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Saturday May 17, 2003

Here's a little background on Abu Abbas (the hijacker/terrorist/murderer/islamacist who was recently captured in Baghdad). This from a woman whose family was killed 25 years ago by terrorists opposed to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty.

You should really read it all , but here are a few excerpts:

One hears the terrorists and their excusers say that they are driven to kill out of desperation. But there is always a choice. Even when you have suffered, you can choose whether to kill and ruin another's life, or whether to go on and rebuild. Even after my family was murdered, I never dreamed of taking revenge on any Arab.

Bully!! Also this:

In recent years, Abu Abbas started telling journalists that he had renounced terrorism and that killing Leon Klinghoffer had been a mistake. But he has never said that killing my family was a mistake. He was a terrorist once, and a terrorist, I believe, he remains. Why else did he spend these last years, as the Israeli press has reported, free as a bird in Baghdad, passing rewards of $25,000 from Saddam Hussein to families of Palestinian suicide bombers? More than words, that kind of cash prize, which is a fortune to poor families, was a way of urging more suicide bombers. The fortunate thing about Abbas's attaching himself to Hussein is that it set him up for capture.

Looks like al Qaida is at it again in Casablanca.

At least 60 people were injured. The blasts damaged a Jewish community center and cemetery, the Belgian consulate, the Spanish restaurant and a hotel.

Friday May 16, 2003

Amnesty International claims that Iraqi POW's have been tortured by coalition forces.

Well of course they have. Those coalition forces are evil, sadistic killers and murderers (probably, some of them are henchmen). Oh, to have Saddam back...

I agree almost entirely with this article from the Tampa Bay Tribune which recommends removing our troops from Korea. However, I do disagree with this excerpt:

South Korea too has changed over the years. It started out roughly equal to the communist North, but now, thanks to the investment, initiative and productivity that are the blessings of free enterprise, it has an economy 40 times the size of North Korea's. It is capable of defending itself.

South Korea is no way capable of defending itself, partly because of 50 years of reliance on the US military and partly because its main population center, Seoul, is but a few clicks from the worlds 5th largest army and thousands of missiles. Seoul would be quickly overtaken and South Korea would collapse. This is not to say that we should leave our troops in place, for they too would be as sheep led to slaughter. We can still defend South Korea, but should do so from a safe distance

Methinks things are not going so well in Baghdad. Here's the nugget:

These soldiers see the reservoir of Iraqi goodwill draining away while bureaucrats take their time holding meetings and making plans as if time were somehow not an issue.

I sincerely hope we get our act together and fast.

The latest screed from Helen Thomas is just so wrongheaded it's hard to know where to begin. OK, let's start here:

Thanks to President Bush's decision to ignore the United Nations and go it alone in Iraq, the world body suffered a huge loss of political credibility. The presidential snub raises the threat that the United States will, for the second time, destroy an international organization designed to protect world peace. The first occurred in the aftermath of World War I when the League of Nations foundered and died after the U.S. Senate refused to ratify membership. The league was the world's first major attempt at collective security in the aftermath of that devastating conflict.

The League of Nations did not founder and die because the U.S. refused to ratify it. The League of Nations died of it's own irrelevancy due to it's inability to stop Nazi agression. The failure of the League to stop German military buildup (in violation of the Treaty of Versailles) and expansion (remember Poland? remember the Sudetenland?) led directly to WWII. Much as the League was, the UN is just a bunch of blathering bureaucrats and diplomats who are completely ineffective at achieving "collective security".

Here's the other common argument of the left:

Before the U.S. invasion, U.N. inspectors in Iraq had turned up nothing, a finding that the administration could not accept because it didn't fit into the president's pro-war agenda. Despite the fact that our military forces have occupied Iraq for almost a month, U.S. hunters have also come up empty handed.

We haven't found Saddam either. Perhaps that means he never existed.

How's this for some significantly backward thinking:

As U.S. forces adjust to the awkward role of an occupying power, we struggle back to the United Nations to seek help from other member nations. We want the world body to end sanctions against Iraq, an about-face from our previous steadfast opposition against any move to end the economic embargo. Now it suits our purpose to lift the sanctions, so we seek U.N. approval.

In the months and years leading up to the war, many on the Security Council (France, Germany, Russia) wanted to lift the sanctions on Iraq. We were constantly told how these evil sanction were a terrible burden on the children of Iraq. If not for the United States, these sanctions would have been lifted years ago. We knew that if the sanctions were lifted the $$ would just go to the evil regime (remember the "Oil for Palace" program?). Now that the Baathists are gone, revenues produced from the lifting of sanctions would go directly to the people of Iraq and aid in its rebuilding.

The US did not want to lift sanctions when the revenues would go to Saddam and his henchmen (don't you just love that term:henchmen), but do want to lift the sanctions to help the people of Iraq. The UN wanted to lift the sanctions when Saddam was in power, but no longer. The US has a clear, logical and reasonable reason for our "about-face", the UN does not

UPDATE: It sounds as if the Germans may be coming around.

Thursday May 15, 2003

Excerpt from a World Tribune story on the latest Al Qaida bombing in Riyadh Saudia:

On Tuesday, a leading U.S. senator said Al Qaida has reorganized its forces amid the U.S.-led war in Iraq. Sen. Bob Graham, a former chairman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, said the Islamic network has bolstered its capability nearly to the level of that in September 2001, when Al Qaida conducted suicide strikes in New York and Washington. "We essentially ended the war on terror about a year ago, and since that time, Al Qaida has been allowed to regenerate," Graham said. "We have allowed the basic structure of Al Qaida to continue. Yes, we've been engaged in a manhunt to find their past leadership. But what we're also finding is that Al Qaida has a deep farm team and they're able to replace those who are killed or detained."

The war on terror ended a year ago? Where the heck has this guy been! Perhaps he has been too busy trying to determine if he has the stuff to be President (God, help us). Bobby, put your ears on. Have you heard President Bush declare that the war on terror has ended? I have not. Have you heard Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld declare that the war on terror has ended? I have not. Have you heard Bush, Rumsfeld, et al proclaim that the war on terror would take years to accomplish? Yeah, me too.

The belief that this event is evidence of a fully (or nearly so) reconstituted organization shows a serious lack of wisdom. This was not a very complex terrorist plot, but just some Islamicists in a truck packed with explosives who probably had some inside help from sympathetic Saudis. Additionally, this was not accomplished across continents with a vast network of operatives: they did this on their own home turf.

Another excerpt:

In London, a leading Western strategic institute agreed. The International Institute for Strategic Studies said in a news conference on Tuesday that Al Qaida has not been intimidated by U.S. military successes in Afghanistan and Iraq. "It is possible that the audacity and success of the Iraq intervention has intimidated anti-American terrorists as well as rogue regimes," institute director John Chipman said. "The attacks by suicide bombers at three housing compounds in Riyad earlier today show that this would be an unwise conclusion. A strong counter-terrorism campaign remains a critical necessity for years to come."

I think that regimes (i.e. leaders of the regimes who want to live and want to live well) can be intimidated because most of all they fear losing power. Individual Islamicist fanatics can never be intimidated. How do you intimidate someone who is willing to blow themselves to smithereens?

Robert Dallek's new bio on Kennedy in which he describes an affair betweeen President Kennedy and a young intern has prompted one Marion (Mimi) Fahrenstock to proclaim, "I am the Mimi" .


"The gift for me is that this allowed me to tell my two married daughters a secret that I've been holding for 41 years," she said. "It's a huge relief."

"It's all true," said Fahnestock, sitting in a pew in Manhattan's Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church, where she works as an administrator.

Referring to stories in The New York Daily News this week detailing the affair, she said: "I was 19 years old. It was 1962, '63, and it's the truth."

I find her statements very believable. It doesn't sound like anything that she's proud of nor does she seem to want any notoriety or profit.

Interestingly, this was reportedly well known to many others in the White House and in the press corps, yet no one reported it because it was deemed part of the President's private life. My how times have changed

Wednesday May 14, 2003

Recently, we learned (via Robert Dallek's new bio on Kennedy) that the Camelot President had (ahem) relations with one of his interns. Now we learn here that he also snorted cocaine with Peter Lawford prior to his presidency. No, I wouldn't actually go so far as to make any reference to Clinton--that would be too easy!

Ben Shapiro has some "un-nice" things to say about Thomas Friedman, excerpt:

Friedman's basic theory on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is this: If the Israelis and Palestinians could only get past all this religious mumbo-jumbo, remove old leaders and accept one another, we could let globalization work its magic. Because Friedman thinks everything is about economics, he thinks peace can be achieved once Jewish settlements are abandoned and the Palestinians replace Yasser Arafat with another terror-supporting figurehead, Abu Mazen.

Shapiro is correct that Friedman is a bit naieve in this regard (his word was "sucker"). Arafat only wants to drive the Jews into the sea. The whole Palestinian Authority that was set up as a result of Oslo is a corrupt sham. The Palestinians live in squalor with no hope for a better future. This is a direct result of Arafat's tactics. Leaders such as Arafat (and Saddam, and Assad, and Jong-Il) only care about their own economics not those of their people. However, the real burning question is, "who drives little Benny Shapiro to work in the mornings?

Only The New York Times would refer to the French government as "center-right". Let's see...I guess that would make Tom Daschle a right-winger. Oh well, I guess they have larger problems than bias at the NYT