If I seemed annoyed tonight on The O'Reilly Factor when Mr. O. said it doesn't matter what really happened at Qana, well, yes, I was annoyed.
The truth matters.
Thank God for persistent bloggers and non-dhimmis digging and scrutinizing and asking questions the blinded, blase MSM won't care to ask.
And the Big Jenin Lie.
And the Iraqi museum looting hype.
And CNN's deal with Saddam. And Nic Robertson, Hezbollah tool.
And the NYTimes' news-stagers and sycophants.
And photo-staging suspicions in Ramadi.
And rampant insurgent photo propaganda everywhere.
That is the context in which people who refuse to sit back and swallow the Theater of Jihad are viewing Qana. Reuven Koret at Israel Insider goes behind the scenes:
EU Referendum looks closer. Dan Riehl looks closer. Allah Pundit looks closer. Ms. Understimated looks closer.
Why doesn't some MSM hotshot stop smoking figurative hookah with Hezbollah and do some actual journalism? Who the hell is that Green Helmet holding up those poor dead babies as props and why does he always seem to show up where the jihadi propagandists need a helping hand?
Larry? Christiane? Nic? Anderson? [Fill-in-the-blank network anchor]? Anyone? Anyone?
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Monday, July 31, 2006
The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons, Pentagon reports say.
Incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press indicate Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by "cocktails" of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.
Funny that the vigilant Drive-By-Media waited for the Conservative group to dig out the truth. There are no words to express my disgust with the media. None.
And from Michelle Malkin:
My daughter was in Gitmo for a year as a Master-at- Arms, E4. (10/04-10/05) She was injured several times by the inmates assaulting her physically. In addition, she knew that when she was doing her job by enforcing the rules, she was threatened by the prisoners if she had to touch them. They would get her. They mixed a cocktail of urine, feces, and semen, and let it fester for days until the right moment. They warned her that she was a target and then they got her, she was assaulted several times by loads of crap thrown at her.
She had to undergo shots to prevent what diseases that she was exposed to. I don't know why we have women guarding men, especially these animals, but that is the policy. My daughter is a tough cookie and can handle herself. In her year there she did not dishonor herself or our country. When she returned home she had a DVD of Gitmo. They made fresh bread every day!! Part of it showed how the chef's prepared special meals for the prisoners. If a prisoner refused food the guards were happy to sample the Chicken, rice pilaf, yogurt and fresh baked pita bread, while our guys had crap food from the mess or had to buy it from Burger King.
Confederate Yankee has some unkind words: Qana Media Cover-up?
Peaktalk has 6 points of decay of Western society when faced with militant Islam.
Patterico points to The Incredible Anti-Israel Bias of the L.A. Times
EU Referendum shows the same dead child being exhibited for the press over a five hour period ... by the same "rescuer." In "milking it" he exposes the press whores.
Finally: Hezbollywood? Evidence mounts that Qana collapse and deaths were staged.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
What seems odd about this is that the banner was unfurled within hours after the Qana attack took place. The building where the civilians died was bombed on Sunday morning, and the demonstration took place during daylight hours, later the same day. I have no idea what kind of facility it takes to produce a 30-foot-high banner like this one. It is obviously professionally done. It would be interesting to know where this banner was produced; who designed and paid for it; and how its production was expedited so that it was ready for use, on the street, within hours after the event being protested. For example, was the image of Rice produced in advance, awaiting a pretext for its use, with only the script added at the last minute? I've often been curious about the logistics of pro-terrorist demonstrations, and this seems like an especially curious example.
Grand Haven Harbor
Grand Haven Beach
Grand Haven's Musical Fountain
What was the motive of the guy who shot up the Jewish Center in Seattle? L.A. Times editor Dean Baquet says:
You got me!
Yes, if you ask the editors of the Los Angeles Times, it’s an utter mystery why the shootings occurred. At least, if you look at Page One.
"Jewish Center Shooter's Motive is a Mystery."
Read the rest. It's good and it's funny.
So now when I hear reports of mass civilian casualties, my antenna go up. Not because modern bombs and miossiles cannot be deadly, but because I have been lied to so often by the Arab side and their megaphones in the media.
The “massacre” du-jour occurred in Qana, and I was immediately struck by the reports of – not just civilian casualties – but an unusually large number of “innocent children.” It seems that Israeli weapons only seem to explode around the very old and the very young.
So now we get this report from the Jerusalem Post.
Some 150 rockets were fired from the Lebanese village of Qana over the past 20 days, Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel said on Sunday evening.
Speaking to reporters, Eshel added that Hizbullah rocket launchers were hidden in civilian buildings in the village. He proceeded to show video footage of rocket launchers being driven into the village following launches.
Eshel also pointed out that the building was hit sometime around midnight Saturday night and didn't collapse until about 8 a.m. Sunday morning, leaving an unusual gap in the timing of the events which the IDF was investigating.
"It's possible that inside the house, something or other was being stored that caused an explosion - something that we didn't succeed in blowing up in the [initial] attack and that perhaps was left over there," Eshel said. "I say this very cautiously, because I currently don't have the faintest idea what the explanation for this gap could be."
This will not, of course, change the minds of the professional Arabs and their echo chamber in the media. If Eshel’s suspicions are correct, the story will simply disappear, like previous stories of “Israeli genocide.” But for those who still are interested in a gravely wounded Truth, it will be interesting to see why a building that was hit at midnight took until morning to blow up.
The other day National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez went to see Oliver Stone's new movie ''World Trade Center'' and remarked:
"It's about our love of family, and the work we'll do for them, and the joy they bring us. It's about the irreplaceable, incomparable bond between a man and wife. It's about the united outrage we feel when Americans are murdered. It's about why we fight."
This prompted the following letter: "For the record, and unless I am somehow uninformed, I think it fair to state that you do not fight -- you never have and, hopefully, never will have to. You are not a member of any of the branches of the armed forces, nor a reservist. You are not, and I am fairly sure, have never been engaged in a combat situation. Your contribution to this war is limited solely to your ability to exercise the skillset provided by your liberal arts education in the pages of the National Review.
"It does a tremendous disservice to your readers and is extraordinarily disrespectful to the millions of men and women around the world who are in uniform and fighting and dying for their countries."
What a bizarrely wrong-headed attitude. Aside from anything else, I wonder if the gentleman (if that's the word) understands how freakish it would strike every previous generation of Americans (and, indeed, almost every other society in human history) to berate a blameless young lady for not grabbing a rifle and heading for the front. And, if the issue is "extraordinary disrespect" to the troops, it's utterly self-defeating to argue that only active-duty servicemen get proprietorial rights in a war.
So even the most powerful military in the world is subject to broader cultural constraints. When Kathryn Lopez's e-mailer sneers that "your contribution to this war is limited solely to your ability to exercise the skillset provided by your liberal arts education," he's accidentally put his finger on the great imponderable: whether the skill set provided by the typical American, British and European education these last 30 years is now one of the biggest obstacles to civilizational self-preservation.
Read the whole thing.
THIS is the picture that damns Hezbollah. It is one of several, smuggled from behind Lebanon's battle lines, showing that Hezbollah is waging war amid suburbia.
The images, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Herald Sun, show Hezbollah using high-density residential areas as launch pads for rockets and heavy-calibre weapons.
Dressed in civilian clothing so they can quickly disappear, the militants carrying automatic assault rifles and ride in on trucks mounted with cannon.
The photographs, from the Christian area of Wadi Chahrour in the east of Beirut, were taken by a visiting journalist and smuggled out by a friend.
Click on the link to see the pictures.
Hat tip: The Belmont Club
Suburban warfare: Hezbollah fighters are ready for action in a residential area.
On guard: A militant watches over a no-go zone.
Anti-aircraft gun: these pictures were taken by a visiting journalist and smuggled out by a friend.
Who are the civilians?
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Daniel Schorr is used to producers popping into his Washington, D.C., office at National Public Radio to ask, on deadline: Which war came first, Korea or Vietnam? (Answer: Korea.)
But when one asked, "You covered the Spanish-American War, didn't you?" Schorr couldn't help but respond, matter-of-factly: "That was 1898."
"Oh, sorry, of course," the younger man said, excusing himself
We have seen dozens and dozens of media lynchings in the last twenty years. When the Left draws blood we generally leave our friends bleeding and dying in the street. On the Democrat side, when Hillary Clinton was actually physically approached by Republican Senate candidate Rick Lazio in a TV debate, he was trashed by the New York Times for “violating her personal space.” Lazio never recovered from the horror. Almost touching Hillary lost him the election, and conservatives watched and let it happen.
More recently when Rush Limbaugh and Tom Delay were falsely accused of criminal behavior by Leftist prosecutors, they were simply left to their own devices. Rush came out only a few million dollars poorer, and Delay is still in court.
Well, the times, they are a-changin’. Maybe.
Read the rest...
In the case of the current Hezbolla / Israeli conflict that kind of above-the-fray posturing is most evident on the Left and among the Europeans. The fact that Israel gave up the a large number of settlements and much land to allow the Palestinians to create their own state, a piece of property from which they are now subject to cross-border raids, kidnapping and rocket attack is dismissed. All that matters is the images of elderly Arab women and young Arab children who – having been used as human shields by the jidhadists, now fill the news reports. As an interesting sidelight, have you noticed that the casualty reports are exclusively devoted to the very old and the very young? Is it possible that the Israelis have developed weapons that manage to miss everyone except grandmothers and little girls?
A perfect example – almost a self-parody is this commenter from The Volokh conspiracy going under the non-de-plume of Erasmussimo:
While I strenuously condemn the exaltation of murder, I go further: I condemn murder when it's done oh-so-reluctantly as well. The Lebanese child who dies in from an Israeli bomb is just as dead as the Israeli child who dies from a terrorist rifle butt. Both murders are to be condemned, both should be prevented, neither can be defended.
I must also enter into the discussion the fact that for every Israeli who has died at the hands of Muslims, roughly ten Muslims have died at the hands of Israelis. The Americans have "achieved" an even higher kill ratio. This kill ratio cannot be justified by any principle of ethics.
Here we have the perfect equivalency: a death is murder whether someone dies inadvertently from a bomb aimed at terrorists, or whether a terrorist deliberately bashes a child’s head in. One can almost hear the high pitched outrage: the ascent to the moral “high ground,” the contented purr of the morally superior ubermensch sitting somewhere safe in his room, behind a computer screen, passing judgment on men who must fight for their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren, lest they and their progeny die with a rifle butt to the head or a bomb set off in a crowded bus.
And then the inevitable moral calculus: how dare you fight back effectively. How dare you kill more terrorists than terrorists kill your people. The Erasmussimos of this world demand that since there is moral equivalency, there must be death equivalency. Until both sides take a “time-out.” At which point, as surely as the sun rises in the East, Katushas will rain down on Israel and the Erasmussimos will avert their eyes.
Because it’s only Joooooooos dying.
Fortunately, I had finished my lunch when I came across this Seattle Times headline, which says that I should be eradicated.
Eradicate those who have put us in the Middle East
In view of the hate crimes committed in Seattle during the last days, the violent and obscene attacks against bloggers like Jeff Goldstein, we have idiots like the editors of the Seattle Times publishing letters from people who eacho the words of the greatest mass murderers of the 20th century. And this comes, I am totally sure, from people who decry the loss of civility in public discourse.
Well, let's see what Jim Vesely thinks about his eradication.
The American Thinker chimes in:
Remember, Bill Keller of the New York Times has informed us that the press is ultimate authority on what is in the public interest, right? And when blogger Jim Miller of Sound Politics chastised Seattle Times Editor Jim Vesely for the headline (a day before the shooting), Vesely haughtily replied:
“No thanks, I’ll stick with our earlier decision and with the headline, the dictionaries agree with our use of the words.”
Go look up the word “clueless” in one of those dictionaries, and you’ll probably find a picture of the Seattle Times there now.
Hat tip: Instapundit
...the Post-Intelligencer story is so typical of what happens in a society and a government which default from the ideology part of an ideological war.
A Muslim man walks into not just any building in Seattle — not even just any identifiably Jewish location in Seattle — but into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, whose mission since 1926, according to the website it maintains, is to "ensure Jewish survival and to enhance the quality of Jewish life locally, in Israel and worldwide."
The Muslim man has obviously not only carefully chosen the target but cased the place. There's a security system, so he waits until someone attached to the Federation enters using her access code, then he pounces, forcing his way through the open door. He brandishes a large caliber, semi-automatic handgun. He announces that he's a Muslim angry at Israel. Then he randomly, wantonly opens fire — shooting six women, one of whom is pregnant, one of whom is killed.
So what happens? The police don't even want to admit that he's Muslim ("You could infer that," the police chief tells the reporters who press this patently relevant question). And the FBI insists it's not terrorism.
Now, it could not conceivably be more clear that it is terrorism. ...
This is militant Islam in action, but we don't want to think or talk about Islam, so we'll pretend that the fact he's a Muslim is irrelevant ...
The question before the house is WHY? Why do the police, the FBI and the MSM deny that which is undeniably true? And a follow-up question: how stupid do they think we are?
From the Seattle Times:
Kerlikowske [Seattle Police Chief] said police officers throughout the city were being asked to step up patrols of synagogues and mosques.
"We are protecting mosques because there is always concern about retaliatory activity," he said.
Right ... you never can tell about those rampaging Jewish mobs.
Hugh Hewitt expand on the theme of "not terrorism:
There is a continuum in the media's coverage of terrorist incidents that runs from John Hinkley through Sirhan Sirhan and Oswald to McVeigh and the 19 of 9/11. Each was a political act, though in Hinkley's case there wasn't a "political" motive. But the "mental state" of a terrorist doesn't help the public sort through the implications of a terrorist act. Any crime of violence done to avenge a political grievance is an act of terrorism. Haq's murder of at least one employee of the Jewish Federation is an act of terrorism. What the public needs to know is the likelihood of other such acts being committed by similarly situated individuals. Introducing "mental illness" so early in the story is an invitation to say "lone whacko," and leave it at that. Mistake number one.
There is also a continuum in the amount of organization that surrounds a terrorist, and those with the most organization are state actors, like Lenin and Saddam. The 19 of 9/11 had a lot of organization, and the London bombers of 7/11/05 had enough to kill scores. We don't know if Haq had any, or even if there were people in his life suspicious of his direction who did not act on it. We don't know if there was a particular "trigger" or a long thought out plan. If Haq acted alone there will be a temptation to again declare "lone whacko" and leave it at that. Mistake number two.
Cold-blooded killers working in a highly organized network are much more of a threat than voice-hearing lone whackos. But as yesterday proved, the latter can savage a small group and through them a community and a country. It isn't enough for the vaunted MSM to declare "lone whacko" and move back to the churlishness of the Israelis.
We need to find out a great deal about Haj. Quickly.
No, whether this man had explicit help from other Jihadists or not, today we smelt the first Islamist cordite wafting through downtown Seattle, felt the first piece of Jihadi shrapnel in our flesh. Jews have been first in the line of fire elsewhere; today they were the first fallen on Seattle’s battlefield. They will not be the last; the baby killers and torturers of children have promised us that.
Seattle media types must believe it is a hanging offense to speak simple truth. They are afraid to state for the record that it is just bad, wrong and evil to use civilians for shields, murder innocents and seek world domination at any price.
Seattle's glitterati can't find it in their organic, union-label hearts to criticize those who manipulate children into becoming suicide bombers. Our news readers and talking heads find fighting for survival and genocide to be morally indistinguishable. They are so full of leftover sixties peace and love that even a stone cold theological killer in their own town cannot convince them that there is a religious war on.
They are fools, and not even lovable or charming fools. Their dance of denial and deception is moving beyond tediousness and towards foolhardiness and even treason.
And Horsefeathers says that everyone said the was "such a good boy."
The Seattle Times profile of Haq is careful to tell us that he was a good, good boy. After all, his high school yearbook photo "..revealed a big smile, friendly eyes, buttoned-down collar and smart tie. "Peace Be Unto You" were the words that appeared with his name and picture. Other students said that image and message fit the young man..."
Where could such a good boy possibly have gone wrong? Perhaps he absorbed Jew-hatred at the local mosque, one of whose founders was his father? And perhaps gunning down five defenseless women has something to do with his identification with cowardly Islamo-Nazi Jew haters who lob missiles into Kindergartens? Or might it derive, in part, from Islam's 'religious' support for the enactment of sexually perverse, sado-masochistic wishes and fantasies? Remember those snuff porn, beheading videos? Oh we forgot, Islam is a Religion of Peace, so it must be something else.
Of course it could be a Rovian Plot to make Muslims look bad.
And from Transterrestrial Musings (read the whole thing):
And it allows the "authorities" to absurdly claim that the Pakistani who just went on the shooting spree in Seattle isn't a "terrorist," because he didn't bring along his Al Qaeda membership card and decoder ring.
Click on the link for the rest...
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
There was a time – and being born in 1959, I am old enough to remember it – when the idea of Civilization needed no explanation or defense. Everybody knew what it meant. Civilization was tied to another term, now likewise mocked, and that term is Progress.
Progress was the idea that society was moving forward, upward, toward higher goals – better medicine, faster transportation, the brutality of hard labor replaced by stronger, then smarter machines; abundant energy, increased wealth and leisure: all of these things were greatly desired, and society was proud to provide them, proud to show them off in World Fairs and Expos and in the mythology of the movies.
Now “progress” and “civilization” are ironic terms, in sneer quotes, muttered with that pathetic, bored tone of cynical nihilism started by the narcissistic brats that I have been ten years behind for my entire life. Today, I try to exercise and watch my weight only so that I may live long enough to see the last of these radical hippies die in their sleep.
But back to the show: Oh, look! George Clooney has won! Let’s see what he has to say? Uh-huh. He’s talking about how brave Hollywood is. For going out on a limb and speaking up against the repression machine. Yes, there he is, like all courageous dissidents: worth millions of dollars, his every utterance fawned over by armies of reporters and millions of admirers, telling us about the incredible courage it takes to speak up in Bushitler’s Police State. God, the sheer guts it must require to be a Liberal in Hollywood.
He’s just come off of two brave, brave adventures, you see: one where the heroes are pampered, high-powered television executives, who, in a time where they rigidly controlled all of the information going out to the vast majority of voting citizens, bravely stood up and refused to acknowledge that many of them were members of a foreign-controlled organization devoted to the destruction of their nation, and championed their unwillingness to take the same oath of loyalty required by the most destitute new citizen or the most simple farm-boy soldier. My God! What heroes!
But the award is for his moving and nuanced role as a representative of the American government, and it’s complicity in the illegal assassination of a kind and deeply moral Arab leader who only wants his wealth to be shared by his people, before being killed by rapacious, soulless American businessmen who only live for chaos and war because it helps line their pockets.
And the next day, this brave, brave man will wonder with a straight face why “liberal” has become a dirty word in America.
IT'S AN IMPENETRABLE MYSTERY, GEORGE!
Of course, this is to real bravery what a painted flat is to a solid steel bank vault. Sure, McCarthy was a blowhard and a bully, and while there is such a thing as “treason,” “un-American” behavior would be beyond my ability to define. But the fact is, he was right. There were hundreds of people determined to undermine this system and replace it with one that has shot 100 million people in the back of the head at midnight in underground torture cells.
Fifty years ago.
Now, as it turns out, only a few years ago, a film director was stabbed to death on a street in broad daylight. He was not threatened with being fired by his own company. He was not being asked to sign a loyalty oath. No, Theo Van Gogh was stabbed to death, and a note left on the knife blade embedded in his chest, because a filmmaker dared to speak his mind about something that actually involved real risk to himself. That sounds like genuine bravery to me. Will our intrepid free-speech champion be covering that one next, I wonder? I suspect not. Those murderers are, unlike Joe McCarthy, still alive. There is a particle of real danger attached to making such a movie. Perhaps this brave, courageous, Clooney voice will turn next to playing Boss Tweed, or perhaps the Teapot Dome scandal with bring him Oscar gold in the years to come. And in the end, who are we to judge a man’s courage, when he has already proclaimed it so loudly for himself?
Civilizations fall because people bitch and complain when the electricity is off for fifteen minutes, and never give a thought to the fact that it has been on for their entire lives.
On the part of the government, it may be understandable that we wish to fight a war one part of the enemy at a time. There are more than a billion Moslems in the world and we would rather, if we had he chance, to destroy that part of that culture that wants to destroy us and leave the other part alone. The question before is: “can we do that?”
The question remains.
On the cultural level, the chattering classes are setting up a smokescreen as rapidly as possible. No cartoons of Mohammad. Repeated references to the “religion of peace” even as members of that religion are the overwhelming perpetrators of terrorism. Learned discussions of the meaning of “Jihad” even as men, women and children as strapping on bombs and killing innocent civilians in the name of “jihad.”
And Updike, the quintessential child of the 1960s is creating fake terrorists in the image of the people who deny that they exists.
Death to the Great Satan, eh?" That's far creepier and novelistic than Updike's opening: it's someone who appears perfectly normal until he gets in the subway car and self-detonates. As for the revulsion at navel studs, compare Ahmad with Assem Hammoud, recently arrested in a real-life plot to blow up another New York tunnel -- the Holland. Mr. Hammoud said he had been ordered by Osama bin Laden to "live the life of a playboy . . . live a life of fun and indulgence." That way he would avoid detection. Pretty cunning, huh? Just to show how seriously he took his assignment, there was a picture of Assem with three hot babes (all burka-less) on a "mission" in Canada. "I was proud," declared Mr. Hammoud, "to carry out my orders" -- even though they required him to booze it up and bed beautiful infidels all week long. But it's okay, because he was nailing chicks for Allah. So he gamely put on a brave show of partying like it's 1999 even though, as a devout Muslim, he'd obviously much rather party like it's 799.
Updike is someone I have avoided till now. I may read him just to laugh - at him.
Monday, July 24, 2006
A few years back, when folks talked airily about "the Middle East peace process" and "a two-state solution," I used to say that the trouble was the Palestinians saw a two-state solution as an interim stage en route to a one-state solution. I underestimated Islamist depravity. As we now see in Gaza and southern Lebanon, any two-state solution would be an interim stage en route to a no-state solution.
In one of the most admirably straightforward of Islamist declarations, Hussein Massawi, the Hezbollah leader behind the slaughter of U.S. and French forces 20 years ago, put it this way:
"We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you."
Swell. But, suppose he got his way, what then? Suppose every last Jew in Israel were dead or fled, what would rise in place of the Zionist Entity? It would be something like the Hamas-Hezbollah terror squats in Gaza and Lebanon writ large. Hamas won a landslide in the Palestinian elections, and Hezbollah similarly won formal control of key Lebanese Cabinet ministries. But they're not Mussolini: They have no interest in making the trains run on time. And to be honest, who can blame them? If you're a big-time terrorist mastermind, it's frankly a bit of a bore to find yourself Deputy Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Pensions, particularly when you're no good at it and no matter how lavishly the European Union throws money at you there never seems to be any in the kitty when it comes to making payroll. So, like a business that's over-diversified, both Hamas and Hezbollah retreated to their core activity: Jew-killing.
In Causeries du Lundi, Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve recalls a Parisian dramatist watching the revolutionary mob rampaging through the street below and beaming: "See my pageant passing!" That's how opportunist Arabs and indulgent Europeans looked on the intifada and the terrorists and the schoolgirl suicide bombers: as a kind of uber-authentic piece of performance art with which to torment the Jews and the Americans. They never paused to ask themselves: Hey, what if it doesn't stop there?
Well, about 30 years too late, they're asking it now. For the first quarter-century of Israel's existence, the Arab states fought more or less conventional wars against the Zionists, and kept losing. So then they figured it was easier to anoint a terrorist movement and in 1974 declared Yasser Arafat's PLO to be the "sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people," which is quite a claim for an organization then barely half-a-decade old. Amazingly, the Arab League persuaded the U.N. and the EU and Bill Clinton and everyone else to go along with it and to treat the old monster as a head of state who lacked only a state to head. It's true that many nationalist movements have found it convenient to adopt the guise of terrorists. But, as the Palestinian "nationalist" movement descended from airline hijackings to the intifada to self-detonating in pizza parlors, it never occurred to their glamorous patrons to wonder if maybe this was, in fact, a terrorist movement conveniently adopting the guise of nationalism.
In 1971, in the lobby of the Cairo Sheraton, Palestinian terrorists shot Wasfi al-Tal, the prime minister of Jordan at point-blank range. As he fell to the floor dying, one of his killers began drinking the blood gushing from his wounds. Doesn't that strike you as a little, um, overwrought? Three decades later, when bombs went off in Bali killing hundreds of tourists plus local waiters and barmen, Bruce Haigh, a former Aussie diplomat in Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had no doubt where to put the blame. As he told Australia's Nine Network: "The root cause of this issue has been America's backing of Israel on Palestine."
Suppose this were true -- that terrorists blew up Oz honeymooners and Scandinavian stoners in Balinese nightclubs because of "the Palestinian question." Doesn't this suggest that these people are, at a certain level, nuts? After all, there are plenty of IRA sympathizers around the world (try making the Ulster Unionist case in a Boston bar) and yet they never thought to protest British rule in Northern Ireland by blowing up, say, German tourists in Thailand. Yet the more the thin skein of Palestinian grievance was stretched to justify atrocities halfway around the world, the more the Arab League big-shot emirs and European Union foreign ministers looked down from their windows and cooed, "See my parade passing!"
They've now belatedly realized they're at that stage in the creature feature where the monster has mutated into something bigger and crazier. Until the remarkably kinda-robust statement by the G-8 and the unprecedented denunciation of Hezbollah by the Arab League, the rule in any conflict in which Israel is involved -- Israel vs. PLO, Israel vs. Lebanon, Israel vs. [Your Team Here] is that the Jews are to blame.
But Saudi-Egyptian-Jordanian opportunism on Palestine has caught up with them: It's finally dawned on them that a strategy of consciously avoiding resolution of the "Palestinian question" has helped deliver Gaza, and Lebanon and Syria, into the hands of a regime that's a far bigger threat to the Arab world than the Zionist Entity. Cairo and Co. grew so accustomed to whining about the Palestinian pseudo-crisis decade in decade out that it never occurred to them that they might face a real crisis one day: a Middle East dominated by an apocalyptic Iran and its local enforcers, in which Arab self-rule turns out to have been a mere interlude between the Ottoman sultans and the eternal eclipse of a Persian nuclear umbrella. The Zionists got out of Gaza and it's now Talibanistan redux. The Zionists got out of Lebanon and the most powerful force in the country (with an ever-growing demographic advantage) are Iran's Shia enforcers. There haven't been any Zionists anywhere near Damascus in 60 years and Syria is in effect Iran's first Sunni Arab prison bitch. For the other regimes in the region, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria are dead states that have risen as vampires.
Meanwhile, Kofi Annan in a remarkable display of urgency (at least when compared with Sudan, Rwanda, Congo et al.) is proposing apropos Israel and Hezbollah that U.N. peacekeepers go in, not to keep the "peace" between two sovereign states but rather between a sovereign state and a usurper terrorist gang. Contemptible as he is, the secretary-general shows a shrewd understanding of the way the world is heading: Already "non-state actors" have more sophisticated rocketry than many EU nations; if Iran has its way, its proxies will be implied nuclear powers. Maybe we should put them on the U.N. Security Council.
So what is in reality Israel's first non-Arab war is a glimpse of the world the day after tomorrow: The EU and Arab League won't quite spell it out, but, to modify that Le Monde headline, they are all Jews now
We've deluded ourselves into believing in the myth of the noble and peaceful primitive
Nicholas Wade's Before The Dawn is one of those books full of eye-catching details. For example, did you know the Inuit have the largest brains of any modern humans? Something to do with the cold climate. Presumably, if this global warming hooey ever takes off, their brains will be shrinking with the ice caps.
But the passage that really stopped me short was this:
"Both Keeley and LeBlanc believe that for a variety of reasons anthropologists and their fellow archaeologists have seriously underreported the prevalence of warfare among primitive societies. . . . 'I realized that archaeologists of the postwar period had artificially "pacified the past" and shared a pervasive bias against the possibility of prehistoric warfare,' says Keeley."
That's Lawrence Keeley, a professor at the University of Illinois. And the phrase that stuck was that bit about artificially pacifying the past. We've grown used to the biases of popular culture. If a British officer meets a native -- African, Indian, whatever -- in any movie, play or novel of the last 30 years, the Englishman will be a sneering supercilious sadist and the native will be a dignified man of peace in perfect harmony with his environment in whose tribal language there is not even a word for "war" or "killing" or "weapons of mass destruction." A few years ago, I asked Tim Rice, who'd just written the lyrics for Disney's Aladdin and The Lion King, why he wasn't doing Pocahontas. "Well, the minute they mentioned it," he said, "I knew the Brits would be the bad guys. I felt it was my patriotic duty to decline." Sure enough, when the film came out, John Smith and his men were the bringers of environmental devastation to the New World. "They prowl the earth like ravenous wolves," warns the medicine man, whereas Chief Powhatan wants everyone to be "guided to a place of peace." Fortunately, Captain Smith comes to learn from Pocahontas how to "paint with all the colours of the wind."
In reality, Pocahontas's fellow Algonquin Indians were preyed on by the Iroquois, "who took captives home to torture them before death," observes Nicholas Wade en passant. The Iroquois? Surely not. Only a year or two back, the ethnic grievance lobby managed to persuade Congress to pass a resolution that the United States Constitution was modelled on the principles of the Iroquois Confederation -- which would have been news to the dead white males who wrote it. With Disney movies, one assumes it's just the modishness of showbiz ignoramuses and whatever multiculti theorists they've put on the payroll as consultants. But professor Keeley and Steven LeBlanc of Harvard disclose almost as an aside that, in fact, their scientific colleagues were equally invested in the notion of the noble primitive living in peace with nature and his fellow man, even though no such creature appears to have existed. "Most archaeologists," says LeBlanc, "ignored the fortifications around Mayan cities and viewed the Mayan elite as peaceful priests. But over the last 20 years Mayan records have been deciphered. Contrary to archaeologists' wishful thinking, they show the allegedly peaceful elite was heavily into war, conquest and the sanguinary sacrifice of beaten opponents.... The large number of copper and bronze axes found in Late Neolithic and Bronze Age burials were held to be not battle axes but a form of money."
And on, and on. Do you remember that fabulously preserved 5,000-year-old man they found in a glacier in 1991? He had one of those copper axes the experts assured us were an early unit of currency. Unfortunately for this theory, he had it hafted in a manner that suggested he wasn't asking, "Can you break a twenty?" "He also had with him," notes professor Keeley, "a dagger, a bow, and some arrows; presumably these were his small change." Nonetheless, anthropologists concluded that he was a shepherd who had fallen asleep and frozen peacefully to death in a snowstorm. Then the X-ray results came back and showed he had an arrowhead in him.
Not for the first time, the experts turn out to be playing what children call "Opposite Land." There's more truth in Cole Porter's couplet from Find Me A Primitive Man:
I don't mean the kind that belongs to a club But the kind that has a club that belongs to him.
Although Porter was the kind that belongs to a club, the second line accurately conveys his own taste in men. He'd have been very annoyed if Mister Primitive had turned out to be some mellow colours-of-your-windiness hippy-dippy granola-cruncher.
Lawrence Keeley calculates that 87 per cent of primitive societies were at war more than once per year, and some 65 per cent of them were fighting continuously. "Had the same casualty rate been suffered by the population of the twentieth century," writes Wade, "its war deaths would have totaled two billion people." Two billion! In other words, we're the aberration: after 50,000 years of continuous human slaughter, you, me, Bush, Cheney, Blair, Harper, Rummy, Condi, we're the nancy-boy peacenik crowd. "The common impression that primitive peoples, by comparison, were peaceful and their occasional fighting of no serious consequence is incorrect. Warfare between pre-state societies was incessant, merciless, and conducted with the general purpose, often achieved, of annihilating the opponent."
Why then, against all the evidence, do we venerate the primitive? And to the point of pretending a bunch of torturing marauders devised the separation of powers in the U.S. Constitution. We do it for the same reason we indulge behaviour like that at Caledonia, Ont. We want to believe that the yard, the cul-de-sac, the morning commute, the mall are merely the bland veneer of our lives, and that underneath we are still that noble primitive living in harmony with the great spirits of the forest and the mountain. The reality is that "civilization" -- Greco-Roman-Judeo-Christian -- worked very hard to stamp out the primitive within us, and for good reason.
I was interested to read Wade's book after a month in which men raised in suburban Ontario were charged with a terrorist plot that included plans to behead the Prime Minister, and the actual heads of three decapitated police officers were found in the Tijuana River. The Mexican drug gangs weren't Muslim last time I checked, but evidently decapitation isn't just for jihadists anymore: if you want to get ahead, get a head. A couple of years back, I came across a column in The East African by Charles Onyango-Obbo musing on the return of cannibalism to the Dark Continent. Ugandan-backed rebels in the Congo (four million dead but, as they haven't found a way to pin it on Bush, nobody cares) had been making victims' relatives eat the body parts of their loved ones. You'll recall that, when Samuel Doe was toppled as Liberia's leader, he was served a last meal of his own ears. His killers kept his genitals for themselves, under the belief that if you eat a man's penis you acquire his powers. One swallow doesn't make a summer, of course, but I wonder sometimes if we're not heading toward a long night of re-primitivization. In his shrewd book Civilization And Its Enemies, Lee Harris writes:
"Forgetfulness occurs when those who have been long inured to civilized order can no longer remember a time in which they had to wonder whether their crops would grow to maturity without being stolen or their children sold into slavery by a victorious foe. . . . That, before 9/11, was what had happened to us. The very concept of the enemy had been banished from our moral and political vocabulary."
It's worse than Harris thinks. We're not merely "forgetful." We've constructed a fantasy past in which primitive societies lived in peace and security with nary a fear that their crops would be stolen or their children enslaved. War has been the natural condition of mankind for thousands of years, and our civilization is a very fragile exception to that. What does it say about us that so many of our elites believe exactly the opposite -- that we are a monstrous violent rupture with our primitive pacifist ancestors? It's never a good idea to put reality up for grabs. You can bet your highest-denomination axe on that.
I hear that she's the most reviled woman in America -- her negatives are sky-high. She's all about self-promotion and attention-getting. She says divisive and outrageous things to grab headlines and airtime. And sell her books and raise speaking fees. All of which feeds her ego. But enough about Hillary Clinton.
Now, about Ann Coulter. If I understand the liberal stance on Coulter, she makes up facts, no, wait, she "copies" facts, and there's no one as "mean" as Ann Coulter, no, wait, she "plagiarizes" from other Ann Coulters and she's just an entertainer lining her pocket, no, wait, she's a "hater" and a "Nazi" and a "Fundi" and a "stick" and a "turd" and a "witch" and a "whore" who calls other people names. And likes to insult Michael Moore and Randi Rhodes, unflawed paragons of refinement and civility. Coulter could learn a lot about civility from Al Franken. Now, as good liberals, we're against censorship and all that, and we'd like newspapers to drop Ann Coulter. From a 100-story building.
Liberals complain that Coulter gets too much attention, so they show up on The Daily Show and The Today Show and The Tonight Show and the Broadcasting Corporation of Outer Nigeria to complain that Coulter gets too much attention.
As you'll recall, not long ago, liberals decided that the most effective and compelling way to counter Ann Coulter's "dangerous" ideas is to take the high road and throw food at her. A couple of sissies at the University of Arizona reacted to Coulter's speech by "charging the stage and throwing two pies at (her) from a few yards away" (AnnCoulter.com, 4/13/05).
Liberals have no problem surrendering to al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Iran, North Korea -- they're even asking Germany and Japan if we can still surrender -- but vow never to be taken alive by the blond chick. (Libs briefly considered surrendering to the Taepodong-2 missile until it fell harmlessly in the Sea of Japan.)
So it's small wonder that Libbies have reacted to Coulter's latest work with their typical thoughtfulness and restraint.
"There's another good thing about Coulter," observes DemocraticUnderground poster, 11 Bravo. "Despite all the evidence to the contrary, she is probably human. That means that some day the bitch will die, hopefully in excruciating pain, lying in a ditch while rabid rats the size of cocker spaniels gnaw at her entrails." I've never seen people enjoying death so much.
While the rats at DU fantasized of gnawing at Coulter's entrails, poster lolly of the Huffing&Puffington Post warmly noted that "The only good conservative is a dead conservative."
Simon Dumenco, columnist for Advertising Age, called for Coulter to kill herself. "Would it kill you, 'Godless' author Ann Coulter, to do us all a favor and kill yourself," wrote Mr. Demento.
Actor Sean Penn keeps an Ann Coulter action doll on his desk. He uses it to put out cigarettes. "We violate her," said Penn, bursting with pride. "There are cigarette burns in some funny areas." In fairness, this is nothing new for Penn. He's always played with dolls.
Libbies have their turbans stuck in a mangle over Coulter's new book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Liberals want to ban school prayer, ban the 10 Commandments and yank 'In God We Trust' from our coins, yet Coulter calls them godless. The Nerve.
Judging from their hysterical response, the only thing that worries libbies more than Rush Limbaugh having sex is Ann Coulter writing a new book.
The main thrust of Coulter's book is that liberals refuse to accept the very idea of God, vilify believers in God (unless his name is Allah) and that liberalism itself has all the thumbprints of religion. Notice how liberals also believe in miracles. Raise taxes and watch the economy boom! Hillary willing, of course. Be nice to bullies like Kim Jong-il and they'll leave you alone! Communism works (Soviets gave up too soon)! Releasing criminals lowers crime! Racial quotas promote racial harmony! Welfare promotes healthy families! Condoms promote abstinence! Democrats can win an election! You can make it home alive with a Kennedy at the wheel!
Faith-based political dogma. Liberals believing in miracles. How wonderful. But some miracles are just too impossible. Such as liberals being able to follow the thrust of Coulter's argument. Which is why the debate over Coulter's book has centered on a few lines on page 103 and 112.
Referring to the Jersey Girls, Coulter notes how "these broads are millionaires, lionized on TV and in articles about them, reveling in their status as celebrities and stalked by the grief-arazzis. I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." Coulter asks, "How do we know their husbands weren't planning to divorce these harpies?" Maybe that sentence is a low blow. Coulter should apologize to harpies for comparing them to the Jersey Girls.
In the chapter titled, "Liberal Doctrine of Infallibility: Sobbing Hysterical Women," Coulter notes how liberals "choose only messengers whom we're not allowed to reply to . . . All the most prominent liberal spokesmen are people with 'absolute moral authority' -- Democrats with a dead husband, a dead child, a wife who works at the CIA, a war record," etc. "That's why all Democratic spokesmen these days are sobbing, hysterical women." Like John Kerry. Whining about the Swiftboat meanies questioning the authenticity of his war record. (CBS says it can vouch for it, though.)
Coulter notes how Democrats use the same debate stifling technique by fronting the Jersey Girls, who lobbied for the formation of the 9/11 Commission to investigate George Bush. "You can't respond to them because that would be questioning the authenticity of their suffering." In response, the Jersey Girls issued a joint statement, condemning Coulter for questioning the authenticity of their suffering. And invoking the memories of their husbands.
And so it goes. Liberals keep proving Coulter right.
Libbies are such ingrates. Here Coulter tries to help them climb out of the Dark Ages and all they do is throw food at her and hurl accusations. Such as the "plagiarism" charge, which has since crumbled into subatomic particles. Coulter supposedly "copied" her words from other Ann Coulters, who oddly never came forward to complain. Another miracle!
Coulter's syndicator, Universal Press Syndicate, looked into the allegations and found them to be bogus. Coulter's publisher, Crown Publishing Group, looked into the allegations and found to be bogus.
Poor, poor libbies. No Plagiarism Fairy. No Fitzmas. No Zarqawi. No Rove indictment. No space shuttle explosion. Failed missile tests for Kimmy. Conservative victory in Mexico. Terrorist plots foiled. Coulter's book No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. Liberals are having a terrible century.
My Two Cents...
Friday, July 14, 2006
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Read the whole thing and see the video of you have a strong stomach.
When confronted with savagery one can demonstrate courage or flee. The second option is available for a limited time only. Eventually there will be nowhere to run.
Americans, many of them at least, are awakening to the truth articulated more than 50 years ago by writer Whittaker Chambers: that the modern world's "vision of comfort without effort, pleasure without the pain of creation, life sterilized against even the thought of death, rationalized so that every intrusion of mystery is felt as a betrayal of the mind, life mechanized and standardized" does not "make for happiness from day to day" – and further, that it may mean "catastrophe in the end."
This tendency of our political and economic culture toward a state of permanent revolution is the hallmark of any modern progressive society. And if there is one deity today to which every politician, right and left, will pay obeisance, it is the god of progress.
When Bryan fought for home, family and posterity, he tapped directly into the heart of the American middle classes. But the populist reforms intended to return political and economic power to the ordinary American were fatally flawed.
The introduction of the federal income tax, the nationalization of the railroads and the direct election of U.S. senators were all major reforms accomplished by the progressive populists of Bryan's day. But rather than putting a hedge of protection around home, family and posterity, each exposed the institutions of middle America to further exploitation. By empowering centralized planning authorities to directly control Americans' income, mobility and elections via taxation, bureaucratic infrastructure and national political parties, the populists ended up giving the elites far greater control of the people than they had previously had.
There's an irony inherent in a system like our own that identifies the individual as the fundamental unit of political, social and economic order. Because it shears the individual of the republican virtues cultivated within communities of tradition in the name of empowering him, it actually makes the individual subject to tyranny. Limitless emancipation in the name of progress is, it turns out, the final and most binding mechanism of control.
When the oldest sources of order – which are at root religious – are abandoned along with their traditions and taboos, the resulting void of meaning is by necessity filled with some ideology promising one form or another of perfect happiness in the here and now. And these systems of self-salvation creep not toward liberation, but toward total control.
Populism in its progressive form is not immune from this utopian yearning, which must always end in disaster. So our neopopulist moment ought to be approached with sober awareness that an angry mob is probably worse than a corrupt bureaucrat. The same bureaucrat who has harnessed the anger of the mob with progressive dreams is far more terrible than both.
What is called for is an anti-progressive populism; an anti-movement movement; a return to what is near, known and particular. What is called for is what I think of as regional populism. Its first political task will be to rediscover the ways citizens of the old American republic used to think and talk.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I just posted over at Pajamas a new story from Die Welt on the nefarious Mohammed El Baradei. I used the admittedly optimistic headline Nobelist Jumps the Shark because this time I hope this two-faced character gets his comeuppance with the exposure that he has cooperated with the Mullahs in firing his chief inspector Chris Charlier. I'm posting this here to urge you to have a look at Regime Change Iran, where there is extensive coverage and a good translation, and in case people have some comments about this.
While this will undoubtedly create a stink and the UN is in damage control mode, I don't think it amounts to much in the way of substantive damage. The "International Community" (.i.e. the United Nations) is not going to stop anybody or anything from developing nuclear weapons. The fact is that there are no International Cops. That role is left for individual nations like the US. And we may lack the combination of will and ability to stop the mullahs from making a bomb.
But it does expose, if there is any doubt in anyone's mind, the fecklessness and uselessness of the UN as a serious international body that anyone can depend on to enforce rules of conduct on rogue regimes.
You not be surprised to find that Muslims have no trouble at all about mocking those killed in the London train bombings
Excerpt from the Timesonline:
A SPEECH by an extremist Muslim cleric praising the London bombers and mocking victims of suicide attacks has been broadcast on the internet to coincide with the anniversary of the July 7 attacks.
The audience laughs as Omar Brooks, a British Muslim convert who also uses the name Abu Izzadeen, makes fun of non-Muslims as “animals” and “cowards”.
Read the rest.
It's unclear whether any of these celebrities will be ''starving'' long enough even to feel hungry. Bobby Sands and the IRA hunger strikers of the 1980s were never going to force Mrs. Thatcher to back down, but at least they did actually starve themselves to death.
How about if the celebs did that? Wouldn't that, after all, get right to the heart of the matter? Wouldn't that bring piercing clarity to the issue by forcing the American people to choose between tedious geopolitical responsibilities and Jennifer Aniston? Imagine if the flailing neocon warmongers had to explain to the American people why we were now down to one Dixie Chick. Bush would be cowering in the Oval Office while his spinmeisters attempted futile damage control on one horror story after another:
*Superman tanked at the box office after audiences recoiled in horror when Brandon Routh's distended belly fell out of his saggy tights in mid-flight.
*Shooting was halted today on ''Basic Instinct 3'' when an emaciated Sharon Stone proved too weak to cross her legs.
*The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences warned that, with three out of five Best Actor nominees dead of starvation, they may be forced to give the Oscar to Steven Seagal.
*In a first for the music industry, two feuding gangsta rappers died this morning before they could shoot each other. 2Frail 2Fire was felled by a massive heart attack as he attempted to lift his LadySmith 60LS. Ol' Cadaverous Bastard expired from malnutrition a few seconds later while enjoying a derogatory gloat about the ever bonier butts of 2Frail 2Fire's hos and bitches.
*Meanwhile, Brad Pitt said filming would go ahead as planned on ''Ocean's Three.'' Er, ''Ocean's Two.''
The problem for the ''activists'' is that the entire anti-war movement is undernourished. Indeed, in all their contempt for America as an effete narcissistic ninny too soft and self-absorbed to stand any pain, even al-Qaida couldn't have come up with as withering a parody of the Great Satan's decadence as a celebrity pseudo-fast. As the great Shakespearean actor Edmund Kean said on his deathbed: ''Dying is easy. Comedy is hard.'' Not for Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Recently he almost hit the trifecta, claiming not only that there were no WMDs in Iraq (despite the 500 gas shells found there) but that the reason given for the Iraq war was that Saddam was going to invade the US. If he had equated the religious Right to Islamofacists he would have won the trifecta. Sorry Tony, you don't get the kewpie doll.
But for those who still believe that moving the goals posts and setting up straw men will win the argument in the end, here are two posts on Power Line that should make you hesitate just a moment before saying with assurance what Saddam had up his sleeve before the invasion.
From Paying Bonuses, Right Up to the End:
This eight-page document is a list of employees in various categories who received bonuses listed as "5,000"--dinars, I assume. Most of the categories are what you would expect: "Office of the General Director," "Finance," "Consultant Office," etc. Presumably the names under each of these headings are the employees in those departments who received bonuses.
But then we have these categories: "Chemical;" twelve employees got bonuses. "Nuclear;" nine employees got bonuses. "Missiles;" seven employees got bonuses. "Biological;" nine employees got bonuses. I suppose those words might mean something other than the obvious. But what?
And Iraq Was Hiding Chemical Weapons Facilities in 1999
Mr. Muhammad indicated that the International Inspection Committee would be inspecting the Al-Rashad location, among other locations, looking for non-conventional weapons and other chemical agents. He added that the following procedures were implemented on the fifth month of this year [TC: May 1999] in order to prevent disclosure of the locations:
1- Relocate all I[raqi] I[ntelligence] S[ervice] documents
2- Relocate all IIS chemical materials and equipment
3- Designate a group of employees from the Ministry of Health to replace the IIS employees
The "Saddam was in a box and didn't have any plans or ability to make WMDs" is not only non-sensical, it is now turning out to have been documented not to be true.
Oh, and that "box" that Saddam was in?
Outside the box:
Many of those who argue that the U.S. did not need to take military action against Saddam Hussein claim that he posed no threat because he was "in his box." But the idea that an anti-American psychopath like Saddam would be content to reside in a box created by the U.S. is highly implausible and contrary to the evidence. Many of the things that Saddam did in the late 1990s and early 2000s (sending folks to Niger to talk about obtaining yellow-cake, establising contacts with al-Qaeda, subsidizing Palestinian terrorsts) can be viewed as an attempt to operate outside the box.
Now Fox News reports that "an Arab regime, possibly Iraq, supplied how-to manuals for Arab operatives working throughout Afghanistan before 9/11, and provided military assistance to the Taliban and Al Qaeda." Fox News bases this conclusion on "an apparent training manual unearthed in captured Iraqi government computer files."
1861. 1941. 2001. Our big wars -- and the war on terrorism ranks with the big ones -- have a way of starting in the first year of a decade. Supreme Courts, which historically have been loath to intervene against presidential war powers in the midst of conflict, have tended to give the president until mid-decade to do what he wishes to the Constitution in order to win the war.
During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus -- trashing the Bill of Rights or exercising necessary emergency executive power, depending on your point of view. But he got the whole troublesome business done by 1865, and the Supreme Court stayed away.
During World War II, Franklin Roosevelt interned Japanese Americans. He, too, was left unmolested by the court. But Roosevelt also got his war wrapped up by 1945. Had the current war on terrorism followed course and ended in 2005, the sensational, just-decided Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case concerning military tribunals for Guantanamo Bay prisoners would have either been rendered moot or drawn a yawn.
But, of course, the war on terrorism is different. The enemy is shadowy, scattered and therefore more likely to survive and keep the war going for years. What the Supreme Court essentially did in Hamdan was to say to the president: Time's up. We gave you the customary half-decade of emergency powers, but that's as far as we go. From now on the emergency is over, at least judicially, and you're going to have to operate by peacetime rules.
All rise: The Supreme Court has decreed a return to normality. A lovely idea, except that al-Qaeda has other ideas. The war does go on. One can sympathize with the court's desire for a Harding-like restoration to normalcy. But the robed eminences are premature. And even if they weren't, they really didn't have to issue a ruling this bad.
The court feels that the president slighted Congress by unilaterally establishing military commissions. What is odd about this solicitousness for the powers of the legislature is that Congress, which is populated entirely by adults, had explicitly told the judiciary just six months ago that when it comes to Guantanamo prisoners, the judiciary should bug off.
The unfixable part of the Hamdan ruling, however, is the court's reading of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions. The Geneva Conventions, which were designed to protect civilian populations and those combatants who respect them, were never intended to apply to unlawful combatants, terrorists of the al-Qaeda kind. The court tortures the reading of Common Article 3 to confer upon Hamdan -- and by extension the man for whom he rode shotgun, bin Laden -- the kind of elaborate legal protections that one expects from "civilized peoples."
Read the whole thing.
Thursday, July 06, 2006
He once captained a “boomer” and later ran part of the US submarine fleet, but his reaction to 9/11 was one of passivity. I had lunch with him after 9/11 and he was vehemently opposed to military action in Afghanistan. He was a political Admiral and I sometimes wondered if a nuclear war had ever broken out, he would have done his duty. Knowing him as I did, I would not have been sure.
The challenge Donald Rumsfeld and the Bush administration faced, once the "end of history" post-Cold-War peace had ended was to re-create the US military. The military they inherited was a superb weapon for fighting the Soviets. But the Soviets has been cast onto the “dust heap of history.” And the Afghans had shown how effective irregular forces were against Cold-War style military tactics and formations when they drove the Soviet army out of their country.
The lessons we learned from Soviet mistakes allowed us to take over Afghanistan with few troops in short order. We were able to overcome Saddam’s vaunted Republican Guard and his regular army in a matter of weeks. But the transformation is incomplete and we are being taught painful lessons as we battle irregulars in Afghanistan, Iraq and other – less publicized – battlefields.
This is why the transformation must take place faster and under the pressures of war. But there a few better places and times to learn the art of war than during a war.
The political brass that headed the military under the Clintons don’t see it that way. Reprentative John Murtha, retired Marine Colonel, believes that Clinton showed how it should be done when he abandoned Somalia after the Blackhawk Down episode. He is serious when he proposes Somalia as the model of US action in a terror riven world.
Jed Babbin was a deputy undersecretary of defense in the George H.W. Bush administration and he has written an article in Real Clear Politics (Reviving the Generals revolt) that anticipates part 2 of the Revolt of the Generals. The first act took place last April when:
… six retired generals, each of whom had been promoted to significant rank under the Clinton administration, publicly criticized the president's handling of the Iraq war and - some clearly and some in muddled terms - demanded the firing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
To give it coherence and spell it out for the general public:
On April 16, in the midst of what he labeled a "military revolt," former Clinton UN Ambassador Richard Holbrooke wrote a Washington Post op-ed that characterized the generals' mini-revolt as, "the most serious public confrontation between the military and an administration since President Harry S. Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur."
That little rebellion was quickly forgotten, but
But now the next chapter of the generals' revolt is about to be published. Washington Post reporter Tom Ricks's new book, "Fiasco: The American Adventure in Iraq" will be released in less than three weeks. From the publicity surrounding it we can conclude that Holbrooke did leak a big Dem political op, and that Blankley may have been prescient in thinking to apply the Uniform Code of Military Justice to any active duty officers involved.
But who are these Generals, and what is their apparent motive? Don’t be surprised if one if them is General Eric Shinseki.
The least public and most political general is former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki. When Rumsfeld took over the Pentagon, his orders were to shake the military out of its Cold War mindset and strategies. According to one source (who was an active duty army officer when he told me this) Shinseki tried to make Rumsfeld an offer he couldn't refuse: Shinseki would make Rumsfeld look good on Capitol Hill if Rumsfeld would leave the Army alone and not force it out of its Cold War garrison-force mentality. Rumsfeld didn't take the bait, and instead treated Shinseki gently, allowing him to retire with dignity instead of firing him. And then Rumsfeld went about building a better team made up of war-fighting generals who could transform the force under fire.
It is almost impossible to over-estimate the strength with which a bureaucracy can fight change. And while I have the greatest respect for the men and women who are putting their lives on the line in the desert sands, I realize that as men advance up the ladder, they must become politically astute. And sometimes, for reasons that all humans share, the climb is and end in itself – the old ways are the best ways – and I am sure that those who were replaced or found themselves on the outside looking in when a new administration came to town resent it mightily. And we will hear more from them. It may be hard to believe that there is a contingent of military leaders that look to the Somalia model as the prototype of American reaction to banditry and terror, but don't be. The Clintons loathed the military, and only those who shared their world view rose during that administration.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
When we are faced with issues that could cause us to choose between life and death, these words are worth remembering:
Moderns will ask where lay this 'glory', a word in which we have largely ceased to believe. Did it lie in defending the fortress of his honor; in keeping faith with his friends? Did the memories of childhood in Pampanga and young manhood in America all run together at the end for Abad Santos? Or did it perhaps consist in that he believed there were things so important that they were worth dying to defend?
The fortress of his honor.
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
It just occured to me that, beyond being asinine, I think this video has mined a vein of Asinitite that is so pure that it actually shifts Earth’s gravitational pull.
And here is Tim Blair's suggestion for a re-write:
Nothing wrong with the Ned Lamont/Daily Kos ad that a little script doctoring can’t fix:
Ned: Hi, I’m Ned Lamont, a flat-eyed plank of a man to whom you will not warm immediately nor over time. George Bush is wrong!
(Cut to wider shot)
Ned: As a small business guy, I can tell you that my wife bought all this furniture. My testosterone level has halved in the ten seconds I’ve been sitting on Laura Ashley’s personal couch here.
(Cut to window: Markos Moulitsas of famous Daily Kos fame seen leading gang of hyperanxious homeless people in door-to-door Ritalin search)
Ned: I understand that running for Senate can be tough on a family, especially yours, what with having to watch this stupid ad, and ... what the hell?
(Cut to door as Moulitsas bursts in while his homeless friends commit continuity errors in the background)
Moulitsas: Ned! We saw the commercial! We love it, and we’re all to here to volunteer!
Ned: This commercial? But we’re still shooting!
(Cut to panning close-up of Moulitsas—as close as federal self-worship regulations will allow)
Moulitsas: This is important. Look, everybody’s here, we’re ...
Ned: No, wait a minute. (Ned’s upbeat tone fades) You say you’ve seen this commercial? This very one? A commercial that is yet to be completed, let alone broadcast?
Moulitsas: Er ...
Ned: That just doesn’t make sense. In fact, it’s ridiculous. You’re telling me that all these people—including Joni Mitchell’s baby sister, currently having a grand mal seizure behind me—have seen a commercial that hasn’t even been made, and that this ... this ... this hallucination has somehow compelled them to invade my house? In order to volunteer? For a start, why wouldn’t you go to my campaign office instead? You know, where the actual work gets done? Nothing about this adds up at all.
Moulitsas: (downcast, looking at shoes; his friends fall silent) Well, I ... I guess we ...
(Cut to wide shot during extended, awkward pause)
Ned: (sighs, looks with disgust into camera) I’m Ned Lamont, and apparently I’m living in a some kind of time-folding, moron-infested parallel universe.
Moulitsas: (suddenly brightens, along with his supporters) And so are we!
From the Wall Street Journal: ...a single liberal retirement from the Court would thus put Hamdan‘s reasoning in jeopardy [...]
...How can this be? How can it be that we’ve reached the point where highly-charged SCOTUS decisions involving the Executive and military often break along partisan / ideological lines...
This is not the state the Supreme Court should find itself in—otherwise we have yet another political arm of the government, one that carries the pretense of being apolitical. Which not only upsets the balance of powers, but it does so while pretending to remain true to its own mandate.
On the first day of the Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers created the New York Times. And they looked upon their creation, and they saw that it was good. And they clearly intended for it to have a tremendous amount of power for, as our Democrat brethren-in-Christ are always reminding us, Thomas Jefferson said it would be better to have a press and no government, didn't he? So the second day the Framers, via the First Amendment, explicitly created a Fourth Branch of government which operates completely independently of the other three branches. Furthermore, unlike the other three branches, this fourth branch was to be able to violate laws passed by our elected representatives at any time with impunity, since the First Amendment would operate as a virtual trump or "get out of jail free" card. Now this may alarm some of you somewhat, but you should not worry. We the Little People should simply trust that the Times would never abuse this tremendous power, because although the press are not subject to any external oversight or checks and balances, the Founders did provide for an entirely sufficient internal oversight system in the form of Executive Editors. This is where the Theory of the Unitary Editor comes in.
According to the Theory of the Unitary Editor, whenever a Times reporter is given unauthorized classified information, Bill Keller's editorial conscience allows him to unilaterally declassify national secrets, bypass Congress, and violate the law in the interest of keeping the nation safe from a popularly elected President who he fears may be bypassing Congress and breaking the law.
After the attack on the Pentagon on 9/11, the building had a huge, gaping hole in its side, a wound that matched the one our nation felt after the terrorist slaughter. The next day, a group of rescue workers and military personnel at the Pentagon got a garrison flag and draped it from the top of the building right over the cavernous maw. This flag told the terrorists that we would not allow them to scare us -- that America would not cut and run from this unthinkable attack. The flag remained in place for a month, reminding us and the world that we would rebuild, and then we would make sure that the people who thought they could cow us with senseless attacks would soon learn differently. A year after it made its appearance over the Pentagon, the flag came to the Smithsonian, with the dirt and grease of its exposure to the damage still part of it.
From Captain's Quarters
HOW CAN WE TRUST THEIR JUDGMENT ON WHAT TO PUBLISH, when they can't even figure out what side we're on? The NYT writes:
In 1985, The Times reported that a Marine colonel in the White House was overseeing the secret war against the Nicaraguan contras. The newspaper withheld the name of the colonel because the White House said printing it might endanger his life, recalled a former Times reporter, Joel Brinkley.
The Post named Oliver North the next day.
And twenty years later, they still haven't figured out that the war was against the Sandinistas, and that the contras were on our side. Wake up and smell the coffee, guys!
The USA is a sick, diseased, cancer, blight on the earth. This is a fact. You guys are in denial about it and hate the fact that I’ve got the chutzpah to hang here and tell it like it is.A question can legitimately be raised: if you hate the country you live in so much, why do you continue to live here? This is not an “America, love it or leave it” challenge, it’s a real question.
I am an immigrant. I did not make the decision to leave my birth country; my parents did. But they left it nevertheless and moved to America. Literally millions of Mexicans are leaving their country to move to America. The lines to come to America legally are long but people are standing in line for years to do so.
So the concept of leaving the country of one’s birth and moving to another is as old as mankind. So why would anyone who loathes their country, has a PhD and could be expected to make a living virtually anywhere in the world want to stay?
There is no Berlin Wall to keep anyone in; no armed guards at the borders to shoot you should you try to leave. Buy a plane ticket to travel anywhere in the world. Get in you car and drive to Canada or Mexico. What is it that keeps a person in a place they hate?
As an immigrant to the United States, this is a perplexing question. Was the comment made for its effect and the hatred not real? Is the hatred real but does the comment come from a person with a need to feel persecuted; in other words is there a serious psychological problem? Or, if the comment is true, does the thought of actually leaving not enter her consciousness as one of several alternative strategies. I suspect that there is something in the American psyche that says “people move to America, not away from America.” And this is undoubtedly true of people who genuinely hate America.
I’m a history buff and have always been intrigued by the history of Rome. During the empire, Caesar’s enemies who were marked for death, were sometimes given the opportunity to commit suicide and did so by slitting their veins in a bathtub. Why didn’t they run? Perhaps because to them, Rome was the world and there was no place to run that was not Rome. Most people, whether they know it or not, inhabit prisons of their own creation. They may be mental prisons, but they are stronger than iron bars. And here we have exhibit “A.”
Three years ago, David Horowitz came to Colorado to promote his newly inked Academic Bill of Rights, a plan the radical-turned-conservative activist said was needed to liberate students from an oppressive atmosphere of liberal groupthink at the nation's universities.
So exactly what is contained in the Academic Bill of Rights? You can click on the link and read the whole thing, but there is an excellent summary on Powerline:
1. Faculty members shall be hired and fired based on their competence and expertise, not their political or religious beliefs.
2. No faculty member shall be excluded from hiring, firing or tenure committees based on political or religious beliefs.
3. Students will be graded solely on their knowledge of a subject matter, not political or religious beliefs.
4. Reading lists should reflect a broad range of knowledge within a discipline.
5. Faculty will expose students to a wide range of viewpoints, not use their courses "for the purpose of political, ideological, religious or anti-religious indoctrination.
6. Campus speakers should reflect a broad range of viewpoints.
7. Efforts to censor viewpoints by obstructing invited speakers or destroying literature will not be tolerated.
8. Academic institutions and professional societies should maintain a position of organizational neutrality on scholarly disputes over research.
Who can be opposed to such sensible ideas? Well, Soros funded groups for one and the American Federation of Teachers for another:
Jamie Horwitz, who acts as a spokesman both for Free Exchange on Campus and the American Federation of Teachers, said the opposition was slow to react because "we dismissed it at first as the rantings of an ideologue."
If you heard someone call the American Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as the rantings of an ideologue, you would be able to classify that person very quickly as a raving loon. But these people actually run well funded organizations like Free Exchange on Campus and the American Federation of Teachers. And they are opposed to the free exchange of ideas, balance in presenting viewpoints, the respect for diversity and elimination of censorship on campus.
Monday, July 03, 2006
in a 1986 speech, [former WaPo publisher Katharine Graham, who died in 2001] warned that the media sometimes made “tragic” mistakes.
Her example was the disclosure, after the bombing of the American embassy in Beirut in 1983, that American intelligence was reading coded radio traffic between terrorist plotters in Syria and their overseers in Iran. The communications stopped, and five months later they struck again, destroying the Marine barracks in Beirut and killing 241 Americans.
“This kind of result, albeit unintentional, points up the necessity for full cooperation wherever possible between the media and the authorities,” Ms. Graham said.
But the First Amendment was reinforced. Those dead Marines were the MSM's "collateral damage." Who will pay the NY Times butchers bill and how big will it be?
Risen and Lichtblau and Keller (and Clarke), backpedaling furiously, would now have us believe that everyone but you and me knew about the “closely held” SWIFT surveillance program. Well, you, me, and Hambali the Bali Bomber, whom we arrested in 2003:
So maybe the authorities thought that if the program had already caught three money men, a courier, and a major terrorist organizer there might be one or two more Al-Qaeda operatives somewhere in the world who hadn’t gotten the memo about the Swift program surveillance…and so it might be a good idea to keep it a secret.
Oh, well: they’ve heard of it now. Thanks, New York Times!
(*I get the feeling that a lot of the cool sources and methods the government would rather not blab about get attributed to the “interrogation of captured Al-Qaeda figures”.)
UPDATE: You know, looking back over that CBC story linked above, I notice that Mohammed Mansour Jabarah’s brother Abdul Rahman Jabarah was also an Al Qaeda operative who was killed by Saudi police in 2003. His father told him in 2002 that the Canadian police were looking for him. Since Mohammed Jabarah was apparently discovered through Swift monitoring, and was being tracked and followed, and both brothers were wanted by the time they met in Dubai in January 2002, it seems logical that Swift surveillance of one Jabarah brother led to the revelation of the other as well—bringing the total to six terrorists probably identified and/or stopped by the secret Swift program. How many more leads these six that we know about turned up, we’ll never know—especially since all of their associates are now busily covering their tracks now that they realize how the Crusader Infidel Army as been tracking them down and picking them off.
For the hysterics among us, it may be useful to remind ourselves how previous Presidents dealt with war - Presidents such as Old Abe:
Lincoln's primary aim as commander-in-chief was of course the preservation of the Union -- the restoration of democracy and the rule of law among the seceding states. He meant to demonstrate that "among free men, there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and that those who take such appeal are sure to lose their case, and pay the cost." Indeed, as Daniel Farber recalls in Lincoln's Constitution, Lincoln originally called up the militia in the name of the rule of law because "the laws of the United States have been for some time past, and now are opposed, and the execution thereof obstructed" by "combinations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings."
In subduing the Confederacy, Lincoln took his bearings by his constitutional duty to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution." Though this is the subject for another day, it should be noted that, given the Supreme Court's handiwork in the Dred Scott case, he was not an advocate of judicial supremacy. As president and commander-in-chief, he suspended habeas corpus, used martial law, instituted military trials, and exercised power to the limits of his constitutional authority in a manner that suggests the loose nature of those limits when confronted by necessity. Yet Lincoln preserved the rule of law and became the Great Liberator.
Read the rest...
Two billion war deaths would have occurred in the 20th century if modern societies suffered the same casualty rate as primitive peoples, according to anthropologist Lawrence H Keeley, who calculates that two-thirds of them were at war continuously, typically losing half of a percent of its population to war each year. 
This and other noteworthy prehistoric factoids can be found in Nicholas Wade's Before the Dawn, a survey of genetic, linguistic and archeological research on early man.  Primitive peoples, it appears, were nasty, brutish, and short, not at all the cuddly children of nature depicted by popular culture and post-colonial academic studies.
Nonetheless the overwhelming consensus in popular culture holds that primitive peoples enjoy a quality - call it authenticity - that moderns lack, and that by rolling in their muck, some of this authenticity will stick to us. Colonial guilt at the extermination of tribal societies does not go very far as an explanation, for the Westerners who were close enough to primitives to exterminate them rarely regretted having done so. The hunger for authenticity surges up from a different spring.
Even in Christianity's darkest hours, when the Third Reich reduced the pope to a prisoner in the Vatican and the European peoples turned the full terror of Western technology upon one another, they managed to kill a small fraction of the numbers that routinely and normally fell in primitive warfare.
Native Americans, Eskimos, New Guinea Highlanders as well as African tribes slaughtered one another with skill and vigor, frequently winning their first encounters with modern armed forces. "Even in the harshest possible environments [such as northwestern Alaska] where it was struggle enough just to keep alive, primitive societies still pursued the more overriding goal of killing one another," Wade notes.
A quarter of the language groups in New Guinea, home to 1,200 of the world's 6,000 languages, were exterminated by warfare during every preceding century, according to one estimate Wade cites. In primitive warfare "casualty rates were enormous, not the least because they did not take prisoners. That policy was compatible with their usual strategic goal: to exterminate the opponent's society. Captured warriors were killed on the spot, except in the case of the Iroquois, who took captives home to torture them before death, and certain tribes in Colombia, who liked to fatten prisoners before eating them."
Instapundit has more...