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?
Hillel Halkin may have lost his objectivity over the Kibbutz Metzer incident, but, he says, moral objectivity is overrated. Touching.
(via LGF)
No More Need To Tiptoe

Charles Krauthammer thinks the UN resolution was a horrible thing for us to get into. He does, however, see some upside.

Resolution 1441 creates a window of legitimacy for the war option. That window allows an accelerated and open buildup of American military power around Iraq. Until now, we have been quietly expanding our air base in Qatar, moving troops into Kuwait, sending our bombers to Diego Garcia. No more need to tiptoe. We can pour everything in openly, indeed ostentatiously. It is, after all, the muscle behind the United Nations.

This window of legitimacy also makes it easier for countries neighboring Iraq to cooperate with the United States in war planning. Turkey, Jordan and the Gulf states have been hesitant to do or say anything too publicly. Now they can easily justify their cooperation: They too are acting in the service of the United Nations by giving substance to the "serious consequences" that might compel Hussein to comply and thus vindicate the United Nations.

All this will change when we actually try to go to war, but we'll see if Bush can find his way out of that trap.


Here is a real Muslim martyr, who is willing to die for his cause. If only Islam had more of these…
(via InstaPundit)
It's not often that you can find the same thing on the op-ed pages of both the NY Times and the WSJ. John Fund joins the Times (Nov 5) in calling the death of the telephone poll. Your humble blogger has also mentioned a thing or two.
Some cool new toys may be on display when we go into Iraq. J. David Galland explores electromagnetic weapons and how they can help.
Richard Just is the editor of the (extremely) liberal American Prospect Online. He joins Christopher Hitchens in arguing for an attack on Iraq. Where Hitchens left the Left behind, Just tries to drag them along, but otherwise it's the same sort of thing. I don't agree with all of it, as you might imagine, but it's a pretty good moral argument. Try not to laugh when he suggests that Bush is following a doctrine that Al Gore laid down.
(via Instapundit)
Here is the eulogy, by their father, of those two little boys whose picture you can find below. Two points if you can read the whole thing without either crying or feeling the need to shoot someone. Actually- I take that back - those are the right responses, so two points if you do.
(via Meryl, who has her own things to say on the subject)


Iranian upheaval, continued.
(via LGF)
Tom Nichols has some good news; our enemies are idiots.

By this I don't mean uneducated, or bereft of cleverness, or lacking in determination. Rather, al Qaeda and those who support them have no sense or concept of strategy whatsoever. At a time when America was having trouble building a coalition against them (and against their potential friends in Iraq), they have done the United States a great service by reminding our friends and allies that groups like al Qaeda are indiscriminately ruthless, focused only on rejoicing in the immediate suffering their attacks create, and more interested in widespread violence than in actually furthering their supposed goals. Their recent attacks have been strategic blunders of the first order — just as was September 11.

He's got a point, but his explanations (near the end of the article), leave something to be desired. Anyone have a better one?
The Professor (that would be Glenn Reynolds, for those not familiar with blog-speak) continues to make the case for our government to give us the tools to act like "a pack, not a herd" Good stuff.
The State Department always sounds like they haven't a clue, but it appears that's just their job. Martin Walker gets a senior State Department official alone and off the record:

"You want to know what I really think of the Europeans?" asked the senior State Department official. "I think they have been wrong on just about every major international issue for the past 20 years."

"They told us they could fix the Bosnian mess all on their own. Wrong." "They told us the Russians would never accept NATO enlargement. Wrong.""They told us that the Russians would never accept National Missile Defense. Wrong." "They told us that if we withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of 1972 the whole structure of international arms control agreements would come crashing down. Wrong." "They told us that the Kyoto Protocol was a good and worthwhile treaty, more than just cosmetics. Wrong.""They told us that the European Union's new common security and defense policy would improve the military abilities of the NATO allies in Europe. Wrong."

"These were also the people who were wrong about Ronald Reagan and the Evil Empire, the same 'friends' who helped vote us off the United Nations Human Rights Commission. These are the people who whine about our Farm Bill when they are the world's prime protectionists. They are not just repeatedly wrong; they are also a bunch of hypocrites. So why should we pay attention to a single thing they say?"

The official, a career diplomat who speaks fluent French and likes to vacation in Italy, sat back and took an appreciative sip from his glass of good red wine from Bordeaux. "One more thing," he added. "Whenever I use the word Europeans, I don't mean the Brits."

I may have to stop making fun of State.
(via InstaPundit)
(via Volokh)
Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus are a hoot today, Strongly recommended.
David Warren on the Game of Chess, and the moves Saddam has left. If you read one thing today make this it.
Dennis Ross says that we need to attack Iraq on Dec 8th, and that letting the inspectors try their hand is a recipe for failure. The inspectors, knowing that an attack will follow any mention of Iraqi non-compliance, will shy away from that sort of thing. But there are other things that will trigger an attack. Greg Buete has analyzed the resolution and found

If Iraq is in violation of UNSCR 986 or another export-related resolution - and it is - then the US will have the right to press for military action and the UN will find itself in a snare trying to excuse it. Unlike weapons inspections, the oil smuggling is difficult to conceal. Actually, that's an understatement. Former CIA operative Bob Baer wrote in his book "See No Evil" that "trucks carrying oil were lined up bumper to bumper, often for as long as twenty miles, waiting to cross into Turkey." Sometimes that Iraqi convoy would stretch for 70 miles.

The point here is that weapons inspections are not the only tool at our disposal.

Stephen Den Beste found something too:

One of the clauses in the unanimously-passed UNSC resolution says that Iraq
...shall not take or threaten hostile acts directed against any representative or personnel of the United Nations or of any member state taking action to uphold any council resolution,
which brings up the interesting point: Is Iraq's constant attempts to shoot down American and British jets a "material breach" which would justify war?
And if so, was this worded the way it was deliberately, in order to slip one by the non-simplisme French? If it turns out they got outmaneuvered on this, they're going to be livid.
How do you say "conniption" in French?

This stuff hasn't been lost on Iraq, they've called the resolution a "trigger to wage war." It looks like there's a whole bunch of them.


The Independent has printed some ridiculous things in the past, but this one really ticks me off. Justin Huggler is writing about the murder of the Ohayoun children in Kibbutz Metzer (see yesterday's last post), and even he can see it's a horrible thing. Then this paragraph:

Many children have died in the conflict here, murdered in their beds before their mothers' eyes. But there was a special reason to mourn yesterday. Kibbutz Metzer is not a Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. The people here are among the most moderate and peace-minded of Israelis.

I've spent the last 24 hours haunted by the pictures of those two children, trying to figure out how a human being can possibly pull the trigger on two children in their cribs with their covers pulled over their heads. In what world-view does that work? It doesn't compute. Huggler is also troubled: Killing Jewish babies? That happens all the time. Leftist Jewish babies? Now that's just wrong.
Robert Kaplan says we do have allies in Europe; they're just not the ones we normally think of. Romania and the rest of Eastern Europe are more solidly in our corner than most of Western Europe.

Romania and Poland will bring a "pro-American critical mass" to NATO, said Mircea Geoana, Romania's foreign minister in an interview. Indeed, whenever Mr. Geoana's French diplomatic counterparts worry about Romania's enthusiasm for the United States, he said he tells them that "after Romania enjoys several decades of prosperity like France, then we will have the luxury of taking the U.S. for granted."

Well said.
It appears that the protests in Iran are getting big enough that even the NY Times has noticed. This is the first article I've seen in the Times about an Iranian protest, and even this article doesn't mention precariousness of the regime, or that this type of thing has been happening for a while. Try comparing this story to the Ledeen story I posted earlier.
Stanley Kurtz engages in some interesting speculation about McCain, The Democrats, and 2004. He thinks that the current schism inside the Democratic party whether to turn left will be the party's undoing.
This is the most convincing advertisement against drunk driving that I could possibly imagine.
In a terrific article in City Journal, James Q. Wilson argues that religious toleration undergirds Western freedom. Islam is centuries behind in developing it, and they better do it before they run out of oil.
Michael Ledeen on the turmoil in Iran. The regime is still wobbly, and the student protests get stronger each time. The last one was Saturday, with another set for today. Faster, please.


This is a picture of Noam and Matan Ohayon, who were, until yesterday, four and five years old. They were killed, along with their mother and two others, in their home in Kibbutz Metzer (which is inside Israel proper, But I don't see why that should make a difference). The boys were found shot dead in their beds as they clutched covers over their heads. The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades has claimed responsibility, but don't worry, Arafat's office has "condemned" it. This is sickening.

William Rees-Mogg writes that this was a revolutionary week in geopolitical reality.

Resolution 1441 is an historic event. It recognises the fact that the United States is the world’s only superpower. It has taken 13 years, since the fall of the Berlin Wall, for an American President to use with confidence the full global power of the United States. He is the first President to understand how strong his country is.

In varying degrees all the important powers of the world have themselves understood the implications of 9/11. Governments have to accept the Ancient Roman maxim that “the safety of the Republic is the supreme law”. If the major governments act together, they can hope to protect their vulnerable populations from global terrorism. The fall of the twin towers, the horror of the Moscow theatre, the Bali bombing, the attack on the Indian parliament and the suicide bombings in Israel have shown everyone how exposed the world is to 21st-century terrorism.

Yet the terrorists cannot take on the whole world, and they cannot hold out against the power of the United States unless other significant powers are prepared to protect terrorists. Resolution 1441 shows that the United States is prepared to carry the responsibility and that the major powers recognise that their safety depends on the success of American action.

I'm not sure that the resolution means everything he thinks it means, but it should.
A Time magazine poll says that the memorial service for Paul Wellstone may have cost Democrats the election.
David Warren on why we so often fail to understand the Muslim world:

These are, still today, cultures of the "pre-Enlightenment"; people not incapable of sympathy, for their own, but not yet versed in the imaginative projection of that sympathy into people who are not their own. And it is not Islam, but the Enlightenment, that stands between East and West in these matters. For we have largely lost the category of an "infidel", and they still have it.

On this side, the endless effort to understand "where those people are coming from", mostly missing the main point that they "do not think as we do". On that side, no effort at all, and it is taken for granted that we are "infidels" simply, living "beyond the pale", even when there is no desire to harm us. For us, there can be both Israeli and Palestinian victims; for them, only Palestinians feel pain.

This is the third in a series of articles on Islam, the first two (The Gale force, Gone Missing) can be found on the left side of his page
Noemie Emery on what fired up the Republicans: The Seemliness Issue
Okay, now I'm really jealous. Blogger John Hawkins scores an interview with Victor Davis Hanson. Quick quote, out of context:

Michael Moore a court-jester brought in to stick his tongue out at his benefactors for their own sick amusement.

You’ve got to love that man.


Tom Rose has a very good rundown on who won and lost in the Israeli government dissolution. In short, Netanyahu won, Sharon lost, but it's not over just yet.
The Russian musical Nord-Ost was performed for the first time since Chechen gunmen burst into their theatre, taking the cast and audience hostage. The performance was a fund-raiser for the musical, which has been virtually bankrupted by the recent events. The performers are now preparing to take Nord-Ost on a tour of Russia, and negotiations are under way to take the show to Israel before (hopefully)returning to the Dubrovka theatre. Information on how to donate to the musical can be found here.
It's National Military Appreciation Month. Though it's not much, you can sign your name to a thank-you note being sent to our Armed Services. Over 1.3 million people already have.
Maureen Dowd wears an abaya! That, and a run-in with the Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, has her missing John Ashcroft.
Can there be an anti-Zionist movement that’s not anti-Semitic? It seems possible, says Hanna Rosin, but no one has found a way to do it yet.


Is the killing of an Al Qaeda member in Yemen by an American Predator drone, the same thing that the Israelis have been doing? You might not be surprised that State Department spokesman Richard Boucher thinks there's a difference. Max Boot, writing in the Weekly Standard, begs to differ: Retaliation for Me, But Not for Thee


Ron Rosenbaum Fisks Gore Vidal in the NY Observer, and trust me, you don't want to miss this one.
(via LGF)
I've been annoyed at the "well now the Republicans are going to be blamed for anything that goes wrong" argument for a couple of days now, but it took Jonah Goldberg to come up with the perfect metaphor:

Of course, they're right. Winning complete, if precarious, control of the entire government carries huge risks for Republicans. But that's life. Your first at-bat in the major league carries huge risks too, but if you wanted to be a professional ballplayer you wouldn't turn down the opportunity.

Sounds about right.
Victor Davis Hanson on the bankruptcy of the anti-Americanists:

what one has to conclude from the present venom is that anti-Americanism is neither logical nor empirical. Indeed, it is a fundamentalist secular religion, not a reasoned stance, one entirely inconsistent and unpredictable in its choice of friends and foes — except for one constant: Whatever America does, it hates.

We are learning that resistance never really entailed opposition to fascism at all, much less the need for intervention to support democracy, but was simply a strange desire to vent displeasure with our own culture. That so many of these ideological teenagers mad at their opulent and indulgent parents are affluent suburbanites suggests the deleterious effects of leisure and wealth; that so many enjoy the appurtenances of nice cars, houses, and travel denotes abject hypocrisy; that so many mindlessly repeat cant and fad reflects the power of belonging to a clique that promises status by being more "sophisticated" and "subtle" than ordinary Americans; that so many demand utopian perfection reminds us that their god Reason is an unforgiving totem; that so many are shrill and angry suggests that they seek global causes to assuage personal unhappiness and anger at a system that has not met their own high demands upon it.

Dare I suggest you read the whole thing?

America Realpolitik has a great bunch of political cartoons today. This is my favorite, click the picture for the rest.

Charles Krauthammer says that "no message" is just code for "no ideas"

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats were defeated because they had no message. This is true. But it makes it sound like a question of political technique. The reason Democrats have no message is that they have no ideas. When prescription drugs is your poster issue, you know you're in trouble (particularly when Republicans have accepted a prescription drug benefit in principle and the argument is about how best to administer it).

The trouble is that the Democrats created a great and successful revolution with the New Deal, tried to advance it with the Great Society, and when that failed, they gave up thinking.

Peggy Noonan has an interesting column on the same lack of ideas: Can the Democrats find a purpose?
Paul Hollander, Victor Hanson, Dann Flynn and Stanley Kurtz answer questions about anti-Americanism. Enlightening.
Democrats have been consoling themselves, and spinning, that Republicans did well by winning a whole bunch of close races, but the country remained 50-50. Not so. Steve Sailer of UPI reports that in the 36 gubernatorial races the Republicans got 52.8 percent of the vote to 47.2 percent for the Democrats. (That's ignoring 3rd party votes) In the 34 senatorial elections, it was Republicans 52.2 percent vs. 47.8 percent for the Democrats. And nationwide in the 435 House contests, the GOP took 53.4 percent to only 46.6 percent for the Democrats, a nearly 7-percentage-point margin. In 2000 the Republicans won the house with a narrow 1.2-point advantage. Another UPI article points out that in the battle for the state legislatures the Republicans won a net gain of about 200 legislative seats and will hold a majority of these seats for the first time since Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. The spin is getting wobblier by the day.
(via Peter Schramm of No Left Turns)
Iraq is calling the U.N. resolution a 'trigger to wage war.' Umm…That was kind of the point. Glad to see we're on the same page.
Christopher Hitchens makes the case against the case against "regime change" in Iraq.

and here is the clinching and obvious point—Saddam Hussein is not going to survive. His regime is on the verge of implosion. It has long passed the point of diminishing returns. Like the Ceausescu edifice in Romania, it is a pyramid balanced on its apex (its powerbase a minority of the Sunni minority), and when it falls, all the consequences of a post-Saddam Iraq will be with us anyway. To suggest that these consequences—Sunni-Shi'a rivalry, conflict over the boundaries of Kurdistan, possible meddling from Turkey or Iran, vertiginous fluctuations in oil prices and production, social chaos—are attributable only to intervention is to be completely blind to the impending reality. The choices are two and only two—to experience these consequences with an American or international presence or to watch them unfold as if they were none of our business. (I respect those who say that the United States should simply withdraw from the Middle East, but I don't respect them for anything but their honesty.)

Hitchens is a leftie with a conscience, which makes him not much of a leftie.


I have been a big fan of Dick Morris's for a while, and today, after being horribly wrong in his pre-election predictions, he gives me some more reasons.

TODAY, I have egg on my face, for predicting a Democratic win. Pardon me while I wipe it off. In politics, you are either right or wrong, and when you're wrong, you need to understand why so you don't make the same mistake again - you make new ones.

He goes on to explain why he thinks the Dems lost this time. And he quotes one of my favorite poems. I'm still a fan.
Dinesh D’Souza has a priceless column on the Democrat's need to move to the left. He is fully supportive, but he wants to make sure they take the move to it's logical conclusion.

This Democratic approach would be based on the political wisdom embodied in George Bernard Shaw's maxim, "Any government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on Paul's support." The secret, of course, is to make sure that the beneficiaries of this state-sponsored robbery (potential Democratic voters) outnumber those who are robbed (potential Republican voters).

Finally, the Democrats could become the party of moral degeneracy. In recent years the Democrats have not embraced moral degeneracy outright. They have contented themselves with hiding behind the slogan of "liberty." If accused of encouraging pornography, the Democrats have said, "No, we are for liberty of expression." Charged with supporting abortion-on-demand, the Democrats insist, "No, we are the party that gives women freedom over their own bodies." Caught distributing sex kits and homosexual instruction manuals to young people, the Democrats protest, "We are merely attempting to give people autonomy and freedom of choice."

But what is the need for this coyness? The Democrats should stop hiding behind "freedom of choice" and become blatant advocates for divorce, illegitimacy, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality, and pornography. Indeed the Democrats could become the Party of the Seven Deadly Sins. The political advantage of this approach is that the Seven Deadly Sins are immensely popular. Imagine the political opportunities if all vices were associated with the Democratic party!

I, for one, am a big believer in Sloth, and if the Democrats can convince me that they are the only ones who can safeguard it for the future, I'd have to vote for them.
Rod Dreher has some interesting stuff on the Louisiana runoff

Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu, who faces an expensive and brutal slog to the December 7 runoff, turning the knives on her own campaign. Landrieu, who goes head-to-head with Republican challenger Suzanne Haik Terrell, purged her political consultants in the wake of the national GOP sweep, and is planning to go it alone. Landrieu yesterday fired her Washington advisers, and according to a high-level Democratic source, is "preparing to go to war" with the national party to keep its tacticians and staff away from her campaign.

Landrieu seems to think associating herself with her party will be deadly to her chances. Can't blame her.
Some analysts of what went wrong for the Dems have called for them to move left and embrace their base. I'm not sure I agree, I don't think the Dem's are idiots. They felt opposing the President forcefully would have lost them some votes, and I think they were probably right. Losing by doing things one way, doesn't necessarily mean the other way would have been any better. They could have easily done worse. Moving left would hurt them now, as surely as it would have two months ago. John Podhoretz sees things about the same way.
Eric Raymond has an interesting post on what he calls post-modern politics. (The permalink is not working, It's the post for Nov. 6) He also provides an article that claims The anti-war movement is an honest-to-goodness Communist front. Fascinating.


BBC: Iran power struggle nears showdown
Jonah Goldberg has some interesting questions on what might be coming next:

The first thing Bush has got to do is move some judges through the Senate. Whether he should lead with the most controversial ones or the least is a tricky question. The Left and the Democrats will paint anybody the Republicans confirm as a hate-mongering, Orwellian goose-stepper. So the question is, does that mean you should put the most palatable ones up first, so the Dems look hysterical for no good reason — or do you put the hard-core guys up first because this may be the GOP's only chance? I don't know. But I do know that the conservative base demands, expects, and deserves a lot of good judges to be confirmed by the Senate because of this, and Bush needs to placate them right away.

There's just one thing that for sure, it's going to be interesting.
Danial Pipes has found that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is not simply a Middle Eastern problem. New Jersey has its problems too.
I think the real story of this Election, far bigger than Bush's coat tails, is the polls. Why did the media think these races were so close? Because the polls said they were. Media bias? Not really, except in pretending that the polls are accurate. I can't really blame them; polls are all they have to report. But, as Dick Morris has been yelling, telephone polls are dead. They skew Democratic because some people don't pick up the phone, and those people tend to vote Republican. Some states have even made it illegal to call people who have "opted out" of being called by any sort of solicitors. In Connecticut, for example, 29 percent of the state's households have chosen to use the opt-out and 5% get added to that list each year. Random samples? Yeah right.


I don't know about you, but I'm checking Vodkapundit for up to the minute info and biting sarcasm.

Update:Thank You Stephen, for Herculean effort, that was unbelievably up-to-the-minute, though surprisingly light on the sarcasm.

In issuing a travel advisory, and getting the US to back down, Canada has scored a diplomatic victory, but, asks David Frum, what are they trying to do?

On the very same day Graham announced his big diplomatic win, he informed the House foreign affairs committee that Canada would continue to permit the so-called political arm of Hezbollah to operate freely in Canada. He explained, "We don't believe it would be appropriate to label as terrorists innocent doctors, teachers and other people who are seeking to do charitable and other good works in their communities."

My first reaction to this statement was a kind of awe. How can anyone manage to be such a fool as that? OK, so maybe Graham doesn't listen to his intelligence briefings or look at the documents in his dispatch box. But does he not even read the newspapers? Is it possible to be the foreign minister of a country supposedly allied with the United States in the war on terror and not have the faintest understanding of how the world's second-deadliest terror organization does its murderous work?

It's hard to see why Canada is so keen to take the Euroweenie position on these things.
The NY Times has more on why the telephone poll is becoming less and less effective over time. Dick Morris wrote a similar article in September.
Most of the stuff I've read about the France's position on Iraq has pointed to their monetary interests. No one (sane) had suggested that France was really buying Saddam's act. If Amir Taheri's take on things is correct, then the French are far dumber than I had ever imagined.
Dennis Prager says that the majority of muslims are peaceful - so what?

Thus, what is most frightening is not that there are Muslim terrorists, but by how little criticism of Islamic terror emanates from normative Islamic groups. While some Muslim groups have condemned individual acts of Islamic terror such as 9-11, not one significant Muslim group in the world, including here in free America, has condemned Islamic terror generally. And the leaders of Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious institution of Islamic learning, have actually morally and religiously come out in support of Islamic suicide terror against Israelis.

So the fact that the majority of those living in the Islamic countries are good people is of no consequence. Unless they do something to condemn and to isolate the Muslim totalitarians and terrorists in their midst, history will judge them as it has all the good Germans during the Holocaust.

He's right, there are times when standing idle is a crime, and this is no doubt one of those.


Barbera Lerner has an interesting theory on why Turkey has remained the only Arab democracy in the Middle East.The Military.

the Turks did something more, something that strikes most Westerners as utterly incongruous: they created an elected, civilian government, but they made the Turkish military the guardian of their constitution, giving it the power to depose civilian rulers who violate its basic tenets, a power the military has exercised three times since 1950. All these military takeovers were brief and bloodless, and each time, the military voluntarily returned power to an elected civilian government. But, to most Western observers, that doesn't change the fact that these were serious lapses from democratic governance, lapses into despotism. Benevolent despotism, perhaps, but despotism nonetheless.

I disagree. I think the Turkish military is the great secret of Turkish democracy — a fifth reason for its remarkable longevity. It keeps Turkey democratic by acting as a necessary limit on the potential excesses of popular majorities and the sometimes demagogic elected leaders who represent them, a role not unlike the one the Supreme Court plays in our own republic. And like our own justices, Turkish military officers profess loyalty only to the constitution, not to any politician or party. At first glance, it may seem crazy to com-pare military officers to justices, but to understand the Turkish military and its role in Turkish life, you have to start, once again, by discarding old stereotypes — this time, about the military and the sort of men who become its leaders, especially in the Mideast. We all know only too well about ignorant, greedy, megalomaniacal military thugs like Gamal Abdel Nasser and Saddam Hussein, but Turkish military officers are nothing like that.

This is some interesting stuff, and it's the first time I've seen the idea. I am not sure I'm comfortable with it.
Jonah Goldberg understands the bitter partisanship fighting over judicial appointments. After all, the more power you give judges, the more important who those judges are becomes.
Robert Bartley thinks the Republicans have won the war of ideas, but in being afraid to claim the mantle of Reaganism, have yet to capitalize on their success
Flash fun:

Time To Bomb Saddam

Let's Dance!

I just watched this German TV documentary (it's in english) on the death of Mohamed Al Dura, which touched off the current Palestinian Intifada. The documentary pretty much proves that Palestinian gunman, not Israeli soldiers, killed him. It's a fascinating window into the conflict in general, and how the news is manufactured. If you have 54 minutes, you can learn all you need to know about the "news" you watch on TV.
(via LGF)
Iran is heating up. Michael Ledeen's latest has some interesting new details.
A new survey of European public opinion has some scary news:

21% harbor strong anti-Semitic views. 34% in Spain, 23% in Italy, 22% in Switzerland, 19% in Austria, 7% in the Netherlands
56% believe Jews are more loyal to Israel than their own country. 72% in Spain, 58% in Italy, 54% in Austria, 49% in Switzerland, 48%, The Netherlands
40% believe that Jews have too much power in international financial markets. 71% in Spain
29% say Jews don't care about anyone but their own kind. Spain and Switzerland 34%
25% say Jews are more willing than others to use shady practices to get what they want. Spain 33%, Austria 28%, Italy and Switzerland 27%
49% believe Jews still talk too much about the Holocaust. Spain 57%, Austria 56%, Switzerland 52%, Italy 43%, The Netherlands 35%

The above link is to the press release, the complete findings can be found at the top right.
(link via Instapundit)
The Financial Times is reporting that Iran is offering its help fighting for regime change in Iraq. We'll see. They've apparently also mentioned a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Uh-huh.
Robert Kagan writes that there's a reason for the way France is treating the UN proceedings on Iraq. Endlesss negotiations are a good thing in France's Dream World.

By the way, If you haven't yet read Kagan's Power and Weakness, stop wasting your time here and get to it.


I just read an interesting profile of Condaleeza Rice written by Nicholas Lemann and published in The New Yorker. Someone Emailed it to me, and I can't find a link, so I've posted it here. Enjoy.
(thank you David)


The New Republic joins all the (mostly conservative) voices calling for France to lose their veto power at the Security Council.

"How many Frenchmen does it take to hold Paris?" goes the old joke. "Nobody knows." A little nasty, perhaps, but it suggests the deeper issue underlying France's continued opposition (as of this writing) to a resolution threatening force if Iraq obstructs U.N. weapons inspectors: Why is France on the Security Council at all? Paris got its permanent membership (and thus its Security Council veto) as a reward for having helped defeat Nazi Germany. But while the French suffered under Nazism, it was the Americans, Russians, and British who defeated it. (Winston Churchill's envoy to France famously called Charles de Gaulle the heaviest cross he had to bear during World War II.) Another rationale holds that France owes its seat to its status as an independent nuclear power. But India now boasts that distinction as well, and--with its massive population, growing economy, and third-world democracy--it would be a far more compelling choice. In truth, France's fantasies of grandeur--fantasies that are decades, if not centuries, out of date--would be laughable, except that they are taken seriously in Turtle Bay. And so the Bush administration must endlessly negotiate with a country whose Iraq policy is motivated by petro-dollars and anti-American resentment, particularly the anti-American (and anti-Western) resentment of its Muslim immigrant masses. Why not stop the charade and let France veto the Iraq resolution? The United States and its allies could, on their own, eliminate the unconventional weapons of that most unconventional tyrant, Saddam Hussein. And, as a side benefit, the United Nations would suffer a humiliation so profound that it might force some long-overdue reconsideration of the Security Council's anachronistic composition. For international organizations to be relevant, privilege must follow power, and for them to be admirable, privilege must follow decency. Nothing would more dramatically further both goals than dethroning France.

Isn't TNR supposed to be on the liberal side of the aisle? What gives? Their take on Iraq, and Israel, seems to put them to the right of even some Republicans.
Jonah Goldberg writes of pigs Jews & war. It's quite good, and he mentions something I should have posted earlier, a report by MEMRI.org on the pervasiveness of the "Jews as apes and pigs" idea throughout the Arab world. It should be of interest to those of you who are either Jewish or simply offended by that sort of thing (and I hope all of you fit into at least one of those categories).
David Warren on Israel's move rightward:

The inability to learn from mistakes is as much a defining characteristic of the left in Israel, as anywhere else. There is a fundamental incomprehension of cause and effect; a failure to grasp that if Israel unilaterally abandons the settlements, Palestinian terrorists will then redouble their efforts against the Israel that remains within the Green Line. For them it will be another "great victory". The argument is almost too simple to make; but the people who distribute and receive Nobel Peace Prizes cannot get it. (A bit of an exaggeration: Mr. Arafat understands it perfectly well.)

It's a pretty good analysis of the situation.


Victor Davis Hanson writes that what might not be directly connected to Al Qaeda is still "Al Qaedaism".

The violent terrorist acts share an ostensible theme of either reflecting the aims of al Qaeda or professing some sympathy with radical Islamic fundamentalism. They are as dangerous as the work of terror cells because they presage a sporadic, spontaneous, and nearly unpredictable outbreak of violence that is also decentralized and untraceable. In short, rather than being al Qaeda shock troops, these killers and criminals are al Qaedistic — or perhaps show symptoms of a malady we should call "al Qaedism."

No one writes more clearly and forcefully than Hanson, and this one is no exception.
Political Props
Head over to American Realpolitik for this morning's batch of political Cartoons.
The University of Iowa runs an actual futures market on elections. Investors can buy, with real money, contracts for various electoral outcomes, for the coming election, contracts are available for 4 possible outcomes: Republican House/Republican Senate, Republican House/Democratic Senate, Democratic House/Republican Senate, and Democratic House/Democratic Senate. This is too cool.
Today's Must-read: Daniel Pipes has the feature article in this month's Commentary it's called Jihad and the Professors, and while it's not a new topic, I hope this article can have some impact.
George Will is steamed about the coming Floridization of the nations elections.

The registered voters in St. Louis included Ritzy Mekler, who was only 13. Still, that is old for a springer spaniel, which Ritzy is. Registration rates in St. Louis are wondrous. In most cities, the number of persons registered is about 65 percent of the city's voting-age population. In St. Louis last year the number of registrants was a remarkable 99 percent. Surely most were bipeds.
In politics, lawfulness is not always mandatory, according to the Lautenberg Principle. That principle was pioneered by New Jersey's Democratic Party and its servant, the state's Supreme Court, which rewrote state law to allow former senator Frank Lautenberg to take the ballot place of Sen. Robert Torricelli, a likely loser. The principle is that campaign and election laws are laws for Republicans and suggestions for Democrats.

Our election laws, or I should say, some of our States' election laws, need some serious fixing, and after what is probably going to happen in the next few weeks, we're probably going to get some. The Democrats are about to shoot themselves in the foot. Anything that makes it harder to vote, or makes it harder to vote more than once, helps the Republican Party.
Krauthammer: Don't go Wobbly at the UN.
Mark Asks:

My question is this, if the UN falters, what will be the long term result? In the short term we all know that Iraq is done and the war continues, but will member states begin to withdraw and reform in smaller coalition groups? Or will the UN still limp along, blind to it's own irrelevance? I suspect it'll be a combination of the two. Though even if some alliance of nations tried to challenge us, or impede us, they would simply lack the power to do so.

Would the world come to terms with the fact that the UN can't work, or just pretend that it does and keep on with business as usual?

Once we start feeling that the UN is not the best way to deal with our foreign relations, and we have we a way to do so without the whole world howling, it's gone. Let us not forget we fund something like half the damn thing. The only reason an anti-American UN continues to exist, is that we have always felt we needed something like it, and we feared what kind of message ending it would send. I think Bush feels that Iraq aside, the war on terror will, more likely than not, mean getting involved in some other actual wars, and the UN has the possibility of being a royal pain. That's why what Bush is doing is so fascinating; the UN is either going to serve our interests, or we're going to run it into the ground.

Consider this: We go into Iraq with a coalition of countries that are willing to help, while Annan and Chirac scream bloody murder. Maybe, if we're lucky, they'll pass a few resolutions condemning us as war criminals or something. Assuming Iraq goes well, the UN is essentially over. Who would argue with our withholding our dues? We could kick them all out of the country, but we wouldn't need to. We can simply stop participating; without us, the whole thing is a charade. This probably won't happen, but only because we do need something like it. It would be nice to knock it out for a few years, wipe up some Islamic terrorist states, and then build it back up again. The ball is in their court, but Bush is playing for keeps, and the UN is going to come along or be trampled underfoot.

The short answer is the UN will exists as long as we are participating, and not a minute longer.