Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Another appeasement attempt by Israel

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.

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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.

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Got another one!

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.

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Another watered down useless resolution on the race to the next world war

From Fox News:

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.
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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.

Nothing new here. The Russians will wake up when the “Chechen Freedom Fighters” will explode a nuke in Moscow.

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wishing “Happy Hanukkah” to a jihadi

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.

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Good Muslims, good Germans, good Russians etc.

My friend Rurik of Old War Dogs, an author and historian, wrote an excellent piece:

…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.

December 23, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment