Tuesday, April 30, 2002

THE HORROR: The Federal Emergency Management Agency and American Society of Civil Engineers have issued a report on the collapse of the World Trade Center. Over 25,000 people survived because the buildings stood as long as they did. The enemy killed three thousand of our people; they might have killed ten times that many. That they didn't is cause for thanks; that they tried is cause for revenge.
IRANIAN CLERIC CONDEMNS SUICIDE BOMBERS: OpinionJournal notes this report by Michael Leeden on NRO of a fatwa issued by one of Iran's "most prestigious and revered religious leaders, the Grand Ayatollah Montazeri."
His message was directed far beyond the boundaries of Iran, to all members of the Shia faith. It was a powerful and politically important message: Suicide terrorism is antithetical to the teachings of Islam, and those who practice it, and kill women, children, and babies, are doomed to eternity in hell. The struggle between the Palestinian people and Israel must be resolved by other means, above all by negotiations. A tumult broke out when the import of the statement became clear, but the parliamentary president permitted the deputy to read the fatwa in its entirety. The proceedings were broadcast live throughout Iran. Therefore, although no Iranian publication and, to my knowledge, no foreign-news service reported the event, the Iranian people were able to hear it in real time. This is an event of enormous importance, for it is the first time that a leading Iranian cleric has condemned suicide terrorism, and it is an explicit attack on the Iranian regime, which has praised the terrorists and called upon Iranians to volunteer for suicide missions. It is even more significant against the background of the latest efforts of the Iranian people, who are trying desperately to free themselves from the mullahs and ayatollahs.
Leeden has been arguing for months that Iran is ripe for revolution, pro-American revolution this time, and asking why our Government isn't out in front urging it on, instead of trying to cut a deal with a despotic, American-murdering, terrorist-sponsoring regime. Read the rest.
"WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT. LET'S START ACTING LIKE IT": That's the last line of a wonderful essay by Brendan Miniter introducing "The Western Front," a new Monday column on OpinionJournal. Miniter argues that WWI cast the West into self-doubt and moral-equivocation, and that WWII and the Cold War cast us still deeper. Reagan- and Thatcher-ism began a revival, by championing the Western virtures of democracy and individual freedom as superior, not equal, to those of other cultures. The war against Islamo-fascism is the next stage of our cultural re-awakening. And this time, the cultural battlelines are starker, because arrayed against us are the worst sort of thug-states, the Hussein, Saudi, and Arafat regimes, who in their overt racism and nationalism can't even pretend to the universalism and "social democracy" of the Marxists. Miniter writes that these states reject precisely those virtues we attempt to live by: "individual sovereignty, freedom of conscience, free interaction among men and the right to the fruits of one's own labor." But Miniter's most important point is the moral justification for war against these states:
As the American founders understood, a government that oppresses its people and extends violence to other nations lacks the consent of the governed and therefore the insulation of sovereignty, a point Sen. Jesse Helms made to the United Nations in a thunderclap of a speech a few years ago. It is morally justifiable and sometimes imperative for sovereign nations to stand up to rogue states, and in some cases even dismantle them and liberate their people. That is not equivalent to rogues attacking anyone.
Miniter's argument traces back to the Framers' argument for war against their own sovereign: all men are created equal, but all states are not equal to the task of governing freemen. Soveignty derives from the consent of the governed; having withdrawn their consent, the people as of right may overthrow their sovereign and constitute a new one. As Miniter argues, this principal logically and morally also applies to relations between states: if the governed may reject their sovereign because he is a tyrant, so may other truly sovereign states. This does not yet appear to be a principal of international law, though the war against Serbia was one step toward making it law. War against Iraq will be the next step.
CAIR'S MUSLIM CIVIL RIGHTS AGENDA: InstaPundit reports that Blogger Matthew Hoy has obtained an advance copy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations 2002 civil rights report. Revealing! Outrageous! Hilarious! Read it yourself and see why.

Monday, April 29, 2002

DRAMATIC GENE SCIENCE: Apparently identity politics runs in the family. Rosie's gay brother is running for office.
POTENTIAL TROUBLE IN TODDLERVILLE: Nickelodeon is sending Steve - the star of Blue's Clues - off to college and replacing him with Joe. No doubt millions of 2 and 3 year olds are going into mourning.
THAT QUIRKY REUTERS STYLE MANUAL: Please note the following excerpt from a Reuters report published on the Washington Post's web site:
A Palestinian military court convicted four men on Thursday of killing Zeevi in October. An Israeli government spokesman said Fuad Shubaki, suspected of smuggling arms for the Palestinian Authority, would also be jailed under U.S. and British guard as part of the Bush deal. The identity of the sixth man was not immediately clear. [emphasis added]
My point? Note that in the Reuters style manual, the word terrorist is always written in quotation marks, "terrorist." Yet the Palestinian kangaroo "court" that Yasser Arafat hurriedly convened in his basement to "try" the accused killers of Israeli Tourism Minister Zeevi -- as an obvious ploy to reject Israeli demands for their surrender -- is a "Palestinian military court" -- sans quotation marks, of course. Kinda odd, huh?
HUZZAH! NOT. The United States is once again a voting member of the U.N. Commission against Human Rights, which recently passed a resolution in favor of Palestinian terrorism. One hopes we will not become the North American Delegate to the Bloc of Repressive States, a powerful voting bloc on the commission.
PHILO-SEMITISM IN UNIVERSITIES? Jonah Goldberg writes an interesting post about a story in today's Wall Street Journal that -- in Jonah's words -- claims "many schools are ethnically profiling in favor of Jews in order to raise their elite rankings" because "Jews score disproportinately high on the SATs as a religious group ...." What really caught my eye was that Vanderbilt -- its undergraduate schools, not the law school, I presume -- is in the lead.
IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING why Israel isn't welcoming the U.N.'s "fact-finding" mission with open arms:
Three people have been chosen by the United Nations to judge Israel's actions in Jenin. Two are sons of Europe, and one of those is Cornelio Sommaruga. As former head of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Sommaruga spent 12 years ensuring that the only nation on earth to be refused admission to the International Red Cross is Israel. The problem, he said, was its symbol: "If we're going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?"
-- another excerpt from that Krauthammer essay I missed.
SOMEHOW I MISSED THIS KRAUTHAMMER ESSAY on European anti-semitism. Here's an excerpt:
In Europe, it is not very safe to be a Jew. How could this be? The explanation is not that difficult to find. What we are seeing is pent-up anti-Semitism, the release -- with Israel as the trigger -- of a millennium-old urge that powerfully infected and shaped European history. What is odd is not the anti-Semitism of today but its relative absence during the past half-century. That was the historical anomaly. Holocaust shame kept the demon corked for that half-century. But now the atonement is passed. The genie is out again. This time, however, it is more sophisticated. It is not a blanket hatred of Jews. Jews can be tolerated, even accepted, but they must know their place. Jews are fine so long as they are powerless, passive and picturesque. What is intolerable is Jewish assertiveness, the Jewish refusal to accept victimhood. And nothing so embodies that as the Jewish state.
Read the rest.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

ONE BIG RISK OF WAR IN IRAQ is that while we pour men and materiel into the Persian Gulf, depleting manpower and stretching supply lines, China would seize the opportunity to invade or at least threaten Taiwan. What reminded me of this threat is this blurb on Drudge:
China delivered a new shipment of missiles to bases near Taiwan last week as part of a mounting buildup under way since the beginning of the year... "It is a concern," one official familiar with intelligence reports tells Bill Gertz of the Washington Times. Exclusive set for Monday editions... Developing...
We've fought so many little wars that stayed that way -- Grenada, Panama, the Gulf, Yugoslavia -- that it's easy to forget that really big wars, even world wars, start out small. UPDATE: Here's the Washington Times story.
"THE BLOC OF REPRESSIVE STATES": No, this isn't a lame State Department attempt to soften the President's "Axis of Evil" label. It's how Andrew Stuttaford describes a voting bloc of states on the U.N. Commission against Human Rights that prevents the commission from singling out particular countries for criticism. Of course, as we know, the Bloc of Repressive States isn't merely a negative force; sometimes it acts to single out particular states, as it did two weeks ago when the commission passed a resolution endorsing Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israel. Joining in that resolution was, of course, the synagogue-burning nation of France which, thanks to Andrew Stuttaford, now has a new title: European Delegate to the Bloc of Repressive States.

Friday, April 26, 2002

THE SURVEILLANCE VALUE OF FREE SPEECH:A few days ago James Taranto launched a campaign on OpinionJournal's Best of the Web (click here, here, here, and here) to persuade MSN and Yahoo to shut down racist on-line groups that violate those companies' policies against hate speech and the like. Best of the Web correctly dismisses some readers' complaints that this campaign violates free speech -- the First Amendment says the government can't censor speech, not private companies. But there's a good objection grounded in common sense. One benefit of letting bad people speak their mind in public is that the rest of us can learn what's on their mind and figure out whether they're merely obnoxious or actually dangerous. Chasing neo-Nazis, skinheads, and the KKK off the web won't make them stop talking -- or plotting. They'll just do it in secret where we can't listen in.
ELMO IN THE HOUSE: Let me guess: Elmo said public television needs more money, and those naughty Republicans want to take it away? UPDATE: I was close. Best of the Web quotes CNN as reporting that
"in what may be the first appearance of a Muppet before a congressional committee, 'Sesame Street' favorite Elmo donned his best suit and tie and took his cause to Capitol Hill." The puppet "gave evidence before the Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge more spending on music research and musical instruments for school programs." Fine by us--provided they can find a way to tax "Sesame Street" merchandise to pay for it.
YOU MIGHT NOT CALL THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES MICKEY MOUSE, but Elmo from Sesame Street was at a House Labor, Health and Human Services, Education Appropriations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 23, 2002.
SCARY THOUGHT: Mark Steyn says Europeans will continue to vote for unsavory characters like Le Pen because the savory characters have made the two burning issues of European politics -- crime and immigration -- taboo:
Europe's ruling class has effortlessly refined Voltaire: I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death my right not to have to listen to you say it. You might disapprove of what Le Pen says on immigration, but to declare that the subject cannot even be raised is profoundly unhealthy for a democracy. The problem with the old one-party states of Africa and Latin America was that they criminalized dissent: You could no longer criticize the President, you could only kill him. In the two-party one-party states of Europe, a similar process is under way: If the political culture forbids respectable politicians from raising certain topics, then the electorate will turn to unrespectable politicians -- as they're doing in France, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and elsewhere. Le Pen is not an aberration but the logical consequence.
You could summarize his argument thus: if the mainstream politicians won't make the trains run on time, the people will eventually elect the fringe candidate who will. Kind of makes you appreciate America's "crude" and "unsophisticated" politics, huh?
NO COMMENT: Here's the latest high school debacle from Anchorage.
MY NOMINATION FOR QUOTATION OF THE DAY: "It's far from over. People would still like to come to my home town and kill all my friends." -- U.S. Army spokesman Maj. Bryan Hilferty discussing the lull in fighting in Afghanistan
LACKEY? HMPH! I much prefer flunkey.
LACKEYS ON STRIKE? Where is my staff? What am I paying you guys for? ("What are you paying us?" they reply.) ("What am I paying you for?" my boss queries.)
QUOTATION OF THE DAY: "Fascism, as the old saying has it, is always descending on the United States, but somehow always lands in Europe." -- InstaPundit.
SHARON IS PLAYING ARAFAT'S GAME: Arafat says "peace" and signs peace agreements in English; he says "war," signs invoices for suicide bomber belts, and writes checks for "martyrs'" families in Arabic. In English, Sharon says Israel has "completed" its West Bank offensive; in Hebrew, he orders the Israeli Army to keep hunting down and killing Palestinian terrorists. That strikes me as the most sensible way to read Sharon. It may also be the best way to read President Bush, who has demanded that Israel withdraw and then, when it hasn't withdrawn, praised Israel for withdrawing. In the past, the Arab states would demand a ceasefire, but tell Israel, "You go first." Israel would comply, and the Arab states would renege. Now, Israel (and the United States, at least sometimes) is calling for a ceasefire, and mouthing platitudes about peace, but telling the Arab states, "You go first." Of course they won't, which exposes them for the terrorist-sponsoring war-mongers they are, and gives the excuse invoke the Bush Doctrine. I like this game.
YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS GUN VIOLENCE AFTER GUN CONTROL: A former student in Germany walked into his school and shot to death 18 people. In Germany, a country which like the most European countries strictly regulates gun ownership (apparently it takes up to a year to get a hunting rifle), bad people still get guns and do horrible things. This isn't schadenfreude -- I'm not a European intellectual, after all -- it's an observation. Leftist anti-gun-nuts ridicule slogans like "guns don't kill people, people kill people," but they're true. When two evil young men murdered their classmates and a teacher at Columbine, the usual suspects blamed it on the ready availability of firearms in the United States and on our "culture of violence." Well, guns aren't readily available in Germany (not to law-abiding people) and the Germans have been overtly pacifist since 1945, but an evil man still murdered eighteen people. Evil people who want to do evil things will find a way. Disarming good people just makes it easier for them.
NEWS THAT ONLY A DEMOCRAT COULD HATE:
Economy Grows at Sizzling 5.8 Percent Rate
--Washington Post
OH, RIGHT, I'm supposed to be working ....
"SOMEBODY OUGHTA GET SUED": That's Roger Clegg's take on a new damning study from the Center for Equal Opportunity that shows that the University of Virginia School of Law blatantly discriminates on the basis of race in favor of black applicants. The study covers three public law schools, U.Va., William & Mary, and George Mason, using admission data obtained through the freedom of information act. The results: "At U.Va, the odds favoring a black candidate over an equally qualified white candidate were an astonishing 731 to 1 in 1999 and 647 to 1 in 1998." Just to put things in perspective:
In 1999, if you had an LSAT score of 160 and an undergraduate grade-point average of 3.25 -- these are the two measures that law schools typically weigh most heavily in making admissions decisions -- you had a 95 percent chance of getting into U.Va if you were black, but only a 3 percent chance of getting in if you were white.
To put this in a personal context, I could've gotten into U.Va if I'd had black skin when I applied. So would my friends in law school. Of course, if I could go back and do it all over again, I would make the same decision even if U.Va. was been an option. But it's galling to know that I was judged against a different standard because I have less melanin than other applicants. That's what racial discrimination boils down to: treating people differently based on the amount of pigment in their skin. Decent people know that's wrong and foolish, and a law school definitely knows it's illegal. Yeah, somebody oughta get sued. Class action, anyone?
YOU'VE HAD A GOOD MEETING WITH AN ARAB DESPOT IF..."This meeting was very warm; this meeting was quite personal, and there were no threats expressed." -- "Senior White House official" on today's "summit" between President Bush and Saudi Crown Despot Abdullah. The official also reported that the leaders shook hands and did not brandish any weapons.
BUT I DO HAVE TIME TO NOTE that the State Department is annoyed with the Defense Department, and the Saudis are annoyed with the United States, vis-a-vis our tacit approval of the shellacking Israeli PM Sharon has given Arafat & Co. About which I must observe what righ-thinking people usually observe: if the State Department and the Saudis are annoyed with us about Israel, we must be doing something right.
IT'S 11 O'CLOCK, DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR BLOG IS? I've been letting this thing call "work" get in the way of my blogging. (Though it hasn't stopped me from tinkering with layout.) What's your excuse, lackeys?

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

UGH: While I hope Ari Fleischer and his new fiancee will be be very happy together, am I the only one with a slight case of the oogies at the thought of a 41 year old marrying a 26 year old?
O CANADA: Next time I'm tempted to dismiss Canadians as weenies, I'm going to think of this story about Canadian snipers who fought alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan. What a great, brave people, and what great neighbors. If only they could have a government worthy of themselves.

Friday, April 19, 2002

EXTRA! EXTRA! : A videographer was challenged Thursday by the ranking Democrat in the House subcommittee meeting as being the NRA's lackey. He tried unsuccessfully to kick the properly credentialed techie out of the meeting. The absolute best part of the story was that the videographer's presence "deeply offended" democratic Rep. Diana DeGette. Man, I wonder how she makes it though even one episode of Oprah!

Thursday, April 18, 2002

MIGHT MAKES RIGHT, as far as the United Nations is concerned. Take the Israeli-Palestinian war. Ostensibly, the U.N. sides with the underdog Palestinians, who fight against a superior Israeli Army equipped with those "U.S.-supplied Apaches" with nothing but RPGs, Kalishnikovs, and suicide bombers. But in fact, the Palestinians are proxies for Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Arab world, the population of which outnumbers Israelis by tens of millions and whose combined military might (less nukes, for now) dwarfs the Israeli military. When the Israeli-Palestinian war is seen for what it really is, an Israeli-Arab war, it's clear who plays David and who plays Goliath, and that the U.N. is siding with the giant. Consider this excerpt from a Washington Post article on the aftermath of the battle for Jenin:
Terje Roed-Larsen, the United Nations' Middle East envoy, stood on a pile of rubble and surveyed a landscape of wretchedness and destruction. Just a few feet away, two middle-aged brothers used plastic buckets to excavate the ruins of their former home, unearthing a partial human torso. It was all that remained of their elderly father. "What we are seeing here is horrifying – horrifying scenes of human suffering," said Larsen, who helped shepherd Palestinians and Israelis toward the 1993 Oslo peace accords. "Israel has lost all moral ground in this conflict." ... Larsen, who witnessed the scene, said he was shocked by what he had observed this morning, including the charred body of a 12-year-old boy. "They are not only fighters," he said. "We've seen kids. There was a 60-year-old woman who was found. . . . What is really shocking beyond belief is that the Israelis have not conducted a search and rescue operation in 11 days."
No one knows how many civilians American bombs killed in Afghanistan, just as no one knows how many civilians died in Jenin. But while U.N. bureaucrats have refrained from declaring that "America has lost all moral ground" in our war, U.N. imbeciles like Larsen freely declare that "Israel has lost all moral ground in this conflict." Ignore this obscene logic, that a state fighting an enemy who intentionally maims and kills civilians can lose all moral ground because, in the course of fighting an intentional killer of civilians it unintentionally kills civilians. Instead, consider the discrepancy between Israel's treatment by the U.N. and ours. What explains the difference? Power. America has it, Israel doesn't. Without American participation, the U.N. would be just another irrelevant platform for anti-Americanism, anti-semitism, and anti-capitalism, which is to say, a platform for promoting despotism, racism, and poverty. Of course, even with American participation, the U.N. is such a platform, but that's not all it is, because occasionally the United States can turn it to good ends, or at least make it shut up and get out of the way. The former happened in Iraq, the latter in Afghanistan. But Israel doesn't have our power. It can't influence the U.N. or make it shut up. Which is why the U.N. spews anti-Israeli proganda, passes a resolution condoning Palestinian terrorism, and otherwise tries to thwart Israel's anti-terrorist campaign. And it will continue to do so as long as the equation of power runs against Israel, i.e. as long as it reasonably expects the Arab Goliath to exterminate the Israeli David. The only thing that changes this equation is American power. If we make Israel's war our own, ensuring its survival and threatening Arab despotisms with extinction, the U.N. will reasonably, if amorally, side with the winner. That fact won't diminish our cause, but it will diminish the U.N.

Wednesday, April 17, 2002

NOW THIS IS A SCREED! Check out this delicious rant by Italian writer Oriana Fallaci on European anti-semitism. Actually, rant it too flippant a word. Her essay is moving expression of righteous indignation at the amorality of European elites in the face of blatant, vicious evil. Here's a taste:
I find it shameful that many Italians and many Europeans have chosen as their standard-bearer the gentleman (or so it is polite to say) Arafat. This nonentity who thanks to the money of the Saudi Royal Family plays the Mussolini ad perpetuum and in his megalomania believes he will pass into History as the George Washington of Palestine. This ungrammatical wretch who when I interviewed him was unable even to put together a complete sentence, to make articulate conversation. So that to put it all together, write it, publish it, cost me a tremendous effort and I concluded that compared to him even Ghaddafi sounds like Leonardo da Vinci. This false warrior who always goes around in uniform like Pinochet, never putting on civilian garb, and yet despite this has never participated in a battle. War is something he sends, has always sent, others to do for him.
Read the rest.
NPR-INDUCED HEARTBURN: I'm having another "Why do I keep listening to NPR?" day. First there was this morning's report on American agricultural sales to Cuba, which briefly quoted Assistant Secretary of State saying that Castro's was a "murderous regime", but countered it with a long interview with a farmer who wants to sell his produce to Cuba and can't figure out why anyone wouldn't like Castro. That dear sweet man -- how could you not like him? Especially if you stay in nice hotels that cater to foreigners and never ever let you see Cuban political prisoners ... But it was an essay this afternoon that nearly induced vomiting. Askia Muhammad, Washington correspondant for Final Call -- the Nation of Islam's paper, a fact NPR didn't mention -- explained that American Muslims are living in a police state. Really. He complained that the government has imprisoned that poor, blind, diabetic Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman for seven years -- you know, the guy who instigated the first World Trade Center bombing, i.e. the attempted murder of 50,000 people and the actual murder of a half-dozen. Even worse, the government is now prosecuting the poor old man's lawyer -- the woman who allegedy help conceal the sheikh's communications with other terrorists, thus allowing him to run his terrorist organization from prison. But the very worst thing, he explained, is that Muslims (of all people) have become the target of terrorism investigations after September 11th! Oh, the injustice of it all! Now, he allowed -- at least twice -- that he wasn't a conspiracy theorist, but he went on to tell listeners why they should believe conspiracy theories based on the various evils committed by the United States. Needless to say, NPR aired this "essay" without comment or a counter-opinion. It's not so much the stupidty that makes my blood boil, but that I can't ship such fools and whiners to a real police state -- say, Cuba -- to show them just how good they have it here.

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

ANOTHER REASON NOT TO CAIR: This Weekly Standard piece covers the Council on American Islamic Relations' recent exercise in web polling. The question was whether Ariel Sharon should be tried for war crimes; the initial poll results were 513 vvotes with 94% in favor. Then InstaPundit linked to the site. Eight hours later, there were 11,951 votes and 94% against trying Sharon. And then, as InstaPundit predicted, CAIR experienced "technical problems" that first caused thousands thousands of votes to disappear, changing the balance back to 93% in favor of trying Sharon, then caused CAIR to pull the poll and wipe any reference to it on its web site. What an instructive example of how public opinion is shaped in Middle Eastern countries.
"CONDONING ACTS OF VIOLENCE": That's the crime for which German authorities want to investigate the father of a little girl dressed up as a suicide bomber (click here for a link to a photograph) at last Saturday's pro-Palestinian rally in Berlin, AP reports. Meanwhile, Germany and the rest of Europe continue to protest Israel's military retaliation against actual acts of violence.
HERE'S AN UPDATE in the National Post on that apalling resolution by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights that effectively endorses Palestinian terrorism, mentioned here yesterday.
WHIPPING A DEAD HORSE:
For four days, the military pummeled the camp with rockets, missiles and artillery shells fired from U.S.-provided AH-64 Apache helicopters and tanks. Washington Post
See my earlier complaints here and here.

Monday, April 15, 2002

WHY DO WE NEED THE U.N.? The U.N. Commission on Human Rights has condemned Israel for "acts of mass killings perpetrated by the Israeli occupying authorities" and affirmed the "legitimate right of Palestinian people to resist," the Washington Post reports. The "mass killings" bit is bad enough. First, no one knows how many Palestinians have been killed. The only present basis for this claim is Arab and Palestinian propaganda. Second, the statement does not distinguish between military and civilian casualties. If Israel has killed hundreds of civilians, that might be a cause for concern (though it might just be the consequence of brutal urban warfare; see, e.g. WWII). If Israel has killed hundreds of Palestinian soldiers and terrorists in battle, that would only be a cause for concern for people who support the Palestinians' military and terrorist campaign against Israel. But what's worse, it's hard to read this statement as anything besides tacit approval of Palestinian suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. The statement condemns Israel for "mass killings," but says nothing against Palestinian suicide attacks which are designed to kill and maim massive numbers of civilians. And it affirms without qualification the "legitimate right of Palestinian people to resist," which they have exercised most effectively by killing and maiming large numbers of Israeli civilians. Forty states, including France-We-Can't-Ensure-the-Protection-of-Jews-in-Our-Country, voted "yes." Britain, Germany, Canada, Guatemala, and the Czech Republic voted "no." Italy abstained. (The U.S. didn't get a seat on the commission last year, which was supposed to embarass us for some reason.) And so the isolation of Israel, and the moral meltdown of its enemies, continue apace.
CHECK OUT these reports from InstaPundit on today's Israel Solidarity rally in D.C.
KOFI ANNAN HAS FINALLY LOST IT: Check out these quotations from a Washington Post article on U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's recent harsh anti-Israeli statements:
On Friday, Annan exhibited a new willingness to use the prestige of his office to press Israel to accept the Palestinians' long-standing demand for an international peacekeeping force. He said theinternational community "must now assemble the will" to send armed peacekeepers to the Middle East to guarantee a cease-fire and help restart the peace process. "He's hoping that the council will keep in mind the experience of Bosnia, where the carnage was allowed to carry on for years before a meaningful international fighting force was put in place," spokesman Fred Eckhard said. ... Soderberg, who now heads the New York office of the International Crisis Group, a nonprofit think tank, said Annan has had no choice but to promote initiatives because of the Bush administration's reluctance to offer new ideas. She said his tough demands for Israeli restraint may be driven in part by lingering memories of U.N. inaction in Rwanda and Bosnia. [emphasis added]
Consider the phrases emphasized above and what they mean. First, the Secretary General apparently believes Israeli military retaliation against the Palestinian Authority for harboring, aiding, and sponsoring terrorists attacks against Israeli civilians is equivalent not just to Palestinian terrorism -- everybody thinks that, well, at least reasonable, non-simplistic people, right? -- but to the Serbian and Hutu programs of genocide in Bosnia and Rawanda. (This could cut one of two ways: (a) Annan thinks genocide is no bigger deal than an ordinary, run-of-the-mill war, or (b) he thinks an ordinary, run-of-the-mill war is as big a deal as genocide. Either way, his capacity for moral reasoning is suspect.) Second, the Secretary General apparently believes that the democratically governed state of Israel is morally equivalent to the despotism formerly known as Yugoslavia -- a rogue state that must be threatened or subdued by a "meaningful international fighting force," the way NATO finally subdued the Milosevic regime. So, as far as Kofi Annan is concerned, a conventional military campaign equals a campaign of genocide, and the key to peace in the Middle East is an international army with the ability to crush not Palestinian terrorists but the Israeli army. Does this bother anyone else?

Saturday, April 13, 2002

DARN THOSE ISRAELIS AND THEIR "US-SUPPLIED GUNSHIPS": A couple of days ago I complained about the journalistic convention of describing Israeli weapons used to attack Palestinians as "U.S.-supplied." Here's another example:
When a sniper round tore through the window and hit her son-in-law in a room above her, she and other family members sobbed helplessly as he bled and pleaded, "Rescue me, rescue me." Fifteen minutes later, she recounted, new barrages from the U.S.-supplied gunships entombed him alive in the rubble. Soon she could no longer hear his cries.
There isn't a legitimate reason for applying the adjective "U.S.-supplied" in this circumstance. Sure, it's true, but it'd also be true to say the "sniper round" was "Israeli--manufactured," that the "window" came from Abdullah's Hardware Store, and that the rubble was "Palestinian-made concrete." The point of the article is that the fighting in Jenin was brutal and destructive. The only purpose served by noting that one of the main Israeli weapons used in the battle was "U.S.-supplied" is to imply that the U.S. is culpable in the Palestinian suffering caused by the battle. That's stupid, of course, since the Israelis would still be attacking the Palestinians even if they only had "Israeli-supplied" weapons. But if reporters must make stupid arguments, can't they be even-handed and note when "Iranian-" or "Syrian-" supplied weapons and explosives purchased with "Saudi-supplied dollars" kill Israelis? Does this annoy anyone else?
NO JOKE: Democrats are complaining that they're not getting as much cable TV news coverage as President Bush. I guess owning the editorial boards and most of the reporters and columnists of the Washington Post and New York Times, and three of four broadcast TV networks, and 99% of Hollywood just isn't enough of a media advantage for the Democrats. They want "equal time," it's just that time for Democrats should be more equal than time for Republicans.

Friday, April 12, 2002

WISH I COULD GO to this "Israel Solidarity Rally" in Washington, D.C. on April 15. What a great idea: whether our government's anti-terrorism policy is hopeless incoherent as applied to Israel, or whether the President is playing rope-a-dope with Arab dictators, ordinary Americans can unambiguously show the world -- from the feckless European elites to murderous Arab dictatorships -- that America supports the only democracy in a sea of despotism. Here's the rally's website. Check it out, and send an e-mail of support even if you can't go. (Here's a Washington Post story on the rally.)

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

MADE IN THE U.S.A.: Last night I e-mailed InstaPundit the gist of my earlier post noting the apparent journalistic convention of designating Israeli weapons as "U.S.-supplied" when they're used against Palestinians. InstaPundit posted the e-mail, and sometime later posted an e-mail from another reader pointing out a reference to "Iranian-supplied mobile Fajr-5 rockets" in today's Washington Post, which I'd missed. But I'm standing by my implied claim of media bias. I searched the Washington Post and New York Times, using their web search engines, for news stories with the phrases "U.S.-supplied," "U.S. supplied," "American-made," "American made," "American-supplied," "American supplied," as well as "Syrian" "and "Iranian" in the same combinations. I searched the Post for stories from the last two weeks and I searched the Times for stories from the last week. (Sorry, I don't have Nexis and I'm not going to pay for premium searches.) Here's what I found. In the last week, the Post published three stories (not counting "web extras") referring to "U.S.-supplied" Apaches in the context of Israeli attacks on Palestinians. It published one story referring to "Iranian-supplied" rockets, not in the context of attacks on Israelis but in the context of Israel's claim that Hezbollah has fortified the Lebanese border with the weapons. Also in the last week, the Times published two stories referring to "American-made Apache helicopters," both in the context of Israeli attacks on Palestinians. (Click here to see the specific search results.) Bottom line: Two major papers make a point of noting when the Israelis use American-made weapons against the Palestinians. They have not in the same period identified who supplied the Palestinians with their guns and their explosives. The effect is to imply American culpability for the deaths of Palestinians -- a recurring theme of Palestinian and Arab propaganda -- because we "let" the Israelis use "our" weapons against them. Maybe my search was too crude; maybe a Nexis search would reveal more even-handed reported. (Maybe I'm just paranoid.) Forgive me, though, if I don't hold my breath.
FREUDIAN SLIP? Check out this headline from washingtonpost.com, last updated 1:45 p.m. EDT:
Powell Mission Endorsed EU, United Nations call for Israeli withdrawal, renunciation of terrorism.
Nice to know big papers like the Post have such careful editors.
WHAT IS UP WITH the journalistic convention of noting, whenever the Israelis use military force, that they're pounding the Palestinians with "U.S.-supplied" weapons. Here's a regular, recurring example, from an article in today's Washington Post:
U.S.-supplied AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships have pounded the refugee camp with missiles and troops have waged house-to-house searches.
How come no one ever writes, "A Palestinian suicide bomber blew up 10 civilians today with Iranian-supplied plastic explosives purchased with Saudi-supplied dollars"?
PICKING UP WHERE THE NAZIS LEFT OFF? That's my reaction to this headline:
Germany, in Protest, Suspends Arms Sales to Israel Decision May Foreshadow European Trade Sanctions as Criticism of West Bank Incursions Mounts
The only difference is that this time around they're using Palestinian proxies. Maybe they're not doing it because they hate Jews. Maybe they're just too cowardly to do anything but appease Arab terrorists. Or maybe after giving the world the Gestapo and Stasi, the Germans are too morally neutered as a civilization to tell the difference between right and wrong. I don't really care why the Germans, along with continental Europe, have sided with the latest would-be exterminators of the Jews. I just want them to fail, and suffer for their cowardice. Until this war began, I always wondered why America paid so much attention to the Holocaust. Please don't misunderstand me. Of course I understood that the Holocaust was a horrible and unprecedented evil, the defining enormity of our era. But it was an evil we helped stop, and an evil we didn't commit. Sure, it made sense for the Germans -- and their French and Italian collaborators -- to build museums, fund educational programs, and otherwise culturally self-flagellate, the way Americans do about slavery, because they did it. But it honestly didn't make sense to me why we should build a holocaust museum in Washington, why we as a nation should dwell so much on a crime we didn't commit. I didn't object, I just didn't get it. Now I wonder how I could have been so naive. For headlines like this, and all the other headlines I've read about Europe's slavish devotion to the Palestinian nationalist project -- a project explicitly built on the anti-Semitic dream of driving the Jews into the sea, of picking up where the Nazis left off -- show that America must remember the Holocaust because no one else will, especially not its European perpetrators. And we must defend the only democratic society, and the only culture of liberty, equality, and law, in the Middle East because no one else -- especially not the cultures that gave us Marxism and Fascism -- believes those virtues are worth defending.

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

CUTE AND FUZZY, THEY AIN'T: The ASPCA always uses the cutest, fuzziest animals around in their advertisements with good reason - we all feel a little more fondness for nice animals than for those that are slimey, vicious or otherwise "undesireable." So how much sympathy do you think sharks get? Not too much from me, but one environmental group in Singapore is hoping to inspire sympathy with their new postcard that, "shows a newly-wed bride and groom gazing lovingly into each other's eyes as they enter a blood-splattered banquet hall littered with mutilated sharks." Their hope is to distribute them in San Francisco too. Anyone want to make a postcard of the kid whose arm was ripped off by a shark?
SOMEBODY LOVES NYC'S MAYOR: Republicans don't trust New York's mayor Michael Bloomberg and Democrats won't consider holding their Presidential Convention in New York, because Bloomberg is a "Republican," but the pro-marijuana group The NORML Foundation wants Bloomberg to be one of them. Unlike our former President, who "didn't inhale," when Bloomberg was asked during the campaign if he'd ever smoked any happy weed, he replied, "You bet I did, and I enjoyed it." Now NORML has launched a campaign with Bloomberg's face and that quotation. Of course, this campaign will only work in NYC, because the rest of us wouldn't have recognized Bloomberg as anyone famous or important.
"YOU'RE FULL OF IT": That's Richard Cohen's rebuke to the Saudi ambassador for his feculent essay in the Washington Post. The ambassador's rant was unremarkable. He wrote that the Israelis are committing "terrorist Israeli aggression" while the Palestinians are "resisting occupation." (Tyrants must love the way "aggression" rolls off the tongue: North Koreans decried "capitalist running dog aggression"; Serbs whined about "NATO's criminal" -- "CREE-mee-null" -- "aggression"; Arabs are ranting about "terrorist Israeli" -- "ter-ror-REEST is-RYE-lee" -- "aggression.") Here's a big snippet, so that you can get the flavor:
I am sympathetic to the suffering of the American people and the anger of the American leadership over terrorist attacks on the United States. However, I now feel great sympathy with the suffering of the Palestinian people and the anger of the Palestinian leadership because of the terrorist Israeli aggression against them. I am saddened and feel pain for what happened to thousands of innocent people in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. But I feel the pain and suffering of 3 million innocent Palestinians from a terrorist Israeli operation. I understand and respect the priorities of the United States, but I also respect and understand the priorities of 3 million unarmed Palestinians. I acknowledge that the Palestinians' greatest crime is their insistence on resisting the military occupation of their country. This strange principle of resistance to military occupation of one's country seems to be difficult for many American political, intellectual and media elite to comprehend -- even though it has been practiced by others in the past, such as Nelson Mandela in South Africa under apartheid and Gen. George Washington during British colonial rule, and even Menachem Begin during the British Mandate of Palestine. These leaders from different countries and different continents share one thing in common. They were all labeled as terrorists by the occupying military force at the time. So what is the real crime, when the Palestinians resist the Israeli military occupation of their country?
Like I said, unremarkable, just the sort of vitriol and double-speak you'd expect from the mouthpiece of a Jew-hating despotism. But that's not what I thought when I first read bin Sultan's screed last week. I couldn't understand why the Post had soiled its op-ed pages with such crude propaganda. I mean, "terrorist Israeli aggression"? What did he do, crib from some leaflet floating around Ramallah? Now I get it. This war has already killed off several lies, e.g., Americans are too lazy, fat, and soft to defeat a ruthless enemy; the Arab street will go nuts if we retaliate; Afghanistan will become a quagmire. But to win this war, we need to kill off several more lies. Two prime targets should be (a) the lie that we can't move against Iraq unless we placate the Arabs and (b) the lie that there are "moderate" Arab states and that these state are our "friends." Rants like the Saudi ambassador's have the salutary effect of killing two birds with one stone. States like Saudi Arabia have maintained the absurd pretence of their "moderation" by saying one thing in English and another in Arabic. In English, they propose peace plans; in Arabic, they talk about Jews making pastries with Gentile blood; American reporters print "PEACE PLAN" on page one above the fold; if they bother translating the blood libel story, it goes somewhere in the back with a small headline. And, "Hey, presto!" you've got yourself a "moderate" regime. But this magic trick doesn't work if the Saudis start screaming and foaming at the mouth in English in an American newspaper. When an ambassador spews such inarguably stupid, dishonest, and intemperate vitriol -- when an ambassador threatens "grave and imminent" danger if we don't appease Palestinian terrorists -- it's obvious that that regime is anything but "moderate" and anything but our "friend." And once it's clear that there are no "moderate" Arab states -- just oil-soaked despotisms funding the terrorists we're fighting and obstructing the war at every turn -- then it's clear that we don't have to appease them in Palestine before we can deal with Iraq. We just have to apply the Bush Doctrine: "Are ya fer us, or agin us? Invite us in, or get out of the way and hope we don't come back after we're done with Saddam." Once we know we have no friends in the Arab world, only potential enemies, then we know that the road to Iraq does not lead through Palestine. It leads through Arabia. UPDATE: I just read my blog this morning and realized that it was peppered with an absurd number of typos and a bad link. Yes, I wrote it late at night (later than the initial post date), but I'm embarassed and sorry for having done such a lousy job editing my own writing.

Monday, April 08, 2002

WELL I'LL BE!: There was an article in the paper yesterday saying that Miss Cleo does not hire real psychics for her service. What a shocker! Doesn't she know that lies make baby Jesus cry? While we're on the subject, what do you have to do to become a professional psychic? Go to school? Perhaps UC-Berekley, or Rhodes? Or maybe you just have to sit through all the Poltergiest movies, including the awful Poltergeist III, with Tom Skerritt. Check out Miss Cleo's website. She's offering a free trial subscription! Too bad for all the Aries out there, she says you are "child-like."
FREUDIAN SLIP?: This morning, during the 9 AM EDT NPR newscast, Carl Kasell (also co-host of the show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me"), was discussing President Bush's attempts to forge peace in the Middle East. Instead, Mr. Kasell said that President Clinton was trying to broker a peace. Carl later corrected himself at the end of the story. It hardly seems like Bill has been away for over a year. I guess one good thing has come out of it though, there is not a new presidential scandal EVERY DAY.
AMEN: Preach on, brother man. Trying to make peace with terrorists will only cause more trouble for Israel.

Saturday, April 06, 2002

BOURGEOISOPHOBIA: What do hatred of America and Israel have in common? Both cultures exemplify the success of bourgeoise culture, and hatred of that culture -- hatred of its success -- is the last surviving ideology of the nineteenth century, and it drives everyone from European "intellectuals" to Islamist terrorists. That's the thesis of this essay by David Brooks in the Weekly Standard, which I learned about on Instapundit. Read it.

Friday, April 05, 2002

PUT THIS IN YOUR PEACE PIPE AND SMOKE IT: Lots of people these days are writing about the moral questions of war (when may we threaten to use force, when may we use it, how much may we use, to what lengths must we go to avoid civilian casualties), but but Victor Hanson gives us a primer on the amoral history of war: why wars happen, why they begin, why they end. And it turns out that the amoral history of war informs the moral debates about war. Fact: enemies read restraint as weakness, not mercy, and repay it with aggression. Fact: negotiations don't end war, material, physical, and emotional exhaustion of one side does. Fact: sometimes people fight because they're aggrieved and oppressed, but sometimes they fight for honor, wealth, or sheer meanness. So it might seem moral to exercise restraint in the face of attack, but you invite more attacks, more deaths, more destruction, which makes restraint seem pretty immoral. It might seem moral to thrash your enemy, but show mercy and let him go; but he'll just rest a spell, then come back at you and kill more people; which makes limited war seem pretty immoral. It might seem moral, when attacked by an enemy with plausible historical and moral claims, to see those claims as "root causes" and try to make peace by satisfying those claims. But your appeasement will teach your enemy that war really can improve his position and he'll see your goodwill as weakness, both of which will invite more war, more death, more destruction. Which makes appeasement seem pretty immoral. How does Hanson know this? It's history.

Thursday, April 04, 2002

DRY MY EYES: I bet there are not too many sad people over at the Tiffany network pining about Bryant Gumbel's resignation from "The Early Show." Also, Donahue is getting a nightly talk show on MSNBC opposite "The O'Reilly Factor." The man who single-handedly brought trash to talk shows hopes to create a liberal foil to Mr. O'Reilly's popular talk/interview show on FOX News.
SO WHAT?: The only thing that interests me less than Liza Minnelli's recent marriage is the lawsuit being brought against her by her 94-year old step mother, for alleged abuse.
THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED: The lead singer of Megadeth, David Mustaine, has announced that the group is calling it quits after 20 years. You'll remember that Megadeth was founded after Mustaine was thrown out of the metal band Metallica in 1983. To find out more about the band, check out megadeth.com.
CAN I VOMIT NOW? Ann Lander's apparently proposes that April 2nd should be a day when people take the time to reconcile with people they've had a falling out with. Here was one of the letters from that day. Dear Ann: I would like to add something to your annual column on Reconciliation Day. Please consider expanding the day to include reconciliation between countries. On April 2, leaders of every faction at war would call for a 24-hour ceasefire. Maybe, in time, it could extend to two days, or even a week. Think about the lives that could be saved. It could become a day of peace, a time for those at war to work on their differences. Please pass it along, Ann. Jeff in Los Angeles Don't you just love how "Jeff" doesn't seem to see any moral difference between sides in an armed conflict? Everyone should stop fighting, as if everyone was equally in the wrong. Hmph.
CANADA'S FINEST: Never, ever miss a column by Mark Steyn, including this one.

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

KISSING COUSINS: A new study in "The Journal of Genetic Counseling" reports that it may not be so bad to try to find dates at that family reunion. Still, something about marrying a cousin seems "icky."
PEACE = VICTORY: Michael Leeden is dead on target in this essay on NRO. He argues that the prerequisite of peace in Israel is not making nice with Arafat; its defeating Syria, Iraq, and Iran. The Palestinians are just proxies for the terrorists states of Syria, Iraq, and Iran, and proxies for the Arab world generally. When the terror states are wrecked and rebuilt, the Palestinians become a minor regional problem. The Palestinians won't make peace until their sponsor states let them, and their sponsor states won't let them because their goal is the destruction of Israel. The problem is obvious, and so is the solution: destroy the terrorist states. We can either begin now, by conquering Iraq, rebuilding it as a liberal democratic state, and using it to foment revolution throughout the Middle East. Or we can wait until something -- a terrorist attack on Israel or on us using weapons of mass destruction; or a new Arab conventional war against Israel -- sparks a regional conflagration that requires us to conquer most Arab nations. Guess which option kills few Americans and Arabs and Iranians?

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

WISH-I'D-SAID-IT DEPARTMENT: Victor Hanson gives ustwo brilliant essays in one day on the latest war for Israel's survival, one at NRO and one at OpinionJournal. Hanson's theme in both essays, as in most of his writing, is history as teacher. That past doesn't have an agenda, just lessons. People do things different ways for different reasons and get different outcomes. You can deconstruct and reconstruct, but in the end cold facts stare you in the face. Fact #1: People who make war on other people get screwed when they lose, and after a while, nobody feels sorry for them. Ask the Japanese, ask the Germans. Fact #2:
Whether we ignore Israel (1946, 1956, 1967), actively back it (1973), or seek to be an honest broker (1982, 2001) means little in an undemocratic Arab world, which will hate us regardless.
Fact #3: When we make nice with Arab terrorists, they think we're weak and kill our people; when we make war on them, they lose badly and cower in their holes. I'd add one another lesson to Hanson's list (actually, it's implicit in his list): history teaches that it's not enough to defeat the Arab states in battle. These failed societies, perversely, feed on shame and grievance. They will not reform themselves. Eventually, they must be destroyed and rebuilt.
TERRORISTS II: Arafat shouldn't be breathing. As the leader of a belligerent power, he's a legitimate military target, period. He says he wants to be a martyr, make him one. The United States and Israel have repeatedly let the man live, and gotten nothing for their restraint except more murder. For a brief history of Arafat's crimes against peace, read this OpinionJournal reprint.
TERRORISTS: I'm getting tired of Mr. Arafat trying to turn himself into either a martyr or a political prisoner. How he and the Arab League can even claim that he does not support terrorism, and keep a straight face, is beyond me. If the Israelis had been smart, they would never let him return from Tunis. Unless you've forgotten, the reason Gaza, the Golan Heights, and the West Bank are controlled by Israel is because they were captured as a result of unprovoked attacks by Arab neighbors. So Prince Abdullah, put that in your Sinai and smoke it! And while we're on the topic, we need to send Mr. Arafat and his cohorts on to The Hague to be tried for war crimes!
DEVELOPMENT? After throwing a bunch of money at yet another automaker, the State of Alabama has been named the site of Hyundai Motor Company's only United States plant. The incentives given by states in the past decade (mainly in the South) has been staggering, but effective. Since 1993, Alabama has attracted Mercedes, Honda, and Ford to build assembly or component plants in the state. Mississippi, after giving nearly $1 billion in incentives (and interpreting eminent domain to mean public benefit rather than public good) became home to a Nissan factory. These packages to lure manufacturers go beyond just having the president of the Chamber of Commerce take someone out for lunch, and instead involve waiving property taxes for decades, and providing major infrastructure improvements. While attracting new industries is important, such tactics seem ill-conceived, especially considering that Mississippi and Alabama are both experiencing major budget shortfalls. While I'm sure you aren't interested in it here, Alabama's woes come from an outdated Constitution conceived during the height of Jim Crow, and a tax structure that favors a non-existent planter class. Alabama has only itself to blame, since it started the whole trend of offering large incentives, when it was courting Mercedes in the early 1990s.
NOT THAT THIS REPUBLICAN CARES (that's "republican," not "Republican," in this instance), but here's a good idea for keeping the British monarchy alive: Queen Elizabeth II should abdicate, become the new Queen Mum, and let Charles learn how to play king before he's too old and daft.

Monday, April 01, 2002

STAR-STRUCK GEEKS: Jay Nordlinger has the perfect metaphor for a major Republican flaw in today's Impromptus:
The administration invited Oprah to Afghanistan, and the Big O stiffed them, of course. Republicans never learn. They’re sort of like the geeks in high school who want to be liked, who want the approval of the cool kids, and always stumble, looking all the more foolish for their efforts. Early on in this administration, the Interior Department asked Robert Redford to participate in some event! And Redford, as any dolt could have foreseen, used the occasion to denounce the department as an Earth-destroying Nazi machine (or something). Woo the Reagan Democrats or the high-techies or the Hispanics or whomever — but not the entertainment world, please.
Some people will never like you. Even kids, especially kids, know that.
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