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

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Diplomatic Idiocy

Over the past week, the State Department and Obama administration have been whining that the Israeli media unfairly criticized our bumbling Secretary of State, John Kerry, for his ham-handed diplomatic efforts in Israel as of late. Over the past few days,the main stream media has reported on the whining, but has not taken a hard look at the debacle that Barack Obama's team of diplomatic 2s has created.

Luckily, Mideast expert, Adam Garfinkle provides some insight. After describing Kerry's cease fire proposal efforts as "the [italics his] most noteworthy piece of U.S. diplomatic idiocy in the Middle East that I’ve witnessed in several years (which is really saying something)," he goes on to discuss the ramifications.

He begins by assessing whether recent moves by the administration have been due to malice or incompetence. He comes down on the side of incompetence. In explanation, he writes:
... I agree that it’s not malice, but it is incompetence of a kind and on a scale that tars John Kerry as the dumbest Secretary of State in my lifetime.

Let me elaborate just a bit, and try to provide some perspective here. As [David] Ignatius [of the WaPo] notes, Kerry went first to Cairo in his quest for a quick ceasefire, but found that the Egyptians could not budge Hamas. Why this surprised him I can’t imagine: Doesn’t he know that this is not Mubarak’s Egypt anymore, where a long-standing double-gaming gambit once provided some indirect U.S. entry into Hamasistan? This is post-Morsi, al-Sisi Egypt, and the Egyptian double game is over. That’s good in that it makes Egypt and Israel effective allies at weakening Hamas, but the drawback is that Cairo can no longer serve as an effective transmission belt for the insertion of U.S. sticks and carrots. So chalk up that flight as a waste of aviation fuel.

Then it got worse. By ministering to Qatar, where the head of the Hamas political wing lives at the invitation of the Al-Thani, Kerry strengthened that troublemaking little pissant of a country. If you thought U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia—which in this dustup is a tacit ally of Egypt and Israel—could not get worse than they already are, you goofed: They just did. (But if you want to hear anti-Qatari venom that can singe the hair on your chin, better to go to Abu Dhabi or Dubai.)

Then worse still: Kerry ministered to arguably the world’s foremost anti-Semite, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Richard Cohen’s piece today, “Erdogan’s anti-Semitic fetish”, also leaves me bereft of criticism in the face of another Washington Post columnist who also regularly irritates me.) There are rumors that another Gazan flotilla will be launched, this time with the Turkish Navy as guardian. I hope this isn’t true, because no good can come of it.

And then worst of all: Kerry presents Israel with a draft of a ceasefire agreement that puts Hamas on the same level as Israel, and demeans Fatah and the PA, with which Israel is bound up in a legal if highly imperfect relationship; that would give Hamas the politically life-sustaining prize it seeks in the form of an “open borders” concession it can characterize as helping the people of Gaza; and that would prevent Israel from finishing the work of destroying the deadly tunnel network under the border.

A ceasefire under those terms would enable Hamas to resupply its war machine, bringing in unlimited numbers of missiles and mortars—and concrete, too, to rebuild and expand the tunnel network. It would enable Hamas to begin the next phase of conflict, in which it targets Israeli civilians while using Gazan civilians as human shields, at a time of its choosing. It would mean that all the IDF killed in this conflict would have died in vain.
The word "incompetence" is used frequently when the Obama administration is discussed. In some cases, it's serious, but at the same time rather amusing. In the case of Israel v. Hamas, it's disastrous and not at all amusing.

Obama and his team of 2s are doing great damage to our country at the international level. Damage that may be irreparable going forward.

At first, even I thought that John Kerry's incompetence had more to do with the events described in today's post than Barack Obama's growing anti-Israel position. Caroline Glick set me straight:
... in their discussion Sunday night, [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu and his ministers were without illusions about the gravity of the situation and the imperative of winning – however defined.

But then the telephone rang. And Obama told Netanyahu that Israel must lose. He wants an unconditional “humanitarian” cease-fire that will lead to a permanent one.

And he wants it now.

And by the way, the eventual terms of that cease-fire must include opening Hamas-controlled Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza coast. That is, the cease-fire must allow Hamas to rebuild its arsenal of death and destruction quickly, with US political and financial support.

Until Obama made the call, there was lingering doubt among some Israelis regarding his intentions. Some thought that US Secretary of State John Kerry might have been acting of his own accord last Friday night when he tried to force Israel to accept Hamas’s cease-fire terms.

But then Obama made his phone call. And all doubts were dispelled.

Kerry is just a loyal steward of Obama’s foreign policy.

Obama is siding with Hamas, and its Muslim Brotherhood patrons in Qatar and Turkey, against Israel, and its Sunni Arab supporters – Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.

It is Obama who demands that Hamas have open borders so it can resupply, and receive billions of dollars – starting with an immediate cash injection of $47 million from US taxpayers – so it can pay North Korea for more missiles and import building materials to reconstruct its tunnels.

And Richard Fernandez caps it all off with this:
The New York Times notes that Arab leaders are unusually silent about Israel’s campaign in Gaza because their loathing of Hamas is so great they are secretly rooting for Netanyahu. Deep in their hearts they are cynically hoping Israel will take out the trash to leave the field clear for themselves.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents. “I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas. The silence is deafening.”

It’s the Westerners yelling in Paris who are the dopes; the regional leaders know that Hamas cares as much for ‘Palestinians’ as Mao cared about flowers. The world lives on two levels; the plane of the popular narrative and the zone of power politics. The way the Islamist game is really played was illustrated by a video posted by ISIS showing the mass murder of their prisoners. The Jihad is not about ‘breaking the cycle of violence’ or ‘advancing universal brotherhood’. It’s about ‘you lose you die’.

What is really striking about the expressions of the doomed in the ISIS video is the attitude of acceptance, resignation and absolute bewilderment as they cower in dump trucks on the way to the execution site. These emotions must have been similar to the millions of victims of the 1940s who died unable to believe the nightmare was actually happening until the bullet smashed their skull.
Hamas is no different than ISIS, only slightly less well-armed and slightly better-contained. I guess as his presidency implodes, Barack Obama feels there's no longer a need for phony pretense. He is now on the record as the first American president to abandon an ally in favor of an Islamist terror group.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

13 Ways

In my last blog post I quoted Brett Stevens who discussed the "Palestinian Effect:"
The abrupt and often total collapse of logical reasoning, skeptical intelligence and ordinary moral judgment whenever the subject of Palestinian suffering arises.
The international Left and its Islamist allies suffer mightily from the Palestinian Effect. Increasingly, Leftists in major cities worldwide, at Universities across the globe, throughout the media, and in many hidden corners of the Nation's capital (including the Obama administration) have joined them.

It's worth reviewing just who they tacitly support by demonizing Israel. Hamas is an Islamist  terror group that was elected overwhelmingly by the palestinians in Gaza. Elections have consequences, and sadly, some Gazan civilians are suffering those consequences. But before you wring your hands in grief, it might be worthwhile to examine just who the Israelis are fighting.

Let's begin with a direct quote from The Hamas Charter which defines Hamas's (and by extension, all Islamist organizations) "mission" against the Jews: Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.

Here's how Hamas operates, adapted from a post at The Grid (with Hamas-made video, photographs, news reports from al Jizirra and other Middle Eastern sources):

1. Weaponize Women as Suicide Bombers and Terrorists.  Dozens of videos show smiling female terrorists extolled for bombing Israeli pizza parlors and other civilian establishments with resultant deaths of Israeli women and children.

2. Weaponize Children: Use Children's TV to Brainwash Young Palestinians to Commit Atrocities Against Jews.  Praise for the killing of Jews and for martyrdom are a regular occurrence on Hamas' programming for young children.

3. Weaponize Children: Glorify suicide bombers/martyrdom and terrorism.

4. Weaponize Young Children to perform suicide missions. 13,000 Teenagers finisheds Hamas training “to follow in the footsteps of the suicide martyrs.”

5. Weaponize Animals. Palestinian fighters strapped a bomb to a donkey and then exploded it remotely on the road between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion. No humans were injured in the attack. PETA director Ingrid Newkirk wrote to PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat asking him to keep animals out of the conflict. PETA was criticized for not objecting to killing of humans in the context.

6. Weaponize Ambulances with Terrorists, Explosives; use Arab Children as shields.

7. Weaponize Mosques. The Washington Post (July 17, 2014) observes that men were moving rockets into a Mosque in northern Gaza. "During the lull, a group of men at a mosque in northern Gaza said they had returned to clean up the green glass from windows shattered in the previous day’s bombardment. But they could be seen moving small rockets into the mosque." (this item was subsequently deleted from the Washington Post article)

8. Weaponize Palestinian Homes. Rockets are launched from inside and outside houses.

9. Use women and children as human shields.

10. Weaponize Palestinian Schools. A UN Agency founds bombs in its Gaza Strip school twice in one week. “Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the agency said on Tuesday. “The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”

11. Weaponize Palestinian Hospitals.  IDF cameras captured Wafa Hospital being used as a rocket launching site.

12. Weaponize Traditional News Media with fake stories leveraging Palestinian deaths and suffering. There's a reason they call it "Pallywood."

13. Weaponize Social Media against Israel.

In the USA, the major media exemplars of the Palestinian Effect are the left-leaning New York Times and CNN. Israeli-American novelist, playwright and journalist, Naomi Ragen, nails it when she writes:
As for Americans, represented by The New York Times, that bastion of high-minded hypocrisy and mediocre journalism parading as the “newspaper of record,” one has only to read the article by Professor Auerbach in the New York Observer ("Two Weeks of Shallow, Facile Moral Equivalency From the New York Times") to see how Jodi Rudoren and other Times apparatchiks have learned to close their minds and love Hamas. After all, there are CHILDREN DYING. It doesn’t matter that the Palestinians have educated an entire generation to be little Nazi-wannabes, who worship death and hate Jews, murdering their souls, and are now callously putting their bodies in harm’s way to use for touching photo ops. We shouldn’t be shocked by this omission by the Tim es. After all, The New York Times was one of the last news outlets to bring to the attention of the reading public the Nazi atrocities in Europe. Read the Times during the nightmare years, and see if you can’t find a pattern here.
The NYT simply chooses to ignore Hamas' barbaric use of women and children as human weapons and human shields.

Ragen goes on to write:
I prefer that you - writers of these lies and libels-- hate me and my country, if it means that you can save your tears for other peoples dead. We aren’t greedy for sympathy. After all, we got so much after the Holocaust, we prefer other people to have their share now. These days, we prefer to live, rather than have people cry over us and the injustices done to us.

So by all means, cry for the Palestinian people - men women and children- whose duly elected leadership has callously left them without protection from just retribution for their terrorist crimes. Who took their aid money and are living in Qatar in five star hotels building shopping centers for themselves. Who built terrorist tunnels under their homes, mosques, hospitals and schools, and recruited their sons to die for Allah, while they sit in bunkers waiting for the U.N. to rescue them.

Don’t cry for us, or our families, or our children, or grandchildren. Not this time. Not ever. Not if we can help it. Because this time, thank God, we have a country. We are armed. This time, with God's help, we know how to protect ourselves from Nazis and their high-minded media cheerleaders.
As the son of a Holocaust survivor myself, I hesitate to use the term "Nazi." It has been much overused and abused in recent years. But in the case of Hamas, ISIS, al Qaida, Boko Haram, and dozens of other Islamist groups, we are indeed looking at the 21st century's Nazis. What is truly frightening is that our current administration and the major media refuses (outright...refuses) to discuss the growing threat of Islamist ideology and labels anyone who questions the Muslim community about its apparent lack of effort in trying to damp out this threat as an 'Islamophobe.'

Israel is the ONLY country that seems to understand the threat and the ONLY country with the will the fight back—hard. If that causes the Left to have problems—f**k 'em.

Peter Wehner describes an interview between Charlie Rose and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. To his credit, Rose engaged in the following exchange:
ROSE: It’s one thing to say you want to coexist with the Jews. It’s another thing you want to coexist with the state of Israel. Do you want to coexist with the state of Israel? Do you want to represent — do you want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?

MESHAAL (through translator): No. I said I do not want to live with a state of occupiers.
Wehner comments at length:
So there you have it. The leader of Hamas says, point blank, it does not want a two-state solution. Yet scores of liberal commentators continue to make arguments like this: “We have to get a solution. And it has to be a two-state solution. And it has to be basically encouraged, if not imposed, I think, from without.”

This is an example of what social scientists call “motivated reasoning.” It refers to when people hold to a false belief despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. In this instance, the Hamas charter and the Hamas leader don’t accept Israel’s right to exist. And yet liberals don’t seem to care. They appear to be content to live in world made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust. A world of make believe. And so in the context of Israel’s war with Hamas, they continue to revert to arguments that simply don’t apply–for example, arguing that Israel needs to “end the occupation” despite the fact that Israel completely withdrew from Gaza nearly a decade ago.

Israel, on the other hand, has to live and survive in reality. Israelis know the nature of the enemy they face–implacable, committed, ruthless, malevolent. Given all this, and given that Israel itself is a nation of extraordinary moral and political achievements, you might think that the United States government would be fully supportive of the Jewish state in its war against Hamas. But you would be wrong.

The Obama administration is racheting up pressure on Israel. Hamas’s war on Israel, combined with its eagerness to have innocent Palestinians die as human shields in order to advance its propaganda campaign, is pushing America (under Obama) not toward Israel but away from her. Mr. Obama and the left perceive themselves as reality based and their critics as fantasy based. It’s a conceit without merit. And in no case is it more evident than in the left’s stance toward Hamas and Israel.

This is a case where reality and all the arguments, including all the moral arguments, align on one side; and yet Obama and the left are on the other.

They live in a fantasy world. In this instance, doing so has diabolic consequences.
Earlier I mentioned that in Gaza, elections had consequence. Sadly, the same applies in the United States.

UPDATE (7/31/14):
As the Obama administration, the left-biased media, and the broader Leftist community wring their hands over what they claim (incorrectly) is the wanton killing of civilians in Gaza, a small news story goes virtually unreported. The reason is simple, it proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Hamas uses its civilians as human shields and will brook no dissent from its own people when they object. Steve Huntley of The Chicago Sun-Times reports:
This [Hamas] terrorist infrastructure was erected within the civilian infrastructure of the heavily populated Gaza Strip — in homes, mosques and U.N.-administered schools — with the intent by Hamas to wage terror war from behind the Palestinian families there. It’s a cruel, criminal tactic that costs many Palestinian lives. Any civilian who protests this strategy is branded a collaborator or spy for Israel and killed, with 30 such executions reported so far, according to the Jerusalem Post. Hamas, knowing it can’t win in combat with Israel, throws away Palestinian lives in hopes of winning a propaganda war. [emphasis mine]

Of course, there are the gullible, the Westerners saddled with colonial guilt, the Israel-haters and the anti-Semites who fall for the Hamas strategy hook, line and sinker, and blame Israel for the civilian deaths.

Those elements come together in ugly demonstrations — accompanied by anti-Semitic chants, verbal abuse and assaults on Jews — across Europe. The Gatestone Institute calls it “Europe’s Kristallnacht.” North African immigrants barricaded Jews in a synagogue in Paris and firebombed Jewish businesses. Muslims predominated in a London protest noted for a poster: “Hitler you were right.” Britain saw 100 hate crimes against Jews. Protests in Germany were so ugly that a Berlin newspaper started a “Never Again Jew Hatred” campaign.

These elements come together in the U.N. Human Rights Council, a font of anti-Israeli resolutions. It, without evidence, accused Israel of “gross violations” of human rights.
Gee, I wonder whether the UN will pass a resolution condemning Hamas for sacrificing its own women and children in the name of propaganda. Nah, doesn't fit the narrative so it never happened.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Palestinian Effect

One of the card carrying members of Barack Obama's team of 2s is Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications. You'd think that with that august title, he'd be very clear and effective in his communications. Nope.

Brett Stevens writes about still another Obama administration spin effort regarding the Israel-Hamas war:
Of all the inane things that have been said about the war between Israel and Hamas, surely one dishonorable mention belongs to comments made over the weekend by Benjamin J. Rhodes, deputy national security adviser for strategic communications.

Interviewed by CNN's Candy Crowley, Mr. Rhodes offered the now-standard administration line that Israel has a right to defend itself but needs to do more to avoid civilian casualties. Ms. Crowley interjected that, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Jewish state was already doing everything it could to avoid such casualties.

"I think you can always do more," Mr. Rhodes replied. "The U.S. military does that in Afghanistan."

How inapt is this comparison? The list of Afghan civilians accidentally killed by U.S. or NATO strikes is not short. Little of the fighting in Afghanistan took place in the dense urban environments that make the current warfare in Gaza so difficult. The last time the U.S. fought a Gaza-style battle—in Fallujah in 2004—some 800 civilians perished and at least 9,000 homes were destroyed. This is not an indictment of U.S. conduct in Fallujah but an acknowledgment of the grim reality of city combat.

Oh, and by the way, American towns and cities were not being rocketed from above or tunneled under from below as the Fallujah campaign was under way.
Stevens goes on to comment on the left-leaning media's obsession with civilian death counts, but only when Israel is defending itself.

It seems that every palestinian death is considered a civilian, even though a three-quarters of the dead are males of war-fighting age. Might it be worthwhile for, say, The New York Times to acknowledge that fact? Nope.

Like virtually every member of the Obama administration, Rhodes is walking a tightrope, working assiduously not to appear too pro-Israel. Stevens continues:
Maybe Mr. Rhodes knows all this [the difficulty of urban warfare] and was merely caught out mouthing the sorts of platitudes that are considered diplomatically de rigueur when it comes to the Palestinians. Or maybe he was just another victim of what I call the Palestine Effect: The abrupt and often total collapse of logical reasoning, skeptical intelligence and ordinary moral judgment whenever the subject of Palestinian suffering arises.
That sounds about right.

Impeach Me, Please!

A very odd, unprecedented meme has developed within the Obama administration. Senior spokespeople and major Democratic fundraising arms are raising the specter of an Obama impeachment. Forget the fact that no serious senior elected GOP politician in the House or the Senate has suggested this publicly. Forget the fact that impeachment would be a non-starter, given the current make-up of the Senate (which must vote to impeach with a super majority), forget that for all of his incompetence, mendaciousness, divisiveness, and lack of leadership, Barack Obama has not committed "high crimes and misdemeanors," The Dems seem obsessed with the subject.

James Taranto comments:
Here's an idea for a satirical political film: A beleaguered president tries to engineer his own impeachment in the hope of engendering public sympathy and turning the political tide in his favor.

If it's too far-out for a satire, maybe it'll work as a documentary. Yes, the White House is talking impeachment. The Christian Science Monitor's Mark Sappenfield reports that senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer broached the subject twice at a breakfast Friday.

First, he "said that House Republicans' recent moves toward a lawsuit against President Obama open 'the door to Republicans possibly considering impeachment at some point in the future.' " Later, he suggested some potential grounds: "He said that if Obama uses his executive authority this year to ease deportations of some illegal immigrants--as he has vowed to do--that 'will certainly up the likelihood that [Republicans] would contemplate impeachment at some point.' "

Republicans would have to be complete fools to undertake impeachment proceedings absent a broad public consensus that the president has to go. In theory, they could do it: Impeachment requires only a majority of the House, so that GOP representatives could approve articles of impeachment without Democratic help. (Or with Democratic help: The Dems could boycott an impeachment vote, so that a majority of Republicans would be enough.)

But convicting an impeached official and removing him from office require a two-thirds vote of the Senate, or 67 votes.
It seems that even the president's wife can't avoid talking about the subject. Again from Taranto:
"In the past 48 hours," the Washington Examiner's Byron York reported Saturday morning, "first lady Michelle Obama, White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer, White House spokesman Josh Earnest, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and others have raised the specter of an Obama impeachment."

The DCCC did so in a series of fundraising solicitations, culminating in a shout: "If you're wondering why you're getting all this email on a Friday night, it's simple. THE IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA IS NOW A REAL POSSIBILITY."
It's likely that this overblown nonsense coming from the Dems is, as Taranto implies, nothing more than a fundraising ploy. But it might also be a cross between reaction formation and misdirection—a pathetic attempt to change the subject.

This presdient has failed miserably in both the domestic and foriegn policy realms. His domestic policies have lead to a stagnant economy, increased debt, myriad serious scandals, and a level of partisanship that truly does hurt the country. His foriegn policy is a disaster. So the Dems are doing what defense lawyers try to do in the courtroom ... follow the old aphorism, "When you client is guilty, change the subject."

Monday, July 28, 2014

Crossing a Red Line?

Today, breaking from his tradition of remaining above the fray, Barack Obama called Israeli Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu and demanded an "immediate ceasefire"—in essence, intervening to allow Hamas to not only survive, but to rearm, build more attack tunnels, and continue a steady stream of rockets on Israeli population centers at some future date.

John Podhoretz first suggests that Obama is being disingenuous, demanding something that he knows Israel cannot accept, but allowing himself to look like an advocate of "peace" for his leftist supporters (who themselves despise Israel and everything it stands for).

I have contended since before his election in 2008 that Barack Obama is no friend of Israel. He has demonstrated this in his passive-aggressive actions throughout the years.

But then, Podhoretz suggests a far more sinister alternative. He writes:
But it’s also very possible the president isn’t being disingenuous. In which case he has really crossed a—do I dare—red line here no other American leader ever has. Obama doesn’t like the pictures he’s seeing, he doesn’t like Bibi, he doesn’t like the fact that even Israel’s liberals are in a belligerent frame of mind after weeks of missile attacks against population centers, he isn’t running for reelection, he doesn’t care about donors or Jewish voters, he believes in his heart of hearts that the root cause of regional instability is Israel’s gains in the 1967 war, and in service of all these feelings and beliefs, he’s decided Israel is in the wrong and that Hamas needs to be saved from Israel’s might. In which case, he is personally intervening against an American ally with a legitimately elected and deeply fractious coalition government on behalf of a terrorist organization.
No one can know what is in Obama's head, but every American Jew (and every American who believes that the Middles East's only liberal democracy has a right to exist) should watch this president's moves very carefully in the coming days.

Three Wars

The Israel-Hamas war is a clear indicator of just how depraved the international left has become. They have worked with islamists to demonize Israel, the only liberal democracy in the Middle East. At the same time, they have aligned themsleves with an organizations (Hamas and other islamist groups) that are virulently anti-women, pathologically anti-gay, unspeakably violent, and notoriously intolerant of those of other religions. But no matter, thoughtless support that leads to moral preening trumps all.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post, David Bernstein raises a number of interesting points:

1. The bumbling John Kerry presented a ceasefire agreement to Israel that was nothing more than a list of Hamas demands—no balance, no Hamas concessions, just Hamas demands. The fractious Israeli cabinet rejected it unanimously (they hardly ever agree on anything, but they agreed on this). The Obama administration is passive-aggressive when they deal with Israel. They are not an a honest broker and they are not Israel's friend. Bernstein comments:
How incompetent a diplomat [Kerry] can you be to publicly offer a cease-fire proposal to a friendly (and dependent) country when you have no support whatsoever for it, and apparently no leverage to overcome that lack of support? As I understand it, the terms were “Stop fighting now (including stop blowing up Hamas’s tunnels), start talking 48 hours from now.”
I would submit that it was a subtle attempt to make Israel look bad, something that is right in Obama's wheelhouse.

2. Have you ever wondered about the accuracy of Hamas' "casualty" figures, reported without critical analysis by the left-leaning main stream media in the U.S. and around the world? The figures are provided by Hamas, who of course, is always honest in all things, right? Again from Bernstein:
Contrary to early reports that 80% or so of the early casualties were civilians, Al-Jazeera published names and ages, and about 3/4 were men of fighting age (16-50), compared to a rough estimate of 20% of the Gazan population (40% to 50% of which is fourteen and under). Some of those men were undoubtedly civilians, but it strains credulity to believe that 80% of the casualties were civilian but just-so-happened to be overwhelmingly fighting-age men. (Here’s the most recent analysis from the IsraellyCool blog). For that matter, how do we know that the Ministry of Health isn’t counting deaths from natural causes as deaths from Israeli actions? A simple “the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health claims” before reciting casualty figures that the media has not itself verified would resolve the problem.
But no ... the eminent MSM journalists parrot the numbers, without critical assessment. No surprise.

3. Bernstein reports:
The Israeli media reports that based on interrogations of captured Hamas fighters, Hamas was planning a major massacre for the Jewish New Year in September, with dozens of fighters simultaneously attacking border towns via Hamas’s tunnels.
Just imagine what we'd do as a nation if the drug cartels in Mexico used their smuggling tunnel to instead allow al Qaida fighters to enter the U.S. and murder civilians in large numbers in border towns (e.g., El Paso, TX) on Christmas eve.

4. The left demands that the blockade of Gaza be lifted so that Hamas can acquire building materials and other "essentials." It's interesting to note that Israel allowed massive amounts of concrete that was supposed to be used to rebuild infrastructure (e.g., hospitals, schools). The result is now well known. Bernstein comments:
All that concrete that worldwide “human rights activists” insisted go to Gaza for construction? Largely diverted to Hamas’s military tunnel network. How many of the tunnels serve as civilian bomb shelters? As best as can be determined, zero. But the Hamas leadership has a tunnel infrastructure for itself to hide in. Those who have sought to undo the Israeli-Egypt blockade of Gaza to allow in items with military use like concrete are either rogues or fools; and Israel still sends in far more humanitarian aid (even now, during the war) than the people of Gaza would ever likely see from Hamas, while Hamas leaders have turned out to be as corrupt as their Fatah predecessors.
Israel has three wars it must fight simultaneously. The first, obviously, is against the islamist thugs who call themselves Hamas. The second is against wide-spread left-wing media malpractice that is on-going and virulent. And the third is against an American administration that does not have their best interests at heart. I for one hope the small country prevails in all three.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Paying Attention

Just when you think the the Middle Eastern foreign policy debacle that has become a hallmark of the Obama administration can't get any worse -- it does. When Obama and his team of foreign policy 2s (as in a rating of 2 out of 10) decided that a hypothetical "humanitarian crisis" was grounds for overthrowing Libya's Mohamar Kaddafi and implicitly supporting a variety of crazed Islamic thugs, they forgot the hard-learned lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan. They took a reasonably stable (if vicious) dictatorship and transformed it into an unstable and dangerous Islamist state.

This week the state department issued the following warning:
The security situation in Libya remains unpredictable and unstable. The Libyan government has not been able to adequately build its military and police forces and improve security following the 2011 revolution. Many military-grade weapons remain in the hands of private individuals, including antiaircraft weapons that may be used against civilian aviation. Crime levels remain high in many parts of the country. In addition to the threat of crime, various groups have called for attacks against U.S. citizens and U.S. interests in Libya. Extremist groups in Libya have made several specific threats this year against U.S. government officials, citizens, and interests in Libya. Because of the presumption that foreigners, especially U.S. citizens, in Libya may be associated with the U.S. government or U.S. NGOs, travelers should be aware that they may be targeted for kidnapping, violent attacks, or death. U.S. citizens currently in Libya should exercise extreme caution and depart immediately.

Sporadic episodes of civil unrest have occurred throughout the country and attacks by armed groups can occur in many different areas; hotels frequented by westerners have been caught in the crossfire. Armed clashes have occurred in the areas near Tripoli International Airport, Airport Road, and Swani Road. Checkpoints controlled by militias are common outside of Tripoli, and at times inside the capital. Closures or threats of closures of international airports occur regularly, whether for maintenance, labor, or security-related incidents. Along with airports, seaports and roads can close with little or no warning. U.S. citizens should closely monitor news and check with airlines to try to travel out of Libya as quickly and safely as possible.
That's not some right-wing pundit assessing the situation, that's our own state department indicating the depth of Obama's failure in Libya.

Walter Russell Mead comments on the irony of all this:
Luckily for America’s self-esteem, it was liberal Democrats that produced this particular shambles. If Republicans had done this, the media would be on the administration non-stop, perhaps comparing Samantha Power to Paul Wolfowitz—a well-meaning humanitarian way over her head who wrecked a country out of misguided ideology. There might also be some pointed questions for future presidential candidates who supported this fiasco. But since both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have their fingerprints all over Libya, there isn’t a lot of press hunger for a detailed, unsparing autopsy into this stinking corpse of policy flub.

If Obama were a Republican, the press and the weekly news shows would be ringing with hyperbolic, apocalyptic denunciations of the clueless incumbent who had failed to learn the most basic lessons of Iraq. Indeed, the MSM right now would be howling that Obama was stupider than Bush. Bush, our Journolist friends would now be saying ad nauseam, at least had the excuse that he didn’t know what happens when you overthrow a paranoid, genocidal, economically incompetent Arab tyrant in an artificial post-colonial state. But Obama did—or, the press would nastily say, he would have done if he’d been doing his job instead of hitting the golf course or yakking it up with his glitzy pals at late night bull sessions. The ad hominem attacks would never stop, and all the tangled threads of incompetence and failure would be endlessly and expertly picked at in long New Yorker articles, NYT thumbsuckers, and chin-strokings on all the Sabbath gasbag shows.

Why, the ever-admirable tribunes of a free and unbiased press would be asking non-stop, didn’t this poor excuse for a President learn from what happened in Iraq? When you upend an insane and murderous dictator who has crushed his people for decades under an incompetent and quirky regime, you’d better realize that there is no effective state or civil society under the hard shell of dictatorial rule. Remove the dictator and you get chaos and anarchy. Wasn’t this President paying attention during the last ten years?
Paying attention requires a clear-eyed view of the Middle East. It requires an honest assessment of the Islamic actors in the region, the degree to which they can be trusted (they can't), the degree to which they can govern in a stable manner (they won't), the degree to which corruption warps any ability to establish a viable economy (it does), and the degree to which Islamist ideology ruins any effort at modernity (it does). Obama and his team of 2s would prefer a fantasy ideology in which clear facts are ignored, past history is forgotten, hope is substituted for a viable strategy, and spin is substituted for the truth.

Paying attention is something that this administration would prefer not to do. You're watching the results unfold every day. And it doesn't look good.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Finish the Job

Barack Obama claims he is a supporter of Israel. His words sometimes give that impression, but as is always the case with this president, you have to observe his deeds. Under the guise of humanitarian concern, Obama and his bumbling secretary of state, John Kerry, insist that a cease fire happen immediately. The terms? Status quo. The demilitarization of Hamas (the true cause of civilian deaths)? A non-starter. No friend of Israel would ask for a cease fire that changes nothing.

But why?

It turns out that Hamas, aided and abetted by the usual Islamist backers in Turkey and Qatar, have spent the last two years building an increasingly powerful arsenal of rockets and a tunnel system that has become a strategic threat to Israel. The Israelis need time to destroy Hamas's capabilities.

Caroline Glick discusses the tunnels:
What began as the primary means of smuggling weapons, trainers and other war material from Hamas’s sponsors abroad developed rapidly into a strategic tool of offensive warfare against Israel.

As we have seen from the heavily armed Hamas commando squads that have infiltrated into Israel from tunnels since the start of the current round of warfare, the first goal of these offensive tunnels is to deploy terrorists into Israel to massacre Israelis.

But the tunnels facilitate other terror missions as well.

Israel has found tunnels with shafts rigged with bombs located directly under Israeli kindergartens.

If the bombs had gone off, the buildings above would have been destroyed, taking the children down with them.

Other exposed shafts showed Hamas’s continued intense interest in hostage taking. In 2006 the terrorists who kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit entered Israel and returned to Gaza through such a tunnel.

Today the presence of sedatives and multiple sets of handcuffs for neutralizing hostages found in tunnel after tunnel indicate that Hamas intends to abduct several Israelis at once and spirit them back to Gaza.

In an interview with Channel 2 Monday evening, Minister Naftali Bennett spoke of a mother at Kibbutz Netiv Ha’asara who told him that her children wake her in the middle of the night and tell her that they hear digging beneath their beds.

As Bennett said, this state of affairs simply cannot continue. People cannot live in fear that there are terrorists burrowing beneath their homes, digging tunnels to murder or kidnap them.
Richard Goldman (Spengler) comments on the need to finish the job:
Israel has an extraordinary opportunity that may not last. It can protect its citizens from retaliation for the time being. Its right to self-defense is so obvious that Western governments usually hostile to Israeli interests must affirm its right to self-defense. Even the German Left Party (“die Linke”) is split, with some of its leaders attending pro-Israel rallies while others join the largely Muslim demonstrators chanting “Jude, Jude, feiges Schwein, Komm heraus und kaempf allein” (“Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone”). It has the tacit (and sometimes not entirely tacit) support of Egypt, not to mention the Gulf states, in its war against Hamas. But it cannot afford a repeat of 2012, after which Hamas rebuilt its weapons capability. Where Hezbollah is concerned, the Chinese proverb applies: Kill the chicken while the monkey watches. The reduction of Hamas has to serve as a deterrent for Hezbollah and Syria, not to mention Iran.

Israel’s leaders know this well, and outsiders should be cautious about offering tactical advice. But Israel’s friends must be clear that a “pinpoint operation,” as Secretary of State Kerry demanded inadvertently before an open microphone last weekend, does not serve Israel’s urgent interests. Hamas must be rooted out in depth.
In virtually every defensive action against Islamist aggression in the last 20 years, Israel has been stopped by its Western "friends" before it could finish the job. And this time the job is threefold: (1) the destruction of as many Hamas rockets as possible, (2) the destruction of as many tunnels as Israel can find, and (3) the termination (killing, if you prefer) of Hamas' leadership.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration doesn't seem to want that to happen. By demanding that a cease fire happen soon, they are coming to the rescue of Hamas. I can only wonder whether they're doing that out of stupidity or out of something far more sinister.

UPDATE (7/25/14):

The Washington Post, in a shockingly anti-Hamas editorial, gets it exactly right:
Hamas’s offensive tunnels should not be confused with the burrows it has dug under Gaza’s border with Egypt to smuggle money, consumer goods and military equipment. The newly discovered structures have only one conceivable purpose: to launch attacks inside Israel. Three times in recent days, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels in the vicinity of Israeli civilian communities, which they clearly aimed to attack. The ­concrete-lined structures are stocked with materials, such as handcuffs and tranquilizers, that could be used on hostages. Other tunnels in northern Gaza are designed for the storage and firing of missiles at Israeli cities.

The resources devoted by Hamas to this project are staggering, particularly in view of Gaza’s extreme poverty. By one Israeli account, the typical tunnel cost $1 million to build over the course of several years, using tons of concrete desperately needed for civilian housing. By design, many of the tunnels have entrances in the heavily populated Shijaiyah district, where the Israeli offensive has been concentrated. One was found underneath al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas also located a command post and stored weapons, according to Israeli officials.

The depravity of Hamas’s strategy seems lost on much of the outside world, which — following the terrorists’ script — blames Israel for the civilian casualties it inflicts while attempting to destroy the tunnels. While children die in strikes against the military infrastructure that Hamas’s leaders deliberately placed in and among homes, those leaders remain safe in their own tunnels. There they continue to reject cease-fire proposals, instead outlining a long list of unacceptable demands.
But no worries. Barack Obama and his team of 2s just approved $47 million in "humanitarian aid" for Hamas. That should go a long way toward rebuilding the tunnels in areas where children play.

Depravity?  Providing Hamas with US dollars to rebuild its tunnels and buy rockets may actually be more depraved that Hamas itself. And that's saying something.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


In our constitutional republic, the President is tasked with faithfully executing the laws that the Congress creates. He is given some latitude in interpreting minor elements of legislation, but he is not given the authority to impose taxes, unilaterally eliminate or delay important portions of legislation or otherwise modify the intent of the Congress.

Within months of its passage, it became apparent that Obamacare legislation passed by a Democrat super-majority in Congress with no bipartisan support, was headed toward political disaster. Rather than modifying the legislation to correct obvious problems, Barack Obama decided to unilaterally eliminate or delay important portions of the legislation (solely to gain political advantage in the 2012 presidential election and again in the 2014 mid-terms), and by implication, impose taxes he has no authority to impose.

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit put the brakes on these actions in the Halbig v. Burwell verdict. Obama's shrinking band of supporters screamed that a "right-wing" cabal of judges was to blame. It's rather amusing that one of these "right wing" judges, Thomas B. Griffith, was appointed in 2005, and his nomination was supported by ... Barack Obama.

Jonathan Adler and Michael Cannon provide some background and explanation:
At its heart, though, Halbig is not just about ObamaCare. It is about determining whether the president, like an autocrat, can levy taxes on his own authority.

The president's defenders often concede that he is doing the opposite of what federal law says. Yet he claims that he is merely implementing the law as Congress intended.

Such claims should be met with more than the usual skepticism when made by a president who openly advocates unilateral action—"I've got a pen, and I've got a phone"—when the legislative process doesn't produce the result he wants, and when they are made by a president whose expansive view of his powers the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected 13 times. Unfortunately, the abuse of power exposed in Halbig may trump them all.

Here's where the president broke bad. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act directs states to establish "exchanges" to regulate the sale of health insurance. If a state declines to do so, as 36 states have, the health-care law directs the federal government to "establish and operate such Exchange within the State." But here's the rub: Certain taxpayers can receive subsidized coverage, the law says, if they enroll "through an Exchange established by the State." The law nowhere authorizes subsidies through exchanges established by the federal government.
Dispite his expansive view of presidential power and his overblown opinion of his own abilities, Barack Obama is not the king. Like all participants in our government, he has distinct and hard limits placed on his power. The U.S. Court of Appeals has enforced those limits, and it's quite likely that the Supreme Court will agree.

Monday, July 21, 2014


One of the things that the Left does, really, really well is—outrage. It's almost always directed at the wrong target, and it's almost always based on weak or non-existent facts. But since it's actually about moral preening, they don't seem to care.

Let's take the current anti-Israel "outrage" expressed by leftists and Islamists in Paris and London, on many American university campuses, and, more subtly, in much of the main stream media.

The wrong target. The left blames Israel, but the real culprit is Hamas. It's Hamas that purposely places its rocket launchers in places that civilians live and visit with the express intent using those civilians (including children) as human shields to protect their rockets from attack. When civilians die, it's Hamas who has put them in harm's way.

Non-existent facts.  In the Left's delusion view, Israel is a blood thirsty killer. Not only do Israelis have no right to protect themselves, but in trying to stop the rockets falling on their cities they must never, ever kill a civilian, even when Hamas places that civilian right next to a rocket installation. The Left conveniently forgets that Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at Israeli population centers with the express intent of killing Israeli civilians. The Left refuses to recognize that the Israelis do everything possible to spare civilian lives—even when women and children are being used as human shields. They drop leaflets to warn people away, they first use "door knocker" weapons that explode on rooftops harmlessly to warn civilians of an impending attack and allow them the time to flee, they use smart munitions.

So ... an Islamist terrorist group launches over 1,000 rockets at a liberal, democratic nation and the left expresses ... well, the Left is silent. When the liberal, democratic nation defends itself, the Left expresses "outrage."

And that is the true outrage.


The Telegraph (U.K.) reports:
Christian families streamed out of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Saturday after Islamist fighters said they would be killed if they did not pay a protection tax or convert to Islam.

“For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians,” Patriarch Louis Sako lamented as hundreds of families fled ahead of a noon deadline set by Islamic State for them to submit or leave.

The warning was read out in Mosul’s mosques on Friday afternoon, and broadcast throughout the city on loudspeakers.

“We offer [Christians] three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract - involving payment... if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword,” the announcement read.

It said Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who the group has now named Caliph Ibrahim, had ordered Christians who did not want to stay and live under those terms to “leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate”.
Interestingly, the left and its MSM allies seem unable to express "outrage" at this barbaric, seventh century approach to another religion by Hamas' Islamist bretheren, ISIS.

UPDATE-II (7/22/14):
As our president and his bumbling secretary of state express "concern" about the mounting death toll in the current hostilities in Gaza , they want to give the appearance of being even-handed. It's reasonable to ask why even-handed treatment of this conflict is appropriate, given that Hamas is an Islamist terrorist group (akin to ISIS in Iraq) that was 'elected' by the people in Gaza, who by the way, have their own independent entity that for eight years was NOT "occupied" by Israel, and is "blockaded" only because it continually tries to murder Israelis, blow up buses, and launch rockets at Israeli population centers. But the Obama administration and its trained media hamsters never let facts or reality get in the way of "the narrative."

Thane Rosenbaum nails the real issues when he writes:
Let's state the obvious: No one likes to see dead children. Well, that's not completely true: Hamas does. They would prefer those children to be Jewish, but there is greater value to them if they are Palestinian. Outmatched by Israel's military, handicapped by rocket launchers with the steady hands of Barney Fife, Hamas is playing the long game of moral revulsion.

With this conflict about to enter its third week, winning the PR war is the best Hamas can hope to achieve. Their weapon of choice, however, seems to be the cannon fodder of their own people, performing double duty in also sounding the drumbeat of Israeli condemnation. If you can't beat Iron Dome, then deploy sacrificial children as human shields.

Civilian casualties will continue to mount. The evolving story will focus on the collateral damage of Palestinian lives. Israel's moral dilemma will receive little attention. Each time the ledgers of relative loss are reported, world public opinion will turn against the Jewish state and box Israel into an even tighter corner of the Middle East.

All the ordinary rules of warfare are upended in Gaza. Everything about this conflict is asymmetrical—Hamas wears no uniforms and they don't meet Israeli soldiers on battlefields. With the exception of kaffiyeh scarves, it isn't possible to distinguish a Hamas militant from a noncombatant pharmacist. In Vietnam, the U.S. military learned guerrilla warfare in jungles. In Gaza, the Jewish state has had to adapt to the altogether surreal terrain of apartment complexes and schoolhouses.

There are now reports that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are transporting themselves throughout Gaza in ambulances packed with children. Believe it or not, a donkey laden with explosives detonated just the other day.
Where the "outrage" about the barbaric use of children as human shields? Where's the off-camera comment about Hamas' "pinpoint" use of little ones as PR tools? Where's the "concern" that Hamas won't accept Israel's right to exist but that Israel cannot be allowed to defend itself?

And for those who suggest that civilians in Gaza are innocent victims? Rosenthal comments:
The people of Gaza overwhelmingly elected Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to the destruction of Israel, as their designated representatives. Almost instantly Hamas began stockpiling weapons and using them against a more powerful foe with a solid track record of retaliation.

What did Gazans think was going to happen? Surely they must have understood on election night that their lives would now be suspended in a state of utter chaos. Life expectancy would be miserably low; children would be without a future. Staying alive would be a challenge, if staying alive even mattered anymore.

To make matters worse, Gazans sheltered terrorists and their weapons in their homes, right beside ottoman sofas and dirty diapers. When Israel warned them of impending attacks, the inhabitants defiantly refused to leave.

On some basic level, you forfeit your right to be called civilians when you freely elect members of a terrorist organization as statesmen, invite them to dinner with blood on their hands and allow them to set up shop in your living room as their base of operations. At that point you begin to look a lot more like conscripted soldiers than innocent civilians. And you have wittingly made yourself targets.
That's the truth of it. But, of course, this administration doesn't do truth very well, and neither does the main stream media.

UPDATE - III (7/22/14)
Guy Benson reports that a gay Jewish couple was assaulted at a pro-palestinian rally in Boston, by a group of leftists who align themselves with Hamas. He writes:
The mere presence of a gay pro-Israel couple at the rally “set off a hailstorm” of venom from Hamas supporters that would no doubt be national news by now if the epithets had been hurled by, say, Tea Partiers. (Incidentally, I’ve never been able to square the circle of grassroots Lefties’ anti-Israel attitudes. The tiny nation is an oasis of pluralistic democracy in an autocratic and oppressive neighborhood, it boasts a robust nationalized healthcare system, and it proudly protects the rights of women and gays. And yet many on the far Left aggressively side with Israel’s violent, intolerant — and in some cases, genocidal — adversaries. Why?) In any case, let’s forget about these Holocaust- and death-celebrating slurs, and ignore disgusting scenes like this [the Boston assault]. All Hamas is (currently) requesting in exchange for a ceasefire is an Israeli pledge to lift its blockade of Gaza, thus flinging open the floodgates for even more weapons to stream into the hands of terrorists, equipping them to launch additional salvos against Israeli civilians. That’s all. Palestinian violence, the apologists claim, is ultimately about policy disputes, so “peace” requires Israel to end the blockade. Or release terrorist prisoners. Or uproot its settlements. Or divide up its capital city. Or, you know, cease to exist. The demands and pretexts for violence may be slippery, but the goal remains the same: Annihilating the Jewish State.
And this from Jeff Jacoby of the very liberal Boston Globe:
America’s Israel-friendly consensus is splitting along the same left-vs.-right fault line that has polarized so many other issues. While support for Israel is overwhelming among Republicans and conservatives, it has been shrinking among Democrats and liberals. “The partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider,” reports Pew, with 73 percent of Republicans sympathetic to Israel in the ongoing conflict, but just 44 percent of Democrats. Respondents identifying as liberal Democrats were five times as likely as conservative Republicans to sympathize more with the Palestinians.
[emphasis mine]

Thus, is the Democratic Party losing its way on one of the great moral issues of our time.
It is truly ironic that so many American Jews strongly ascribe to leftist and/or Democratic base politics. Like many with similar affiliations, they argue that claims of an anti-Israel shift in Democrat base politics are simply untrue, despite clear evidence to the contrary. They refuse to see the clear but subtle anti-Israel bias that pervades the Obama administration.

It's funny, many of my Jewish friends and acquaintances state that they could never vote for a GOP candidate, because the base of the party is anti-gay or anti-women. I wonder, then, how they square voting for Democrat candidate when the base of that party is becoming increasingly anti-Israel.

UPDATE - IV (7/22/14)
I think it's fair to say that if Israel placed military weapons inside one of its schools, there would be universal outrage. After all, at the very least, the explosives endanger the children. But when Hamas does it, not once, but twice, and not in one of their own schools but in a UN sponsored school—you know, the supposedly neutral UN—there is the sound of crickets. The US MSM? Not a mention. After all, it runs counter to the narrative. The administration—silence.

The Times of Israel
For the second time in less than a week, rockets have been found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the body said. “Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip,” the organization said in a statement issued Tuesday. “As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.”

As it did the last time around when missiles were found in a school it operates, UNRWA said it “strongly and unequivocally condemns the group or groups responsible for this flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.”
And what do all of the human rights advocates who are so, so concerned about palestinian children say about all of this? Absolutely nothing. Outrage is reserved for Israel alone ... and that's an outrage.

Friday, July 18, 2014


There have been exceptional Democrat presidents. FDR was an aristocrat who guided the country through the a depression and the beginning of a world war. He made mistakes, but on balance was an exceptional president. LBJ was a hard-core politician who inherited a bad war (Viet Nam) but understood how to work with his opponents to establish historic legislation (the great society). He made mistakes, but got things done. Bill Clinton was a loveable scoundral, a consumate politician who also worked across the aisle and got thing done. But my personal favorite is Harry Truman, an unassuming man from very humble beginnings who ended World War II.

Peggy Noonan writes a beautifully crafted remembrance of Truman, a man who said on the day he left office, "I'm just plain Mr. Truman now, a private citizen."He meant it, never taking a penny in speaking fees, endorsements, or other swag that has become de rigueur for modern politicians. He left office broke (not Hillary Clinton "Broke", but really broke) and had to scramble to make ends meet in Independence, MO.

Noonan comments on the current state of affairs, using Truman as a backdrop:
Why are we talking about Harry Truman? You know.

We live in a time when politicians relentlessly enrich themselves. We are awed and horrified by the wealth they accumulate, by their use of connections, of money lines built on past and future power. It's an operation to them. They are worth hundreds of millions. They have houses so fancy the houses have names. They make speeches to banks and universities for a quarter-million dollars and call their fees contributions to their foundations. They are their foundations.

They grab and grub. They never leave. They never go home. They don't have a "home": They were born in a place, found a launching pad, and shot themselves into glamour and wealth. They are operators—entitled, assuming. They "stand for the people." They stand for themselves.

So I just wanted to note how it used to be, when leaders thought they had to be respectable. When they were respectable.

"Harry Truman, not a money-grubbing slob." Who, years ago, imagined that would come to be remarkable?
Truman lived in an age when humility was praised and straight talk was expected. Today, arrogance is the norm and mendaciousness has become expected. That's a shame.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


We live in a rapidly changing world where adaptation rules. Social changes, technology changes, political changes ... the list is endless ... force a person to adapt, unless you're comfortable being marginalized. That's why it's no big deal that I'm currently sitting in an airliner at 35,000 somewhere over Texas writing this post.


It got me thinking about my boarding experience and the profound difference between the big government approach to adaptation and the manner in which the private sector adapts. The TSA—big government's massively bureaucratic solution to the threat of in-flight terrorism is an appropriate example.

Both my wife and I are TSA preferred travelers, having driven to the local passport office for a clearance interview, undergone a background check that accesses multiple unnamed government databases, and paid a fee. We carry global entry cards and are pre-checked for domestic airline travel. With that as background, let's examine this morning's airport experience:

We arrive at an empty security line at 6:00am and move to the pre-check queue. The young lady who does the initial screening gives new meaning to the word unfriendly—no greeting, no smile and a scowl that was not only off-putting but offensive. She gives our IDs and boarding passes a cursory glance and without a word, waves us through.

No worries, I think, she's having a bad day. Maybe. In the private sector, the first customer service contact is trained not to have a bad day. That private sector contact would smile, greet the customer in a friendly manner, and behave like a human being. If the private sector rep did not, they would be terminated—immediately. But the TSA is a prototypical big-government agency. Customer service ... not so much. Termination for poor behavior—you've got to be kidding. Heh ... the VA comes to mind as well, but I digress.

Okay, we move on. My wife has a knee replacement. During our TSA preferred traveler interview we asked whether that could be noted or whether a special biometric card could be provided so that she could avoid a full body search every time she goes through the x-ray machine. Not only is this common sense, it's also a way for the TSA to better use its resources to find real terrorists. Oh, by the way, my wife doesn't fit any known terrorist profile, but given the 0.000001 percent chance that there might be an issue, the bureacracy wastes its own resources and our time. The answer to our query-- "No, we have no way of doing that." Adaptation? Nah.

In the private sector, profit would drive a security organization to maximize the use of its resources. It would make sense to expedite known travelers through the process, rather than wasting valuable investigative resources looking for ... nothing. The risk would be assessed (0.000001 percent) and judged (correctly) to be inconsequential. The private sector would, upon encountering a large number of folks with artificial joints, adapt. It would provide a mechanism for  identifying the reason for the x-ray blip, without the need for a full body search.

I admit these are minor issues, but they are representative of big government's inability to streamline, to become more efficient, to adapt.

And yet, this president and his party continue to tout big government as a solution to virtually every problem this country faces. Never mind the inefficiency. Never mind the waste. Never mind a lack of citizen (customer) care. Never mind the inability to adapt.

I sometimes wonder whether the people who insist that government is the solution, even understand what the problem is. In fact, I wonder whether they realize that in many cases, the big government approach not only doesn't solve the problem, it makes it worse.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Perpetual Refugees

In article after article in the left-leaning MSM, there is subtle condemnation of Israel. After all, the implication is that Israel has no right to defend itself. Or if it does, that it can only slap at Hamas, rather than attempt to destroy rocket launching sites (always embedded among civilians for maximum casualties and important PR effect). But in the millions of words spewing out of the media on this subject— words like "oppression," and "occupation," and "degradation"—all intended to characterize a violent Islamist terrorist group as a victim, there is no mention of a few salient facts.

John Podhoretz provides some details:
It was nine years ago that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. It was seven years ago that Hamas took control of Gaza following an election in which the terrorist group routed the Palestinian Authority (which controls the West Bank).

The area has been entirely under Palestinian dominion.

Since 2005, Israel’s overall econ­omy has grown almost 60 percent larger, with an annual GDP growth rate of 4.5 percent.

Israel, once the globe’s poorest democracy, ranks 37th among nations in overall GDP and its per-capita income of $31,000 per year makes it the 25th richest country on earth.

And Gaza? Its economy is largely frozen. Its per-capita income hovers around $2,000. Because its people elected a terrorist group dedicated to the destruction of Israel, almost all economic ties between the growing economic giant and the basket case have been severed.

No rational outside investor wants to have anything to do with Gaza, given its management and the simple fact that its government seems to be obsessed with getting itself into a destructive war with its neighbor every couple of years.

And not only that, but Gazans exist in a bizarre condition known nowhere else on earth. Nearly 1.2 million of the area’s 1.5 million residents are classified as “refugees,” notwithstanding the fact that almost all of them were born there. They live in eight “refugee camps” — towns that are now 65 years old.

As Michael Bernstam of the Hoover Institution has written, “These camps were established in 1949 and have been financed ever since by the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. Yet far from seeking to help residents build a new and better life either in Gaza or elsewhere, UNRWA is paying millions of refugees to perpetuate their refugee status, generation after generation, as they await their forcible return to the land inside the State of Israel.”
Palestinians are indeed "perpetual refugees." Everywhere else on earth wars have been fought, peoples have been displaced, and new nations have formed. The displaced have slowly been absorbed into other nations (and have often contributed to the growth of those nations). They have started new lives. With passing generations, things have gotten better (for most).

But the palestinians—no so much. It seems that their raison d'être is the destruction of Israel. Nothing more. Their leadership brings a combination of corruption, incompetence, and hatred that is a toxic stew for those palestinians who simply want to live their lives in peace. Leaders in the west seem to encourage this by continuing "aid" that enriches the palestinian leaders (Yassar Arafat was estimated to have a fortune topping $1 billion when he died!) and allow others to live in difficult conditions. They encourage it by not speaking plainly about the palestinians futile attempts to destroy Israel. They encourage it because they don't offer Hamas tough love -- reallly, really tough love.

So the rockets are launched, Israel responds, and the status quo ante remains. This is all on the palestinians—every death, every injury, every bomb blast. Only they can stop it. Only they are responsible for it.

Sometimes harsh actions today result in a better life tomorrow. Harsh actions against the palestinians leadership are needed today. It's the only chance the palestinians have.

Richard Fernandez does what he does best, get to the core of the issue. He writes:
Nihilism isn’t the absence of a belief. It is something subtly different: it is the belief in nothing. The most powerful weapon of terrorism is therefore the unyielding No. “No I will not give up. No I will not tell the truth. No I will not play fair. No I will not spare children. No I will not stop even if you surrender to me; I will not cease even if you give me everything you have, up to and including your children’s lives. Nothing short of destroying me absolutely can make me stop. And therefore I will defeat you even if you kill me. Because I will make you pay the price in guilt for annihilating me.”

It’s an extremely powerful weapon. The Absolute No is a devastating attack on the self-image and esteem of civilization. Hamas will demonstrate the No, the Nothing. It will show that deep down inside Israelis — and Americans — are animals like them. This can be called the Seven Gambit, from a 1995 film which explores this exact theme. It depicts two detectives versus the devil in the shape of nameless man, who kills people not by attacking them directly, but by creating situations where they kill themselves by yielding to one of the seven deadly sins: sloth, gluttony, vanity — and finally vengeance and wrath.

His final victim is the detective. In the final scene the devil provokes Detective David Mills into unlawfully shooting him by showing him the head of his pregnant wife. The devil wins by making the point that murder lies dormant, waiting to be awakened, even within the bosom of the law.

The power of Hamas lies in that they will never stop hating. No ceasefire, concession, negotiation or entreaty will move them. That is their inhuman strength. The Jews can even exterminate them, but only at the cost of destroying all the ideals they hold dear.

The comments to Richard Fernadez's article referenced in UPDATE-I are well worth reading. In the main they are angry and dark, suggesting that destruction of Islamist terror must be accomplished without worry about "destroying all the ideals [we] hold dear." One commenter, "Xennady", provides a dark, yet thought-provoking assessment:
The Palestinians are essentially Nazis without that fetching German ability to pay their own grocery bills. The world would be a better place without them.

But the Western World enables this behavior by allowing them to survive it. The same applies to the rest of the murderous, terrorist-filled umma. We spent trillions of dollars and thousands of lives attempting to show the muslims of Iraq a better way- and our reward is that we get to watch the same old murderous scene play out once again.

Afghanistan is no different. Before 9/11 we were the largest aid donor to that ninth-century failed state. After they attacked us, doing enormous and expensive damage, we were still their largest aid donor, subsuming military goals to idiotic charity.

No lesson was learned, or taught, so they'll hit us again. Sooner or later they'll do enough damage to actually scare the fools misruling the Western World, or get them replaced.

Assuming we aren't simply destroyed, what then?

I suspect that Western self-loathing is sort of a societal auto-immune disorder. Having been on the top of the global heap for centuries, too many people- including the so-called leadership- simply cannot imagine an existential threat arising from a non-Western source. Fear and loathing normally directed outward in a typical human society has no logical target, so it fixes on something illogical and inward.

Once all that hostility finds a logical outside target, courtesy of a grim bloody lesson taught by terrorists or a terrorist state, I suspect it isn't going to be more sunshine and lollipops, forgiveness and coexistence.

I think a lot of people are going die, quite likely more than if the West had simply made war in the traditional manner, killing those who needed killing, then being merciful later.

Hopefully, we still have time to learn that lesson.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Walk Away

Yahoo News reports:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas rejected an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with Israel that was to take effect Tuesday, saying Cairo did not consult the group over the deal. Israel accepted the truce plan, but warned it would strike Gaza hard if Hamas didn't abide by it.
Related Stories

Militants from Gaza fired five rockets at Israel, shortly after the Egyptian-proposed starting time for a gradual de-escalation on Tuesday morning.

The military wing of Hamas, which has been responsible for most of the hundreds of rockets launched at Israel in the past week said the Egyptian plan "wasn't worth the ink it was written with."
So ... let me get this straight.

Hamas continues to fire rockets indiscriminately at Israeli population centers. The purposeful intent is to kill and/or maim as many Israeli civilians as it possibly can. Hamas launches these rockets from its own civilian population centers—from houses, next to Mosques, from courtyards next to hospitals and schools, hoping that if Israel tries to neutralize the rocket launching sites, collateral damage—civilian deaths— will result. They do, but it is Hamas, not Israel, that has purposely and cynically put their own people directly in harm's way. Israel drops leaflets before an attack, warning palestinians to flee an area near a rocket launching site before an attack. The intent is to minimize casualties. Hamas ... not so much.

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netyanyahu probably said it best when he stated:
"The thing that differentials Israel from Hamas is that Israel protects its civilians from rockets. Hamas protects it rockets with civilians.
And through all of this, leftist media sources (meaning the majority of all media sources) either (1) condemn Israel outright for having the temerity to defend itself or (2) try to draw a ridiculous moral equivalence suggesting that it's somehow not fair that "only" a few Israelis have been killed while over 100 Palestinians have died in Israel air strikes.

In what has to be one of the most idiotic comments ever made on CNN (and that's saying something), CNN anchor Wolfe Blitzer implied that it wasn't fair that the Israelis had developed the Iron Dome missile defense system and that an analogous system wasn't available to the poor beleagered Palestinians.

In writing about this conflict, I get a strong feeling of deja vu. It always goes the same way. Like a spolied child with no control or morals, the palestinians strike at Israel with deadly intent. The Israelis defend themselves forcefully but with incredible restraint, and yet, it's the Israelis who are demonized. In the through-the-looking-glass world of the Left (and it is the Left and its Muslim allies that are doing the lion's share of the criticizing), that's absolutely appropriate.

So today, the Israelis agree to a cease fire, but Hamas says no. The sad thing is that Hamas knows it can and will hide behind the skirts of its Western sympathizers when things for them get tough, when Israel begins to do them great damage. For now, though, they can try to kill as many Israeli civilians as possible and the Israelis will still get most of the criticism.

Wouldn't it be fascinating if Hamas' western protectors (Barack Obama included) simply walked away? If they allowed Israel to finish this without criticism or constraint. If they allowed the Israelis to kill the terrorist group's leadership, destroy its rocket caches, close every smuggling tunnel and otherwise cripple this vicious, corrupt, anti-Western Islamist group. In the long run, that would help the "palestinian people" far more than "protecting" them when the going gets tough.

After discussing the abject hypocrisy of Mahmoud Abbas who called the death of 50 palestinians in recent fighting "genocide" but recently praised Bashar Assad of Syria who gassed a Palestinian village in Syria and then starved those still alive to force them to leave, Brett Stevens writes:
Similarly with pro-Palestinian demonstrators marching in the civilized nations. In Paris on Sunday, one such group of demonstrators tried to lay siege to a synagogue "with bats and chairs," according to the Associated Press, trapping 150 Jewish congregants inside until police could rescue them. A day earlier, a firebomb was thrown at a synagogue in a Paris suburb. At yet another French protest there were calls for the "slaughter of the Jews." In Seattle, a Voices for Palestine rally posted signs reading "Zionist Israel=Nazi Germany." In Frankfurt, protesters held signs reading "You Jews are Beasts." Police lent the protesters a loudspeaker, ostensibly to "de-escalate the situation," according to the Jerusalem Post.

Maybe the Presbyterian Church, USA, which last month voted to divest from companies doing business with Israel, will issue a statement of concern. But don't count on it.

All of which, as I say, is a blessing for Israel and her supporters.

If you must have a nemesis, better it be a stupid one. If your adversary has an undeserved reputation for moderation and sincerity, better that he should give his own extremism and hypocrisy away. If you are going to be the object of mass protests and calumny, better to be hated by the worst than by the best. Israel's enemies continuously indict themselves, whether or not the rest of the world has the wit to see it.
"Better to be hated by the worst than the best" ... man, that's almost as memorable as Bibi 'rockets' comment.

Monday, July 14, 2014


It has been over 430 days since the IRS scandal began. Barack Obama's trained hamsters in the MSM remain largely uninterested—an occasional op-ed here,  a half-hearted "investigative" story there. But overall, no journalistic aggressiveness. After all, the hamsters believe the president when he arrogantly claimed there isn't a "smidgen of evidence" of corruption. And even if they don't believe that claim, who among his sycophants in the MSM wants to bring down his presidency with honest, aggressive reporting?

We've witnessed a stream of lies that began on the day this story broke and continues to this day. We've see a major IRS exec take the fifth—the fifth!—rather than testify. We've seen an arrogant IRS commissioner smile as he claims no knowledge and no responsibility. We've seen the IRS claim the pivotal emails have been "accidentally" destroyed. We seen a corrupt and partisan justice department investigation go nowhere—on purpose! We've seen administration stonewalling that would make Nixon blush.

But by and large, the weaponization of a government agency against the country's own citizens, likely coordinated by Democratic operatives and possibly spurred on by the White House, is a back page story. The reason is simple—the truth just might take down this president, so the greatest scandal in any living person's lifetime goes under-reported and under-investigated.

It's funny, the MSM loves to use the narrative that the meany GOP "obstructs" Barack Obama as he tries to accomplish great things. That the president is a victim of that obstruction and that his incompetence, mendaciousness, divisiveness, and arrogance are simply of product of that obstructionism.

But in the case of the IRS scandal, there's another obstructionist party—the Democrats. Ed Rogers comments on the coordination between Lois Lerner and House Dems:
The coordination among the Democrats and Lerner is remarkably brazen, even by today’s standards. While she lies low taking the Fifth, her mouthpieces in the Democratic caucus recite talking points that only she could approve. For example, during House oversight hearings on the scandal, Democrats seem to recite with great precision what Lerner did or did not do, what she knew and when she knew it. So while she hides the truth, protects her gang and stays clear of a perjury charge or worse, elected members of the Democratic party declare her innocence and tell her self-serving story.

Anyway, as long as Lerner stays cool and the Obama Department of Justice has her back, the administration obviously thinks it can run out the clock on this scandal. But these revelations are definitely meaningful smidgens. At what point does a flock of smidgens become irrefutable evidence that deserves an independent examination?

Thanks to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and other GOP leaders who refuse to shrug and quit, the Democrats’ denials, excuses and alibis are getting harder to make. After all, in Washington being guilty is still a bothersome disadvantage.
In Washington, being guilty only matters if you're on the MSM's persona non-gratia list. That's why Chris Christie got more MSM coverage for a local bridge closure "scandal" than Lois Lerner got over the full 430-plus days of this scandal.

The Democrats should be ashamed of their behavior throughout this investigation. Rather than expressing outrage over a clear violation of trust by this administration, rather than reigning in their president, rather that striving to get to the truth (because someday the roles just might be reversed), they bloviate and express mock outrage that the investigation is "politically motivated."

Of course it is! But then again, I suppose we could argue that the weaponization of the IRS was also "politically motivated," couldn't we?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Problem Solver

In South Florida, virtually everyone comes into daily contact with recent immigrants to the United States. The vast majority are from Latin America, but many others started in the Caribbean Islands with smaller numbers from Europe and Asia. Whether legal or illegal, the  vast majority of immigrants are hardworking contributors to our local economy.

Observing immigrants every day, I have great sympathy for the struggles of a stranger in a strange land. The courage it takes to make the move is outweighed by the fortitude to make one's way in a different culture, using a different language, with many economic obstacles (at least at the beginning).

I personally know a Cuban neurosurgeon, a Colombian accountant and a Brazilian lawyer who are working menial jobs while they try to establish themselves in the United States. All came to the United States legally, and all have absolutely no guarantee that they'll do what they did in their homeland. But still, they came.

I suspect that among the millions of "undocumented" aliens (as if that politically correct phrase in any way changes the fact that they are here in violation of the law) there are many who will follow a path to prosperity.

But our borders cannot be open—it's unfair to those who came here legally. It's also unfair to ask the taxpayer to support (with education, medical care, and human services) an onslaught of immigrants crossing a porous border.

Now tens of thousand of children, often unaccompanied, are crossing the border illegally. Why? Because this administration did nothing two years ago when they were warned that the child immigration was accelerating dangerously. Thousands became tens of thousands, all in need of assistance, all desperate, all tragic.

With a different, less ideological president—a president who reached across the aisle, a president who genuinely wants to solve the problem,I'm convinced we would be much closer to bi-partisan immigration reform. But Barack Obama is not that kind of president.

Peggy Noonan
uses a compelling metaphor to describe what's happening:
It's like you live in a house that's falling apart. The roof needs to be patched and there are squirrels in the attic, a hornet's nest in the eaves. The basement's wet. The walkway to the front door is cracked with grass growing through it. The old boiler is making funny sounds. On top of that it's always on your mind that you could lose your job tomorrow and must live within strict confines so you can meet the mortgage and pay the electric bill. You can't keep the place up and you're equal parts anxious, ashamed and angry. And then one morning you look outside and see . . . all these people standing on your property, looking at you, making some mute demand. Little children looking lost—no one's taking care of them. Older ones settling in the garage, or working a window to the cellar. You call the cops. At first they don't come. Then they come and shout through a bull horn and take some of the kids and put them in a shelter a few blocks away. But more kids keep coming! You call your alderman and he says there's nothing he can do. Then he says wait, we're going to pass a bill and get more money to handle the crisis. You ask, "Does that mean the kids will go home?" He says no, but it may make things feel more orderly. You call the local TV station and they come do a report on your stoop and then they're gone, because really, what can they do, and after a few days it's getting to be an old story.

No one's in charge! No one is taking responsibility. No one who wants to help has authority, and no one with authority is helping.
Barack Obama is, for better or worse (mostly), President of the United States. He should be in charge. And yet, this week he went to Texas for fundraisers, not to begin to developing a bipartisan solution to this serious immigration problem.

Karl Rove, certainly no friend of this president, comments:
Fundraisers are a priority for this president—he has attended 393 fundraisers since taking office, according to CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller, compared with George W. Bush's 216 at the same point in his presidency. What is not a priority [while Obama visits Texas] for 3 fundraisers is visiting South Texas to see the tragedy unfolding from a wave of illegal immigrants, many unaccompanied children.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says he doesn't need to visit the border "simply because the president is very aware of the situation." Mr. Obama is mistaken if he thinks he would not benefit from meeting with state and local officials and community leaders there.

He is clueless if he doesn't realize his 2012 order halting the deportation of some young illegal immigrants sent a powerful message throughout Central America: If you got your children to the U.S., they are likely to stay.

Mr. Obama also seems oblivious to the value of being seen on the Rio Grande, warning Central American parents not to send their children north because if they survive the dangerous, expensive journey, they will only be caught and returned home.
It would seem that this is a perfect opportunity for Obama to work with congress to (1) better enforce the borders and (2) develop a legal mechanism for absorbing those who are "undocumented." But (2) can only happen after (1) has been accomplished. Otherwise, we'll experience an onslaught of immigrants (including tens of thousands of unaccompanied children) that will tax our resources to the breaking point.

Barack Obama sees it differently. He sees immigration as a wedge issue and therefore demands (2) before (1), knowing full well that any responsible legislation is doomed if the border is unsecured. That's a disservice to the many good illegal immigrants who need a pathway to a better life, but it provides still another opportunity to demonize his opposition rather than attempting to solve pressing national problems.

Sadly, Barack Obama is not a problem solver, never was, never will be.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Impeaching Himself

A few firebrands on the Right are openly talking about the impeachment of Barack Obama. The Wall Street Journal comments:
One unfortunate reality of modern politics is the right-left mutually reinforcing media echo chamber. The most extreme voices on either side broadcast the most outrageous statements of the other side as a way to define their opposition and attract attention to themselves. This is the way to understand the flurry of fever-swamp chatter about impeaching President Obama ...

Republicans aiming to rebuild a governing majority should be making a systematic case about the failures of Democratic governance that include slow growth and stagnant incomes, fewer health-care choices and higher costs, growing world disorder, and more. Trying to impeach Mr. Obama now is firing at the wrong target at the wrong time with the wrong ammunition.
I agree.

If incompetence were an impeachable offense, there might be grounds. If dishonesty were an impeachable offense, there'd be a long line of supporters. If divisiveness was impeachable offense, I'd be more sympathetic. If stonewalling the myriad scandals that plague this presidency were an impeachable offense, there might be grounds. If failed domestic and foreign policy were impeachable offenses, it might be worth a look. But none of these things are impeachable offenses.

As yet, Obama has not committed provable "high crimes and misdemeanors." Any effort to impeach him would transform a failed presidency into an object lesson in martyrdom. There's no need to impeach Barack Obama, he's impeaching himself with every passing day.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Groundhog Day

Every few years, the terror group and ruling party in Gaza feels compelled to use any provocation to launch missile attacks on population centers in Israel. These attacks, escalating each day, use increasingly long-range missiles that indiscrimately target CIVILIAN population centers—Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa and points in between. The Israelis commit a cardinal sin—they defend themselves, targeting missile launch sites that are always hidden in civilian neighborhoods in Gaza (right next to schools, hospitals and apartments) in the hope that collateral damage from an Israeli attack will cause civilian injury that will be trumpeting by leftist media world-wide.

That's what's happening.

Barack Obama has asked for restraint from both side. Yeah, right.

Hundreds of rockets are raining down on Israel and the Israelis are supposed to do what, exactly?

In my view they should continue to do exactly what they're doing, Strike back, hard. Destroy weapons at evey chance. Kill terrorist leaders when they can. This is not a situation when "soft power" has any chance of success. I know that. So do the Israelis.

UPDATE (7/10/14):
As the main stream media reports this story, we hear repeated references to the fact that the palestinian "response" (indescriminately firing rockets into Israeli population centers) was caused by the brutal murder of a Palestinian teenager. What they fail to mention or mention only as an afterthought is that Israeli leaders immediately condemned the murder, and much more important, found and arrested the people who committed it—all in less than a week.

Meanwhile, the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers is little mentioned and, of course, the Palestinian authorities have done nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice. David Harsanyi illustrates the blatant bias by citing a recent NYT article:
The New York Times issued a correction today to fix a demonstrably false editorial that claimed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu went “days of near silence” before condemning the murder of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir. Netanyahu had, in fact, called the killing an “abominable murder,” and on the day of the killing issued a statement instructing minister for internal security to investigate the crime. Three Israeli suspects were arrested and have since confessed to the murder.

Even with a correction, the editorial in question was a mess from the top down. The New Republic has a good rundown of other egregious errors and misleading points that won’t be getting much-needed corrections. It’s likely that editorial page was simply relying on news side to feed its preconceived biases (though one story had already reported on Netanyahu’s comments), which is a mistake considering the NYT’s reporting exhibits absolutely no journalistic standards when it comes to the topic.
Actually, when it comes to any topic that might negatively impact it's dominant left-wing narrative.