. Of course, these will not mitigate conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon that have nothing to do with Israel. They will, however, allow the Mideast's only bona fide democracy, the Jewish State, to be snuffed in due course.

We are, in short, poised to stand the U.S. Marine's motto "No better friend, no worse enemy" on its head. If the Baker regional strategy is adopted, we will prove to all the world that it is better to be America's enemy than its friend.

If these undesirable outcomes are so predictable, why are we slouching towards the hard place of the "regional solution"?

It comes down to a lack of seriousness on the part of too many elected leaders of both parties -- exhibited in a failure themselves to understand the gravity of a global war in which Iraq is but one front, and a failure to educate their constituents about the stakes associated with such a war. This superciliousness has translated into political circumstances in the United States (including delegating great responsibility to unelected and unaccountable commissions) and strategic conditions elsewhere that make diplomatic options appear more real and appealing than they are."
"... 1. Dramatically expand the training and advisory efforts. Expand their numbers, funding, and facilities. This doesn't differ much from "Go long," but wait there's more...

2. Create a crash program to develop a massive Arabic linguistic capability within the US military. This is the United States. We put men on the moon. Why don't we train 20,000 or more American military personnel proficient in Arabic in the next 12 months? Sure, it's a difficult language. But nobody has to be able to translate the Koran in order to lead an attack, plan a patrol, or otherwise advise an Iraqi force. Have the president sign an executive order temporarily federalizing the Arabic departments of every US university that has them. The professors will keep the same pay, but it'll be on Uncle Sam's tab and all of their students for the next two years will be military personnel. If our captains, lieutenants, sergeants and corporals have 30 days of Arabic for 12 hours a day with native speaking instructors before deploying, it will get us where we need to be. ..."
"does partially disemboweling a man, followed by publicly tearing him apart via 4 motorcycles tied to his hands and feet, count?

His crime was to defy the Taliban and educate girls. Let me know when the massive outcry begins.

sound of crickets chirping"
"Maybe that reflects the difference between political calculation and obsession."
"Americans do not realize how dramatic the situation is in Europe today. The Europeans are running. Instead of fighting they are leaving. They are leaving the cities for the countryside. In my home town of Antwerp 5,000 immigrants move in every year while 4,000 Antwerpians move out. Many Dutch are leaving their highly urbanized country for places such as rural Norway. Some are leaving Europe altogether.

The Netherlands and Germany have more emigrants than immigrants today, and in other countries, such as Belgium, Britain and Sweden the number of emigrants is rising. These people are not driven by hatred, they are driven by despair and the hope for a better future which they realize their Eurabian home countries are no longer able to provide."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"All this bespeaks a Turkish officialdom that is hostile – at best – to non-Muslim forms of religious expression, Turkey’s guarantees of religious freedom be damned. The institutionalized subjugation and second-class status of religious minorities under the Ottoman Empire was bad enough, but Turkish secularism has been, if anything, even worse. Constantinople was 50% Christian as recently as 1914 (its name was changed to Istanbul in 1930); today, it is less than one percent Christian. The Catholic Church has no legal recognition; Catholic churches, like other churches, remain inconspicuous so as not to draw the angry attention of mujahedin. Even the recognized Churches are not allowed to operated seminaries or build new houses of worship – in accord with ancient Islamic Sharia restrictions on non-Muslims in an Islamic state, which restrictions paradoxically enough still have at least some force in secular Turkey.

The righteous fury with which the Pope will likely be greeted in Turkey will shift attention from the shame Turkish authorities should feel over the mistreatment of Christians in their land that nominally allows for religious freedom. The mainstream media will focus on protests against the Pope, and pay scant attention to anything he may say, if he says anything at all, about the oppression of Christians in Turkey. And that, in the final analysis, may lead the Turkish government – for all its security precautions -- to hope that the protestors will turn out in force.
"President Bush did not fare nearly as well, coming in at number 15 with a 43.8 rating. Former President Bill Clinton topped Mr. Bush with a 55.8 rating and a fifth-place finish. However, Mr. Bush did top 2004 rival Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, who finished 20th in the survey, with a 39.6 rating." [ Heh. -ed. ]
"We know now, based on evidence, that a Republican President will err on the side of security and preemptive action if there is a perceived terrorist threat. We also know, based on repeated statements by their leaders that the Democrats favor a post-attack posture. For Democrats, Terror = Law Enforcement Response.

So I ask my fellow Americans.... if you were on this US Airways flight and this suspicious behavior by the Imams began, who would you want as your pilot and flight attendants? George Bush, Condi Rice and Dick Cheney? Or Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel and Alcee Hastings?"
Muslim religious leaders removed from a Minneapolis flight last week exhibited behavior associated with a security probe by terrorists and were not merely engaged in prayers, according to witnesses, police reports and aviation security officials.

Witnesses said three of the imams were praying loudly in the concourse and repeatedly shouted “Allah” when passengers were called for boarding US Airways Flight 300 to Phoenix.
“I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,” the gate agent told the Minneapolis Police Department.

Passengers and flight attendants told law-enforcement officials the imams switched from their assigned seats to a pattern associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks and also found in probes of U.S. security since the attacks — two in the front row first-class, two in the middle of the plane on the exit aisle and two in the rear of the cabin.

“That would alarm me,” said a federal air marshal who asked to remain anonymous. “They now control all of the entry and exit routes to the plane.”

A pilot from another airline said: “That behavior has been identified as a terrorist probe in the airline industry.” [ D'oh. -ed. ]

751 ZUS And Counting...

"For an insight into how bad things are, the police in Lyons demonstrated on Nov. 9, denouncing "violence against the forces of order." Things have reached a pretty sad state when the police have to demonstrate in the streets against the criminals."
"George Orwell once wrote of the ‘deep, deep sleep of England, from which I sometimes fear that we shall never wake till we are jerked out of it by the roar of bombs. ‘ On 7/7, we heard the roar of bombs in London. I sometimes worry that the deep, deep sleep that Orwell described in the 1930s is still here in relation to Islamism in sections of the Government, parts of the political and media establishment, the House and the country. This is one of the most urgent problems facing us, and if we are in that deep, deep sleep, it is time for all of us to wake up."
"He believes Americans need a more fact-based understanding of Islam, which requires the media to do a better job of reporting what Muslims think and say -- instead of papering over radical rhetoric. Once when a local reporter visited Al Haramain to write a piece on Ramadan, a co-worker refused to shake her hand, launched a defense of sorts of Algerian terrorists and lambasted a French policy that prohibited schoolgirls from wearing the hijab in class. The comments never made the story. Gartenstein-Ross writes, "And so, as I often did, the reporter chose not to acknowledge that a real clash of values existed here."

Islam's approach to homosexuality is another area that the left ignores in deference to multiculturalism. (Think of Bay Area liberals who voice outrage at the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, but are silent about the Shariah policy on homosexuals -- 100 lashes or death.) Ditto the status of women

Gartenstein-Ross also takes issue with those rose-colored-glass wearers who deny that there is any theological basis for Islamic extremism. "It's important to note that they do have an argument," he told me, if only to be able to engage them in argument and understand where they get their ideas.

Gartenstein-Ross is a strong storyteller, who enables the reader to feel the ineluctable draw to fanaticism, as well as the anguish and disillusionment that led him to support violent jihad, but ultimately reject it. He has no use for those who, a la Chomsky, pat themselves on the back for having the intellectual fortitude "to enter the minds of the likely perpetrators."

There are forces in this world that would kill these elites for the apostasy, but elites are so blinded with their sense of superiority over their political enemies -- like President Bush -- that they can't even see the dagger pointed at their throats. "
"There is a historical precedent in the spread of Islam itself, in the 7th century ... In fact, the Arabs didn't outright conquer Palestine, Syria, Anatolia, Egypt, North Africa, Iraq, and the Iranian plateau. They struck alliances with the local rebels: the Copts and the Syriacs, the Nestorians and the Donatists, the Jews and the Mardakites, with those who spoke neither Greek nor Persian and shared neither the beliefs of the basileus nor those of the shah. Even the green flag of Islam was borrowed from non-Arabs: It was originally the symbol of rebellion in Byzantium, the equivalent in its day of the red flag in ours. Can history repeat itself, and fundamentalist Islam subdue Europe in the 21st century with the help of European extremists? Will the green flag and the red flag wave side by side? Buses are burning in France and nobody, so far, seems to know how to stop that."

Monday, November 27, 2006

"When a "regional peace process" works Abdullah will be the first to know. The kindest and fairest thing to say about the Middle East is that everybody's got a beef. And the Jew and more latterly the US provides the inestimable service of being the convenient reason for problems which are at least partly rooted in the warring parties themselves. So Abdullah's strange declaration makes sense in, with apologies to Chester, a "magical realism" kind of way. Viewed from that perspective, it really is America's or Jew's fault that folks are fixing to kill each other in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank. Now some people are inevitably going to ask why, if the Sunnis and Shi'as are dead set on killing each other across the Middle East because of some disturbance caused by the presence of America or Israel (remember this makes sense in some way), the reason this shouldn't be cold-bloodedly regarded as the greatest act of strategic genius since Alexander beat the Persian Empire. A variety of objections come to mind, chiefly to do with morality and the oil security, the preferred order depending on whether you are an idealist or a "realist". I will add a third. The killing's not going to stop and we're not going to stop it. In another era we might not have cared, but the lesson from 9/11 which we have forgotten already is that they will carry their magically realistic hatreds to other shores with unimaginable weapons. And remember, it's always our fault."
"Some news outlets are now going to officially refer to Iraq as a Civil War. Two questions. Does that mean the Sunni insurgency "loses" seeing as they succeeded in rousing the majority of Iraq's population against them in addition to getting beat up by the US military? Or do they, by "magical realism", get to claim victory over America, even after America is called upon to save their a..? Second, to what extent does the news media claim credit for stoking the official Civil War with their fake stories? Sorry. Wrong questions."
"I guess that explains it. He didn't mean to leave the device behind; he meant to take it with him to the West Coast. I'm feeling better already."
"How should the Bush administration respond to the proposal? I think it should reject the proposal, should take the opportunity to explain how its diplomatic initiatives regarding Iran have failed, and should elaborate on what the failure of those initiatives represents. It should explain Iran's depredations against the United States since 1979 to date.

On the other hand, if the Bush administration feels that political considerations compel it to accede to the panel recommendations, it could take up the proposal and offer to meet with the Axis powers in Munich. President Ahmadinejad might appreciate the opportunity to take American negotiators on a field trip to expound on his insights into German history.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"An amendment that ensures a collective right to free speech has been misread in one legislature after another - often in the face of strong public disapproval - as a law guaranteeing an individual's right to speak freely in public."
"Less tension? Let me explain how Warren's buddy, dictator Bashar Assad, manages to keep peace and tranquility. Secret police. Wiretapping. Torture. Political prisoners. Death squads.

Bashar's father, Hafez, was the master at heavy-handed Big Brother tactics. When the citizens of Hama rose up to challenge his authority in February 1982, Assad sent in Syrian troops to massacre between 10,000 and 25,000 civilians. The town was paved over and marked permanently to ensure that others would learn the terrible lesson.

It worked. There's been "peace," as Rick Warren would call it, ever since. There's been a lot less "tension," as he would put it.
"We have a problem with democracy itself, with which few of the defenders of democracy have tried to wrestle. Human psychology -- human nature, if you will -- is such, that people, male and female alike, of all linguistic, racial, and religious dispositions -- have a profound and mysterious need to be lied to. Even under quite trying conditions, they would rather not hear the truth, but instead what is comforting. On the individual scale, they are able to satisfy this deep need, by choosing false friends and companions. On the collective scale, we satisfy it by electing demagogic politicians, and believing what they tell us for as long as some superficial plausibility can be maintained."
"What we have discovered in Iraq is the weakest link in the ability of the United States to sustain military operations overseas. That link is the U.S. media. They are Islamists’ best friends.

Experience shows that the mainstream press of the United States is alienated from the U.S. military. In addition, the American press is extremely vulnerable to anti-U.S. propaganda. Thus, the American public will be fed nearly everything that foreign adversaries—our band of brothers—wish to feed it about the war. Therefore, I write:

Maxim # 1: To defeat America, impose upon the imagination of its media your own storyline. [ D'oh. -ed. ]
"In other words: talk with Syria while denying its key policy objectives. Hardly realistic. The NYT advocates selling out democracy (in Iraq and elsewhere), while trying to keep its hands clean, presumably hoping to be able to leave the dirty dealing to the State Department. (The suggestion that the Europeans might carry this message is almost as hilarious as the suggestion that Putin will talk tough to Assad. What is that editorial board smoking?) ...

This critique of realism is directed at two distinct addresses, an unholy alliance of anti-democrats. First, there is the foreign policy establishment, looking for a Metternichian resolution of the region. In this arena, democracy is no particular desideratum: it's all about stability. Fair enough, one might comment: there is no interest in democracy, and no democracy will be encouraged. At least there's no hypocrisy. The problem is that a stable outcome is even more unlikely. ... The critique of realism is also directed to the left. If one reads the midterm election as a repudiation of Bush foreign policy that is leading to this new realism, then one can only conclude that the electoral victory of the left in the US means counterrevolution in the Middle East: ending democracy in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.
"Victor Davis Hanson thinks there is a coordinated attempt to destabilize most of the West at once. I think he's right. And I think we are sleepwalking our way into a global cataclysm in part through media-induced and abetted blindness along with our natural instinct to turn away from barbarous violence and deny it's really happening."