9.30.2002

Many political commentators have slammed Al Gore's speech last Monday as being empty and cynical ("bitterness is not a policy position", "entirely dishonest, cheap, low.") Most of those same pundits also think it was a bad political move (Bill Bennet is calling it "Political Suicide"), but James Robbins of NRO begs to differ, the speech, in his view, was a political masterpiece. It wasn't about policy; it was about the race for 2002:

in the rush to scorn Al Gore for daring to speak the unspeakable, I hope that Republican strategists are taking a moment to step back from the fray to understand what is going on.

The game, says Robbins, is afoot.
Robert Prather has the scoop on signs that the American public is unofficially and and quietly boycotting German products.
Mark Steyn on those loopy obfuscating Democrats:

Tom (The Undertaker) Daschle has ''concerns.'' He has ''grave concerns.'' His concerns have concerns. He's gravely concerned the president isn't concerned about some of his concerns and that concerns him all the more. Plus he's concerned that the Republicans may be politicizing the political process. Also, he has ''questions.'' Thousands of questions: Has the president weighed all the options? Is the president aware of the risks? Could the president weigh all the options a couple more times? Is the president aware there may be some risks he's not aware of? When the president says he's weighing all the options, is that in pounds or kilograms? Does the president know who put the bomp in the bomp-sh-bomp-sh-bomp, who put the ram in the ram-a-lama-ding-dong? Where have all the flowers gone? What kind of fool am I? If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can't I? In the immortal words of David Cassidy, how can I be sure in a world that's constantly changing?

Steyn also points out the ironic collapse of Al Gore's only courageous stance in the past 12 years (his pro-war Iraq stance), just as the Democratic party moves toward his original position.
(via American Realpolitik)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has been caught (once again) playing fast and loose with the truth. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council is on the record claiming that the Mossad carried out the September 11th attacks. He has denied making that claim though the reporter who did the interview says she has him on tape. This is not the first time Awad has been caught up in this type of controversy. He was an editor of the Muslim World Monitor in 1994 when that Dallas-based Palestinian paper published an unsigned editorial about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that included this claim: "There is ample evidence indicating that both the Mossad and the Egyptian Intelligence played a role in the explosion." Awad denied writing the editorial.

It is about time we stopped caring about CAIR.

Eve Tushnet asks in The Weekly Standard: Will Bloggers Save the Middle East?
James Lacey isn't worried about the threat of an attack on Saddam setting off a wider regional war. The US, and Israel, need not worry about Arab armies, we could take them all if we needed to.

…the Arab world, except Iran, has no significant military power to speak of, certainly nothing that can threaten the United States. Our force structure is no longer capable of fighting them all at the same time, but we could certainly wreck each in succession. Since they have no ability to move their forces far beyond their own borders, they'd have no choice but to sit and wait for their turn. (At best. How many troops would even stay on station after seeing the Iraqi Army dismembered?) Arab armies would be just so much cannon fodder for a modern U.S. air campaign.

Any military power they do have is needed at home to keep their regimes in power.
Bernard Lewis is solidly behind regime change:

the dictatorships that rule much of the Middle East today will not, indeed cannot, make peace, because they need conflict to justify their tyrannical oppression of their own people, and to deflect their peoples' anger against an external enemy. As with the Axis and the Soviet Union, real peace will come only with their defeat or, preferably, collapse, and their replacement by governments that have been chosen and can be dismissed by their people and will therefore seek to resolve, not provoke, conflicts.

From the sound of that, it seems like he's talking about a lot more than Baghdad.

9.27.2002

The Baghdad Express is on track, says David Warren, even if it has to plow through a couple of cows on the track.
Have you seen ScrappleFace? Here's my favorite (though they're all side-splitting)

Candidate Daschle Would Have No Comment About Anything


(2002-09-25) -- Senator Tom Daschle said today that if he runs for president he'll have 'no comment' about anything.

"I just don't want to politicize the economy, foreign policy, social security, welfare, domestic security, and all these other issues that involve people's lives," the Senator said.

Earlier, Daschle had lambasted the Bush administration for "politicizing" the potential war with Iraq.

"Then it struck me," he said, "that all these issues we talk about involve people, and potentially even death. And so we don't want to cheapen that with the tawdry rhetoric of politics."

Daschle said that if he runs for president, rather than give speeches and news conferences propounding his views on the issues, he'll devote his time to simple acts of kindness toward strangers, far from the media spotlight.

If you haven't been there, go now!

Over at Little Green Footballs, Charles has been providing translations of Friday sermons from across the Muslim world for quite a while now. They are chock full of invective, calling for Jihad against Jews and Christians worldwide. This week he provides a video link courtesy of MEMRI. Though I don't normally read them all the way through, I stuck with the video. Check it out
Kenneth M. Pollack was a member of the National Security Council in the Clinton administration, and the principal working-level official responsible for implementing U.S. policy on Iraq. Pollack has grudgingly concluded that the post-Gulf War policy of containment deployed against Saddam by the United States has irretrievably broken down. He wrote an op-ed for the New York Times yesterday on Why Iraq Can't be Deterred. He has also written a book called "The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq." which Stanley Kurtz calls "a book of utmost public importance"
Gerald Steinberg says if attacked, Israel will not sit on the sidelines this time.
Victor Davis Hanson sees no reason to think war with Iraq would be any harder this time than last.

There may well be surprises in store for everyone when the shooting starts in Iraq. But comparison with the first Gulf War suggests cause for present optimism not despair; and we must not take counsel of our fears. We may be more easily caricatured by both friends and enemies as imperial, interventionist, and unilateralist than last time, but we are also fighting for a far better cause — and in a world that is no longer once what it was.

While there were many uncomfortable things about the first Gulf War, this time, he says, the goals are clearer, and far nobler.
Dick Morris (whom I trust almost completely in matters of practical politics), says that the telephone poll is dead.
(via Volokh)
Charles Krauthammer joins the crowd mocking Gore's foray back into politics. Krauthammer of course, does his job beautifully, but the crown for best Gore bashing quote has to go to the editors over at The New Republic, who said "bitterness is not a policy position".

9.26.2002

Ilan Berman writes of the continuing re-alignment of mideast politics that are pushing Israel, India, and Turkey ever closer together.
Joel Mowbray adds an interesting twist to the Daschle madness. In Missouri, the Talent-Carnahan race is a special election, so Talent would become senator immediately upon winning, instead of in January like other newly elected members. The Talent addition would put the GOP back into the majority (with 50 senators and Vice President Cheney) for any lame-duck session at the end of the year, regardless of which party controls the Senate come January. Talent is currently in a dead heat with Carnahan , but has some momentum.

9.25.2002

Stanley Kurtz points out that Saddam has proven more than once in the past that deterrence is not an effective tool against his insanity, and while some of us may not get it, the Israelis sure do:

Is it not extraordinary that the Israelis would like to see us attack Iraq, knowing that it will almost surely prompt an attack on Tel Aviv by Saddam's chemical and biological weapons? Why do the Israelis willingly risk this? It is because they know that once Saddam Hussein has a nuclear bomb, he will find a way to give it to terrorists for use against Israel. Clearly, Israel does not believe that the logic of deterrence will work with Saddam. Although they have nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver them to Baghdad, the Israelis know that they face the very real possibility of waking up one morning to find that the heart of Tel Aviv has been wiped off the face of the earth. The Israelis take this danger so seriously that they are willing to subject themselves to chemical and biological attack to protect against it.

Do we not understand that we are now, and have been for some time, every bit as much a target for Saddam Hussein as the Israelis?

UNconscionable

Claudia Rosett has uncovered a real accounting scandal: The oil-for-UN jobs program.

Oil-for-Food has matured into an unholy union between Saddam Hussein, with his command economy, and the U.N., with its big, buck-passing bureaucracy. By now, the two are effectively partners in what might just as well be called the Oil-for-U.N.-Jobs program. Even with its weapons inspectors barred from the country, the U.N. by now has 10 agencies employing 900 international staffers and 3,000 Iraqi nationals inside Iraq to administer the program, plus another 120 or so in New York.

The program makes the UN Iraq's biggest business partner. It also dwarfs the rest of the UN's budget. The main beneficiaries in terms of countries are Russia and France. (Surprised?) Dare we say to those who claim the proposed war is about oil, that oil is far better at explaining the motivations of those who seek to avoid war?
Michael Kelly blasts Gore's speech in the strongest terms I've seen yet. Her's a little example:

Gore's speech was one no minimally decent politician could have delivered. It was entirely dishonest, cheap, low. It was utterly hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts — bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in smarmy tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere politics. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate.

One interesting note: As many of you are probably aware, syndicated columnists don't get to choose their own headlines. Sometimes the editors choice of headline misses the point of the article completely, and the same article can sometimes have conflicting headlines in different publications. Nobody missed the point of this one, but some editors are more willing to go with it than others.

Townhall.com: Gore-ing Iraq

Washington Post: Look Who's Playing Politics

Then there is my personal favorite...
The Seattle Times: A despicable speech from a contemptible man

Exactly.

I disagree completely with the point of this article, but the first half is too interesting too ignore. Elaine Scarry asks some pretty tough questions regarding the Sep. 11 flight most of us ignore: Flight 77.

the US military on Sept. 11 had a luxurious amount of time to protect the Pentagon. They had more than minutes. The plane that took the Pentagon by surprise could not be stopped despite a one-hour-and-21-minute warning that multiple planes had been hijacked, despite a 58-minute warning that the hijackers intended to maximize the number of casualties, despite a 55-minute warning that Flight 77 might possibly be a hijacked flight, and despite a 20-minute warning that Flight 77 was certainly a hijacked flight.

The article also includes a pretty comprehensive wrap-up of the last minutes of flight 93.
David Warren is Counting Germany Out. The Germans have a lot to lose in their relationship with the US, including the military assets we keep there:

Suddenly and conveniently, at a time when U.S. resources are much needed elsewhere, the Schroeder government has provided the Americans with an excuse to pack up and leave.

The Germans may be as surprised as the Saudi Arabians were, to discover how mobile the U.S. forces have become. For within several months of the Saudi government's suggestion that the U.S. might not be allowed to use its air and command facility at Prince Sultan air base, the Americans had, without any publicity, pulled up pegs and moved most of its operations to Qatar. I am reliably informed that important German-based U.S. command functions and even standby bombers had already been transferred to England and elsewhere, during the German election, to reduce exposure to any Schroeder political stunt.

With the election now decided, the U.S. has a further interest in making the Germans pay a heavy price for Mr. Schroeder's anti-American posturing; for in the present state of the world, the U.S. can no longer afford to indulge unreliable allies.

Warren expects that we will continue to remove our assets without replacement. There are plenty of other European countries that will be happy to have them.

9.24.2002

Breaking News: Nothing happened today, but it could have…
I've been watching some cable TV news and at the news break of every hour all the stations seem to be reporting that Marilyn Toogood, the mother caught beating her children last week, was supposed to have a meeting with her daughter today, but it was cancelled due to the flu. Is this what we've come to? Even if you feel Toogood story is national news (which it's not), is it big enough to report on even when nothing happens?
The new Smarter Harper's Index is up!!! Check it out. Now. This means you!!!
Here is some more controversy from Concordia College in Montreal. The Student Union handbook is called "Uprising" and some of the things in it are quite interesting:

The handbook, paid for with annual student fees, is a virtual glorification of worldwide revolution, containing articles advocating Canadian flag-burning and calling for a Steal Something Day.

"Stealing is just. Theft is exploitative. Stealing is when you take a yuppie's BMW for a joyride and crash into a parked Mercedes, just for the hell of it," the article reads.

A poem in the handbook calls on students to "take arms for the revolution… rise up….. gripping like a fist….. smash the state…."

An article by Rasha Ayouby examines "What It Means to Be a Palestinian." "I want Jerusalem, for I was born there, for my mother and grandmother were born there, for my father and grandfather were born there. Must I go on?" Ayouby asks.

The school receives 85 percent of its funding from the government, and has more than 25,000 students at its two campuses in the Montreal area.
(via Instapundit)
Next time you get mad about one of those Nigerian spam emails, just be thankful they aren't knocking on your door. If you're looking for other things to be thankful for, be thankful you're smarter than this woman.
(via The Lexfiles)
Daniel Pipes explains Transnational Progressivism in the NY Post, he likes the term "bureaucratic leftism", but he references John Fonte's article. It's the first mention of the term I've seen in the mainstream press, and it's about time someone called it by its name.

9.23.2002

Rev. Gregory Markle over at American Realpolitik puts the Gore speech in context.
Concordia college in Montreal, where a mob of Pro-Palestinian protesters kept Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking last week, has had another incident. A 29 year-old Jewish business student was attacked Arab students. A university official said no extra security had been added since the Sept. 9 riot.
(via Kesher talk)
Noemie Emery writes in the Weekly Standard that no President since Truman has had the daunting task of remaking the US's role in the world:

Several Presidents have had to wage wars, but only two, Bush and Truman, have had to perceive them, and then to define them as wars. In 1946 Truman was faced by a specific event: the declaration by Britain that it could not protect Greece and Turkey. He might have said he was stepping in to take Britain's place in this one instance. He didn't. Instead, he announced, in his great speech to Congress, that he intended to check the onslaught of Communist power, wherever it rose up on Earth. On September 11, Bush was faced by a specific event, the attacks on New York and the Pentagon. He could have defined these as criminal acts and announced his intention to bring those who planned them to justice. He didn't. Instead, he took the occasion of his great speech to Congress to declare a world war on terrorists, including the states who harbor and fund them. Each took a specific event and responded to it on the maximum level, extrapolating from and beyond it to a long-term commitment of national power. Each moved from a local event to a global crusade. Truman's took 54 years.
I'm listening to Al Gore beat up on Bush regarding the War on Terror and Iraq. Gutsy move Albert, not the right one, but gutsy. It should blow up in his face, but who knows? He's attacking the pre-emption strategy, accusing bush of forsaking the War on Terror for a War on Iraq, and saying that we need to avoid 'unilateralism'. I think he's trying to earn the job of Justice Minister in the new German government.

Update: Here's the transcript. (via Cut on the Bias)

Mark Steyn is smoking something; or rather he's smoking more of whatever it is he's normally on. This is really wacky. I'm not sure what his point is, or that he actually has a point. It's about Iraq. I think.
Iran Update
Michael Ledeen writes that while the people get restless the mullahs prepare for war.

The Asia times says that surprisingly, it's the moderate clergy that have the best chance of reforming Iran.

David Warren has a thing or two to say about the foreign policy paper that the White House has released:

"The National Security Strategy of the United States", is worth reading with attention. It does not require Congressional approval, it is a plain statement by the Administration. And it is to our times as the Monroe Doctrine of 1822, but extended now from the Western Hemisphere round the rest of the planet. It begins with an echo of "manifest destiny" (the phrase coined later, in 1845) -- announcing that in the 21st century, the U.S. will unambiguously and consistently take sides, will in fact crusade on behalf of that "single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy and free enterprise". American diplomacy and foreign aid will be turned positively to that end. There is a candid acknowledgement that the U.S. has inherited the power of the world; and thus inherits the responsibility to make it better.

I certainly agree it's a worthwhile read. So check out your government's plan for the future.

9.20.2002

While I'm on the subject of the UN (and I was 3 and 4 posts ago), Jay Nordlinger ends an excellent batch of Impromptus with a reader's comment:

Perhaps as the EU moves closer and closer to a model of a ‘united states’ (their single currency, all-European military force, etc.), the Europeans should consider paring down their presence at the U.N. to a single ambassador. Alternatively, the U.S. could send a delegate from each of our 50 states.

Now there is a resolution I could get behind.
"The idea is to leave him with maybe two rooms and a toilet - if he's lucky" -Uri Dan has the scoop on what Israel is doing in Arafat's compound today.
Sailors on the USS Abraham Lincoln spell it out for us...

Victor Davis Hanson Tries to sum up all the reasons we need to attack Iraq and tries to answer these questions one at a time:

Does Saddam Hussein really pose a deadly or immediate threat to the United States — and how, as a democracy, in good conscience can we act preemptively?

But won't we set a bad precedent? Maybe India or Russia will do the same?

If we are so worried about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, why aren't its immediate neighbors equally concerned?

And Europe? How can we ignore their worries?

And the U.N.?

Aren't we diverting our attention from al Qaeda?

Won't Saddam's removal destabilize the region?

But didn't we back Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran?

Won't Saddam gas our troops, hit Israel, or send agents to blow up cities in America?

But how can you be so sure that it will be easy or right to remove Saddam Hussein?

But why do we have to fight the Iraqi people, who are innocent?

Why pick on Iraq when there are also other members of the axis of evil?

The article is sort of an "Everything you wanted to know about an Attack on Iraq, but were afraid to ask or, if you're Chris Mathews, you won't stop asking. (Man, is that guy getting shrill).

Charles Krauthammer takes issue with all the praise Bush's UN initiative has been receiving (I for one, called it brilliant).

When the case for war is made purely in terms of American national interest -- in terms of the safety, security and very lives of American citizens -- chins are pulled as the Democrats think it over. But when the case is the abstraction of being the good international citizen and strengthening the House of Kofi, the Democrats are ready to parachute into Baghdad….

This fawning over the president's rescue-the-U.N. rationale is not just sentimental, it is illogical. Assume -- big assumption -- that the United Nations does act and passes a resolution magnanimously allowing Americans to fight and die in Iraq. How does that rescue the United Nations from irrelevance?

Krauthammer misses the point (I cannot believe I just wrote that); the answer of course is that it doesn't rescue the UN from irrelevance at all. Bush has no desire to rescue the UN. Krauthammer takes Bush's statements as his motivations. The Bush Administration wants to go to Iraq, and their motivations are most likely the very ones Krauthammer says they should be (safety, security, lives of American citizens etc.) Bush faced considerable opposition from Democrats and Eurocrats on the basis of their belief in Liberal internationalism (Krauthammer's term), and its skepticism of military action and naked national interest.

Bush could have made a great case for an attack on Iraq using all of the real reasons we need to remove Saddam. His administration, as well as the media, have been hashing those out for months now, and the case is compelling. Except that it wasn't to the Euroweenies, who were giving enough cover to the Democrats for them to play little obfuscating games with where they actually stand.

Those of us who were convinced that regime change was necessary before the UN speech, likely felt that way for all the right reasons, but the beauty of the speech was that it managed to convince many of the holdouts that their wrong ones work just as well.

Mona Charen begins her UN bashing column today with this precious quote:

The United Nations is one of those institutions, like the Women's National Basketball Association, that sails above its failures because it just seems to so many people like a good idea.

9.19.2002

Jonah Goldberg backs up a claim he made last week that war can have beneficial effects, with some good classical economic arguments. It's some pretty good stuff, if you can get past all the joking around in the first few paragraphs. All his arguments work, except one. Jonah, either you're paying too much for your windows, or I'm getting gouged on my hookers and cocaine.
Something's rotten in…Germany
In the last few days, Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping has been quoted claiming (in a cabinet meeting) that America's actions regarding Iraq can be attributed to "a powerful — perhaps overly powerful — Jewish lobby". Elsewhere, Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin said, "Bush wants to divert attention from his domestic problems. It's a classic tactic. It's one that Hitler used."
(via Instapundit)
Fred Barnes is mightily impressed by Bush's deft political moves of the last two weeks:

Everything the administration did from September 3 pointed to Bush's U.N. speech. It was narrowly focused to make one point: The United Nations must act forcefully against Saddam or the United States will.

In 10 days in September, Bush blew away most of his critics and lined up much of the world in the fight against Saddam. Iraq's disingenuous offer of a return to unconditional arms inspections didn't change that. Even the press was skeptical of Saddam's sudden eagerness to allow inspectors. Saddam, too, was reacting to the Bush campaign against him. Only he was too late. The exercise of presidential power had already assured that, one way or another, he is doomed.

David Gelernter has a quite interesting article in the Weekly Standard. It's called The Roots of European Appeasement but it covers much more than that. It starts to get interesting with this paragraph:

The First World War seemed unimaginable but turned out to be human, all too human when compared with the Second, which was too big for the mind to grasp. As the Second World War and its aftermath fade, they reveal a "new world order" that is strangely familiar--amazingly like the Western world of the 1920s, with its love of self-determination and loathing of imperialism and war, its liberal Germany, shrunken Russia, and map of Europe crammed with small states, with America's indifference to Europe and Europe's disdain for America, with Europe's casual, endemic anti-Semitism, her politically, financially, and masochistically rewarding fascination with Muslim states who despise her, and her undertone of self-hatred and guilt.

Gelernter's main thrust is that our (Americans) main military memory is of the Second World War, and the conclusions that we therefore reach include all the opportunities, not simply the costs, of war. The Europeans however, seem to have lost their memory of WWII.

People at the time understood the Second World War as an unspeakably large event, outside the realm of ordinary history….

So perhaps it is not surprising that World War II should have changed the human mind forever, yet vanished from the world's everyday thoughts like your memory of a dream the next morning. It was too big an event to swallow and has been disgorged. It was too searing to remember and has been repressed…

Gelernter then draws some very interesting conclusions about how all this translates to the present worldview of Continental Europe, especially in relation to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.
Suicide bombings, it seems, are back in style. The latest numbers are 6 dead, 50 injured.
Steven Den Beste, doing what he does best, breaks down the argument for what we really need to be fighting for, and who our enemies really are. A good read. He says it took him four hours to write, making me feel only slightly better about not being him.
Pat Buchanan is still opposing an attack on Iraq, but he can't help admiring the way Bush has handled the UN. He also notes that the Democrats are so lost that even The New Republic is disgusted with them.

9.18.2002

The Republican response is expected to be: "Are Too"
(via American Realpolitik)

9.17.2002

Al-Ahram Weekly, a Cairo paper, has polled Egyptians about their feelings about September 11th. Here's a sample of the unsurpriseng results

QUESTION 1: How would you describe your feelings when you saw the destruction of New York's twin towers?

They deserved it: 52%
Sympathy for the victims: 35%
Afraid of the future: 24%
Admiration for the culprits: 28%
Anger at the culprits: 10%

QUESTION 2: Who do you think is responsible for the attacks?

Israeli intelligence/Mossad: 39%
We'll never know: 25%
Al-Qa'eda or other Islamic militants: 19%
Others: 19%

There's more, but that's the theme.
(via LGF)
When both Cynthia McKinney and Earl Hillard lost their House seats many of their supporters were sure it was because of the J-E-W-S. Some black Democrats are now blaming the support their opponents received on… racism. Here's Ron Walters, director of the African American Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland:

When you unseat two black candidates, it's not a freak thing, it's a strategy. It took black candidates by surprise, and it's made them very angry. Why the leadership of the party didn't do anything, that's the big mystery.

That sentiment may come as a surprise to some, considering the beneficiaries of their downfall, Denise Majette and Artur Davis, are both black. (A fact not mentioned in the article… fair and balanced?)
(link via Instapundit)
The Warren Report
Don't miss today's gem from David Warren, who is simply the best political commentator we have, or rather, that the Canadians have. Today he explains what is going on with this whole UN-Saddam thing, fiasco or brilliant Bush 'strategery'? He reports, and decides.
We Are Already At War (Part IX)
The Pentagon has ordered expanded 'retaliatory' attacks on air-defense targets in Iraq in response to threats to patrolling U.S. and British warplanes. Bombing raids against Iraqi air-defense sites and related targets have increased in intensity in recent weeks.
It doesn't say 'Advertisement' anywhere on the page, but I wouldn't be surprised if Qorvis paid some good money for this 'article' that the Washington Post included in their op-ed page today. It's by Prince Turki al-Faisal, and it purports to show that the Saudis have been our really good friends for the last 40 years. I disagree with all 980 words in the damn thing. I can't go through every point, but here are a few things that really bug me:

We often agreed to disagree, but we always recognized the mutual benefits of partnership. I also experienced the high points in the relationship -- for example, the disengagement agreements between Egypt and Israel and Syria and Israel in 1975 and 1976; neither would have taken place without Saudi-U.S. cooperation. Nor would the increase in Saudi oil production in the mid-'80s (which led to lower oil prices and set the stage for a period of extended global prosperity), the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 1982 or the Saudi contribution to the fight against the contras in Nicaragua. And in the '90s, Saudi-American collaboration was instrumental in liberating Kuwait and laying the groundwork for the subsequent Madrid Conference, which brought Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and the Palestinians together to seek a permanent peace settlement for the first time.

Wow! He is claiming Saudi credit for "disengagement agreements between Egypt and Israel and Syria and Israel" unbelievable! If the Saudis contributed at all to the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Lebanon in 1982, it was by funding Hezbollah, not by " Saudi-U.S. cooperation". Taking credit for Madrid is a joke, not only because things have gotten much worse since then, but also because the Saudis have been actively funding suicide bombers. You would think he'd want to avoid the Israeli-Palestinian altogether.

Al-Faisal then claims his country is becoming a democratic paradise…

A year after Sept. 11, I look upon my country and see many changes. First, extremism is widely condemned. Even many of our most radical citizens have begun to advocate moderation. And our leadership -- both the secular and religious authorities -- has vocally admonished those who continue to support extremist ideas.

Reforms are proceeding. Our press is increasingly open. There is frank criticism in our media of the government and social problems. In addition, our legal system is being reformed, and full legal representation of the accused has become mandatory. Police must now follow strict judicial procedures in issuing warrants, holding suspects and informing the next of kin when a suspect is held for questioning. Also, a top-level committee has been charged with reviewing and reforming our educational system. Private universities can now be established, in competition with government-sponsored education.

We have begun to issue identity cards to women, in recognition of their rights under Islamic law. These include the freedom to conduct financial transactions and establish businesses, among other things. In addition, women's education has been transferred from the religious authorities to the Ministry of Education, the same department that is responsible for the education of men.

This is all hogwash, and even if it were true, he doesn't have much to brag about. The press is "increasingly open", not open (New and Improved! Now with Ten Percent More Truth!*). Having the police issue their own warrants (?!) doesn't sound that open to me. But the kicker is this, "We have begun to issue identity cards to women, in recognition of their rights under Islamic law". Anybody need a lesson on a woman's 'rights' under Islamic law?

Netanyahu on why We Must Beat Saddam to the Punch.

Today, the United States must destroy that same regime because a nuclear-armed Saddam will place the security of our entire world at risk. Make no mistake about it. Once Saddam has nuclear weapons, the terror network will have nuclear weapons. And once the terror network has nuclear weapons, it is only a matter of time before those weapons will be used.

Netanyahu knows this kind of stuff better than almost anyone else out there, and he recalls something he wrote 20 years ago:

The West can win the war against terrorism. It can expose its duplicity and punish its perpetrators and sponsors. But it must first win the war against its own inner weakness. That will require courage. We shall need at least three types of courage. First, statesmen must have the political courage to present the truth, however unpleasant, to their people. They must be prepared to make difficult decisions, to take measures that may involve great risks and subject them to public criticism. Second, the soldiers who will be called upon to combat terrorists will need to show military courage.

Third, the people will have to show civic courage. The citizens of a democracy threatened by terrorism must see themselves, in a certain sense, as soldiers in a common battle. They must not pressure their government to capitulate or surrender to terrorism. If we seriously want to win the war against terrorism, people must be prepared to endure sacrifice and even, should there be the loss of loved ones, immeasurable pain. Terrorism is a phenomenon which tries to evoke one feeling: fear. It is therefore understandable that the one virtue most necessary to defeat terrorism is the antithesis of fear: courage.

Courage, said the Romans, is not the only virtue, but it is the single virtue without which all the other virtues are meaningless. The terrorist challenge must be answered. The choice is between a free society based on law and compassion and a rampant barbarism in the service of brute force and tyranny. Confusion and vacillation facilitated the rise of terrorism. Clarity and courage will ensure its defeat.

He's been saying this kind of thing for decades, and it's about time we started listening.



Daniel Pipes on the difference between holding up pieces of paper with "I disagree" on them, and throwing chairs from balconies.

The first resembles the restrained actions of the Israeli armed forces. The second represents a North American face of the suicide bombings.

Or, in the most elemental terms, we see here the contrast between the civilized nature of Israel and its friends versus the raw barbarism of Israel's enemies.

Ashrawi, by the way, thinks that those who held up the signs were, "demeaning" themselves. No word yet on what she thinks of rioting...
Victor Davis Hanson wants us to recognize how well the war has been going, and to understand that despite the recent letup, we will Finish this War.
The important thing is, he went through the UN...

9.15.2002

Uneingeschranktes, Nein?
As our "allies" fall into line one by one, Christopher Caldwell reports on Germany, where Mr. Schroder is having a hard time untangling himself from some of his rhetorical excesses. It just may lose him the election.

9.14.2002

Whit Mason has written a piece, Iran's Simmering Discontent, describing the feelings of the people of Iran towards their mullahs. It seems like this piece was written a few months ago, but I just recently read it, and it's nice to read about this kind of thing from someone who is not named Ledeen.

9.13.2002

UNconscionable
Jonah Goldberg has a good column today (if you can get past all the Baywatch and Godfather metaphors), which blasts the UN, and outlines why I think Bush's speech there was great. The UN had been clamoring for him to work with them, and claiming that any action without their sanction is illegitimate. Bush's message was basically that the UN, if it would claim any legitimacy, must work with him, to do what the UN has already claimed were its own goals. A brilliant move; he's playing them perfectly. Wasn't this guy supposed to be an idiot?
Victorino Matus, writing in the Weekly Standard, has a lot of inside stuff on the Abu Nidal "suicide", including a source that says Nidal had received $4 million from an unnamed Arab country to assassinate a "senior Iraqi official".
Iran Update
SMCCDI is reporting on protests in Iran on Sep. 11. Faster, please.
Charles Krauthammer takes the NY Times to task for the blowing the seeming "rift" among the Republicans way out of proportion.

9.12.2002

Here is the speech that Benjamin Netanyahu was unable to give at Concordia College In Montreal.
(link via Right Wing News)
On Tuesday I linked to a David Warren article that included a discussion of Canada's military impotence and their inability to secure their own borders. He suggested the day might come where U.S. might need to cross Canada's borders to take care of some terrorism problem that the Canadians would be unwilling, or unable, to handle themselves. Today I read that Jean Chr├ętien has blamed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on "Western greed and arrogance" and I think we might have another reason to invade Canada: Regime Change.

9.11.2002

Click the picture for the backstory. (link via Instapundit)
September 11
Victor Davis Hanson, The Wages of September 11 (NRO)

Real concern for the sanctity of life may hinge on employing rather than rejecting force, inasmuch as our troops are as deadly and protected abroad as our women, children, aged, and civilians are impotent and vulnerable at home. It seems to me a more moral gamble to send hundreds of pilots into harm's way than allow a madman to further his plots to blow up or infect thousands in high-rises...

All this and more are the wages of the disaster of September 11 and the subsequent terrible year — and yet it is likely that, for good or evil, we will see things even more incredible in the twelve months ahead.

Leon Wieseltier, The Fall (TNR)

George Will, The Great Refutation (Washington Post)

Sometimes gunpowder does smell good because civilization -- especially the highest, ours -- is not inevitable. So we fight.

George W. Bush, Securing Freedom's Triumph (NY Times)

Michael Ledeen, America's revenge: to turn tyrannies into democracies (UK Telegraph)

Peggy Noonan, Time to Put the Emotions Aside (Opinion Journal)

Dave Barry, On Hallowed Ground (Miami Herald)

Larry Miller, 9/11-Remembering Americans (Weekly Standard)

Patti Davis, Renewal- Sept. 11 and how it left us (NRO)

Thomas Friedman, Noah and 9/11 (NY Times)

Dennis Prager, A Better America (Townhall.com)

Edwin J. Feulner, America the Changed (Townhall)

Semizdata- The real British response (Blogosphere)

The New York Times, Portraits of Grief- glimpses of victims

James Lileks, A Message Back in Time (Blogosphere)

ADL, On 9/11 Anniversary, Newspapers in Arab World Blame Jews and America for Attacks (adl.org)

SMCCDI, "September", The Shared Grief of the Iranian and American Nations

Cold Fury, Don't confuse the rest of the world with their leaders (Blogosphere) (don't miss the pictures at the bottom)

Sydney Morning Herald, How the world will remember September 11

American Realpolitik, Black Day- a photo retrospective (Blogosphere)

Michael Novak, The Day The World Changed (NRO)

Never forget the moment you felt like this...

L-O-S-E-R
Billy McKinney has lost his runoff in the Democratic primary for his seat in the Georgia House. It wasn't even close. from the looks of the primaries that I've been following, I think I'm really going to like November.

9.10.2002

David Warren looks back on the past year, and forward to a time when America might feel the need to invade...Canada (and he's serious).
Jim Cramer (who I used to read daily a few years ago), has always frustrated me a little with his political views (I was reading his stuff on the market, but they slipped through), though extremely smart about money he was niavely liberal (of course, IMHO) on most issues. 9.11 changed all that, and he details his transformation in this remarkable column: The Making of a Hawk.

Until 19 Arab hijackers killed thousands of Americans a year ago, I thought the world was a pretty safe place. I favored a smaller military, an open and free society and a rigorous support of the Bill of Rights, one that would guarantee privileges to all who lived in this country -- yes, even the aliens among us who struggled so hard to get here.

I believed that if we could get Arabs and Israelis together in a room, we could solve that crisis, just as the Northern Irish crisis was defanged through negotiation and patience. I even thought we would see peace, a world dominated by a Pax Americana, in which economic growth would lead to a safer, stronger community that would be safe for my children and their children and their children's children. I love you, you love me, we are a happy family, this land is your land, this land is my land; you get the picture.

And then, on Sept. 11, a quarter of a mile away from where I was sitting, something occurred that was so horrific, so despicable, so evil and so darned foreshadowing of the future, that I realize in retrospect that I was a dreamer, an appeaser and, alas, a fool. In my lifetime we, as a people, have had enemies who wanted to win us over to their ways, enemies who wished we would change our culture and enemies who would fight our soldiers if we fought theirs...

Even the Japanese kamikaze pilots limited their casualties to combatants. Perhaps the Nazis were joyous in their extermination of 6 million Jews -- we know many were, while others just viewed it as Job One -- but even they, with hearts filled with the blackest of evil, chose not to dance in the streets with their women and children to celebrate the destruction of innocents.

It's a great column. Welcome J.J.
Iran Update
Some Iranians plan to commemorate Sep. 11 with protests and vigils. Here is a letter from the SMCCDI (who have been a major source of news coming out of Iran):

A Public Call For Rememberance of the 9/11 Tragedy

SMCCDI Political Committee
September 10, 2002

Free spirited Iranians,

It has been a year since the terrorist attack on the military and commercial centers of the United States of America. Consequences of the events of that fateful day were so immense and far reaching that they truly will be known as the turning point in the recent political history of the world.

On those days that America was mourning and Iran was directly or implicitly being called a “haven for terrorists”, we remember how, despite the violent crack down and repression of the “Hezbollah” forces roaming the streets, hundreds of our youth poured into the streets and lit candles in memory of the victims of that tragedy and showed the world that they sympathized with the families of the victims and extended their condolences to them.
That night, our youth made it crystal clear that they were with the world coalition for the elimination of “religious” terrorism.

We remember how the reactionary, backwards, Taliban loving, self-elected rulers of Iran tried to down grade that humanistic and thoughtful sympathy action of our youth by calling them a “bunch of candle in hand sissies!,” and once again showed, with their short-sighted vision of reality, how far away they are from virtue of humanity.

Bravo to you nation who, despite lack of leadership, embarked in that spontaneous movement, and with your sensational presence in the streets of the capital, you saved Iran from a catastrophe, as you showed in the best possible way, Iranian nation’s excellence in love of humanity to the free world.

Now, with the first anniversary of 9/11 tragedy upon us, as SMCCDI expresses its sympathy to the families of the victims and survivors of that ungodly event, and the honorable nation of America; it invites all free spirited Iranians to honor the memory of the victims of that day by gathering and lighting a candle in front of the main entrance of the Tehran university and major public squares in Tehran, and the main squares in other cities and townships, from 6:00 PM till 9:00 PM, on Wednesday 11 September.
Also, from all those Iranians who feel they share the sorrow and pain of the American nation, it is requested that they turn off all their light on that same night from 10:30 PM till 11:30 PM in a silent, but much telling gesture of sympathy and solidarity with the bereaved nation of America. Without a doubt, in this age of high-resolution satellite cameras, your message of sympathy will reach the Americans loud and clear!


Tehran, September 10, 2002 (19 Shahrivar 1381)

The "Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran" (SMCCDI))

I don't know how "loud and clear" the message will be heard, but we can do our part, can't we?

Couldn't CAIR less
Howerd Fienberg reports that CAIR has been disengenious with it's poll 'data'. From an orginisation that's supports terror, and doesn't have an qualms about the outright lies they've told in the past, it's not hard to believe.
They put missile batteries around Washington D.C. yesterday, but the government said that they were just running exercises and the batteries wouldn't be armed. Yeah. Well, Fox news is reporting that the pentagon is "considering" arming those batteries. Our government gives us all the information we need … but only if you can listen right. As we turn orange, close our embassies overseas, and put our Military in Bahrain on ThreatCon Delta (as high as it goes), the Government will give us the information, but only because they have to. Listen to what they are saying means, and what their motives might be. Our government rarely lies about facts, but motives are a different story.
An alert reader pointed out that the Bernard Lewis article I linked to yesterday was a few months old. Lewis has an op-ed in today's Washington Post that is certainly fresher, and sums up some of what was in the longer NewYorker article.
Netanyahu faces a riot in Montreal:
I was going to post this, but Howerd Fienberg did a more thorough job on the story than I would have, so head over there. He includes links to a statement from Bibi, news reports, and an eyewitness account.
America bombed Iraq again on Monday, and while the story has plenty of quotes from our generals, let's hear it from on of theirs:

American and British evil warplanes violated our skies on Monday coming from Kuwait to bomb civil and service installations.

I hope we keep using those "evil" planes, They seem to work so much better than our regular ones.
(link found on Rantburg, and may require a free registration.)
Partly Dead?
Israeli intelligence officials say that 98 percent of the known members of the Hamas military wing have been arrested or killed over the past five months, leaving the terrorist organization in a state of disarray. Arrested or killed... I like one of those much better than the other, but at least they're not on the street.

9.09.2002

The Democrats are accusing (well, actually they're insinuating, they don't want to be accused of partisan politics) the Administration of cynically manipulating the timing of the full-court press for war with Iraq, to make the war (a strong Republican issue), the main focus of the election. Jonah Goldberg takes up the issue today, and raises some very good questions. Isn't this country a democracy? Aren't these the most important issues facing the country right now? Wouldn't it be great if these elections were about the very thing that we all think is so important? Isn't wanting to hold off on a vote to save a few Democratic seats, at least as cynical as Republicans wanting the vote now? Isn't there a way to insult Cynthia McKinney in all this? Jonah has all the answers (for that last one, at least).
Just when Bernard Lewis started getting boring he comes up with a really good piece in The New Yorker. It's called The Revolt of Islam, and it outlines where Bin Laden's form of Terrorism came from, and where it's going. He has some interesting ideas on many of the events of the past 100 years, and the places where the west could have done better (don't worry you're not going to get any "Root Causes" stuff here):

There is some justice in one charge that is frequently leveled against the United States: Middle Easterners increasingly complain that the United States judges them by different and lower standards than it does Europeans and Americans, both in what is expected of them and in what they may expect—in terms of their financial well-being and their political freedom. They assert that Western spokesmen repeatedly overlook or even defend actions and support rulers that they would not tolerate in their own countries. As many Middle Easterners see it, the Western and American governments' basic position is: "We don't care what you do to your own people at home, so long as you are cooperative in meeting our needs and protecting our interests."

The most dramatic example of this form of racial and cultural arrogance was what Iraqis and others see as the betrayal of 1991, when the United States called on the Iraqi people to revolt against Saddam Hussein. The rebels of northern and southern Iraq did so, and the United States forces watched while Saddam, using the helicopters that the ceasefire agreement had allowed him to retain, bloodily suppressed them, group by group. The reasoning behind this action—or, rather, inaction—is not difficult to see. Certainly, the victorious Gulf War coalition wanted a change of government in Iraq, but they had hoped for a coup d'├ętat, not a revolution. They saw a genuine popular uprising as dangerous—it could lead to uncertainty or even anarchy in the region. A coup would be more predictable and could achieve the desired result—the replacement of Saddam Hussein by another, more amenable tyrant, who could take his place among America's so-called allies in the coalition. The United States' abandonment of Afghanistan after the departure of the Soviets was understood in much the same way as its abandonment of the Iraqi rebels.

Lewis also lays out the advantages of acting like a "cowboy":

they were encouraged by the opinion, often expressed by Osama bin Laden, among others, that America was a paper tiger. Muslim terrorists had been driven by such beliefs before. One of the most surprising revelations in the memoirs of those who held the American Embassy in Teheran from 1979 to 1981 was that their original intention had been to hold the building and the hostages for only a few days. They changed their minds when statements from Washington made it clear that there was no danger of serious action against them. They finally released the hostages, they explained, only because they feared that the new President, Ronald Reagan, might approach the problem "like a cowboy."

Bin Laden and his followers clearly have no such concern, and their hatred is neither constrained by fear nor diluted by respect. As precedents, they repeatedly cite the American retreats from Vietnam, from Lebanon, and—the most important of all, in their eyes—from Somalia….

Similar inferences are drawn when American spokesmen refuse to implicate—and sometimes even hasten to exculpate—parties that most Middle Easterners believe to be deeply involved in the attacks on America. A good example is the repeated official denial of any Iraqi involvement in the events of September 11th. It may indeed be true that there is no evidence of Iraqi involvement, and that the Administration is unwilling to make false accusations. But it is difficult for Middle Easterners to resist the idea that this refusal to implicate Saddam Hussein is due less to a concern for legality than to a fear of confronting him.

There's too much good stuff here to excerpt it all. It's a good read, and well worth your time (imho).
Michael Ledeen Is getting fed up with the major media's willful ignorance of the turmoil in Iran. "Faster Please", he says, "what the hell are you waiting for?"
He hasn't done anything yet. I say leave him alone...
Never Again? Again?
Now this is truly scary. William E. Grim is currently living in Germany amongst Hitler's Children. There is no reason to doubt any of this stuff, and no reason to think that things are any better in the rest of Europe. It is somehow shocking, without being at all surprising.
Samizdata has some news from another universe. It explores the Root Causes of American anger.
(via Volokh)
As they struggle to prove that their capabilities are not as bankrupt as their faith...
Ralph Peters has a beautifully written and remarkable column in today's NY Post on The War So Far.
David Warren sees the threads of an alliance arrayed against us. From Afghanistan to Israel, our enemies are beginning to coordinate their attacks to do Saddam's work.
Mark Steyn remembers the day America fought back.
The UPI has an interesting behind-the-scenes look at America's recent foreign policy. It's well worth checking out.

9.06.2002

Tomorrow and Sunday are Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, I will not be posting until Sunday night. For all my Jewish readers (and heck, all you Goyim too), Have a healthy and happy New Year. L'shanah Habah B' Yerushalayim
The president asks the nation to consider this question: What if Saddam Hussein...

fails to comply, and we fail to act, or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop his program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made? Well, he will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction...If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow. Some day, some way, I guarantee you, he'll use the arsenal...

Iraq repeatedly made false declarations about the weapons that it had left in its possession after the Gulf War. When UNSCOM would then uncover evidence that gave the lie to those declarations, Iraq would simply amend the reports. For example, Iraq revised its nuclear declarations four times within just 14 months and it has submitted six different biological warfare declarations, each of which has been rejected by UNSCOM. In 1995, Hussein Kamal, Saddam's son-in-law, and chief organizer of Iraq's weapons-of-mass-destruction program, defected to Jordan. He revealed that Iraq was continuing to conceal weapons and missiles and the capacity to build many more. Then and only then did Iraq admit to developing numbers of weapons in significant quantities and weapon stocks. Previously, it had vehemently denied the very thing it just simply admitted once Saddam Hussein's son-in-law defected to Jordan and told the truth...

We have to defend our future from these predators of the 21st century. They will be all the more lethal if we allow them to build arsenals of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and the missiles to deliver them. We simply cannot allow that to happen. There is no more clear example of this threat than Saddam Hussein.

Strong words? A case for war? I think so. These were the words of Bill Clinton, from February 18, 1998, when he was still our Fornicator-In-Chief. It's all here in an article by Stephen Hayes.
Act Now
George Schultz outlines a really strong case for removing Saddam. It's a well thought-out analysis.
Not Educating Anyone
Here's how teachers dealt with the first anniversary of Pearl Harbor:

the superintendent of New York's schools personally directed the city's classroom work, "so that on the first anniversary of this day of hallowed remembrance we may stand for a moment in meditation on the courage and sacrifice of those who now, on land, at sea and in the air, hold aloft the flag of the United States of America." In colleges, ROTC cadets held special name-reading ceremonies. High schools held rallies and brought in guest speakers. For younger students there were flag dedications and fundraisers. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Boys' Club "contributed pennies toward the purchase of a jeep for the Army."

The NEA could learn a thing or two.
Hyperpuissance? Watch Your Language.
Victor Davis Hanson writes of the The European Dialogue -Are we friends, allies, or neither? Mostly neither.
Did We Say Make the Case?
Oops! We didn't think you actually had a case. We take it back. The French now say that they are "against publishing top-secret evidence on Iraq's alleged development of weapons of mass destruction". How strange, we 'consulted' with our 'allies' and "made the case", but now they want something else. How very French of them.

I wonder what we shared with them. It could have something to do with this report.

Not Just the Pain, But The Danger
Charles Krauthammer warns against viewing September 11th as simply a tragedy:

The temptation on any anniversary is just to look back. But on Dec. 7, 1942, the country did not just look back on the sunken Arizona. It looked forward to the destruction of Japan. Mourning alone cannot fully honor the murdered. Justice must be done as well. The dead of last Sept. 11 cannot be adequately honored unless we remember not just that they died, but at whose hands they died. It means remembering that Sept. 11 was a declaration of war, a war we did not seek but one we cannot avoid. We would like to avoid it. We are tempted to see the war on terrorism as, variously and alternately, won, unwinnable, tangled, indecisive, self-defeating--anything that takes away its immediacy and its urgency...

We feel the uncertainty. But our enemies do not. Which is why the challenge of this Sept. 11 is to remember the feeling of last Sept. 11. Not just the pain, but the danger. It endures. And so it will until we have destroyed those who did the deed, those who support them and those who would emulate them.

9.05.2002

And in the Beginning...
About 100 American and British aircraft took part in an attack on Iraq's major western air defense installation, the biggest single operation over the country in four years. The raid was designed to destroy air defenses and allow Special Forces helicopters to fly into Iraq via Jordan or Saudi Arabia unfettered.
So Let's Give em' Hell:
Arab foreign ministers, meeting in Cairo, have warned that a military strike on Iraq would, "open the gates of hell." So what are we waiting for?
Israeli Police have just foiled a terror attack that had the potential to be disastrous. A car loaded with 1,350 pounds of explosives (the average suicide bomber carries about 30) was discovered in Northern Israel. Want to know what something like that would look like? Here is a video of the Israelis blowing up the car.
(found on Not a Fish)
Norman Podhoretz has a great essay Commentary this month, In Praise of the Bush Doctrine. Podhoretz comes up with some interesting ideas.

That Bush's Palestinian State proposal was really an attempt to hold the rest of the Arab world accountable for the Palestinians, and to reclaim the role of David (to the Arab's Goliath) for Israel.

That in the great theoretical debate of the post-cold-war era, Bush comes down squarely on the side of Francis Fukuyama(!) against Samuel Huntington.

That Bush has adopted Israel’s war against terrorism into our own.

It's a pretty long article, but it's also pretty good. Check it out.

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Munich Olympics Massacre. Judith Weiss of Kesher talk has coordinated a blogburst that is worth checking out.

9.04.2002

Get a load of this. Steve Lopez, writing in the LA Times, dumps this pile of garbage on us today:Who Are All You People Who Support a War Against Iraq?

If we knew for sure he is capable of blowing up the world, let's go get him. If there were any reason to believe war on Iraq might stabilize the Middle East and diminish, rather than increase, the threat of terrorist attacks on the U.S., sign me up. But guess what, folks. There is none of that.

And still, nearly two-thirds of the 1,372 adults polled nationwide say they would support a ground attack on Iraq.

Who are you people?

Are you the same ones I see going into the Olive Garden?

Are you the audience CBS and Fox had in mind when they dreamed up reality TV shows based on "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Green Acres"?

Until we can figure out a way to conduct polls that make us look smarter, we ought to ban them altogether. I don't know about you, but I'm always dying to ask follow-up questions to the ones you see in polls.

For instance: You seem to really have it in for Iraq. Do you have any idea that Saudi Arabia, not Iraq, is where most of the Sept. 11 terrorists came from?

Does it concern you even a little that the two biggest cheerleaders for war--President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney--didn't fight themselves when they had the chance?

Are you willing to lose a loved one to free Iraq?

Maybe not. I did notice that while 64% want a ground attack, only 45% would stick to their guns if a lot of blood was spilled. We want what we want, but not if it involves sacrifice. One saving grace is that 61% of those who want a war said we should only start one if other countries back us up. But there is no backup, and some folks in the rest of the world seem to think we're the madmen now.

I, for one, am one of those people, and Mr. Lopez, as to the question about The Olive Garden, well, if you'd get your face out of that pasta bowl for a second, you'd probably realize that two-thirds is two-thirds, and yes, two-thirds of those people at the restaurant are for an attack. Reality TV show audiences? Yep, two-thirds of them too. But that's not really your point, is it now?

Until we can figure out a way to conduct polls that make us look smarter, we ought to ban them altogether. I don't know about you, but I'm always dying to ask follow-up questions to the ones you see in polls.

Ahh, there we go, let it out. It's hard to imagine, isn't it Mr Lopez. You, who is, of course, extremely brilliant, are against a war. Two-thirds of people support a war. Ergo, Two-thirds of people are idiots. I've got some follow up questions for you too.

For instance: You seem to really have it in for Iraq. Do you have any idea that Saudi Arabia, not Iraq, is where most of the Sept. 11 terrorists came from?

Yes, I am. Are you sure you're not the idiot?

Does it concern you even a little that the two biggest cheerleaders for war--President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney--didn't fight themselves when they had the chance?

No. Are you sure you're not the idiot?

Until Steve Lopez can figure out a way to write columns that make him look smarter, we ought to ban them altogether.
(Article found on PatioPundit)

From Live at the WTC:

55% of Europeans think that America was "partly to blame" for the Al Quaeda attacks.

In related news, 100% of Americans think that Europe was "entirely to blame" for World Wars I, II, the Holocaust, and Communist atrocities in the former Soviet Union and associated territories. 99.8% of Americans think that "The next time Europeans get themselves in any kind of trouble that requires US intervention, they can k*** my a**". And 89% of Americans think that "If those same Europeans are against invading Iraq, then it's time to put Sadaam in a whole world of hurt."

While you're there, check out the rest of the blog, it's good stuff.

Jonah Goldberg answers the question, War: What Is It Good For? Turns out it it's good for a lot of things. That settles it, that's the last time I ever take advice from Boy George.
The Revolution will be Televised. The people of Iran like their Islamic news hardcore
(Link and headline stolen unabashedly from PejmanPundit)
John Hawkins of Right wing News has collected some quotes from extreme environmentalists. I guess it really shouldn't, but it got me laughing pretty hard. Some of my favorites:

I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems. -- John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

We advocate biodiversity for biodiversity’s sake. It may take our extinction to set things straight -- David Foreman, Earth First!

Cannibalism is a "radical but realistic solution to the problem of overpopulation." -- Lyall Watson

To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem -- Lamont Cole

Go check out the rest of them. It's great stuff.


Thomas Friedman has a column today where he outlines some lessons about 9/11 for teachers. For the first time in a long while, I agree with everything in it. He even uses Hanson's "An Autumn of War" as an example of assigned reading. Friedman would do well to re-read today's column each time he sets out to write his usual drivel.
Results? I post a comment criticizing the WSJ, go to sleep and when I wake up they've done something about it. Michael Ledeen on Iran (among other things), from the WSJ editorial page. I'm still waiting for their front page to catch up.
(thanks to Rev. Brian Chapin for pointing out the article)

9.03.2002

The British papers continue to run stories about what life is like in Iran, but still not a peep from the American press. I've been giving the NY Times all the grief on this one, but it's not like the WSJ has been any better. Wake up guys!
(I found this on GedankenPundit who offers some extremely kind words)
There seems to be a rumor floating around, or being leaked, or something, that goes something like this: All the arguments about Iraq are going to be mooted shortly by the administration, which will release a particular piece of intelligence that will make it clear that an attack on Iraq is necessary. I first heard this some time last week on "Hardball" when Chris Matthews attributed it to "White House sources." It showed up again today in an article by Tom Nichols. No info from either on what the intelligence may be. Matthews made it sound like it would be something that would absolutely convince the American people, and Nichols claims it is something we've been sharing with our allies recently that has both swung around some of the reluctant, and made the opposition a little shriller. Something in the Nichols article gives me the sense that it is about Saddam and how he might already have achieved what we've all been afraid he was going to.
Michael Ledeen continues to report on the turmoil in Iran. Two new demonstrations in the coming days (including a commemoration of Sep. 11), a new wave of repression, and the New York Times willful obliviousness, it's all happening. Faster, please.
Dan Burton's mission to Saudi Arabia (see this) has hit a few snags, and the Sudi's are starting to play games. William Mcgurn outlines the latest in today's WSJ. Joel Mowbrey goes a little bit deeper and finds out why their getting away with it:The State Department is Working for the Saudis.
Kuwait makes it official.The Telegraph reports:

Kuwait became the first Arab state yesterday to signal support for a US-led military coalition against Iraq, in marked contrast to the caution shown by other countries in the region.The Kuwaiti foreign minister, Sheikh Mohammed Sabah Salem al-Sabah, told The Telegraph: "While Saddam Hussein continues to keep Kuwaiti prisoners of war, and continues to televise threats against Kuwait, we consider the war against Iraq to have never ended." The sheikh's comments serve as encouragement for a Washington administration struggling to convince the international community of the need for military action.

Score one for Steven Den Beste who called this one three days ago.

David Warren discovers Lee Harris. Regular readers of this site will be familiar with Warren's excellent analysis as well as Harris's "Al Qaeda's Fantasy Ideology" and "Sheep amongst wolves"

9.02.2002

For Arab Informers, Death; For the Executioners, Justice
The New York Times writes an article from the point of view of... the executioners. Well you didn't think they would be sympathetic to the victims, did you?
The Asia Times has a terrific article that shatters two assumptions that much of the debate over Iraq has been based on, and they are first, that the administration has yet to make a decision to go to war with Iraq, and second, that if it does decide in favor of war, there will be a measurable deployment of forces to the gulf.

9.01.2002

Turns out Kuwait is going to help us out with Iraq after all. How do I know? Steven Den Beste explained it all.
Stanley Kurtz feels both sides of the debate on Iraq might be right. We probably have to act now to prevent Saddam from getting WMD's, but the ones he already has could be a bigger problem than the military has let on.

How, otherwise, are we to account for the fact that the Joint Chiefs and the Pentagon hawks have been arguing so intensely behind the scenes over the size of an invasion force which, even at the high-end estimate of 250,000 troops, is far smaller than we fielded in the Gulf War? Why don't the hawks simply say, "Alright generals, if you feel you need more troops held in reserve for safety's sake, then we'll give them to you." One reason the hawks don't say this may well be that our overall military forces, now significantly smaller than during the Gulf War, are stretched too thin. This is a point I've made before. But it now seems to me that another key factor in this behind-the-scenes debate — maybe even the predominant factor — is that the build up of a larger invasion force is now considered unworkable, given its vulnerability to Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.

If this line of argument has merit (and I have reason to think that it does), then it would be something of real significance — something that would strengthen the case of both sides in the debate over an invasion of Iraq. The doves point out that it's the invasion itself which is most likely to provoke a WMD strike by Saddam. With nothing left to lose, Saddam has no reason not to try to take down as many American troops as he can, with whatever weapons he can.

But this scenario also validates the worst fears of the hawks. We don't need to wait for the future to discover that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction might enable him to neutralize all of our military might and leave him free to act in the region with impunity. Even now, Saddam's weapons of mass destruction are serving to get him off the hook. Indeed, if the administration backs down now, and refuses to invade Iraq after all it has said, then Saddam will know that his weapons of mass destruction have succeeded in scaring us off. If that happens, then not only Saddam, but every tin-pot dictator in the world, will be in a race to obtain WMD sufficient to neutralize the vast might of America's military machine. It won't even be necessary to have intercontinental missiles — only the wherewithal to deliver chemical and biological weapons against a local American force..

He's probably right--and that's a scary thought indeed.

The New York Times Magazine has a report on the social situation in Iran.
Here’s some good news. A few congressmen have taken up the cases of Amjad Radwan, Pat Rousch’s daughters, and other American citizens held against their will in Saudi Arabia. With the State Department showing no results, (mainly because they don’t seem to think it’s their business) Dan Burton and a bipartisan group are hoping to do better.