Saturday, January 20, 2007

Today's (Second) Holocaust Update

"Still, the second holocaust will be different in the sense that Ahmadinejad will not actually see and touch those he so wishes dead (and, one may speculate, this might cause him disappointment as, in his years of service in Iranian death squads in Europe, he may have acquired a taste for actual blood). And, indeed, there will be no scenes like the following, quoted in Daniel Mendelsohn’s recent The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million, in which is described the second Nazi action in Bolechow, Poland, in September 1942:

A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn’t help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall.

There… she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukrainians present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown - It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec.

In the next holocaust there will be no such heart-rending scenes, of perpetrators and victims mired in blood (though, to judge from pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the physical effects of nuclear explosions can be fairly unpleasant).

But it will be a holocaust nonetheless.

[The writer is a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben-Gurion University.
]"
What our brilliant MSM can't be bothered to tell you about the "surge". Or is that doesn't want you to know?

Sixty Billion Here, Tens of Millions There

"Has North Korean leader Kim Jong Il subverted the United Nations Development Program, the $4 billion agency that is the U.N.’s main development arm, and possibly stolen tens of millions of dollars of hard currency in the process? According to a top official of the U.S. State Department — using findings made by the U.N.’s own auditors — the answer appears to be a disturbing yes, so far as UNDP programs in North Korea itself are concerned. And just as disturbingly, the U.N. aid agency bureaucracy has kept the scamming a secret since at least 1999 — while the North Korean dictator and his regime were ramping up their illegal nuclear weapons program and making highly publicized tests of intermediate range ballistic missiles."

Friday, January 19, 2007

Read. Ledeen. Now.

"Is it not shameful to see Secretary Rice knocking herself out to defend the terrorist state in would-be Palestine, and doing virtually nothing to defend the fledgling democracy in Lebanon?

A fine mess you’ve got us into, I think Laurel once said to Hardy. And the hell of it is that we could win this thing simply by sticking to our own announced principles, and support democratic revolution. I sometimes think that compassionate conservatives are the last true Marxists, because they seem to have a touching faith in vast, impersonal forces that will change the world. The truth is that men and women create change, if they will only fight for it. Which, alas, it seems we are not.

Where does all this lead? If the Democrats have their announced way, we will be humiliated in Iraq and leave in disgrace, thereby enhancing the global charisma of the jihad, enormously strengthening the terror masters, and ensuring the success of the Iranian nuclear project. How could any self-respecting fanatic not then believe that the moment of reconquista was at hand? We would then face terror on an epic scale, here and everywhere.

Alternatively, it leads to military war against Iran and Syria. This president may have decided he will not leave scenario #1 to his successor, nor to his biographers. If so, he will go after the nuclear project, and perhaps against Iran’s armies and navy as well. It would be the proof of an utterly failed strategy, and earn him, and us, the condemnation of most of the world.

That’s what happens when you don’t do what you should have done for years on end
."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

STEYN: Hmm.

Hanging Themselves

"The mystery deepens. Turning the newspaper page, we find that, under demented Kyoto arrangements, Germany’s Dresdner Bank is now brokering an arrangement by which European companies will pay 15 billion euros to the corrupt and autocratic Russian state monopoly, Gazprom, in return for “carbon credits” to continue selling oil and gas to European customers on the open market. This money in turn will help Russia’s dark, authoritarian regime to invest further in its ability to hold Europeans who depend on Russian heating oil through the winter to ransom when it has political demands.

They start by opposing capital punishment. They end by insisting on hanging themselves
. "

So There Ya Go -- I'm Hitler!

"So there ya’ go. Stalin was less Marxist than others, mind readers have determined that he had a crush on Hitler, and he kinda looked like a conservative. Ergo, Stalin was a conservative. Impeccable logic.

Let’s review the ideological assumptions that underlie the study’s sample selection: left wing societies are best represented by contemporary Sweden, while right-wing societies are exemplified by Nazi Germany. Joseph Stalin – the same Stalin who murdered tens of thousands under the banner of Karl Marx – is a conservative, while Milton Friedman – who earned the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on consumption analysis – is a right-wing fringe activist. Meanwhile, authoritarianism does not exist on the left, or at least it can’t be located because there are no records of such things. Mao? Castro? Lenin? Guevara? Ch├ívaz? Pol Pot? Never heard of ‘em.

Now that’s creative use of statistical outliers! The authors have built a wonderful foundation and are set to prove their point. All that’s needed to complete the job is a healthy does of confirmation bias.
"

Aborting Civilization

"Yet it is war, the real regional war we have not been willing to acknowledge. Surge or no surge, it is not possible to win this war by playing defense in Iraq alone, unless we find a way to either hermetically seal Iraq from Iranian and Syrian depredations, or convince the mullahs and the Assads to stop trying to drive us out. The hermetic seal is not in the cards, and why should our self-proclaimed enemies stop waging war on us when we pointedly leave them free to train terrorists and ship money, guidance and weapons into the battle zone? That is why some of us have advocated support for the tens of millions of Syrians and Iranians who wish to change the regimes in Tehran and Damascus, but democratic revolution has precious little support in Washington these days.

Common sense seems to dictate that we are obliged to do everything possible to protect our troops and advance the security of Iraq, but the "little bit pregnant" policy isn’t enough, as our leaders surely know. Iran has been waging war on us since 1979; will the mullahs call it off because some of their agents are arrested or killed outside Iranian borders?

No doubt the Bush administration worries about political fallout if the terrorist training camps or the IED assembly facilities are attacked. We all heard Senators Biden and Lugar, Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Murtha demand assurances that we would not cross Iraq’s borders, even in hot pursuit of Iranian and Syrian killers. In other words, it’s quite all right for Iranians, Syrians, and jihadis to invade Iraq and kill Americans, but Americans are not permitted to respond in like manner. The administration should say that, but hasn’t.

The president would do well to remember Machiavelli’s advice to the prince: If you must inflict pain, it is best to do it all at once, and not try to mitigate it or do it bit by bit. The latter method always makes things worse, and ultimately requires greater violence, and more pain. Or, worse still, your defeat
."
"It should also be noted that Iran is currently battling a drug problem." [ Yes, one as "big as a ball". -ed. ]

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

At the very least,” said Mr. Bush, “Redeploying our troops to Iran should help Iranian weapons manufacturers save some money on shipping.”

Warning: Bad Language

"During the war in Kosovo, I shared a flagon of slivovitz with an especially triumphalist Kosovar Albanian who exulted at what he was seeing. Decades of being pushed around and ground down by the Serbian supremacists and then, suddenly, "Guess what? We get to f--- the Serbs and to do it with Clinton's dick!" (That twice-repulsive image took up a horrible tenancy in the trashy attic of my mind, where it is still lodged.) Matters in Kosovo had been allowed to decay to the point where one either had to watch the cleansing of the whole province by Slobodan Milosevic or, yes, allow NATO and the U.S. Air Force to become, in effect, the air force of the Kosovo Liberation Army. On balance, the latter option was better, while the geographical and demographic scale of the problem was more manageable. Matters in Iraq have degenerated much faster and much more radically than that; now the Shiite majority wants to screw the Sunnis with Bush's (more monogamous, for what that's worth) member. The picture is hardly a prettier one."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Corruption and Ruthlessness: The Golden Hour Ticks On...

"The Iranian problem is directly linked to another fundamental one in Iraq; corruption. Many of Irans new allies in Iraq were bought, and theft of government money and assets is still seen, by too many officials, as more of a right, than an offense. The stealing, inefficiency, reluctance to make difficult decisions and general lack of personal responsibility, is nothing new. Actually, these bad habits can be considered traditions, having existed in the region for centuries. Just having a democracy does not automatically eliminate all existing problems. Saddam Hussein was the norm for this part of the world, not an aberration. Saddam was a crook, but he was a strong and efficient crook. Iraqis want a strong and efficient leader, but finding one who doesn't want to rule as a dictator, is proving very difficult. Meanwhile, Iran (run by a religious dictatorship) and Syria (run by a secular dictatorship, whose services have been purchased by Iran) are trying to buy, or bully their way to, as much influence as they can in Iraq. The other neighbors are Sunni Arab states that don't want an Iran controlled Iraq, but don't see a good way to stop it from happening. The United States is going to try and remove the Shia militias, and see what happens. No one really knows. This is all new territory, what with democracy and honest government being so rare in this part of the world."

Creeping Sanity Spotted Down South

"In October Argentine prosecutors formally charged the Iranian government and Hezbollah in the murderous attack, and called for the arrest of former Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani and seven others. The Iranian government, of course, has refused to extradite Rafsanjani or anyone else.

So it's reassuring that Kirchner is standing on principle by refusing to join other leaders in greeting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on his current Latin American tour."

The Real Language Barrier

"INDC: What do you mean by "the same face," because Saddam was secular, he was not religious and al Qaeda is ...

Mohammed: "Because the language they use is killing. And the same people who used to be with Saddam, now they participate with the insurgency."

INDC: So their motivation for killing is what?

Mohammed: "Money and to be famous. And I think the first reason is to fight the American troops. They say, 'we can start from here and cross all the way to America to fight them.'""

Who's "No Win Situation"?

"The apparent evacuation of Baghdad by al Qaeda forces comes from direct orders issued by al-Masri, the former soldier who took control of the Iraqi wing of al Qaeda following the June 2006 bombing death of Zarqawi.

Initially, the intelligence officer informed Pajamas, the Baghdad-based AQ fighters did not want to leave. Al-Masri had to send unequivocal orders for their retreat, adding that one of the lessons from the Fallujah campaign was that Americans have learned how to prevail in house-to-house fighting. Masri said that remaining in Baghdad was a ‘no-win situation’ for the terrorists."

Red Cell Re-examined

"No way, you say? here is what al Qaeda spokesman Suleiman Abu Gheith said in 2002:

"We have the right to kill 4 million Americans - 2 million of them children
- and to exile twice as many and wound and cripple hundreds of thousands.
Furthermore, it is our right to fight them with chemical and biological weapons,
so as to afflict them with the fatal maladies that have afflicted the Muslims
because of the [Americans'] chemical and biological weapons." "America knows
only the language of force. ... America is kept at bay by blood alone."

Last November The SF Examiner wondered whether Americans are sleepwalking into a gathering storm, much as the British did in the 1930s. If so, a lot of the blame rests squarely in the Oval Office, whose occupant is permitting it happen. Yet the stakes could not be graver. I wrote last November why I was a single-issue voter, kicking off with David High's observation, "If we don't get the war right, the Medicare prescription plan won't matter, Social Security won't matter, nothing else will matter." The threat is real, people, so watch "24" to see what our enemies want to do. It and like media will tell you; the administration won't."

Monday, January 15, 2007

Just In Case You Missed That 800lb Gorilla In The Room

"One document contained a Quds assessment of the Iraqi conflict that throws fresh light on the growing battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia for influence in the region. It said that because Iraq's Sunni neighbours - including Saudi Arabia - were likely to intensify their support for Sunni insurgents in Iraq, Iran should also step up its aid to those groups.

Iran has set up a network of fake import-export companies in Iraq's Anbar province to channel funds to Sunni fighters, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

At secret meetings, tribal sheikhs with close ties to the insurgents revealed details of the money-laundering to Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and political adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority.


"Truckloads of Iranian appliances like televisions are shipped into Iraq, apparently legitimately, and then sold for cash that can be channelled to Sunni insurgents," said Mr Rubin, now at the American Enterprise Institute think-tank. "The Iranians are very pragmatic about who they will deal with.

"The underlying assumption of those like Tony Blair and the Iraq Study Group, who back talks with Teheran, is that a stable Iraq is somehow in Iran's interests. But that's not so. Iran does not want a new Somalia on its borders, but nor does it want to live next to Switzerland. They are happy with managed chaos."

Iran has worked with individuals linked to al-Qa'eda-related groups responsible for some of the worst atrocities against Iraqi Shias, including the attack on the Golden Mosque in Samarra last February
.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, the Iranian exile leader who first revealed Teheran's secret nuclear programme to the world, has compiled a dossier detailing the vast network run by Quds in Iraq. Its operations are centred on Basra and Najaf, and use a series of supposed religious and cultural organisations as well as diplomatic consulates across the country to develop, fund and arm militia and rebel groups.

Thousands of Shia militiamen have reportedly travelled to Iran for training and indoctrination, while Quds sends millions of dollars cash in the other direction each month, through diplomatic pouches and border crossings it controls.

British and American officials have also identified Iran as the source of the materials and manufacture of a new, more lethal variety of roadside bomb that has claimed coalition lives.

"New information from sources in Iran further confirms that the Revolutionary Guards Corps and its notorious Quds Force are the biggest threat inside Iraq," said Mr Jafarzadeh. "Unless Iran's influence is curbed, its agents arrested and brought to justice and its proxies exposed, a genuine national unity government cannot take shape in Iraq
."" [ Iran would never help blow up the Golden Mosque you say? Well, not unless it's in their interest anyway... -ed. ]

Today's All Propaganda Kyoto Update

"Read the whole thing, and note: The United States was never bound by Kyoto, and it was not "rejected" by the Bush Administration. Once again, a webpage by unpaid amateurs is more accurate and nuanced than an effort by the Associated Press. Anyone can make a mistake, but the AP's seem to lean heavily in an anti-Bush direction." [ And did I forget to mention that from 00-05 the US increased greenhouse emissions by approximately 2% while the EU did so by approximately 4%. But admitting inconvenient facts like these would ruin the BDS lover's paranoid fantasy world now wouldn't it? -ed. ]

The Dreamer

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Revolutionary Swede

"What has Sabuni done to ruffle so many feathers? Oh, just a couple of little things: called for a ban on wearing the veil for girls under fifteen, proposed that schoolgirls be checked for evidence of genital mutilation, criticized "honor culture" mentalities, and asked that arranged marriages and the state financing of religious schools be banned. ***

Sabuni, who calls herself "Afro-Swedish, maybe," answers her critics thusly:We have a society that has failed to adapt to new times. We don’t offer people their rights, but we are also unclear about their obligations. So people end up in a kind of no man’s land, where they are neither Swedes, nor Turks nor Congolese.Hmmm--with rights come obligations. And immigrants to Sweden should end up becoming--Swedes! How revolutionary is that?"

The Great And Dear Leaders Crock Of Shit

"Samizdata's hope is probably misplaced. In many progressive circles North Korea is probably still regarded as a harbinger of the future; an intimation of the worker's paradise; a shining example of Communist triumph in the Third World. The fact that all these descriptions are a crock of s**t is a minor detail."

Nonsense: An Update

"There has been an inordinate amount of nonsense written about US decline, complete with Russian and Chinese designs to benefit from America's embarrassment in Iraq. The reality could not be more different. Neither Moscow nor Beijing has the remotest desire to see the US withdraw from the region or lose power, for two reasons. The first is that America's presence in the region ensures that little wars will remain little. The second is economic. America's economy and particularly the appetite of American consumers for imports remains the locomotive of the world economy, most emphatically of China's. China's trading relationship with the United States is an irreplaceable pillar of national prosperity, and the means to generate the national savings China requires to establish what President Hu Jintao calls "the harmonious society". ***

Contrary to what almost everyone has maintained for years - that the solution to the problems of the Middle East lies in the resolution of the Israel-Palestinian problem - the present civil war in Palestine proves that no one cares about the Israel-Palestinian problem. The so-called Palestinian issue has been subsumed into the broader problem of containing Persian imperialism, and the Palestinians have been left to fend for themselves, rather like the Kurds - but without the Kurds' language, 3,000-year history, and success in creating institutions of self-rule."

Jimmah: No Peanut Farmer After All

"But it is one of Dershowitz's sources, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, who provides the most food for thought: "seems that AIPAC's (American-Israel Political Action Committee) real fault was its failure to outdo the Saudi's purchases of the former president's loyalty". The sinking feeling is the realization that this is what political viewpoints might come down to."

What Torture?

"Then he told me a story about a courageous and respected Iraqi commander who’d accompanied his patrols all over Iraq for nearly a year. When the dead body of this same Iraqi commander was brought into the morgue, doctors found gruesome signs of torture. His legs were beaten by planks of wood. A drill had been used to bore holes into all of his ribs, his elbows, his knees, and into his head. Doctors estimated the man endured this torture for days. Apparently when the fun was over, or they’d extracted what they needed, or the terrorists were worried about being discovered, or they had another victim waiting for their attentions, they shot him. CSM Mellinger, with just a momentary flash of anger in his eyes, said the Iraqi forces know who did this, and it’s only a matter of time."

What (Counter)Intelligence?

"If journalists are protected from being investigated by our Counter Intelligence agents does that mean that our enemies merely have to sign up all of their agents with the New York Times? That has been done before by our last great enemy, the Soviets. Whittaker Chambers an editor of Time magazine and self confessed Soviet Agent used the tactic of hiding inside of our press corps. So given that fact shouldn’t our counter intelligence agents be all the way around possible releases of our secrets to the Press?

This story by the NY Sun is extremely disturbing not because it causes me to lose faith in our Press corps. No instead I am terrifically worried about the competency of our Counter Intelligence agencies. How exactly are we supposed to be confident of their safeguarding our secrets if they cannot prevent secrets from being released to our own citizens who likely have not the training of a foreign intelligence service. And exactly how confident are we that agents of our destruction, foreign spies, have not already embedded themselves into our Press Corp? It has happened before…"

Evolving Ugly

"All I care to know is that a man is a human being -- that is enough for me; he can't be any worse. --Mark Twain ***

Anyway, one of the more controversial aspects of the book is my belief that humans have actually continued evolving over the centuries, and that most people and cultures were impossibly cruel, barbaric, and frankly crazy by today's standards. This is an unpopular notion because it doesn't appeal to either traditionalists on the right or contemporary liberals on the left. Traditionalists don't like it because it seems contrary to the idea that human beings were created by God with an unchanging nature: a man is a man is a man, whether 2500 years ago or today. And liberals don't like it for reasons of multiculturalism and moral relativism. As I wrote in the book, the humanities have become "highly politicized, vulnerable as they are to crass politicization and to the noxious practice of 'deconstruction' by various interest groups interested in normalizing abnormality." Ya think?

In other words, for the same reason feminists are silent about the horrors of female treatment in the Islamic world (and hypocritically despise the world's greatest liberator of Muslim women, George Bush), liberals in general do not judge people of the past. They pass over in silence the systematic homosexual abuse of boys in Ancient Greece, or the horrific adolescent initiation rituals of primitive cultures, or the ceaseless and sadistic warfare of so many native American tribes. Of course, the only exception they make is for barbarism perpetrated by Christians, such as the witch trials. That they judge, even though it was a relatively time-limited and proscribed aberration. Or they judge the West's involvement in the slave trade, ignoring the much wider involvement of Arabs and Africans themselves, who had no regard for human life and no opposition to slavery at all. Frankly, it wouldn't have occurred to Africans that it was problematic. That requires Christianity or Judaism. ***

A beautiful world is the occasion for constant remembrance of the Divine, whereas an ugly environs can cause us to forget our divinity and regress to barbarism (is this perhaps why leftism is primarily a phenomenon of big cities?). Perhaps contemporary art is simply the Evil One's strategy for undoing and canceling out the progress made in other human domains. It keeps his hand in the game. The other strategy would be the secular detachment of the mind from the divine intellect, so that our IQs increase even as we become metaphysically more and more blind and stupid."

Sowell On Random Play

"What is especially disturbing about the political left is that they seem to have no sense of the tragedy of the human condition. Instead, they tend to see the problems of the world as due to other people not being as wise or as noble as themselves.

The next time somebody says that the government is forced to intervene in the economy to protect the poor, ask why the government is forcing taxpayers to subsidize municipal golf courses, the ballet, opera and -- the biggest subsidy of all -- surrounding affluent communities with vast amounts of expensive "open space." ***

One of the scariest aspects of our times is how easy it is for glib loudmouths to turn us against each other, weakening the whole framework of society, on which we all depend. ***

It is hard to think of any word that has confused more issues than the word "rights." Nowadays, almost anything that anybody wants is called a "right" -- a magic word that does away with the need for evidence, logic or even common sense.

Many of the same people who are urging us to get out of Iraq are also urging us to go into Darfur. They say we should "do something" about the murderous horrors in Darfur. But you cannot simply "do something." You have to do something specific. Those who are urging intervention won't take the responsibility for specifying what we are to do -- and at what cost in American lives."

Did I Miss Anything?


Cox and Forkum strike again. Of course, with the Army releasing stats recently on how many soldiers have been killed (nearly 200) and wounded by Iranian IEDs as well as the recent raids netting Iranian Qods forces, maybe he's finally starting to get it...
"This last fact is highly suggestive; one could infer, at a minimum, that the lesson the AP took away from that incident was that "Jamil Hussein," whoever he is, is unreliable. Which leaves us wondering about the other 61 stories for which he has been a source.

These are all significant questions of which Mr. O'Brien appears to be entirely ignorant. One wonders: does the company that Mr. O'Brien works for consider ignorance and inaccuracy to be drawbacks, or virtues?"
"President Bush is at his most Lincolnesque at the moment. Abraham Lincoln made most of the key decisions that ultimately won the American Civil War, over the opposition of Congress, public opinion, and most particularly, his generals. He was depicted in the press of his day much as Mr Bush is depicted in the media of our day: as a simpleton, in over his depth. Which doesn’t mean Bush is another Lincoln. But doesn’t preclude it, either."