Saturday, January 27, 2007

Why The Surgeons Are Exhausted...

"“So a man is in a horrible car accident. He is wheeled in to the OR, and the most elite, prestigious surgeon in the world goes to work. He operates, without rest, for 24 hours straight. All the man's organs are put back where they belong and the internal injuries are fixed. The surgeon collapses, exhausted, and calls for the suture doctor to come in and close the wounds. The problem is, the suture doctor is afraid of blood. He insists he won't come in and sew the guy up until the bleeding has stopped. The surgeon yells that the bleeding won't stop until the sutures are in, and he isn't trained to do it, isn't allowed to do it, and the suture doctor has the keys to the suture cabinet with all the supplies. Meanwhile, the man is dying on the table. Too bad, says the suture doctor, this isn't what I went to med school for, I made it clear when I came to work in this hospital that I don't like blood and only work when there isn't any danger that the patient will die. So now, the hospital is trying to train the exhausted surgeon, who hasn't slept in 36 hours, how to do sutures with different equipment, since the suture doctor doesn't like people touching the stuff in his cabinet. Welcome to Iraq....”"

The Influence Of The Safe Cities In Which They Reside

"It also provided a sense of the notions held by a few upper-middle-class people who earn their living thinking and writing in comfortable neighborhoods in Washington, D.C.; Princeton; Cambridge; Palo Alto; and other non-war zones in the United States where water, food, rule of law, and utilities are taken for granted. What one wonders after reading the issue is, of the 16 views published, why the editors chose not to publish any perspectives by a) Iraqis -- Sunni, Shia, or Kurd; b) American military personnel who served in Iraq; or c) anybody who lives and works in the neighboring countries. Wouldn't Iraqis and American military personnel be in a position to test the viability of the ideas expressed in The New Republic by writers who have negligible direct experience with the realities of this war? What your magazine does is publish articles by people with fine academic credentials who believe in the superiority of their thoughts and who do not realize how limited they are by the combination of their privileged experiences, their inadequate knowledge of the region and circumstances, and the influence of the safe cities in which they reside."
The Dictatorship Plan. All forgotten now of course. Doesn't fit in today's 4 minute long historical memories...

Today's Compelled Virtue Update

"The idea of placing humanity under one religion irrespective of their color, gender, language, class and ethnicity is a gift given by Islam to humanity."

He Voted Against It Before He Was For It -- Part 89235 (Updated)

"The outrageousness of Kerry’s statements is multiplied by the fact that he himself voted against the Kyoto Protocol—as did every single member of Congress." [ I believe the Senate vote was 95-0 with 5 abstentions. (It's the Senate that votes on treaties of course, not all of "Congress".) And the vote was held while Clinton was in office -- not under Bush. -ed. ]

UPDATE -- HE GETS EVEN MORE IGNORANT: "He took the time to scold the Bush administration for its lack of effort on AIDS and other diseases in Africa. However, Bush has already spent more on these issues than the last Democratic administration did in eight years. Humanitarian aid to Africa comprised $1.4 billion a year at the end of the Clinton administration, but Bush has tripled that to $4 billion per year -- and wants to more than double it over the next two years:

President Bush's legacy is sure to be defined by his wielding of U.S.
military power in Afghanistan and Iraq, but there is another, much softer and
less-noticed effort by his administration in foreign affairs: a dramatic
increase in U.S. aid to Africa.

The president has tripled direct
humanitarian and development aid to the world's most impoverished continent
since taking office and recently vowed to double that increased amount by 2010
-- to nearly $9 billion. ...

Bush has increased direct development and humanitarian aid to Africa to more than $4 billion a year from $1.4 billion in 2001, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. And four African nations -- Sudan, Ethiopia, Egypt and Uganda -- rank among the world's top 10 recipients in aid from the United States.

So not only is John Kerry a hypocrite, he's also an ignoramus. However, we have noticed that the Davos forum has become, over the years, a convention of sorts for both. Kerry should feel right at home
." [ There were few Democrats available who were capable of losing badly to George Bush in 2004. Obviously, Kerry was one of them. It tells one a lot about the sad state of intellect and lack of accountability in our two major political parties that this was the choice we were given.

UPDATE: Oh, and we're an "international pariah" too. The MSM is now madly working to send it down the memory hole lest the rubes get riled up. Too late. -ed. ]


"The video shows Iraqi troops beating three men who'd been caught with a bag full of mortars in their car. I don't defend the beatings, which at least one American tries fecklessly to stop, but calling people captured with mortars "civilians" is a bit of a distortion, no?"

Rushdie Redux 2: Deep Trouble, Deep Trouble...

"And I have found one of the most strange things about the last, you know, 20 years or so that I’ve been involved in all this, is that the left and the liberal intelligentsia have not been good on this. And that in many cases you find yourself agreeing with people that you’ve never agreed with in your life before. The wrong people are on your side. And the “right people”—or in other words, the left people—are on the wrong side because there has been on the left for a long time this view that, Third World, good; First World, oppressive and bad. And that kind of Third Worldism has led to some very strange intellectual mistakes here, part of which is a kind of infantilization of people to say that they don’t know any better, which would not happen if you were dealing with anyone else who was not brown of skin.

There’s also the colossal mistake of cultural relativism, which is, you know, the bastard child of multiculturalism. I mean multiculturalism it seems to me is a completely defensible idea because we do all live in a multicultural society. There is no way that you can walk around the streets of New York City and argue with that fact. It simply is the case and what’s more it’s not going to stop being the case. In the same way as whether you like globalization or not, you cannot deglobalize the planet, in the same way you cannot demulticulturalize the planet. This is the world in which we now live. We all live jumbled up with each other and that’s just how it is and we have to deal with it.

That’s one thing. You say that, and you look at its consequences, good and bad, and that’s so. But there has been, entirely on the left I have to say, a mistake and extension of that, to say —there’s a British politician who said this recently— -that in order to be fair you have to treat people differently according to their cultural background. That’s to say things are OK if they’re your culture. If your culture happens to include stoning adulteresses to death, then hey, it’s your culture. If it includes female circumcision, which of us can argue with that, you know?

You see, the moment you begin to look at it, it doesn’t stand up, cultural relativism, because what it does is it absolves us as individuals and as groups from making any kind of moral choices.
And you live in a world, therefore, where there is no such thing as morality; there’s only relative values. There’s only, you know, what’s sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander. And at that point you genuinely arrive at what is called decadence, when you lose the ability to decide as individuals and groups, as a society, to agree about and sometimes agree about what is right and what is wrong. When you lose that ability, you’re in deep trouble, deep trouble

Rushdie Redux: Not My Understanding Of The Team I'm On

"It seemed wrong I thought to demand that the Pope apologize. Believe me, I am not usually on the Pope’s side. This is not my understanding of the team I’m on. And I remember at the time of the Khomeini fatwa against my work, one of the most at that time surprising things to me was the fact that the then Pope, Wojtyla, made a statement saying that he perfectly understood Khomeini’s point of view and failed to say anything about how it was a bad idea to kill people for their work. And after that, when many, many Italian writers like Umberto Eco and many others demanded that he clarify his position, he never really did. And that he was joined in this sort of approval of Khomeini by the Chief Rabbi of the United Kingdom and by the Roman Catholic Cardinal of New York.

And I remember thinking at the time that oh there is a kind of a team here. The God Squad is not just some kind of phrase that people use—it really is there. I think the thing that’s interesting to me about Ratzinger is that he clearly doesn’t think that. He doesn’t think he’s on the same team as the other guys. He’s prepared to say that he thinks his religion is better than their religion, which is very unusual these days, except of course Muslims who say it all the time. I mean it seemed to me what was behind that fuss was that suddenly the religious consensus was breaking down. But appalling of The New York Times to demand that the Pope not be allowed to say what he felt like in a really seriously worked-out theological essay
A RECURRING CLASSIC: ""Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." -- Winston Churchill"


"Eli: That’s just it, at the end. And you asked me about getting rid of Hezbollah. Surely getting rid of all the Hezbollah fighters is not the solution. You have to get it from the root. And the root of the Hezbollah is, in the end, it’s the road toward Syria, and from Syria toward Iran. They are the big funders and the people who give Hezbollah the ok. In the end.

MJT: It looks like it’s an unresolvable problem without dealing with Syria and Iran in some way, somehow.

Eli: It’s a matter of time. Because the way I see it, the way I look at the situation now in Lebanon, at the parliament there, that within a few months or a year, I don’t know, the Hezbollah are getting stronger again. And they might push out the Lebanese government. They’ll take over the government there. And they’ll ask the UN peacekeepers to leave. And they will have to leave. And then we’ll have it all over again. "

Friday, January 26, 2007

Helping The Poor?

"January 26, 2007: While China is shipping the same amount of oil to North Korea, in 2006, as it did in 2005, food exports are down by about half (some 210,000 tons less). A lot less food is getting into North Korea, and because last years crops were below average, the population is expected to come through this Winter in very bad shape. Planners in South Korea now fear a flood of three million starving refugees (headed into China and South Korea), if the North Korean government collapses in the near future. Plans are being made on how to deal with such large numbers of malnourished refugees.

January 22, 2007: In response to U.S. accusations, the UN has halted transfers of hard currency to North Korea, and begun an audit of how UN aid money is spent in North Korea. The UN acted so promptly largely because North Korea has an extensive history of government sponsored, and directed, criminal behavior.

January 21, 2007: South Korean and American commanders are beginning to make plans for the possible collapse of the North Korean government. There is increasing Chinese diplomatic and political activity inside North Korea, and many rumors that officers from the North Korean security forces, backed by China, are plotting to overthrow the government. Interestingly, even with all these stories going around, there have been no arrests in the north. There is, however, a growing unease on the streets, among the North Korean people." [ I have to admit that I'm quite stumped why those who shout the loudest about helping the poor are indistinguishable from mute on the situation in North Korea. Sadly, my best guess is that they can't figure out how to harvest any votes out of it... -ed. ]

Today's Apocalypse Update (Laser Edition)

"January 26, 2007: It had to happen eventually. The American Northrop Grumman Corporation has just opened the first ray-gun factory. Officially, the plant will build high-energy, solid-state lasers and figure out how to install them in military vehicles. The first weapon being produced is the JHPSSL (Joint High-Power Solid State Laser), a 100 kW solid-state laser. The JHPSSL is to be mounted on armored vehicles and in aircraft. JHPSSL is basically an anti-aircraft and anti-missile system. It has already demonstrated that it can destroy artillery and mortar shells, as well as rockets and cruise missiles. Israel is interested in using JHPSSL as part of its rocket defense system. Ray guns have long been a staple of science fiction, and when the first lasers appeared in the 1950s, science fiction writers just assumed that many of their ray guns were "lasers." All this is not quite science fiction any more, mainly because it will take another decade or so before you have a hand held laser." [ Cool you say! Just like I grew up expecting. It's finally here! In the short run this may be good news for the West, just as Fat Man and Little Boy were "good" for the survival of the West in WWII. However, for reasons I will explain in forthcoming posts, the "handheld laser" part of this merged with the rapid evolution of computing and sensor technology could evolve into a surprisingly close level of danger (see "Today's Tinfoil Apocalypse Update: Understanding the Concept of Button") to what is already rearing its ugly head with the proliferation of WMD. Ironically, one of the best hopes we have to avoid this particular danger is for there NOT to be a breakthrough in high density portable power sources like batteries -- which would mean the slowed arrival of plug-in hybrids and pure battery powered vehicles ... and keep us in extended dependency on Islamic oil. Life is full of difficult trade-offs. -ed. ]

Gobbling Turkey

"Turkey's educated elite is in much the same position as Germany's elite during Hitler's rise to power. Imagining that the Islamists would sputter out, progressive Turks failed to act. Now Turkish civilization - so great for so many centuries - is unraveling the way Germany's did in the 1930s. Turkish intellectuals made the classic error of underestimating the common man's capacity for hatred and lust for blind revenge.

As for the spectacularly virulent and dishonest anti-Americanism in the Turkish media - we need never have a "Who lost Turkey?" debate: The Turks lost it for themselves. Instead of maturing into the Western culture of responsibility, Turks succumbed to the Arab world's culture of blame.

Having looked down on Arabs for centuries, Turks are now becoming functional Arabs, reclining into fantasies of greatness as surreal as a Sufi mystic's hashish dreams. Ataturk's revolutionary vision for a modern Turkish state - betrayed by his own corrupt successors - is fading into the reality of yet another retarded Muslim satrapy.

An even more accurate parallel case than 1930s Germany is today's Pakistan. Turkey is on the way to becoming another extremist-poisoned garrison state held together solely by its military.

On my last visit, I got a madman's lecture from a Turkish customs officer on the resurrection of the Ottoman Empire. But instead of returning to that empire's undeniable glories, 21st- century Turkey appears determined to replay the miserable Ottoman twilight.

I wish we could save Turkey. But we can't. That's up to the Turks."

HYPOCRISY WATCH: They were for it, before they were against it...
"There really was no Holocaust, but just in case, we shall finish the job."

Killing The Troops With PC

""We tiptoe around cultural issues so greatly that the Iraqi Army laughs at us," said Major West. He explained the difficulties in arresting women involved with the insurgency. In one case, it was well known a woman that was sheltering and aiding foreign fighters, and the evidence of her guilt was solid. In order to arrest her, the MTT needed permission from a general's staff. The Iraqi troops stood in wonderment at this absurd decision making process."

Part 2: And Don't Hold The Fear And Self-Deception

"It comes from fear. Fear may be a poor counselor, but when it comes to educating the masses, there is no more effective tool. Mao famously said: "Strike one to educate one hundred" -- an axiom that helped him solidify his power.

It is not respect for other cultures which influences behavior, but rather the awareness of just how fanatic and ruthless our adversaries are. The wilder and more brutal they appear to be, the more likely they are to attract attention and gain respect. Whether venturing into unfamiliar territory means taking a walk in a different neighborhood or visiting a foreign culture, our natural tendency is to avoid conflict.

"Nowadays acts of terrorism are not committed for their own sake, but in the name of an ideology one could call Nazi-Islamism," Romanian-American author Norman Manea told the German daily Die Welt in March 2004. The only difference, in Manea's view, is "that this ideology invokes a religion, whereas the Nazis were mythical without being religious." Manea believes that what he calls a "World War III" has already begun. "The Europeans are putting off the recognition -- as they did in the 1930s -- of the tremendous tragedy that awaits them and that has, in fact, already arrived."

This sounds like an extreme exaggeration, conjuring up visions of a Day of Judgment, of an Apocalypse Now! Of course, in 1938 hardly anyone could have imagined where the policy of appeasing the Nazis would lead. History does not repeat itself, and yet there are parallels that do not bode well. The willingness to submit to self-deception is as widespread today as it was in the years leading up to World War II

Why Not 9 While We're At It?

"Objectively speaking, the cartoon controversy was a tempest in a teacup. But subjectively it was a show of strength and, in the context of the "clash of civilizations," a dress rehearsal for the real thing. The Muslims demonstrated how quickly and effectively they can mobilize the masses, and the free West showed that it has nothing to counter the offensive -- nothing but fear, cowardice and an overriding concern about the balance of trade. Now the Islamists know that they are dealing with a paper tiger whose roar is nothing but a tape recording.

As different as the West's reactions to the Muslim protests were, what they had in common were origins in feelings of powerlessness and helplessness. Critical souls who only yesterday agreed with Marx that religion is the opium of the masses suddenly insisted that religious sensibilities must be taken into account, especially when accompanied by violence. The representatives of open societies reacted like the inhabitants of an island about to be hit by a hurricane. Powerless against the forces of nature, they stocked up on supplies, nailed doors and windows shut and hoped that the storm would soon pass. Of course, whereas such a reaction may be an appropriate response to natural disasters, such a lack of resistance merely encourages fundamentalists. It completely justifies their view of the West as weak, decadent and completely unwilling to defend itself.

Should the age of consent be 12?

Those who react to kidnappings and beheadings, to massacres of people of other faiths, and to eruptions of collective hysteria with a call for "cultural dialogue" don't deserve any better.

"The West should desist from engaging in all provocations that produce feelings of debasement and humiliation," says psychoanalyst Horst-Eberhard Richter. "We should show greater respect for the cultural identity of Muslim countries. ... For Muslims, it is important to be recognized and respected as equals." In Richter's view, what the Muslims need is "a partnership of equals."

But Richter neglects to describe what this partnership might look like. Does achieving such equality mean that we should set up separate sections for women on buses, as is the custom in Saudi Arabia? Should the marrying age for girls be reduced to 12, as is the case in Iran? And should death by stoning be our punishment for adultery, as Shariah law demands? What else could the West do to show its respect for the cultural identity of Islamic countries? Would it be sufficient to allow Horst-Eberhard Richter to decide whether, for example, a wet T-shirt contest in a German city rises to a level of criminal provocation that could cause the Muslim faithful in Hyderabad to feel debased and humiliated?

The discussion over which provocations WE should put an end to so that THEY do not feel upset inexorably leads to the realm of the absurd

Down The Memory Hol[iness]

"Today, many people who have never heard of The Deputy are sincerely convinced that Pius XII was a cold and evil man who hated the Jews and helped Hitler do away with them. As KGB chairman Yury Andropov, the unparalleled master of Soviet deception, used to tell me, people are more ready to believe smut than holiness."

The Cripple's Mine!

"Throughout my years in Romania, I always took my KGB bosses with a grain of salt, because they used to juggle the facts around so as to make Soviet intelligence the mother and father of everything. But I had reason to believe Agayants’s self-serving claim. He was a living legend in the field of desinformatsiya. In 1943, as the rezident in Iran, Agayants launched the disinformation report that Hitler had set up a special team to kidnap President Franklin Roosevelt from the American Embassy in Tehran during the Allied Summit to be held there. As a result, Roosevelt agreed to be headquartered in a villa within the “safety” of the Soviet Embassy compound, which was guarded by a large military unit. All the Soviet personnel assigned to that villa were undercover intelligence officers who spoke English, but, with few exceptions, they kept that a secret so as to be able to eavesdrop. Even given the limited technical capabilities of that day, Agayants was able to provide Stalin with hourly monitoring reports on the American and British guests. That helped Stalin obtain Roosevelt’s tacit agreement to let him retain the Baltic countries and the rest of the territories occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939-40. Agayants was also credited with having induced Roosevelt to use the familiar “Uncle Joe” for Stalin at that summit. According to what Sakharovsky told us, Stalin was more elated over that than he was even over his territorial gains. “The cripple’s mine!” he reportedly exulted." [ It's a sad state of affairs when I consider FDR -- in spite of this little gem -- to be head and shoulders above our current war leadership of either party. And don't forget this one to add some perspective to your day. -ed. ]

Those Reassuring Russians

"None of the U.S. officials would confirm the weight of the seizure or its quality, but Merabishvili said it was about 3.5 ounces of uranium enriched by more than 90 percent.

Uranium enriched at 90 percent is weapons grade.

A nuclear bomb of a design similar to the one exploded over Hiroshima in 1945 would require about 110 pounds of uranium enriched at over 90 percent, according to Matthew Bunn, a senior research associate who focuses on nuclear theft and terrorism at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. Bunn said that a more sophisticated implosion type nuclear bomb would require 33 to 40 pounds

According to an IAEA database, there have been 16 previous confirmed cases in which either highly enriched uranium or plutonium have been recovered by authorities since 1993.

Russian cooperation ‘critical’
In most cases the recoveries have involved smaller quantities than the Tbilisi case. But in 1994, 6 pounds of highly enriched uranium intended for sale were seized by police in the Czech Republic. In 2003, Georgian border guards using detection devices provided by the United States caught an Armenian man with about 5 ounces of HEU, according to the State Department

Fleming said examples of stolen or missing bomb-grade nuclear material, including highly enriched uranium and plutonium, are rare and troubling.

David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector and head of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, said that lacking help from Russia, the CIA may be looking to other allies to help identify who has access to lost nuclear material.

Russian cooperation in answering these questions is critical, but it has not been forthcoming,” he said. “One way to identify who is active in trading these materials is to conduct sting operations
.” "

And You'll Learn Something New About Iraq (And Iran) Too...

"For some reason, this is a lesson that the US seems to have to learn anew every war. It wasn’t until 1863, for example, that the Union Army finally came to understand that the army of the CSA would not be defeated until it had been vanquished in the field one time after another, over and over again. U.S. Grant was the first Union general to understand this fact, for which President Lincoln rewarded him with command of all the Union armies in the field. “I can’t fire this man,” Lincoln told critics, “he fights.” "

Guts Gone Missing

"Meanwhile, a question for Chuck Hagel, et al.: "Rather than back a non-binding resolution of disaproval, why didn't the gutsy Senators, like Chuck Hagel, who are riding the surf of public opinion opposed to the troop surge and taking on a president with approval ratings at the freezing level vote aginst General Petraeus' confirmation? Their convictions hold that he has endorsed a wholly unjustified escalation and will be leading troops on a futile mission. They want a role in the conduct of the war and with the need to win Senate confirmation of Gen. Petraeus the Constitution has given them one, but they have taken a pass. " If Petraeus succeeds, they'll be bragging that they voted for him. If he fails, they'll note that they opposed the surge. As John F. Kennedy noted, political courage is scarcer than physical courage . . . ."

Two Americas Update

It turns out that I may be becoming convinced that there ARE "Two Americas" after all... And apparently he got all the way through law school without learning the meaning of the word hypocrisy...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Gramscian Damage

"In March 2006 an Italian parliamentary commission concluded “beyond any reasonable doubt that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla,” in retaliation for his support to the dissident Solidarity movement in Poland. In January 2007, when documents disclosed that the newly appointed archbishop of Warsaw, Stanislaw Wielgus, had collaborated with Poland’s Communist-era political police, he admitted the accusation and resigned. The following day the rector of Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, the burial site of Polish kings and queens, resigned for the same reason. Then it was learned that Michal Jagosz, a member of the Vatican’s tribunal considering sainthood for the late Pope John Paul II, has been accused of being a former Communist secret police agent; according to the Polish media, he had been recruited in 1984 before leaving Poland for an assignment to the Vatican. Currently, a book is about to be published that will identify 39 other priests whose names have been found in Krakow secret police files, some of whom are now bishops. Moreover, this seems to be just scratching the surface."

Pigs Spotted Flying Today At Al-Reuters

"We actually had access to this speech, and heard the president’s words verbatim from our own TV footage. We stand behind our translation. In this case, he used the word “mahv,” which in Farsi means “wiped off”: Editor"

Landis on the Augean First Draft

"There has been much discussion of whether or not the MSM has been unfair to Israel, including formal investigations into particularly obnoxious organizations like the BBC, and, by and large the answer is, “well, maybe… but it’s not so bad.” And Israelis, like the protagonist in Richard Farina’s novel, have been down so long it looks like up to them. “It could be worse… it has been worse… it’s getting better.”

But all of this is not nearly good enough. The MSM are the eyes and ears of modern civil societies. Without them we cannot know what is going on outside of our personal sphere, with them we can make our democratic choices in elections, assess foreign policy, intervene humanely in the suffering around the globe. But as any paleontologist will tell you, any creature whose eyes and ears misinform it about the environment, will not long survive. So it is with our civic experiment: especially in this period, where predators grow increasingly bold: a MSM that misinforms us, betrays the very people it is supposed to serve.

Let me cut to the chase. If this wondrous experiment in human freedom that was launched on both sides of the Atlantic in the late 18th century survives to the middle of the 21st century, historians will look back on the performance of the MSM in the first decade of that century, in particular its coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and give the journalists’ “first draft of history” an F.


So when historians look back, I think they will identify the MSM’s appalling performance as one of the main sources the West’s vulnerability to Global Jihad at the beginning of this century. How else can we explain the astounding success of what, only a decade ago, seemed like a racist bad joke: Islam wants to take over Europe? You must be kidding.

Apparently not.

The free Western press encouraging the victory of totalitarianism? You must be kidding.

Unfortunately, whether they mean it or not, the MSM today has fallen into so many bad habits, so many pervasive compromises, that like the Augean Stables of old, they have encrusted layers of manure that resist any effort to clean
. And unlike the old Augean Stables, which stank up the only the Peloponnesus, thanks to new technology, the MSMs failures stink the world over.

Which brings me to the basic problem Israel and the Jews face in this young and so-far deeply disturbing 21st century. They have been the major target of the Jihadi assault, and the main victims of the MSM’s failures. And so far, the response has been to take the same stance of concession and placation, to the Western media that the Western media take towards the Muslims: don’t criticize, don’t challenge, placate, mollify. Whatever you do, don’t attack.

“We don’t dare start a war with the media,” said one MFA official, “we can only lose.”
“Don’t expect the Israelis to fight back,” warned a prominent diaspora lawyer, “They won’t. They just won’t.”
Nor is this merely a problem of Israeli official hasbarah. The Jewish leaders in the diaspora, playing by the positive-sum rules of the late 20th century, responded painfully slowly to the sudden zero-sum turn of direction at the end of 2000. Indeed, like the Israeli government, they discouraged those – leaders or rank and file – who started to fight back.

I understand the arguments, the concerns, the kinds of damage that can come if the media turns on us. But that’s beginning to sound more and more like the joke about the two Jews in line for the showers at Auschwitz. One sneezes and the other whispers sharply, “Hush, Yankl, you’ll make it worse for us.”

I understand. When Israel has tried to defend itself, it made it worse; they have antagonized those who, if they want to, could do Israel even greater damage than they are already doing. As the Israelite leaders who had pleaded in vain with Pharoah for mercy reproached Moses: “You put a sword in his hand to slay us.” And as Moses complained to God: “Why will they listen to me? And I am uncircumcised of lips!”
" [ What's that you say? You've never visited the Second Draft site and checked out Landis' documentaries? Go. Right. Now. ]

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ethanol Is Good -- Right?

"Soaring international demand for corn has caused a spike in prices for Mexico's humble tortilla, hitting the poor and forcing President Felipe Calderon's business-friendly government into an uncomfortable confrontation with powerful monopolies.

Tortilla prices have jumped nearly 14 percent over the past year, a move the head of Mexico's central bank called "unjustifiable" in a country where inflation ran about 4 percent.

Economists blame increased U.S. production of ethanol from corn as an alternative to oil. The battle over the tortilla, the most basic staple of the Mexican diet, especially among the poor, demonstrates how increasing economic integration is felt on the street level

A More Credible Justification Of Human Hubris?

"If Ruddiman's work demonstrates major flaws in the politically correct theories of recent human responsibility for climate change, it by no means should leave us complacent. Human civilization has flourished for the last 8000 years precisely because of a benign and stable climate in many parts of the world, a climate which was the result (if Ruddman's hypothesis is correct) of human activity (warming) balanced against the natural cycles of the earth in its orbit around the sun (at present, cooling). But Ruddiman notes that the human side of the equation has accelerated. CO2 levels in 2006 have reached levels the earth hasn't seen since the age of the dinosaurs. We are, Ruddiman says, heading into terra incognita. His work has, however, given new insights into climate change and, as his hypothesis is evaluated in detail, may help to inform policy decisions around the world."

Barnett On Gap Space

"Progressively shrinking the Gap will be this country's primary global-security task in the 21st Century. Our long-term export of security into those Gap areas -- namely, Central Asia and the Mideast -- that present the greatest potential disruptions to the Core's economic functioning will inevitably rival our Cold War efforts in Europe and Northeast Asia. To accomplish this task, we must be explicit with both friends and foes alike about how we will necessarily differentiate between our security role within the Core's burgeoning security community and the one we assume whenever we intervene militarily in the Gap. Seeking two sets of rules for these different security roles is not being hypocritical but honest and realistic." [ But we may only have the Golden Hour to do it -- and we have no certain way to know how many precious few seconds are left... ]

Rethinking Time And Space (Special Mitterand Torture Edition)

"What lesson from that conflict is relevant today? The paramount lesson seems this: "First-world'' armies and "third-world'' guerrillas have different notions of time and space, and therefore of what constitutes defeat and victory. A "first-world'' army can defeat "first-world'' guerrillas and a "third-world'' army can defeat "third-world'' guerrillas because in both cases the army and the enemy operate under similar notions of time and space. The Italian security forces were able to defeat the Red Brigades, just as Germany's security forces were able to defeat the Baader-Meinhof Gang, because they were at war with each other under similar time and space horizons. Equally, Alberto Fujimori's dictatorship was able to defeat the Shining Path in Peru in the 1990s and Venezuela's Romulo Betancourt destroyed the Castro-inspired guerrillas in the 1960s because the warring sides shared a common idea of where and when they were fighting. That is not to say that in all such cases the army will triumph. Castro's victory in 1959 proves that the opposite can happen. But as long as the established power commands enough civilian support, which is usually the case against a terrorist insurgence, the security apparatus enjoys a big advantage.

In Algeria, the occupying force's notion of space was purely physical and military: The French paratroopers thought that as long as they smoked the terrorists out of the Casbah -- the Muslim quarter in Algiers -- they would win. The insurgents' notion of space was historic and civilian: As long as they gave the oppressed masses a sense of the anomaly that the century-old French presence in their land constituted, the liberation struggle would go on. The French army's notion of time was narrow, while the insurgents had a broad time horizon. The French won the battle of Algiers but in 1962 they had to give up the colony."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

How Many Hums Can A Ho-Hum Hum?

"The Iranian news agency Mehr reported that in light of the increasing U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf, and the continuing Iranian nuclear crisis, Iranian Expediency Council Secretary Mohsen Rezai has said that “the Iranian nation will strike 10 slaps to the face of America, in such a way that it will no longer be able to get up on the stage.”"

Ho-Hum Part 87823

"Western intelligence agencies have reported an increase in the number of North Korean and Iranian scientists travelling between the two countries.

The increased co-operation on nuclear issues began last November when a team of Iranian nuclear scientists met their North Korean counterparts to study the technical and political implications of Pyongyang's nuclear test.

The Iranians are reported to have been encouraged by the fact that no punitive action was taken against North Korea, despite the international outcry that greeted the underground firing.

This has persuaded the Iranian regime to press ahead with its own nuclear programme with the aim of testing a low-grade device, which would be difficult for international inspectors to detect

Whew! Luckily they don't really mean all those statements like:

"Israel and the United States will soon be destroyed, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday during a meeting with Syria's foreign minister, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) website said in a report.

"Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad… assured that the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel will soon come to the end of their lives," the Iranian president was quoted as saying."

Move along now. Nothing to see here.

And luckily there's no reason to get out our history books. What was it the holocaust survivor said when asked what he learned from the experience? Oh, yes: "When a man says he wants to kill you ... you should believe him."

The Ostrich Position -- Both Sides Now

"Scott Johnson recently wrote about one such case in the Weekly Standard. It’s the story of a very big lie, the lie according to which Yasser Arafat was not involved in the ghastly murders of two American diplomats and a Belgian colleague in Sudan in the early seventies. It was a blatant lie, and it’s been repeated by American spokesmen for more than thirty years. Indeed, it was repeated very recently to Scott Johnson by a State Department official—whom he names in the Weekly Standard article—with great conviction and more than a tinge of contempt at Scott’s nerve for continuing to ask about it.

Unlucky! State Department historians published the proof that we had known, right from the beginning, that Arafat had personally authorized the murders. Everyone from Kissinger to the present has either been lied to or has wittingly repeated the old lie

Why? For two reasons. First, because CIA had made a deal with the PLO, or rather CIA had appeased the PLO. CIA agreed to provide the Palestinian terrorists with intelligence, in exchange for a PLO promise not to kill American diplomats. Second, because Kissinger and the other master strategists of the Nixon Administration wanted to advance a “peace process,” and they had to have PLO compliance for that to have any hope of success, and the American public would never support it if they knew Arafat had ordered the assassination of our diplomats.

Bob Baer, a longtime CIA case officer in the Middle East, had a similar experience. He had lost close friends in the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut in the early eighties, and every time he tried to find out who had killed them, he ran into a stone wall. He was constantly told that we just did not know. But he persisted, just as Scott Johnson did, and he too arrived at the truth: the bombing of the Embassy had been an act of war by the Iranian regime, using Palestinian terrorists to carry out the actual suicide mission. He too found that “we” had known about it all along, but the truth had been suppressed for two decades.

Why? Because those who controlled the information didn’t want the top policy maker—Ronald Reagan—to know it, since they “knew” he would not let it pass, and they didn’t want trouble with Iran.

I, too, had a similar experience. I helped organize meetings in Rome in December, 2001, with Pentagon Iran experts and knowledgeable Iranians. They provided information about Iranian killers in Afghanistan, whose mission was to kill American soldiers. The information was accurate, and the would-be killers did not accomplish their mission (I hope they were killed, but I am not privy to that information). Shortly thereafter, Secretary of State Powell and his deputy, Richard Armitage, with the agreement of Director of Central Intelligence Tenet, demanded that all such contacts be terminated. Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld gave orders that no Pentagon employee speak to “Iranians” (which prompted one Iranian-American official to ask if conversations with parents were included in the order).

Why? Because they did not want trouble with Iran, and they “knew” that if President Bush had that information, he would not let it pass.

We have now had further examples of this sort of lie. We now know that top American officials have known all along that Iran has been waging war on us in Iraq, but this information has been suppressed

Why? Because they, too did not want trouble with Iran. Military leaders did not want a two-front war (even though it should have been obvious, even before the onset of Operation Iraqi Freedom, that we were engaged in a regional war, whatever our wishes were), and the spooks and diplomats convinced themselves that we could cut a deal with the mullahs.

Lots of lying, as you see, but the biggest lie of all is the lie the liars told themselves: the monstrous lie that we can arrive at peace with our enemies without first defeating them.

I am told that we have discovered truly explosive information about the Iranian role in Iraq in the recent raids in Baghdad and Irbil, the raids that led to the arrest of high officers in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. I believe we are all entitled to that information. To be sure, some of it may be “actionable intelligence,” which must be kept secret—even from the New York Times—until we have acted on it. But the American people are entitled to know the big picture, which is the one some of us have been painting for many years: Iran is waging war on us, killing our soldiers, slaughtering Iraqis, enabling Hizbollah in Lebanon, empowering Hamas and Islamic Jihad in their war against Israel.

The American people cannot properly judge our performance in this war unless they know its true dimensions. The president must provide us with that basic truth

Now You See It...

Via Baron: What I'm suspecting the Islamists will soon find a way to remove from YouTube... And oh how you need to see it...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Britain: 18% And Soon Over?

"I have always thought that if the general population knew what I knew, then the political scene would change. I was sadly mistaken, and not just about the population at large. What should have triggered outrage was ignored by all, including the so-called highbrow newspapers. The Guardian refused to even mention it, whilst the rest of the British media were interested in one thing and one thing only, Big Brother.

“Undercover Mosques” is perhaps the most important programme to have been made in the UK since the invention of the television. It is not the time to detail the transcript here, but it was chilling, terrifying stuff. That the British, in their entirety, ignored it in favour of the appalling and degrading Big Brother, possibly the worst programme ever made is cause for concern, yet could the pathologically suicidal British fall any lower? Well yes, they could.


Vladimr Bukovsky is on record as stating that Communism never died and is now being inflicted incrementally on the West via the European Union. Do the British know anyting of Bukovsky, or indeed of Communism? No, they do not, the BBC et al refuse to talk to him, after all, as an imprisoned and tortured dissident what does he REALLY know about Communism in comparison to the utopian, idealistic British liberal elites who run our government, media, civil service, police and educational institutions.

Do the British in fact know anything, absolutely anything of any significance at all anymore or is the limit of their thought process set at the bar of Big Brother? We also learned this week that a pass mark of 18% is all that is necessary to gain a C grade exam pass. 50% of our schoolchildren leave school without attaining this in English and Maths, yet 100% of them know everything about TV “celebrities” who can barely speak their native language.

And so we ignore the ideology of one movement who state they wish to eradicate us and another which killed close to 100 million people, whilst we embrace the ideology of celebrity, ignorance and pathology."

Moderate Muslims = Good Germans?

"Much of "Undercover Mosque" was filmed with a hidden camera. The sound is clear, but the footage is often shaky and tentative. Ironically, this is now the predominant style for hip documentary filmmaking, which affects a nervous, frantic style. Here you have the real thing — it's nervous and frantic because it has to be. The preachers shown, including an African-American convert, are jaw-droppingly explicit in their revolutionary plans for Britain and the world.

One, Dr. Ijaz Mian, at the Regents Park Mosque in London, official seat of "moderate" Islam in Britain, talks openly about his desire to see Saudi-style religious police operating in the United Kingdom. He urges Muslims to wait until they are sufficiently numerous to make Britons surrender: "Hands Up!" Another predicts jihad will be waged against all nonbelievers and a British Islamic state established, with the flogging of drunkards, chopping off of thieves' hands, and jihad against non-Muslims all on the menu. "You have to live like a state within a state until you take over," he says. Women are "deficient," and should be marriageable before puberty because Muhammad himself married a nine-year-old. The animus against homosexuals and Jews is particularly virulent, meaning not merely condemnation, but explicit calls for their (eventual) murder. One imam even mimics a throat-cutting
." [ I can't find the link right now but this puts me in mind of a bracing line from David Warren to the effect (apologies to David if I have it wrong) that "Hitler rowed his oars through a sea of good Germans". The moderate Muslims there are -- however many that is -- are quite simply too much in fear for their lives and their families to speak up. You don't need very many examples like Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali before you "get it". As Lee Harris points out (shorter article here), they are in the thrall and intimidation of "ruthless men" with an apocalyptic "fantasy ideology". -ed. ]

Comment Of The Day 070122

"I do not think that financing will be required for what we need, especially. No more so than did the great luminaries of the past, ancient and modern, required a business model to alter the world with their divine ideas. I think it will be, in all likelihood, done by people such as yourself, who are not in this for the money, and to whom money would rightly seem a paltry reason to engage against the darkness.

There's something fundamental going on in the Information War, as far as I can tell, and it has a great deal to do with a pent up desire for honest dealings among men. This yearning is of the Spirit, and no amount of money can command it into existence or rally it. It must come by the natural will of those who are strong, knowledgeable and wise enough to speak the truth, and inspire our sense of mutual respect, love and duty to one another, and our posterity. When this happens then money will not be at issue, nor will a business model be required.

So it seems to me.

And furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed

The Same As It Ever Was...

"The meeting in London was doomed from the outset. The Arab strongman's envoy held all the cards - three craft had already been hijacked, their passengers and crew held hostage in an inhospitable and almost unreachable land. The American ambassador knew the ransom demand would be high, but even he could not have imagined just how exorbitant it would be. To meet it would require one-tenth of America's annual budget.

Lest the adventurous Yanks dare to contemplate a military attack to rescue their captured comrades, Abd al-Rahman al-Ajar provided a most unpleasant revelation: the Koran declares that any nation that does not bow to the authority of the Muslims is sinful, and it is the right and duty of Muslims to make war upon it and take prisoner any of its people they may find. Further, any Muslim slain in battle against such an enemy would be promised a place in Paradise.

"We ought not to fight them at all unless we determine to fight them forever," the furious but helpless ambassador relayed to his government. Congress would authorize no such fight, however, and voted instead to pay the ransom

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Pakistan Shocka #89326

"One former Taliban commander said in an interview that he had been jailed by Pakistani intelligence officials because he would not go to Afghanistan to fight. He said that, for Western and local consumption, his arrest had been billed as part of Pakistan's crackdown on the Taliban in Pakistan. " [ Did I forget to mention that they have nukes? -ed. ]
QOTD: "Dwell on the past and you'll lose an eye; forget the past and you'll lose both eyes. --Old Russian Proverb"
You won't find this on the Nightly News either. Doesn't fit the meme now does it?

A Societal Thing

"Beck might be a conservative, but he is no lockstep, water-carrying Republican. Like most Americans, he is center-right. And, like most Americans, he too was fed up this past November with the vacuum of ideas coming out of Washington.

"I think the Republicans and the Democrats are both taking us to the same destination -- hell in a handbasket," Beck explained. "One of them is flying on the Concorde, and the other one's taking a very slow steam train, but the destination is the same place."

To Beck, that trip to hell does not stop with our politicians. It is societal.

"Too many people are concerned about their party, too many people are concerned about their labor union, and too many people are concerned about their own business," he says. "You see it with your own children in school, where you see a child that has been misbehaving and they're called on the carpet, and the parent immediately says, 'Not my child!' It is because it's no longer about the collective; it's about 'me.'

Sweetly Touching Hillary

"This isn't a question about whether you think the plan will work, but whether you want it to work. And nearly 40 percent of respondents either don't know or are actively rooting for failure. Which is to say: more dead American troops and more dead Iraqi civilians. Asked whether they want the surge to succeed, 34 percent of Democrats answered ''No,'' and so did 19 percent of independents and 11 percent of Republicans. What were the numbers like for D-Day?

The problem isn't that our politics is ''bitter'' and ''partisan,'' so much as that it's post-modern. In Congress, Democrats have decided to chip away at the war with various symbolic postures but not to oppose it outright: That way, if things go well, they can muscle in on the credit, but if things go badly, they'll be able to say they told you so without getting stuck with the blame. Over on the other side, the usual Republican squishes (Olympia Snowe et al.) have decided that ''the facts on the ground'' have mysteriously changed and their position on the war is now ''evolving.'' By ''the facts on the ground,'' they mean the ground around the polling booths back home rather than any ground in Baghdad or the Sunni Triangle. Somewhere far away there is a real country called Iraq where real people live and die. But Iraq in domestic terms is now mostly a political calculation and, when it comes to calibrating the precise degree of Defeat Lite that works best for one, most Democrats and more and more Republicans are pushing the rest of the planet to the farthest fringes of the map.

Whether the rest of the planet will be content with a non-speaking part remains to be seen
. But increasing numbers of the American people reject the post-9/11 paradigm, and there will be a lot of votes for the quiet-life option in 2008. A doctrinaire liberal disciplined enough to pass himself off as a blank slate with sappy soft-focus multiculti bona fides would seem to offer the most symbolically appealing repudiation of the war years. And all we have to do is whistle: We don't have to say anything and we don't have to do anything, which suits us just fine.

And if Hillary thinks everyone's going to pursue stories about some long-ago madrassah, she has a sweetly touching faith in the American media

Did I Forget To Mention It Was Greeley Where Things Went South?

Dean's not a big fan of Dinesh D'Souza's new book for at least one reason that I agree wholeheartedly with and have the inside scoop on for you:

"In D’Souza’s view, beleaguered, socially conservative Islamacists feel besieged by the American culture. Especially offensive to the Islamic world is our “blue state” culture that has brought things like homosexuality, abortion, cruddy reality shows and insipid pop artists to the doorstep of a Muslim world that treasures nothing more than traditional values. D’Souza further theorizes that if right thinking Americans can somehow control the pathologies of the American left or at the very least let the Muslim world know that the rest of us consider them pathologies also, the Muslim world will no longer hate America.

This view of things is dangerously misguided, and dangerously ignorant. The Radical Islamic world doesn’t hate us because our TV shows are too racy or our women too provocative. The Radical Islamic world hates us not for what we are but for what we aren’t. Specifically, the haters at issue loathe us because we’re not Muslims.
[ Unfortunately true. -ed. ]

Here’s how the Ayatollah Khomeini put it:

“Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those who say this are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they
would kill you all! Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter their armies.”
[ Yes. Westerners are all just like Khomeini's minion's. I know the very first thing I do upon waking up is think of how I can go kill me some Muslims. Sigh. -ed. ]
One of the things that makes “The Enemy at Home” so strange is that D’Souza never grapples with this side of Islam. Especially odd is the fact that even though D’Souza quotes Khomeini at several points, he never cites this particular speech. This is almost inexplicable; the above quote comes from a 1942 Khomeini work that is more or less the equivalent of the madman’s Gettysburg Address. It’s his signature piece. It defies belief that D’Souza delved even superficially into the Khomeini collection and these comments didn’t catch his eye. [ Definitely a huge blooper. -ed. ]

I have other complaints with the book. There are many instances that suggest either sloppiness or intellectual dishonesty on D’Souza’s part. To give us insight into the Jihadist loathing for American culture, D’Souza relies on the writings of the father of modern Radical Islam, Sayyid Qutb. Qutb spent two years in America and then returned to the Middle East thoroughly disgusted by American culture. He spent the rest of his life chronicling his hatred for America’s decadent society in assorted writings.

Here’s where D’Souza is dishonest or careless: He informs the reader that Qutb died in 1966. He fails to inform the reader that the time Qutb spent in America was between 1948 and 1950.
[ Yes! This is the "The Local Root Cause" I wrote of quite a while back. If you want a real eye-opener overview of Al-Qaeda, Qtub and Greeley, you should check out 5280 Magazine's "Al Qaeda's Greeley Roots". It's a little longish but well worth the investment. The point toward the end about enforced virtue not being a virtue at all deserves special attention. I couldn't agree with it more. -ed. ]

Since D’Souza blames our culture for much of the Islamic world’s animus towards America, this is no small matter. The culture of the 1940’s wasn’t what it is today. Perhaps Qutb was scandalized by pop culture products of the time like the overt raciness of “The Best Years of Our Lives” or the raw sexuality contained on the typical Bing Crosby record; the man was after all a lunatic. But the culture of the late 1940’s contained none of the things that D’Souza so obviously deplores and that he postulates are inflaming the Muslim world. The 1940’s had no filthy hippies, no gangsta rap, no gay weddings
." [ In other words, they also hate us for what we were before we became what we are. That is, even before we became something that D'Souza fantasizes we could retract. How I wish it weren't so... -ed. ]

I Feel Anxious To Provide Them With Better Conditions

On those few occasions when I'm not killing them like bugs or standing around looking stupid... (Also see here.)

AP All Propaganda Update

"It seems rather obvious by now that the AP relied on a source for over 60 stories over a seven-month period that manipulated the wire service in order to get insurgent propaganda broadcast around the world. Instead of following its own rules regarding the identification of sources and acquiring confirmation -- rules expressly intended to avoid getting manipulated in this manner -- the editors at the AP rushed these stories to print, cognizant of their inflammatory nature.

Those are the facts. That's what the AP is supposed to report. They blew it, and they erode their credibility every day they continue to deny it."