Max Boot on what it means to be a Neocon. This is part of what the WSJ has been calling an "occasional series" on Conservatism. You can find links to the rest of the series at the bottom of the page. I would highly recommend the pieces by Fukuyama and Scruton, if you're looking to read on.
David Warren remarks on how uneventful the past year has been, and while much happened behind the scenes, most of it passed under the major media’s radar.
The lawsuits that have been popping up recently against fast food companies have been an obvious attempt to follow the path laid down in the last decade’s crusade against the cigarette companies. Most people haven’t taken them very seriously, because, after all, what have the food companies done that was so scandalous? The cigarette people were supposed to have knowingly sold a dangerous product while making it as addictive as they possibly could, right? But food companies? Laughable.

Well here it comes. Shannon Brownlee, in The Washington Post, writes the first (that I’ve seen) of what is sure to be many arguments that attempt to give some intellectual covering fire to the plaintiff’s attorneys. She argues that the food companies have in fact been guilty of cynically manipulating the average American into becoming a porker. The food companies are perpetrating this nefarious plot by, get this,…selling food cheaply. Those sneaky bastards!


As the McCain-Fiengold restrictions on political speech go before the Supreme Court this year, George Will wants you to remember that the influence of money in politics is not as great as some would have you believe.
I know many of you have already seen this, but I need to point it out to those of you who haven't, Read this wonderful essay by Bill Whittle on the word "Empire," and what it means when it is referring to the U.S. Bill is the author of "Guns and Freedom" which I linked to a little while back. He now has his own blog, called Eject! Eject! Eject!, which I hope means we will be hearing from him often.
David Warren writes a summary of the Korean situation that paints a pretty scary picture. The Koreans are acting very feisty, says Warren, and though we'd like to let some other countries in the region handle this one, it's turning out that Russia, China, and Pakistan aren't really "with us" in the "with us, or against us" sense.


David Mamet is visiting Israel and he remarks on the difference between The Real, and the Imaginary, Jew.

Here, in Israel, are actual Jews, fighting for their country, against both terror and misthought public opinion, as well as disgracefully biased and, indeed, fraudulent reporting. Here are people courageously going about their lives, in that which, sad to say, were it not a Jewish state, would, in its steadfastness, in its reserve, in its courage, rightly be the pride of the Western world. This Western world is, I think, deeply confused between the real and the imaginary. All of us moviegoers, who awarded ourselves the mantle of humanity for our tears at "The Diary of Anne Frank" — we owe a debt to the Jews. We do not owe this debt out of any "Unwritten Ordinance of Humanitarianism" but from a personal accountability. Having eaten the dessert, cheap sentiment, it is time to eat the broccoli. If you love the Jews as victims, but detest our right to statehood, might you not ask yourself "why?" That is your debt to the Jews. Here is your debt to the Jewish state. Had Israel not in 1981 bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor, some scant weeks away from production of nuclear bomb material, all New York (God forbid) might have been Ground Zero.

Mamet Is a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.
Victor Davis Hanson on the aftershocks of an Iraqi war, and what they will mean for the world. Don't miss this one.
William E. Grim is an American living in Germany and he recently attended a screening in Munich of Roman Polanski's new film, The Pianist. This film is based on the true story of the Polish Jewish piano virtuoso Wladyslaw Szpilman, who survived the entire Nazi occupation of Warsaw hiding in the ghetto and at times being hidden right under the noses of the Nazis in safe houses maintained by the Polish Resistance. Grim says that no matter what they say, the Germans haven't changed.

I have to admit that it is a strange experience to watch a Holocaust film in Germany. It's even stranger when you're the only American in the midst of about 200 Germans. But perhaps the strangest thing of all is to watch the reactions of the Germans as the events of the movie unfold. You hear a lot about how Germans are so ashamed today of the behavior of their countrymen during the Nazi period and about how much they've done to atone for their past sins. Don't buy that bill of goods.

If the audience of the screening I attended is any indication of German attitudes in general, it doesn't augur well for the future. Remember, this wasn't an audience composed of skinheads from the neo-Nazi enclaves in Karlsruhe and the former DDR. This was a group of Germany's best and brightest: educated, middle-class, sophisticated denizens of a major cosmopolitan city.

One scene in particular is seared into my consciousness. It happens about halfway into the film. The Jews of Warsaw have been herded into the ghetto. A street used by the Germans bisects the ghetto. While a group of Jews is waiting to cross to the other side of the street, several Nazi thugs force some elderly Jews to dance at an increasingly faster tempo. Weakened by malnutrition, hobbling on crutches, riddled with heart and lung infirmities, many of the Jews fall to the ground in sheer agony. It's a sickening scene. It's the kind of scene that makes you ashamed that your last name is Grim. Hell, it's the kind of scene that makes you ashamed that you listen to Beethoven. If an American soldier had done the same to a German or Japanese POW he would have been thrown into the brig for life or cashiered out of the service on a Section 8. But there they were, today's educated, freedom-loving, let's-all-hold-hands-and-love-one-another Germans, laughing at torture.

If there is a more sickening spectacle than Germans finding humor in what their fathers and grandfathers did to the Jews, if there is a more perfect example of the utter lack if humanity at the core of the German nation, I am unaware of it.

There is something terribly wrong with Germany and the German Volk. The German soul is a deep abyss, a fetid, stinking morass that befouls the community of nations. But wait, there's more.

Another scene from the movie that stands out is when an SS guard announces to a half-starving Jewish work detail that they will be receiving an additional portion of bread with their rations, one that they can sell to other Jews, because "everybody knows how clever the Jews are at selling things." This time the audience fairly rolled with laughter.

I was tempted to call in an air strike on the theater, or at the very least to slap a couple of hundred Germans, but I managed to hold my fire knowing that ultimately any World War II movie ends badly for the Germans. Normally I don't talk back to the screen at the movies, but I do have to admit that I did yell out "USA" and pumped my fist in the air when the Szpilman family listened to the announcement on the radio that the United States had declared war on Germany. And I also do have to admit that it felt mighty fine to yell out "Shoot those damn Nazis!" when the film showed the Jews starting to fight back during the Warsaw Uprising. <
It's funny how quiet the theater became when near the film's end a group of SS goons were shown in a holding camp awaiting transportation to a deserved harsh fate in the Russian gulag. And then it became clear as a bell. German shame for World War II does not result from a moral awareness of the innumerable crimes and atrocities committed by the Germans. No, the Germans are ashamed because they got their rear ends handed back to them by a bunch of Yanks, Russkies and Brits who they considered - and still consider - to be members of inferior races.

Grim wrote another piece worth reading a while back called Hitler's Children.
(found at la prensa amarilla, where I'm sure I'd find lots of great stuff, if only I could read Spanish)
Peter A. Brown says it's time for a divorce in the Saudi-U.S. relationship, but that doesn't mean we can't remain friends, at least for a little while. A pretty good analysis.
Reuel Marc Gerecht writes that The President's policies aren't living up to his rhetoric when it comes to pushing Democracy in the Middle East. Rhetoric isn't a small thing though, and it's certainly a start.
January's Smarter Harper's Index is up! Don't miss it.


Read this fascinating Conversation on the Beach, between a holocaust survivor and a young Arab student. It's an absolutely fascinating and scary look into the mind of a young radical Arab. What is also worth noting is that he's a student at an Israeli university. That is truly stunning.
Women don't have a lot of power in Islamic societies, but here are some Muslim women that are trying to take the political situation in Sudan into their own hands, using the one weapon they still have.
(via NoLeftTurns)
Rowan Scarborough introduces many of the new weapons that the U.S. will have at their disposal, for the coming war with Iraq. According to Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, our military is "ten times as powerful" as we were the last time around.


Elie Wiesel says that war is the only option for Iraq:

I find war repugnant. All wars. I know war's monstrous aspects: blood and corpses everywhere, hungry refugees, devastated cities, orphans in tears and houses in ruins. I find no beauty in it. But it is with a heavy heart I ask this: what is to be done? Do we have the right not to intervene, when we know what passivity and appeasement will make possible?

Is President Bush's policy of intervention the best response to an imperative need? Yes, it is said, and I am reluctant to say anything else.

Elie knows as well as anyone what passivity and appeasement can make possible. Saddam is no Hitler, but he'd like to be, and it seems like it's up to us to make sure he never is. So be it.


Just another note on the Iranian radio post: One thing I failed to mention in my last post, is that according to Kenneth Tomlinson, chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors (which overseas U.S. government foreign broadcasts), in the switch from 11 hours, to around the clock programming, total news and current affairs programming at the station would rise. If true, there is almost no way to see this as anything but a positive move. That said, what is inexcusable, is that according to Diehl, the station was off the air for two weeks during the transition. This is a crucial time in Iran, and not the time for something billed as the "Voice of America" to be silent.
Can all this possibly be true? If even some of it is, our government has much to answer for. A friend of mine has recommended Rigler's writing to me before, and this article has some good sources. It involves Jonathan Pollard, Aldrich Ames, and their connection to Iraq.
(via IsraPundit)


David Adesnik (Oxblog) takes issue with the President's Statement to the Iranian People that I linked to yesterday. Adesnik thinks the President is just giving cover to Voice of America (in Iran), who have been criticized for their switch from an all news and politics format, to a music mix, with news and politics taking a lesser role. He has some company. Jesse Helms, Jackson Diehl, and the NY Times also think the move is a mistake. I think David, and the others, are missing the point, this change anything but "the Bush administration's inability to think in grand strategic terms." It precisely the opposite.

I have two words for the critics: Radio Sawa.

Radio Sawa went online with a mix of English and Arabic pop tunes with some news and politics just eight months ago, and replaced VOA Arabic in most of the Middle East. Within three months, it was the number one station in eight Arab capitals, reaching ten times the number of people Voice of America Arabic reached in 50 years. It is now a tremendous tool for spreading the American viewpoint throughout the Arab world.

What the VOA is doing in Iran is copying a program that has been proven to work. They are trading a station that has a boring format of all-news-and-politics, for something that will have a little less politics, but will have the opportunity to reach a far wider audience. The people dying for an American voice on the news and the political situation will still get it, while many others, uninterested or even opposed to our ideals, will now be exposed to them anyway. If they can halve their news coverage and double their audience, that would be a great trade, and that's what they're trying to do. If Radio Sawa is any indication, they'll do a lot better than that. If anything, it's evidence that Bush is taking Iran more, not less, seriously.

The U.S. ambassador to London recently hosted an "iftar dinner." On the guest list? Hamas representative Azzam Tamimi.

Dr Tamimi said he regarded the reception last month as a valuable contacts-building exercise with US diplomatic staff. "America is not George Bush. America is not Dick Cheney. It is a continent of 260 million who come from various parts of the world, including Arab countries," he said. It was important to exchange views because of the "huge ocean of misunderstanding, suspicion and fear that exists between America and Muslims", Dr Tamimi added.

It is extremely interesting that our State Department is running around giving extremist Muslims the idea that they need not be concerned about the policies of the administration.
(via Martin Kramer who has some interesting commentary)
George Will alerts us to a small victory for common sense in the dense thicket of inside Washington budget squabbles that could, if Bush and his team have their way, mean a major shift in the way our government does business.
Time magazine has named Bush & Cheney, “Partnership of the Year,” and Nancy Gibbs has written a really interesting look into their relationship.
Aram Roston has compiled a nifty who’s who in the Saudi royal family. It isn’t easy to keep the names straight, but I was surprised reading the article how much I already knew.


President Bush continues to say all the right things about Iran, and this time he said them directly to the Iranian people. If only his State Department played along, some things might get done.
(via Instapundit)
Vernon Loeb writes of the rise of our air power, and the unheralded engineers and airmen that helped bring America to the pinnacle of modern military power. Don't miss the description of the " Sensor Fuzed Weapon," and the " Low Cost Autonomous Attack System." Absolutely fascinating.
I have never been a huge fan of Fouad Ajami's, but this piece goes a long way toward changing my mind. He argues that we must bring modernity to the Arab world at the point of a gun. And while we won't be welcomed, we should not be deterred.

There should be no illusions about the sort of Arab landscape that America is destined to find if, or when, it embarks on a war against the Iraqi regime. There would be no "hearts and minds" to be won in the Arab world, no public diplomacy that would convince the overwhelming majority of Arabs that this war would be a just war. An American expedition in the wake of thwarted UN inspections would be seen by the vast majority of Arabs as an imperial reach into their world, a favor to Israel, or a way for the United States to secure control over Iraq's oil. No hearing would be given to the great foreign power.

America ought to be able to live with this distrust and discount a good deal of this anti-Americanism as the "road rage" of a thwarted Arab world -- the congenital condition of a culture yet to take full responsibility for its self-inflicted wounds. There is no need to pay excessive deference to the political pieties and givens of the region. Indeed, this is one of those settings where a reforming foreign power's simpler guidelines offer a better way than the region's age-old prohibitions and defects.

This is a really thorough look at the Arab world and their view of the Iraqi situation, and what our goals need to be. Read the whole thing, and then write to Foreign Affairs and tell them they need print-friendly pages on their website.
Glenn Reynolds points out that Smallpox vaccinations are about deterrence, not defense, and that the main beneficiaries of a nationwide vaccination program will be the rest of the world, not necessarily ourselves. Do we have what it takes to be Smallpox Martyrs?


Victor Davis Hanson has some reminders for us, about why we're fighting this war, who we are fighting against, and what winning and losing will look like.
David Warren writes that the U.S. Has lost the element of surprise and that Saddam's actions shows that he knows exactly what's coming, and that he may have a few more tricks up his sleeve.


A new report submitted to the UN by Jean-Charles Brisard explores the ties between the house of Saud and Al Qaeda. It names seven Saudis as the "main individual sponsors of terrorism." Joel Mowbrey has the story, and you can read the actual report here.
The FBI was apparently so worried about upsetting the Saudis in the period before 9/11 that they called off investigations that may have helped avoid the attack. This is some terrible news, and though I have heard similar things before, these guys seem pretty damn credible. There are many, many, people in some of our intelligence agencies who need to be relieved of their jobs. I don't pretend to have a clue whom they might be, but how can there be a sense of accountability at any of these agencies, if this long after a colossal blunder, they are seemingly unchanged?
Joel Mowbray claims that the administration was acting on bad information when they let the Yemeni scuds go, and if they had to make the decision today, they wouldn't let it go.


Michael Ledeen thinks the next step in Iran is a brutal crackdown by the Mullahs, and he thinks it's already starting to happen. That is the way these things always seem to end, and most of the time, brutal governments are successful in putting down the protesters. Let's hope it doesn't work that way this time.
Christopher Hitchens is sick of the terms "multilateralism" and "unilateralism." It seems odd, he says, that European governments can oppose something because it's "unilateralism," when all it would take for the same proposal to be "multilateral" is their own agreement.
I forgot to post this yesterday. Anne Applebaum, in the Washington Post, adds her name to the list of people that feel the Administration isn't doing enough to support the people of Iran.
I've been ignoring all the articles about Lott that I possibly can, but Krauthammer, well, I have to read him. He writes of the different reasons that different types of Conservatives have for wanting Lott gone. He wants Lott gone even if it means losing the senate.

A man who has no use--let alone no feel--for colorblindness has no business being a leader of the conservative party. True, if Lott is ousted, he might resign from the Senate and allow his seat to go Democratic, thus jeopardizing Republican control of the Senate and undoing the great Republican electoral triumph of 2002.

So be it. There is a principle at stake here. Better to lose the Senate than to lose your soul. New elections come around every two years. Souls are scarcer.

I agree, though I didn't before I read this. Krauthammer can do that to me.
This is an amazing video of what an AC-130 Gunship can do. This is actual footage from Afghanistan.
(via Blogs of War)
Update: Here is a working link courtesy of John Anderson
A friend of mine is starting a project in the Detroit area called SOOTH (Speak Out Opposing Terrorism and Hate) that will attempt to hold local Arab and Muslim organizations, and their leaders, accountable for their views on terrorism. It is quite an interesting idea. As you may know the Detroit area is home to this country's largest Arab community, and there are countless Arab and Muslim organizations based here. Please read the page he has created for it.


Jonah Goldberg weighs in with a great column on the difference between racism and sexism, and though the column is inspired by some Trent Lott-related comments, it steers clear of the issue for the most part. Is anyone else sick to death of this whole thing?
According to reports emenating from the Berlin-based left-wing paper Tageszeitung, the recent Iraqi declaration contains the names of 80 German firms, research laboratories and people, who are said to have helped Iraq develop its weapons program. I think they've got some splainin' to do.
This is simply the best argument for gun ownership I have ever read.
(via Instapundit)
David Warren reports on the recently concluded conference of Iraqi exiles in London. He says the U.S got pretty much what they wanted, except for a declaration by many of the groups that that don't want any sort of military government, which Warren thinks is a fait accompli .

The answer to them, from an outside view, is, "Fine, you can run Iraq instead of Saddam, and all by yourself if you want to. Now go and depose him." For the people who do that are going to call the shots, and that is going to be the Americans. And the second most powerful faction in post-war Iraq will be the British.

Let's hope they do depose him. Though it's not very likely, it could happen. Barring that, it's our show.


On the subject of Saddam-Al Qaeda ties, Jack Kelly says it's getting harder and harder to pretend they don't exist.
David Rose has an article in Vanity Fair this month that is supposed to clearly link Saddam and Al Qaeda. I haven't read it and I don't think it's online, but here is a summary of sorts that Rose wrote for a London paper.
The conventional wisdom has been that we couldn't fight in Iraq in the summer, and I've always wondered how concrete that was. The British are now saying it wouldn't be that much of a problem.
David Warren writes about what he would do if he were POTUS, and all I can say is "David Warren for President." BTW… The James Woolsey speech he's talking about can be found here, and if you haven't read it yet, do so now. That’s an order
I missed the Trent Lott interview on BET last night, but Brian Chapin didn't miss a thing. Check out what he has to say.
Fareed Zakaria joins Michael Ledeen in calling for the Administration to do more to support the students in Iran.
Seymour Hersch writes of The Bush Administration's new "Manhunt" strategy and the infighting it's causing within the Defense Department.


Pat Buchanan, Michael Ledeen, Dr. Charles Kupchan, Victor Davis Hanson, and Danielle Pletka discuss Appeasement Then and Now, in a symposium over at FrontpageMag. It's good stuff, and Buchanan and Ledeen get into it a little bit.
Michael Ledeen, who has been screaming that the Bush administration is not doing enough about Iran, has had quite enough. The Scud Surrender is proof, he says, that the Bushies are "wimps"

No doubt some master negotiators and crisis-resolution types are celebrating this new show of American concern for the tender sensitivities of our allies in the war against terrorism, but you can be sure that the real celebrations are being held in Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and the various dens of the terror masters. Some war strategy we've got, huh?

Some pretty harsh words. For more on why this is such a debacle, see this article by Henry Sokolski.
Victor Davis Hanson writes of Our Islands in the Storm, and why they are uniquely made in America:

Presently the open seas are ours; and such 23-storey enforcers go where they wish and do what they please — not only ensuring America's freedom, but guaranteeing that the Japanese can buy oil, the Chinese can ship Wal-Mart their sundry goods, and our food reaches hungry Africa. Ships that helped obliterate the Taliban and may do the same to the fascist Republican Guard in Iraq also save sailors of foreign navies on the high seas who are on the brink of death and need life-saving operations, or stop to pick up the anonymous dead who float routinely in the Arabian Sea — careful to notify surrounding nations of their losses and to provide a dignified Islamic funeral as if the drowned were our own….

The carrier's efficiency and lethality, however, are not a consequence of mere technological superiority, but of the dividends of a peculiarly American set of values. If we gave the Truman to Egypt it would sink on its maiden voyage. The French Charles de Gaulle I imagine has better food than the Roosevelt, but far fewer planes and even fewer launches. Israel has astonishing pilots, but few if any could land on the Vinson. Even the Swiss or Dutch could not build a Ronald Reagan. China claims they can soon launch a simulacrum to our carriers; but though they can steal the technology of an Enterprise, they still cannot emulate the ethic and creed at the heart of its success — unless China too first creates a culture of freedom. Carriers, in other words, are an American thing, and I am glad we at least will never have to meet such things in battle.

Amen to that.


Another great quote: In an op-ed in the New York Times that attempts to describe the mood in Washington to those in Europe who don't understand the need for war, Timothy Garton Ash writes, "With his 12,000-page report to the United Nations, Saddam Hussein has written perhaps the longest suicide note in history."

Stephen Green pointed this one out.

Al-Qaeda, it seems, developed its strategy for "Fourth Generation Warfare" from a paper by some Department of Defense Military strategists. This somewhat scary article ends with a beautiful comment from William S. Lind on what makes America the country it is. "As we weep even over their casualties," he says, "they will be cheering over ours."
(via LGF)
I haven't linked to any of the Lott-must-go articles yet, because frankly there hasn't been much interesting going on. The best argument I've seen yet is this one by Jonah Goldberg. The one thing that stands out most in the past few days is the lack of support Lott is getting. The remark Lott made was, if a little stupid, defensible. So far, the only one in Washington willing to say anything nice about Lott has been Tom Daschle. That no one is coming to his defense is instructive. Conservatives don't seem to either like or respect him, and it shows. As Goldberg points out, if some other southern Republican (like Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, or Dick Armey) had made a similar gaffe, Conservatives would be rushing to their defense. Lott has to go, not because he's racist, or because he's stupid, but because he doesn't have the respect of those he's supposed to be leading.
Update: Read the comments for excellent commentary from Nikita, Puggs, and Andrew, who calls Lott " a man who is grandiose in his mediocrity." Well said.


Christopher Hitchens, my favorite leftist, argues for American Imperialism:

…the plain fact remains that when the rest of the world wants anything done in a hurry, it applies to American power. If the "Europeans" or the United Nations had been left with the task, the European provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo would now be howling wildernesses, Kuwait would be the 19th province of a Greater Iraq, and Afghanistan might still be under Taliban rule. In at least the first two of the above cases, it can't even be argued that American imperialism was the problem in the first place.

Hitch is a great example of where Lee Harris and others have argued leftists need to stand in the current scheme of things. America, while not perfect, is the way forward, no matter what you view as the ideal society.
According to many university Presidents, condemning anti-Semitism is a racist act. They are refusing to sign a statement condemning anti-Semitism, because it's "one-sided." Barry Strauss takes them to task.
Daniel Pipes says the corruption of our representatives to Saudi Arabia is so pervasive that it may be impossible for the executive branch to fix, and that it's time for Congress to do something about it.
Michael Ledeen wants to know why on earth would we not want to support a revolution in Iran. As demonstrations that were mainly student-led turn into larger and larger public calls for a referendum, why is the Bush administration sitting this one out? Why?
Spotted; that oft mentioned, but rarely seen, creature, the moderate Muslim. Irfan Khawaja writes of anti-semitism in the American Muslim community.

Many Arabs and Muslims, especially those in official leadership positions, will want to play dumb at this point, professing never to have encountered any significant anti-Semitism in their communities. But most people, I think, know exactly what I mean. I mean the kind of person whose explanation for anything is that "The Jews control everything," or the type who protests Israeli policies by chanting, "Hitler and Sharon are the same; only difference is the name." I mean the kind of person who says, "Jews drink Arab blood to hasten the coming of the Messiah," or the type who says, "Well, you never know; maybe the Protocols are true." I mean the child who tells me that he admires Hitler's nationalism, or the adult who says, "Hitler should have finished the job." And yes, I mean the person who supports Hezbullah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, while prattling on fatuously about the evils of Israeli occupation.

Such views are not the exception to the rule among the Arabs and Muslims I've encountered over the last three decades. They are the rule. And the time has come to face this fact openly and deal with it, rather than to deny it by sticking our collective heads in the sand. Too many of us have borne this denial in silent resignation for too long. The Protocols episode was the last straw for me. I won't be silent again.

That's one, about 999,999,999 to go. Hey, it's a start.
Update: This explains it, it sounded to good to be true.


The Bush administration hasn't really shared what type of post-Saddam government it prefers, and has told the members of an upcoming conference of Iraqi exiles not to make any plans. Amir Taheri has some suggestions, and thinks they shouldn't wait for the U.S.
George Gilder has some things to say about China and Capitalism that you might not expect. Is China a threat? An opportunity? This might change your mind.
Angelo Codevilla has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration, for not doing enough to fight the real problem, which he sees as the states that sponsor terror, (as opposed to the terrorists themselves). He thinks the administration has treated the situation too much like a law and order problem. In a new article in the Claremont Review of Books (a great publication, by the way) he writes that we may finally see War at Last. The article also touches on the roots of Anti-Americanism:

Contempt is the active ingredient of anti-Americanism. And others' contempt for us is entirely our fault. People have contempt for those they consider impotent. The deadliest contempt is reserved for those who have, or seem to have, great power but somehow cannot use it. Contempt is the bite that the jackal inflicts on the stricken or befuddled lion. It is a cheap substitute for courage. Contempt for America makes vile European intellectuals feel like men. Flouting America with impunity, declaring moral superiority over it, bribing its businessmen and politicians, allows Arab dictators—whether they call themselves kings or presidents—to pretend that they are world statesmen instead of bandits of the desert. And it is our fault, because we let them get away with it.

Terrorism is not a militarily serious matter. All the world's terrorists combined cannot do as much damage as one modern infantry battalion, one Navy ship or fighter squadron. Nor is terrorism such a bedeviling challenge to intelligence. It is potent only insofar as terrorism's targets decide to deny the obvious and pretend that the terrorists are acting on their own and not on behalf of causes embodied by regimes. Terrorism is potent only against governments that deserve contempt. The U.S. government earned the Arabs' contempt the hard way, by decades of responses to terrorism that combined impotent threats, solicitude for the terrorists' causes, outright payments to Egypt and the PLO, courting Syria, a "special relationship" with Saudi Arabia, and a pretense that Islam was as compatible with American life as Episcopalianism. Killing individuals who do not count engenders hatred, while sparing those who do count guarantees contempt.

Victory against terrorists requires precisely the opposite approach: expend little or no energy chasing the trigger pullers and bombers. Rather, make sure that any life devoted to terror will be a wasted life. This means leaving no hope whatever for any of the causes from which the Arab tyrannies draw such legitimacy as they have: people who give their lives for lost causes exist more in novels than in reality. It means discrediting and insofar as possible impoverishing (rather than paying for) Arab regimes that foster opposition to America. It means using military force to kill the regimes—the ruling classes—of countries that are in any way associated with terrorism.

Codevilla is one of my favorite writers on this kind of stuff. If you like this piece, go read What War, which he wrote back in May.
Kill Kurds, Not Mumia - This is some funny stuff.
(via LGF)
This is about the best definition of American Conservatism I have read. Roger Scroton on A Question of Temperament.


The students/ revolutionaries in Iran got their biggest show of support from the general populace they have yet received, as 10,000 show up to protest the government. Read the article, the details are interesting.
John Derbyshire writes of an America hated, but yearning to be loved:

Probably anti-Americanism will be with us for a long time yet. This is a shame, because the one thing everyone notices about us Americans is how much we want to be liked. That, at any rate, used to be the thing everyone noticed. I do not think the yearning to be liked has departed from the American psyche yet, but it now finds itself sharing that psyche with some other wishes: principally, the desire that if we cannot be liked, we shall at least be respected. If it should become clear that Americans are to be denied even respect, I think quite a lot of us will settle for being feared.

A fascinating article. There is a story at the beginning that has me feeling an emotion that I haven't normally associated with our State Department- respect.


Andrew Stuttaford over at The Corner can't figure out if this piece is supposed to be ironic. I'm in the same boat, though I'm sure it's supposed to be humorous on some level. Either way, it's pretty creepy.
Mark Steyn pays tribute to Strom Thurmond as a man who has done a whole lot of loving, er…I mean living.
The USS Truman left Norfolk for the Persian Gulf this Thursday, to the sound of the following announcement: "Peace on Earth to men of goodwill," a voice said over the loudspeakers. "All others stand by."
(via Peter Schramm at NoLeftTurns)
IMG: Iranians

The demonstrations in Iran are getting larger...

The NY Times has an intriguing article on how hard it is to oppose this war. Liberals are finding themselves arguing for the preservation of a brutal dictatorship.

one chilly evening in late November, a panel discussion on Iraq was convened at New York University. The participants were liberal intellectuals, and one by one they framed reasonable arguments against a war in Iraq: inspections need time to work; the Bush doctrine has a dangerous agenda; the history of U.S. involvement in the Middle East is not encouraging. The audience of 150 New Yorkers seemed persuaded.

Then the last panelist spoke. He was an Iraqi dissident named Kanan Makiya, and he said, ''I'm afraid I'm going to strike a discordant note.'' He pointed out that Iraqis, who will pay the highest price in the event of an invasion, ''overwhelmingly want this war.'' He outlined a vision of postwar Iraq as a secular democracy with equal rights for all of its citizens. This vision would be new to the Arab world. ''It can be encouraged, or it can be crushed just like that. But think about what you're doing if you crush it.'' Makiya's voice rose as he came to an end. ''I rest my moral case on the following: if there's a sliver of a chance of it happening, a 5 to 10 percent chance, you have a moral obligation, I say, to do it.''

The effect was electrifying. The room, which just minutes earlier had settled into a sober and comfortable rejection of war, exploded in applause. The other panelists looked startled, and their reasonable arguments suddenly lay deflated on the table before them.

Michael Walzer, who was on the panel, smiled wanly. ''It's very hard to respond,'' he said.

It was hard, I thought, because Makiya had spoken the language beloved by liberal hawks. He had met their hope of avoiding a war with an even greater hope. He had given the people in the room an image of their own ideals.

That's about right.


Here's how the machinery of Transnational Progressivism really works. If you are unfamiliar with the term "Transnational Progressivism," read this article or this short summary.
David Warren says it's crunch time in the game that Hans Blix is playing:

It is a game of diplomatic brinkmanship. Mr. Blix, Kofi Annan, the U.N. secretary-general, and in the background, the French and the Russians and others, working from the various different motives I have tried to explain in previous articles, are counting on Mr. Bush to be too cautious and diplomatic to call their bluff. They know that the political and diplomatic cost to the Bush administration of calling this bluff -- of identifying the game they are playing, a kind of multilateral "monkey in the middle" -- will be very high. It could get very ugly.

They are trying to bid that price higher and higher, with the help of the purblind, and largely anti-American, international media elites. They assume that, in the end, Mr. Bush will prove a conventional politician, who will not take political risk beyond a certain point, and would rather take his knocks backing down. They have genuinely underestimated how much is at stake here. And I think they have completely misread their man.

For here is the plain truth, in it's simplest, knocked-down form:

If the United States and allies cannot eliminate so obvious a malefactor as Saddam, the "war on terror" is over, and we lost. The future of state-sponsored terrorism is secure, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction will accelerate, their use in blackmail becomes inevitable, the check on their actual use is relaxed, the annihilation of the people of Israel can be safely predicted, and the rest of us must learn to live our lives under the threat of smallpox, anthrax, nerve gas, Scuds, and radiation.

I too think they have misread Bush. It's time. Baghdad Delenda Est.
Tim Hames, in the Times of London, reports on a world trying it's best to hate America.


Lee Harris has the lead article In Policy Review. It's called The Intellectual Origins Of America-Bashing. I loved it, but I'm not sure how many of you will.It's really hard to sum up but here's little piece:

The left, if it is not to condemn itself to become a fantasy ideology, must reconcile itself not only with the reality of America, but with its dialectical necessity — America is the sine qua non of any future progress that mankind can make, no matter what direction that progress may take.

The belief that mankind’s progress, by any conceivable standard of measurement recognized by Karl Marx, could be achieved through the destruction or even decline of American power is a dangerous delusion. Respect for the deep structural laws that govern the historical process — whatever these laws may be — must dictate a proportionate respect for any social order that has achieved the degree of stability and prosperity the United States has achieved and has been signally decisive in permitting other nations around the world to achieve as well. To ignore these facts in favor of surreal ideals and utterly utopian fantasies is a sign not merely of intellectual bankruptcy, but of a disturbing moral immaturity

Interestingly enough, A couple of months ago in an interview, avowed Marxist Thomas von der Osten-Sacken said:

The moment this anti-globalization ideology brings together Hamas, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, nationalistic movements in the Balkans, the Zapatists in Mexico, and the neo-Nazi right wing, which is very active in the anti-globalization movement, it means they are not fighting for universal freedom, liberation and emancipation, but are reproducing anti-universalist, anti-Semitic stereotypes that are only leading to barbarism. Rosa Luxemburg once said that the question is socialism or barbarism, and that question is still valid. But at the moment, I think the fight is to defend the Western world against those who would like to be its successors. These people are also, dialectically, the products of the Western, capitalistic world. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden grew out of the bad politics of the U.S. and Europe in the Middle East. They didn't fall from the moon.

But at the moment, I think one has to support the West, which means in this case America, Britain and Israel, in its battle against its own creations. Then you can think again of how to create a much better world. The questions the anti-globalization movement raises are very important - issues like the environment, world hunger and the enrichment of a very small minority of people while the vast majority become poorer. But with the Ba'ath Party and Hamas as your actors, you will not change anything. They are not the historical subjects who are carrying the idea of emancipation.

At least some self-described Marxists do recognize that America is the way forward even if your goal is Socialism.
The Editors of the National Review are getting pretty testy about the Saudis. This is from their current issue:

... the Saudis will change their tune only when we change ours. The Saudis should curb their state-subsidized mullahs, and stop the murderous freeloaders in their midst. If they do, they may retain their peninsula. If not, should it come to that, we know the address of the Hashemites.

I think that about says it.
There's more turmoil in the PR industry over Saudi Arabia: 3 Partners Quit Firm Handling Saudis' P.R. Yesterday, Joel Mowbray wrote a story that implied there was something fishy going on.
(via LGF)
Michael Ledeen thinks that Thomas Friedman is wrong to portray the Iranian situation as "a war of ideas within Islam."

The revolution is being led by students, workers, intellectuals, and military officers and soldiers who can no longer bear the misery of the Iranian people, the corruption and hypocrisy of the Iranian leaders, and the awful degradation of the country. The battle for the minds and souls of the Iranian people has already been won by the opponents of the regime. The battle now underway — the battle that should be concerning our own leaders and intellectuals — is for the streets and institutions of the country.

On my end, I'm just happy Friedman is talking about it. (Here's a link to Friedman's piece)
Charles Krauthammer's answer to the question, Is Islam an inherently violent religion?

The question is not just unanswerable, it is irrelevant. The real issue is not the essence of an abstraction -- who can say what is the real Christianity or the real Judaism? -- but the actions of actual Muslims in the world today. And there is no denying the fact, stated most boldly by Samuel Huntington, author of "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order," that "Islam has bloody borders." From Nigeria to Sudan to Pakistan to Indonesia to the Philippines, some of the worst, most hate-driven violence in the world today is perpetrated by Muslims and in the name of Islam….

This says nothing about inherent violence; most Muslims are obviously peaceful people living within the rules of civilized behavior. But the actual violence, bloodletting against nearly every non-Muslim civilization from Hindu to African animist, demands attention

I don't think the question is as irrelevant as Krauthammer does, but I do think it doesn't really matter what we think, but what the Muslims think. If they kill in the name of Islam, than Islam is a violent religion. Period. What makes Christianity or Judaism non-violent is not their theology, but the fact that when people attempt to kill in their name the entire population of the respective religion makes it quite clear that they consider that outside the bounds.

What makes Islam a violent religion is simply that the vast majority of Muslims support terrorism and violence against nonbelievers, if not with their voices, then with their silence.

David Warren gave a lecture in Toronto called Wrestling With Islam, and has put the text up on his website. It's divided into three parts and though the first part drags a little bit, the second and third parts are a must-read. It's quite long so you might want to print it and read it over the weekend.
Victor Davis Hanson on what the world would be like if we were more like them.


The Bush Manifesto: Joshua Muravchik on why this year's “National Security Strategy of the United States” was so remarkable.
How funny is this? Unused to love, US marines panic.
Arutz Sheva: Hillel, one of the only Jewish presences on the campus of Concordia University in Montreal, has been shut down by the Concordia Student Union. The reason? Hillel members allegedly distributed a flyer for Mahal, a volunteer IDF program for overseas students. The new ruling revoking Hillel's "funding and tabling privileges" means that the Jewish organization will not be able to hold events or set up displays and information tables.
Update: More at Segacs, who is all over the issue.
There are some American PR guys who are starting to look pretty guilty, of what, I'm not sure, but they are PR representatives of Saudi Arabia and are currently ducking subpoenas from Congress. Joel Mowbray with the story.
Pilar Rahola is a former member of the Spanish Parliament (and a left wing member at that). A journalist and a writer; she writes for the Catalan newspaper “Aviun”. Pilar wrote an piece for an upcoming book in Spanish called "In Favor of Israel," denouncing Europe and the left's anti-Semitism expressed through their bias against Israel. She is the Spanish Oriana Fallaci. No small statement, that.This interview is fascinating and sure the piece is as well.


Jonah Goldberg thinks that if moderates in the "Religion of Peace" are to be considered moderate, they cannot stand silent while others spread violence in their names. Quite right. They are either Islamofascist sympathizers or gutless cowards, and we need to know where they stand. We can handle cowardice.
As anti-Semitism sweeps Europe, Five European countries are banning the kosher slaughter of animals. One is even considering banning the import of kosher meat. I'm sure they think that that'll get the rest of the Jews out of there. I bet there are some Jew-haters out in Holland or somewhere thinking, "hmm…if only more Jews kept Kosher." My Rabbi would approve.
(link via Pejman)
This is some scary stuff. I'm not sure why the ant-missile defense people haven't been talking about this, but it turns out that a nuclear weapon doesn't have to be anywhere near the U.S. to hurt us.
Dennis Prager writes that morally neutral reporting is dishonest reporting, and I certainly agree. I love Prager, and I whole-heartedly agree with his point, except for the Nigerian issue. The situation there is confusing, and many of the dead were Muslims killed in a Christian counter-attack, so that the Times equivocated is somewhat forgivable. Some of the quotes in the Times are still horrible journalism, but the situation there isn't as cut and dried as Prager makes it seem.
Thomas Friedman calls the appeal of Hashem Aghajari "the most important trial in the world today." He's right, and it's about time he, and his paper, noticed what is going on.
David G. Littman reminds us of the "Palestinian refugees" that the UN has always ignored. It seems some refugees are different than others.
FrontpageMag has the transcript of a debate between Richard Perle and Christopher Patten over The State of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership. Great stuff.
David Warren on the farce that is UNMOVIC. He raises an interesting point:

The real story here is not that Hans Blix and company aren't making proper use of their powers to investigate. The Bush administration all along knew what kind of man they were dealing with, and what was the most they could expect.

The real story is rather that the U.S. has not given Mr. Blix and company any kind of help. The Americans do, after all, have quite elaborate satellite-based and other monitoring systems in place, and are more likely than anyone in the U.N. to know where inspections could most fruitfully be made. Clearly, the Americans assume any information provided to Mr. Blix will be quickly compromised.

So far, the inspections have been a joke, and Warren thinks it just might be the US trying to lull Saddam into thinking he can leave whatever he wants off the list due Dec. 8


John Podhoretz has a good column today that goes through a few instances that show the inspections team in Iraq to be woefully inept
The British have released a dossier (Summary, PDF File) of Saddam's brutal methods of torture and suppression, and Amnesty International and the rest of the British left are outraged… at the British government. Michael Gove explains Saddam's useful idiots. I checked out the actual report and its full of the stuff you would expect if you've been reading about Saddam, plus a few new interesting things, like the identity card of one Aziz Salih Ahmed, whose occupation is listed as "violation of women's honour," I'm sure his high school guidance counselor is mighty proud.


Despite those who insist that men and women are equal in all things, it turns out there are reasons why women can't read maps.
If you are a student upset about the bias of one of your college professors, there's now a place where you can leave a posting alerting other students and the public. It's NoIndoctrination.org. Check it out yourself, or read this article by Stanley Kurtz about the site and its founder.
Robert L. Pollock writes that the Palestinians can't have peace until they have the rule of law. I think this kind of thing shows that Arafat sees a successful Palestinian economy as detrimental to his plans, and he's probably right. One would hope this article would help get people to stop spouting the poverty-causes-terrorism line, but I'm not sure even the people who are still spouting it actually believe it.
Max Boot writes of what "stability" means in the Mideast, and why we want as little of it as possible.
Charles Krauthammer reminds us that all those who insist that deterrence can work against Saddam, and point to its "success" during the Cold War, don't remember what that kind of deterrence was about.

The fact that we escaped is not an argument for the stability of deterrence. It is an argument for luck. Indeed, it is an argument for trying to escape deterrence and find sturdier ground for human survival. If the Cuban missile crisis is evidence of the virtues of deterrence, God help us. It brought us closer to the abyss than any event in human history, and could very well have taken us over had the United States and the Soviet Union had different leaders at the time. The world will not survive more than a very few missile-crisis equivalents before someone makes a blunder that precipitates catastrophic nuclear war.

Our policy of deterrence during the Cold War was forced on us out of necessity. It was based on the idea of Mutually-Assured Destruction; I wonder if the advocates of "deterrence" are hoping Saddam achieves his half of that bargain?
Iran Update: The Christian Science Monitor outlines the making of a "second revolution," while Jeff Jacoby reports that the State Department has reluctantly joined the president on the right side of the issue.

You gotta wonder what side these guys are on. It sure ain't ours...

Karl Zinsmeister has caused a little bit of a stir, with his new article, Old And In The Way, about Europe and its growing divide with America. Make sure you read it, and if you want more, check out the symposium on the subject printed in the same issue of The American Enterprise Magazine, and then saunter over to Steven Den Beste's site to hear more on why Europe can't compete economically. Eric Raymond has also compiled a good review that will be helpful for those of you pressed to time.


The December Smarter Harpers Index is up! Do check it out.


So the tape may be a fake after all, very interesting. Has some large government to remain nameless just revealed that they would rather their favorite bogeyman alive, than dead?
Here are some interesting pictures from the recent terror attacks in Kenya
(via InstaPundit)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Ted Nugent wants us to remember that America Rocks! Duly noted.

Chi-Dooh Li is thankful for The Sweet Taste of Freedom

Stephen Moore says Stop Whining and Start Thanks Giving


Victor Davis Hanson is not impressed with all the talk of an American "empire." We couldn't be less of one, he says, and for the simple reason that we aren't interested.

America spends less of its GNP on defense than it did during the last five decades. And most of our military outlays go to training, salaries, and retirements — moneys that support, educate, and help people rather than simply stockpile weapons and hone killers. The eerie thing is not that we have 13 massive $5 billion carriers, but that we could easily produce and maintain 20 more.

And that is what should really scare the Euros; the empire we could be if we simply wished it so.
Khidhir Hamza, formerly chief of Saddam's nuclear-weapons program, writes of how easy it was to fool earlier inspection teams, why Iraqi scientists may be smarter then they seem, and what this team's problems are likely to be.
I am not ashamed to have laughed very, very hard at this…ok, maybe a little.
(via American Realpolitik)
Tom Friedman tries something new for his column today; he channels President Bush. And you know what? Turns out Dubya is a better writer.
Carnival of Vanities #10 is up! Now the reason I mention this, your humble blogger has submitted a post this week. CoV, for those who aren't familiar, is a collection of pieces that various bloggers thought were their best work. Check it out at either Silflay Hraka or Blogcritics.
Frank Schaeffer's son became a Marine in 1999 and it's changing his life. This is a beautiful piece that brings to mind this one, that Peggy Noonan wrote back in July
Salman Rushdie is glad that there have been others, most recently in Nigeria, Iran and The Netherlands, who've been branded "Rushdies"and hopes we see more in the future.

If the moderate voices of Islam cannot or will not insist on the modernization of their culture — and of their faith as well — then it may be these so-called "Rushdies" who have to do it for them. For every such individual who is vilified and oppressed, two more, ten more, a thousand more will spring up. They will spring up because you can't keep people's minds, feelings and needs in jail forever, no matter how brutal your inquisitions. The Islamic world today is being held prisoner, not by Western but by Islamic captors, who are fighting to keep closed a world that a badly outnumbered few are trying to open. As long as the majority remains silent, this will be a tough war to win. But in the end, or so we must hope, someone will kick down that prison door

Here's to hoping that they do "kick down that prison door," so our Marines don't have to.
Reuel Marc Gerecht doesn't think a war with Iraq will destabilize the Mideast, though they could use some shaking up.


Alex Alexiov thinks we can win over the moderate Muslims if we do things right. He claims they are as offended by Wahabi-ism as we are. I hope so, but I'm not that sure.
It seems Palestinian children have moved up from sticks and stones. This is from an IDF translation of an Arabic language report.

Palestinian terrorists in the Jenin refugee camp seemed to have studied the IDF's operational strategies, and taught the young children in the camp how to counterattack. The children of Jenin refugee camp had been taught at a very young age to throw stones at IDF soldiers but they had begun to replace their stones and rocks with hand grenades and small explosive charges. " We traded stones and rocks for hand grenades because the impact is so much stronger" explained Rami, a young child in Jenin refugee camp…

Muatsin-age 16, used to kiss the grenades he carried on his back before throwing them at IDF soldiers: "Allah, make this explosive as powerful as a ball of fire so that it burns the hearts of the Jews" he would say. Witnesses said that the young 16 year old "threw at least 50 grenades at IDF soldiers. Other children fought alongside him, defending the camp. They succeeded in damaging five tanks and destroying one".

Just something to keep in mind the next time you hear some CAIR spokesman equivocating about casualty numbers.
(via Lynn B)
UPI reports that American, British, French and Israeli intelligence officials are in a tizzy over recent "chatter" that contains references to "hour zero."
Emirati camels

The BBC: The United Arab Emirates has held its first national beauty contest for camels with a prize fond of about $27,000 and various trophies for winners.
"The aim is to mark the respect and love the UAE have for the camel," member of the UAE's National Federal Council Faraj bin Hamouda told the Khaleej Times newspaper.

In a special statement, Mr bin Hamouda stressed that the camel was the best companion of his countrymen during the pre-oil era, and the competition in Abu Dhabi would help to pass that feeling of respect to the younger generation.
(via No Left Turns)

Dennis Prager explains the Nigerian situation, and why he too, is mad at the media
Paul Marshall is annoyed that while Al Qaeda takes every opportunity to describe their goals as a war against "Crusaders and Jews" the media doesn't seem to get it.
Lileks is a must-read today.
Amir Taheri writes that it's not your imagination, the French are crazy.


Margaret Wente writes of the Saddam's Chambers of Horrors:

This is a regime that will hold a nursing baby at arm's length from its mother and allow the child to starve to death to force the mother to confess. This is a regime that will burn a person's limbs off to force him to confess or comply. This is a regime that will slowly lower its victims into huge vats of acid. . . .This is a regime that practises systematic rape against the female victims. This is a regime that will drag in a man's wife, daughter or other female relative and repeatedly rape her in front of him." And if he has fled the country, it will send him the video.

Despite the serious oppression and inhuman treatment of the Iraqi people by the regime, Saul Singer finds that the "Human Rights" groups aren't willing to "make judgements" about the benefits of regime change.
Michael Ledeen claims that if we were doing just a little more, Iran might have fallen over this past weekend, where unprecedented protests nearly toppled the regime.

Contrary to what little you have been able to read in the popular press, these demonstrations were not limited to Tehran, but spread all over the country, with amazing results. And it was particularly noteworthy that there were very large numbers of female participants; in Tehran, some people I spoke to estimated that between one-half and two-thirds of the demonstrators were women.

In some cities — notably Isfahan, traditionally the epicenter of political unrest in Persia — the regime's thugs attacked the demonstrators, only to be driven out. Over the weekend, it was unclear just who was in control in Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz and Mashad. By Sunday, the fanatical Basij — the volunteer thugs who are responsible for "order" in the streets — were busily attacking and arresting anyone who did not meet their standards, and the regime's top leaders were issuing warnings to the nation — and to us.

It's hard to tell what the administration thinks of all this. Except for a strong statement by Bush a little while back, expressing support for the people over the mullahs, there hasn't been much said, and it seems like State hasn't exactly been playing the same tune. I did read a piece in Debka a little while ago that claimed that the CIA was helping the students covertly, but that's not much.
Saudi Arabia is not a friendly place, as some westerners have been finding out. John Sweeney tells a tale of torture, and has the details to prove it.
(via Instapundit)
James Woolsey, former Director of the CIA, gave a speech last week at something called “Restoration Weekend” It’s a stunning account of why we were attacked, who our enemies are, and how we are going to win World War IV:

We didn’t choose this fight, but we’re in it. And being on the march, there’s only one way we’re going to be able to win it. It’s the way we won World War I fighting for Wilson’s 14 points. The way we won World War II fighting for Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s Atlantic Charter and the way we won World War III fighting for the noble ideas I think best expressed by President Reagan, but also very importantly at the beginning by President Truman, that this was not a war of us against them. It was not a war of countries. It was a war of freedom against tyranny. We have to convince the people of the Middle East that we are on their side, as we convinced Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel and Andrei Sakharov that we were on their side.

This will take time. It will be difficult. But I think we need to say to both the terrorists and the dictators and also to the autocrats who from time to time are friendly with us, that we know, we understand we are going to make you nervous.

We want you to be nervous. We want you to realize now for the fourth time in 100 years, this country is on the march and we are on the side of those whom you most fear, your own people.

I strongly suggest you read the whole thing.
Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs found an article in Lebanon’s Daily Star that explains why the recent “clashes” in Maan are a serious thing. That the State department is pulling all non-essential personnel from Jorden doesn’t exactly bode well .
Tom Gibson takes up one of my pet peeves, the ridiculousness of poll data. There's a lot that's deceptive about political polling. Most of us hear "margin of error" and think that someone is actually calculating the likelihood of the survey not being representative. If only. The "margin of error" is actually just a statistical figure that says a survey of a random sample of size x, out of a larger population, will fall within that range (the actual number +/- the margin of error), a certain percentage (usually 95%) of the time. So, in english, when a polls says 45% of people plan to vote for candidate A, and the poll has a margin of error of 2%, that means that you can be 95% sure that the actual percentage of people who plan on voting for Candidate A falls between 43% and 47%.

The margin and the confidence level are usually chosen in advance, at some acceptable level, so the pollster can determine x, the amount of people that he will need in his sample. Trying to get the margin of error down, or the confidence level up, will make x prohibitively large. But the whole thing is a joke, because the pollsters are violating the first rule of statistics, by starting with a sample that is anything but random. It's not their fault really, getting an actual random sample of a population, say of a state, would cost the pollsters a fortune. So they do the best they can. A random sample is usually defined as everyone in the population having the same chance of being in the sample. There is really no way of making it work that way, but here is how they try. They start by assuming everyone has a telephone (and just one), and then start calling numbers randomly.

There have always been problems with this approach, like the people who don't have phones, or the different amounts of people who may share a single phone line. Far more seriously, there are some new problems that are causing the samples to be even farther from random. The pollsters don't call cell phones, and as more and more people use their cell phones as a replacement for landlines, they drop out of the pool completely. Then there are the people who use the TeleZapper, and in some states, you can put your name on a no-call list and unsolicited calls become illegal. In Connecticut, for example, 29% of people are on the no-call list, and the list gets larger every year. This is bad enough by itself, but according to Gibson, even when the pollsters do get through, about 50% of people refuse to talk to them. So only a small self-selecting portion of the population has a chance of getting into the survey, the definition of a non-random sample. The "margin of error" takes none of this into account; it assumes a perfect random sample. The polls, in other words, shouldn't even pretend to be scientific, but who's going to tell you that, the Media? Don't bet on it.


Glenn Reynolds has been asking our government to treat us like a "pack not a herd." Well, sometimes they do. Here are some heartening stories of how people pulled together for 9/11, and how our government is making sure they'll be able to again.


A survey by a Democratic pollster asked the public which of the two parties does a better job keeping America strong. The Republicans prevailed - by 39 points. This, says John Podhoretz, is because the Dem's have made it clear what is foremost on their minds.

Maybe that's because the Democrats have made it clear that their fears about the future of the country are focused not on militant Islamists, but on fat, white, mostly Protestant guys who drive SUVs and vote Republican.

It's time, he says, to get out of the sandbox and get serious. The editors of the National Review make a similar point:

The Democrats' self-criticism is that their officeholders voted for a war, or declined to be vocal in opposition, even though they were really against it. Have Democrats stopped to consider what this critique says about them? It says that they thought that an Iraq campaign would throw American lives away while undermining Americans' security — but gave it a green light for political reasons. That their chief regret about this behavior is that it backfired as a political tactic. The Democrats are making an indictment of themselves more damning than they realize.

Pretty astonishing when you put it this way, isn't it?
Israelis, says David Harsanyi, need to ask themselves an important question before choosing between Sharon and Netanyahu in the coming elections: Who would Arafat vote for?
Victor Davis Hanson writes of our prospects of removing Saddam from Baghdad, and while I think he gives Saddam a little bit more credit for what happened in 1991 than he deserves, it's a good reminder that while he maybe a little cuckoo, Saddam surely has some sort of plan.
There's plenty I disagree with in this piece, But Mick Hume manages to make semi-intelligent fun of both sides of the war argument. Check it out, it's good for a few laughs
Barbara Amiel summarizes the Israeli political situation in a few neat paragraphs. It's one of the best pieces I've seen, and from a Brit, no less.
Krauthammer says the NATO expansion is evidence of what a resolute and sometimes unilateralist American foreign policy can do.


BBC: The United States is offering a fast track to American citizenship for Iraqi scientists willing to blow the whistle on Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Hey, whatever works.
(via Rantburg)
Jon B. Alterman has figured out that the players in the "independent" Arab media aren't that independent. He thinks there's hope for the future. I'm not sure why. They seem, even to him, to be getting worse, not better
Michael Ledeen is unhappy with the New York Times, this time for their inept coverage of the Iran situation. For months he had been yelling as loud as he can for them to notice what was going on. Did he expect them to do a good job? If he did he's not as smart as I think he is. I'm glad they started covering it, and while they'll do their best to paint the regime in friendly tones, the attention is worth it. The students need to know the world is paying attention. It would also be nice if the administration made it a little clearer who they're rooting for
Brink Lindsey finishes a three-part series af articles for NRO in fine form:

In the 20th century, the open society of liberal modernity faced and surmounted a great internal challenge. Totalitarians of the left and right sought to substitute top-down control for bottom-up trust as society's central organizing principle; they did so in a mad quest to replace open-ended dynamism and growth with static, utopian perfection. Now in the 21st century, that internal rebellion has been put down, but utopian delusions continue to crop up in the periphery — in the broken lands of the underdeveloped world, and the broken souls of fringe groups in the West. These new rebels have no realistic prospect of gaining power over the society they hate, but they can inflict damage upon it — grievous damage. This is the enemy we face today: utopians turned nihilist, totalitarians turned barbarian.

Good stuff, and he has a blog, which I've visited before, but now he's earned a spot on the blogroll. (You can find links to the first two articles at the top)


Brink Lindsey on Al Qaeda's ability to pull us apart at the seams; If trust goes, it all goes.
By now you've probably heard about Bob Woodward's new book "Bush at War" and you might want to read the excerpts that the Washington post has been putting out. (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV) Before you do that, check out Tony Blankley in the Washington Times on Woodward's methods, and why the book should be called "What I shrewdly saw, brilliantly thought and nobly did in the Bush administration by Colin Powell and George Tenet, as told to Bob Woodward." It's dead on, even if Blankley is being kind of whiny.
Stephen Sharkansky attended Ehud Barak's speech at UC Berkeley last night. He went as a journalist, and returned as the victim of a felony at the hands of one of the demonstrators. The demonstrators had an interesting view of Free Speech, to say the least.
(via InstaPundit)
Is Saddam calculated-crazy, crazy like the cross-dressing, discharge-seeking Klinger character in "M*A*S*H," or crazy like a fox? Rufus Jones has the answer.
KABUL, Afghanistan--Efforts to root out the remaining Taliban and Al Qaida forces in Afghanistan heated up yesterday when the Allies revealed plans to airdrop a platoon of crack French existentialist philosophers into the country to destroy the morale of Muslim zealots by proving the nonexistence of God... More at BusinessTwaddle.com.
(via Volokh)


John Derbyshire wants us to start thinking about The National Question, and by that he means; what rights should citizens have in law that non-citizens should not have? Derbyshire has never been afraid to be un-PC, and he's right, it's about time for issues like this.
Daniel Pipes says refusing to name our enemy is confusing the goals of our "War on Terror." I definitely agree to some extent, though I think that certain things are best left unsaid. If we can prosecute a war on Militant Islam without ever calling it that, fine.
Brink Lindsey writes that the nightmare of the civilized world, the barbarians at the gate, have returned:

We face, now and for the foreseeable future, the threat of a new barbarism. The new barbarians, like those of old, consist of groups in which every member is a potential warrior. Like their predecessors, the new barbarians rely on their ability to outmaneuver their civilized adversaries, to concentrate deadly force at vulnerable spots. But unlike the old steppe nomads, the new barbarians seek neither booty nor conquest. Our new barbarian adversaries pursue a strategy of pure and perfect nihilism: They seek destruction for destruction's sake. Their strategy, in other words, is terrorism.

We've dealt with barbarians before, but it must be said, all of those were seeking our treasure, not simply our blood.
David Pryce-Jones examines the Arab nationalist-socialists and fundamentalists, who've combined to generate a climate that encourages the spread of violence, in their Retreats into fantasy.
The protests in Iran continue, despite an order over the weekend by Khamenei to an appeals court to review the case, suggesting the death sentence of Hashem Aghajari might be dismissed. The good news is the NY Times is starting to cover this thing full time. Some, like the BBC, have been covering this story for months.
Saul Singer says the Palestinians can't have a democracy, or actually recognize Israel's right to exist, until they recognize the humanity of children, both Israel's and their own.
Stephen Brown explores Canada's deplorable habit of looking the other way when it comes to Hezbollah.
Jeffrey Goldberg wrote the first part of a two-part article on Hezbollah in the New Yorker in October. I've looked for a link, but as of yet, no luck. Someone emailed it to me, so it must be out there somewhere. I've posted the first half here, and it is some absolutely fascinating stuff. If you know where to find it (especially the second half), let me know!
Update: Okay, here are the links: Part I , Part II (Thank You, Nelson)


The student protests in Iran are showing some results. They had centered on the death sentence of Hashem Aghajari, a liberal Islamic scholar. He is an outspoken pro-reform activist who had called for separation of religion and state. Yesterday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered an appeals court to review the death sentence. Aghajari had refused to appeal and challenged hard-liners to carry out the sentence. Some of the biggest protests were planned for today, and Khamenei's actions were clearly a reaction to the vehemence of the protests.
How Do I Hate Thee? Christopher Caldwell examines the global anti-American Left.
Charles Krauthammer discusses The Fantasy Life of American liberals. As a former psychiatrist, it’s his professional opinion that logic and empirical evidence have failed, and it’s time for the Thorazine.
Jeff Jacoby wants to know if you can fill in the blanks in this quote. The speaker is explaining why the minority group he belongs to should be granted its own ''diversity'' seat on the student senate:

It ought to go without saying that ---- students have been silenced on this campus.... There is only one ---- among this year's faculty.... A number of crimes have been perpetrated against ----s in recent years as a result of their ... orientation.

I’m sure that if you guessed right, you also know the request was denied.
Caroline B. Glick asks:

What is it that leads people of goodwill and liberal conscience to make common cause with people who are not only fighting to destroy the very liberal, human values they espouse but are also murdering their children?

When the EU is sponsoring a meeting between Fatah and Hamas, I think they start stepping outside the bounds of "goodwill and liberal conscience."


Check out these videos of Al Qaeda members telling the truth, in English, about their plans. I haven't watched them all, but so far, the most chilling portion is the second half of the third video where Abu Hamza explains the rules for killing non-muslims (there are none, it is simply allowed).
(via Instapundit)


Frank Gaffney asks; Is America Getting Rolled By The U.N.? He thinks so, and the conventional wisdom among the hawks seems to be that Bush is going to have a hard time when he decides it's go-time. He been slipping every punch for a while, let's hope he finds away out of this collar.
Eleana Gordon writes that terrorists don’t always carry membership cards. Perhaps that's because their part of a prospiracy, not a conspiracy.
Over at TechCentralStation Jonah Goldberg and Nick Gillespie are having a fascinating back-and-forth over the War on Terror, war in general, and privacy. The argument is from libertarian vs. Conservative viewpoints, where it should be. It's good stuff. The link is to the first article, by Nick, and you can find links to the rest of them (there are four so far, out of six planned) in a box about halfway down the article.
The Euros are still doing business with Iraq. When asked, one French businessman said, "We are not here for politics but for pure business." Michael Freund disagrees: Business it may be, but it is anything but "pure."
Victor Davis Hanson sees our Gordian Knot for what it is, and hopes that Bush can do what needs to be done.
Hans H.J. Labohm writes that developing countries are figuring out that Kyoto was a bad idea for them too.
The 2003 Index of Economic Freedom is out, and it has some interesting info in it. Apparently, the EU has not been entirely successful in their attempt to socialize Europe, at least not yet (don't worry, their working on it). My prediction for next year: Russia takes a huge leap forward from 135th.
Many have pointed to the "Golden Age of Islam" for evidence that whatever problem the Islamic world has in the present is not attributable to Islam itself. That is a myth, says Robert Locke. The "Golden Age" was a product of thinkers like this guy:

Greatly influenced by Baghdad’s Greek heritage in philosophy that survived the Arab invasion, and especially the writings of Aristotle, Farabi adopted the view — utterly heretical from a Moslem viewpoint — that reason is superior to revelation. He saw religion as a symbolic rendering of truth, and, like Plato, saw it as the duty of the philosopher to provide guidance to the state. He engaged in rationalistic questioning of the authority of the Koran and rejected predestination. He wrote more than 100 works, notably The Ideas of the Citizens of the Virtuous City. But these unorthodox works no more belong to Islam than Voltaire belongs to Christianity. He was in Moslem culture but not of it, indeed opposed to its orthodox core. He examples the pattern we see again and again: the best Moslems, whether judged by intellectual or political achievement, are usually the least Moslem.

Locke argues that what is wrong with the Islamic world is in fact Islam. Who would have thought?