5 years ago
[I]sn’t it slightly perverse that Muslim terrorists kill thousands of us, while the Muslim world in general explodes in ululating cheers — and Friedman and others worry, “Gee, what do they think of us?” Mightn’t a Muslim worry, “Gee, wonder what they think of us”?Read the rest here.
It's the Arabs who have taken leave of their senses. And I think, more and more, that Den Beste is right and that they need to be defeated -- soundly, completely, brutally -- like Germany and Japan in were World War Two, or the American Confederacy was. Defeated so that their spirit is broken, and their culture permanently and fundamentally changed despite their heartfelt wishes that it were otherwise. The good news is that for all their bluster, they're much less formidable foes. The bad news is that the West has hamstrung itself with the absurd notion that the sovereignty of such nations is worthy of respect.Read the whole blog, and the Victor Hanson essay he quotes. We're facing a true world war; we're trying to keep it under control, keep it manageable. That's why we're still trying to cut a deal in Israel. But history says we can't do it. We're headed for a conflagration, and the only question is whether it starts now, or after a few more years of failed appeasement and maybe a successful nuclear or chemical attack on an American city. Our enemies are medieval warriors with machine guns trying to buy nukes; they're going to give war a chance whether we want them to or not.
If the talks fail as Palestinian violence continues, there is widespread and growing support both in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government and in the army for what one official called a "comprehensive military confrontation" with the Palestinians.Forgive me if I don't hold my breath: the Israelis have followed repeated promises of war with wholly anemic military action. They've shown no willingness to actually bring the war to the Palestinian government (sorry, bombing empty police stations and killing the odd Palestinian "policeman" or official security goon doesn't count). One can still hope, though, and maybe this story isn't a malicious leak by the suicidal Israeli "peace" constituency. Maybe it's the judicious application of threat in the aid of negotiation.
Elsewhere in Afghanistan today, the governor of eastern Khost province demanded that U.S. Special Forces troops hand over several rival Afghan allies who allegedly opened fire on the region's security chief, killing a bodyguard and wounding two others before reportedly fleeing into an American compound, according to wire service reports.It would be nice if the West could build a civil society in Afghanistan. Who knows, maybe we can. But our bottom line should be much less complicated: Afghans may kill each other for whatever reasons they choose, so long as they do not harbor terrorists. Pulling out of Afghanistan probably won't accomplish that goal; terrorists are obviously attracted to power vacuums. But neither do our goals require making Afghanistan into a modern, stable state -- which is a good thing, since that's not going to be possible for hundreds of years. Our goals require a rough balance: enough economic and military aid to prop up a pro-Western regime that is humane by the standards of the region; and a credible threat to destroy any regime or insurrectionists that harbor terrorists. We can do that without having to police every tribal quarrel like this one.
Viewed last fall as a potential ally in the U.S-led war on terrorism, Iran is presenting an increasingly complex problem for the Bush administration's anti-terrorism policies in Afghanistan and the Middle East, according to U.S. officials and analysts.Two points about this Washington Post report. (a) I hope we've fired whoever came up with the ludicrous idea that Iran was a "potential ally" in the war on terrorism. Memo to Secretary Powell: I think the Iranians, you know, fund, arm, and harbor terrorists, especially terrorists who kill Jews and Americans. (b) Iran is a big, complex country full of people who hate us and want to undermine our war in Afghanistan. But it's also full of people who want liberty and look to us for political support. So our policy toward Iran should be pretty simple: we will resist and undermine anything the Iranian government does, especially anything it does outside its borders, because those actions serve an enemy regime; and we will encourage and support insurrection and revolution against that enemy regime (since the so-called "reformers" are either too weak or insincere to change the regime). Where's the quandry?
"In the emotions of their ... religion ... they will rediscover their self-esteem and wholeness, and be inviolate. They will no longer simply have to follow after others, not knowing where the rails are taking them. They will no longer have to be last, or even second. And life will go on. Other people in spiritually barren lands will continue to produce the equipment the doctor is proud of possessing and the medical journals he is proud of reading. That expecation -- of others continuing to create, of the alien, necessary civilization going on -- is implicit in the act of renunciation, and is its great flaw.That's from the first chapter of V.S. Naipaul's Among the Believers. Never heard of the man until after September 11 (my ignorance, not his lack of fame). He just won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Reading this book, written in 1982, I understand why. Referring to the Ayatollah Khomeini, he writes:
He required only faith. But he knew the value of Iran's oil to countries that lived by machines, and he could sent Phantoms and the tanks against the Kurds. Interpreter of God's will, leader of the faithful, he expressed all the confusion of his people and made it appear like glory, like the familiar faith: the confusion of a people of high medieval culture awakening to oil and money, a sense of power and violation, and a knowledge of a great new encircling civilization. That civilization couldn't be mastered. It was to be rejected; at the same time it was to be depended on.This incoherence -- this flaw -- in the "renunciation" of the West explains both the initial strength and the fatal weakness of Islamic fascism. The only thing that pumps more adrenaline than hatred is liberation. Imagine how it would feel to identify as your oppressor the world's most powerful nation, and then emancipate yourself. Not just by defacing its symbols -- embassy, office towers, hotels -- not just by killing its citizens and soldiers -- but by renouncing it's entire culture. But it's a sham, because you still need that alien culture to build your cars, produce your medicine, churn out the tanks, guns, jets, and bombs you use to keep the rabble down. It's a sham because that alien culture never oppressed you in the first place. You were oppressed by a home-grown, domestic despotism, which you just traded in for another. Despotism of the Shah, Despotism of the Ayatollah, both Made in Iran. It's a sham because you knew you couldn't just renounce your own oppressive culture -- you knew it'd take more than ideology and sloganeering to untie the knots of superstition, sectarianism, and tribalism it's twisted itself into. But you were too lazy, or crazy, or -- most likely -- greedy and power-hungry to reform your own culture. So you took the easy way out, and the easy route to power, and conjured up a Great Satan. But now you're in trouble. The kids who stormed the American embassy in 1979, they're getting old and disillusioned. And their kids don't remember that revolutionary high. They just live with the rubble, the unemployment, the corruption. They see through your sham. Maybe they'll rise up and reform their society; maybe they'll just trade in for the newest model of despotism. (Either way, your head will be on a pike -- a comforting thought to me.) For us, these competing choices are the difference between temporary and permanent victory, Germany in 1918 and Germany in 1945. We can gamble that this generation will make the right choice, like eastern Europeans did in 1989, or maybe we can force them to, like we did to the Japanese and Germans in 1945. Either way, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Pray we don't blow it.
[V]iolence is not nearly so desensitizing as some believe. Indeed, violence has been an essential plot device for telling and teaching moral lessons for thousands of years (see "Violent Fantasy"). What can be desensitizing, however, is the moral context the violence is put in. ... Postmodernists and other sophisticates who want to mix concepts of good and bad in their literary mortar and pestles until everything is a gloppy gray are fond of talking about how America "deserved" or "invited" these attacks. This is desensitizing in the only sense that desensitizing means anything at all. It numbs the conscience, saps conviction, and demoralizes those who know they are right. It engenders apathy among the right and encourages imbecility from the wrong.The war with the America-hating Chomsky-ites has only just begun, and the press is denying us our best weapon: the images of the mayhem and death inflicted upon our countrymen. Those images made us angry, reminded us that those "Red" and "Blue" states make one America, and convinced us to hunt and kill our enemies wherever they may hide, whatever we must pay. And we will pay a lot before this war is over. When dozens, hundreds, or thousands of American soldiers die, we'll be tempted to cut our losses; when we topple the next terrorist state, or drag bin Laden's corpse out of his cave, we'll be tempted to quit while we're ahead. In either case, we'll need love of country and countrymen, and righteous anger, to press on. The press thinks we can't afford to be "disturbed" by the images of September 11. Fact is, we can't afford not to be disturbed.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, brushed off [Sen. Zell] Miller's warning [that the defeat of Judge Pickering's nomination would have poltical repercussion for southern Democrats], saying, "I don't look at judicial nominations through a political prism."HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Blech! Urf! Ugh!
The left sets itself apart. Whatever America is doing in the world isn’t our doing. In some sense, of course, that is true. The defeat of facism in the middle years of the twentieth century and of communism in the last years were not our doing. . . . Even the oppressed have obligations, and surely the first among these is not to murder innocent people, not to make terrorism their politics. Leftists who cannot insist upon this point, even to people poorer and weaker than themselves, have abandoned both politics and morality for something else. They are radical only in their abjection. . . . The world (and this includes the third world) is too full of hatred, cruelty, and corruption for any left, even the American left, to suspend its judgement about what’s going on. It’s not the case that because we are privileged, we should turn inward and focus our criticism only on ourselves. In fact, inwardness is one of our privileges; it is often a form of political self-indulgence. Yes, we are entitled to blame the others whenever they are blameworthy; in fact, it is only when we do that, when we denounce, say, the authoritarianism of third world governments, that we will find our true comrades--the local opponents of the maximal leaders and military juntas, who are often waiting for our recognition and support. If we value democracy, we have to be prepared to defend it, at home, of course, but not only there.His indictment of the American Left is brief, clean, and damning. His prescription for remaking the Left would probably end it.
"Children will listen," the old song says. But so will the fragile and mad, and it's not good to excite them. We should not be leaking that we are reviewing our nuclear capacity; we should be quietly reviewing it. We should not be reporting in hyperventilated tones the review of nuclear policy; we should remember that this only feeds the sickness of those who mean us harm. We should be very quietly debating in the offices of government what an appropriate response would be to the bombing of America; we should reach conclusions, create a plan, and very quietly tell the leaders of the real rogue nations exactly what will happen to them, and to the terrorists who slumber within their borders, if they should dare to bomb an American city. Our words should be blunt little bombs whispered in the ears of Arab leaders in a manner that leaves them with the kind of ringing headache you sometimes get when you're told terrible news that is true. But we should probably not be having chatty conversations about whether or not it would be a good idea to take out Mecca.Read the full essay here. It's quite sobering, which is the point.
The Bustle of Life Silenced in Ramallah During Israeli Offensive, Few Residents Venture Out and Most Businesses CloseI guess the "bustle of life" in Israel isn't silenced, so much as interspersed with the screams of men, women, and children dismembered by nails and screws propelled by high explosives.
A panel of the Organization of American States tentatively ruled yesterday that the U.S. government must hold hearings to determine whether the suspected 300 al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at a U.S. naval base in Cuba deserve to be deemed prisoners of war.Wonder when someone will rule that Al Qaeda can't shoot American prisoners of war? Or when some "human rights" organization will even care?
"Entering the cities, refugee camps, searching, arresting terrorists, catching explosives . . . we don't have anything else we can do," a senior Israeli security source said, speaking on condition he not be identified. "We have to go on with this activity as far as we can. We can't sit inside restaurants in Israel and wait for suicide bombers to attack."Now, let's switch a few words:
"Entering the [training] camps, searching, arresting [and killing] terrorists, catching explosives . . . we don't have anything else we can do," a senior [American] security source said, speaking on condition he not be identified. "We have to go on with this activity as far as we can. We can't sit inside [New York and Washington] and wait for suicide bombers to attack."Now, whose anti-terrorist campaign was it President Bush was calling "unhelpful" yesterday?
Israeli Assaults Dim Hope for Truce Sharon Resists Criticism From Cabinet, BushI mean, sure, causation can be a tricky thing to determine, but I'd have thought the Palestinians' suicide bombings against civilian targets, illegal weapons smuggling and manufacturing, and policy of killing every last Jew in Palestine might have something to do with all this dimming of truce hopes.
Pickering does not have "the temperament, the moderation or the commitment to core constitutional ... protections that is required for a life tenure position" on the appeals court," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. [emphasis added]
"By failing to allow full Senate votes on judicial nominees, a few senators are standing in the way of justice," Bush had said. Democrats "seek to undermine the nominations of candidates who agree with my philosophy that judges should interpret the law and not try to make law from the bench," the president said at his news conference a little less than 24 hours before the committee met.Too bad he didn't spend some political capital to defend Judge Pickering when it might have counted for something. My principled side bemoans this latest blow and insult to the president's power to appoint judicial nominees. My political side hopes that Republicans will have a long memory and force-feed the Democrats some of their own medicine next time their man is in the White House.
"Frankly, it is not helpful what the Israelis have recently done," Bush said. "I understand somebody trying to defend themselves . . . but the recent actions are not helpful."To quote Instapundit, "You can't blame Colin Powell for this one." Mr. President, maybe Secretary Powell didn't mention this in your briefing, but the Muslim terrorists bent on killing Israelis are indistinguishable from the Muslim terrorists bent on killing us.. Well, there's one slight difference: they're too realistic to hope to kill every single American, but their fondest desire for Israel is nothing short of genocide. It's awfully nice of you to recognize Israel's right to self-defense, which is indistinguishable from our right to self-defense, but your remarks suggest that maybe, just perhaps, you don't fully understand the threat against which Israel is defending itself. Maybe Colin can clarify matters at your next briefing. Better yet, give Prime Minister Sharon a call.
Bush played down the importance of the United States capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, suspected mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. "Deep in my heart I know the man's on the run - if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not? We haven't heard from him in a long time. The idea of focusing on one person really indicates to me that people don't understand the scope of the mission. Terrorism is bigger than one person and he's a person who's now been marginalized," Bush said.He makes two good points: (1) it's progress when Osama & Co. are too busy running and dodging bombs to hurt us; (2) bin Laden is just one link in an entire network that must be dismantled. Obvious points, to most Americans anyway, but worth remembering and reminding the press.
"Did you see what the Israeli soldiers put on the arms of the Palestinian prisoners in Tulkarem? They tattooed numbers on their arms. Is it the same thing the Nazi did against Jews?" said Arafat. Sources from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed that Israeli troops tattooed numbers on the arms of several Palestinians arrested in the past few days in an Israeli detention camp near Tulkarem. "What else do they (Israelis) have to say? Isn't this a racism and a new Nazism?" said Arafat in the interview. However, Israel Radio quoted an Israeli army spokesman as saying that the Israeli army was using color pens in writing numbers on the hands of the prisoners, and noting that those colored numbers can be easily erased.And so we reach the pinnacle of victim rhetoric, casting modern-day Nazis as Jews, and Jews as Nazis.
[H]ere on the ground, the calls for bloody revenge have grown louder in recent weeks, all but drowning out pleas for restraint, and civilian casualties have become the rule rather than the exception.Note the use of the passive voice, and the implicit connection between "calls for bloody revenge" and civilian casualties becoming the rule," the import being that each side is killing civilians out of revenge.
"Every terrorist must be made to live as an international fugitive, with no place to settle or organize, no place to hide, no governments to hide behind, and not even a safe place to sleep."The best news is, most Americans already understand.
"Contrary to what some people in Washington or in the Pentagon seem to believe," the diplomat continued, "coalitions doing things together is always better than doing things alone. I believe the myth that has been propagated in Washington that 'We are now so strong that we can do things alone better than if we do it by committee' is a totally wrong myth."And thus, once again, the Euros snatch contempt from the jaws of gratitude.
is to become a "regional hegemon," project Chinese power into any corner of Asia, protect sea lanes for Chinese oil, replace the United States as the preeminent power in the region and use Chinese power to guarantee reunification with Taiwan.Just in case you were wondering why the Chinese are "strategic competitors," not "strategic partners."
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