A couple of days ago I posted my comments regarding my friend George Mellinger’s article on America as a creedal nation. George e-mailed me a reply. Here it is, with my comments below:
I do believe that the Soviet Union was a nation founded on a particular creed, and did indeed try to create an entirely new culture based on that creed. Much of the communal living of the 1920s was not just from poverty, but mainly engineered to be part of the new culture. Pproletkult anyone? Homo Soveticus? “Cogs in the Wheel” by Mikhail Heller, another Soviet émigré, is an essential, and readable account of those early years. Of course, you don’t remember most of that, because the attempt to create Homo Soveticus failed, and the system ultimately degenerated back into something that was…”sort-of Russian” culture, but not even the the old traditional culture of the Silver Age. And that is part of the problem. Abstract formally declared creeds fail, particularly when they seek to ignore the realities of the daily culture and human nature. And far too much of what I hear promoted today under the label of an American Creed” by the creedal nationists, does just that. It seems to be a sort of inverted neo-marxianism which seeks to ignore or deny the reality of actual culture in favor of economic utility, and placing an ever-higher Dow and GNP as the main measures of success. Which is obsessed with a sort of radical egalitarianism which transcends equality before the law, and has become a social form of what Lenin himself sometimes ridiculed as uravnilovka. We are still arguing in this country about when this process began in America, but I believe it took a sudden turn for the worse during the 1960s. I believe it is at the root of many of America’s current problems.
Of course, culture changes, it evolves. But it should do so naturally, by social processes, and not by the abstract theorizing of social engineers and judges. And yes, here I am explicitly blaming everyone on the left, and some who think themselves to be on the right.
George is, of course, right when he says that there was an attempt in the Soviet Union to create “homo soveticus”. Back in school we were always told that we belong to a “new historical community of people called Soviet People”. But that could never work. There was never any attempt to eliminate the ethnic differences. Instead, those differences were maintained and fostered. Why else would the Soviet Government include the ethnic origin in the internal passport? Interestingly, it was usually explained that it was done in order to emphasize the multi-ethnic character of the Soviet Union and friendship between various groups. Reality was quite different. This distinction, marked in the passports, was used to promote local nationalities in the republics and discriminate against ethnic groups deemed insufficiently loyal to the Soviet Union, like Jews. So, perhaps there was an attempt to create a creedal nation in the Soviet Union, but it was done where historically ethnic nation existed. Furthermore, it was done while trying to preserve ethnic character of previously existing nations at the same time. Also, we were always taught that the Soviet Union was more than a nation. It consisted of nations, like Russians, Ukrainians and all the rest of the republics. Jews were specifically considered a nationality, but not a nation, since, we were told, they did not have a common territory.
America is very different. Historically anybody becoming an American would renounce all the previous ethnic-based loyalties and instead would swear loyalty to the non-ethnic-based United States of America. Many Americans I know often proudly proclaim that one set of their ancestors fought another set, but it does not matter, because they are Americans. What was always required of the new Americans is learning the English language and assimilation into the American culture. New Americans always contributed to the American culture as a part of that great melting pot. That is how American nation has evolved. That is also why maintaining and emphasizing the ethnic differences between Americans will have disastrous consequences to the American nation.
So, in the end there isn’t much difference between mine and George’s view. We both agree that a nation cannot exist without language, culture and defined borders. I just don’t think that replacing ethnic definition with creedal definition contradict that.
Here is an interesting article from Fox News:
It’s been 33 years since America got rid of the draft and moved to an all-volunteer military. Is it time to return to the days of conscription?
Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., thinks so. He plans to hold hearings soon after the new Congress convenes in January.
For years, Rangel has been saying wealthy Americans are “absent” from the military. More recently, he dismissed any sense of duty in America’s youngest generation.
“If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq,” he said on “Fox News Sunday” on Nov. 26.
This is a bizarre slur on the volunteers in uniform. Class warfare rhetoric is a staple of liberals, but it is stunningly insulting when applied to the integrity of American troops engaged in real warfare. Rangel is talking about people in the profession of arms, men and women who believe it to be the most honorable path in life.
The pernicious myth that the armed forces are filled with stupid soldiers has got to stop. It spews from Michael Moore’s film, Fahrenheit 9/11. It slipped out in John Kerry’s botched “joke.” And it has been echoing around the Left unchallenged for too long.
In 2005, some 80,000 young adults enlisted in the Army, and they came from some surprising places. From 2003 to 2005 — i.e., after the Iraq War began — the richest one-fifth of the population was overrepresented in the military at 23 percent. Meanwhile, the percentage of recruits from the poorest neighborhoods dropped from 18 percent in 1999 to 14 percent in 2005.
I personally know of people who enlisted in the military. They come from the upper middle class families: computer programmers from Silicon Valley or furniture store owners from San Diego should qualify as such. And, in case you are wondering, those families are Jews from the former Soviet Union. Immigrants from the former Soviet Union represent one of the most successful immigrant groups in this country. They came to this country often with nothing and made very good lives for themselves. I should know: I am one of them. They also tend to be very patriotic: the comparison with the old country is quite startling. Those people I know are not the only ones: click here. My point is, those people are pretty well to do and have plenty of opportunities. But they chose to serve out of sense of patriotism. While we are at it, let’s bust the myth of underprivileged fighting in Vietnam.
Yesterday a friend sent me a link to a new blog called Breath of the Beast. Here is an excerpt from the very first post:
…It was a sunny Sunday morning and Amy went out right after breakfast and met Amir in his backyard. We watched as they began to play and turned away to read the Sunday paper. We were surprised when Amy came back inside a short while later. She walked by us with her head down and started up the stairs to her room. We had expected to have to call her in for lunch so it was odd that she came back so early. I called after her and asked her what was wrong. She told me how little 5-year-old Amir had matter-of-factly informed my innocent 5-year-old daughter that because she is a Jew it is his duty to kill her.
I went right over to talk with my friend and neighbor. Hamid was deeply embarrassed. He hastened to explain that: “Over there, the radio and TV were full of that kind of thing – you simply couldn’t avoid it. He assumed that Amir had heard this kind of thing on the radio or TV because no one in his family believed such things. He was sure, he told me, that now that Amir was back here he would soon forget it. He assured me that he would talk with Amir and was sure that the boy didn’t even understand what he was saying.
I could see how distressed he was and told him that I understood and that I appreciated his concern. We looked at each other and shook hands and patted each other on the shoulder. I was sure that it would not change things between our families.
Remember that this was twenty years before September 11, 2001. It was a few years after the fall of the Shah so, before they had left, I had actually wondered if his kids were going to be exposed to anti-American rhetoric and how that would sit with them. It had never entered my mind though to expect the anti-Semitic to be the dominant theme. Back then many of us believed the myth of the benevolent caliphate and the benign toleration of “Dhimmis” under Muslim rule. After all, I mused, Iran was at war with Iraq. And Israel had recently bombed the Osirac reactor thereby preventing Iraq from developing nuclear weapons.
In the light of everything that has transpired since then, it now seems hopelessly naïve of me but in the dim light of that historical moment I was amazed that what had surfaced first from this child’s sojourn in his homeland was genocidal anti-Semitism. As I lay awake in bed that night I found I couldn’t get the event out of my mind. The idea that a child could have such an idea in his head was staggering by itself. What kind of madness had he been exposed too? What infernal clatter of hatred and fear was there in the streets and media over there that could make it possible for a five year old say such a thing?
Read it all. And visit Yaacov’s blog regularly. I personally can relate to everything he says. Whenever my 5-year old daughter has a friend of Arabic or Iranian descent, I have this nagging question in the back of my mind. So far no problem came up. I hope against hope that it stays that way. But I dread the day when this issue does come up.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein, the shotgun-waving dictator who ruled Iraq with a remorseless brutality for a quarter-century, was taken to the gallows and executed Saturday, Iraqi state-run television reported.
It was a grim end for the 69-year-old leader who had vexed three U.S. presidents. Despite his ouster, Washington, its allies and the new Iraqi leaders remain mired in a fight to quell a stubborn insurgency by Saddam loyalists and a vicious sectarian conflict.
Also hanged were Saddam’s half-brother Barzan Ibrahim and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, the former chief justice of the Revolutionary Court. State-run Iraqiya television news announcer said “criminal Saddam was hanged to death and the execution started with criminal Saddam then Barzan then Awad al-Bandar.”
The hanging of Saddam, who was ruthless in ordering executions of his opponents, will keep other Iraqis from pursuing justice against the ousted leader.
At his death, he was in the midst of a second trial, charged with genocide and other crimes for a 1987-88 military crackdown that killed an estimated 180,000 Kurds in northern Iraq. Experts said the trial of his co-defendants was likely to continue despite his execution.
May he rot in hell.
My friend George Mellinger, a. k. a. Rurik, of Old War Dogs wrote a commentary on the idea to recruit foreigners into our Armed Forces. The idea itself is a brain-dead idea, in my opinion. While there is nothing wrong with future Americans serving in the military, the key is that those serving in the Armed Forces should consider themselves Americans, even if they haven’t gone through the formal process of naturalization yet. Just planting un-assimilated foreigners into the military is a bad idea. There will always be a question of loyalty. There were Germans serving in the French Foreign Legion when the World War 2 started. I always wondered what they did once the shooting started. So, I agree with George that going “French” and creating our own “Legion Etrangere” is a bad idea. However, there is something George brings up in his argument that I disagree with:
…To these folks America is not a country; it is an idea. A very abstract idea. And if the actual people are hesitant to swallow this idea, then, in the words of the Stalinist playwright Berthold Brecht, maybe we should elect a different people. We are a “creedal nation”, defined not by our language, our culture, our history, holidays, or any thing else save an “idea”. And they wish to proceed creedal to the metal. Their idea is based on a fragment of the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence, lifted out of context, though not an actual part of out Constitution or laws, cemented to the words of an immigrant poet Emma Lazarus, which were not given any official status either. For them America is a global boarding house, with as few social rules as possible, where the actions of the tenants are not to be judged, so long as they bend their knee to global equality, and personal interchangeability, and do not interfere with production. The people are valued not as individuals, or even as distinct groups – Vietnamese-Americans, or Hillbillies, or Scandie farmers, or Black Jazz singers, Cowboys, or anything else; just as economic production-consumption units. This is ominous. When Jack Kemp described the United States as the world’s first creedal nation, he was dead wrong, as evidenced by the recurring fundamental disagreements culminating in a civil war, and the many years of reconstruction and continued disagreement afterward. We became (if at all) a creedal nation only during the 1920s-1930s, under the influence of Carl Sandburg’s mythologized Lincoln, and FDR’s politicking. The first nation created explicitly on the basis of an abstract idea, a creed, was the Soviet Union, created at the beginning of the 1920s as the world’s First Proletarian Nation.
And this suggests the fundamental problem with creedal nations. A Frenchman or Italian may be a Communist or a Social Democrat, or a Conservative, a Christian or Atheist, and still remain a Frenchman or Italian. An individual may immigrate, and become a citizen of France, but to become a Frenchman requires maybe a generation or two of acculturation and assimilation. The same for other nations defined by ethnicity or culture. But in a creedal nation, if you disavow the creed, you disavow the nation. Lenin solved this problem in Russia by eliminating all those who would not, or could not, be proletarian Marxists. Though American dissenters are not yet shot (except Vickie Weaver and David Koresh), they are often harassed. A major reason is that the US Armed Forces still retain a tie to the American people, even if it is becoming attenuated. American soldiers may feel alienated from the assorted anti-military protesters and the civilians who do not serve, but they still recognize their brothers and cousins and neighbors. At the very least they can exchange understandable curses. They do not shoot fellow Americans; the brief exception at Kent State in 1970 occurred under exceptional circumstances where semi-trained National Guardsmen felt themselves threatened by a mob.
I happen to think that United States of America is an idea first and foremost, but not in the way George criticizes it. There are two possible kinds of nations: ethnic-based and values- or ideas-based. We are obviously not an ethnic-based nation. What bonds us together is the common set of values, or ideas. There is another important component that bonds us together: American culture and language. A nation cannot exist without either component. Thus, there are most definitely social rules for joining this American club. In order to join, one has to adopt American values, culture and language as one’s own. Those disavowing either component are not Americans, even if they hold American passports. Indeed, they often don’t even consider themselves Americans. They should be striped of their Citizenship and deported, as far as I am concerned, but that is another discussion all together. The comparison to the Soviet Union is flawed because the Soviet Union was never a country of immigrants. It was created out of Russian Empire, which was ethnic-based and where the Russian ethnicity dominated over everybody else. By “dominated” I don’t necessarily mean “oppressed”. But the Russian was the official language and Russian was the dominant culture. Under Communism it did not really change for the most part. They called the Russian language “language of international communication”, but it pretty much was the official language of the Soviet Union. Unlike in the United States, ethnic origin was kept track of: the 5th line in a Soviet passport stated whether its holder was a Russian, a Ukrainian, a Jew or anybody else. Thus, the Soviet people was never this unified assimilated mass as the American people is. The multi-cultural idiots are trying to re-create this Soviet situation, and, if they succeed, they will get the same disastrous results. But my point is that the Soviet Union was never a creedal nation, but an ethnic nation, even though it included multiple ethnicities. And, just like any other multi-ethnic ethnic nation (Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia etc.), it dissolved. America, on the other hand, is a creedal nation. But as a nation it requires cultural and language components to survive. Thus, it seems that of three components required for a nation, ethnicity can be replaced by a common set of values. But common language and common culture still have to be maintained. And for that secure borders are still required, along with conditions that force the newcomers to assimilate. The bottom line, we are a creedal nation, defined not only by idea, but also by our language, our culture, our history, holidays, borders and everything else that defines a nation. Otherwise we would not be a nation.
Why Ethiopia is Winning in Somalia
The keys to a surprising military campaign.
by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross for Pajamas Media
Edited by Richard Miniter
The startlingly rapid retreat of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU), a Taliban-like group linked to Osama bin Laden, surprised military intelligence officers who less than a week ago were predicting a total route of Somalia’s secular transitional federal government.
The intensity of air strikes by Ethiopia, which has long been allied with the transitional government, has helped turn the tide. Ethiopia’s ground forces, already based in Somalia, have also played a critical role.
Ethiopia’s success was not inevitable: This past week an American military intelligence officer told Pajamas Media that the ICU “will overrun Baidoa,” where the transitional government has been headquartered, and that the only question was when Baidoa would fall. Pajamas Media spoke with the same officer yesterday. He is now optimistic about the Ethiopians’ chances, with one caveat: “Unless you kill the ICU, it will come back. My worry is they’ll drive the ICU out and it will come back in a couple of months.”
There may be lessons for the United States in Ethiopia’s success. Abdiweli Ali, an assistant professor at Niagara University who is in contact with transitional government military commanders on the ground, says that Ethiopia has less concern than the U.S. about civilian casualties. There is no reliable estimate of civilian deaths, but the number is believed to be in the hundreds. “We’re fighting wars with one hand tied behind our backs,” Professor Ali says. “In Iraq we’re trying to be nice, thinking we’ll give candy to people on the streets and they’ll love us. But people will understand later on if you just win now and provide them with security.”
A second lesson relates to the media. The Ethiopian government is generally less sensitive to media criticism than the U.S. government—and is likely to encounter far less criticism in the first place, since the press traditionally gives short shrift to coverage of Africa.
The American intelligence officer who earlier predicted the transitional government’s defeat tells Pajamas Media that there are two major reasons why both he and the ICU underestimated the Ethiopian military.
First, Ethiopia’s air power was decisive. Over the weekend, Ethiopian jets attacked several airports used by the ICU, and struck recruiting centers and other strategic targets in ICU-run towns. Professor Ali reports that the ICU’s shoulder-fired anti-aircraft weapons are unable to hit Ethiopia’s aircraft at high altitudes. While the ICU may have some surface-to-air missiles, these devices would be quite old—and complex Soviet weaponry tends to degrade.
But even more important than the fighter jets, the intelligence officer said, is Ethiopia’s use of Mi-24 Hind helicopter gun ships that can target the ICU’s ground forces. While the ICU might use rocket-propelled grenades against helicopters, as we saw in the 1993 Black Hawk Down incident, thus far the ICU claims to have shot down a single Ethiopian helicopter.
Second, the military intelligence officer said that he underestimated Ethiopia’s willingness to commit to the fight against the ICU. “This campaign is far more far-sighted than we expected,” he said. “They didn’t just do this on the fly; they had to have been planning this for several weeks. This is a major commitment.”
So, there you have it, folks. Do read the whole thing. But the explanation for the Ethiopian success basically amounts to one thing: in order to win you have to fight with all you’ve got and not to be shy about it.
BAGHDAD, Iraq — Saddam Hussein’s date with death appears to be just hours away. The former president of Iraq will be hanged “within a matter of hours,” a Bush administration official told FOX News on Friday.
“The final meetings have taken places,” the official said, adding in Iraqis have requested Saddam be turned over to them. “The process is now in the final stage.”
Earlier, the Associated Press reported via a top Iraqi official that Saddam would be hanged before 10 p.m. ET Friday night (6 a.m. Saturday in Baghdad).
The official witnesses to the impending execution gathered Friday in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone in final preparation for his hanging, and state television broadcast footage of his regime’s atrocities.
Saddam’s chief lawyer said the U.S. had turned over custody of the mass murderer to Iraqi officials, one of the last steps necessary before the execution. An Iraqi parliamentarian, Methal Al Aloser, backed up the lawyer’s claims. Al Aloser said not only had Saddam been handed over, but all papers and documents were finalized and the execution will be soon.
But Bush administration sources, apprised of Al Aloser’s remarks, reaffirmed that Saddam Hussein remains in U.S. custody.
Two State Department officials also told FOX News Saddam was still being held by Americans. “We are absolutely certain he has not been handed over,” one official said. The official said the handover might not happen for a few more hours — or possibly even for a few more days.
“There is no reason for delays,” said Munir Haddad, an Iraqi judge on the appeals court that reviewed Saddam’s case. He also said the execution will occur by Saturday.
Whatever his execution date might be, it must be pretty close. He is getting what he deserves. However, there are some unresolved issues (from the same Fox News report):
Iraq’s highest court on Tuesday rejected Saddam’s appeal against his conviction and death sentence for the killing of 148 Shiites in the northern city of Dujail in 1982. The court said the former dictator should be hanged within 30 days.
While Saddam’s death for the Dujail massacre appears imminent, he’s still facing trial for other atrocities. Saddam faces genocide charges related to a coordinated campaign that killed up to 100,000 Kurds, according to Human Rights Watch. During that campaign, Saddam used chemical weapons, which killed some 30,000 Iraqis and Iranians.
So, are we not going to see any trials for the rest of his crimes against humanity? I personally would prefer to try him for everything and then hang him. Why the rush? Are the Iraqis worried that with the new Congress coming to power in the new year we might abandon Iraq? Even with Saddam dead we should not abandon the place. I hope we won’t.
To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.
Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.
I initially dismissed this as just another bunch of politically correct platitudes about “religion of peace”. But then I saw an update recommending reading Tony Blair’s article in full. Charles is of course absolutely correct in recommending the complete article, for behind naive PC statements like “extremism is not the true voice of Islam” lies a very good understanding of our global struggle against a totalitarian political ideology based on religion. Consider these passages:
…It is also rubbish to suggest that Islamist terrorism is the product of poverty. Of course, it uses the cause of poverty as a justification for its acts. But its fanatics are hardly champions of economic development.
Furthermore, the terrorists’ aim is not to encourage the creation of a Palestine living side by side with Israel but rather to prevent it. They fight not for the coming into being of a Palestinian state but for the going out of being of an Israeli state.
The terrorists base their ideology on religious extremism — and not just any religious extremism, but a specifically Muslim version. The terrorists do not want Muslim countries to modernize. They hope that the arc of extremism that now stretches across the region will sweep away the fledgling but faltering steps modern Islam wants to take into the future. They want the Muslim world to retreat into governance by a semifeudal religious oligarchy.
Yet despite all of this, which I consider fairly obvious, many in Western countries listen to the propaganda of the extremists and accept it. (And to give credit where it is due, the extremists play our own media with a shrewdness that would be the envy of many a political party.) They look at the bloodshed in Iraq and say it is a reason for leaving. Every act of carnage somehow serves to indicate our responsibility for the disorder rather than the wickedness of those who caused it. Many believe that what was done in Iraq in 2003 was so wrong that they are reluctant to accept what is plainly right now.
Some people believe that terrorist attacks are caused entirely by the West’s suppression of Muslims. Some people seriously believe that if we only got out of Iraq and Afghanistan, the attacks would stop. And, in some ways most perniciously, many look at Israel and think we pay too great a price for supporting it and sympathize with those who condemn it.
If we recognized this struggle for what it truly is, we would at least be on the first steps of the path to winning it. But a vast part of Western opinion is not remotely near this point yet.
This ideology has to be taken on — and taken on everywhere. Islamist terrorism will not be defeated until we confront not just the methods of the extremists but also their ideas. I do not mean just telling them that terrorist activity is wrong. I mean telling them that their attitude toward the United States is absurd, that their concept of governance is prefeudal, that their positions on women and other faiths are reactionary. We must reject not just their barbaric acts but also their false sense of grievance against the West, their attempt to persuade us that it is others and not they themselves who are responsible for their violence.
Tony Blair is right when he says that there was a time when the Muslim countries were more progressive than the Christian countries in Europe. That was the time often called “the Dark Ages”, not for nothing, I might add. But the times changed. In the end, it is irrelevant whether the Islamists represent true Islam or distorted Islam. Dennis Prager often says that he judges a religion by its practitioners. I couldn’t agree more. However small the percentage of Islamists among Muslims in the world might be, the absolute numbers are large enough to be of global concern. What is relevant is the fact that in order to co-exist with all the other religion and philosophy in the world Islam needs to go through some sort of transformation, similar to what Christianity went through. Tony Blair can call it returning to true Islam if he wants. It doesn’t really matter. What is also relevant is the fact that majority of people in the Muslim World (or any other group of people for that matter) are too preoccupied with their daily lives to act upon their beliefs. They might hate the Jews, Israel, America and the West, but it is irrelevant to their daily lives. So, if American or Israeli goods make their lives easier, given the opportunity, they will buy them. Their hatred will not go away, but they will not act on it, if the price of acting on it will be too great. Over time (generations) this hatred will simply be forgotten. That is why, along with carrot, stick is absolutely necessary in order to win “the hearts and minds”. Tony Blair seems to understand that. I can forgive his PC platitudes. Again, do read the whole thing.
Of course! Queen of Sheba was from Ethiopia! And now Ethiopia is crashing Islamists in the neighboring Somalia (thank you, LGF):
MOGADISHU (Reuters) – Ethiopia said on Tuesday it was halfway to crushing Somali Islamists as its forces advanced on the religious movement’s Mogadishu stronghold after a week of war in the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said his forces supporting Somalia’s weak interim government had killed up to 1,000 Islamist fighters. There was no independent verification of that. The Islamists also say they have killed hundreds.
“We have already completed half our mission, and as soon as we finish the second half, our troops will leave Somalia,” Meles told a news conference in the Ethiopian capital.
“We will not keep a single fighter in Somalia once our mission getting rid of the terrorists is completed.”
He said a force of between 3,000 and 4,000 Ethiopians had “broken the back” of the Somalia Islamic Courts Council (SICC) around the government’s south-central base Baidoa, and the Islamists were now in “full retreat.”
Ethiopia backs Somalia’s secular interim government against the Islamists who hold most of southern Somalia after seizing Mogadishu in June. Addis Ababa and Washington say the Islamists are backed by al Qaeda and by Ethiopia’s enemy, Eritrea.
Analysts say Ethiopia’s heavy arms and MiG jets saved the Somali government from being routed.
“This is the first stage of victory … When this is all over, we will enter Mogadishu peacefully,” government spokesman Abdirahman Dinari said by telephone from Baidoa.
The usual suspects of course shill for the enemy:
Somalia could be Ethiopia’s quagmire;
In Somalia, a reckless U.S. proxy war.
Who comes up with the headlines for these a-holes? How can we tolerate the enemy propaganda in our media in the time of war? What would FDR do?
This is alarming:
Ethiopia’s Meles said his goal is not to defeat the militias but severely damage their military power _ and allow both sides to return to peace talks on an even footing.
“The rank and file of the Islamic Courts militia is not a threat to Ethiopia,” he said Tuesday. “Once they return to their bases, we will leave them alone.”
Ethiopian troops will not enter Mogadishu, he said. Instead, he said, Somali forces would encircle the city to contain the militias that control it.
Who put pressure on Ethiopia to force them to stop fighting?
A couple of days ago I found this brilliant article, thanks to Zero Ponsdorf of Old War Dogs. This article is really a review of the book titled “The Fall of Rome: And the End of Civilization”, by Bryan Ward-Perkins. This review got expanded into a fine historical analysis, providing parallels to our times. The author of the article, Orson Scott Card, points out that the book shows that prosperity in the Roman Empire was based on high quality affordable goods and regional specialization, with safety provided by the Roman Army:
What people overlooked was that everything depended on the Roman Army. The army wasn’t carrying the goods, it wasn’t even actively protecting the trade. The army was mostly stationed at the border, while the economy boomed in an empire so safe that none of the cities had walls. But the economic system that offered so much prosperity could only last as long as merchants could trust in the safety of the goods they transported, and as long as people could remain in place to do their work instead of having to flee barbarian invaders.
It was a robust system. Ward-Perkins points out that there were lots of crises over the years, from plague to invasions to civil wars, and none of them brought the system down, except for local crashes from which the economy soon recovered.
Here is the parallel to the modern Western Civilization:
For a century, America has been the great cushion to absorb the shocks that might have brought down western civilization. In the Great War (WWI), Europe crashed its own population through war and then crashed further through the influenza epidemic. But the American economy provided the means for France and Britain — but not Germany — to recover. Arguably, it was the failure to include Germany in the recovery that led to repeated economic crises, and when America finally joined Europe with its own Depression in the 1930s, the stage was set for the next barbarian invasion.
It wasn’t inappropriate for Hitler’s Germans to be called “the Hun.” They may have claimed to be conquering, but in fact they were destroying. Yes, they built factories in some of their conquered and allied lands, but they were chewing up the Slavic population by enslaving and slaughtering them, and they were eliminating much of their own intellectual and merchant class by killing the Jews, who had been disproportionately responsible for the German economy and culture.
In the aftermath of WWII, once again America was the economic cushion — only this time the portion of Germany under western occupation was included in the economic recovery, as was Japan.
The result, over the past sixty years, has been a pax Americana covering much of the world. And the world has prospered fantastically wherever the American military sustained it.
Let me say that again: As with Rome, the American military has been the wall behind which a system of safe trade has allowed an extraordinary degree of specialization and therefore mutually sustained prosperity.
And here is how the possible collapse of our modern civilization is described:
Here’s how it happens: America stupidly and immorally withdraws from the War on Terror, withdrawing prematurely from Iraq and leaving it in chaos. Emboldened, either Muslims unite against the West (unlikely) or collapse in a huge war between Shiites and Sunnis (already beginning). It almost doesn’t matter, because in the process the oil will stop flowing.
And when the oil stops flowing, Europe and Japan and Taiwan and Singapore and South Korea all crash economically; Europe then has to face the demands of its West-hating Muslim “minority” without money and without the ruthlessness or will to survive that would allow them to counter the threat. The result is accommodation or surrender to Islam. The numbers don’t lie — it is not just possible, it is likely.
America doesn’t crash right away, mind you. But we still have a major depression, because we have nowhere to sell our goods. And depending on what our desperate enemies do, it’s a matter of time before we crash as well.
This article obviously has to be read in its entirety in order to understand how the Western Civilization cannot survive without US Military. On a related note, I am now reading “The Savage Wars of Peace: Small Wars and the Rise of American Power” by Max Boot. It essentially makes the same point, which is, as Thomas Friedman of New York Times wrote, “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist”. I’ve been thinking of starting to write reviews of the books I read on this blog, and this one might be the first, once I finish it. But for now, for those chanting “No blood for oil”, let me make a quick point. Suppose you order something on line, let’s say, a music CD. So, you sent your money and now expect your CD to come. What do you think ensures that the vendor will actually send you that CD? That is, besides the vendor’s honor and reputation? If you don’t get your CD, you’ll contact the authorities. Now let’s imagine for a second that the vendor decided to resist. So, when the cops show up at his door, he starts shooting and kills a cop. The same could happen, if the vendor sent that CD, but somebody intercepted it on the way. That cop has just died for your lousy CD. Still, the police action, even at the cost of officer’s life, is necessary in order to ensure that a vendor sends the goods that were paid for, and those goods actually get to their intended destination. Now take it to the global level, and you will understand that the free flow of goods has to ensured by force, be it oil from the Middle East or Chinese-made soft toys. So, unless you are prepared to walk, barefoot and naked at that, stop chanting “no blood for oil” and instead thank the US Military for putting their lives on the line for oil, your pants and everything else you enjoy and take for granted, along with the freedom to bad-mouth those protecting you.
At least Chamberlain bargained away somebody else’s country. Ehud “Adam Czerniakow” Olmert bargains away his own:
JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert agreed Saturday to release $100 million in frozen funds to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and ease West Bank travel restrictions — goodwill gestures that revived hopes for a resumption of peace talks after years of hostility and distrust.
Olmert made the promises in a two-hour meeting with Abbas at the Israeli leader’s official residence, the first Israeli-Palestinian summit in 22 months.
The meeting is a “first step toward rebuilding mutual trust and fruitful cooperation,” Olmert’s office said in a statement. More meetings are planned, said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
A key achievement for Abbas is the release of $100 million in funds frozen by Israel when Hamas came to power earlier this year. In addition, Israel will transfer 35 million shekels to Palestinian-run hospitals in Jerusalem, said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.
In disbursing the money, Abbas’ office will increasingly take on the role of a shadow government. Hamas has been the target of an international aid boycott, and has had difficulty paying the salaries of 165,000 civil servants.
Olmert spokeswoman Miri Eisin said Israel plans to transfer the money soon, but that it wants to make sure the funds don’t reach Hamas.
Israel also agreed to remove several roadblocks in the West Bank, Erekat said. In addition, Olmert promised to meet a quota of 400 trucks moving through the main cargo crossing between Gaza and Israel.
Stand by for more rockets falling on Israel: now they have money to build them. Stand by also for more kidnappings: it pays.
Well, there is at least some good news:
KABUL, Afghanistan — A top Taliban military commander described as a close associate of Usama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar was killed in an airstrike this week close to the border with Pakistan, the U.S. military said Saturday. A Taliban spokesman denied the claim.
Mullah Akhtar Mohammad Osmani was killed Tuesday by a U.S. airstrike while traveling by vehicle in a deserted area in the southern province of Helmand, the U.S. military said. Two associates also were killed, it said.
There was no immediate confirmation from Afghan officials or visual proof offered to support the claim. A U.S. spokesman said “various sources” were used to confirm Osmani’s identity.
UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Saturday to impose sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, increasing international pressure on the government to prove that it is not trying to make nuclear weapons. Iran immediately rejected the resolution.
The result of two months of tough negotiation, the resolution orders all countries to stop supplying Iran with materials and technology that could contribute to its nuclear and missile programs. It also freezes Iranian assets of 10 key companies and 12 individuals related to those programs.
The administration had pushed for tougher penalties. But Russia and China, which both have strong commercial ties to Tehran, and Qatar, across the Persian Gulf from Iran, balked. To get their votes, the resolution dropped a ban on international travel by Iranian officials involved in nuclear and missile development and specified the banned items and technologies.
I found this story from Fox News:
WASHINGTON — How do you say “Season’s Greetings” to an enemy combatant being held at Guantanamo Bay? It’s only a guess, but maybe the cheeful holiday cards go like this:
Dear Avowed Enemy of America: Merry Christmas.
Dear I Yearn to Be a Martyr and Hook Up With 72 Virgins in Heaven: Happy Hanukkah.
Dear Friend of Usama Bin Laden: Happy New Year.
It’s a well-established tradition for Americans at home to deliver Christmas cheer to U.S. soldiers stationed around the world, but it turns out that prisoners held in the War on Terror are getting good tidings of their own, too.
The 400 or so detainees at Joint Task Force detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have received approximately 500 holiday greeting cards, said Army Col. Lora Tucker, a spokeswoman for the prison.
I actually like the idea: wishing those guys Merry Chrismas or Happy Hanukkah (especially Happy Hanukkah) is like giving them a finger.
…The Moderate Muslim, by definition one without strong personal commitments, will bend with the breeze. If you behave charitably and mercifully toward him, he will know that the risk in opposing you is moderate – while the danger in opposing the Jihadis is certain and horrible. If you want the Moderate Muslim to reveal himself, you must demonstrate that you are more implacable than your enemies. If you make it clear that you seek to hurt your foes as little as possible, and hope soon to depart, while the foe reminds that he is vengeful, with a memory of centuries, and will be remaining forever, then who will the small, uninterested farmer support? It is very sad for such small men, trapped, born, in the middle. But they will do what they must.
How different was the situation in Germany? Only about a third of Germans voted to Hitler in the 1932 elections. But as he flexed his power, they accepted him, and after his great successes in the Rhineland, Austria, and elsewhere many more came to support him as a great leader. We found the “good Germans” only because we ignored their existence till we had blasted away all the bad Germans. Along the way, a few committed and courageous good Germans did side with the allies, and were not dissuaded by our bombing of Germany.
It is a sad fact, but you will find moderation amongst the enemy only if you yourself are first immoderate to him.
Do read the whole thing. Although there is very little left to add, I’d like to try to add my personal observations.
Many Germans who fought for the Nazis during World War 2 were not Nazis. Great Luftwaffe pilots, apart from Rudel and Nowotny, were not Nazis. Some, like Werner Molders, outright despised the Nazi regime. Yet, they fought for it. Why? The short answer is that that was the best chance to survive and go back to their families. Simply refusing to fight meant certain death. Joining the other side meant a great risk to their families. So, they just went with the flow and did the best they could to survive. Only at the very end, when it became very clear that the Nazi regime in Germany would not survive, it became possible for the Germans to stop fighting. And even then they did not necessarily stop because of loyalty to their comrades. Thus, it was impossible and counter-productive to look for good Germans in the middle of the war. Everybody on the German side was the enemy. They stopped being the enemy only after the war ended.
Finally, let me tell you about my personal situation. Those who know me or read my blog, know that I grew up in the former Soviet Union. By the time I graduated from high school I hated the Communist ideology and the Soviet system of government. Yet, what do you think I would do if I would end up as a Soviet soldier in Afghanistan? In the war that was fought for all the wrong reasons? I would fight, along with other draftees like myself, because this would be the best chance to survive and go home.
We will not win until we learn to treat everybody on the other side as an enemy. Only after the enemy is defeated, we will be able to look for friends among former enemies.
The debate is on-going on how to win in Iraq. President Bush had a press conference on the subject today. The only thing that I find of importance in his press conference is that he is seriously considering increasing the number of troops in Iraq and the size of the Armed Forces overall. This is probably the right thing to do. But here is an interesting article I found, thanks to Steve Gardner of Old War Dogs:
Mission Possible: How the U.S. Will Win in Iraq.
By Robert Haddick
Here is what the President should say in his next speech on Iraq:
1. Yes, Iraq is in a civil war. Baathists, ex-army officers, and Al Qaeda are trying to overthrow the elected Iraqi government. These rebels are hiding in neighborhoods in mainly four provinces in Iraq.
2. Because it is a civil war, it is an internal affair of Iraq. The Iraqi government is and should be the lead principal to fight the insurgency. As an internal matter, and facing a national emergency, the Iraqi government will decide for itself the best tactics, techniques, and procedures to defend itself and its constitution.
3. The U.S. government will stand with its ally, the Iraqi government.
4. The U.S. will immediately turn all Iraqi army and police units under its command over to the control of the Iraq government. U.S. commanders will no longer direct the actions of any armed force of the Iraqi government.
5. U.S. teams embedded with Iraqi units will no longer act as advisers; Iraqi officers will plan their own operations and devise their own tactics Embedded U.S. teams will act as a liaison for logistics, intelligence, and fire support these Iraqi units may require from U.S. sources.
6. The U.S. military in Iraq will soon wind down its training program for Iraqi soldiers and police. The Iraqi government will train Iraqi soldiers and police to Iraqi standards and customs.
7. U.S. military units in Iraq will cease patrolling Iraq’s cities and towns. U.S. forces will continue their world-wide hunt for Al Qaeda terrorist and cells, including inside Iraq.
8. U.S. military units will be available to provide humanitarian assistance to distressed areas inside Iraq, when it is reasonably safe for U.S. personnel to execute such missions.
9. The U.S. will transfer most of its forces currently in al-Anbar province and Baghdad to the Iraqi/Iranian border.
10. U.S. military forces not necessary to protect Iraq’s eastern border or to support Iraqi forces in the civil war will return to their bases in the United States.
Is This Another Version of “Cut and Run”?
By taking these ten steps, would the U.S. be abandoning Iraq? Absolutely not. It would be abandoning Sunni reconciliation, a “national unity” government, and counterinsurgency. But taking these actions would empower America’s friends (the Kurds) and those it should have as friends (the majority Iraqi Shi’ites). These Iraqi friends would then crush the Sunni Arab rebellion, an object lesson for all to witness.
The U.S. would have to impose itself on Iraqi sovereignty in one area, by becoming the border patrol on the Iranian frontier. Moving strong U.S. ground forces to the Iranian border would accomplish several things. First, it would intimidate the Iranians. Second, it would attempt to limit Iranian influence inside Iraq. Third, it would make the Shi’ite winners inside Iraq more dependent on the U.S. Fourth, it would reassure other Sunni Arab governments in the region that the U.S. will not abandon them to Iranian domination.
The U.S. can still achieve its strategic objectives in Iraq. And it can do so in way that reminds the world that the U.S. will defend its friends and punish its enemies. By following this plan, President Bush can serve America’s interests, revive his legacy, and make life easier for his successors. For everything else, the Iraqis will have to work it out among themselves.
There is only one disagreement I have with this strategy: I don’t think Iraqi Shias are our friends. Iran will still have influence there, unless Iranian agents (like Al-sadr) are crashed by us. And, short of a devastating bombing campaign, Iran is not going to be intimidated: they simply don’t believe that we will do anything about them. That is basically what happened in 1938 and 1939: Hitler simply did not believe that England and France would go to war. Flooding the border with our troops is still useful: at least the terrorists from Iran and Syria would not be able to get through. But it will not intimidate the ayatollahs.
By LARRY MARGASAK
WASHINGTON (AP) – Former national security adviser Sandy Berger removed classified documents from the National Archives in 2003 and hid them under a construction trailer, the Archives inspector general reported Wednesday.
The report said that when Berger was reviewing the classified documents in the Archives building a few blocks from the Capitol, employees saw him bending down and fiddling with something white, which could have been paper, around his ankle.
However, Archives employees did not feel at the time there was enough information to confront someone of Berger’s stature, the report said.
Brachfeld reported that on one visit, Berger took a break to go outside without an escort.
“In total, during this visit, he removed four documents … .
“Mr. Berger said he placed the documents under a trailer in an accessible construction area outside Archives 1 (the main Archives building).”
Berger acknowledged that he later retrieved the documents from the construction area and returned with them to his office.
I don’t understand why he was not thrown in jail. I am also very curious about what was in those documents.
OK, I am not the first guy to post this today, but it is too good to pass up:
The similarities are so glaring, anybody minimally familiar with history arrives to the same conclusion. Some people on the Left might say that we all have our talking points. I, however, insist that 2+2=4, and you don’t have to have some sort of talking points to arrive to this correct answer. Similarly, in the case of this comparison we all have arrived to the same correct answer.
It is the holiday season, with all its usual excitement and controversy. The main holiday of this season is, of course, Christmas, which happens to be a federal holiday. For some reason Christmas keeps generating controversy. Some people lament commercialization of this holiday, while others (I call them “perpetually offended”) complain that Christmas is not for everybody. But I don’t see anything wrong with the excitement of giving and receiving presents: that is what the holidays are all about. It is like everybody gets birthday presents at once. As for Christmas not being for everybody, that is not entirely correct. Bill O’Reily of Fox News once suggested that Christmas is the celebration of birth and life of Jesus Christ, a philosopher on whos ideas this country was founded. Upon thinking about that, I decided that it made sense. This country is indeed founded on Judeo-Christian values. So, there is nothing wrong with celebrating a birthday of a Jewish philosopher. Indeed, the more observant Jews never object to that.
Still, I am Jewish. So for me “Christmas” comes a few days early, in the form of Hanukkah. As it happens, Hanukkah is the least religious of all the Jewish holidays. It is essentially a celebration of the victory of ancient Israelites over oppressive occupiers, who would not leave the Jews alone. So, Hanukkah is much closer to the Victory Day commemorating the victory over the Nazis or to American Independence Day than to any religious holiday. Hanukkah is the most American of all the Jewish holidays, since it celebrates the victory of freedom over oppression. Additionally, Dennis Prager mentioned the other day that Hanukkah is as important for the Christians, as it is for the Jews, since it preserved the idea of Monotheism. In my non-religious view the whole story of the miracle of one day supply of oil lasting 8 days is a side issue. What is often overlooked is the similarity between Christianity and Judaism. What was lit in the Temple after its liberation from the Greeks was the menorah, the same one that can be seen on the Israeli Coat of Arms.
The same menorah is lit in the Christian churches. The difference is that in the Jewish tradition the menorah is not lit until the Third Temple is rebuilt, while in Christian tradition the Messiah has arrived, so it’s OK to light up the menorah. What commonly referred to as a menorah, is really a Hanukiah, a nine-branched candelabrum for 8 candles representing each day of Hanukkah and 9th to lit the other candles.
So, let’s celebrate everything. Let’s get excited about getting presents for everybody we care about. To my fellow Jews – Happy Hanukkah! To my non-Jewish friends – Merry Christmas! And to perpetually offended – get a life!
Baker-Hamilton-Chambelain-Daladier Commission Report was recently published, but I was in the process of setting up my blog at the new location, so I could not comment on it. Perhaps my view in regard to this report is obvious from the link I posted. James “F..k the Jews, they don’t vote for us anyway” Baker is true to himself. Somehow he ties surrender in Iraq to surrendering Israel. Truth be told, American surrender in Iraq is not going to be good for Israel, simply because defeat of Israel’s main (and sometimes only) ally is not good for Israel. But these guys find it acceptable, in addition to surrender, to appease the modern Nazis at the expense of Israel. Back in 1938 the apeasers bargained away other country’s territory and security without that country’s participation. Nothing good came out of it. Nothing good will come out of any appeasement again.
On the other hand, here is an idea on how to win (via Old War Dogs):
Most of our readers know the story of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain at Gettysburg. Ordered to hold Little Round Top at all costs, Chamberlain’s 20th Maine fended off one attack after another. Finally, Chamberlain’s men were nearly out of ammunition and it was clear they would not be able to withstand another assault. Prudence counseled retreat, but Chamberlain’s orders forbade it. The Maine regiment could neither fall back nor stay where it was, so Chamberlain took the only course open to him: he told his men to fix bayonets and prepare to charge.
It strikes me that you, President Bush, are in a similar situation in Iraq. You know (if many liberals do not) that retreat is out of the question. Yet the status quo is untenable. Support for your administration’s policy is evaporating. Iraq is being pacified too slowly if at all, and minor tinkering around the edges–a few more men, some more training of Iraqis–won’t make much difference. You need a decisive stroke. You need to tip the table over. You need to attack.
Here is how you can do it. In late November, U.S. military sources revealed that they had found irrefutable evidence that Iran is arming the militias who are killing American soldiers:
U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.
Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq’s growing Shia militias from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran.
So here is what you, President Bush, should do: take as a model the Cuban Missile Crisis. First John Kennedy, then Adlai Stevenson, laid before the world the evidence, in the form of aerial photographs, that the Soviet Union was installing nuclear arms in Cuba. The proof was taken as conclusive, and, consequently, the Kennedy administration’s actions enjoyed universal support at home, and widespread support abroad.
I am paraphrasing: I wasn’t there. But here is the story:
A school choir was told to stop singing carols at a show featuring a Jewish ice skater because officials feared she would be offended.
The Rubidoux High School Madrigals in Riverside, California, broke off in the middle of God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman at a rink where Sasha Cohen, a US Olympic medal winner, was performing in front of fans.
Staci Della-Rocco, the director of the choir, said she complied with the request by a city council employee and police officer to silence the children because “I didn’t want to have a big old huge scene in front of my kids”.
Cohen, 22, however, was “stunned” to learn the choir had been ordered to stop singing on her account, her mother said.
The 2006 Olympic silver medallist is half-Christian and “celebrates everything” at this time of year, said Galina Cohen. “Sasha was stunned. We both thought the voices were just lovely, they were doing such a wonderful job. Christmas carols are part of celebrating the holiday season.”
The Telegraph in its typical biased fassion headlines the story: “Silent night for fear of offending Jew”, making it look like somehow silencing the choir was Sasha’s fault. But Sasha’s and her mother’s reaction is not really surprising to me: Sasha’s mother grew up in Odessa, Ukraine, the same city I grew up in. Thus, she is immune to this leftist PC garbage. For Sasha’s mother the term “political correctness” is probably associated with Communist ideology and Stalinist prosecutions of “enemies of the people”. I know it is for me.
I hope Sasha and her mom were very blunt while telling those PC idiots what they think of them.
Well, I finally copied my original blog to this one on WordPress, as well as to the one on Blogger. My accidental forray into blogging is finally taking off. The original Microsoft blog had a lot of limitations: Microsoft always tries to create software that attempts to be smarter than its user. The WordPress blog seems to be the most convenient to use and has all the features that I would like. The Blogger is the biggest and most likely to generate unsolicited traffic. I think I will be giving people the WordPress address, but I am keeping all three blogs. It should be easy enough to post to all three blogs at the same time.
Originally posted on
I’ve just finished reading Robert Gates’s memoir, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War. It’s a well-written, thoughtful book, leavened by occasional injections of nerdy humor.
The picture I get of Robert Gates from his book is that of a careful analyst, one who sees American foreign policy as generally and rightly characterized by continuity but one who sees the need for bold changes in response to rapid changes in the world — and doesn’t look for answers from the government bureaucracies. He is very much aware that we have dangerous enemies in the world, and he was willing over many years to confront them and try to check their advance.
Basically, Michel Barone thinks that Robert Gates is a competent leader, not afraid to act and defend his point of view, without regard to political correctness. Let’s hope he is right.
Originally posted on
America is the world’s hyperpower. No other nation or group of nations can challenge us militarily or economically. Unlike sickly Europe, we are growing, not contracting. But we are about to be defeated in Iraq by a few thousand cutthroats.
How did this happen? It’s simple: The only thing powerful enough to defeat us is ourselves, and we’ve done it.
The president’s people continue to insist he will settle for nothing less than victory in Iraq. But look at the Iraq Study Group (Baker-Hamilton Commission), from whom the president so looks forward to hearing recommendations. As the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Rubin notes, the commission has claimed to be taking a fresh look but has already stacked its four subordinate expert working groups with committed opponents of the war.
Mr. Rubin writes: “Raad Alkadiri, for example, has repeatedly defined U.S. motivation for Iraq’s liberation as a grab for oil. Raymond Close, listed on the Iraq Study Group’s Web site as a ‘freelance analyst,’ is actually a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, which, in July 2003, called for Vice President Dick Cheney’s resignation for an alleged conspiracy to distort intelligence, which they said had been uncovered by none other than Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. The following summer, Close posited that ‘Bush and the neocons’ had fabricated the charge ‘that the evil Iranian mullahs inspired and instigated the radical Shia Islamist insurgency.’ To Close, the problem was not Iranian training and supply of money and sophisticated explosives to terrorists, but rather neoconservatism.”
The rumors about the commission’s report, due next month, suggest co-chairs James Baker III and former Rep. Lee Hamilton will recommend a “grand bargain” among the warring factions in Iraq and enlist cooperation of Iraq’s neighbors in pacifying the country.
Iraq’s neighbors? Iran and Syria? The nations bankrolling and supplying the internecine violence? The nations that are the world’s top sponsors of terror? Iran: the nation that boasts of its genocidal ambitions toward Israel and the United States even as it races — against the express wishes of the entire civilized world — to obtain nuclear weapons? The nations that have the most to gain from our failure?
The only alternative to the surrenders on offer by the Democrats and by the “realist” Republicans is a renewed determination to win. The assassins in Iraq pursue their dirty war despite the cost because it is succeeding. They know they are on the cusp of driving us out. But if, just to fantasize for a moment, we were to redouble our efforts, send more troops, kill the insurgents and convey our unflinching determination to win, the psychological effect would be enormous. And all wars are, to one degree or another, psychological.
A few months ago, the Weekly Standard magazine asked, “Will We Choose to Win in Iraq?” Tragically, I think we have our answer.
Originally posted on
A Washington watchdog group is trying to make sure Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings does not rise to the chairmanship of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence without the public knowing the full record surrounding his 1989 impeachment as a federal judge, including condemnation from a fellow black lawmaker and leading member of his party.
The non-profit CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has posted records of the congressional impeachment proceedings of Rep. Alcee Hastings, who was convicted by the Senate after the House impeached him on bribery and perjury charges.
The House transcript shows Rep. John Conyers of Michigan disputed allegations Hastings was a victim of discrimination because he is black.
Conyers said that while some suggested the House’s decision might be affected by racism, “I do not believe that to be the case.”
“A black public official must be held to the same standard as every other public official,” Conyers said. “A lower standard would be patronizing. A higher standard would be racist. Just as race should never disqualify a person from office, race should never insulate a person from the consequences of wrongful conduct.”
Hastings released a letter Wednesday to Democratic members of the House saying he deserves the job despite his conviction, the Los Angeles Times reported. The congressman lashed out at his critics, saying they were bent on “denying me a position I have certainly earned and am completely competent to perform.”
Hastings argues he was acquitted in a 1983 criminal trial based on allegations he conspired to accept a $150,000 bribe for granting a lenient sentence to two defendants convicted in his court of racketeering.
Hastings, nevertheless, was impeached by the House by a 69-26 vote and convicted in the Senate on eight of 17 articles of impeachment. He has been in Congress since 1992.
If this is a representative of the “most ethical Congress”, then we are in deep trouble.
Originally posted on
Well, I finally got around to write a Thanksgiving post. Thanksgiving is a quintessentially American holiday. So, what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my family, for my wonderful wife and 2 beautiful girls. I am also thankful for the generally pretty good life I have. But who should thank for all this? The religious people thank G-d for all their blessings. But I am not religious enough in order to do that. And then it dawned on me. I should thank this wonderful country called United States of America and its wonderful people.
So, thank you, America, for existing, for being a beacon of freedom in the world where freedom is far from being commonplace. Thank you for making freedom your “national idea”, if you will.
Thank you, America, for accepting me as your own. You welcomed me, my family and friends and made us all Americans, part of your great people. You accept anybody who is willing to be accepted. You made acceptance and tolerance part of your ideology too.
Finally, thank you, America, for defending “liberty and justice for all” all over the world. Your young people volunteer to go and fight for what’s right and moral. If I were 20 years younger I would have joined them (lame excuse really, but that’s the only one I have). Winston Churchill once said: “The Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing, after they had exhausted all other possibilities”. He knew what he was talking about. It is only natural to try “all other possibilities”: people always look for easy solutions. But in the end Americans do the right thing, no matter the cost, for doing the right thing is a part of American ideology too.
Thank you, America.
This is the modified WW2 poster. The modern American soldiers in Iraq were added to the original by the San Diego Chapter of Protest Warrior.
FOXNews.com – Russia Sending Air Defense Missile System to Iran – International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News
Originally posted on
MOSCOW — Russia has begun delivery of Tor-M1 air defense missile systems to Iran, a Defense Ministry official said Friday, confirming that Moscow would proceed with arms deals with Tehran in spite of Western criticism.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue, declined to specify when the deliveries had been made and how many systems had been delivered.
Ministry officials have previously said Moscow would supply 29 of the sophisticated missile systems to Iran under a $700 million contract signed in December, according to Russian media reports.
The United States called on all countries last spring to stop all arms exports to Iran, as well as ending all nuclear cooperation with it to put pressure on Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Israel, too, has severely criticized arms deals with Iran.
Russian media have reported previously that Moscow had conducted talks on selling even more powerful long-range S-300 air defense missiles, but Russian officials have denied that.
Moscow already has a lucrative, $800 million contract to build Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, which is nearly complete. Interfax reported Friday that the head of Russia’s atomic energy program, Sergei Kiriyenko, was due to travel to Tehran on Dec. 11 for a meeting of the Russian-Iranian commission for trade and economic cooperation, which he co-chairs with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki.
This has happened before:
This of course led to this:
Has anything changed since then?
Originally posted on
Tehran, 20 November 2006 (CHN Foreign Desk) — Iran and Mexico will sign cooperation agreement for developing cultural heritage and tourism interactions between the two countries.
The agreement will be signed in the Mexican capital during the visit of Esfandiar Rahim Mashayi, president of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) to Mexico. During his visit, Rahim Mashayi will meet with Mexico’s ministers of tourism and culture to discuss the terms of cooperation in detail.
Announcing this news, Mohammad-Kazem Kholdi-Nasab, director of ICHTO’s International Department said: “The protocol of cooperation has already been submitted to the Mexican cultural heritage authorities and Mashayi’s visit to Mexico aims at expanding mutual cooperation between the two countries in different fields related to cultural heritage and tourism industry.”
So, what kind of tourists should we expect to see south of the border? Not that Northern border in any better shape.
Originally posted on
French soldiers in Lebanon who feel threatened by aggressive Israeli overflights are permitted to shoot at IAF fighter jets, a high-ranking French military officer told The Jerusalem Post.
Wednesday, several days after meeting with an IDF general in Paris to discuss what he said was a “blatant violation of the cease-fire.”
Last weekend, Maj.-Gen. Ido Nehushtan, head of the IDF Planning Directorate, traveled to Paris and met with military officials to explain why the IAF flies over Lebanon despite the UN-brokered cease-fire.
Nehushtan, new to his post and previously deputy commander of the air force, told his French counterparts that Israel was conducting the flights to collect intelligence on Hizbullah positions in southern Lebanon.
The French told Nehushtan they would view further aggressive flyovers as a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 1701.
So, basically the IAF is attempting to at least do part of what the useless UNIFIL is supposed to do in order to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1701, and the French call it a violation of the said resolution. But wait, there is more:
France’s furor at the overflights was not divorced from French domestic political considerations, government officials in Jerusalem said Wednesday.
France is scheduled to hold the first round of presidential elections in April, and one of those reportedly considering tossing her hat into the ring is Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie.
According to these officials, taking a tough stance toward Israel on the issue – a position that grabs headlines in France – helps her raise her profile.
The officials said it didn’t hurt Alliot-Marie politically to be seen as someone who needed to be “held back” from responding forcefully to the overflights.
So, there you have it. During World War 2 the Nazis had a bunch of allies who were either indifferent or outright hostile to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Italian Jews were relatively safe under Mussolini, until Italy switched sides, and the Germans occupied the northern part of the country. Bulgarian tsar Boris protected his Jewish subjects. Jews even served in Finnish Armed Forces. Hungarian Government resisted the Nazi policies toward the Jews. In Romania majority of the Jews also survived the Holocaust. Basically, in the instances when all these Nazi allies instituted anti-Semitic policies, they did so only to the minimum in order to satisfy the Germans. Their main reason for joining the Germans in the first place was their fear (well founded, I might add) of Stalin’s Soviet Union. And only Vichy Government actively collaborated with Nazi policies and ran its own concentration camp in Drancy. What has changed?
Originally posted on
What did your grandma do? Or, perhaps, still does? My grandma baked yummy pies and cookies, occasionally stayed with me when I was little, so my parents could go out, and generally spoiled me, the only grandkid growing up close to her. Most grandmothers do that. But not all. Here is what I found via Little Green Footballs:
JABALIYA, Gaza Strip (AFP) – A Palestinian grandmother blew herself up in the Gaza Strip, lightly wounding three Israeli soldiers, in the first suicide attack claimed by Hamas in almost two years.
The mother of nine and grandmother of 41 became the oldest Palestinian suicide bomber at the age of 57, selecting as her target troops operating near her northern Gaza home in Jabaliya, seeking to curb near-daily rocket attacks on Israel.
“Troops saw a woman approaching them in a suspicious manner and identified her carrying an explosive device,” an army spokeswoman said.
“They then threw a stun grenade in her direction but she managed to blow herself up,” she added, adding that three soldiers were lightly hurt.
Within minutes the armed wing of the Hamas claimed the bombing. This was the Islamist group’s first suicide attack since January 2005, when a bomber wounded seven Israeli soldiers in Gaza.
“The Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades claims the martyr operation carried out by Fatima Omar Mahmud al-Najar, aged 57, in the middle of a group of Zionist soldiers,” an online statement said.
This death cult granny did not think that raising her grandchildren was a worthy cause. Instead, she proclaimed this:
“I am the martyr Fatima Najar from the town of Jabaliya. I work for the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades and I sacrifice myself for God, the nation, the Al-Aqsa.”
Just for the record, it was not the first attack in two years. It was the first attack that succeeded in getting far enough along to actually be carried out. Thank G-d, nobody was killed. Yes, I do mean “nobody”: crazy old
lady monster bent on genocide does not count.
One more thing. For all intents and purposes Palestinians already have a state with its own government (Hamas) and the government military organizations (Hamas military wing being one them). Thus, any attack on a neighboring country (Israel) constitutes an act of war, and should be treated as such.
Originally posted on
by Tony Blankley
We have the most profound obligation to attempt to calculate the consequences of the impending American decision to wash our hands of the Iraq unpleasantness. In that regard, the words of President Kennedy come to mind: “There are risks and costs to a program of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.”
If we, the most powerful force on the planet, in a fit of disappointment and anger at our bungling policies to date, decide to shrug off our responsibilities to the future — we will soon receive, and deserve, the furious contempt of a terrified world. In fact, even those Americans who today can’t wait to end our involvement in the “hopeless” war in Iraq will — when the consequences of our irresponsibility becomes manifest — join the chorus of outrage.
Expedient Washington politicians, take note: Your public is fickle. They may cheer your decision today to get out of Iraq but vote you out of office tomorrow when they don’t like the results.
Much of the world (and a fair portion of the American public) may hate us today for our alleged arrogance. But they will spit out our name with contempt through time if we permit to be released the whirlwind that will follow our exit.
We have only two choices: Get out and let the ensuing Middle East firestorm enflame the wider world; or, stay and with shrewder policies and growing material strength manage and contain the danger.
Those who call themselves realists are the least realistic. Their great unreality is that they can’t imagine that the passions of the people — for good or ill — are to be reckoned with. Thus it was they who for half a century supported and exploited the Middle East dictators who caused the Islamist pathologies that threaten the world today. It is they who will do business with the corrupt dictators to the very minute that they are overthrown by the Islamist mobs. They will keep the cash register humming until it is flooded with blood. The “realists’” unjustified conceit is, today, the most dangerous pathology facing America.
As in all struggles, each side will make mistakes. We have certainly made several. But as the last century’s great chess master Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower once famously observed: “Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.” Retreating from Iraq would be the last mistake.
Originally posted on
Priest, nun from Michigan join dozens of Palestinians gathered at Gaza houses in effort to prevent bombing, say ‘If Israel claims family member involved in violence, arrest them, don’t’ destroy home populated by entire family’
Sister Mary Ellen told Ynet, “We are here to find out the truth and to be with the family and these people, who are trying to prevent the demolition of a home where an entire family lives.”
The Sister continued, “We are against any type of violence, whether from the Palestinian side or the Israeli side, by we are here to be with a family that may have their house bombed and demolished because of the claim that one or two members are involved in violence.”
She explained, “We are against any type of collective punishment and feel this punishment is wrong, a complete mistake. If the Israelis claim a family member is involved in violence, then they can arrest them, but not destroy a home populated by an entire family.”
Meanwhile, here is a related story from World Net Daily:
TEL AVIV – The only way to stop the regular rocket fire on Sderot, an Israeli city of about 20,000 nearly three miles from the Gaza Strip border, is for the Jewish state to evacuate the entire city, Hamas announced in a statement today.
“Only the departure of residents from Sderot will stop the rocket fire,” Abu Abaida, spokesman for Hamas’ so-called military wing, said in a statement to reporters.
“There are no limits on our rocket attacks and we will prove that in coming days. We advise residents of Sderot to evacuate,” the Hamas spokesman said.
Asked by WND if his statement was rhetoric or whether the Hamas leadership actually sanctioned a call for Israeli residents to evacuate, Abu Abaida replied, “We are very, very serious. The evacuation can be done in the next days or even up to several weeks, but it must be done. And after that, we will stop all rocket fire unless the Zionists continue more military operations in Gaza”.
So far, no human shields came to Sderot. As Charles of LGF noted, if they did, they could actually get killed: Palestinians will not have any problem killing them. They routinely deliberately murder civilians anyway.
Originally posted on
“Russia is going through a religious transformation that will be of even greater consequence for the international community than the collapse of the Soviet Union,” said Paul Goble, a specialist on Islam in Russia and research associate at the University of Tartu in Estonia.
Two decades ago, the Sobornaya Mosque was the only Islamic house of worship allowed in the Soviet Union. It stood largely empty, filling only with the occasional large foreign delegation from an Islamic country.
Today, it is one of four mosques in Moscow serving a Muslim population of about 2.5 million. On Fridays and holy days, it overflows with worshippers, leaving many to kneel on newspapers outside, their foreheads pressed against the concrete.
Russia’s overall population is dropping at a rate of 700,000 people a year, largely because of the short life spans and low birthrates of ethnic Russians. According to the CIA World Factbook, the national fertility rate is 1.28 children per woman, far below what is needed to maintain the country’s population of nearly 143 million. The rate in Moscow is even lower, at 1.1 children per woman.
Russia’s Muslims, however, are bucking that trend. The fertility rate for Tatars living in Moscow is six children per woman, Mr. Goble said, while the Chechen and Ingush communities are averaging 10 children per woman. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan have been flocking to Russia in search of work.
Russia’s Muslim population has increased by 40 percent since 1989, to about 25 million. By 2015, Muslims will make up a majority of Russia’s conscript army and by 2020 one-fifth of the population.
“If nothing changes, in 30 years, people of Muslim descent will definitely outnumber ethnic Russians,” Mr. Goble said.
I’ve heard from some Evangelicals believing in “end of days” that during the last conflict of the mankind Israel will be attacked from some country in the North, which, as they explained, is Russia. I always dismissed it. Besides the fact that I am not religious at all, I always thought that an attack from Iran is much more likely (I believe that, theology aside, that is what’s going to happen). But if Russia gets taken over by Islamists, this “end of days” scenario all of a sudden doesn’t seem so unlikely. Also, if something like this happens, America will come to the rescue of those in Russia who refuse to submit to Islamo-Fascist rule. There are many people in Russia who keep blaming US for all the trouble in the world. So, perhaps it is time to remind to those people an old Russian saying: “Don’t spit into a well: you might have to drink from it”.
Originally posted on
Will the West Stumble?By Victor Davis Hanson
What a stupid question. By any benchmark of economic prosperity, military power, and political stability, Western civilization–in the United States, Europe, and the former British Commonwealth–has never been stronger. Globalization has become a euphemism for Westernization, an apparent unstoppable juggernaut.
So how could the lingua franca of English, uniform international travel, or worldwide commerce ever falter–given that American-style material bounty is spreading among billions the world over?
But the global sale of PlayStation 3 or a world in Levis is only the glitzy veneer of civilization. That shared taste almost unnoticeably hinges on a powerful and liberal United States that keeps the peace and remains the spiritual and intellectual fountainhead of an entire global system–one ultimately dependent on American core ideas like freedom and tolerance. What pressures China to liberalize, protects the creativity of Japan, assures Europeans they can be postmodernists in safety, and guarantees that the world commerce is protected from both old and new piracy is a confident and strong United States.
In contrast, grant a jihadist his 7th-century dream world, and within months even he wouldn’t have a cell phone signal to call in an IED explosion.
There is a sick ingenuity of a sort that can disguise terrorists as state policemen in Baghdad to kidnap and torture the innocent, and outwit Humvees with land mines. The improvised explosive device, with help from Iran, gets ever more complex. And there is a great deal of mental energy, time, and money that went into making rockets and suicide belts or even the graphics on a bin Laden infomercial.
How odd that Iranians cannot design a car or computer, but can with the proper instruction manual spend millions of hours putting together Western-designed centrifuges, like the stamped lettered-parts of a build-it-your-self intricate model toy.
This is just a teaser. Read the whole thing.
Originally posted on
This almost sounds like a joke, yet it makes perfect sense:
One of the strangest, and most useful, bombs employed in Iraq has been the concrete filled JDAM. Why deliver a 500 pound bomb filled with concrete instead of explosives? You do that if you want to do some damage, but not a lot. Concrete JDAMs were first used in the 1990s to destroy anti-aircraft guns, radars and missiles that Saddam Hussein placed in residential areas. He believed that the Americans would not attack these weapons, for fear of hurting nearby civilians. But it turned out that a laser, or satellite (JDAM) guided concrete smart bomb could take out the air-defense weapons without hurting nearby civilians. The concrete bombs come in various sizes (500, 1,000 and 2,000 pounds), but the new 500 pound JDAM has become a favorite when a concrete version is required. Recently, for example, two small bridges near the Syrian border were seen being used by terrorists to bring in people and weapons. There was no need to completely destroy the bridges (which might take months, or longer, to replace), because the terrorists were slowly being chased from the area. But a concrete bomb on each bridge damaged the structures enough so that they could not be used, but not so much that they could not be repaired in a week or two. Concrete bombs are still used against terrorist targets in residential areas, where the bomb can reach the terrorists before police or ground troops can. It’s all a case of a seemingly off-the-wall weapon idea being, not a joke, but actually quite useful.
Originally posted on
Here is an interesting article from World Net Daily:
Wafa Sultan, a native of Syria, seized attention worldwide in February when her electrifying interview on Al-Jazeera television spread across the Internet through a video clip produced by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
Named this year to Time Magazine’s list of 100 influential people in the world, Sultan spoke with WND after addressing a symposium on radical Islam and terrorism in Las Vegas hosted by America’s Truth Forum. She understands Bush’s position as president and believes he is only trying to be diplomatic, but insists, nevertheless, his words are “empowering” Muslim leaders whose ultimate aim is for Islamic law to govern the world.
“I believe he undermines our credibility by saying that,” said Sultan. “We came from Islam, and we know what kind of religion Islam is.
Sultan, who identifies herself as a secular ex-Muslim, told WND she would urge Bush to take a closer look at Islamic culture and its general embrace of violence as a means of establishment and expansion.
There isn’t really much to add. I am going to post a reminder of this courageous lady said on Al-Jazeera:
Sultan: “The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations,” she said. “It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete.”
Al-Qasim: “I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?”
Sultan: “Yes, that is what I mean.”
Al-Qasim: “Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don’t mind. …”
Sultan: “The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: ‘I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger.’ When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to stop this war, they must re-examine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.”
Originally posted on
A PC War?
My conversation with a friend in Naharia.
Alex and I went to college together back in Leningrad, now St.-Petersburg, Russia. He now lives in Naharia, a little town on the North of Israeli Mediterranean Coast. Majority of Americans probably have never heard the name of this town until a little over a week ago, when Hezbollah rockets started raining on it. Knowing that he and another college friend were living in Naharia, I naturally got a little worried when Hezbollah started shooting at their town, so I e-mailed them, asking how they were doing. The other guy went to Tiberias with his family, to stay with yet another college friend. Alex chose to stay in Naharia, and on Wednesday I finally got a reply from him. It was my first vacation day, and I was still at home. So we established a connection via MSN Messenger and had a lengthy conversation about how things were in Naharia and in Israel in general. Below is the summary of what he told me.
1. The damage:
According to Alex, those Katushas do very little damage. They are pretty old and not very powerful, not to mention their inaccuracy. Of course, if one of those rockets hits your apartment, it will destroy it, but the rest of the building would remain pretty much intact.
2. The reaction of the population:
My friend was actually pretty disgusted with the fact that the whole North of Israel was effectively shut down. That was also the cause of his general pessimism about our overall perspective in the current global conflict (I obviously do not separate the Israel’s war for survival from the wars we are fighting: we are fighting common enemies). After talking with Alex I actually came to appreciate seemingly useless calls for business as usual, including shopping, after 9/11: the life should not stop because of the enemy action. We should look at Londoners during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz for an example: they kept their bombed out shops and cafes open for business. In contrast, Naharia, according to Alex, turned into ghost town, even though many apartments, especially the newer ones, have their own bomb shelter rooms. This does not reflect well on the residents of Northern Israel. On the other hand, there is no reason to keep people not needed for defense in harms way unnecessarily. I would like to think that, when it becomes necessary, the Israelis will stand and fight. Otherwise we are all doomed: Israelis are very similar to Americans, and what applies to them, applies to us.
3. The military action:
That is where the term “PC War”, as in “politically correct”, comes into play. According to my friend, the Israelis keep bombing and shooting at empty buildings, a la Clinton, in order to minimize Lebanese civilian casualties. They even go as far as notifying when they are about to bomb some building where they suspect Hezbollah might be, so that the civilians would evacuate. As a result, they damage the Lebanese infrastructure much more than Hezbollah’s capabilities. The only real way to deal with Hezbollah is to conduct a ground operation with full force, but they don’t do that because they don’t want to look as invaders and, most importantly, they don’t want to suffer casualties. As a side note, I saw the news this morning, and they said that the Israelis are preparing for the ground offensive. But that was CNN: my hotel does not have FOX. They also said that the Lebanese Army is going to fight the Israelis, which is totally beyond me: they should be joining the Israelis.
4. The competency of the government:
Alex is very unhappy with their Defense Minister. He says that the guy is basically a high school dropout who just rose through the ranks of government bureaucracy and is just a political appointee without any experience in defense matters (he is not a career military guy). He probably served in the military, since it is mandatory, but a private can hardly be a Minister of Defense.
5. The media:
The Israeli media is just as idiotic as ours. They just blabber their collective mouth without thinking of the consequences. For almost a week they reported every rocket hit with accuracy down to a street corner, in real time, both on TV and on the web. People who have even rudimentary understanding of military operations, let alone a real combat experience will immediately understand the meaning of this. If you are a Hezbollah terrorist launching rockets at Israel, you don’t need any forward observers: having a local news channel on along with something like Google Maps next to your rocket launcher will do just fine for your fire correction. It took a week for the Israeli government to stop the news media from being forward observers for Hezbollah. Can you imagine an ACLU lawsuit claiming a violation of the freedom of the press? The moonbats in this country would immediately scream: “Censorship!” At least, after a week the Israeli government stopped the craziness.
6. Why it has started and how it should end:
This is something that probably we all would agree with. Alex said that the whole mess started because Israel is no longer feared by its enemies. If any Hamas rocket attack would have been treated as an act of war that it was, and triggered a massive retaliation in response, if the original Hamas kidnapping of a soldier triggered an immediate full force invasion of Gaza, none of it would have happened. But the Israelis have waited too long, while just pumping their chests. My own comment is that they failed to follow a Teddy Roosvelt’s doctrine: “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. This kind of mess happens if you do just the opposite: speak loudly and carry a small stick. As for how this all will end, Alex was very pessimistic. He thinks that the most likely scenario is that the UN will impose the ceasefire, Hezbollah and Hamas will return the bodies of the soldiers, and the periodic attacks by Hezbollah and Hamas will continue, slowly chipping away at Israel’s dignity, will and long term chance for survival. That, by the way, applies to the rest of the Western World. I am not ready yet to share my friend’s pessimism, but he does make good points. The right way to deal with Hezbollah is, of course, a massive ground invasion, not just by Israel, but by an international force, including the Lebanese Army, in order to clear out Hezbollah. But of course, there is no international force capable or willing to do the job. UN forces in Lebanon routinely just drink tea with Hezbollah terrorists. The only force capable of defeating Hezbollah, other than fully committed Israeli Army, is US military. I don’t see that happening at this time. So, if Israel does invade, it will be condemned as an aggressor. The Lebanese Army will actually fight against IDF, even though the IDF will be doing their job for them, just because it is Israel. IDF should go in and clear out Hezbollah anyway. We’ll see if they will really do it.
There you have it. My friend is there, in the thick of it. While we were talking, he said that there was an explosion somewhere in the area. It probably wasn’t too close, since I did not hear it. I am still much more optimistic than my friend. But if we lose our will to fight, Robert Ferigno’s Islamic States of America will become a reality. I hope it does not happen.
In case you follow the link to the original Old War Dogs publication, let me clarify a little misunderstanding. My friend George Mellinger, a. k. a. Rurik, noted that any international force would be counter-productive. He is right, of course, but that is not what I meant. When I talked about international force, I was day-dreaming about a coalition similar to the Allies of World War 2. That is, after all, exactly what is necessary in order to fight this new kind of Fascism. There is always hope.
Originally posted on
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – Hundreds of Palestinians formed a human shield around the home of a militant in the northern Gaza Strip late Saturday to prevent an Israeli air strike on the building, residents said.
People flocked to the home of Mohammedweil Baroud after he received a warning from the army late Saturday giving him 30 minutes to leave the house.
Barhoud is a commander in the Popular Resistance Committees in the northern town of Beit Lahiya and said to be in charge of firing homemade rockets at Israel. Crowds of people stood on the rooftop and in the yard of the home.
LGF did not comment on this story, other than emphasize the AP bias. I, however want to turn attention to the insanity of warning your enemy to evacuate the targeted location before it is hit. For comparison, imagine warning the Nazis before the Allied airstrike on the V2 rocket factory in Peenemünde. Or, just imagine warning the Nazis before any Allied airstrike on V2 rocket launchers. But as bad as this was, today it has gotten even worse (again, thanks to LGF):
BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip – Hundreds of Palestinians serving as human shields guarded the homes of two top militants Sunday, a new tactic that forced Israel to call off missile strikes on the buildings and re-evaluate a mainstay of its aerial campaign in Gaza.
In recent months, the Israeli air force has repeatedly struck the homes of militants after warning residents by phone to clear out. Israeli security officials said they did not know how to respond to the human shield tactic, but pressed ahead with other airstrikes Sunday.
The army said it called off the nighttime airstrikes because of the crowds. It condemned what it said was a cynical exploitation “by the terrorists of uninvolved people as human shields.”
Israeli military officials acknowledged they had no solution for the standoff. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.
I have a “solution for the standoff”: bomb them anyway. There will be no “standoff” the next time. If the Allies would have conducted World War 2 this way, we would be speaking German and Japanese. No, let me correct this: you, my fellow Americans, would be speaking German and Japanese. As for me and my family, we simply would not be around to speak anything.
Originally posted on
Failure in Iraq is not an option, because it would spell disaster for U.S. national security and foreign policy credibility, not to mention military morale. Our mission in Iraq continues to move forward, and U.S. forces have successfully defeated the insurgents in several areas, yet the enemy has proven resilient and effective. Thus, we must succeed in Iraq by changing the status quo.
The plans for victory so far have fallen short. They have come, top-down, from the Pentagon or the palaces-turned-coalition headquarters in Baghdad. Now, American leaders, especially the nominee for secretary of defense, should consider a bottom-up plan to win that taps the collective grass-roots wisdom of successful battlefield innovators. In particular, there are six course corrections that can be taken almost immediately.
1. Encourage innovation by emphasizing small-scale technological solutions and rejecting peacetime bureaucracy.
Deploying unit commanders, most of whom have already served at least one tour in Iraq, must have direct input into how supplemental funds are invested in new technologies. Technology providers should conduct road shows to earn at least some funding approval and priority from ground commanders.
In Washington, there remains too much focus on massive technological efforts that cost hundreds of millions of dollars and take years to develop, test, and field. Meanwhile, low-cost programs like remote handheld cameras, biometrically-capable, Wi-Fi enabled PDAs, and tethered blimps with mounted cameras are put on the back burner. To inspect suspicious objects that could be roadside bombs, troops have resorted to spending their own money to buy remote-controlled cars with jerry-rigged mounted cameras because the thousands of remotely controlled robots in Iraq are held by specialized bomb disposal units.
2. Improve pre-deployment training realism and abandon Cold War-era checklists.
When troops were first preparing to deploy to Iraq, they followed the same checklists that had been used in the Cold War and Gulf War that focused on the conventional military’s core mission: “high-intensity conflict.” Once the invasion was successful, though, the threat facing our troops changed as the insurgency started using ambush tactics, but the training and preparation that our troops receive has not kept pace.
“Train how we fight” is a mantra in the military, and for good reason. Training intensity and realism is the number one predictor for combat success, especially when facing a thinking, adaptive enemy who observes our patterns and exploits perceived vulnerabilities.
3. Allow local commanders to buy what they need and nationalize the war effort by connecting the American public with the troops and their mission.
The troops need more support, from both the military and the American people, and the ground commanders must be empowered to lead our national effort to support them. The localized insurgency, coupled with an adaptive, resilient enemy means the troops on the ground best understand how to win. Our support should fulfill their stated needs, not what Congress, the Pentagon–or even the generals in Baghdad–think they ought to need.
We need to expand “commander discretionary funds” to give each battalion commander a large budget, on the order of $3 million, to spend as they see fit both before they deploy and while in country, with appropriate accountability. This would allow commanders to take action that will help the mission, but which bureaucratic practices currently prevent. For example, they could buy video cameras and phones to give to locals so that they can film and report insurgent activity; or hire military-aged males to clean roads and dig trenches that improve security while providing jobs to men who would otherwise be recruited as insurgents. It would also allow ground forces to reward a neighborhood chief with a few electric generators for his support of our mission, or to hand a $20 bill to a local who identifies a bomb that could have killed several soldiers.
4. Strengthen intelligence sharing between tactical and national levels, and develop a national insurgent database.
We must have better intelligence on the enemy, especially human intelligence. Our existing intelligence technologies were designed during the Cold War to spy on conventional armies that use bases, have tanks and aircraft, and communicate on identifiable radio frequencies. In Iraq, however, the enemy lives in civilian neighborhoods, drives civilian cars, uses weapons composed of readily available materials, and communicates via civilian mobile phones and the internet.
In a Cold War scenario, the U.S. intelligence community would collect intelligence about enemy activity that would subsequently filter “down” to the maneuver units. Today, however, the case is often reversed. Ground units get the first information about an enemy, often by going on a raid and learning about the individual’s ties to other insurgents. As that intelligence is sent “up,” the national organizations focus collection efforts accordingly.
There are success stories in Iraq where units have provided tactical intelligence to a national organization, then national came back with amplified intelligence that led the unit in a successful operation against more insurgents. This model can and should be applied more broadly.
5. Take the offensive by reducing predictable patterns on the ground while conducting operations that hunt, rather than chase, the enemy.
U.S. forces need to reduce the predictability of their movements. To do this, generals in Baghdad should stop requiring units to report the number of patrols conducted, and instead focus on effective offensive operations. The current emphasis on gauging unit effectiveness by the quantity of patrols conducted keeps the troops too busy to conduct quality operations that offensively hunt the enemy.
Accordingly, the generals should forbid a common practice that needlessly endangers our troops. “Presence patrols” are a legacy from Bosnia, where many of today’s lieutenant colonel battalion commanders conducted peacekeeping operations as junior officers. Presence patrols involve troops simply driving around to show a military presence that ostensibly deters one side from attacking another.
The problem is that Bosnia is not Iraq, where the enemy just wants to attack U.S. forces, so we end up needlessly giving them opportunities to do so. While some units have stopped using the phrase “presence patrol,” the emphasis on quantity of patrols still results in U.S. forces going out on the roads without a meaningful offensive purpose in mind.
6. Accept the realities of warfare in the media age by decentralizing the sharing of information with both the Iraqi and the American public.
The government and military must better communicate its message–to both Iraqis and the American public. The hurdles posed by political correctness and self-imposed bureaucratic constraints must be cleared in order to balance the insurgents’ current control of the airwaves. Their “flaming car bomb-a-day” television propaganda campaign has dominated the media debate since late 2004, negating or neutralizing any reports of positive news.
Thus, the Pentagon should abandon its reflexive instinct toward control of information that has led it to seek to ban personal cameras and blogs. Instead, a “unit blogger” approach should be applied across Iraq, with appropriate guidance and training to preserve operational security. Tactical units should each have two members who are trained in public relations and equipped with high-quality cameras and laptops with video editing software, and offered incentives and rewards for effective reporting. They should record unit activities in writing and video, and share them with the American people via sites modeled on wildly successful pro-military websites, such as Blackfive.net and MoveAmericaForward.org.
THE U.S. MUST win in Iraq. This can be achieved sooner by making these six key course corrections. The top U.S. Army general recently announced plans to have the same number of troops in Iraq until at least 2010, so there is time to change regardless of what happens in the next congress, and change is urgently needed as public figures show October was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq.
1) The Jawbone: Convene a meeting with the most senior members of the U.S. and Iraqi governments to explain that the U.S. is prepared to commit greater forces and resources for a period of one year, ONLY if Iraqis commit to decisive action to quell the insurgency and the civil war (which includes immediately starting to disarm the militias). It will be made crystal clear to Baghdad that without the Iraqi commitment — which will be measured monthly to ensure adherence — U.S. forces would immediately begin their withdrawal. Gen. John Abizaid started to do just that during his meetings in Baghdad this week, speaking more directly to the Iraqi government and asking for a timeline.
2) The Strong Arm: In the short term, have the four military services, the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force, prepare plans for a one-year surge in Iraq. Commit to destruction of the insurgent forces in Ramadi, Hit and the other Anbar strongholds… whatever it takes. Reinforce key cities like Baghdad and Basra. The best guess is that this will require 20,000 more U.S. troops on the ground. The U.S. military should rapidly increase the number of U.S. advisors for the Iraqi Security Forces — to some 15,000, up from about 7,000. It should also maintain the covert special operations forces to track, capture and kill high value insurgent targets.
3) The Swagger: President Bush should give a speech to the U.N. in which he calls on other nations to either support the new Iraq or stop providing support and weapons to insurgents and militias; declares that most fundamental goals in Iraq were achieved, but the hope of democracy in Iraq is in the balance and only the Iraqis can determine that outcome; reminds the U.N. that lack of support for the peaceful option — smart sanctions — was doomed to failure when they were undermined by many in the audience; implicitly threatens that if nations contribute to instability and violence in Iraq, they would be considered enemies of the U.S.; warns not to mistake U.S. withdrawal for defeat, stating that any nation that exports violence and terrorism from its borders will find an resolute foe in the U.S., and may have to suffer consequences; and asks for separate meetings with Iranian and Syrian leaders. And while making the above points forcefully, the President should also offer a significant carrot like increased diplomatic and economic contacts with countries like Syria.
4) Send In The Striped-Pants-and Money Set: In the short term, flood Iraq with seasoned U.S. diplomats in a new initiative to work with the Iraqi government and various factions to discover ways to ameliorate the dire conditions and heightened tension. The diplomats who refuse to go would be forced to leave government — three years into the war the State Department has managed to staff only 52% of its positions dealing with Iraq. Recruit and deploy economic managerial expertise from the U.S. government and private sector to find ways to employ Iraqis. In the short term, find ways to increase the availability of dependable power, clean water, fuel, etc. Give the tribal leaders cash incentives to protect Iraq’s oil facilities and pipelines or suffer the consequences.
5) The PR Op: In the short term, overwhelm Iraq with an information campaign that declares that the U.S. will establish no permanent bases in Iraq, and will be out in a year. And make clear that the issue of sustained aid to Iraq will be dependent on their willingness to reconcile differences and quell the insurgency.
There are similarities between these two plans. One thing I disagree with in the second plan is the suggestion not to keep any bases in Iraq. We still have our bases in Germany and Japan. Why should Iraq be different? In fact, in my opinion, one of the unspoken reasons to go to war in Iraq in the first place was the necessity to establish American military presence in a strategic location in the Middle East. That became necessary after 9/11. Now there is trouble brewing in Iran. We absolutely need bases in Iraq in order to deal with Iran. Perhaps, if we said that we are going to keep our presence in Iraq in order to deal with Iran, and if we would seal the Iraqi borders, we would reduce the danger out of Iran significantly.
Originally posted on
I was reading an article on the web, and there was a link to this interesting story on the side:
US authorities have uncovered a plot to set up a flight training school in the Pacific nation of Kiribati and suspect the man behind it may have had links to September 11 mastermind Mohammed Atta.
Since the plot emerged, Kiribati had asked for Australia’s help to fight terrorism, ABC radio reported today.
The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigations said Wolfgang Bohringer was considered a “person of interest”.
It said Bohringer had close connections with a US flight school used by Atta, who masterminded the plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into key targets in the United States five years ago, the ABC said.
The scary part of this story seems to overlooked by the original author. Judging by the name of the suspect, he is a German national. And by that I don’t just mean someone with a German passport, although that would be bad enough. But this guy also ethnically German. That means that, in addition to having a European passport, he also looks European. His passport allows him to travel pretty much anywhere in the world without any visas, and he will never arouse any suspicion. We heard for a while that Al Qaeda was trying to recruit non-Middle Eastern operatives. It looks like they might be succeeding. It would not take too many of those guys to do a lot of damage.
Originally posted on
Bruce Gilmour filed the complaint after a cab driver from North Shore Taxi refused to let his guide dog into the cab in January of this year. Gilmour, who says it’s not the first time he’s been refused service by a taxicab, is complaining that North Shore taxi discriminated against him on the basis of physical disability.
But the taxi driver, Behzad Saidy, is arguing his Muslim religious beliefs will not allow him to take dogs in his taxi, because Muslims can’t associate with dogs.
There is a chance that in this case political correctness will be used agaimst islamists.
I have cousins in Vancouver. I am sure they will be “thrilled” to hear about this.
Originally posted on
The leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, recently issued a decree to its supporters: Kill at least one American in the next two weeks “using a sniper rifle, explosive or whatever the battle may require.”
Well, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, I am an American too. Count me as the one of those you have asked your supporters to kill.
I am not alone. There are thousands of Muslims with me in Las Vegas, and many more millions in America, who are proud Americans and who are ready to face your challenge. You hide in your caves and behind the faces of civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq. You don’t show your faces and you have no guts to face Muslims. You thrive on the misery of thousands of Muslim youth and children who are victims of despotism, poverty and ignorance.
I think I heard him on Dennis Prager show.
Originally posted on
Since MSM is very unlikely to show this, I’ll make a meager attempt to compensate:
For many Israeli the words Color Red and Qassam attacks are part of the news. For Sderot residents, including Tal Braunstein, a media student, this is a daily reality.
On Wednesday she depicted the moment after a Qassam landed in Sderot meters from her room in the student’s dormitories at the Saphir College in the city center.
A 17-year-old boy was seriously injured in the attack. “I heard Color Red and I took the camera instantly. Suddenly I heard a whistle getting louder, and I didn’t imagine that a Qassam would fall so close to me,” he says.
There is a video there. The sound is in Hebrew, but it is pretty self-explanatory anyway.
Originally posted on
In this week’s New York Times Book Review, a historian reviewing a major new work of 20th-century history, Oxford and Harvard professor Niall Ferguson’s “The War of the World,” notes that “Ferguson argues that the Western powers should have gone to war in 1938, which would most likely have avoided much of the horror of World War II. …”
Imagine that. The New York Times publishes a favorable book review of a book arguing that a pre-emptive war in 1938 would have saved tens of millions of lives aside from preventing the Holocaust, “without parallel … the most wicked act in all history.”
You have to wonder if the Times’ editors and all their allies on the left, who have spent the last four years mocking the very notion of pre-emptive war, read this review.
I often make the same argument when I debate the leftists. They usually don’t have a good answer.
Netanyahu: It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust – Haaretz – Israel News
Originally posted on
“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs,” Netanyahu told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly, repeating the line several times, like a chorus, during his address. “Believe him and stop him,” the opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this.”
Criticizing the international community in his GA speech for not acting more forcefully in trying to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power – “No one cared then and no one seems to care now,” he said, again drawing on the Nazi parallel – Netanyahu warned that Tehran’s nuclear and missile program “goes way beyond the destruction of Israel – it is directed to achieve world-wide range. It’s a global program in the service of a mad ideology.”
I am in the good company. Here is what I wrote for another blog a couple of months ago:
I think I’ll just go ahead and post the whole article here:
What year is it?
My calendar shows “2006”, but is it? A month ago I thought that it was September of 1939, and Poland (i. e. Israel) was already in the fight for her life, while England (i. e. USA) was engaging in the Phony War. Back in 1939 the British did not bomb the German factories because they were private property. Isn’t it similar to the way we are trying to avoid civilian casualties now? For that matter, Israelis engage in the Phony War of their own, dropping leaflets before dropping bombs. If they are trying to destroy mobile rocket launchers, doesn’t dropping of leaflets defeat the purpose?
Some people would say that the combat our troops engaged in over in Iraq and Afghanistan is hardly phony. The same was true for the combat of the Israeli troops in Lebanon a month ago. Indeed, the combat is very real, but the indecisiveness of both our and Israeli leadership creates a phony war situation.
Now I no longer think that we are in September of 1939. Instead, I think it is one year earlier, September of 1938. With that cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, a. k. a. “peace in our time”, we have just given away Sudetenland.
I finally understand why appeasement and the Phony War happened in the first place. I see it happening right before my eyes. Back in 1938 and 1939 the Western democracies simply did not have a stomach for a fight. They were hoping against all evidence to the contrary that they somehow will avoid the war. The British intellectuals did not see any reason to fight the Nazis. The Left in Britain and France conducted propaganda for the Nazis, even after the war was declared. And in this country there were and still are people who accused the Roosevelt administration in allowing the attack on Pearl-Harbor to happen in order to get America into the war. How eerily similar to the current situation! Many people now refuse to acknowledge the “gathering storm”, as Winston Churchill used to put it, and instead call those who see this gathering storm “war mongers”. Winston Churchill was called that too. Yet few now question his foresight. So, why can’t people see it now? Is it the lack of knowledge and understanding of history? It’s been said that “those who don’t learn from their history are doomed to repeat it”. Certainly with the way history is taught in American public schools, there is a little wonder that we seem to repeat history. My friend’s son told me when he was attending high school that the entire World War 2 period was skipped in their course. Their teacher said that World War 2 did not influence life in America enough to study it. Can you believe that!? Needless to say, that high school was in the ultra-leftist Santa Monica School District that is not in the teaching, but rather in the brain-washing, business.
I keep finding parallels in everything that is happening now to World War 2 and the time immediately prior to it. Truth be told, it is hard to say what role Israel would play. Would it be the role of Poland, taking the first blow, but going down with a hell of a fight? Or would it be the role of Czechoslovakia, the country that was given up and has given up without a fight? It seems that Israel will be a little bit of both. It is the indecisiveness of the Israeli leadership that forced this crazy cease-fire. Similarly, if the Czechoslovakian government had a will to fight in 1938, they would not have given away their territory. What would have happen if they would have told Chamberlain and Daladier: “No, we are going to defend our Sudetenland territory.” What would the Brits and the French do? It is very unlikely that they would have joined the Germans and attacked Czechoslovakia. In the worst case they would just do nothing. So, we always blame Chamberlain for Munich agreement, but somehow forget Czechoslovakian government itself. And what the Czechs did in the spring of 1939 was even worse. They surrendered just because Hitler threatened to bomb Prague. But they did have a pretty good air force for that time. What if Emil Hácha, who succeeded Beneš as the Czechoslovakian President after Munich, told Hitler: “OK, if you bomb Prague, we will bomb Berlin”? Similarly now Israel did not have to accept this cease-fire. Even after they screwed up initially, once they started fighting, they could continue. The world opinion should not have any bearing on their actions: most of the world is anti-Semitic and hates them anyway. As for America, the Left hates them anyway, and among the rest of the country they would gain more support if they would show the willingness to fight and win.
So, if the government of Czechoslovakia did not have enough will to defend their country back in 1938, do Chamberlain and Daladier deserve any blame for what happened? The answer is definitely yes. They, along with the rest of the Western world took seriously Hitler’s claims about abuse of Sudeten Germans by Czechoslovakian authorities. By the way, isn’t it amazing how similar it is to the Western media and many governments taking seriously all the fake allegations about Israeli abuses? The Brits and the French back in 1938 discouraged the Czechs from fighting and encouraged them to give up. The democratically elected Czechoslovakian government was trying to maintain peace and good relationship with their allies – other democracies. They did not want help from the Soviets, who did offer it: there was no telling where the help from Stalin might lead to. So, responsibility of the British and the French governments lies in their influence over the Czechs. Similarly, our government should not discourage the Israelis from fighting. We should be honest and open about our support for Israel, world opinion be damned. We are not gaining any sympathies in “Arab Street” by giving in and getting the Israelis to give in. They just see it as a weakness and use it against us. Why isn’t it obvious to people that negotiating with terrorists creates more terrorism? And now Israelis agreed to Kofi Annan mediating the release of their soldiers. This is obviously a terrible mistake, but we bear partial responsibility for it because we did not openly tell the Olmert’s government: “Look, you do what you have to do, and we’ll back you diplomatically”. Olmert did botch the war by his indecisiveness, but our discouragement did not help either.
So, what does it leave us with? What year is it? 1938 or 1939? I can’t say with certainty. What I can say is that Churchill’s “gathering storm” is upon us once again. It’s impossible to predict where the first blow will strike. Will it be an attack on Israel? Or will they go straight for us? Or, perhaps, will they strike both Israel and us simultaneously? Just like almost 70 years ago, Russia is playing both sides, but this time motivated not by any particular ideology, but strictly by economic interests. Will the Russians be, ironically, “the capitalists that will sell the rope on which they will hang”? Will the Islamo-fascists make a mistake of attacking Russia, pushing it toward our side? There have been enough attacks on Russia by Islamo-fascists, including the Beslan massacre of children, that should have brought the Russians to our side already. But apparently that was not enough. It will probably take a nuke in Moscow or St. Petersburg for the Russian politicians to wake up and realize that their allies are still the same people who were their allies 65 years ago.
What can I do in order to help people wake up? What can I do in order to contribute to victory? I am older now than my grandpa was in 1941. The US military will probably have no use for an out-of-shape 42 year old guy. I hope that whatever I do as an engineer, as well as writing these articles and participating in demonstrations in support of our troops, helps. I hope I can contribute to victory even just a little bit. But now it is still a waiting game. So, I am sitting in front of my computer, surfing the web and asking: “What year is it?”
I am still trying to figure out how to do this bloging thing. I wanted to post this article somewhere and link to it. But it does not seem to be possible. I’ll just create “Articles” category, so all the articles will be there.
Originally posted on
WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 — As Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon for a second week last July, the Rev. John Hagee of San Antonio arrived in Washington with 3,500 evangelicals for the first annual conference of his newly founded organization, Christians United For Israel.
At a dinner addressed by the Israeli ambassador, a handful of Republican senators and the chairman of the Republican Party, Mr. Hagee read greetings from President Bush and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and dispatched the crowd with a message for their representatives in Congress. Tell them “to let Israel do their job” of destroying the Lebanese militia, Hezbollah, Mr. Hagee said.
He called the conflict “a battle between good and evil” and said support for Israel was “God’s foreign policy.”
The next day he took the same message to the White House.
Many conservative Christians say they believe that the president’s support for Israel fulfills a biblical injunction to protect the Jewish state, which some of them think will play a pivotal role in the second coming. Many on the left, in turn, fear that such theology may influence decisions the administration makes toward Israel and the Middle East.
[Rabbi Yechiel] Eckstein said he had discovered the depth of that [Evangelical] support when he ran television commercials on the Fox News Channel seeking donations. The response, mainly from evangelicals, “burned out the call centers,” Mr. Eckstein said. During the five-week war, his group added 30,000 new donors. Thanks to the influx of money, he said his organization has exceeded its income from the first 10 months of last year by 60 percent, putting it on track to pull in $80 million this year. “The war really generated a momentum,” Mr. Eckstein said.
Evangelicals’ support for Israel, of course, is far from uniform. Mr. Hagee is an author of several books about the interpretation of biblical prophecies. He says he believes the Bible assigns Israel a pivotal role as a harbinger of the second coming. Citing passages from Revelation and Ezekiel, he argues that conflict between Israel and Iran may be a sign that that time is approaching.
Others say they believe more generally that God maintains his Old Testament covenant with the Jewish people and thus commands Christian believers to help protect their “older brothers.”
“My theology indicates that Israel is covenant land,” Dr. Dobson said in an interview.
The lefty New York Times shows its bias even here, talking how “Israeli bombs fell on Lebanon”, but forgetting to mention Hezbollah Katyusha rockets falling on Israeli population centers. So, in order to fix their bias a little bit, I replaced their link to Hezbollah stories with the one to the Time Magazine photo essay, featuring this lovely photograph:
I call these kids “Hezbo-Jugend”, similarly to Hitler-Jugend.
But back to the Evangelicals. Let me share a personal story with you. I have a very good friend whom I met through work. He happens to be an American of Filipino descent and a very devout Christian. You might call him an Evangelical. When we first met, he had in his office a portrait of some Orthodox rabbi on one wall and a clipping of 1948 Los Angeles Times on another. The LA Times article described how fighter aircraft of newly formed Israeli Air Force chased away Egyptian bombers who were bombing Tel Aviv. I looked at this obviously oriental-looking guy and asked why he had all that. He replied that the fact that Israel was restored in 1948 proves to him the existence of G-d, because the Bible predicted it. He also said that his G-d is the G-d of the Jews and that his Messiah is a Jew. All these years that I know him he never ever expressed any idea that I should convert, even though I know he would like that. Jokes like “You don’t keep Kosher anyway, so you might as well become Christian” don’t count.
Thus, here is the message to my fellow Jews in America: Stop looking for anti-Semites on the Right. There are very few of them left. Nowadays the anti-Semites are found mostly on the Left.
Originally posted on
Fox News reports that former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani started preparations for the Presidential Run in 2008.
The former mayor filed papers to create the Rudy Giuliani Presidential Exploratory Committee, Inc., establishing a New York-based panel that would allow him to raise money to explore a White House run and travel the country.
The four-page filing, obtained by The Associated Press, lists the purpose of the non-profit corporation “to conduct federal ‘testing the waters’ activity under the Federal Election Campaign Act for Rudy Giuliani.”
The Republican field is expected to grow with Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and New York Gov. George Pataki expected to join the presidential fray.
Giuliani just might be the war fighting leader we need.
“It doesn’t matter what the media does to ridicule him or misinterpret him or defeat him. They ridiculed Winston Churchill. They belittled Ronald Reagan. But like President Bush, they were optimists. Leaders need to be optimists. Their vision is beyond the present, and it’s set on a future of real peace and security,” Giuliani said.
“Some call it stubbornness. I call it principled leadership.”
Giuliani has an advantage of name recognition over all the other Republicans. He also might the best candidate to win the general elections because of this advantage and because he is socially liberal, which some would call “Libertarian”. Some potential candidates, like Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and New York Gov. George Pataki, are not much different from Giuliani. Romney would probably be pretty good as well, but he does not have the name recognition. I wish they all would just clear the field. Romney should just go for VP. Here I can fill up the whole cabinet:
Mitt Romney for VP;
John Bolton for the State Department;
Someone like former General Tommy Franks for the Defense Department;
and, in the spirit of bipartisanship, Joe Lieberman for the Justice Department. After all, he used to be a DA.
Originally posted on
Here is something I wrote in regard to the next elections:
Looking for wartime leaders.
The midterm elections are over. We did not vote for President this time, but the question of who might be worthy of this job was and still is in the back of my mind. But first a few thoughts on the Congressional elections. Our country is at war. We all had a choice between 2 parties: a Surrender Party and Let’s-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party. As bad as these options were, I’d rather have Let’s-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party in power. It is possible to turn this Lets-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party into a Fighting Party, but the time to do it is during the Primary elections. Unfortunately, the Surrender Party has won. Let’s hope that the fight will not be over in 2 years. This logic is also very relevant to those all important elections 2 years away.
Now on to the question of those wartime leaders. First of all, what are the qualities required in a leader of a nation at war? After all, in a free nation there is no “fuhrer principle”: a civilian leader, be it a President or a Prime Minister, does not tell the generals what to do. Thus, such a leader would have to concentrate on making strategic policy decisions and inspiring the nation. Thus, a leader like that would have to be willing to do what is right for the cause, regardless of personal consequences. This leader would also have to be defiant, not to be afraid to blatantly tell the truth, without worrying of offending anyone. Do we have someone in this country who possesses these qualities? Well, let’s start with our current President, who, although will finish his term in 2 years, is still useful as an example for this discussion. His record is mixed. After 9/11 he did talk about an attack on America as an act of war and the need to respond. But still, he immediately started to talk about our enemies in politically correct terms, calling Islam “Religion of Peace” and inviting members of organizations with known terrorist ties to special events related to commemorating the 9/11 attacks. So, Bush is a typical member of the Lets-Fight-without-Offending-Anyone Party. But is there anyone who understands that, when you are fighting a war, you are bound to offend people? That is, if you are fighting to win. Well, Rudy Giuliani comes to mind. He was not afraid to return the Saudi Prince’s check after 9/11, when that prince said something about 9/11 being the result of our support for Israel. Another example is Mitt Romney. He was unapologetic after stating that current terrorism threat comes from Muslim fascists and the hate is often preached in mosques. Recently he refused to provide official police escort for former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami’s September 10 visit to the Boston area. The final example is “Govenator” Arnold Schwarzenegger. Of course, Arnold cannot run for President, but his example is useful in order to illustrate what I am talking about. During this summer’s Israeli war against Hezbollah Arnold, along with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, attended a rally in support of Israel. Local Islamists were, of course, very upset about this. The Mayor later apologized, but Arnold refused. In another example, he wasn’t shy about telling immigrants to assimilate into American culture. This is definitely something that both Arnold and I can relate to. There is something all 3 of these Republican politicians have in common, besides having some backbone. They are all belong to what usually called Moderate wing of the Republican Party. They are all socially liberal (libertarian might be a better term). This makes it very hard for them to get a Republican nomination for President. But here is what Republican voters have to wake up to: all those domestic social issues are irrelevant to fighting a war. So called Conservatives worried about offending anyone are not good wartime leaders, even if they are pro-life. And those who don’t try to be politically correct, but unelectable, are not useful either. Majority of people in this country don’t like abortions, but think that the Government should stay out of this issue. I happen to hold the same view. So, instead of trying to elect super-Conservatives, we should try to elect war fighters. And if such candidate happens to be very popular, like Giuliani, it is even better: makes it harder for the MSM to dump on them and undermine the war effort.
Now that was Republican side. But what about the Democrats? The Democratic Party wasn’t always a Surrender Party. Unfortunately, at this time it is unlikely that it will become Fighting Party any time soon. The last sane Democrat was recently kicked out of the party. Although, everything possible. If the Democrats manage to produce a war fighting candidate for 2008, such candidate will likely get my vote, even at the expense of domestic concerns. That is, if I will be convinced that this person will make a good war time leader. But, as I said, it is unlikely. There is, however, one potential Democratic candidate who possesses certain ruthlessness necessary for fighting a war. The problem with that candidate is that she cannot be trusted. I am talking, of course, about Hillary. She will do whatever is politically expedient for her. And if fighting the war the way it should be fought is politically expedient, she will be a war fighter. But she will do what is necessary for the wrong reason. But in the end, it does not matter why she would do what needs to be done. I am saying all this not because I all of a sudden became a supporter of Hillary Clinton. She will never get my vote. As I said, she can’t be trusted. However, if she does become President, which is a distinct possibility, not everything is lost. We simply have to shape the public opinion in such a way that she is forced to do what is necessary, even if it is for the wrong reason. We will suffer domestically because of her socialist policies, but it will not matter, as long as it does not interfere with the war effort.
To summarize, we need a leader who will be honest enough to say: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” We need someone who can be blunt and tell it like it is: “We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and suffering.” We need a leader who can explain our policy in very simple terms: “You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.” Finally, we need someone who can summarize our goals thus: “You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.” Yes, I am dreaming about someone like Winston Churchill becoming our President. There is always hope.
Originally posted on
HARTFORD, Conn. –Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday repeated his pledge to caucus with Senate Democrats when the 110th Congress convenes in January, but refused to slam the door on possibly moving to the Republican side of the aisle.
“I’m not ruling it out but I hope I don’t get to that point,” he said. “And I must say — and with all respect to the Republicans who supported me in Connecticut — nobody ever said, ‘We’re doing this because we want you to switch over. We want you to do what you think is right and good for our state and country,’ and I appreciate that.”
Ronald Reagan used to say: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party left me”. Senator Lieberman will have to say: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party threw me out”. At this point he was the last sane member of the Democratic Party. I do hope that this once great party will be able to get its sanity back, so that we can have some real choice by the time of next elections. I am not holding my breath, though.
Originally posted on