Saturday, January 06, 2007

"There have been numerous self-immolations by Buddhist monks and nuns in Vietnam since 1975, protesting religious repression. They've been almost all unreported and all but ignored. (Wonder why?!) I went to a very knowledgeable old-Vietnam hand (a once famous journalist, dating back to the '50's in Vietnam) and a former SVN official and scholar, to count and document them. In close to a year of work, they've only been able to account for about half, with even one-liners. I think the number stands at somewhere like dozens."
"Iran’s chief nuclear envoy Ali Larijani said on Friday that Iran is committed to the peaceful use of nuclear technology but warned the situation could change if his country is threatened.

“We oppose obtaining nuclear weapons and we will peacefully use nuclear technology under the framework of the Nonproliferation Treaty, but if we are threatened, the situation may change,” he told a news conference after two days of talks in Beijing." [ Once more I'm shocked! Just shocked! -ed. ]
"If there is a flickering pulse that holds any of this together, it is kept going by two sources. The first is the astonishing actual and potential wealth of the country. The budget negotiations, which were occupying all parties during my visit, were to discuss the allocation of more than $41 billion. This is not a paper figure: New oil fields are being prospected in parts of the country that haven't been explored yet, and there is no reason in principle why Iraq could not be one of the most prosperous countries on earth. For the moment, feuding sects use their control over ministries to enrich their own supporters, but even the most blinkered tribalist can glimpse the idea that a shared country would be more beneficial to each than a shattered one. The second source of life is the presence of the coalition, where yet again even the most hard-line factionalist will admit that as bad as things are, they would be instantly worse (and instantly worse for his own group) in the case of a withdrawal. These facts are stubborn: The idea that we could even consider abandoning such a keystone state, and so many decent people, to the forces of the faith-based is as inhumane as it is unrealistic."

Friday, January 05, 2007

"Midway through the hour I joined for a 10-minute segment, occasioned by Caroline Glick's Jerusalem Post column, devoted to Yasser Arafat's responsibility for the 1973 assassination of United States Ambassador Cleo Noel and charge d'affaires George Curtis Moore in Khartoum.

I didn't have time to make two points that I would like to add. First, the murders of Noel and Moore (and the Belgian diplomat who was murdered in the incident) were performed in the most brutal possible manner. The victims were raked with machine gun fire starting from the feet and going up to the head in order to inflict the maximum amount of suffering. Second, the Fatah paymaster who cut the checks for all such operations (including the Black September operation at the Munich Olympics in 1972) was Mahmoud Abbas, Yasser Arafat's right-hand man, the current Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority."
"The installation ceremony takes place on Sunday. The Church will have to ask itself if it wants to risk its well-earned credibility in Poland as a force against Communist tyranny by possibly putting the Church in the hands of a collaborator who informed on its own priests. The Vatican should postpone the transition until the new evidence can be thoroughly analyzed."

How To Create Hell On Earth

"From a psychological perspective then, the freedom and empowerment of women in society are absolutely critical because they are responsible for the earliest environmental influences on children--influences that will impact the child throughout his or her life. If the society has little respect for women and regularly demonizes, debases or humiliates them, it will have a profound generational impact. This is why encouraging women's rights around the world should be a high priority in US Foreign Policy.

Women subjected to institutionalized, societal abuse (such as what we saw under the Taliban; and what we see to a greater or lesser extent in almost all Islamic countries--where physical abuse is sanctioned; where women are sexually demonized; where they are deprived of education, as well as physical, social, economic and political freedom) are hardly in a psychological position to be able to provide effective "nurturing" to children."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Death To America ... Where Everyone Is Rich And Free

"Americans don’t want war in Lebanon," I said. "It would not serve our interests or yours. Do you think Americans want chaos in Lebanon just for the heck of it?”

“We don’t hate the American people, only the government.”

“Okay,” I said. “So why then does Hassan Nasrallah repeatedly say Death to America?” I asked these questions in the most friendly and casual tone of voice I could muster.

“He only means death to the American government.”

“Why doesn’t he make that clear then?” I said.

“He does!”

“No, he doesn’t,” I said. “He says Death to America. What would you think of George W. Bush if he gave speeches where he screamed Death to Lebanon? Come on, guys. Be honest with me. I want to know what you really think.”

“I want to go to America,” the leader kid said. “I love America and I want to live in America. America is rich and free. I want to be rich and free, too.”

I think the kid was sincere. His politics are a product of Hezbollah’s schools, his community, and his peer group. But politics in the Middle East isn’t as personal as it often is in the West, in part because Middle Easterners are accustomed to having their politics dictated to them by the powerful. Politicians are usually above accountability and beyond control of the people. They assume that’s how it is in the Western countries as well."

"George McGovern, the liberal 1972 Democratic presidential nominee, dropped a little bombshell to Larry King the other night: He voted Republican in 1976, for Gerald Ford.

McGovern said he finally told his wife, Eleanor, that Thanksgiving. Her reply: "So did I.""

"I’m sure they’ll relax as soon as they have their own state."
"Heck no. It's just getting good..."

D'oh -- Part 79365

"An American intelligence official said the new material, which has been authenticated within the intelligence community, confirms "that Iran is working closely with both the Shiite militias and Sunni Jihadist groups." The source was careful to stress that the Iranian plans do not extend to cooperation with Baathist groups fighting the government in Baghdad, and said the documents rather show how the Quds Force — the arm of Iran's revolutionary guard that supports Shiite Hezbollah, Sunni Hamas, and Shiite death squads — is working with individuals affiliated with Al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunna.

Another American official who has seen the summaries of the reporting affiliated with the arrests said it comprised a "smoking gun." "We found plans for attacks, phone numbers affiliated with Sunni bad guys, a lot of things that filled in the blanks on what these guys are up to," the official said.

One of the documents captured in the raids, according to two American officials and one Iraqi official, is an assessment of the Iraq civil war and new strategy from the Quds Force. According to the Iraqi source, that assessment is the equivalent of " Iran's Iraq Study Group," a reference to the bipartisan American commission that released war strategy recommendations after the November 7 elections. The document concludes, according to these sources, that Iraq's Sunni neighbors will step up their efforts to aid insurgent groups and that it is imperative for Iran to redouble efforts to retain influence with them, as well as with Shiite militias."

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

"Anyone who feels sorry for Saddam will find the antidote by re-reading The Republic of Fear, by Kanan Makiya. Everyone should have read that book by now: it is the best single account of the hell-on-earth that the Americans and allies broke open. Bad as things are in Iraq right now, they were considerably worse under Saddam.

Historians could make themselves useful by explaining, to a public still taking its news mostly from the idiot box, how the mess now reported from Iraq descends directly from what happened over generations previous. That it is the fallout of a 35-year totalitarian experiment, just as Russia today, in its dysfunctional way, enjoys the fallout from its own 70-year totalitarian experiment. The problems do not end, when the waters recede from a terrible flood: only the drownings stop, and death from contagion is about to begin.

Saddam ran Iraq the way Stalin ran Russia -- more murderously, in proportion, but less efficiently. Had he been no more efficient, but had a better grasp of the world political order, he’d still be in power today -- and the problems for the West would be that much greater. As it stands we are staring down Iran and Syria. And now Iraq, instead of completing the trifecta, is a base against our mortal enemies on either side of it."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The One Minute Trial

"The Iraqi government has hit back at Italy for its criticism of Hussein's execution, accusing it of hypocrisy, especially after World War Two dictator Benito Mussolini was killed by partisans and hanged upside down in a Milan square in 1945.

"They have no right interfering in the affairs of another country," government official, Yaseen Majeed, was quoted as saying in La Repubblica daily. "Mussolini's trial only lasted one minute.""

Gotta luv the hypocritical Euros...
"If an Iraqi police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein exists, there is no convincing evidence of it - and that means the Associated Press has a journalistic scandal on its hands that will fester until the AP deals with it properly."
Gentlemen, Start Your Plug-Ins
"Just when you thought the Iranian leadership could stoop no further: A top advisor to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claimed in an interview with Iranian website Baztab that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler's parents were both Jewish and that Hitler himself was one of the founders of the State of Israel." [ Whew. Luckily there's nothing yet to indicate that the Iranians are actually crazy or anything worrisome like that. For a minute there I thought they'd say something that was truly incomprehensible. You know. Like that Hitler was a founder of Israel or something like that. -ed. ]
"All he is saying is give peace a chance..."

Monday, January 01, 2007

MSMemory Hole 2007.01.01

"The release of the cable causes Glick to ask several questions. First, why has our MSM which prides itself on exposing government cover-ups ignored almost totally the cable? Second, what would have happened, and how many lives would have been saved, if rather than advancing a policy that made Arafat our "peace partner" (and the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House during the Clinton administration), the U.S. had demanded his extradition and tried him for murder?

I'll leave the second question to others. The answer to the first, I think, is that Arafat's role in killing American diplomats runs counter to the MSM's narrative about our world and is, therefore, information that it would prefer the public not know."

Stoned With Hate

"In contrast, on the left we heard after September 11 some anguished voices asking, "Why do they hate us?" But many on the left immediately recognized that what they hated us for was our toleration and freedoms–the very things those on the left like most about our society. Shall we order women to wear veils and order the death by stoning of homosexuals in order to appease the perpetrators of September 11? Obviously not."

Sunday, December 31, 2006

"A story in the New York Sun Wednesday also does not inspire confidence in the bureau. According to an FBI court filing, the files in 22 of 94 investigations into leaks of classified information are missing.

"Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are removed from the FBI, I won't feel safe," said former FBI agent Robert Wright in June 2001. Reading Mr. Lance's book won't make him feel any safer."

Welcome to the New (Crooked) Year, So Much Better Than the Old (Venal) Year...

"Conyers will remain chairman of the Judiciary Committee in Nancy Pelosi's "most honest, most open, and most ethical Congress in history.”"