The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

By George

George Soros is the billionaire who contributes significant sums to liberal causes (e.g. and the democratic party. In today’s London Guardian newspaper he contributed an op-ed piece entitled: We need to break this cycle of violence. In past posts I’ve commented on the use of the phrase cycle of violence suggesting that it leads to a cycle of stupidly. Here are Soro’s comments with a few of my own. He begins:
Israel's failure to subdue Hizbullah demonstrates the many weaknesses of the war-on-terror concept. One weakness is that even if the targets are terrorists, the victims are often innocent civilians, and their suffering reinforces the terrorist cause.

So … Israel cannot defend itself militarily because in doing so, collateral casualties result and the “reinforces the terrorist cause.” Rather, after having its civilians attacked repeated, its internationally recognized borders broached by a terrorist state within a state, it should do … what? I know, it should sit down with a group that has sworn to wipe it off the map, or wait, maybe it should negotiate with their sponsors, but I forgot, they have also sworn to destroy Israel. Oh, well, we certainly can’t perpetuate the cycle of violence, can we?
In response to Hizbullah's attacks, Israel was justified in wanting to destroy Hizbullah and to protect itself against the threat of missiles on its border. However, Israel should have taken greater care to minimise collateral damage. The civilian casualties and material damage inflicted on Lebanon inflamed Muslims and world opinion against Israel and converted Hizbullah from aggressors to heroes of resistance. Weakening Lebanon has also made it more difficult to rein in Hizbullah.

Hmmm. “Israel should have taken greater care.” The classic left-leaning meme—bloodless war, no collateral damage. What Mr. Soros fails to understand is that the civilian casualties are Hezballah’s fault, NOT Israel’s. Hezballah put Lebanese civilians in harm’s way, not Israel. But wait, even if the casualties were on Hezballah, they “inflamed Muslims.” Oh my, we certainly don’t want to do that. But then again, it really doesn't take very much to get Muslims agitiated (can you say, "Danish cartoons").
Another weakness of the war-on-terror concept is that it relies on military action and rules out political approaches. Israel withdrew from Lebanon and then from Gaza unilaterally, rather than negotiating political settlements with the Lebanese government and the Palestinian authority. The strengthening of Hizbullah and Hamas was a direct consequence of that approach. The war-on-terror concept stands in the way of recognising this fact because it separates "us" from "them" and denies that our actions may shape their behaviour.

After years of frustration and negotiation failures, generous offers and irrational responses, Israel withdraws from Lebanon and Gaza unilaterally and this is a mistake?! If they stay, it’s occupation. If they leave unilaterally, making no demands except that the Lebanese and Gazans manage their own affairs and don’t attack, they’re somehow making a mistake? This contention is absolutely ridiculous.
A third weakness is that the war-on-terror concept lumps together different political movements that use terrorist tactics. It fails to distinguish between Hamas, Hizbullah, al-Qaida or the Sunni insurrection and the Mahdi militia in Iraq. Yet all these terrorist manifestations are different and require different responses. Neither Hamas nor Hizbullah can be treated merely as targets in the war on terror because they have deep roots in their societies; yet profound differences exist between them.

They all do have one thing in common. They want to kill us (and the Israelis). Wait, they have another thing in common -- they all sponsor suicide bombers and blow up innocents. Maybe Mr. Soros might opine that they “should have taken greater care” when their suicide bombers blow themselves up in buses and in crowds of civilians. The fact that “they have deep roots in their societies” says a lot more about their societies than it does about our need to negotiate with them.
Looking back it is easy to see where Israeli policy went wrong. When Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority, Israel should have gone out of its way to strengthen him and his reformist team.

It did. But there’s a small matter of Hamas undermining his every action. I guess Mr. Soros forgot.
When Israel withdrew from Gaza the former head of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, negotiated a six-point plan on behalf of the Quartet for the Middle East (Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations). It included opening crossings between Gaza and the West Bank, an airport and seaport in Gaza, opening the border with Egypt, and transferring the greenhouses abandoned by Israeli settlers into Arab hands. None of the six points was implemented.

This contributed to Hamas's electoral victory. The Bush administration, having pushed Israel to hold elections, then backed Israel's refusal to deal with a Hamas government. The effect has been to impose further hardship on the Palestinians.

I seem to recall that the Palis looted and destroyed the greenhouses, but, oh, never mind. And how about those open borders? What a great idea. I’ll bet they would have worked even better than the open borders between Lebanbon and Syria. Lots of missles and other things that go boom would have crossed with impunity.

By the way, why is it that the Left always put the onus on Israel to "deal with a Hamas government" but never puts the onus on Hamas to give up its "death to Israel" charter. Just asking?

Finally, after further discussion of Israel’s failure to properly appreciate the subtlty of negotiations with Hamas and Hezballan, Soros notes:
The time has come to realise that today's policies are counterproductive. There will be no end to the vicious circle of escalating violence without a political settlement of the Palestine question. In fact, the prospects for engaging in negotiations are better now than they were a few months ago. Israelis must realise that a military deterrent is not sufficient on its own. And Arabs, having redeemed themselves on the battlefield, may be more willing to entertain a compromise.

Seems reasonable on it face, and since it's the only thing that is acceptable to the Left, it’s not surprising that Soros recommends it. The problem, of course, is that negotiation is like the movie Ground Hog Day. Israel keeps trying it and the Arabs keep rejecting their offers. Not to mention that one of the negotiating partners holds positions (little things like the destruction of the “Zionist entity”) that they absolutely refuse to modify.

I suspect that the vast majority of those on the Left would agree with George Soros and adopt his comments with little reservation. But after all, nothing is more important than ending the “cycle of violence.” A simple sit down is all we need and Islamofascists will see the light. I suspect that the probability of that happening is about the same as [George Soros' net worth in dollars] to 1.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


In a front page, above-the-fold color photo in this morning’s South Florida Sun Sentinel, a man busily fills not one or two, but at least eight red plastic 5 gallon gas cans in preparation for “Ernesto’ — the killer tropical depression (currently disorganized with winds of almost 50 mph!) moving across the Florida straits toward Miami.

Every media outlet in South Florida and most of the national MSM provide hourly reports, hinting at potential devastation without a solid factual shred of evidence that devastation will occur.

Of course, it is hurricane season, and after last year’s storms -- Katarina and Wilma -- people are a bit skittish. But come on -- we live in hurricane country, tropical storms are not all that uncommon. The vast majority produce relatively little real damage, some flooding, and a few downed power lines and trees – nothing even remotely catastrophic. And yet, gas lines began forming yesterday, grocery store shelves emptied, and everyone, it seems, is on edge.

It’s reasonable to ask, why?

The media creates a “state of fear” (borrowed from Michael Crichton’s novel of the same name) in situations like this. From the earliest ominous projections of storm path (the background music is a hoot) to breathless entreaties to be prepared, local television and newspapers guarantee three things: (1) that readership and viewership will increase substantially as the storm approaches, 2) that government officials will make stupid decisions in an effort to cover their collective behinds, and (3) that citizens will incur unnecessary expense and stress without a clear evaluation of risk.

To illustrate: At the moment, it a beautiful sunny day in South Florida with high clouds. Projections indicate that Ernesto will “strike” around midnight – earliest. But every school age child in Palm Beach County has the day off. Why? Government CYA, that’s why.

Whipped into a frenzy of concern by the media reports, the county Board of Education (BoE) decided that it was simply “too risky” to have classes today. Remember, we’re not talking Hurricanes Andrew or Katarina here – Ernesto is a tropical storm. So much for the importance of educational “time on task,” “no child left behind,” etc., etc. It’s much more important to err on the side of safety – even when safety risks are non-existent.

In a way, I understand the decision. If the BoE held classes and through a freak set of circumstances, a single child tripped over a broken tree limb and skinned her knee, the media would be all over this tragedy – asking “hard questions” about why the BoE was so callous with regard to student safety. So a million children sit home watching TV, parents stress out, and most of us feel just a little silly.

We are, I’m saddened to say, becoming a nation of wimps. Worse, we seem to be unable to think critically about the information that is spoon fed to us by the media – information that is often sensationalized, inaccurate, and/or misleading. And because we refuse to critically assess risk, we do dumb things, worry about the wrong threats, and play the blame game every chance we get. But I’ve got to stop writing so I can go hide in the closet – after all, Ernesto is coming.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Islamofascists correctly recognize that their most potent weapon again the West is the deft use of propaganda, aided and abetted by an all-too-gullible MSM and NGOs such as Amnesty international and the Red Cross. Caroline Glick reports:
Like their rogue state sponsors, subversive sub-national groups like Hizbullah, Fatah and Hamas, see information operations as an integral part of their war for the annihilation of Israel and defeat of the West. And their information operations are more advanced than any the world has seen. As becomes more evident with each passing day, they have successfully corrupted both the world media and the community of NGOs that purportedly operate in a neutral manner in war zones.

In two recent cases, alleged attacks by Israel against a Red Cross Ambulance and a Reuters Jeep carrying “newspeople” were both blatantly staged -- these attacks never happened. Again from Glick:
The International Committee of the Red Cross, with its internationally mandated status as a protected organization, is particularly culpable. The blogoshere - and specifically EU Referendum and Zombietime Web sites - have shown that Red Cross employees in Tyre and Kana fabricated from whole cloth a tale of an Israeli airstrike against Red Cross ambulances in Kana on July 23. In an exhaustively documented report, "How the Media Legitimized an Anti-Israel Hoax and Changed the Course of a War," Zombietime [a blog] showed how Red Cross employees took an old, rusty ambulance and alleged that the IAF had attacked it with a missile that blew a hole straight through the middle of the red cross on the ambulance's roof.

The Red Cross allegation was reported as fact by such "credible" news organizations as Associated Press, Time magazine, the BBC, ITV, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Age, MSNBC, The Los Angeles Times and the Boston Globe. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both published accounts of the attack as evidence of Israeli "war crimes" in Lebanon.

It’s reasonable to ask why none of these mainstream news organizations have at a minimum issued front page corrections and more responsibly have conducted their own in-depth investigation into this fraud? It seems that the MSM is always looking for “lies” and “misleading representations” when they emanate from the US Government or Israel, but somehow, oddly, they don’t seem to care very much when blatant lies are promulgated by Islamofascists. In fact, it appears that they work very hard to suppress the fact that lies have occurred at all. Why is that?

It now appears that the Reuters attack is also a fraud. Same comments and questions apply.

I have concluded that some main stream media reporting from the ME is no longer credible. Worse, in many instances, a significant number of MSM organizations seem to be willing accomplices for Islamofascist propaganda.

Disagree? Ask yourself this. If a “source” you once trusted has been shown to have lied repeatedly and blatantly about events, facts, or people, and worse, to have fabricated events to mislead you, would you continue to publish new reports from that same source? If you would, there’s a job at the NYT, or Reuters, or Time Magazine just waiting for you.

Update (29 Aug 06)

An excellent summary of the most recent set of lies coming from the Islamofascist camp has been prepared at LGF (top of the page):
EU Referendum: The Corruption of the Media
About Those Israeli 'Chemical Weapons...'
All Your Fakes Are Belong To Us
Zombie: The Red Cross Ambulance Incident
BBC Admits Engaging in Staged Photos
Perlmutter: Photojournalism in Crisis
Green Helmet Admits Staging Photos
Still More Photo Staging Identified
Lebanese Autos Miraculously Survive Airstrikes
Photographer Alleges Unearthing of Bodies
LA Times: Take a Closer Look
CAIR's Fauxtography Scandal
AP Stands Behind Green Helmet Guy
LGF Exclusive: How Much Does It Cost to Buy Global TV News?
Multi-Use Buildings
Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?

Sunday, August 27, 2006


In an op-ed from The Wall Street Journal, Shelby Steele examines “western guilt” and the way in which it empowers Islamofascists. He contends that hatred, not “oppression” drives Islamists and argues that anti-semitism is only one manifestation of that virulent hatred:
The anti-Semite is always drawn to the hatred of Jews by his own unacknowledged inadequacy. As Sartre says in his great essay on the subject, the anti-Semite "is a man who is afraid. Not of Jews of course, but of himself." By hating Jews, he asserts that his own group represents the kind of human being that God truly wants. His group is God's archetype, the only authentic humanity, already complete and superior. No striving or self-reflection is necessary. If Jews are superior in some ways, it is only out of their alienated striving, their exile from God's grace. For the anti-Semite, hating and fighting Jews is both self-affirmation and a way of doing God's work.

So the anti-Semite comes to a chilling place: He easily joins himself to evil in order to serve God. Fighting and even killing Jews brings the world closer to God's intended human hierarchy. For Nazis, the "final solution" was an act of self-realization and a fulfillment of God's will. At the center of today's militant Islamic identity there is a passion to annihilate rather than contain Israel. And today this identity applies the anti-Semitic model of hatred to a vastly larger group--the infidel. If the infidel is not yet the object of that pristine hatred reserved for Jews, he is not far behind. Bombings in London, Madrid and Mumbai; riots in Paris; murders in Amsterdam; and of course 9/11--all these follow the formula of anti-Semitism: murder of a hated enemy as self-realization and service to God.

As I have noted in many recent commentaries, hatred alone, as awful as it might be, is not the sole modus operandi of Islamofascists. Hatred must be accompanied by reverence for death. Steele comments:
And death--both homicide and suicide--is the extremist's great obsession because its finality makes the grandiosity "real." If I am not afraid to kill and die, then I am larger than life. Certainly I am larger than the puny Westerners who are reduced to decadence by their love of life. So my hatred and my disregard of death, my knowledge that life is trivial, deliver me to a human grandeur beyond the reach of the West. After the Madrid bombings a spokesman for al Qaeda left a message: "You love life, and we love death." The horror is that greatness is tied to death rather than to achievement in life.

And so, the challenge is enunciated. In my last blog entry, The Possibilities of Politics I bemoaned the futility of a “political solution. Is there a political solution that attenuates hatred and deemphasizes reverence for death? Steele notes that “The West is stymied by this [Islamofascist] extremism because it is used to enemies that want to live.”

And so, as we face a death cult that is consumed with hatred of all things American and western, how do we respond? In some quarters, with guilt:
White guilt in the West--especially in Europe and on the American left--confuses all this by seeing Islamic extremism as a response to oppression. The West is so terrified of being charged with its old sins of racism, imperialism and colonialism that it makes oppression an automatic prism on the non-Western world, a politeness. But Islamic extremists don't hate the West because they are oppressed by it. They hate it precisely because the end of oppression and colonialism--not their continuance--forced the Muslim world to compete with the West. Less oppression, not more, opened this world to the sense of defeat that turned into extremism.

And that’s the irony. The yoke of oppression has been lifted from Islam and the Arab world. They have enormous wealth and with it, enormous potential. But rather than looking inward and asking why they cannot compete and succeed, why they cannot progress into the 21st century, they try to justify their unadulterated hatred by crying “oppression.”

And many Europeans along with most of the American Left lap it up. Steele notes: “This despite the fact that Islamic extremism is the most explicit and dangerous expression of human bigotry since the Nazi era.”

In the conclusion of his piece, Steele argues that white guilt does more harm than simply empowering Islamofascists:
But white guilt's most dangerous suppression is to keep from discussion the most conspicuous reality in the Middle East: that the Islamic world long ago fell out of history. Islamic extremism is the saber-rattling of an inferiority complex. America has done a good thing in launching democracy as a new ideal in this region. Here is the possibility--if still quite remote--for the Islamic world to seek power through contribution rather than through menace.

The “possibility” – again that word arises. Lets hope we all beat the oods.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Possibilities of Politics

In an article that discusses our continuing and growing conflicts with islamofascists, History professor Andrew J. Bacevic echos many political voices throughout the USA when he states:
In the Middle East and more broadly in our relations with the Islamic world, we face difficult and dangerous problems, more than a few of them problems to which we ourselves have contributed. Those problems will become more daunting still, for us and for Israel, should a nation like Iran succeed in acquiring nuclear weapons. But as events in Iraq and now in southern Lebanon make clear, reliance on the sword alone will not provide a solution to those problems. We must be strong and we must be vigilant. But we also need to be smart, and getting smart means ending our infatuation with war and rediscovering the possibilities of politics.

This is certainly a thoughtful and reasonable comment. The threat we face is ideological and the battle we wage should, in theory, address ideological issues. If we can win the ideological battle, following this line of thought, we can defeat terrorism.

But can we rediscover “the possibilities of politics?” Is it realistic to believe that a political solution can be achieved in the Middle East and more broadly throughout all of Islam? Is it reasonable to think that Islamofascists and their supporters will abandon their stated goal of a new Islamic caliphate, will embrace détente with the West, will reject calls for the destruction of the United States and Israel, will moderate their rabid hatred of infidels, and will abandon a Jihadi culture that celebrates martyrdom and victimhood at the same time? Can politics really cause these profound changes? I regret to say that I don’t think they can.

Islamofasicsts use politics as a weapon. By this I mean that they are perfectly willing to engage in political discourse, enter into negotiations, make promises and offer incentives, look for allies and the like. But they do these things not to achieve a solution to a disagreement, but rather, as a delaying tactic, allowing them to gain strength as time passes. As Iran’s recent political moves (on their development of nuclear weapons) indicate, they offer compromise without compromising, they hold out the possibility of a settlement, without settling, they work hard to fracture resolve within their opponent’s camp – and they do this more effectively and with far greater skill than the West’s best diplomats.

Islamofasicsts realize that they win regardless of the outcome of political discourse. If the West caves in to their demands, they win. If the West refuses to bend, there are no consequences. In fact, the more often repeated attempts at political resolution occur, the better they like it. It’s win-win,” but only for them. For us, it’s “lose-lose.”

In reality. the collective political goals of the West are diffuse while the political goals of Islamofascists are focused. The West focuses on stability and peaceful coexistence and wants to achieve these in the shortest possible time. The political goals of Islamofascists thrive on instability and have no temporal concerns (if it takes another 50 or 100 years, so be it).

So it’s easy for Professor Bacevic to suggest “the possibilities of politics,” but the probability of a successful, long lasting political resolution is, in my opinion, very, very small. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, I suppose, but the political approach and agenda of the Islamists make success very unlikely.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


The thing that fascinates me about the Left’s view of the War against Islamofascism is the way in which the transgressions of Islamic “freedom fighters” are mentioned only in passing. You know, little things like suicide bombings or random rocket attacks that purposely target civilians. Or using civilians as human shields and then cynically whining about the resultant loss of said human shields when the victim responds to an attack.

It seems that allegations of human rights abuses or war crimes are reserved only for the US and Israel. No matter how egregious the violation on the part of Islamic “freedom fighters,” you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Left-leaning source take a strong negative position against them. When a tepid condemnation does occur, there always seems to be a literal or figurative “but” or “however” in the sentence.

Consider the following paragraph, extracted from a “report” on the Israeli-Hezballah war, released today by Amnesty International (AI):
Israeli government spokespeople have insisted that they were targeting Hizbullah positions and support facilities, and that damage to civilian infrastructure was incidental or resulted from Hizbullah using the civilian population as a "human shield". However, the pattern and scope of the attacks, as well as the number of civilian casualties and the amount of damage sustained, makes the justification ring hollow.

Rather than verifying (their job, I thought) whether or not human shields were used, AI chooses to dodge the issue, saying instead that ‘Israeli government spokespeople have insisted” that is the case. The implication of this wording is clear, that the Israeli claim is suspect, even though literally hundreds of independent sources confirm it to be true. Why doesn’t AI directly address the issue of Hezballah human shields. Because that is a war crime and AI doesn’t want to go there. Note also the ”However,” that follows the tepid negative statement about Hezballah. The sentence that follows suggests that Israel' statement about human sheilds “rings hollow.” Yeah, right.

The entire AI report is a classic example of blatant left-leaning bias within an organization that is credited by the MSM with objectivity. I suspect that the report will be presented without critical evaluation by the MSM.

For an excellent fisking of the report, see Snapped Shot..

Weaponized Compassion

In an interesting article on terrorism, Raymond Kraft discusses the underlying strategy that is being applied by Islamofascists:
The Islamic Resistance Movement (IRM), the Jihad, which includes Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and all other like-minded folk, is much smarter about it than we are. It has turned the civility of the US, and Europe, into a weapon and turned it against us. It has weaponized niceness, it has weaponized compassion, it has weaponized the fundamental decency of Western Civilization. It has weaponized our desire for peace. It has recognized that our goodness is no match for its savagery, and will continue to exploit that fact until we lose and they win. However long it takes. Centuries, generations, decades, years, months.

The soft underbelly of America in particular and Western Civilization in general is that it has become so excessively nice and decent and civilized that it is now loathe to rise to its own self-defense, loathe to kill civilians when necessary, loath to cause "collateral damages," loathe to fight and defeat other countries, even when its own survival is at stake. We have emasculated our will to rise to our own defense, to the defense of our interests, to the defense of our friends and allies, to the defense of our own civilization and its unique freedoms. We would rather die than kill. We are willing to martyr ourselves and our children and their children and our country to the conceit of our own goodness.

I believe that Kraft is overstating things when he says we will not defend ourselves or fight (think Afghanistan and Iraq) but he may have a point when he mentions “the conceit of our own goodness.”

Many of our politicians, the vast majority of American media outlets, and a significant minority of American citizens suffer from moral hubris. They believe, as Kraft correctly notes, that savagery, although scary and troublesome, does not pose an existential threat to our way of life. They cannot and will not look into the abyss, preferring to look for any reason not to confront Islamofascism, not to call it what it is (21st century Nazism). They would prefer to appease its minions in hopes of achieving a peace they will not get.

Moral hubris elevates “peace” above all other things—a fundamental error that history shows has lead to the unnecessary deaths of tens of millions. Kraft comments:

While America wants peace, and recoils from the projection of deliberate savagery, the Islamic Resistance Movement embraces and adopts savagery, "managed savagery," as its primary militant tactic, calculating, correctly, so far, that America, which wants to be nice and doesn't really want to hurt anybody, will never respond with equal or greater force, or savagery. Thus, it calculates, Islam can easily withstand the pulled punches America is willing to throw, while America will eventually succumb to the never-ending managed savagery of militant Islam.

I think Kraft is correct in defining the effects of moral hubris, but incorrect in predicting the outcome. Our history has proven that we will only stand for so much savagery before we drop the pretence of being “nice,” and respond with a ferocity that will make Islam reel.

And while we wait for the event that will become our tipping point, Islamofascists continue their savagery. What they don’t seem to realize is we do have the will to respond with savagery of our own. It’s just that unlike our barbaric enemy, we’d much prefer another course.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Tipping Point

Is it possible that Malcolm Gladwell’s epidemiological view of change can be applied to the apparent rush to radical Islam by tens of thousands (millions?) of otherwise westernized Islamic youth? Is that why middle class Moslem young men (and women) in the UK plot to blow up airplanes and are convinced that mass murder of infidels is justified "in defense” of Islam. Has the Moslem world reached a “tipping point” which will result in an avalanche of converts to Islamofascism?

Malcolm Gladwell’s bestselling book, The Tipping Point suggests that ideas and the changes they precipitate spread like viruses, beginning slowly and then spreading rapidly across large populations. He describes this phenomenon:

One of the things I explore in the book is that ideas can be contagious in exactly the same way that a virus is. One chapter, for example, deals with the very strange epidemic of teenage suicide in the South Pacific islands of Micronesia. In the 1970's and 1980's, Micronesia had teen suicide rates ten times higher than anywhere else in the world. Teenagers were literally being infected with the suicide bug, and one after another they were killing themselves in exactly the same way under exactly the same circumstances.

Is this what is happening when teenage suicide bombers murder innocent men, women and children? The left wrings its hands and looks for underlying “reasons” that would cause these murderous children to perform such heinous acts. But maybe it has nothing to do with reason. Maybe it’s more like Bird Flu.

Gladwell continues:
We like to use words like contagiousness and infectiousness just to apply to the medical realm. But I assure you that after you read about what happened in Micronesia you'll be convinced that behavior can be transmitted from one person to another as easily as the flu or the measles can. In fact, I don't think you have to go to Micronesia to see this pattern in action. Isn't this the explanation for the current epidemic of teen smoking in this country? And what about the rash of mass shootings we're facing at the moment--from Columbine through the Atlanta stockbroker through the neo-Nazi in Los Angeles?

I can only surmise that this is what is happening within Islam, aided by infectious agents (Immans) and mass media drivers (worshipful stories of “martyrs” on Al Jezera).

If this is the case, I’m not sure we can stop it. There is no vaccine. We can only hope that like many other deadly viruses, it ultimately kills its host.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I Don’t CAIR

The MSM often quotes the views of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and characterizes the group and its spokemen as “moderate” in their views. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Earlier this year, CAIR brought suit against one of its critics, Andrew Whitehead, claiming defamation. The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice.

Whitehead had argued that:

• “Let their [sic] be no doubt that CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists, and that CAIR wishes nothing more than the implementation of Sharia law in America.”
• CAIR is an “organization founded by Hamas supporters which seeks to overthrow Constitutional government in the United States and replace it with an Islamist theocracy using our own Constitution as protection.”
• “ACAIR reminds our readers that CAIR was started by Hamas members and is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries.”
• “Why oppose CAIR? CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists. CAIR is not in the United States to promote the civil rights of Muslims. CAIR is here to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States and convert our country into an Islamic theocracy along the lines of Iran. In addition, CAIR has managed, through the adroit manipulation of the popular media, to present itself as the ‘moderate’ face of Islam in the United States. CAIR succeeded to the point that the majority of its members are not aware that CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations. In addition, CAIR receives direct funding from Islamic terrorists supporting countries.”
• “CAIR is a fundamentalist organization dedicated to the overthrow of the United States Constitution and the installation of an Islamic theocracy in America.”

When Whitehead’s attorney’s requested “extensive information regarding CAIR’s finances, its relationship to Hamas, its ties to Saudi Arabia, and ties to other Islamists,” CAIR decided to drop the suit. Hmmm. I wonder why?

Islamofascists fight us on a number of fronts, but the most insidious is their use of propaganda and misinformation. CAIR is a master of this tactic. They feed on political correctness and pervert our justified concern for minority rights. Their cynical attempts to "protect" islam from criticism are nothing more than propaganda.

The real problem, however, is that CAIR (and similar organizations) are often aided by the main stream media in the USA, who report their claims without critical evaluation, context, or any attempt at accuracy. Is the MSM complicit or simply incompetent? I would argue: both.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


You’re on the road heading to a new destination and you become hopelessly lost. For a moment, let’s assume you have only two options: (1) retrace your steps and return home—the trip is complex and simply not worth the effort; (2) stay the course, even though your best efforts have gotten you hopelessly lost with relatively little likelihood of reaching your goal.

Neither option seems reasonable, given that we really do need to reach our destination. Yet, those appear to be the options that are being offered by our political leadership when we consider Iraq and the broader war against Islamofascism. The democrats desperately want to return home, regardless of the consequences that will ensue. The republicans want to continue along the same path, even though they’ve succeeded in hitting every pothole in the road. It’s my take that both sides are wrong and it’s time for a new set of directions.

Is it possible to achieve a central path – something that could be adopted by both parties? In honesty, I fear not. The level of raw hatred of Bush emanating from the left and the complete distain of leftist ideology coming from the right, make bipartisanship all but impossible.

Having said that, I’d like to propose a set of basic guidelines that I believe might help us all—left and right—as we move out of the beginning of the beginning of this long and dangerous war on Islamofascists.

Stop obsessing about the mistakes that have already been made, and look forward. Our lives are at stake.

Both democratic and republican administrations have made grievous mistakes over the past 30 years. The Carter administration’s feckless approach to the Iranian hostage crisis set the stage for the current Islamofascist resurgence. The Clinton administration decided to kick the can down the road and did relatively little to meet the growing threat of Islamofascism (e.g., WTC – I and the events in Somalia during the 1990s). The Reagan administration gave Hezballah a pass after it killed 200+ Marines in Beirut during the 1980s. The current Bush administration made serious mistakes of hubris and many strategic military blunders when it entered into the war in Iraq. The result of these mistakes is an energized Islamic enemy that perceives us a weak-willed and ineffective.

We can debrief once the long war is over. Until that time, it’s important to develop strategies that will defeat our enemy, not embolden him.

Recognize that our enemy celebrates “double-think.” Islamofascists cannot be assumed to act rationally or to negotiate honestly.

Our enemy is not rational in the conventional sense of the term. For example, tens of millions of Muslims believe that 9-11 was a plot hatched by “Zionists or the CIA or both” while at the same time celebrating it as a great Islamic victory. Can’t be both, but it is.

The implications are clear. We negotiate only after the enemy provides us with some tangible, good-faith indication of his seriousness to bargain, i.e., the enemy must give us something to get us to the table – not the reverse! Is this a good negotiating strategy? In general, the answer is ‘no,’ but history indicates that Islamic entities have no compunction about breaking treaties, going back on signed agreements, and reinterpreting verbal commitments. Worse, history has shown that they use negotiation as a delaying tactic, hoping (quite often, correctly) that over time any coalition they are negotiating with will fracture.

It’s time to tell them, publically and forcefully, “No good faith offering by you, no talk. If an agreement is signed, it must be kept -- without modification or additional interpretation. If those constraints to negotiation are unacceptable, we will aggressively pursue other alternatives.”

Our culture must respect other cultures and recognize that not all people are ready for democracy, even if they do want to be free.

As Iraq, Gaza, and Lebanon demonstrate, Arab people may want freedom, but they cannot and will not come to it easily or without great pain. Before we decide to help them or encourage Arabic Islam toward democratic government, we’d better be damn sure that the “democracy” they achieve is going to be better than whatever it replaced.

And when a culture celebrates death and preaches hatred, we must reject and defeat it without regard to the reasons (both real and imagined) that have precipitated that culture’s mindset. If its leaders have been democratically elected, we treat them with no more respect than we would treat any other enemy. Democracy does not insulate a culture from reprisal when its basic foundation is built on hatred and barbarism.

We must reject post modern moral equivalence.

Evil is real. Terrorism is a fact. It is not reasonable to equate the wanton, targeted mass murder of innocents by non-state actors with civilian deaths that occur during wartime. It is intellectually dishonest and morally reprehensible to argue that perceived “oppression” somehow justifies acts of mass murder or that perceived “humilation” somehow forgives hate speech, or that our own defense against terror “creates new terrorists.” Inane talk about a “cycle of violence” in this context initiates a cycle of idiocy.

Human rights and civil liberties must be preserved, but their short term interpretation can be modified so as not to jeopardize the continuing survival of our way of life.

Wikipedia presents the following discussion of this issue:
"The Constitution is not a suicide pact" is a rhetorical phrase in American political and legal discourse. The phrase expresses the belief that constitutional restrictions on governmental power must give way to urgent practical needs. It is most often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, as a response to charges that he was violating the United States Constitution by suspending habeas corpus during the American Civil War. Though the phrase echoes statements made by Lincoln, the precise phrase "suicide pact" was first used by Justice Robert H. Jackson in his dissenting opinion in Terminiello v. Chicago, a 1949 free speech case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Under the United States Constitution, once war is declared by the United States Congress, hapeas corpus can be suspended pursuant to the constitution. See United States Constitution. Thus, suspension of habeas corpus was both legal and constitutional …

In the Terminiello case, the majority opinion, by Justice William O. Douglas overturned the disorderly conduct conviction of a priest whose anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi rantings at a rally had incited a riot. The court held that Chicago's breach of the peace ordinance violated the First Amendment.

Jackson wrote a twenty-four page dissent in response to the Court's four page decision, which concluded: "The choice is not between order and liberty. It is between liberty with order and anarchy without either. There is danger that, if the court does not temper its doctrinaire logic with a little practical wisdom, it will convert the constitutional Bill of Rights into a suicide pact."

We must become energy independent. Our addiction to foreign oil funds of our enemy.

Our inability to become energy independent is the greatest political failure of my lifetime. The oil crisis of the 1970s was a warning, but democrats and republicans did nothing. Now, faced with an enemy that is funded by oil revenues, we must act. Everyone knows that this is the right course, but republicans and democrats continue to show a depressing lack of political courage to make it happen.

We must stop our addiction to oil, no matter who it hurts and what the short-term economic consequences are. If big oil and auto companies are hurt, so be it. If our economy suffers as a consequence, we’ll have to bare it. Remember, point #1 – sacrifice. Over the long haul, the economy and major corporations will adapt, but they cannot be allowed to derail the effort. We cannot allow big oil and big auto companies and their powerful lobbyists to interfere.

Significant tax incentives (well-publicized and explained) for individuals are all that are needed to begin. The cost would be far less than the cost of the Iraq war and will probably yield far better long-term results.

Can you image how many electric vehicles (a zero emissions technology that exists today) would be purchased if an individual paid no sales tax on the purchase, received a 50% tax deduction for the purchase price, and a 125% deduction for any financing costs? I suspect we’d have millions of electric vehicles on the road in 3 years. With that kind of demand, our free market system will take care of the rest.

We must make it illegal for any corporation to buy and then bury new energy saving technologies. Make it a matter of national security. If you buy it and then don’t use it, you lose it. Period.

We must encourage alternative energy sources and provide government incentives for their development, but at the same time, move forward with existing technologies rather than waiting for promising ones.

When talk fails and violence must be applied, it must be applied fully, without hesitation or apology.

We’ve tried the “proportional response” approach and we’ve worked hard to avoid collateral civilian casualties. The problem is, these efforts degrade our ability to fight an enemy who cares about neither.

There will come a time in the near future (I fear) when our collective gut will tell us that it’s time to jettison concerns about proportionality and collateral damage. When that time comes, we must commit to deliver violence that will pummel the enemy (and his supporters) until they plead for cessation.

When that time comes, our new message should be: “If you harbor murderous Jihadis, if you live amongst them, if you quietly support them in any way, you have signed your own death warrant.” From that point forward, we make no apologies and offer no excuses.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Usual Suspects

I have written millions of words in my life, some worthwhile, others to be easily forgotten. But none as insightful and intricately woven as these. Read them, in their entirety. Please.

Alexander’s Words

On June 8, 1978, Alexander Solzhenitsyn gave a commencement speech at Harvard University [hat tip: The Belmont Club]. Almost 30 years have passed since his words were first uttered, but many of his ideas are timeless. I present excerpts will a comment here and there.

Any ancient deeply rooted autonomous culture, especially if it is spread on a wide part of the earth's surface, constitutes an autonomous world, full of riddles and surprises to Western thinking.

Solzhenitsyn refers to the “Muslim world” as one of these “autonomous cultures.” It’s obvious that our Western thinking has not adequately absorbed the meaning of Islamic thought, but it’s equally obvious that a significant minority of Islam has telegraphed its thinking to us and that a significant minority of the Western world refuses to listen to the message.

Solzhenitsyn also provides a criticism of present day neo-con thinking when he states:

But the blindness of [Western] superiority continues in spite of all and upholds the belief that vast regions everywhere on our planet should develop and mature to the level of present day Western systems which in theory are the best and in practice the most attractive. There is this belief that all those other worlds are only being temporarily prevented by wicked governments or by heavy crises or by their own barbarity or incomprehension from taking the way of Western pluralistic democracy and from adopting the Western way of life. Countries are judged on the merit of their progress in this direction. However, it is a conception which developed out of Western incomprehension of the essence of other worlds, out of the mistake of measuring them all with a Western yardstick. The real picture of our planet's development is quite different.

This is all true, and bolsters the Left’s contention that we are arrogant and thoughtless in our dealing with Islam. But wait … there is more.

At the same time that Solzhenitsyn criticizes our arrogance, he also suggests that we lack to courage to meet threats squarely:

A Decline in Courage may be the most striking feature which an outside observer notices in the West in our days. The Western world has lost its civil courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, each government, each political party and of course in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course there are many courageous individuals but they have no determining influence on public life. Political and intellectual bureaucrats show depression, passivity and perplexity in their actions and in their statements and even more so in theoretical reflections to explain how realistic, reasonable as well as intellectually and even morally warranted it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And decline in courage is ironically emphasized by occasional explosions of anger and inflexibility on the part of the same bureaucrats when dealing with weak governments and weak countries, not supported by anyone, or with currents which cannot offer any resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.

Should one point out that from ancient times decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end?

Today, courage must be measured not only in our restraint (which Western nations exercise to our collective detriment), but also in our ability to act with purpose when evil is present. It takes courage to recognize that war demands sacrifice – of the lives of our young warriors, of the lives of our adversary, and yes, of the lives of innocents who live among them. It takes courage to understand that words and "negotiation" do not always prevail, no matter how much we want them to; that better understanding of our adversary’s grievances does not mean that our adversary will desist from his drive to kill us.

It also takes courage to recognize that the rights and freedoms defined in our constitution were never intended to threaten the safety and stability of our nation. In what can only be called a prescient moment, Solzhenitsyn addresses this:
The defense of individual rights has reached such extremes as to make society as a whole defenseless against certain individuals. It is time, in the West, to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.

From 30 years in the past, Solzhenitsyn posed stll another critique that is appropriate for the present:
The press too, of course, enjoys the widest freedom. (I shall be using the word press to include all media). But what sort of use does it make of this freedom?

Here again, the main concern is not to infringe the letter of the law. There is no moral responsibility for deformation or disproportion. What sort of responsibility does a journalist have to his readers, or to history? If they have misled public opinion or the government by inaccurate information or wrong conclusions, do we know of any cases of public recognition and rectification of such mistakes by the same journalist or the same newspaper? No, it does not happen, because it would damage sales. A nation may be the victim of such a mistake, but the journalist always gets away with it. One may safely assume that he will start writing the opposite with renewed self-assurance.

Blogs have become the MSM’s conscience, but in essence, Solzhenitsyn’s words remain true. He continues:
Because instant and credible information has to be given, it becomes necessary to resort to guesswork, rumors and suppositions to fill in the voids, and none of them will ever be rectified, they will stay on in the readers' memory. How many hasty, immature, superficial and misleading judgments are expressed every day, confusing readers, without any verification. The press can both simulate public opinion and miseducate it. Thus we may see terrorists heroized, or secret matters, pertaining to one's nation's defense, publicly revealed, or we may witness shameless intrusion on the privacy of well-known people under the slogan: "everyone is entitled to know everything." But this is a false slogan, characteristic of a false era: people also have the right not to know, and it is a much more valuable one. The right not to have their divine souls stuffed with gossip, nonsense, vain talk. A person who works and leads a meaningful life does not need this excessive burdening flow of information.

Solzhenitsyn concludes with a sobering thought:
Western thinking has become conservative: the world situation should stay as it is at any cost, there should be no changes. This debilitating dream of a status quo is the symptom of a society which has come to the end of its development. But one must be blind in order not to see that oceans no longer belong to the West, while land under its domination keeps shrinking. The two so-called world wars (they were by far not on a world scale, not yet) have meant internal self-destruction of the small, progressive West which has thus prepared its own end. The next war (which does not have to be an atomic one and I do not believe it will) may well bury Western civilization forever.

Facing such a danger, with such historical values in your past, at such a high level of realization of freedom and apparently of devotion to freedom, how is it possible to lose to such an extent the will to defend oneself?

Maybe answer lies in the word “defend.”

In the new war – a war that I suspect Solzhenitsyn saw coming, defense alone cannot and will not succeed. With our current adversary, a policy of reaction (let them strike, then we’ll react) is the policy of fools and cowards. We must recognize threats and act before they are delivered. If we do not, this war “may well bury Western civilization forever.”

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Sometimes it’s the small things that give you a clear window into a culture. In one of the best op-eds written in the past year, David Brooks (New York Times, subscription only) defines an interesting cultural metric – the number of unpaid parking tickets given to UN diplomats in New York City.
Between 1997 and 2002, the UN mission of Kuwait picked up up 246 parking tickets per diplomat. Diplomats from Egypt, Chad, Sudan, Mozambique, Pakistan, Ethiopia, and Syria also commited huge numbers of violations. Meanwhile, not a single parking violation by a Swedish diplomat was recorded. Nor were there any by diplomats from Denmark, Japan, Israel, Norway or Canada.

Brooks argues that the reason for such wide variations in these minor infractions has nothing to do with economics (UN diplomats do not pay parking tix). Rather, these variations are caused by “cultural and moral norms.” If you’re Japanese or Israeli, you simply don’t park in front of a fire hydrant, no matter what.

Brooks addresses this issue when he states:
All cultures have value because they provide coherence, but some cultures foster development while others retard it. Some cultures focus on the future, while others focus on the past. Some cultures encourage the belief that individuals can control their own destiny, while others encourage fatalism.

In his new book, The Central Liberal Truth [Lawrence E.] Harrison takes up the question that is the center of politics today: Can we self-consciously change cultures so that they encourage development and modernization?

This should be, of course, the central question of modern liberal thought – can an external stimulus result in internalized cultural change? It applies to poverty, to lawlessness, to virtually all of society’s ills. Ironically, it is also at the crux of President Bush’s ill-fated attempt to change cultures in the Middle East, and at the crux of the Left’s argument that we need to change our actions (an external stimulus) in order mollify the Islamofascist culture in order to change it (make it peaceful).

Brooks describes Harrison’s research findings:
They [Harrison and his colleagues] concluded that cultural change can’t be imposed from the outside, except in rare circumstances. It has to be lead by people who understand and accept responsibility for their own culture’s problems and selectively reinterpret their own traditions to encourage modernization.

Harrision reports that “cultural change is measured in centuries, not decades.”

What does this say about Bush and the Left, strange bedfellows in this arena. I fear that both are being unrealistic.

Bush believes that democracy can change a culture, yet there appears to be little public recognition within middle eastern cultures that there is an internal problem that needs to be solved. These cultures whine (it’s the only reasonable word to use) about external “oppression” and wallow in their perceived fate.

The Left believes that our interaction with Islamic world has much to do with the Islamic world’s evolving fascism (although the Left hesitates to use the term). And yet, from within Islam itself, there are relatively few voices that “accept responsibility for their own culture’s problems and selectively reinterpret their own traditions to encourage modernization.”

Is it possible that both the Left and the Right have good intentions but are trying to solve an intractable problem? Is it reasonable to assume that Islamofascism will continue to grow and spread, regardless of benign external stimulae and until leaders within Islam “accept responsibility” for its present state? I think the answer to both questions is “yes.”

That leaves the West with a singular truth. In the words of David Brooks: “We’ll just have to fight the symptoms of a disease we can neither cure nor understand.”

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Winners and Losers

Hezballah has won a major strategic/propaganda victory now that a UN-sponsored cease fire is in the offing. Victory in this battle goes to the Islamofascists. But it's a long war and there will be other battles.

It should come as no surprise that Hassan Nasrallah has declared complete victory. Michael Totten describes an interview with Michael Oren, an Israeli writer and spokesman for the IDF, who comments on this:
He [Oren] laughed. And of course he would laugh. Everyone in the world knew Nasrallah would declare victory no matter what if he was not in a cage and if he still had a pulse. The Arab bar for military victory is set pathetically low. All you have to do is survive. You “win” even if your country is torn to pieces. The very idea of a Pyrrhic victory doesn’t occur to people who start unwinnable wars with the state of Israel.

“Look at Nasrallah today,” Michael said. “In 2000 he did his victory dance in Bint Jbail. He can’t do that this time. His command and control south of Beirut is completely gone. We killed 550 Hezbollah fighters south of the Litani out of an active force of 1250. Nasrallah claimed South Lebanon would be the graveyard of the IDF. But we only lost one tenth of one percent of our soldiers in South Lebanon. The only thing that went according to his plan was their ability to keep firing rockets. If he has enough victories like this one, he’s dead.”

And yet, Hezballah did win, because it didn’t lose. Syria and Iran won, because they can now rest assured that the sponsorship of international terrorism has no consequences. Nasrallah did win, because in the delusional world of Arabic thinking, a terrorist thug who has fought the “occupier” to a standstill is a greater hero that a true leader who would bring them out of their self-imposed darkness.

With regret, any objective assessment indicates that the biggest loser during the past month is Israel. World opinion is uniformly negative. No surpise there, but still unfortunate. The MSM and the Left require that Israel fight a perfectly sanitary, bloodless war of self-defense. The moment a single civilian is killed, regardless of the fact that (1) they were warned to leave, (2) they are used by Hezballah as human shields, (3) they are often Hezballah fighters and rabid supporters and (4) their deaths are often stage managed by Hezballah's media coordinators, Israeli’s are broadly condemned. Worse, Israeli leadership seemed far too sensitive to this hypocritical condemnation, fighting this war in fits and starts.

But the Western world loses as well. The UN cease-fire resolution is a travesty. It does little if anything to disarm a terrorist aggressor who has sworn to destroy Israel and the USA and who continues to be sponsored by Iran (a near Nuclear power). One has to wonder whether the 13,000 Katusha rockets supplied to Hezballah by Iran might someday be replaced with a single containerized Nuke.

Oh well, we MUST stop the killing, because Lebanese innocents (the MSM and the left don't spend much time fretting about Israeli innocents) are dying before our eyes. We must work toward peace with barbarians who have no intention of keeping it. Of course, because we stop the killing now, we set the stage for a time when we’ll look back wistfully at a few thousand civilians deaths. The storm clouds I’ve written about over the past months have gotten darker and more foreboding today. Sad.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Going Dark

An interesting thing seems to happen immediately after a major terrorist attack is thwarted, or worse, after one occurs. First, the usual suspects on the angry Left blame the victim or potential victim, arguing, as Senator Kennedy did yesterday, that our own corrupt foreign policy inflamed the Islamofacist scum who planned the attack. And then, the voices on the angry Left all go dark. Not forever, but for a few days.

It’s as if they’re reminded that evil lurks in the mist, just outside their view, and that grown-up people with serious intent must find it and kill it. But then after a few days, the image of evil fades and it’s back to the same old same old.

In an interesting post at The Belmont Club, a commenter who calls himself “The Mad Fiddler” comments on the threat and the angry Left’s reaction to it. I’m not sure I agree with his conclusions, but the commentary is thought provoking:
… the threat posed by Islamic Jihadi regimes is pretty much the same as that we face from individual Jihadi nutballs — terrorist acts against soft targets, targets of opportunity, using improvised schemes rather than military weapons systems.

Instead of a cataclysmic saturation attack of nukes [by the Islamists], we can expect a prolonged hemorrhage of puny-prong acts of sabotage, punctuated by an occasional mass casualty incident on a grand scale, which might include a low-efficiency nuclear device in a container, or truck, or small aircraft ….

We have to contemplate harsh options; we have to harden ourselves to a sustained series of painful and ugly lessons, because Islamic Jihadis have shown they are determined to bring their attack to us. We’ve all grown up in a country where we are accustomed to safety, and when that is interrupted, we take it for granted that the government will quickly come along to clear away the bodies. In other parts, when the combat moves along, the locals have to either step around the bodies, or clean up the debris themselves.

What I have predicted in the past I still believe: that a point will be reached where the Left in this country will finally feel personally threatened, realizing that Jihad will slaughter them regardless of how many times they voted against Bush; regardless of how many anti-war vigils they’ve attended; regardless of their disinvestment in Halliburton stock; regardless of their contributions to CAIR and the ACLU. The Jihadis will in time commit one atrocity too many, or one atrocity too enormous, and the former sympathizers and apologists will realize they have been meant for the chop all along, and they will turn.

- - - - - - - - - - ( Take a Breath...) - - - - - - - - - - -

This is what I fear more than anything else. Those who are already convinced and enlisted tend toward a conventional, if vehement, military argument, with all the discipline and respect for chain of command that implies. When the Left turns — when those who are obstinately blind to the danger finally awaken in bowel-gushing fear — I believe we will see the reverse side of the Left’s long posturing for patience and indulgence. Their response (I am convinced from the historical excesses of past Leftist regimes) will be a tsunami that crests on far shores beyond anyone’s reckoning, because the convert is ever the most zealous.

It’s hard to say what will convince the angry-Left that the threat is real and that appeasement is not the answer. It’s even harder to predict how they will react when they finally realize that their complete value system -- their art, their letters, their music, their religious (or non religious ) freedoms – all of it – will be the first thing that Islamofascism would destroy.

It’s also hard to conceive of a time when we all stand united against Islamofascism. After 9/11 there was a bumper sticker, still on some cars and trucks today, that read, “United We Stand.”

And divided, we may very well fall.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Playing Defense

There’s a cliché in virtually all sports—“defense wins games.” Like most clichés, there’s truth in that message, but at the same time, I worry that too many countries in the West believe that defense alone can also win the global war on terror. No one argues that defense—in the guise of far-reaching intelligence activities, competent investigative agencies that hunt down terrorist cells, and a broad array of technological, informational, and physical barriers and boundaries—plays a critical role in foiling terrorist plans. But is defense sufficient?

I think not.

This morning, the UK, with the help of Pakistani intelligence agencies and other unnamed sources, uncovered a deadly Islamofascist mass murder plot. The goal of the barbarians—to blow up 8 to 10 aircraft headed to the USA over the Atlantic. In this case, defense worked perfectly—the plot was uncovered, the perpetrators hunted down and arrested, and the flying public spared.

But the terrorists have still prevailed. The MSM reports that large scale airline ticket cancellations have already begun—economic impact to follow. New changes in security rules will create even greater inconvenience for travelers (e.g., no lap top computers in the cabin). Lines at airports around the world will grow in length. And all of us repeat a mantra that goes something like: “It’s okay to be delayed and inconvenienced, after all, they’re doing it for our safety.” The speaker usually shrugs and sometime smiles nervously.

My view is that it’s not okay to allow Islamofascist to dictate how we travel or how we live, at least in the long term. But if all we do is play defense, we really don’t have much choice. Worse, even the best defense isn't 100 percent effective against a determined offense.

So the question is how we should play offense against an evil religious cult that is driven by hatred and dominated by a single goal—to murder as many innocents as necessary to achieve their goal of world-wide domination.

Western liberal democracies can begin an offense against Islamofascism by rejecting the postmodernist thinking that leads to a mindset that establishes moral equivalence between acts of mass murder and legitimate defense against those acts. It can reject appeasement or peace at any cost as an option in dealing with Islam. It can demand that the media report the world without pervasive bias that, to many, appears to slant in favor of the terrorists.

But even these things are meer ‘chalk talk.’ We need a real offense—one that neutralizes and/or destroys Islamosfascists now, before they become the 21st century’s 4th Reich. The design and execution of that offense is the most critical challenge facing the West.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

And so, Joe Loses

And so, Joe Lieberman loses in Connecticut. In my last post on this subject, I suggested that the angry-Left bloggers who backed the winner, Ned Lamont, would be energized by their victory and would hold greater sway in Democratic national politics.

Today’s DailyKos (an early and rabid anti-Lieberman/pro-Lamont blog with a very large democratic following – in fact, the founder of the blog is an “advisor” to the Dems at a national level) has the following suggestion concerning the Middle East:

In my diary of yesterday, I proposed that our party support the creation of a single secular democracy in the area now controlled by Israel, and I was impressed by the quality of responses. Based on this tiny sample of 100 or so Democrats, I'm thinking that maybe the average Democratic voter might be open to taking a more impartial role in the Middle East - and thus making our country less of an object of hatred by Muslims everywhere.

At first, I thought this was a joke (maybe it is). Could anyone who has any semblance of understanding of the ME not recognize that (1) the Arabs have repeated stated that they want the Jews REMOVED from the region, i.e., they refuse to live with them; (2) that a "secular democracy" is anthema to the Islamofascists, and (3) the brand of Islam that dominates the ME thrives on hatred -- if Israel disappears, the Mullahs will certainly think of something else? But why think rationally, why consider the historical facts, when you can simply wish it to be true?

DailyKos continues:
The most common objections to such a proposal is that the two sides hate each other too much to stop the killing and that outside forces, like the USA, cannot impose a solution.

However, I think that the US, as the prime, and virtually the only, supplier for the Israeli Defense Force for the past many decades has the capacity to force a settlement simply by cutting off that support.

Here it is! The new "Israel is a mistake" meme (very chic within angry Left circles, see my previous post) in its most pernicious form. We simply make Israel go away -- the "mistake" is corrected -- and Arabs and progressives will all be able to sing Kumbayah together. The Islamofascist threat attentuates, a world at peace!

One has to wonder whether this approach to 'solving' the ME crisis will be discussed by the national Dems, given that they must now look Left or risk getting bounced like Joe L.

One has to wonder whether selling the only liberal democracy in the ME down the river will become the 'solution' that the democrats adopt.

One has to wonder how Ned Lamont, or more importantly, Nancy Pelosi, or Harry Reed, or Hillary Clinton would respond to this 'solution.'

One has to wonder whether rational Dems across the country truly believe that appeasement of the Islamofascists will somehow inoculate the US from their barbaric, terrorist practices.

Yeah … one has to wonder.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Some elements of the left-leaning MSM appear to be promoting a new meme that I fear will become more prevalent as Israel continues its fully justifiable war again the Islamofascist group, Hezballah. Two examples should suffice:

From The New Yorker magazine:
... Israel is a good and miraculous nation that deserves the support of civilized people, but the great unfortunate fact about its creation—being carved by the U.N. out of Arab land in 1947—cannot be ignored or wished away. We have no choice but to support Israel, even though the Israeli Defense Forces are killing civilians, dozens a day, in Lebanon. All of those deaths, one wants to believe, are unintentional, unavoidable mistakes. Yet as Richard Cohen wrote in his Washington Post column last week, “Israel itself is a mistake . . . an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable [but which] has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now.” Sixty years on, there can be no revising or reversing that mistake—and when the choice is Israel versus unaccommodating Islamist fanatics, we must be for Israel. Is there any more inconvenient truth?

From Canada’s CBC :
So let's face the uncomfortable fact that there is no solution to the Arab-Israeli problem — except perhaps the passing of time and the appearance of a mutual enemy so threatening that they have to unite in defence. The truth is that the UN made a horrendous mistake in 1948 when it partitioned Palestine to create a sovereign Jewish state on Arab land.

So … it was a mistake to partition a land mass in which the Jews had lived continuously for over 30 centuries, a land mass populated by hundreds of thousands of Jewish inhabitants, who built major historical cities (can you say “Jerusalem”)? The core lie that is used by the ‘Israel is a mistake’ crowd is easy to debunk. Prior to the UN mandate in 1948, there was no country called Palestine. There was no king, no parliament, no dictator, no nothing. There was only a collection of small towns and cities populated by people of many religions and backgrounds. There was land, but it was not “Arab land” – it was land used by Arabs, Jews, Christians, and others.

The objection of the Islamic inhabitants then (and today) was not the partitioning of land, but the creation of a non-Moslem state in their midst. They cannot and will not tolerate infidels unless those infidels are dhimmi (subservient). That’s the “inconvenient truth,” and it makes this latest lie all the more heinous.

So why has the left-eaning media given voice to the ‘Israel is a mistake’ crowd. The answer is simple – a key component of their worldview appears to be appeasement—peace at any cost. If we could only rectify this “mistake”, they imply, we’d surely mollify the Islamofascists and peace would be at hand.

Someone once said: “No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb.” That someone was an icon for modern liberalism, much beloved American President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Joe and the Dems -- Part II

This morning, the Sunday news shows spent an inordinate amount of time discussing the Joe Lieberman - Ned Lamont primary race for the Senate in Connecticut. At the core of the discussion was the fact that the incumbent, Senator Lieberman, is currently 10 percentage points down in the polls.

Back in January of this year, I posted the following commentary:

Joe Lieberman, the US Senator from Connecticut, lives in Westville, a beautiful tree lined neighborhood just north of the center of New Haven. For a time, I lived not more than ½ mile from his house, and although we never met, I’ve been a long time admirer of his intelligence and character, his moderate political positions, and his forthright and honest manner in communicating with his constituency. He is, in my opinion, a good model to emulate if Democrats are serious about ever winning another presidential election.

It is troubling, therefore, to note that Lieberman is under attack not from Republicans, but from the angry Left wing of the Democratic party, who hope to see him defeated in his re-election campaign.

In a recent article in The New Republic Online, Peter Beinart discusses this situation:

Why are MoveOn, Daily Kos, and so many other liberal activists so keen to find a primary challenger against Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman? . . .

... For Kos and the other Lieberman-haters, liberalism means confrontation, at least in the Bush era. In their view, politics should be guided by the spirit of war. If you don't want to crush conservatives, you are not a liberal.

So Lieberman-hatred is really all about style, right? Actually, no -- there's one final slice, and it's the most important of all. Behind Lieberman's obsession with national unity is his deep conviction that the United States is at war -- not just in Iraq, but around the world. The war on terrorism is his prism for viewing Bush. And it drains away his anger at the president's misdeeds, because they always pale in comparison to those of America's true enemy. When the Abu Ghraib revelations broke, Lieberman said America should apologize, but then added that 'those who were responsible for killing 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, never apologized.' . . .

Yet, if Lieberman's view is one-dimensional, so is that of his critics. If he only sees Bush through the prism of war, they only see the war through the prism of Bush -- which is why they can muster so little anger at America's jihadist enemies and so little enthusiasm when Iraqis risk their lives to vote. Kos and MoveOn have conveniently convinced themselves that the war on terrorism is a mere subset of the struggle against the GOP. Whatever brings Democrats closer to power, ipso facto, makes the United States safer. That would be nice if it were true -- but it's clearly not, because, sometimes, Bush is right, and because, to some degree, our safety depends on his success."

In Joe Lieberman’s situation, we see the travesty that has become American confrontational politics. We see a significant element of the Democratic party that allows their extreme dislike of a Republican President to overwhelm all of their other positions. They criticize mercilessly, but have forgotten that criticism is most effective when constructive alternatives, not meaningless abstractions, are offered. They continuously allege wrongdoing, but never take the time to recognize things that are going well. They lament nominees to the Supreme Court, forgetting that the reason those nominees sat before the Judiciary committee was because the Democrats lost the last Presidential election. That's their real problem ... not a conservative jurist like Samual Alito.

And if they do not recognize these failings and move to correct them, they will lose the next Presidential election as well.

The United States works best when we cycle from Republican to Democrat and back again in the Executive branch. The angry Left is robbing the Democratic party of their ability to complete that cycle. And that's not a good thing for our country.

So here we are, 8 months later, and as predicted, Joe is in jeopardy. I still hope he wins, and he just might, but regardless of the outcome, the portent for the Dems is not good.

The angry Left will now be perceived as the king maker in the democratic party. The party’s leadership, presidential contenders, and platform will pay homage to their power. They will make the Democratic party their own, and in so doing, I believe they will isolate it from the political center in the USA—the demographic that wins elections on a national scale.

The problem for the Dems, if they become the party of the Angry left, is simple: their rabid hatred of George Bush is perceived by many as strident, and in the extreme, anti-American. Their anti-war stance is beginning to sound very much like ‘peace at any cost.’

Over the next decade, the USA will face historic challenges that will require very hard choices. If we make the wrong ones, very bad things may happen. The political center of our country will ask whether the Dems, perceived to be countrolled by extremists, will be willing to make the hard choices that must be made. Will they go to war, recognizing that wars are not bloodless? Will they respond to an attack, even if civilians are put in harm's way? Will they act in the best interests of their own country, even if the world doesn't like us? Will - they - lead?

Right now, those of us in the center are unsure of the answers to these questions -- and like it or not, we do matter -- a lot.

As the angry Left ascends in its influence, the democratic party may very well descend into irrelevance. As I said back in January, “that's not a good thing for our country.”

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Brink

Victor Davis Hanson believes we are on the “brink of madness”—a place that we once visited in the 1930s. In that era, we returned from the doors of the asylum, but only after horrific loss and unimaginable pain. History repeats.

A “Key Goal”

Day after day and week after week, the left-leaning MSM in the USA continues to outdo itself with biased reports that characterize Hezballah in a favorable light. Worse, the MSM misstates facts, provides no context, and purposely omits important information, all in favor of these islamofascists.

In story after story, the MSM implies that Hezballah’s terror campaign is driven by “oppression" of one kind or another Today, in an article in The New York Times, Craig Smith suggests that “Freeing Prisoners Key Goal in Fight Against Israel”. He states:
When Hezbollah guerrillas sneaked into Israel last month, killing and capturing Israeli soldiers and setting off the current crisis, their goal was to trade them for a Lebanese man held by Israel.

The “Lebanese man” who Mr. Smith is referring to is Samir Kuntar, a member of a terror cell that broke into a CIVILIAN apartment house in the Israeli town of Nahariya, shot the father in the head, killing him, and the murdered his 4 year old daughter by crushing her skull with a rifle butt. Nice folks, these Arab terrorists.

The NYT article continues:

Political discourse, billboards, street graffiti and militant songs and manifestos are all laced with references, sometimes nearly rote, to winning freedom for the prisoners.

The prisoners now number about 9,700, about 100 of them women, according to a spokeswoman for the Israeli Prison Authority. About 300 are younger than 18, including two girls and a boy of 14, being held in juvenile detention facilities for acts against Israel. The Israelis say many of them are terrorists — if not quite on the scale of Mr. Kuntar, not far from it — and some clearly are. But the Palestinians say that others are wrongfully accused and that many have never committed a violent act.

So let’s see if I have this straight. Hezballah and Hamas are driven by a “key goal” that, of course, is certainly defensible: they want to free “wrongfully” accused prisoners in Israeli jails. Their demonic drive to kill Jews, obliterate the state of Israel, and purposely target civilians at every opportunity are undeniable (although the NYT piece never mentions these salient facts), but really, deep down, they're just out for justice. Yeah … right.

The underlying theme exemplified in this and many other left-leaning MSM reports implies, without directly stating it, that Israel is somehow to blame for the barbaric attacks that are visited upon it. If Israel would just let the ‘wrongfully accused’ prisoners go, everything would be OK. If Israel would just leave the “occupied” territories, the fighting would stop (Just like it did when they unilaterally decided to leave Gaza or for that matter, when they unilaterally left Lebanon six years ago.)

The left-wing mindset that implies this nonsense needs to feel that it can somehow control the Islamofascist barbarism it sees. It knows, deep down, that Islamofascist terror is not controllable by any peaceful means, but refusing to accept this clear reality, it instead blames the victim. Worse, it often tries to demonize the victim. In this case, Israel. To do this, however, it must misstate facts, provide no context, and purposely omit important information.

There is no solution to this problem. We have a free press and they will write what they want. Just once,though, I’d like to see the NYT misstate facts, provide no context, and purposely omit important information in favor of Israel or the USA. But that wouldn't be right, would it?