I've Moved!!!! .

Thanks to an extremely generous offer by Mathew and Vicky, of Blogmosis, I have moved to a new location. You can find it at occam.blogmosis.com. Please update your links, favorites, and blogrolls. The site has been redesigned (by Mathew) and I am learning this Movable Type thing a quickly as I can (again, thanks to Mathew) I hope you will come on in and take a look around. For those of you still on blogspot, Mathew and Vicky are still looking to sponsor a few more blogs, though space is limited. To inquire: gnosis-at-blogmosis.com



Claudia Rosett points out that there is no better way to see how misguided UN policies can get, than to look at the way they treat Palestinian "refugees" and compare that to how they treat other groups of refugees. Like the North Koreans, for example, who get no help from the UN, and in fact usually get sent back to North Korea.

While we all worry that North Korea may be able to build as many as five nuclear weapons within a year, is that many? Pop quiz- how many can we build in that time period? Frank Gaffney has the answer, and it may surprise you.
Though there are still plenty of chicken littles out there, it seems that the only natural resource we are in danger of running out of is us. Michael Fumento reports that the world population is likely to start dropping precipitously in the next few decades.
A couple of speeches and symposiums by Daniel Pipes have been cancelled at colleges around the country, under pressure from some of his academic enemies, who have been accusing him of "McCarthyism" There is simply nothing better than unintentional irony.
Fran├žoise Giroud (Translated by Douglas Gillison) writes of the roots of European attitudes towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in The Shoah They Can't Swallow ("Cette Shoah qui ne passe pas").

With remarkable rapidity (starting with the first stone of the second Intifada), a striking reversal has come about. At last! We're allowed to speak ill of Jews!
Even if that old brigand Arafat talks twaddle, saying there was never any Jewish temple in Jerusalem, the Palestinian cause is unimpeachable. In the end, a Palestinian state has to be created and be able develop in respect and peace. We'll never say otherwise - save one proviso: murdering civilians every day, women, children in packs by means of suicide-men trained for this end does not arouse sympathy, even if this seems not to bother anyone among the many who know of only one guilty party in this awful conflict: Israel.

It's a powerful look at the psyche of the apologists. The link is to the very good site called simply "Watch," take a look around while you're there.


In the past few weeks I've read something like fifty or sixty news and opinion articles about Korea, and a few of them stand out. Together I think they offer some answers to the questions, Why now? What do the North Koreans want? Why is the Bush administration ignoring Korea? What exactly are the options facing the administration, and wouldn't it be better if we faced them now?

First , why now? Well, obviously we're a little busy with Iraq, but it's really about more than that. North Korea is in crises. They're starving, literally. While there have been food shortages there for a while, they are now not even able to feed their military. The suspension of fuel shipments to them is causing them further crises. For all the trouble we have ascertaining Kim's motives, we can be pretty sure of one thing, he wants to remain in power. So what are his options? War? Whatever the devastating effects Kim can cause, for the South or elsewhere, it would be hard to imagine his regime still being in place afterward. But again, he's facing a crisis, so what can save him? The answer is, interestingly, us. We are the only ones that can save him, because only we have the food and oil that he needs, and have shown the willingness to give it to him. But we've stopped giving it to him. So he needs to get the shipments of oil and food started again, and he (rightly) assumes that as a founding member of the "axis of evil" any aid we send will come with conditions that will be aimed at weakening his grip. So he needs some hand to play in the negotiations that will invariably take place, and even more importantly, he needs to get us to negotiate in the first place (why would we want to?). So we get belligerence. And threats. As Steven Den Beste writes

It is a truism of negotiations that if one party is up against a deadline and the other is not, the one in a hurry is at a disadvantage…

What they're trying to do right now is to create panic. They are in deep trouble and their clock is ticking. Given that they actually are running out of time (and fuel oil, and food, and damned near everything else) then it is clear that it's to their advantage to try to make everyone else feel as if time is running out with as many provocations as they possibly can come up with. I believe that the cessation of fuel oil shipments is what set this crisis off; North Korea may well grind to a halt soon from simple inability to generate energy. As their fuel supplies dwindle, they are trying to force rapid movement by us; they are trying to make us feel as much urgency as I believe that they feel.

David Warren says something similar:

The aggressive stance is a desperate bid for survival, rather than any practical aspiration to hegemony. The politburo in Pyongyang may be crazy, but it is too pre-occupied with immediate survival to even think about offence. Even the conquest of the South is beyond its practical aspirations. It might be able to annihilate the South, in an act of murder-suicide, but it could not possibly conquer and then govern the South.

I think that is a pretty clear argument for why this is happening right now, but what to do? I think their public nonchalance shows the administration sees the situation this way, but ignoring it is not a good long-term solution. I in this high-stakes poker game, they're bluffing, because that's their best chance of winning what they want (food, oil, remaining in power). So, how do we call them on it? Warren thinks that we'll eventually give them what they want, and then remove our troops from South Korea (removing some of their leverage over us). One of the fundamental reasons why he's probably right is the question of whether we actually have the stomach to starve them, because that is one of the steps we'll have to take if we're going to break the regime.

William F. Buckley:

This leaves Mr. Bush with responsibility for enhancing starvation in North Korea, and this appears to run against the moral grain. Granted, the United States has never undertaken to feed every country in the world that is short of food, but to withhold grain as a matter of policy is something more merely than the question of acknowledging that in many countries food is scarce.

So we cave, as uncomfortable that may seem. But treating this as a problem that we must solve immediately is foolish, we've got to keep an eye on them, but not lose track of what we're doing in the Arab world, which is far more of a threat to us. It's not for the long haul either. Eventually we'll have to do something;Warren writes enigmatically:

There may, just may, be a technological solution to this problem in the near future -- to the problem of neutralizing an enemy's strike capacity without risking millions of lives -- between one and three years down the road. I am not at liberty to go into it; and besides it is of no use until it is ready.

Could he possibly be talking about this stuff?
Mark Steyn has a lot to say on the subject of ID, and those five guys we're supposed to be looking for.

The FBI didn't know they were looking for Mr. Asghar. They thought they were looking for Mustafa Khan Owasi, under whose name they released the photograph of Mr. Asghar. Mr. Owasi is one of five highly suspicious men Americans were urged to be alert for in the run-up to New Year's Eve. They may or may not have entered the United States using false British passports, or Canadian, or some other form of documentation. But what we do know is that they're Arab, unless they're Pakistani or some other nationality, and that they crossed over the Ontario/New York border, or possibly the British Columbia/Washington border, or via some other route entirely. Or they may not be in North America at all. But, if they are, they look like the guys in these photographs, except for the one of that jeweller in Lahore who's never been to the United States.

So, wherever you are on the planet, keep your eyes peeled for five guys who look like the sort of guys who, if they were going to use fake picture ID, would use the kind of fake picture ID with a picture of this particular jeweller from Lahore on it.

I'm not sure I agree completely with the point of this one, but I can't argue very well while I'm giggling, so he's got me.


It's hard to run a tight ship at terrorist organizations these days. (Ali: How much did we pay for these desks? Mohammed: Didn't you get the memo?) James Robbins on Al Qaeda's organizational problems, and the troubles of one of their internal auditors.


Anne Bayefsky writes that the UN General Assembly doesn't agree on much, except when it comes to Israel. Last week, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on Palestinian children. This brings the number of resolutions on the human rights of children to three: one on the rights of the child, one on the "girl child," and one on Palestinian children. The Palestinian children, it seems, didn't fit into either of the first two categories.


Max Boot says that everyone, from Arafat, to the Arab world, to the Israeli left is exploiting the Palestinians. An interesting take.
Joel Mowbray on the reasons why getting rid of the (double) taxation of dividends is a good thing, and why merely reducing it by 50% would be far less then half as good.

The only variable at this point is that the White House may only propose a 50% cut in the dividend tax because of the “cost” of the full monty. But as ATR’s Norquist explains, killing the tax is an easier sale to make because “eliminating the dividend tax is a principle, but cutting it in half will come across as special pleading, asking for a favor.” And in the new political reality where there are more stockholders than jobholders at the voting booth, eliminating the dividend tax is one principle the President would be smart to fight for.

Exactly. The reason to get rid of the tax is it's unfairness, and the biases it creates in companies and investors. The benefits to taxpayers are just gravy.


Victor Davis Hanson has a message for senator Patty Murray; It’s Not the Money, Stupid! Just a little more evidence of a liberal who doesn't get the idea of evil, looking for other ways to explain it.
Christopher Hitchens takes another step on his journey away from the hard left with this piece on the necessity of the word "Evil"

Everybody knows that morality is indissoluble from the idea of conscience and that something innate in us will condemn murder and theft without having to have the lesson pedantically inculcated.

What kind of leftism is that? I'm starting to get suspicious that Hitch isn't a leftist at all. One of the major ideological divides between the "right" and "left" political wings in this country is their respective views about the nature of evil. See for example this recent Dennis Prager article. Or, better yet, check out this book by Thomas Sowell, I couldn't recommend it highly enough.
If you want to read nine pages of horsesh*t, read this interview with Kaddafi's son. It was on NRO so I kept reading through endless annoying stuff like this part, after he claims his father is not connected to the Libyan government in any way:

Taheri: So how do things work in Libya, how are decisions made? How can your father, who has no position whatsoever, pick up the phone and tell any official to do anything?

Kaddafi: In Libya we have a system called the Jamahiriyah for which there is no adequate word in any of the Western languages. It didn't even exist in Arabic and was coined by my father to denote direct rule by the people. In this system, nobody orders anybody to do anything. Matters are discussed at all levels and decisions are made collectively. Of course, when my father expresses his views on any subject people listen because they have confidence in his wisdom.

But then, suddenly, I was rewarded for my efforts…

Taheri: Libya still features on the list of states sponsoring international terrorism as established by Washington…

Kaddafi: Yes. And that is just another sign of American ill will towards Libya. We had very positive relations with the United States until Ronald Reagan became president and initiated cowboy diplomacy. Under President Jimmy Carter, Libya was one of the most attractive places for U.S. investments, especially in the energy sector. Carter's brother even worked for us as public-relations adviser. Carter was the best president the Americans have had in a long time.

That's got to make you smile.


David Asman, an anchor for Fox news, writes about how his son is earning his citizenship. A touching story, that belies the Rangel fantasy that we need a draft so all segments of our society can feel invested in our military's successes and failures. (Peggy Noonan wrote a touching article a while back on some similar stories.)

As for Rangel, he might be interested in this piece, de-bunking the idea that black enlisted men will suffer disproportionately in any war. It turns out, in a war, it's the middle-class white kids who are at the greatest risk. Rangel's piece is a joke though, because he says everything but the real reason he is suggesting the draft. He is just trying, cleverly, to pretend that we need one. What he wants is for everyone to be clamoring about the reasons for, or against, a draft, and to just assume that it is something that would help us militarily. It has nothing to do with a draft; it's all about Iraq. I personally am not dead-set against a draft, in the very remote possibility that we might actually need one, but we aren't anywhere near the point where it would even be helpful, let alone necessary.

Update: Laurence Simon agrees that a draft is a bad idea, but he misses some of the evolutionary benefits.


The Hammer of The Gods, Will Drive Our Ships To New Lands

Eric Lindholm , the man behind the Smarter Harper's Index, is starting a blog, which can be found at vikingpundit.blogspot.com. Judging by his past performance it should be a must-read. It's going right on the blogroll. Drop by and take a look around.

Frederick Grab on the difference between a fact and a "factoid," and why some of the things you know are simply false. Like, say, the idea that there is a place called Palastine.
Xu Wenli ,one of the founders of the democracy movement in China, is visiting America, and he has some insights on the source of our freedoms.

Seeing people of all different colors walking peaceably along the same New York streets provides one insight. I know that there has been much strife and sorrow in the history of the United States and the world because of differences: religious, political, racial. But in responding to the call of democratic beliefs, people come to realize that democracy is not merely a political system but a way of life. Only when people respect freedom, human rights and the many things that make them different, only when they realize that democracy is as essential as bread, air and water -- only then has constitutional democracy truly planted its roots.

He's no de Tocqueville, but it's a good piece.
Words to live by
To begin a journey of 365 days, you must first do something about your hangover.
(today's Guindon cartoon caption)
Happy New Year!

I actually have a few posts I've been wanting to make, but at this point I'm going to wait until I'm sober.


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

I have two words for the critics: Radio Sawa.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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