Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kindly Advice For Jihadis

A good open letter in The American Thinker.

Some highlights (but do read the whole piece):

I suspect that you have found recent events in Lebanon rather disconcerting. One of your leaders, Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezb’allah, is quoted as saying:

“We did not think, even one percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not, for humanitarian, moral, social, security, military and political reasons. Neither I, Hezb’allah, prisoners in Israeli jails nor the families of the prisoners would accept it.”

Your traditional strategy, of using terrorist tactics while counting on your enemies to adhere to the rules of diplomacy and formal warfare, doesn’t seem to be working any more.

What you have really done, by past decades of terrorism, is open a Pandora’s Box of horrors that may ultimately harm you and your people more than anyone else. This toughening of the tactics of Western powers is merely an example of Magruder’s Law that:

“Combat inevitably sinks to the lowest common denominator of the combatants. If you like to wrestle in the mud and your opponent likes to gouge out eyes, then sooner or later you will both be eye-gouging in the mud.”


[A]lready in Iraq, there have been isolated ugly incidents that indicate that the patience of the US forces may be wearing thin. Although you may think that this will be to your advantage, you are mistaken. You don’t want escalation when dealing with an enemy with our resources, resolution, and (as cited above) our penchant for delayed but massive “disproportionate” retaliation.

You seem to have forgotten that the basic purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, to make your enemy cower, panic, and flee. Thus, successful terrorism is always a conspicuous exception to Magruder’s Law. On the other hand, when terrorism does not frighten the enemy but makes him more angry, the consequent escalation may be more than the terrorist bargained for and may work to his downfall—especially if his resources are inferior to those of his enemy.


[T]here are signs that you may try to employ this suicidal procedure against the United States. I am particularly alarmed by the recent news that Iran has been trying to acquire cesium, for the obvious purpose of instigating some sort of radioisotope terrorist atrocity. Bear in mind that you are planning such an attack against the biggest nuclear power in the world and the only one that has actually used nuclear weapons against an enemy. The only thing that restrained us during the Cold War, aside from fear of reprisal, was a mutually agreed upon taboo. If an Islamic power violates that taboo and uses nuclear weapons against the US, what form do you think our retaliation will take? And how “proportionate” do you think it will be?

Is that what you really want? Does the prospect of your wives and children becoming martyrs of Jihad fill you with joy? If so, then I suppose I have nothing more to say. But if you are expecting the U.S. to continue to exercise Judeo-Christian restraint and compassion in response to your attacks, then according your own accusations, you are wrong. If what you have been saying about our degeneracy is true; then we are no longer a morally restrained Judeo-Christian nation. If most of us are, as you claim, hedonistic materialists, then we are just as capable of vengeance and cruelty as you are.

I do not mean this as a threat, but as an urgent warning. I am trying to make you realize that you—and your families—are at the edge of a slope, a steep muddy slope that slides down irreversibly into an unthinkably horrible pit in which the people of Islam may ultimately perish.

Your Thinking That It Is Easy To Drive Me To It Drove Me To It

Not a helpful attitude:

Here's a fascinating glimpse into the mind of a 19 year-old Muslim beauty queen in Britain:

The first Muslim to be crowned Miss England has warned that stereotyping members of her community is leading some towards extremism.

...She said: "The attitude towards Muslims has got worse over the year. Also the Muslims' attitude to British people has got worse.

"Even moderate Muslims are turning to terrorism to prove themselves. They think they might as well support it because they are stereotyped anyway. It will take a long time for communities to start mixing in more.

In all fairness to Ms. Kohistani, she did get elected for her looks, not her brains. But, let's set that aside for just a moment and look at her line of reasoning.

"Even moderate Muslims are turning to terrorism to prove themselves. They think they might as well support it because they are stereotyped anyway."

So, because they're stereotyped as terrorists, they're turning to terrorism and what -- proving the stereotype is spot-on? Worse yet, if "moderate" Muslims are turning into terrorists, then doesn't that mean that even "moderate" Muslims can't be trusted?

I'm sure there are Muslims all over Britain right now going, "Thank you for the kind words, no, no, really. Thank you. But, could you move on to world peace or saving Africa or some other topic please? No, no, you did just fine, but we'll take it from here, Ok?"

PS: If Ms. Kohistani or any other Muslim wants to do something about the perception -- the growing perception I might add -- that Muslims are sympathetic to terrorism, then there's a very obvious thing that can be done. Condemn terrorists and terrorism at every opportunity. Condemn Al-Qaeda, condemn Hamas, Condemn Hezbollah. Call them what they are: despicable, evil, monstrous. When there's a terrorist attack in Europe, Israel, Russia -- it really doesn't matter where it happens -- don't make excuses, don't try to shift the blame -- unconditionally condemn the people responsible. If a lot more Muslims were to start doing that on a regular basis, they'd find that a lot of the ill will and suspicion cast towards Muslims would start to evaporate in short order.

To Hell With Jiffy Lube, Then

The NBC affiliate in LA did a three month investigative report on Jiffy Lube. You've got to see this very well produced video segment. The reporters made use of many miniature hidden cameras placed about the vehicle, proving that paid for work was not being done. Pure fraud at many different store locations (5 out of 9!). Includes confrontations with the store managers, and a district manager who lies about his own identity. Busted.

The KNBC web page has more background about the story (looks like the story ran last April or May) here.

Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the report are available on YouTube here. Is this company being run by Tony Soprano and friends? Or even worse, Reuters?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Class. Some People Got It, And Some People Don't.

The Anchoress looks at the way a couple of different well-known guys handled going to Mass as non Catholics. It's not like this is arcane rocket science. The inside cover of every Catholic Missalette found in the pews explains the proper etiquette. Surely someone in the previous Administration could have done the research.

You Pretend To Show Me Diversity, And I'll Pretend To Celebrate

Honesty through and through:

YOU'RE A publisher of children's textbooks, and you have a problem. Your diversity guidelines -- quotas in all but name -- require you to include pictures of disabled children in your elementary and high school texts, but it isn't easy to find handicapped children who are willing and able to pose for a photographer. Kids confined to wheelchairs often suffer from afflictions that affect their appearance, such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. How can you meet your quota of disability images if you don't have disabled models who are suitably photogenic?

Well, you can always do what Houghton Mifflin does. The well-known textbook publisher keeps a wheelchair on hand as a prop and hires able-bodied children from a modeling agency to pose in it. It keeps colorful pairs of crutches on hand, too -- in case a child model turns out to be the wrong size for the wheelchair.

Houghton Mifflin's ploy was recently described by reporter Daniel Golden in a Wall Street Journal story on the lengths to which publishers go to get images of minorities and the disabled into grade-school textbooks. A Houghton Mifflin spokesman claimed that able-bodied models are presented as handicapped only as a last resort. But according to one of the company's regular photographers, the deception is the norm. At least three-fourths of the children portrayed as disabled in Houghton Mifflin textbooks actually aren't, she told Golden. In fact, publishers have to keep track of all the models they use for such pictures, so that a child posing as disabled in one chapter isn't shown running or climbing a tree in another.

Faked photos of handicapped kids are just one of the ways in which truth is sacrificed on the altar of diversity. The cofounder of PhotoEdit Inc., a commercial archive that specializes in pictures of what it calls ``ethnic and minority people in all walks of life," advises publishers that images of Chicanos can be passed off as American Indians from the Southwest, because they ``look very similar." Similarly, Golden notes, a textbook photographer tells clients that since the ``facial features" of some Asians resemble Indians from Mexico, ``there are some times where you can flip-flop." [Well, you know, they all look alike to me]

Yet pictures of authentic Hispanics who happen to have blond hair or blue eyes don't count toward the Hispanic quota ``because their background would not be apparent to readers." In other words, rather than expose schoolchildren to the fact that ``Hispanic" is an artificial classification that encompasses people of every color, publishers promote the fiction that all Hispanics look the same -- and that looks, not language or lineage, are the essence of Hispanic identity.


It isn't only when it comes to texts that diversity has led to dishonesty, or even to the manipulation of photos. In 2000, the University of Wisconsin at Madison featured a group of students cheering at a football game on the cover of its admissions brochure. One of those students was Diallo Shabazz, a black senior who hadn't been at the game. University officials, desperately wanting the new publication to reflect a diverse student body, had lifted Diallo's image from somewhere else and digitally inserted it into the football shot. ``Our intentions were good," Madison's director of university publications said when the deception was exposed, ``but our methods were bad."

But the ``good" intentions of the diversity crusaders cannot be separated from bad methods they resort to, whether those methods involve racial quotas in admissions and hiring, the assignment of schoolchildren on the basis of color, or photographic fakery that puts healthy kids in wheelchairs. By reducing ``diversity" to something as shallow and meaningless as appearance, they reinforce the most dehumanizing stereotypes of all -- those that treat people first and foremost as members of racial, ethnic, or social groups. Far from acknowledging the genuine complexity and variety of human life, the diversity dogmatists deny it. Is it any wonder that their methods so often lead to unhappy and unhealthy results?

Ephesians 5 Is A Hard Saying. Who Can Accept It?

I went to Mass at an out-of-town Church last Sunday and experienced some of what Mark Shea is talking about here. Shea links to Dale Price, and to a piece that Shea wrote earlier. Both are worth reading.

It was amazing to witness at Mass all the hemming and hawing about Eph 5, combined with self-congratulatory acceptance of the "hard saying" part of Jn 6. And all with no consciousness for the complete irony of the situation.

Chesterton Quote

Via Mark Shea:

Since the modern world began in the sixteenth century, nobody's system of philosophy has really corresponded to everybody's sense of reality: to what, if left to themselves, common men would call common sense. Each started with a paradox: a peculiar point of view demanding the sacrifice of what they would call a sane point of view. That is the one thing common to Hobbes and Hegel, to Kant and Bergson. to Berkeley and William James. A man had to believe something that no normal man would believe, if it were suddenly propounded to his simplicity; as that law is above right, or right is outside reason, or things are only as we think them, or everything is relative to a reality that is not there. The modern philosopher claims, like a sort of confidence man, that if once we will grant him this, the rest will be easy; he will straighten out the world, if once he is allowed to give this one twist to the mind.

IMHO, the problem with modern philosophy is that it treats necessary axioms (free will, reason, the knowable existence of objective reality, etc) as if they should be provable conclusions. Failing to find a way to prove the unprovable axioms (which are yet knowable by any sane person), modern philosophy rejects the axioms, landing it in a morass of utter confusion (and irrelevance).

And Now For Something Completely Different


Good Dalrymple Quotes

Via Jay Nordlinger:

Dalrymple, like Steyn, writes truth so effortlessly, his prose takes on the character of aphorism. For example, in his Updike piece, we find this: “In the current climate, you can’t fail as a minority: you can only be failed by others.”

And, “It is not the personal that is political, but the political that is personal. People with unusually thin skins ascribe the small insults, humiliations, and setbacks consequent upon human existence to vast and malign political forces; and, projecting their own suffering onto the whole of mankind, conceive of schemes, usually involving violence, to remedy the situation that has so wounded them.” [As a former angry leftist, I can absolutely testify to this]

Yes. And how about this? “One might have expected [Joseph Conrad] to have sympathized with extremists of almost any stripe, but he understood only too well that those who opposed tyranny by terrorism objected not so much to tyranny as such but to the fact that it was not they who were exercising it.”

And, “The crude nostrums of Islamism rush in where the Enlightenment fears to tread.” (Trust me, in context, you will see that this is perfect.)

Finally, oil — Dalrymple beautifully lays to rest the canard that Westerners exploit Arabs for their oil. This claim, on the part of Arabs, “is not merely self-serving; it is patently absurd. If anything, the direction of the exploitation has been precisely the opposite, for merely by virtue of their fortunate geographical location, and with scarcely any effort on their part, the people of the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere have enjoyed a high standard of living thanks entirely to the ingenuity of those whom they accuse of exploitation and without whom the oil resource would not be an economic resource at all.” [yup. It makes zero sense for barbarians who make war on us to be allowed to control our oil, and I expect that eventually, they will not be allowed to continue to do so. We will achieve energy independence by seizing the oil, until the barbarians learn to behave. We are reasonable people, after all]

In The Interests Of Prudence And Comity, Theists Really Ought To Shut Their Pie Holes

Seems to be the position of Heather MacDonald, a generally excellent conservative thinker and writer. In a very good essay, Michael Pakaluk explains why she is off track.

Begetting The Next Generation "Certainly Not Essential"

Maggie Gallagher reflects on a recent Newsweek cover story:

What lies "beyond babies"?

That's the question Newsweek raises in its latest cover story on the looming depopulation crisis in Europe and Asia. But Newsweek (I kid you not) says it means "good things for restaurants and real estate":

"Powerful social and religious taboos (in Greece) labeled childless women as barren spinsters, and cast suspicion on the sexual preferences of single, middle-aged men. No longer. In the space of a generation, that tight social corset has largely vanished, thanks to an array of factors, including better education and job options for women and Greece's entry into the cultural mainstream of the European Union. The result: a marriage rate below the EU average, and a birthrate among the world's lowest, at 1.3 per woman."

So Newsweek tries to stuff perhaps the biggest story of our time -- the sudden collapse of childbearing to below-replacement levels in virtually every free, democratic and affluent nation on this Earth -- into a happy tale of a new generation's lifestyle liberation from that old ugly "social corset" of marriage and family...

The Newsweek article may be read here.

It begins:

Sept. 4, 2006 issue - At the fashionable Da Capo cafe on bustling Kolonaki Square in downtown Athens, Greek professionals in their 30s and early 40s luxuriate over iced cappuccinos. Their favorite topic of conversation is, of course, relationships: men's reluctance to commit, women's independence, and when to have children—or, increasingly, whether to have them at all. "With the years passing my chances of having a child go down," says Eirini Petropoulou, a 37-year-old administrative assistant at the Associated Press news agency. "But I won't marry anyone just to have a child." She loves her work and gets her social sustenance from her parea, or close-knit group of like-minded friends, who increasingly play the role of family for young Greeks. "If at 45 I'm still childless, I'll consider having a child on my own," she says. But it's not as if her sense of personal fulfillment depends on it.

Just a few decades ago, Petropoulou and her friends might have been considered, well, odd. Greece was known as one of Europe's most traditional societies, where the Orthodox Church's strict commandment to marry and multiply held sway. Powerful social and religious taboos labeled childless women as barren spinsters, and cast suspicion on the sexual preferences of single, middle-aged men. No longer. In the space of a generation, that tight social corset has largely vanished, thanks to an array of factors, including better education and job options for women and Greece's entry into the cultural mainstream of the European Union. The result: a marriage rate below the EU average, and a birthrate among the world's lowest, at 1.3 per woman. To young Greeks like Petropoulou, babies are great—if the timing is right. But they're certainly not essential...

Well, it does sound good for restaurants and real estate. Even better, it means less people suffering under violently imposed Sharia law. And don't we owe that to our kids?

Good Questions

From the Cornell Daily Sun:

In the 1970’s, university administrators became increasingly concerned by the marginalization of certain minority groups on their campuses. At a time when female and African-American intellectuals were beginning to demand that their voices be heard, they had no arena in which they could do so. In response to this situation, schools soon developed women’s studies and Africana studies departments. Universities across the country took affirmative action to ensure that every point of view had ample opportunity to be heard. In much the same way as in the 70’s, another ideological minority is being shut out today: conservatives. Perhaps it is now time for a different kind of affirmative action, the affirmation of the majority, which has become the minority on college campuses.

In order to avoid offending any one minority group, the majority is often censored. It is not acceptable to proclaim that you disagree with same-sex marriage on moral grounds, since you may hurt the feelings of gay rights activists. It is not OK to state that God created the world, as outlined in Genesis, because then you might be stepping on the toes of the atheists. It is not all right to talk about Jesus being the Son of God, because then you are infringing on the rights of the Jewish community. It is not all right to support the Iraq war, because then you would most definitely be accosting the sacred liberalism that runs rampant on Cornell’s campus.

But what about my views? What about my rights? Why, because I hold a majority opinion, should my ideas be shot down as uneducated sheep-like behavior? Higher education, in order to protect those with minority opinions and views, has in essence marginalized the mainstream. What happened when the Class of 2006 graduated and found themselves out of the liberal Cornell bubble and in the very conservative United States of America? Without any exposure to conservative ideas for the last four years, were they able to assimilate successfully? Or did they maintain their ignorant superiority and try to convince Republican leaders that higher taxes really are the way to save the world?

Why is it forbidden then, to educate students from all walks of life in all walks of life? Why can’t a Muslim take a class on Christianity, and hear a real Christian explaining his or her faith? Why must religion classes at Cornell be taught by atheists and others who do not understand the fundamental principles of the religious community due to their lack of faith? Why don’t we switch the faculty of the nanotechnology department with that of the art department and see what happens. If that doesn’t make sense, then why is it not a problem for your biology professor to start enumerating the many faults of President Bush in the middle of a discussion on mollusks?


At a school like Cornell, where diversity holds such a sacred place in our community, where special housing is offered for life style groups such as the Ecology House and JAM, where red arches have dotted campus, proclaiming diversity, where specific training is given to OLs and RAs so that they can sensitively discuss different ideas on our campus, how can such a large group of students, with such strong convictions, be so marginalized? Why is it that conservatives have been forced to wear the scarlet letter? Ezra Cornell once famously said, “I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study.” How has it become that “any person” does not include conservatives? And how has it become that “any study” does not encompass the ideas and ideologies of the majority?

Are administrators afraid of ideas that are different than theirs? Are they trying to avoid lawsuits from rich liberal alumni? Is it due to the lack of presence of conservative faculty? Or does the higher echelon of campus administrators really just want to make life difficult for those who think for themselves? As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought — not free thought for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

How True

Glenn Reynolds, in a short post quoting the foreign minister of Australia's criticism of "dishonest" war reporting (which generated a typical "leave the press alone" complaint):

If any other industry were doing as much public harm by producing a similarly substandard product, the press would be screaming for the government to take action.

Wallowing In Ignorance And A Smug Sense Of Superiority, An MSM Reporter Will Fall For Just About Anything

David Frum has a letter from a combat pilot:

Aug. 29, 2006: More About Those Fake Photos...

A reader writes:

Take it from someone who's fired the Maverick, if it had hit those ambulances the crowd would be standing in a hole, not in the vehicle. The later models are so destructive we have to set aside targets on the Nellis ranges for them. Once hit, armored vehicles are in pieces, light skinned vehicles are shredded/vaporized and just about everything else is so completely, um, disassembled that it not longer is big enough to serve as a useful aiming reference/ target. The Hellfire is smaller but the penetration and blast renders commercial vehicles unrecognizable.

You know what the biggest problem is? War and the tools of war, tactics and even the simplest combat concepts are now so unfamiliar, no, utterly unknown, to the folks reporting it that the latter's manipulation is easy. Couple this with their professional cynicism and it becomes inevitable.

UPDATE: Michelle Malkin has more background on ambulance fraud (HotAir vblog).

Monday, August 28, 2006

Great Photos

Some stunning closeups.

Here are just a few:

Image Hosted by

Image Hosted by

Excellent Progress

Right Wing News:

"...(O)n the eve of the 2004 election, an election dominated by “moral values” voters (despite what some have written), fully 42% of Americans saw the Democrat Party as “friendly toward religion.”

Of course, the Dems got walloped in 2004, largely because they were so remarkably out-of-step with the values of those “values voters”. The Dems then embarked on a remarkable propaganda campaign designed to “take back the faith” from religious conservatives. This effort was led by people like Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and … well, you get the picture.

The campaign was a flop. One year later, after all this posturing, the percentage of Americans who viewed the Dems as “religion friendly” plummeted to 29%.

Another campaign seemed to pick up; this one more serious. Genuine liberal Christians like Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo took the reigns of the religious left movement from out of the hands of the blowhard politicians. As Steve Waldman has written in Slate, “A week doesn’t seem to pass without some group convening a conference on religion and liberalism.”

… And the percentage of Americans who viewed the Dems as a “religion friendly” party fell again! This time to 26%."

-- Patrick Hynes

The Swedish Example


One of the joys of my working life is that I get to read papers like "The State of Working America" from the Economic Policy Institute. They are, as you may know, the people who urge that the USA become more like the European countries, most especially the Scandinavian ones. Less income inequality, more leisure time, stronger unions and so on. All good stuff from a particular type of liberal and progressive mindset -- i.e. that society must be managed to produce the outcome that technocrats believe society really desires, rather than an outcome the actual members of society prove they desire by building it.

I will admit that I do find it odd the way that only certain parts of the, say, Swedish, "miracle" are held up as ideas for us to copy. Wouldn't it be interesting if we were urged to adopt some other Swedish policies? Abolish inheritance tax (Sweden doesn't have one), have a pure voucher scheme to pay for the education system (as Sweden does), do not have a national minimum wage (as Sweden does not) and most certainly do not run the health system as a national monolith (as Sweden again does not). But then those policies don't accord with the liberal and progressive ideas in the USA so perhaps their being glossed over is understandable, eh?


To start with, they make some adjustments to the usual measures of the income of a nation, the GDP, by adjusting for different price levels. This gives us the so called Purchasing Power Parity numbers (PPP) and the USA is set as being 100 on the scale. Only one of the advanced industrial nations has a greater income per capita, Norway, at 105. Given that Norway gets some 20% of its GDP from pumping oil and gas out from beneath the North Sea and is, thus, almost a petro-state, it would be fair to say that the USA is, in fact, the large country with the highest income per head in the world without depleting its natural capital. Good, so far something we knew already.

We're also told on page 6 that if we look at the average of the countries studied without the USA and compare that to the USA's performance, that income growth rates are higher in the USA. 1.8% to 1.9% in 1989-2000, and 1.1% to 1.3% in 2000-2004. So not only richer but getting even richer faster, as well.


"The U.S. average from 2000 to 2005 was 1.7%, well above the OECD average of 0.7% in real compensation growth. Four countries fared better than the United States, most notably Norway with 2.3% growth. Note also that Germany had negative real compensation growth from 2000-05."


Ah, but, we can always find something nasty in the woodpile. The US has the most unequal distribution of income of all the countries studied.

Now if the equality of income distribution is something you worry about this is of course a troubling fact. It is what leads to the statement that while the US might be richer, the poor do worse, that in fact the poor in America are worse off than the poor in Europe. Which leads us to this highly informative little picture.


How we're supposed to read this is that the USA has a very uneven income distribution, that the poorest 10% only get 39% of the median income, that the richest 10% get 210%. Compare and contrast that with the most egalitarian society amongst those studied, Finland, where the rich get 111% and the poor get 38%. Shown this undoubted fact we are therefore to don sackcloth and ashes, promise to do better and tax the heck out of everybody to rectify this appalling situation.

But hang on a minute, that's not quite what is being shown. In the USA the poor get 39% of the US median income and in Finland (and Sweden) the poor get 38% of the US median income. It's not worth quibbling over 1% so let's take it as read that the poor in America have exactly the same standard of living as the poor in Finland (and Sweden). Which is really a rather revealing number don't you think? All those punitive tax rates, all that redistribution, that blessed egalitarianism, the flatter distribution of income, leads to a change in the living standards of the poor of precisely ... nothing.


As I said above I'm sure this isn't quite what the EPI actually wanted to tell us. But there it is, from their own report. Which is why I rather enjoy my working life -- sad case that I am -- because I get to read all those reports that really don't tell us what the authors think they are telling us.

It's also my understanding that for whatever reason (and I can't imagine what that might be), US poverty statistics don't count as income all of the assistance received by the poor. So, effectively, even when they're getting plenty of help, they're counted as getting no help at all. Nice.

The Shameful End Of A Ludicrous Diversion

Mark Levin succinctly sums up Plamegate:

The more I think about this Fitzgerald investigation, the more astonished I become. Richard Armitage was Bob Novak's "source" — i.e., he identified Valerie Plame — which, incidentally, is clearly not a crime and Armitage has not been charged with any offense. And prosecutors knew Armitage was the "source" almost immediately after beginning their investigation because Armitage confessed. Indeed, when he thought he may have done something wrong, he appears to have cried on many shoulders. Armitage told his boss, Colin Powell, that he was the source, as well as other State Department and Justice Department officials. He told the Special Counsel's people. And not one of them — Armitage, Powell, Patrick Fitzgerald, et al. — had the guts or integrity to tell the public that the original source was Armitage. Why were they protecting him from public scrutiny? By their silence, Armitage and Powell allowed two innocent men, Lewis Libby and Karl Rove, to be smeared as speculation about them being Novak's original source ran rampant. Liberal commentators and politicians had a blast. The truth be damned.

I also believe two things are very apparent. First, the media like Armitage and Powell. They've been great anti-Bush sources over the years. They run in the same social circles in Washington. So, many in the media protected Armitage and Powell. Not until later, when Bob Woodward had to come forward and admit that Armitage had also fingered Plame to him, did it become more difficult for the media to continue to cover-up for their favorite Bush administration officials.

Second, Fitzgerald's investigation is a sham. That's right, a sham. He knew several things early on: 1. Armitage was the original source; 2. disclosing Plame's identity was not a crime; and 3. the investigation was launched due to political pressure from Capitol Hill, especially Chuck Schumer (who was working with Joe Wilson, and who is also the head of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee). Rather than put an end to this, Fitzgerald appears to have enjoyed the spotlight and adulation from the president's opponents, pursuing "the case" as if he were chasing mobsters or terrorists. He sought and received from his long-time friend, James Comey, extraordinary authority which Fitzgerald used to put pressure on reporters and news organizations as he widened his investigation in pursuit of anyone who might have revealed Plame's name. But to what end? That's not a crime in itself. To catch officials in memory lapses or — to be charitable to prosecutors — false statements or perjury? You don't conduct investigations to catch people in lies. You conduct investigations to uncover or expose crimes and punish those who are responsible. Meanwhile, the president's top advisor sat in the dock, waiting for word whether he'd be indicted, during a good portion of the administration. Only a few months ago did Fitzgerald finally inform Rove that he was in the clear.

The fact is that there was never an underlying crime, period. Yet, as I wrote at the time, many of Fitzgerald's comments at his press conference, at which he announced the Libby indictment, were wildly deceiving. The indictment had nothing to do with any underlying crime. This entire enterprise is disgraceful, from beginning to end.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

You Gotta Like Hitchens

Details here. The WMV clip is very high quality.

UPDATE: The twelve minutes available here are definitely worth watching to see Hitchens in action against Maher, Cleland, and an audience full of leftwing yahoos.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Real Shock And Awe

This letter to the editor was in the print edition of the August 21 Weekly Standard:


REGARDING Christopher Hitchens's "Scorched Earth" (July 31): The real consequence of an indiscriminate bombing campaign was the changing of the German (and Japanese) mind after 1945. As a German born and raised in Hamburg, I am pretty sure that the air campaign extinguished German romantic militarism.

The bombing bore two lessons for generations to come: First, those who did not prevent Hitler from rising to power in 1933 perished along with the Nazis--a lesson that made Germans very wary of extremist parties in statu nascendi ever since. Second, the war came home to German women, instead of being fought merely in the trenches. As such, for the first time since the Thirty Years' War, the female half of Germany drew on firsthand experiences when cautioning against militaristic slogans. In the years following 1918 that had not been the case, resulting in young Germans falling prey to heroic tales the Nazis were telling them about Langemarck and Verdun.

After 1945, it was different. I have known many Hamburg citizens who could not stand a cozy fireplace any longer, even decades later, for the terror of the fire bombing made a fireplace unbearable to them. The reply an American general gave to a reporter in March 1945 when asked why the Allies bombed small cities with no strategic value has turned out to hold true: We want Germany to remember for a hundred years the consequences of waging war against us.

It is, I might cautiously add, an experience that our present enemies are missing. A strategy that makes allied soldiers and pilots tiptoe and hop around mosques and kindergartens is a very humane and sensitive one. It might, though, fail to drive home a lesson that Japanese and Germans learned the brutal way: Citizens who do not care about what their neighbor does, citizens who do not rise to the occasion when there is time to do so, will pay dearly for it. Terrorists hiding among the populace count on precisely such complacency.

In Germany and Japan, the allied bombing campaign made it clear to everyone that missing courage may not be a means of getting out of the way; to the contrary, it may draw those who do not stand up against megalomaniacal hotheads into the abyss as well. That is a lesson the Allied warplanes, amidst their bombs, pounded the Germans and Japanese with, and though I hate to admit it, given the sacrifices of those who did not favor the wars of Hitler or Hirohito, it did indeed work.

Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Here's What I Was Seeing At 9:35 Tonight

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My commercial pilot rating requires 5 solo hours of night flight, which includes 10 takeoffs and landings at a tower-controlled airport. So I took off from Palo Alto and did 10 laps over at San Jose International. First time I've piloted a plane at night without an instructor aboard! Picture above is the pilot's view of the Palo Alto runway at night (not taken by me; I found it via google. Page it's from is an interesting training diary with lots of photos).

You May Say I'm A Dreamer, But I'm Not The Only One

In this column, Michelle Malkin addresses the following recent example of corporate foolishness:

Dear High Fashion Cosmetics Manufacturers:

I want you to know that I am a conservative woman who shares something in common with your millions of treasured liberal female consumers: the need for a quality skin-care regimen. Perhaps this comes as a shock to you, but conservative women also suffer chapped lips, rough elbows, undereye circles and ragged cuticles. (I speak with Absolute Authority on this.) The quest for a good moisturizer transcends partisan politics. Our money is green, like everyone else's. Oh, and we have feelings, too.

So when corporate boneheads in your industry (such as the ones at MAC Cosmetics) hire left-wing celebrities (such as offend-a-holic Sandra Bernhard) to hawk lip-plumping products by hurling epithets at us (such as "little freaked out, intimidated, frightened, right-wing Republican thin-lipped bitch"), we are not just going to roll over like tubes of mascara across a make-up counter...

It's a good piece. The part I really liked is her subtle sendup of the famous John Lennon tune:

Can you imagine how much more militant the offended Muslim response would have been if Burger King and Nike had gone out of their way -- as MAC did -- to hire someone to deliberately provoke a significant portion of their customer base? Imagine riots and burning buildings and fatwas. It's easy if you try.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Fable

How peace is made.

Tha fable begins:

This brief blog entry takes you through a series of negotiations over time between peacemakers and terrorists:

A peacemaker walks up to the left side of a line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker introduces himself. The terrorist kills him.

A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker asks, "why did you kill my friend?" The terrorist kills him and rapes his wife.

A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker says, "Stop that!" The terrorist kills him, rapes his daughter and kills his wife.

A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker says, "I'll pay you $1000 if you stop attacking us." The terrorist agrees to the deal, takes the $1000, and kills him.

A peacemaker walks up to the left side of the line. A terrorist walks up to the right side of the line. The peacemaker appeals to the United Nations. The United Nations says the peacemaker is at fault. The terrorist kills him...

More follows.

Not A Whole Lot Of Votes Amid The Aborted And Never Conceived

It turns out that the selfish shall not inherit the earth. An OpinionJournal piece examines the liberals' failure to reproduce.


On the political left, raising the youth vote is one of the most common goals. This implicitly plays to the tired old axiom that a person under 30 who is not a liberal has no heart (whereas one who is still a liberal after 30 has no head). The trouble is, while most "get out the vote" campaigns targeting young people are proxies for the Democratic Party, these efforts haven't apparently done much to win elections for the Democrats. The explanation we often hear from the left is that the new young Democrats are more than counterbalanced by voters scared up by the Republicans on "cultural issues" like abortion, gun rights and gay marriage.

But the data on young Americans tell a different story. Simply put, liberals have a big baby problem: They're not having enough of them, they haven't for a long time, and their pool of potential new voters is suffering as a result. According to the 2004 General Social Survey, if you picked 100 unrelated politically liberal adults at random, you would find that they had, between them, 147 children. If you picked 100 conservatives, you would find 208 kids. That's a "fertility gap" of 41%. Given that about 80% of people with an identifiable party preference grow up to vote the same way as their parents, this gap translates into lots more little Republicans than little Democrats to vote in future elections. Over the past 30 years this gap has not been below 20%--explaining, to a large extent, the current ineffectiveness of liberal youth voter campaigns today.


Democratic politicians may have no more babies left to kiss.

The article contains this nice crybaby explanation from a liberal:

As one liberal columnist in a major paper graphically put it, "Maybe the scales are tipping to the neoconservative, homogenous right in our culture simply because they tend not to give much of a damn for the ramifications of wanton breeding and environmental destruction and pious sanctimony, whereas those on the left actually seem to give a whit for the health of the planet and the dire effects of overpopulation." It would appear liberals have been quite successful controlling overpopulation--in the Democratic Party.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Actually, In An Ideal World, You Would Have The Right To Be Seen And Not Heard

Ace Of Spades links to a "Children's Bill Of Rights" (PDF), created in progressive Portland, OR. Supposedly written by the kids, but it reads like the typical leftist manifesto. In addition to demanding free access to everything under the sun (nutrition, support for hobbies and sports, healthcare, housing, etc, etc), it contains this little gem:

"Employment: We are entitled to any funds that we earn."

Thanks, young-uns, for showing us that you really can have it all.


This cartoon:

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Things Ain't All Bad

Ralph Peters:

[W]hat on earth might give us cause for hope?

* Israel's recent defeat, for one thing. Yes, you read that right. The truth is that Israel got a relatively cheap, if embarrassing, wake-up call. And Israel's a part of Western civilization, not of the Middle East's decaying cultures. That means that Israel doesn't just wallow in blame - like Americans, Israelis figure out what went wrong and then fix it. After the post-war soul-searching and investigations are finished, failed leaders will be replaced and Israel will re-emerge with a renewed sense of mission, a stronger government and a powerfully reformed military - the next time the IDF goes to war, watch the way it devastates its enemies.

* The "unity of Muslims" confronting the West is history (it was always a bogus, ramshackle affair). Sunni-Arab leaders increasingly grasp that the real threat isn't from the United States or Israel, but from the explosion of Shia ambitions, prowess, wealth and desire for vengeance. The future of the Middle East could go a number of ways, but we may find ourselves as bemused spectators, while our sworn enemies and phony friends kill each other. Afterward, we'll pick up the pieces.

* Iraq still could muddle through - but even if it doesn't, our stock in the region is headed up, not down. The paradox is that a future civil war between Iraq's Sunnis and Shias makes our military protection more essential than ever to the effete Gulf emirates and the cowardly Saudis. Avoid linear analysis and reflexive predictions of doom for American interests: The Middle East will always do more harm to its natives than it does to foreign powers. Human beings may hate a distant enemy in theory, but they generally prefer to kill their neighbors.

* Terrorist groups with global aspirations continue to pursue grand, counterproductive gestures rather than effective actions. Plots to blow up a series of airliners, lesser strikes on subways or trains in the West and even the eventual "big one" they'll pull off won't convince the West to surrender. Despite intermittent left-wing lunacy, our debates and disagreements are about how best to solve the problem - not how to capitulate. Bit by bit, the Western mood is turning from disbelief regarding the "terrorist threat" to hard-knuckled realism about extremist Islam. 9/11 taught the terrorists little of use and many wrong lessons. It may be hard for some of us to discern what's really happening, but the Islamists are resurrecting a militant, ruthless West.

The florid American master of horror fiction, H. P. Lovecraft, warned his characters, "Do not raise up what ye cannot put down." Islamist terrorists are reviving the West's thirst for blood. And this time it won't be slaked in Flanders.

Things are going to get uglier east of Suez. And we're going to win.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006

Chilling Comment

Chilling post, with this chilling comment (both by wretchard):

Let me tell a fable. It is precisely two days after nuclear weapons have destroyed New York, London and Sydney. And it is 24 hours after the President of the United States, after consulting with the Prime Ministers of Britain and Australia, has ordered a ten thousand warhead strike on the entire Muslim world, followed a second strike using tailored biological weapons.

At that very moment a famous Washington law firm calls the White House with an important message. An attorney for Osama Bin Laden has been instructed to deliver a video tape to the media upon the event of his death, which now appears certain. The entire situation room staff turns on the television and watches the familiar face, greyer and more lined, deliver a prepared speech in curiously triumphant tones.

"Brothers," he begins. "If you are listening to this then I am already dead and what was formerly known as the Muslim world has been entirely destroyed. I had forseen this response when I put into motion the plan to use our only three atomic weapons."

"Only three?" he continued. "Three was all we could afford. Yet with these few devices we had to ensure not only the destruction of your infidel civilization but the perpetual triumph of the uncorrupted and essential Islam". Looking directly at the camera Osama continued. "You have killed more than a billion people. Some of them were fighters. But most of them were children. Up until your magnificent thermonuclear warheads blossomed above their heads they were going to the market, laughing at their silly entertainments, playing games in fields. And you killed them. Killed them in a moment of fear; a moment which became inevitable because you were not men enough to fight Jihadis with your hands; and who therefore you destroyed with your unearthly weapons."

"Never again can such a people as you enter your churches, recite your prayers, read your literature, or pretend to nobility without knowing that it is all a lie. And the more you pray to your Jesus, to your Buddha, to your Yahweh the more hypocritical you will feel, until you give it up altogether. No, that door is closed to your forever by your own fear, cowardice and evil. The first of my goals, which is the destruction of your infidel civilization at its roots, I have already accomplished."

"And you, my brothers, for I may you call you that, are now my true spiritual heirs. More magnificent than those illiterate fighters I gathered in Afghanistan, who knew nothing of science and technology. And yet as evil -- now -- as any of my pupils have ever been. I have shown you your true selves. I have gathered you to my fold. Your are the new Ummah and you know it. Come to prayer. Come to Islam."

Keep It Up, Jihadis. The Patience Well Is Starting To Go Dry.

Victor Davis Hanson:

A surprised Israel now has a good glimpse of the terrorists’ new way of war, and probably next time will attack the supplier, not the launcher, of the rocketry. And when the Reuters stringers go away, the “civilians” of southern Lebanon, off-camera, might not be so eager to see more real fireworks lighting up their skies — or far-off, pristine Syria and Iran in safety praising the courage of the ruined amid the rubble. Note how Hezbollah already is desperately racing around the craters to assure its homeless constituency that it has enough Iranian cash to buy back lost sympathies.

Even the ceasefire can come back to bite the Islamists and their supporters. Hezbollah won’t be disarmed as promised, much less stay out of Katyusha range of the border. And that defiance will only reveal the impotence of the Lebanese and the U.N., reminding both that they have talked themselves into a corner and now are responsible to keep caged their own pet 7th-century vipers. This can only work to Israel’s favor when the next rockets go off, since no one then will be proposing an “international” solution — although it will be interesting to see whether Jacques Chirac talks of the “nuclear” option once his soldiers begin to be picked off by Hezbollah.

In a larger sense, the foiled London terrorist plot won’t endear either Islamists or their appeasers to millions in the world who face travel delays, cancelled flights, and body searches — on top of paying billions more to the Arab oil producers who in response whine even more in their victimhood.

As the cliché goes: the Middle East needs to wake up and disown Islamic fascism. Otherwise, insidiously the entire world is turning against it, as radical Islam proves to be every bit as frightening an ideology as German Nazism or Soviet Communism — whether this is ascertained from the use of human shields, tribal lynchings and beheadings, Joseph Goebbles-like propaganda, Holocaust-denial, racist rants, or primordial hatred of Jews.

Three years ago no one was talking about profiling at airports. Now the British are exploring how best to do it. Indeed, one of the stranger developments in recent memory is now taking place the world over: Young, Middle-Eastern, Muslim men are eyed and studied by passengers at every airport — even as governments still lecture about the evils of the very profiling that their own millions are doing daily. Muslims can thank al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and an entire culture that won’t condemn terrorism for such ostracism, which only increases with each suicide bomber, human shield, hijacking, kidnapping, and macabre reference to genocide and Jew-killing.

In an amorphous war of self-induced Western restraint, like the present one, truth and moral clarity are as important as military force. This past month, the world of the fascist jihadist and those who tolerate him was once again on display for civilization to fathom. Even the most timid and prone to appeasement in the West are beginning to see that it is becoming a question of “the Islamists or us.”

In this eleventh hour, that is a sort of progress after all.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Monumental Screw Up

Hopefully Israel will learn from the mistakes it made in Round One. Ralph Peters:

August 17, 2006 -- ISRAEL'S rep for toughness in tatters. Hezbollah triumphant. Iran cockier than ever. Syria untouched. Lebanon's government crippled. An orgy of anti-Semitism in the global media. Anti-Americanism exploding among Iraqi Shi'as inspired by Hezbollah.

Thanks, Prime Minister Olmert. Great job, guy.

The debacle in Lebanon wasn't even a war. It was only round one of a war. And Israel's back in its corner, dazed and punch-drunk.

Israel got in a gut jab, but Hezbollah landed three ferocious haymakers:

* Despite the physical damage the Israeli Defense Forces inflicted, Hezbollah's terror-troops were still standing (and firing rockets) when the bell rang.

* At the strategic level, Hezbollah's masterful manipulation of the seduce-me-please media convinced the region's Shi'a and Sunni spectators alike that Hassan Nasrallah is the new Great Arab Hope. He's got a powerful Persian cheering section, too.

* While Israel couldn't plan or execute a winning campaign, it also failed to think beyond the inevitable cease-fire. But Hezbollah did. The terrorists had mapped out precisely what they had to do the moment the shooting stopped: Hand out Iranian money, promise they'll rebuild what Israel destroyed - and simply refuse to honor the terms of the U.N. resolution.

Israel couldn't wait to throw in the towel and start pulling out troops. Then Hezbollah's fighters emerged from the rubble of towns Israeli leaders lacked the courage to conquer - and the number of terror-soldiers who survived shocked the Israelis.


Sucker-punched (well, don't fight with your eyes closed), Israel's complaining to the ref. While staring around in bewilderment.

Want more good news? After finally calling our enemies by the accurate name of "Islamo-fascists," President Bush backtracked so fast the White House lawn was smoking. Then he declared that Israel had won.

That's about as credible as insisting the Titanic docked safe and sound.


The IDF has great combat leaders and brave soldiers. But Hezbollah's boys proved tougher - and we can't pretty it up. The terrorists were willing - even eager - to die for their cause. Israeli leaders dreaded friendly casualties. And IDF troops - except in elite units - lacked the will to close with the enemy and defeat him at close quarters.

Israel tried to fight humanely. Hezbollah was out to win at any cost. The result was inevitable.

On the ground in southern Lebanon, the IDF was able to muster a ten-to-one advantage around contested villages. But its leaders lacked the guts to do what needed to be done. And Hezbollah's frontline fighters survived.

You can't win if you won't fight.

The IDF needs pervasive reform. Still structured to defeat the conventional militaries of Syria and Egypt, it faced an enemy tailored specifically to take on the IDF. Historical reputation isn't enough - the IDF must rebuild itself to take on post-modern threats. As one senior American general put it, "The IDF's been living on fumes since 1967."

Hezbollah cleared the air.

All this is heartbreaking. I wish it were otherwise. I wish I could back up our president's surreal claim that Israel won. I wish Israel had won. I wish it had the leadership the Israeli people deserve.


There will be consequences. Iran's convinced it's on a winning course. Syria got away with murder (literally). And Hezbollah will come back more determined than ever.


And the world is going to let Iran build nuclear weapons.

Get ready for Round Two.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

O, Stone Be Not So

This is good. Weird Al does a sendup of “Subterranean Homesick Blues” using only palindromes. H/T Anchoress.

Unfrozen Caveman Voter

Good TCS column references the famous Phil Hartman skit.


Everywhere we see evidence of the Unfrozen Caveman Voter, and the evidence says that he is getting slowly thawed out. Bill Quick, a well-regarded blogger in California, recently wrote a post excoriating George Bush for not following through with the war's prosecution, asking why we allow two of Bush's "most dangerous regimes," North Korea and Iran, to possess "the world's most dangerous weapons." Tigerhawk, another blogger who writes a great deal about military strategy, recently asked, "What will it take to militarize the West?"

I recently had dinner with a friend, another Marine, who said, "You know, at their basic core, Americans are Type-A, aggressive personalities who want nothing more than to just kick a**!" He's right, and not the first to notice this. General George Patton, in his harangues to his troops, frequently pointed out how different they were from those of other countries:

"Many of you have in your veins German and Italian blood. But remember that these ancestors of yours so loved freedom that they gave up home and country to cross the ocean in search of liberty. The ancestors of the people we shall kill lacked the courage to make such a sacrifice and remained slaves."

And then this,

"We Americans are a competitive race ... We love to win. In this next fight, you are entering the greatest sporting competition of all times. You are competing with Americans and with Allies for the greatest prize of all -- victory."

The Unfrozen Caveman Voter is begging to be released. But at the moment, he is being misread by both national parties, and especially the Democrats. Sure, some people oppose the invasion of Iraq or simply hate George Bush, period. And sure, some people distrust all Muslims and are racists. But the vast majority of America falls in the middle of these extremes. However they think of it now, they thought confronting Iraq was a fine idea, and wish it had gone better, but that doesn't translate at all into defeatism, as it is defined, refined and reiterated in the press. On the contrary, they'd like to see more action, more activity, a seizure of the initiative in some way. Using defensive policework and intelligence measures to catch bad guys before they blow up more aircraft are all fine and well, but the Unfrozen Caveman Voter wants very badly to see more offensive measures too.

Don't caricature this attitude with a desire for more invasions, more nation-building, more regime-change, random airstrikes, or wanton slaughter. It's hard to say just what policy exactly might satisfy the caveman demographic. But really, the Unfrozen Caveman Voter intuits a large portion of the art of warfare: opportunities must be created and then exploited -- or if they come by luck, they must be exploited all the same. And finally, the use of extreme and otherwise intolerable violence is necessary if used in the service of victory.

It's not healthy in our republic for such a large slice of the populace to be unrepresented by any politician. But that is the case today. Soon enough it will change...

I do find it kind of funny that the MSM lefties think that Bush's low approval ratings on the war means we've all become peaceniks. If they were really interested in the truth, I guess they'd be asking more detailed poll questions.

The Foreign Policy Disaster That Is Liberalism

After Harry Truman more than half a century ago, have the liberals been worth the slightest damn on national defense? Kennedy and Johnson and the 70's Democratic Congress gave us defeat in Vietnam. Carter ushered in the Iranian mullocracy. The Arafat-loving Clinton gave us the Oslo delusion in Israel, as well as not keeping his pants on long enough to deal with growing threats to the US. This is all one hell of a pathetic legacy.

Regarding Israel's delusions, we have this excellent piece that I've seen quoted here and there, but now is being republished at FrontPageMag.


In the difficult summer of 2006, the State of Israel is declaring in astonishment: They surprised us. They surprised us in a big way. They surprised us with Katyushas and they surprised us with the Al-Fajr rockets and they surprised us with the Zelzal missiles. They surprised us with anti-tank missiles. And they surprised us with the operational skill of the anti-tank squads. They surprised us with the bunkers and the camouflage. They surprised us with the command and monitoring. They surprised us with strategy, fighting ability and a fighting spirit. They surprised us with the astonishing power that a small death-army with low technology and high religious motivation can have.

However, more than they surprised us in Summer 2006 with the strength of Hezbollah, they surprised us this summer with our own weakness. They surprised us with ourselves. They surprised us with the low level of national leadership. They surprised us with scandalous strategic bumbling. They surprised us with the lack of vision, lack of creativity and lack of determination on the part of the senior military command. They surprised us with faulty intelligence and a delusionary logistical network and improper preparedness for war. They surprised us with the fact that the Israeli war machine is not what it once was. While we were celebrating it became rusty.

Generally it is not right to conduct an in-depth investigation of a wartime failure during a war. However, at the end of the most embarrassing year of Israeli defense since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Israeli government is not drawing conclusions. It is not reorganizing the system, there is no evidence of a real learning curve and it is not radiating a new ethos. On the contrary: It is adding another layer of folly onto a previous one. Its slowness to react is dangerous. Its caution is a recipe for disaster. Its attempt to prevent bloodshed is costing a great deal of bloodshed. So that now of all times, just when the forces are moving toward south Lebanon, there is no escaping the question of where we went wrong. It is so that Israel will be able to achieve a last-minute victory and so that the troops will be able to achieve their goals and so the soldiers will be able to return home safely, that we must ask already now: What happened to us? What the hell happened to us?

A simple thing happened: We were drugged by political correctness. The political correctness that has come to dominate Israeli discourse and Israeli awareness in the past generation was totally divorced from the Israeli situation. It did not have the tools to deal with the reality of an existential conflict. It did not have the tools to deal with a reality of an inter-religious and inter-cultural conflict. That is why it focused entirely on the Palestinian issue. It made the baseless assumption that the occupation is the source of evil. It assumed that it is the occupation that is preventing peace and causing unrest and perpetuating the instability.

At the same time, political correctness assumed that Israeli strength is a given. That Israel is insanely strong. Therefore, political correctness disdained any attempt to build and maintain Israeli strength. The defense budget was cut, the values of volunteerism were mocked, the concepts of heroism and fortitude became despicable. Since the Israel Defense Forces was identified as an army of occupation - rather than as an army defending feminists and homo-lesbians from the fanaticism of the Middle East - they had reservations about it, they shook it off and became alienated from it. After all, in the spiritual world of political correctness, power and army have become dirty words.

Any national idea was rejected because of the sanctity of the private sphere. Every cooperative ethos was dismantled in favor of the individual. Power was identified with fascism. Masculinity was publicly condemned. The pursuit of absolute justice was mixed with the pursuit of absolute pleasure and turned the reigning discourse from a discourse of commitment and enlistment to one of protest and pampering.

Much more follows.

MSM Cannot Even Be Trusted With Basic Arithmetic

I just noticed something in this story. Can you spot the problem?

I'm 60 and I hate it: Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton hates it, but it is true: He will be 60 on Saturday, and he is often the oldest man in the room.

The former baby-boomer-in-chief and 42nd US president admitted at a world AIDS conference here -- at which delegates serenaded him with "Happy Birthday" -- that his approaching milestone filled him with trepidation.

"In just a few days, I will be 60 years old. I hate it, but it's true," the snowy-haired veteran of two tumultuous White House terms said.

"For most of my working life, I was the youngest person doing what I was doing. Then one day I woke up and I was the oldest person in every room," said Clinton, who was a youthful 44 when he was first elected president, in 1992...

So, it seems he'll be 60 in a couple of days, which means that in November, 2006, he'll be 60. November 1992 is 14 years ago. 60 - 14 is 46. But the article said he was 44.

So there ya go.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Even Mark Shea has lost patience:

If, all over the world, the most obvious fact was that every time a bomb went off, a terror plot was discovered, and innocent human beings were being targeted by nutjob Catholics, I would aquiesce to the fact that a) there's something sick in the soul of the Catholic population and b) the outside world has every right to focus their wariness on Catholics in general.


[W]e are constantly being told we must fret about "Muslim sensitivities". I'm sensitive when real injustice is done. Round up and torture innocent Muslims on the theory that you might get lucky and I will protest that this is unjust. Bomb some funeral procession of Muslim civilians who are mourning the death of yesterday's bombing of civilians and I will empathize that this is unjust.

But I have no sympathy for cartoon riots. I have no sympathy for PC imbeciles who forbid this passport photo:

out of fear of offending "Muslim sensitivities".

And I frankly have no sympathy left for a community that is far more concerned about being offended than about the fact that it is the locus of the nutjobs who are blowing up planes and trying to kill thousands and even millions of innocent civilians. I could not care less if their sensitivities are offended by profiling. It's about time.

Red In Tooth And Claw

Mark Shea (from sublink):

Yet at the same time, it also seems to me that Catholics ought to point out to Fundamentalists the curious parallel between the view of natural history they emphatically reject and the view of supernatural history they often emphatically affirm. For one of the weirdest ironies of American Fundamentalism is that it often regards any trace of evolutionary theory with fear and loathing while simultaneously holding a view of Christian history that reads as a kind of Darwinian myth.

The myth runs something like this:

Jesus creates the little cell called "the early church" on the day of Pentecost. It is, as the cell was to Darwin, a featureless, structureless blob of protoplasmic goo which definitely has no bishops, certainly has no Petrine office and reproduces by splitting into other equally undifferentiated blobs of structureless "fellowship" with no authority and no doctrine except "the simple word of God--the Bible." This "Church as Algae Colony" model does not, however, last. Under pressure from the Greco-Roman environment, the primitive life form of the early Church begins to develop various structures and to mutate. Depending on who you talk to, the date may vary, but many Fundamentalists posit that the Church experienced some sort of Mass Extinction in the first, second, or third centuries. Theories vie for whether mass extinction happened shortly after the death of St. John or when Constantine legalized Christianity. But at any rate, some immense Comet of Apostasy slammed into the earth, according to this scenario, and "true Christianity" was nearly annihilated, hiding in the shrubs and underbrush of Europe like a tiny primitive mammal while, for the next 1500 years, enormous powerful brutes called "Catholics" roamed the earth like herds of tyrannosaurs, holding councils, electing Popes and having terrible earth-shaking doctrinal battles in which they imported all manner of pagan mutations like the Eucharist, Marian beliefs, bishops, statues and relics.

The roots of this apostate Catholic Church are, according to this scenario, from a totally different evolutionary line than that of True Christianity. It turns out that Catholics are actually the descendants of Babylonian Mystery Religions which swelled to immense proportions in the vacuum left by the Mass Extinction of True Christians. Sure, the Babylonian Mystery religionists repudiated paganism wholeheartedly and died for their refusal to renounce Christ. Sure, they fought fiercely to preserve Scripture from the scissors of Marcion. Sure, they defied the might of the State for the name of Jesus. Sure, they held the ecumenical councils, canonized Scripture, settled the most vexing questions concerning the nature of God and Christ, evangelized Europe, established the rule of civilization in the demon-haunted lands of barbarians, fostered the growth of science, philosophy, art, music, law and education, cared for the poor, challenged nations to be holy and preserved learning through waves of Viking, Mongol, Vandal, and Islamic invasions. But such "Christians" were an evolutionary dead end because they believed in bishops, the Eucharist and prayer to Mary. True Christians were the nameless, faceless, unknown "hidden church" that did nothing, said nothing, and accomplished nothing for 1500 years while the Catholics of the Mesozoic Era ruled the earth.

Finally, after centuries pass, God sends yet another comet, the Black Death (and a Wycliffe, a Hus and a Renaissance or two), to cause another mass extinction. The Beasts of Popery reel and fall! And then, out of the chaos God again raises up one organism (Martin Luther) who receives the divine spark and evolves to a higher plane of being. But, according to the scenario, Luther is not evolved enough. He still venerates Mary, for instance, and he believes in baptismal generation. So, ever reforming, God abandons this early evolutionary theological equivalent of the Megatherium and continues the march through the ages, "raising up" Calvin, then Wesley, then Finney, then Moody, then the Asuza Street Revival, then the Latter Rain Revival, and so forth till at last, today, we have... Me and My Sect who have finally arrived at highly-evolved, truly spiritual purity. And this must go on ad infinitum. For the only thing that keeps the spiritual gene pool pure is precisely the constant battle for survival among the various sects. That is why Loraine Boettner suggests in Roman Catholicism that "the diversity of the churches, with a healthy spirit of rivalry within proper limits, is one of God's ways of keeping the stream of Christianity from becoming stagnant." It is not love, but competition, that ensures the life of the Church. Indeed, Boettner goes on to quote Walter Montano to say that competition is essential in order for the Christian to know the freedom of the gospel at all. In Montano's words: "Organic unity is a foreign element in Protestantism. The lack of organic unity is the strength, not the weakness, of Protestantism, and assures us of our freedom before God... Unity and liberty are in opposition; as the one diminishes, the other increases. The Reformation broke down unity, it gave liberty..."

Now, for a theology that utterly repudiates "survival of the fittest" ideologies and claims faith in a supernatural God of love, this is a very curious way of looking at God's dealings with the human race...

"If You Were A Tree, Adolph, What Kind Of Tree Would You Be?"

"So many people want to know more about the moustache. What inspired it?"

"Finally...Eva. What a fabulous-looking couple you two make! How did you meet?"

The interview Mike Wallace did with Ahmadinejad was apparently along those lines. Dennis Prager writes about the interview that he should have given.

It Shouldn't Be That Easy To Provoke More Terrorism

Good points in this FrontPageMag article:

“Officials in Brussels have embarked on an unusual exercise, combing their dictionaries to excise words and phrases that could cause offense. When the review is complete and the rules laid down, you will not, for example, hear EU officials talk any more about ‘Islamic terrorism’…EU policymakers worry that it lumps all Muslims into the same category, and angers them.”

Friso Roscam-Abbing, an EU spokesman, said, “‘The politically more correct term will be ‘terrorism that abusively invokes Islam.’…[H]e rejects accusations that the EU is soft-soaping ‘Islamic radicals’--another phrase that is coming under the microscope.” Another EU official added, “‘You don’t want to use terminology which would aggravate the problem.’”


Meanwhile, if “aggravating the problem,” or using language that “can breed resentful terrorists,” as the article also suggests, is a security concern, doesn’t that demonstrate that there’s some sense in “lumping all Muslims into the same category?”

Isn’t it a tacit admission of something to say that just using insulting language can make a Muslim snap into kill mode? If policies, protocols and language lexicons are changing based on “Let’s not anger them,” the implication is that those who aren’t terrorists are simply not terrorists yet. We are being told, in so many words, that Muslims as a group are at-risk, that the average Muslim has terroristic inclinations.

If terrorism indeed has a distinct appeal to the average Muslim, and yet the religion is not the cause, then what is? Genetics? Is it time to start talking about the terror gene--and asking the uncomfortable question: Do they choose it, or are they born that way?

And if Islam isn’t the cause of murderous proclivities, have we considered that at the very least it must be a symptom? Take, for example, Denver Safeway killer Michael Ford. When he could no longer take the unspecified jabs at his religion that his family claims he was getting from co-workers, he opened fire on them. Admittedly, it’s possible that here, it wasn’t the religion which drove him to kill, but insults to the religion.

The Reuters article “U.S. Muslims bristle at Bush term Islamic fascists” reports that many American Muslims who reject the term “say they have felt singled out for discrimination since the September 11 attacks.”

It’s time to pin down those feelings for what they are--displacement. Every other group trying to secure its place in Western society has instinctively personalized and internalized the crimes of its own--feeling a sense of embarrassment for far smaller-scale crimes than what Muslims and Arabs inflict on their host societies. Who can forget the Jews and the Italians out-praying each other in the hope that the Son of Sam killer wasn’t “one of ours”? When we learned his last name was Berkowitz, the Jews plotzed. Then we found out he was an Italian adopted by Jews, and the Jews breathed a sigh of relief (“He’s adopted! He’s adopted!”) while the Italians cringed.

The welcoming Statue of Liberty lets immigrants feel they have nothing to prove, but from the beginning, every arriving group has had the decency to not take it to heart. Until now. When you refuse to have natural feelings of collective shame, you project them out onto society as discrimination. Muslims outsource the guilt that they decline to feel, which then leads to appropriate suspicions of them. In contrast, when you hang your head in shame over what other members of your community do, the surrounding society in turn lessens your guilt. Picking up on the good will of a community that has those human feelings of shame, society does the work to disassociate that group from bearing collective responsibility. Suspicions lessen, and there emerges a functional relationship that becomes part of the social fabric.

The "discrimination" that the indignant Muslims and Arabs among us are feeling--despite our running to protect mosques and yelling “They’re not all like that!” every time they help prove that they are--is their own unfelt guilt. The resulting caution, which is perceived as "discrimination" and which would have subsided by now, will only grow.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Dr. Sanity

Has a couple of very good posts. The first examines the dynamic by which our concern for the wellbeing of enamy civilians tends to put them in more danger (be sure to read the complete BlackFive post to which she links). The second looks at the insanity of feminist support for Hezbollah (insane only if you assume feminists care about what they say they do, rather than being a bunch of nihilistic self-haters).

The Bottom Line Is Really Quite Simple

Ace of Spades (yet again):

[E]ven more anti-American is allowing ourselves to be butchered by a population riddled with killers and saboteurs plotting treason and mass-murder every hour of the day, as well as their moral support system that encourages them.

There is too much equivocation about terrorism. There is too much protection of hate-preachers and actual terrorists. There is too much coordination with the terrorists' message of the day. There is too much support, active support or the sorter sort of moral support, for the terrorists in Muslim communities.

You guys had better get your [stuff] under control, pronto. Because the American Street is growing very angry indeed.

You wouldn't like the American Street when it's angry.

Do you not realize that, due to our compassion, openness, and commitment to tolerance, we have lost more than 3000 lives, spent billions on security measures and unprecendentedly humane military interventions, seen hell wreaked on our economy, and have seen our lives disrupted and inconvenienced and just made generally poorer overall?

At what point do you think the limits of compassion, openness, and commitment to tolerance are reached? Do you imagine our virture -- or weakness, as you would have it -- in this regard is infinite?

Do you not comprehend that at some point the majority of the American, British, Australian, etc. people aren't going to realize their lives could be better and safer were it not for the expensive and dangerous presence of a great many Muslims on their soil? Muslims who seem to place a greater value on loyalty to their correligionists than they do to loyalty to their ostensible country of citizenship, or even to the basic human value that human life shall not be snuffed out maliciously?

When do you imagine the paradigm shifts from "deport only those found beyond all reasonable doubt to be supporters of terrorism" to "deport any and all you legally can, because we are just tired of living in the shadow of death"?

This country stamped out the KKK. It will take less to stamp out the Islamic KKK, because half of the recently-minted Islamic "citizens" in Britain and even America will be found to have, if we look carefully enough (and we will begin looking carefully, very soon) irregularities and small misrepresentations on their visas and citizenship applications that will serve nicely as a pretext for large-scale revocations of citizenship and deportation back to their home hellholes.

Get your vile, racist, hateful, murder-porn culture under control, or we are going to eventually use every legal pretext possible to de-export it back to the s---holes you come from, and quarrantine your vicious madness there.

A commitment to tolerance cannot be stretched to become a suicide pact.

We don't want to do anything like that. Even I, at my most disgusted with Muslim political pornography, still hold out hope for sanity to return to the Muslim population.

But this has to stop. Now.

Stop peddling hate and murder-porn, stop protecting jihadists.

On simple economic grounds every new Muslim immigrant or visitor is a net losing proposition for America -- and any other Western country. Due to the increased chance of terrorism and the massively costly security measures we now have to implement, every single new Muslim immigrant or visitor to this or any other Western country makes that country poorer.

Is every Muslim a terrorist or terrorist supporter? Of course not. But enough of them are, and too few Muslims are willing to expose them, that any group of Muslims will contain one or more potential terrorists, and, because of that, every new Muslim in America makes it poorer in both actual wealth and quality of life.

The first step is a complete halt to further Islamic immigration and visitation to the US. And that will come.

Unless Muslims themselves walk back from the edge of the abyss they themselves have created.

PS, although I've usually been careful to use the preferred term "Islamofascist" as most "resepctable" commentators do, with the occasional sloppy slip-up, as a means of distinguishing peaceful, loyal Muslims from the terrorists--

I'm dropping that practice, as of today. Until the Muslim community can demonstrate it is, in word and deed, as opposed to the slaughter of its fellow citizens as true citizenship in the UK, US, Australia, etc., demand, I'm not pretending we have an "Islamofascist" problem anymore. What we have is a Muslim problem.

If the Muslim community wanted to eliminate terrorism, it could do so within a month.

As it's not part of the solution, it's part of the problem, and it's time to judge it as such.

Update: Some more great Ace rhetoric in this post entitled "It Begins: Racial Profiling A Go In Britain".

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Just Some Good 'Ol Boys!

Ace of Spades:

"Three Texas Men" Arraigned On Terror Charges For Throwaway Cell Phones, Etc.
– Ace

"Three Texas Men," huh?

The "Three Texas Men," as AP so accurately describes them, were:

* Louai Abdelhamied "Jim Bob" Othman,

* Adham Abdelhamid "Billy Ray" Othman, and

* Maruan Awad Muhareb, also known as "Cactus Jack" Muhareb, also known as "Deuce-In-The-Hole" Muhareb.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ace Demolishes A Journalistic Double Standard

Very nicely done.

Couldn't CAIR Less

Dr. Sanity:

Yesterday, the President used the term "Islamic fascist" to describe the enemy that we are fighting. He has started doing this with some regularity lately; a development which I am glad to see sinc the word "terrorist" is too vague, and the "war on terror" too vapid for my taste.

Nevertheless, with a predictable quality reminiscent of Freud's repetition compulsion, the Islamic facists apologist group known as CAIR condemned the terminology and came out with its latest variations on its ongoing theme of Islamic victimhood and oppression--not, as a reasonable person might think, the victimhood and oppression caused by Islamic jihadists; but rather the victimhood and oppression suffered by same:

"We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism," said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group.

"We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims," he told a news conference in Washington.

"We urge him (Bush) and we urge other public officials to restrain themselves."

Quite honestly, it would make much more sense if they exhorted the fanatics of their own religion to "restrain themselves"; or even if they could summon up the intellectual and moral courage to admit that Islam and muslims have "started up a religious war" against everyone else.

I'm afraid their CAIRing attitude is beginning to really grate on me as they so obviously try to bamboozle the MSM, who uncritically present their perspective since it [coincidentally, I'm sure] happens to fit into their "bush-is-bad-America-brought this-on-itself-get-rid-of-bush-republicans-and-this nightmare-will-all-go-away" template.

CAIR has consistently and with malice aforethought twisted every act of Islamic violence, cruelty and barbarism into an indictment of America and the West. Their professional propagandists play the victimhood card--as well as, or even better than, an Al Sharpton or Cynthia McKinney--in every news release, press conference, and public statement. And, of course, they manage to shirk all responsibility for what is being done in their religion's name, thus eroding any credibility they might have in the discussion of how to deal with the problem.

Nor have they done anything to further the cause of the many decent, moderate muslims in the U.S. or elsewhere.

If there is a growing Islamophobia in this country and the world, groups like CAIR have done their best to fuel it. As we say in psychiatry, you aren't paranoid if they really are out to get you. And the Islamic fascists/jihadist/terrorists have made it perfectly clear through their words and actions that they ARE out to get us.


The truth is that CAIR has failed to demonstrate either reason or goodwill; nor have they demonstrated common sense or any degree of credibility at all since their organization has come into the public spotlight since 9/11.

They are just another propaganda mouthpiece for the jihad.

A Certain Lack Of Unifying Principles

Jay Nordlinger:

Let’s play bumper stickers:

Dear Jay:

I recently saw a car (Honda Civic), the back of which was plastered with liberal bumper stickers, including these two beauties: meat is murder and pro-child/pro-family/pro-choice.

I was disgusted. I’d love to respond with a pair that said: abortion is murder and steak or chicken — that’s a choice.

I’d probably get my windows knocked out.

You got that right.

One time I was driving on the freeway, and I came up to a car on my right. This car was sporting a giant lengthwise sign on its roof, and the back of the car was covered with anti-gun, anti-hunting, and pro-vegetarianism bumper stickers. The sign on the roof said simply, killing for the sake of pleasure is obscene. So I rolled down my right window, honked, and yelled over to the guy, "Hey, are you pro-life or pro-choice?" He proudly smiled and yelled back "Pro-Choice!" I looked up at his sign, shook my head a little, and gave him my "What are you, some kind of idiot?!" look.

I have a psychological theory that a lot of these folks take the positions they do precisely because they support child-sacrifice-by-abortion. I guess my answer to them would be a bumper sticker saying tree hugging does not atone for baby killing.

Portrait Of The Dam Which Keeps Us From 'Going Roman' -- A Dam Which Will Most Probably Eventually Break

Victor Davis Hanson examines the absurd nature of the current war situation. His well-written piece discovers the following six apparent principles:

1. To win these wars, our soldiers must not die or kill.

2. To win these wars, there must be no news of them.

3. To win these wars, a liberal Democrat must wage them.

4. To win these wars, we must win over the Europeans by ensuring they can always earn a profit.

5. To win these wars, we need to outsource the job to those who can fight them with impunity.

6. To win these wars, they should be over in 24 hours — but at all cost no more than 8 weeks.

As a sampler, here is how Hanson establishes points one and two:

To best deal with certain difficulties we’ve encountered in these battles thus far, perhaps the United States should adopt the following set of surreal rules of war.

1. Any death — enemy or friendly, accidental or deliberate, civilian or soldier — favors the terrorists. The Islamists have no claim on morality; Westerners do and show it hourly. So, in a strange way, images of the dead and dying are attributed only to our failing. If ours are killed, it is because those in power were not careful (inadequate body armor, unarmored humvees, etc), most likely due to some supposed conspiracy (Halliburton profiteering, blood for oil, wars for Israel, etc.). When Muslim enemies are killed, whether by intent or accidentally, the whole arsenal of Western postmodern thought comes into play. For the United States to have such power over life and death, the enemy appears to the world as weak, sympathetic, and victimized; we as strong and oppressive. Terrorists are still “constructed” as “the other” and thus are seen as suffering — doctored photos or not — through the grim prism of Western colonialism, racism, and imperialism.

In short, it is not just that Western public opinion won’t tolerate many losses; it won’t tolerate for very long killing the enemy either — unless the belligerents are something akin to the white, Christian Europeans of Milosevic’s Serbia, who, fortunately for NATO war planners in the Balkans, could not seek refuge behind any politically correct paradigm and so were bombed with impunity. Remember, multiculturalism always trumps fascism: the worst homophobe, the intolerant theocrat, and the woman-hating bigot is always sympathetic if he wears some third-world garb, mouths anti-Americanism, and looks most un-European. To win these wars, our soldiers must not die or kill.

2. All media coverage of fighting in the Middle East is ultimately hostile — and for a variety of reasons. Since the 1960s too many reporters have seen their mission as more than disinterested news gathering, but rather as near missionary: they seek to counter the advantages of the Western capitalist power structure by preparing the news in such a way as to show us the victims of profit-making and an affluent elite. Second, most fighting is far from home and dangerous. Trash the U.S. military and you might suffer a bad look at a well-stocked PX as the downside for winning the Pulitzer; trash Hezbollah or Hamas, and you might end up headless on the side of the road. Third, while in a southern Lebanon or the Green Zone, it is always safer to outsource a story and photos to local stringers, whose sympathies are usually with the enemy. A doctored photo that exaggerates Israeli “war crimes” causes a mini-controversy for a day or two back in the States; a doctored photo that exaggerates Hezbollah atrocities wins an RPG in your hotel window. To win these wars, there must be no news of them.

Such a situation is inherently unstable, and I don't expect it to last. If the jihadis manage to pull off something much worse than 9/11 in this country, then I think they'll find that we've simply run completely out of patience and mercy. Somewhere I've read, "To end our conflict with Islam, either they must learn to think and act like us for a couple of generations, or we must learn to think and act like them for a couple of months". Fortunately, when total annihilation of that part of the world becomes thinkable to us, it will be vastly easier to do the many things short of that that will help things immensely. Some ideas: occupy Saudi Arabia and get control of our oil again. Starve the other Islamic oil-producing countries with the resulting low, low prices. Shut down the hatred-preaching mosques in this country. Deport or jail Islamic trouble-makers. Profile the hell out of young Middle Eastern men, instead of hassling grandmas. Prosecute sedition and treason to the full extent of the law. Judiciously lay waste to certain terrorist-infested areas. And other common sense stuff.

What eventually happens is far more up to the jihadis then it is up to us. Despite all of the nonsense we're putting up with now, I don't honestly expect us to ultimately "go gentle into that good night". There will eventually be a winner. And it won't be Islam.