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Friday August 22, 2003

We now know that the U.N. officials in Baghdad had rejected earlier efforts by the U.S. military to increase security at the U.N. compound. We now learn that the U.N. guards at the compound were former Iraqi Secret Service Agents who were hired by the U.N. after the war. These guards are now suspected of conspiring against their current employers.

So, of course it stands to reason that we get this from the "experts":

Analysts have questioned whether the United States and its partners maintain troop levels sufficient to establish law and order in Iraq, particularly in the wake of the truck bombing that killed at least 20 at the U.N. facility and a series of other attacks.

And this reveals the disingenuinuousness (hey, I went to college. I can make up my own words) of Kofi Annan:

"We will go on doing whatever we can to help build a better future for the Iraqi people," Annan promised.

But he also criticized the United States for failing to secure the situation in Iraq for international humanitarian workers, saying: "The occupying power is responsible for law and order and the security of the country."

Lowell Ponte agrees that the Israeli fence is a good idea and that, in fact, it has worked before. Excerpt,

Had that Assyrian wave of conquest not been stopped in 722 B.C. at the recently hardened stout high walls of Jerusalem, it would also have washed away the other two tribes. Judah and the Davidic-Solomonic line of descent, including the ancestors of Jesus, would have been snuffed out. Jerusalem's warriors would have died on the impaling spikes that brutal Assyrian rulers used to execute en masse those men who fought them and lost.

And you though the Hatfield and McCoy feud lasted a long time. Check out this headline: Egyptian Jurists to Sue 'The Jews' for Compensation for 'Trillions' of Tons of Gold Allegedly Stolen During Exodus from Egypt

If you haven't read Salam Pax's blog from Baghdad, please do. Another Baghdad blog is here and an Iraqi paper is here.

Thursday August 21, 2003

The Palestinians murder a busload of Israeli's (including many women and children); The Israelis murder a terrorist leader. Parity? Moral equivalence? Cycle of violence? Palestinian terrorists target Israeli civilians. Israeli leaders target Palestinian terrorists. Of course the Palestinian view is that all Israeli's are the enemy by virtue of their very existence. This is a view which is fostered within the Palestinian community in the schools, mosques and the media. There is a deep, seething hatred on the Palestinian side which will not be sated. It is similar to the case of a dog who has been trained to kill. He can't easily be domesticated. He can't be let out into society. Only two options are feasible: put the dog in a cage and separate him from society, or put the dog down.

The "world community" and indeed the U.S. would not condone the Israeli military actually achieving military victory over the Palestinians. The vastly superior IDF killing Palestinian leadership, terrorists and yes, civilians. Remember the outrage over the completely bogus "Jenin Massacre"? Imagine the outrage of the "world community" over large numbers of Palestinian civilian casualties --no, not Israeli civilian casualties. The "world community" apparently has no concern over "mere" Jews. Is that too strong? Yes, there is always a great moaning and gnashing of teeth after each terrorist episode. But what, if anything, is the "world community" prepared to do? Allow the Israelis to defend themselves? Stop funding the terrorists? Well, no.

If the IDF cannot defeat the Palestinians (for mainly political reasons), then surely the Israelis can isolate them. As the case with the mad dog: you either kill him or lock him up. Build the fence. That's what must be done if the Israelis are to enjoy any lasting peace. Allow no Palestinians entry into Israel. Make it impenetrable. Yes, it would be a terrible blow to the Palestinians who work in Israel. Perhaps the Palestinians would stop arming themselves to the teeth and develop their own economy. Maybe they will continue to foster hatred. But this should not be the concern of the Israelis. The fence can't stop the enemy from hating you, but it may stop the enemy from killing you.

So the Israeli's have very few choices. Overwhelming military victory or isolate the enemy. Well, actually there's a third option. They could all stand up, face west and march into the sea.

Oh yeah, the hudna has ended.

Chief Wiggles reports on the U.N. bombing from Baghdad:

What is even more disturbing is the fact that many of these acts of terrorism are committed by non-Iraqi people, those from other countries who have traveled here for the sole purpose of disrupting our efforts to give to these people a life free from fear, bondage, and torture. As if their small random acts of violence will even put a dent in our resolve to continue in our efforts to provide security and freedom to these people.

What kind of place is it that will deliberately breed such contempt and hatred for people, hatred that knows no bounds or limitations and will stop at nothing to accomplish their goal of killing innocent human beings? People that will do such things are blinded by their own relentless hatred that they cannot even see the good that is being done over here.

The Chief also laments the lack of positive news coming out of Iraq:

Maybe our efforts for the most part are going unnoticed: the schools and hospitals that have been opened, the playgrounds and housing projects that have been started, and the many jobs that have been created. Where is all the talk about the thousands of good things that have been done? Why is the media not assisting to promote the word that many great things are occurring day after day? Where is the truth in reporting that makes good news as sellable as bad news?

Meanwhile, BeldarBlog blasts the New York Times for burying information regarding the culpability of the U.N. in assuring their own safety and trying to pin the blame on the Bush Administration:

After a bombing at the Jordanian Embassy last week, senior American officials warned that other soft targets might be next. But the United Nations deliberately avoided sealing itself off because it feared that such barriers would send the wrong message to Iraqis seeking help.

And this buried deep in the Houston Chronicle:

U.N. officials at the headquarters had refused heavy security aside from the recently built concrete wall because the United Nations "did not want a large American presence outside," said Salim Lone, the U.N. spokesman in Baghdad.

Surprisingly (yeah, right) this information hasn't made the headlines.

Other reports omit the U.N. culpability entirely and insinuate that the bombing was the result of a lack of troops:

Various options are being debated for a continued U.N. presence in Iraq - and the discussions are expected to take in such issues as whether more foreign troops are needed and whether the occupation should be led by the United States or the U.N.

Terrorism in Iraq - including attacks on Iraq's oil pipeline, water supplies and the Jordanian embassy - have so far not persuaded the Bush administration to send more troops.

Perhaps terrorism has so far not pursuaded the Bush administration to send more troops, but it sounds like terrorism persuaded the Bush administration to bolster the security of "soft" targets--extra security which the U.N. rejected.

Hal Lindsey explains various facts and myths surrounding the (failing, failed, bound from the beginning to fail, purely eyewash fabricated by diplomats - ed) Roadmap to Peace. Excerpt:

First Myth: The "roadmap"was not supposed to begin implementation until a new qualified prime minister who is not under Arafat's control was elected by the people.

Fact: Mahmoud Abbas has openly said that Arafat is ultimately in control of all negotiation decisions and that he has final authority. This should indicate to even a neophyte political student that the most basic, stated requirement for "the plan" is not there.

Read the rest of the myths and facts. Most are fairly apparent to those who are paying attention (so long as you're not paying attention to NPR.)

David Bedein explores the difference between the alleged public outrage and condemnation of terrorist attacks that the PA expresses for public consumption and that which the PA disseminates to the Palestinians:

Mainstream media outlets are reporting that Abu Mazen condemns the August 19th bus Arab terror massacre, conveying the impression that the PA condemns the massacre.

However, most significantly, the Arabic language official Palestinian Authority Radio, Palestinian Authority TV and Palestinian Authority newspapers did not carry any real condemnation from Abu Mazen or any other official from the Palestinian Authority yesterday.

The bombing of the bus yesterday is universally termed in the Palestinian press "amaliyya al Quds" - "the Jerusalem operation," rather than as an "attack" or a "terroristic attack." By the way, the "peace process" is also termed the "peace operation" by the Palestinian media.

The "condemnation" broadcast by Voice of Palestine radio never condemned the perpetrators. Interestingly, the reports all act as if the identity of the attacker is not known.

It should also be noted that the reports did not begin with the news of the attack and its "condemnation". They opened with comments about the "horrible" things that the Israelis were doing (i.e. the "racist fence"). And yesterday morning the top story was the Israelis "invading" the Temple Mount.

Although it might be satisfying to engage in civil disobedience and rally around Judge Roy Moore, Marvin Olasky (the man who allegedly coined the term "compassionate conservative") sees it differently. Excerpt,

Daniel in the Bible had no choice but to continue praying to God in his home when Babylon's king outlawed such prayer. Daniel, however, did not pray in front of the king's palace. Are the feds telling Moore that he cannot speak of his faith, in which case he has no choice but to stand firm? Or are they offering harassment but not persecution? In that case, a gentle response might better serve the cause of Christ.

He's right, of course. Not necessarily his solution, but his belief that the best solution is the one that best serves the cause of Christ. I hope Judge Moore prays daily for divine guidance in this matter.

Tuesday August 19, 2003

Avast me hearties!
Listen up maties afore I have to keelhaul ya or make ye walk the plank! Dust off the eyepatch. Get the parrot, pointy hat and peg-leg. International Talk Like a Pirate Day is only one month away.

Just to get you started, here is an excerpt from the Pirate Dictionary:

Ahoy! - "Hello!"

Arrr! - This one is often confused with arrrgh, which is of course the sound you make when you sit on a belaying pin. "Arrr!" can mean, variously, "yes," "I agree," "I'm happy," "I'm enjoying this beer," "My team is going to win it all," "I saw that television show, it sucked!" and "That was a clever remark you or I just made." And those are just a few of the myriad possibilities of Arrr!

Avast! - Stop and give attention. It can be used in a sense of surprise, "Whoa! Get a load of that!" which today makes it more of a "Check it out" or "No way!" or "Get off!"

Aye! - "Why yes, I agree most heartily with everything you just said or did."

Aye aye! - "I'll get right on that sir, as soon as my break is over."

Good news from Iraq: "Bush good, Saddam bad". Excerpt,

In fact, there is another Iraq that the media virtually ignore. It is guarded by the First Marine Division, and, unlike Baghdad, it has been a model of success. The streets are safe, petty and violent crime are low, water and electrical services are almost universally available (albeit rationed), and ordinary Iraqis are beginning to clean up and rebuild their neighborhoods and communities. Equally important, a deep level of mutual trust and respect has developed between the Marines and the populace here in central and southern Iraq.

The definitive Daniel Pipes:

How do Palestinian refugees differ from the other 135 million 20th-century refugees?

Answer: In every other instance, the pain of dispossession, statelessness, and poverty has diminished over time. Refugees eventually either resettled, returned home or died. Their children - whether living in South Korea, Vietnam, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, Germany or America - then shed the refugee status and joined the mainstream.

Not so the Palestinians. For them, the refugee status continues from one generation to the next, creating an ever-larger pool of anguish and discontent.

Several factors explain this anomaly but one key component - of all things - is the United Nations' bureaucratic structure. It contains two organizations focused on refugee affairs, each with its own definition of "refugee":

* The U.N. High Commission for Refugees applies this term worldwide to someone who, "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted . . . is outside the country of his nationality." Being outside the country of his nationality implies that descendants of refugees are not refugees. Cubans who flee the Castro regime are refugees, but not so their Florida-born children who lack Cuban nationality. Afghans who flee their homeland are refugees, but not their Iranian-born children. And so on.

* The U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization set up uniquely for Palestinian refugees in 1949, defines Palestinian refugees differently from all other refugees. They are persons who lived in Palestine "between June 1946 and May 1948, who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab-Israeli conflict." Especially important is that UNRWA extends the refugee status to "the descendants of persons who became refugees in 1948." It even considers the children of just one Palestinian refugee parent to be refugees.

The High Commission's definition causes refugee populations to vanish over time; UNRWA's causes them to expand without limit. Let's apply each definition to the Palestinian refugees of 1948, who by the U.N.'s (inflated) statistics numbered 726,000. (Scholarly estimates of the number range between 420,000 to 539,000.)

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas finally confirms that he has no power to reign in the Palestinian terror groups.

Bush: the big government conservative. The sad fact (and nugget graf) is this:

Americans have grown comfortable with big government, a legacy of the 1960s. As a culture, we have bought into the notion that adults can be as irresponsible as they choose in lifestyle decisions and government will construct a safety net to catch their consequences. In some cases, it's not irresponsibility; it is that adults have changed behaviors to conform to government incentives. In Georgia, for example, 73 percent of undergraduate students receive state grants, giving parents incentives to spend the money their parents saved for the children's college. Government has built a dependency and, since 25 percent of the nation's taxpayers pay 84 percent of the cost of government, there's no incentive to go back.

I think a great many fiscal conservatives are dismayed by much of the President's domestic agenda. However, it appears that we're going to be saddled with more policies such as this:

President Bush and Congress have agreed to spend $400 billion on prescription drugs for the elderly over 10 years. But they rarely address a basic question: Where does the money come from?

It will be borrowed from the public, officials say. In practice, economists say, workers of the future children and grandchildren of today's Medicare beneficiaries will have to pay much of the cost through higher taxes.

The federal government has no budget surplus to pay for the new benefits, which are the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation in 1965. A law that required Congress to offset the cost of new benefits either by raising taxes or by cutting other programs was allowed to expire in September.

And what is the end result of these short-sighted programs? Think California.

Monday August 18, 2003

It seems to me that we may be running low on ideas when we have to resort to this:

The US army is hoping to stick up posters of Saddam Hussein's face superimposed on Hollywood heroines and other stars in an attempt to enrage his followers and draw them out.

In one called 'Zsa Zsa Saddam', he has his head tossed back, his blonde locks flowing and a filter-tipped cigarette dangling coquettishly between his delicate fingers.

'Zsa Zsa Saddam' is the US army's latest ploy in the four-month hunt for the fugitive dictator.


Angry U.S. generals yesterday ordered an immediate halt to a plan to pepper Saddam's hometown Tikrit with bizarre computer-altered posters of the ex-Iraqi dictator dressed as Elvis - or bare-chested rock star Billy Idol.

The Pentagon feared that local commanders' plan to use the posters, depicted in yesterday's Post and that also include Saddam as a tarted-up Zsa Zsa Gabor and Rita Hayworth, would be too inflammatory.

"This is not something we either approved of in advance or condoned. It was the idea of a small patrol unit of the Army 4th's Infantry Division," said a Pentagon spokeswoman.

This article goes a long way toward explaining Islams bloody borders.

Those wascally Koweans. What will they come up with next:

AT THE dock, harried German customs agents skimmed quickly through a fat manifest that included the usual Asia-bound staples fertilizer, bulk chemicals, cheeses. A last-minute addition, 214 ultra-strong aluminum pipes purchased by China's Shenyang Aircraft Corp., was one of the final items cleared before the 40,000-ton ship fired its engines again and headed to Asia.

But within hours after the ship departed, the story of the manifest began to unravel. German intelligence officials discovered that the aluminum was destined not for China but for North Korea. The intended use of the pipes, they concluded, was not aircraft production, but the making of nuclear weapons.

On April 12, in a dramatic but little-noticed intervention, French and German authorities tracked the ship to the eastern Mediterranean and seized the pipes. German police arrested the owner of a small export company and uncovered a broader scheme to acquire as many as 2,000 such pipes. That much aluminum in North Korean hands, investigators concluded, could have yielded as many as 3,500 gas centrifuges for enriching uranium.

"The intentions were clearly nuclear," said a Western diplomat familiar with the investigation. "The result could have been several bombs' worth of weapons-grade uranium in a year."

Walter Williams correctly asserts that our foray into Liberia will do little to stave off the rapid decline of the entire region. Continent building anyone? Excerpt,

Mr. Bush has pledged to send more foreign aid to some African nations. Foreign aid has historically gone to governments. Instead of helping the poor, foreign aid has enabled African tyrants to buy cronies and military equipment to stay in power, not to mention establishing multibillion dollar "retirement" accounts in Swiss banks should their regime be toppled.

What African countries need, the West cannot give. In a word, what Africans need is personal liberty. That means a political system where there are guarantees of private property rights and rule of law. It's almost a no-brainer. The "2003 Index of Economic Freedom," published by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, lists Botswana, South Africa and Namibia as "mostly free." World Bank 2002 country per capita GDP rankings put Botswana 89th ($2,980), South Africa 94th ($2,600) and Namibia 111th ($1,700). Is there any mystery why they are well ahead of their northern neighbors, such as Mozambique 195th ($210), Liberia 201st ($150) or Ethiopia 206th ($100)?

If this is what Gray Davis' supporters say, just imagine... From Mickey Kaus at Slate:

Gray is kind of a, you know, this kind of guy who polls for the answer. ... There's not much that Gray stands for -- and I like Gray personally -- but Gray doesn't stand for anything. That's his problem politically right now. You know, Gray stands for Gray. And so, as something moves forward, his calculus is not 'What do I feel in my gut or my heart?' His calculus is 'What sounds good? What polls good? I don't wanna make a mistake that could cost me politically.'

The words of an Iraqi terrorist resistance fighter.

Charles Krauthammer supports Daniel Pipes' nomination to the U.S. Institute of Peace. Pipes' main attribute: he speaks the truth. Excerpt,

... Unlike most of the complacent and clueless Middle East academic establishment, which specializes in the brotherhood of man and the perfidy of the United States, Pipes has for years been warning that the radical element within Islam posed a serious and growing threat to the United States.

During the decades when America slept, Pipes was among the very first to understand the dangers of Islamic radicalism. In his many writings he identified it, explained its roots -- including, most notably, Wahhabism as practiced and promoted by Saudi Arabia -- and warned of its plans to infiltrate and make war on the United States itself.

Pondering imponderables on a cheery Monday morning. Check out this "hypothetical" scenario:

The sunroof on the Honda slid open. A swarthy man in a black T-shirt popped suddenly from the opening, pulling a strange looking object out with him. It was an RPG-7, a Russian-made rocket propelled grenade launcher. Only a practiced eye could have noticed that it had been slightly modified. The cone-shaped warhead was slightly larger than usual; the launcher barrel was slightly longer, and the horn-shaped exhaust pipe curved upward.

The man in the T-shirt knew he had only an instant. All the months of training, all the computer game simulations, all the video-tapes of jetliners landing at LaGuardia had brought him to this few seconds. He "led" the huge airliner like a skeet shooter and pulled the trigger. Even though the curved pipe directed the back blast largely upward, it still rocked the Honda. A taxi driver passing by with his window open felt a rush of heat that almost made him lose control of his car.

The warhead exploded just behind the front exit door of the airliner. The Honda scorched the pavement as it rocketed away from the scene. Up ahead of it, a puzzled truck driver was still trying to process the image he had just seen as he passed the parked Honda - the blur of a man's torso on the roof of the car, a blast of fire and smoke. "Jeez! What was that? Did that car blow up?" He didn't realize that the car streaking past him on the right was the same Honda he had just seen.

An up-close and gritty look at the mission in the Sunni Triangle.