Saturday, September 30, 2006

A further [short] word on "torture"

When considering this question, please don't forget that al-Qaeda training and manuals instruct their fighters to claim torture no matter the circumstances of their treatment.

Gee, you don't suppose that the terrorists know that our media (and groups such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Red Cross) would lap up such reports with a spoon, do you? Nah. Couldn't be.

Are you kidding me? Pt. 2

I got this story from Drudge Report.

Has this guy lost his mind? That's a rhetorical question as clearly the answer is yes.

Fri Sep 29 2006 09:04:05 ET

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore warned hundreds of U.N. diplomats and staff on Thursday evening about the perils of climate change, claiming: Cigarette smoking is a "significant contributor to global warming!"

Gore, who was introduced by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, said the world faces a "full-scale climate emergency that threatens the future of civilization on earth."

Gore showed computer-generated projections of ocean water rushing in to submerge the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City, parts of China, India and other nations, should ice shelves in Antarctica or Greenland melt and slip into the sea.

"The planet itself will do nicely, thank you very much what is at risk is human civilization," Gore said. After a series of Q& A with the audience, which had little to do with global warming and more about his political future, Annan bid "adios" to Gore.

Then, Gore had his staff opened a stack of cardboard boxes to begin selling his new book, "An Inconvenient Truth, The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It," $19.95, to the U.N. diplomats. [now that's classy]

Thursday, September 28, 2006

There's a word I'm looking for

There's a word to describe the behavior of the presiding officials of Berlin's Deutsche Oper. What is it? It's right on the tip of my tongue.

It'''s....oh, that's right. It's PANDERING!!

Here's an excerpt (since the Washington Times website requires a login):

Europe found itself embroiled in yet another raging debate over faith and free speech yesterday as German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against "self-censorship" following the cancellation this week of a Mozart opera in Berlin that producers feared might offend Muslims.

Mrs. Merkel, an avid opera-goer, joined in the near-universal condemnation of Monday's decision by the Deutsche Oper, one of Berlin's three main opera houses, to cancel a planned revival of Mozart's classic 1781 work "Idomeneo" because the production inserts a scene that displays the severed head of the prophet Muhammad.

Opera officials, citing warnings from German security officials, called off the production for fear it would incite violence among the country's 3.2 million Muslims.

This is just growing to sickening proportions. It's one thing for Muslims to impose limits on free speech in their own countries. But for European countries to be cowed into self-censorship is moral cowardice.

And, Muslims should learn that they don't have a right to not be offended when they freely emigrate to liberal Western societies. Quite the opposite. They have a responsibility, a duty, an obligation to respect the values of their host countries. Else they are free to go back to their native countries.

P.S. This is worse than I thought. According to Wikipedia, "The "Idomeneo" production, directed by Hans Neuenfels, shows King Idomeneo staggering on stage carrying the decapitated heads of Neptune, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad."

So, it's not as if Muhammad is being singled out or Muslims deliberately provoked. And, notice that the opera company didn't cancel the production because they were worried about offending Buddhists or Christians (who happen to comprise a majority in Germany). Like I said, sickening!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on Hamdam and the Scumbags

My friend Bill Carroll sent me a link to a really good article at The American Thinker about Bill Clinton's temper tantrum on Fox News last weekend. It was a good article but I won't dignify Bubba's outburst by wasting any pixels on it.

Instead, I'd like to point out this excellent article entitled "Rendering the Hamdam v. Rumsfeld Decision" that I found there after reading the one about Clinton

The article is written by Air Force LTC Joseph Myers. In it Myers convincingly rebuts the Supreme Court's logic behind their decision to offer Geneva Convention Article III protections to terrorists. Myers does a much better job of dismantling the Supreme Court decision than I ever could.

One point that Myers does drive home very well is the ludicrousness of one side offering Geneva protections while leaving the other side free to commit any and all atrocities. He reminds us that the Geneva Conventions are an agreement between two or more sides. Not only are the jihadists not a party to these conventions, even if they were, they likely would not abide by them (in the same way that another signatory - Vietnam - didn't.)

I encourage you to read it.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saw this one coming

The former governor of New Jersey, Jim McGreevey, has been in the headlines recently. You may recall that McGreevey resigned two years ago amidst revelations that he had been having a homosexual affair. Not only had he been having an affair, but he named one of his lovers to be New Jersey's homeland security czar. Wait. It gets better. Not only was his lover not qualified (he was a poet - that's right, a poet), he wasn't even an American citizen (he was Israeli).

His coming out/resignation press conference was a retch-inducing sight. McGreevey introduced himself as a "gay American". How like a politician to wrap himself in the mantle of the flag for the purposes of salvaging his career!

Now begins the rehabilitation of Jim McGreevey. McGreevey has published a book, "The Confession", and has begun the obligatory talk show whistle stop tour: Larry King, the "Today" show, Oprah Winfrey, etc., where he will be tossed the obligatory softballs.

I watched some of the interview with Matt Lauer of the "Today" show. Instead of asking, how could you put your sex life ahead of your marriage and your solemn duty to defend and protect New Jersey, Lauer began by asking, "What was going through your mind [during the August 2004 press conference]?"

Wow! Talk about hard-hitting journalism! Even worse McGreevey had the gall to reply that it was a "moment of grace". He told a heartwarming story about reading some prayer cards that his grandmother had given his mother and that his mother had given him.

You know, the questions that the "reporters" ask and the answers that the interviewees give are soooo boilerplate that it's a wonder that they even go through the motions. After telling this jaw dropping story about praying, McGreevey said that after reading the prayer he blessed himself and then recited the gay mantra to himself: "This is who I am", as if being true to yourself somehow trumps sacred vows to one's spouse, children and solemn vows to uphold one's elected office. He talks about his public persona being "inauthentic".

What's most sickening is that McGreevey appears to blame his parents and society for his double-life (which included such risky behavior as having anonymous sex with men at highway rest stops). He says that other "cultural minorities" have role models to pass down traditions and stories but he didn't because his parents had the nerve to be straight. To me, this self-serving drivel is just breath-taking.

And, the really sad thing is that in this day and age, for most of society, this selfishness does trump everything. To me that was one of the worst aspects of the Gene Robinson story: his utter selfishness.

Robinson is the Episcoplian clergyman who was elected that church's first openly gay bishop. Let's review, shall we? Robinson is an Episcopalian priest, husband and father of two. Robinson, however, had no problem tossing aside these vows as he pursued his homosexual lifestyle. He divorced his wife (which I would imagine to be in contravention of Episcopalian doctrine - especially for a member of the clergy) and then proceeded to live his life as an openly gay man.

But, why stop there? In 2003 Robinson was elected bishop of the New Hampshire diocese. So, not content to abdicate, Robinson proceeded to tear apart his church by insisting on being installed as bishop of his diocese. This controversy has caused a schism within the US Episcopalian church and between the US Episcopalian church and Protestan churches worldwide.

In other words, nothing - nothing, not his duties as a priest, a husband or a father, not his sense of loyalty towards his church - trumped his right to live as an openly gay man in direct contravention of his own church's teachings.

I just don't think that I am doing a good job of communicating the staggering selfishness of these little, little men. I hope you get the idea.


In this case, WWDD stands for "What Will Democrats Do"

Finally the Administration has reached a compromise with Senate leaders over the treatment of detainees. During the negotiations, the Senate was represented by Lindsay Graham, John McCain and John Warner.

The deal, according to National Review Online's Byron York, will have Congress define in law what constitutes "grave breaches" of the Geneva Convention. This means that the interrogation of captured terrorists will continue. This was a key point for the Bush administration and a victory for them in the deal. President Bush was emphatic that the interrogation of terrorists not be put at risk. According to the president, information gleaned from captured terrorists has saved lives and he wasn't willing to risk that. The defining of grave breaches will also serve to protect those members of the intelligence community and the military involved in interrogation since it will provide a legal standard - a line they may not cross without being threatened with criminal prosecution.

It also leaves to the administration to set penalties for "non-grave breaches". These will be defined by the administration in a series of Executive Orders which will then become part of the Federal Register, and therefore public information.

The deal also defines how the administration may use "secret evidence" (i.e. classified information). It also limits the access that suspects and their lawyers will have to this information. In other words, the deal acts as a safeguard for our men and women in uniform and for the sources of intelligence and the methods used to collect said intelligence.

During this time, Democrats were content to sit on the sidelines and let the Republican trio do the heavy lifting. Now that a deal has been announced, the Democrats will be under great pressure to try and sabotage it. The New York Times, the ACLU and the left wing blogosphere have all already been highly critical of the deal. That is to be expected.

However, six weeks before the mid-term elections, that would be a huge mistake. Being seen as being solicitous to the likes of Ramzi Bin al-Shibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed at the expense of our military and the security of the country is not going to play well in Peoria.

Devastating Critique of the Arab World by One of Its Own

Thanks again to my friend Nick Keck for passing this along via e-mail. It is the text of a speech given by an Arab gentleman before the advisory board of a large multi-nation corporation. It's a long but very worthwhile read.

"A View from the Eye of the Storm"

Talk delivered by Haim Harari at a meeting of the International Advisory Board of a large multi-national corporation, April, 2004:

"As you know, I usually provide the scientific and technological "entertainment" in our meetings, but, on this occasion, our Chairman suggested that I present my own personal view on events in the part of the world from which I come.

I have never been and I will never be a Government official and I have no privileged information. My perspective is entirely based on what I see, on what I read and on the fact that my family has lived in this region for almost 200 years. You may regard my views as those of the proverbial taxi driver, which you are supposed to question, when you visit a country.

I could have shared with you some fascinating facts and some personal thoughts about the Israeli-Arab conflict. However, I will touch upon it only in passing. I prefer to devote most of my remarks to the broader picture of the region and its place in world events. I refer to the entire area between Pakistan and Morocco, which is predominantly Arab, predominantly Moslem, but includes many non-Arab and also significant non-Moslem minorities.

Why do I put aside Israel and its own immediate neighborhood? Because Israel and any problems related to it, in spite of what you might read or hear in the world media, is not the central issue, and has never been the central issue in the upheaval in the region.

Yes, there is a 100 year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is.

The millions who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel.

The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel.

The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilians in one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel.

Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endanger Saudi Arabia and butcher his own people because of Israel.

Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the 60's because of Israel.

Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of his own citizens in one week in El Hamma in Syria because of Israel.

The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with Israel.

The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do with Israel, and I could go on and on and on.

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel had joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine had existed for 100 years.

The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 millions, larger than the US and almost as large as the EU before its expansion. They have a land area larger than either the US or all of Europe.

These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half of the GDP of California alone.

Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers.

The social status of women is far below what it was in the Western World 150 years ago.

Human rights are below any reasonable standard, in spite of the grotesque fact that Libya was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights commission.

According to a report prepared by a committee of Arab intellectuals and published under the auspices of the U.N., the number of books translated by the entire Arab world is much smaller than what little Greece alone translates.

The total number of scientific publications of 300 million Arabs is less than that of 6 million Israelis.

Birth rates in the region are very high, increasing the poverty, the social gaps and the cultural decline.

And all of this is happening in a region, which only 30 years ago, was believed to be the next wealthy part of the world, and in a Moslem area, which developed, at some point in history, one of the most advanced cultures in the world.

It is fair to say that this creates an unprecedented breeding ground for cruel dictators, terror networks, fanaticism, incitement, suicide murders and general decline. It is also a fact that almost everybody in the region blames this situation on the United States, on Israel, on Western Civilization, on Judaism and Christianity, on anyone and anything, except themselves.

A word about the millions of decent, honest, good people who are either devout Moslems or are not very religious but grew up in Moslem families: They are double victims of an outside world, which now develops Islamophobia, and of their own environment which breaks their heart by being totally dysfunctional.

The problem is that the vast silent majority of these Moslems are not part of the terror and the incitement, but they also do not stand up against it. They become accomplices, by omission, and this applies to political leaders, intellectuals, business people and many others. Many of them can certainly tell right from wrong, but are afraid to express their views.

The events of the last few years have amplified four issues, which have always existed, but have never been as rampant as in the present upheaval in the region. A few more years may pass before everybody acknowledges that it is a World War, but we are already well into it.

These are the four main pillars of the current World Conflict, or perhaps we should already refer to it as "the undeclared World War III":

*1. The first element is the suicide murder.*

Suicide murders are not a new invention but they have been made popular, if I may use this expression, only lately. Even after September 11, it seems that most of the Western World does not yet understand this weapon. It is a very potent psychological weapon. Its real direct impact is relatively minor. The total number of casualties from hundreds of suicide murders within Israel in the last three years is much smaller than those due to car accidents. September 11 was quantitatively much less lethal than many earthquakes More people die from AIDS in one day
in Africa than all the Russians who died in the hands of Chechnya-based Moslem suicide murderers since that conflict started. Saddam killed every month more people than all those who died from suicide murders since the Coalition occupation of Iraq.

So what is all the fuss about suicide killings? It creates headlines. It is spectacular. It is frightening. It is a very cruel death with bodies dismembered and horrible severe lifelong injuries to many of the wounded. It is always shown on television in great detail. One such murder, with the help of hysterical media coverage, can destroy the tourism industry of a country for quite a while, as it did in Bali and in Turkey.

But the real fear comes from the undisputed fact that no defense and no preventive measures can succeed against a determined suicide murderer. This has not yet penetrated the thinking of the Western World. The U.S. and Europe are constantly improving their defense against the last murder, not the next one. We may arrange for the best airport security in the world. But if you want to murder by suicide, you do not have to board a plane in order to explode yourself and kill many people. Who could stop a suicide murder in the midst of the crowded line waiting to be checked by the airport metal detector? How about the lines to the check-in counters in a busy travel period? Put a metal detector in front of every train station in Spain and the terrorists will get the buses. Protect the buses and they will explode in movie theaters, concert halls, supermarkets, shopping malls, schools and hospitals. Put guards in front of every concert hall and there will always be a line of people to be checked by the guards and this line will be the target, not to speak of killing the guards themselves. You can somewhat reduce your vulnerability by preventive and defensive measures and by strict border controls but not eliminate it and definitely not win the war in a defensive way. And it is a war!

What is behind the suicide murders? Money is, money and power and cold-blooded murderous incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself up.

No relative of anyone influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naive children, retarded people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead.

Suicide murders also have nothing to do with poverty and despair.

The poorest region in the world, by far, is Africa. It never happens there. There are numerous desperate people in the world, in different cultures, countries and continents. Desperation does not provide anyone with explosives, reconnaissance and transportation. There was certainly more despair in Saddam's Iraq than in Paul Bremmer's Iraq, and no one exploded himself.

A suicide murder is simply a horrible, vicious weapon of cruel, inhuman, cynical, well-funded terrorists, with no regard to human life, including the life of their fellow countrymen, but with very high regard to their own affluent well-being and their hunger for power.

The only way to fight this new "popular" weapon is identical to the only way in which you fight organized crime or pirates on the high seas: the offensive way.

Like in the case of organized crime, it is crucial that the forces on the offensive be united and it is crucial to reach the top of the crime pyramid. You cannot eliminate organized crime by arresting the little drug dealer on the street corner. You must go after the head of the "Family".

If part of the public supports it, others tolerate it, many are afraid of it and some try to explain it away by poverty or by a miserable childhood, organized crime will thrive and so will terrorism. The United States understands this now, after September 11. Russia is beginning to understand it. Turkey understands it well. I am very much afraid that most of Europe still does not understand it. Unfortunately, it seems that Europe will understand it only after suicide murders arrive in Europe in a big way. In my humble opinion, this will definitely happen. The Spanish trains and the Istanbul bombings are only the beginning. The unity of the Civilized World in fighting this horror is absolutely indispensable. Until Europe wakes up, this unity will not be achieved.

*2. The second ingredient is words, more precisely lies.*

Words can be lethal. They kill people. It is often said that politicians, diplomats and perhaps also lawyers and business people must sometimes lie, as part of their professional life. But the norms of politics and diplomacy are childish, in comparison with the level of incitement and total absolute deliberate fabrications, which have reached new heights in the region we are talking about. An incredible number of people in the Arab world believe that September 11 never happened, or was an American provocation or, even better, a Jewish plot.

You all remember the Iraqi Minister of Information, Mr. Mouhamad Said al-Sahaf and his press conferences when the US forces were already inside Baghdad. Disinformation at time of war is an accepted tactic. But to stand, day after day, and to make such preposterous statements, known to everybody to be lies, without even being ridiculed in your own milieu, can only happen in this region. Mr. Sahaf eventually became a popular icon as a court jester, but this did not stop some allegedly respectable newspapers from giving him equal time. It also does not prevent the Western press from giving credence, every day, even now, to similar liars.

After all, if you want to be an anti-Semite, there are subtle ways of doing it. You do not have to claim that the holocaust never happened, and that the Jewish temple in Jerusalem never existed. But millions of Moslems are told by their leaders that this is the case. When these same leaders make other statements, the Western media report them as if they could be true.

It is a daily occurrence that the same people who finance, arm and dispatch suicide murderers, condemn the act in English in front of western TV cameras, talking to a world audience, which even partly believes them. It is a daily routine to hear the same leader making opposite statements in Arabic to his people and in English to the rest of the world. Incitement by Arab TV, accompanied by horror pictures of mutilated bodies, has become a powerful weapon of those who lie, distort and want to destroy everything.

Little children are raised on deep hatred and on admiration of so-called martyrs, and the Western World does not notice it because its own TV sets are mostly tuned to soap operas and game shows. I recommend to you, even though most of you do not understand Arabic, to watch Al Jazeera, from time to time. You will not believe your own eyes.

But words also work in other ways, more subtle. A demonstration in Berlin, carrying banners supporting Saddam's regime and featuring three-year old babies dressed as suicide murderers, is defined by the press and by political leaders as a "peace demonstration". You may support or oppose the Iraq war, but to refer to fans of Saddam, Arafat or Bin Laden as peace activists is a bit too much. A woman walks into an Israeli restaurant in mid-day, eats, observes families with old people and children eating their lunch in the adjacent tables and pays the bill. She then blows herself up, killing 20 people, including many children, with heads and arms rolling around in the restaurant. She is called "martyr" by several Arab leaders and "activist" by the European press. Dignitaries condemn the act but visit her bereaved family and the money flows.

There is a new game in town: The actual murderer is called "the military wing", the one who pays him, equips him and sends him is now called "the political wing" and the head of the operation is called the "spiritual leader". There are numerous other examples of such Orwellian nomenclature, used every day not only by terror chiefs but also by Western media. These words are much more dangerous than many people realize. They provide an emotional infrastructure for atrocities. It was Joseph Goebbels who said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it. He is now being outperformed by his successors.

*3. The third aspect is money.*

Huge amounts of money, which could have solved many social problems in this dysfunctional part of the world, are channeled into three concentric spheres supporting death and murder.

In the inner circle are the terrorists themselves. The money funds their travel, explosives, hideouts and permanent search for soft vulnerable targets. The inner circles are primarily financed by terrorist states like Iran and Syria, until recently also by Iraq and Libya and earlier also by some of the Communist regimes. These states, as well as the Palestinian Authority, are the safe havens of the wholesale murder vendors.

They are surrounded by a second wider circle of direct supporters, planners, commanders, preachers, all of whom make a living, usually a very comfortable living, by serving as terror infrastructure.

Finally, we find the third circle of so-called religious, educational and welfare organizations, which actually do some good, feed the hungry and provide some schooling, but brainwash a new generation with hatred, lies and ignorance. This circle operates mostly through mosques, madrasas and other religious establishments but also through inciting electronic and printed media. It is this circle that makes sure that women remain inferior, that democracy is unthinkable and that exposure to the outside world is minimal. It is also that circle that leads the way in blaming everybody outside the Moslem world, for the miseries of the region. The outer circle is largely financed by Saudi Arabia, but also by donations from certain Moslem communities in the United States and Europe and, to a smaller extent, by donations of European Governments to various NGO's and by certain United Nations organizations, whose goals may be noble, but they are infested and exploited by agents of the outer circle. The Saudi regime, of course, will be the next victim of major terror, when the inner circle will explode into the outer circle. The Saudis are beginning to understand it, but they fight the inner circles, while still financing the infrastructure at the outer circle.

Figuratively speaking, this outer circle is the guardian, which makes sure that the people look and listen inwards to the inner circle of terror and incitement, rather than to the world outside. Some parts of this same outer circle actually operate as a result of fear from, or blackmail by, the inner circles. The horrifying added factor is the high birth rate. Half of the population of the Arab world is under the age of 20, the most receptive age to incitement, guaranteeing two more generations of blind hatred.

Some of the leaders of these various circles live very comfortably on their loot. You meet their children in the best private schools in Europe, not in the training camps of suicide murderers. The Jihad "soldiers" join packaged death tours to Iraq and other hotspots, while some of their leaders ski in Switzerland. Mrs. Arafat, who lives in Paris with her daughter, receives tens of thousands of dollars per month from the allegedly bankrupt Palestinian Authority, while a typical local ringleader of the Al-Aksa brigade, reporting to Arafat, receives only a cash payment of a couple of hundred dollars, for performing murders at the retail level.

*4. The fourth element of the current world conflict is the total breaking of all laws.*

The civilized world believes in democracy, the rule of law, including international law, human rights, free speech and free press, among other liberties. There are naive old-fashioned habits such as respecting religious sites and symbols, not using ambulances and hospitals for acts of war, avoiding the mutilation of dead bodies and not using children as human shields or human bombs. Never in history, not even in the Nazi period, was there such total disregard of all of the above as we observe now. Every student of political science debates how you prevent an anti-democratic force from winning a democratic election and abolishing democracy. Other aspects of a civilized society must also have limitations. Can a policeman open fire on someone trying to kill him? Can a government listen to phone conversations of terrorists and drug dealers? Does free speech protect you when you shout "fire" in a crowded theater? Should there be death penalty, for deliberate multiple murders? These are the old-fashioned dilemmas. But now we have an entire new set.

Do you raid a mosque, which serves as a terrorist ammunition storage? Do you return fire, if you are attacked from a hospital? Do you storm a church taken over by terrorists who took the priests hostages? Do you search every ambulance after a few suicide murderers use ambulances to reach their targets? Do you strip every woman because one pretended to be pregnant and carried a suicide bomb on her belly? Do you shoot back at someone trying to kill you, standing deliberately behind a group of children? Do you raid terrorist headquarters, hidden in a mental hospital? Do you shoot an arch-murderer who deliberately moves from one location to another, always surrounded by children? All of these happen daily in Iraq and in the Palestinian areas. What do you do? Well, you do not want to face the dilemma. But it cannot be avoided.

Suppose, for the sake of discussion, that someone would openly stay in a well-known address in Teheran, hosted by the Iranian Government and financed by it, executing one atrocity after another in Spain or in France, killing hundreds of innocent people, accepting responsibility for the crimes, promising in public TV interviews to do more of the same, while the Government of Iran issues public condemnations of his acts but continues to host him, invite him to official functions and treat him as a great dignitary. I leave it to you as homework to figure out what Spain or France would have done, in such a situation.

The problem is that the civilized world is still having illusions about the rule of law in a totally lawless environment. It is trying to play ice hockey by sending a ballerina ice-skater into the ring or to knock out a heavyweight boxer by a chess player. In the same way that no country has a law against cannibals eating its prime minister, because such an act is unthinkable, international law does not address killers shooting from hospitals, mosques and ambulances, while being protected by their Government or society. International law does not know how to handle someone who sends children to throw stones, stands behind them and shoots with immunity and cannot be arrested because he is sheltered by a Government. International law does not know how to deal with a leader of murderers who is royally and comfortably hosted by a country, which pretends to condemn his acts or just claims to be too weak to arrest him.

The amazing thing is that all of these crooks demand protection under international law, and define all those who attack them as "war criminals," with some Western media repeating the allegations.

The good news is that all of this is temporary, because the evolution of international law has always adapted itself to reality. The punishment for suicide murder should be death or arrest before the murder, not during and not after. After every world war, the rules of international law have changed, and the same will happen after the present one. But during the twilight zone, a lot of harm can be done.

The picture I described here is not pretty. What can we do about it? In the short run, only fight and win. In the long run, only educate the next generation and open it to the world. The inner circles can and must be destroyed by force.

The outer circle cannot be eliminated by force. Here we need financial starvation of the organizing elite, more power to women, more education, counter-propaganda, boycott whenever feasible and access to Western media, internet and the international scene. Above all, we need a total absolute unity and determination of the civilized world against all three circles of evil. Allow me, for a moment, to depart from my alleged role as a taxi driver and return to science. When you have a malignant tumor, you may remove the tumor itself surgically. You may also starve it by preventing new blood from reaching it from other parts of the body, thereby preventing new "supplies" from expanding the tumor. If you want to be sure, it is best to do both.

But before you fight and win, by force or otherwise, you have to realize that you are in a war, and this may take Europe a few more years. In order to win, it is necessary to first eliminate the terrorist regimes, so that no Government in the world will serve as a safe haven for these people.

I do not want to comment here on whether the American-led attack on Iraq was justified from the point of view of weapons of mass destruction or any other pre-war argument, but I can look at the post-war map of Western Asia. Now that Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are out, two and a half terrorist states remain: Iran, Syria and Lebanon, the latter being a Syrian colony. Perhaps Sudan should be added to the list. As a result of the conquest of Afghanistan and Iraq, both Iran and Syria are now totally surrounded by territories unfriendly to them. Iran is encircled by Afghanistan, by the Gulf States, Iraq and the Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union. Syria is surrounded by Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Israel. This is a significant strategic change and it applies strong pressure on the terrorist countries. It is not surprising that Iran is so active in trying to incite a Shiite uprising in Iraq. I do not know if the American plan was actually to encircle both Iran and Syria, but that is the resulting situation.

In my humble opinion, the number one danger to the world today is Iran and its regime. It definitely has ambitions to rule vast areas and to expand in all directions. It has an ideology which claims supremacy over Western culture. It is ruthless. It has proven that it can execute elaborate terrorist acts without leaving too many traces, using Iranian Embassies. It is clearly trying to develop nuclear weapons. Its so-called moderates and conservatives play their own virtuoso version of the "good-cop versus bad-cop" game. Iran sponsors Syrian terrorism, it is certainly behind much of the action in Iraq, it is fully funding the Hezbollah and, through it, the Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad; it performed acts of terror at least in Europe and in South America and probably also in Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia and it truly leads a multi-national terror consortium, which includes, as minor players, Syria, Lebanon and certain Shiite elements in Iraq. Nevertheless, most European countries still trade with Iran, try to appease it and refuse to read the clear signals.

In order to win the war it is also necessary to dry the financial resources of the terror conglomerate. It is pointless to try to understand the subtle differences between the Sunni terror of Al Qaeda and Hamas and the Shiite terror of Hezbollah, Sadr and other Iranian-inspired enterprises. When it serves their business needs, all of them collaborate beautifully.

It is crucial to stop Saudi and other financial support of the outer circle, which is the fertile breeding ground of terror. It is important to monitor all donations from the Western World to Islamic organizations, to monitor the finances of international relief organizations and to react with forceful economic measures to any small sign of financial aid to any of the three circles of terrorism.

It is also important to act decisively against the campaign of lies and fabrications and to monitor those Western media who collaborate with it out of naivety, financial interests or ignorance.

Above all, never surrender to terror. No one will ever know whether the recent elections in Spain would have yielded a different result, if not for the train bombings a few days earlier. But it really does not matter. What matters is that the terrorists believe that they caused the result and that they won by driving Spain out of Iraq. The Spanish story will surely end up being extremely costly to other European countries, including France, who is now expelling inciting preachers and forbidding veils and including others who sent troops to Iraq. In the long run,
Spain itself will pay even more.

Is the solution a democratic Arab world?

If by democracy we mean free elections but also free press, free speech, a functioning judicial system, civil liberties, equality to women, free international travel, exposure to international media and ideas, laws against racial incitement and against defamation, and avoidance of lawless behavior regarding hospitals, places of worship and children, then yes, democracy is the solution.

If democracy is just free elections, it is likely that the most fanatic regime will be elected, the one whose incitement and fabrications are the most inflammatory. We have seen it already in Algeria and, to a certain extent, in Turkey. It will happen again, if the ground is not prepared very carefully. On the other hand, a certain transition democracy, as in Jordan, may be a better temporary solution, paving the way for the real thing, perhaps in the same way that an immediate sudden democracy did not work in Russia and would not have worked in China.

I have no doubt that the civilized world will prevail. But the longer it takes us to understand the new landscape of this war, the more costly and painful the victory will be. Europe, more than any other region, is the key. Its understandable recoil from wars, following the horrors of World War II, may cost thousands of additional innocent lives, before the tide will turn."

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Even though "Loony Left" is more alliterative...

...the Right certainly has their share of whackos, too. Check out this article from the Nashua Telegraph in New Hampshire.

Ms. Maxwell is wrong about President Bush lacking the legal authority to order an attack on Iran or Syria. He most certainly can under the War Powers Resolution of 1973. According to Wikipedia:

...the War Powers Resolution require the President to consult with Congress prior to the start of any hostilities as well as regularly until U.S. armed forces are no longer engaged in hostilities (Sec. 3); and to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities if Congress has not declared war or passed a resolution authorizing the use of force within 60 days.

That much is clear. What's really hysterical is this phrase:

...and that radioactive fallout from the use of nuclear weapons in any such attack would endanger people around the world, including herself.

I have not read any suggestion, anywhere (and I tend to follow these things pretty closely), that the United States is considering using nuclear weapons against either Iran or Syria.

What's really sad is that woman's vote is worth the same as mine.

Master of caving

I know that most people will think that I am a knee-jerk supporter of George Bush. That's not really the case. I am really becoming more and more disappointed with him. In fact, I am coming to realize that Bush's two terms will come to resemble Bill Clinton's in the sense that both of their administrations will come to be characterized as "What Might Have Been" presidencies.

First, let me address the elephant in the room. I support the war in Iraq. I don't think America should ever apologize for ousting a murderous dictator. Kim Jong-Il, Bashar al-Assad, and Mahmoud Ahmedinejad should all be on the list. North Korea is an affront to civilization. Have there been mistakes in Iraq? Absolutely. But, say what you will, we are trying to give the Iraqis a chance to have a better future. Are murderous Islamist douchebags trying to block that path? Yes. They are. But at least Iraqis will have a chance which is more than can be said for the people of Syria or Iran or Saudi Arabia or numerous other Muslim-majority countries.

My problem with Bush is that he seems obsessed with winning over unwinnable critics of his policies. Many of the people on the opposite side of the aisle will never give him credit for anything. Let's look at a few examples, and look at how Bush was cowed into giving up many of the key reforms he was looking for while getting nothing in the way of concessions.

Take the No Child Left Behind Act. This was legislation that Democrites had been clamoring for for years. Federal control of education is something that Democrites have wanted for a long time. What Bush wanted in return was some sort of school choice program (i.e. vouchers) so that parents whose children were trapped in failing school districts could opt out. But, Teddy Kennedy and the Democrites wouldn't hear of it. So, instead we got an extra layer of bureaucracy in a cabinet department whose very existence used to be questioned by Republicans. Remember when some Republican figures used to talk of eliminating the Department of Education? When was the last time you heard anyone mention that?

How about the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit? This piece of legislation is the largest entitlement program enacted since the creation of Medicare, during a time when we can least afford it. What Bush wanted was some form of means-testing. What he got was scathing criticism about how the Republicans were a bunch of meanies who wanted to make seniors choose between eating and their medicine. So, means testing went out the window.

Social Security reform was an issue that seemed to be gathering steam. Bush wanted to enact some measure of privatization. He seemed open to other compromises so at to not disadvantage those already in the system. And none of the proposed privatization schemes would have forced anyone to participate. All he wanted was to lessen the burden of an unsustainable government entitlement program and allow younger workers to take advantage of the market system. Instead he got shouted down by the Democrites and the likes of Paul Krugman. When was the last time you heard anyone talk about Social Security reform? Meanwhile, the federal goverment keeps bleeding my paycheck to support this pyramid scheme.

What about the treatment of illegal combatants? I don't think anyone can really argue that terrorists are entitled to Geneva Conventions protections. You can argue that morality or pragmatism dictates that we should grant them those protections, but it is very clear that these prisoners are not entitled to them.

The Bush administration enunciated this for a time. But as has so often been the case, eventually Bush caved and decided that it would grant terrorist scumbags that kill women and children the same protections as soldiers.

This is most infuriating on so many levels. I, for one, believe that the civilized societies of this world need to send a message that some behaviors - targeting civilians, torturing and beheading uniformed combatants among them - are beyond the pale. We need to send the message that by engaging in those behaviors, you forfeit the right to any and all protections. Does there need to be a mechanism whereby we can determine that individuals have engaged in these behaviors? Absolutely. And there is. The Bush administration has set up tribunals that review the status of detainees and determines whether or not they should continue to be detained or be released. These tribunals offer some - but not all - of the due process protections that a soldier or a citizen accused of a crime would be entitled to, and I'm fine with that. The idea that we should extend the same protections as our citizens and soldiers are entitled to is ludicrous. It's also insulting to our men and women in uniform.

Colin Powell argued that the measure was necessary because without it our soldiers' lives would be endangered. Powell's heritage is Jamaican which makes me wonder if he's been smoking ganja. Does he think that our soldiers' lives aren't in danger now? Does he think that Pvts. Menchaca and Tucker wouldn't have been tortured and gruesomely killed if we had only just granted these terrorist thugs at Guantanamo Geneva Convention protections?

I became a conservative because I studied the Soviet Union in college. I quickly decided that the Democrites approach to Cold War relations was deeply flawed. The Lefties seemed to want to conduct relations with the Soviet Union as if it were a state that could be trusted to abide by its agreements. To my 19 year-old eyes, this was suicidally naive. I agreed with President Reagan's assessment: namely that the Soviet Union was an Evil Empire.

I see a lot of similarities between the Democrites approach to the War on Terror and their approach to the Cold War. The difference? Ronald Reagan had the courage to stand up for his convictions. We were God blessed to have him. We could use someone cut from the same cloth now.

The thin skins of Muslims

How is it that everyone is free to criticize Christianity's history, but talking about Islam's bloody past (to say nothing of its bloody present) is somehow taboo?

This is what I call the "running up the score" phenomenon. We, in the West, are way ahead in the game. We are wealthier. We live longer. We have more access to goods and services that improve the quality of life. Therefore, it doesn't really harm us to have Christianity's past (the operative word being past) sins brought up. The Inquisition? Okay. It was bad, but that was six hundred years ago. It's a garbage touchdown late in the fourth quarter when their team is already down 56-0.

Conversely, any perceived criticism of Islam's [much bloodier] past is adding another touchdown and humiliating the losing team. It's why anyone is free to insult or slander Christianity, yet Islam must be handled with kid gloves. Does anyone remember last year's brouhaha over the cartoons of Mohammed? Yet, Madonna is free to don a crown of thorns and pose on a cross in her latest concert tour.

Of course, the Western media are accomplices in this. If they didn't report so eagerly (and slyly join in) the charges leveled by the Islamo-fascists, those who would take us back to the ninth century would have no forum to vent their unjustified spleen. They would then quicky realize that such tactics as inventing slights to their dignity gain them nothing.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Yet another reason to keep your kids as far from public schools as possible has this story about a first grader suspended for 10 days for bringing a two-inch water pistol to school.

Exhibit number 1,284,947 that the world is, in fact, going to hell in a handbasket.

The Masters of the Double Standard

As ludicrous as it may sound, there have been several calls for Pope Benedict XVI to convert to Islam. The latest comes from Muammar Gaddafi's son, Mohammed:

If this person were really someone reasonable, he would not agree to remain at his post one minute, but would convert to Islam immediately.

Others calling for the Pope to convert to Islam include imams in Gaza, the West Bank and Pakistan.

Ok, so then by that logic all the Muslim clerics that have made disparaging and slanderous remarks about Jews should be donning yamulkes any minute now, right? Right?

Yeah, I'm holding my breath, too.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Of all the people...

...that should get it, John McCain most patently does not.

McCain was tortured, severely, by the North Vietnamese during his years in captivity in the Hanoi Hilton. And yet McCain is doing more than just about any other figure in U.S. government to warp the definition of torture and hamper our intelligence community and military's ability to obtain useful information from terrorists captured on the battlefield.

Set aside for a moment the fundamental issue that un-uniformed terrorists who do not fight for a nation are not entitled to Geneva Convention protections. McCain's behavior just doesn't make any sense to me. He should be leading the effort to differentiate between aggresive interrogation and torture.

Is it just posturing for a presidential run? Or like former Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, is it that the formative experience of his life has clouded his ability to think rationally on questions both directly and peripherally related to this issue?

You may recall that, as a child, Norman Mineta, an American of Japanese descent, was interned along with his family during WWII. I, for one, believe that this forever impaired his ability to think sensibly about matters in which race was a factor - most notably his resistance to the idea of profiling vis-a-vis airline security.

I think McCain is suffering from the same impairment. Surely a man who can no longer raise his arms above shoulder level should be able to recognize that allowing a dog to bark at a terrorist detainee is not torture!

Are you kidding me?

I was catching up on my DC Confidential newsletter from Chuck Muth. The one that I was reading contains a press release from the Letter Carriers' Union (a.k.a. postmen). How's this for chutzpah? The president of the union, one William H. Young, is claiming that postal workers are somehow a line of defense in the war on terror.

As columnist and humorist Dave Barry often writes: I am not making this up. Check out this excerpt from the press release:

The threat to the quality and security of the mail posed by low-wage contract workers cannot be overstated," Young said. "In the midst of a global war on terror, now is not the time to open a hole in the nation's defenses by giving unscreened, contingent workers access to the mail stream.

Young recalled the anthrax attacks on the United States in 2001 and the trust that both mailers and the American people had in highly skilled letter carriers during that critical period. [emphasis added]

Excuse me, but walking a route and putting the mail for 123 Main Street in the box in front of 123 Main Street doesn't strike me as requiring much skill.

Frankly, I think we should abolish the post office and let FedEx and UPS have a crack at delivering first class mail. I would bet you any amount of money you care to name that they could do it cheaper and faster.

Monday, September 18, 2006

If you want to know why most Americans do not trust Democrats to run the War on Terror...

... or much else in this country, check out this quote:

"Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America where we have separation of church and state."

- Rosie O'Donnell, ABC's The View, 9/13/06

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Check out this video (complete with translation by Middle East Media Research Institute). Ponder the concept of Islam as a "religion of peace" as you listen to this sermon by an Imam in the West Bank.

Thanks to my friend Nick Keck for sending me this link.

Enough already!

When are we in the West going to stop being held hostage to the "hurt feelings" of Muslims? And when are we going to start to attack back by pointing out the obvious irony in their response to such perceived slights?

I refer to the uproar over remarks by Pope Benedict XVI at an address he made at the University of Regensburg. In the speech made by the Pope at an academic conference he referred to the writings of the 14th-century Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaeologus. Palaeologus wrote "that prophet Mohammed was evil 'such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.'" (Also, a small technicality: a Byzantine emperor is not a Roman Catholic.)

So Muslims all over the world marched and protested. Seven churches in the West Bank have been attacked over a three day period. An Italian nun was murdered in Somalia by Muslims in what has been suggested as an attack that could have been sparked by the Pope's remarks.

Does anyone else see the irony here? When are we going to stop putting up with it?