Thursday, October 31, 2002
Nuclear Deterrence Watch
One reason to keep track of the North Korea situation is that it show how nuclear deterrence works -- against us. It reinforces one of the strongest arguments for liberating Iraq. The AP reports that US intelligence is on the lookout for a North Korean ICBM launch.
If they do (and I think they will) it will be a part of a North Korean dance designed to extract as much money from the US, South Korea and Japan without actually giving up the nukes. It will do this by ratcheting up the pressure until someone blinks. They are already succeeding in separating Japan and South Korea from the US, as I've written previously.
This is how nuclear blackmail works. Prosperous democratic governments (US, SK, Japan) are much more risk averse when it comes to the potential of nuclear attack than dictatorships. Think about 1994 -- we blinked even though NK did not yet have nuclear arms. We were deterred by the mere suggestion of conflict. Today we have a tougher administration, but the NK have nukes and Japan and SK have weak knees. In my judgement, that still gives the North Koreans the advantage.
This power play is exactly the reason that Saddam seeks nukes and exactly the reason we should stop him now.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Another Judenraete Update
First, thanks to Instapundit and Rod Dreher for the links. Second, is these write ups on Bat Ye'or in the Washington Times -- an article about the Georgetown affair and an interview.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Nuclear Gnomes Update
Here's a "You Don't Say" for the Best of the Web "North Korea Rejects Demands to Abandon Nuclear Program." I still don't know why some people think that NK will ever give them up. Do they think that they were doing it for intellectual curiosity? Can anyone think of a reason they would give them up?
Notice, also, the deterrence effect of a country possessing nuclear weapons. Both Japan and South Korea are backing away from any tough measures against the Democratic People's Republic.
Indeed, South Korea, which under President Kim Dae Jung has become a major supplier of aid to North Korea, has issued statements in recent days casting doubts on American characterizations of Washington's recent conversations with North Korea.
It's best to ignore the painful truth -- maybe it will go away. Also,
Despite his knowledge of the uranium program, at the conclusion of his one-day meeting, Mr. Koizumi signed a memorandum of understanding with North Korea saying that the country would abide by all international agreements on nuclear arms.
Aren't these countries worries about the fact that their neighbor and declared enemy has nukes? Of course they are, but what can they do now that we screwed them in 1994? That is the magic of deterrence.
Let's not let this happen again, shall we?
Rod Dreher has an update on the Georgetown Bat Ye'or appearance. What amazes me about this incident are two things. One, how the freedom to think has been destroyed at today's Universities. It seems like these Jewish students were more afraid of offending the status quo than seeking the truth. I was an engineer undergrad (at a conservative campus) -- so can someone tell me how long has this gone on? And two, the similarities between these Jews and those living in Germany before the Holocaust -- many just kept quiet and waited for things to blow over.
Nick Kristof is particularly idiotic today. I have written before that he correctly identifies problem, but then provides idiotic solutions. Well, he's at it again. Writing about North Korea, Nick states:
Donald Gregg, a former ambassador to Seoul who is president of the Korea Society, says imposing sanctions on North Korea "would be crazy." Likewise, a military strike is not feasible, given that it would probably trigger a new Korean war.
On the other hand, how can we accept a North Korea with a large nuclear arsenal? How can we continue to ship fuel oil to the North as if nothing had happened?
That's right, they really have our balls in a vice grip. But then Nick offers a solution:
That leaves only one alternative, holding our nose and negotiating a deal with North Korea (without ever calling it negotiating, and possibly using proxies like China). The North would give up its nukes and missiles, all sides would agree to end the hostilities of the Korean War (there never was a peace treaty), and Western countries would normalize relations with the North. The North will just give up their missiles.
His plan reminds me of the South Park episode
where the boys meet the Underpants Gnomes. The Gnomes steal underpants according tho their business plan: Phase I -- Collect Underpants Phase III -- Profit! The trouble is no one knows what Phase II is -- how translate underpants into profit. That's the trouble with Nick's plan -- let's assume that we ignore any morality of North Korean rule, how can turn Phase I -- Negotiation into Phase III Disarmament? Didn't we try this same thing in 1994 and weren't we completely lied to? And if we can buy them off with money why would they give up the one thing that allowed them to blackmail us in the first place?
Nick, you are on the right track, but try thinking things through for a change. Don't be a Nuclear Gnome!
Monday, October 28, 2002
Fresh from seeing the art of profiling be absolutely wrong (scroll down to e-mail of the day), the Wahington Post reports that the FBI's profile of the anthrax attacks is being questioned.
A significant number of scientists and biological warfare experts are expressing skepticism about the FBI's view that a single disgruntled American scientist prepared the spores and mailed the deadly anthrax letters that killed five people last year.
Instead, suggested [chief biological inspector for the U.N. Special Commission from 1994 to 1998] Spertzel and more than a dozen experts interviewed by The Washington Post in recent weeks, investigators might want to reexamine the possibility of state-sponsored terrorism, or try to determine whether weaponized spores may have been stolen by the attacker from an existing, but secret, biodefense program or perhaps given to the attacker by an accomplice. [Empahsis mine]
The question is who?
Iraq and North Korea
A powerful editorial from Sunday's Washington Post.
John Burns of the TAiSS actually goes to Iraq and speaks with some actual Iraqis.
He continued at a breathless pace, suggesting that he had rehearsed for the scant moments he was likely to have: "What the Iraqi people would like to hang on their walls would be banners saying, `Yes, yes, Mr. Bush. Yes, yes, America.' There are 22 million Iraqis, and every one of them has 100 stories to tell of their suffering under Saddam." He gestured to the secret police building and added, "If you go there, you are lucky if you live three days, maybe five."
It's the same human story again and again. People living under tyranny want to be free while others
, who are free, what those poor souls to remain imprisoned. When will we morally judge these disgusting self-righteous protestors?
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Did they name the show Jackass after him? In an opinion piece in the TAiSS, Jimmy discusses the North Korea fiasco. Its the kind of article that leaves you sitting there thinking -- "Are we on the same planet?" Furthermore, the man takes no responsibility for his actions and even tries to blame it on America's "belligerent attitude"! Jimmy's solution:
What is needed on the Korean peninsula is an end to more than a half-century of "armistice" and the consummation of a comprehensive and permanent peace agreement. The success of strong diplomacy is still a possibility, with it being crucial that the United States play a constructive role. The framework for an agreement still exists and includes some elements that must be confirmed by mutual actions combined with unimpeded international inspections. First, North Korea should forgo any nuclear weapons program and the two Koreas should proceed with good-faith talks. The United States may then move toward normal relations with North Korea. The basic premises of the agreed framework of 1994 must be honored, with North Korea, Japan, South Korea, the United States and China cooperating. Finally, international tensions should be reduced through step-by-step demilitarization on the border between the two Koreas.
That's right folks, its deja vu all over again! He wants to see a peace agreement. I ask, how can you have peace when the two sides disagree on everything? A peace agreement is a different story -- any tyrant can sign papers and any fool can waive them and claim that peace in near. I guess we have to keep re-learning that peace agreements do not equal peace.
He says that North Korea should forgo nuclear weapons. And I should be able to run faster than a speeding bullet. At his age he ought to know the difference between the way things should be and they way things can be. He should stop and think -- why would North Korea give them up now? Do we have more or less leverage than in 1994? -- Much less. Do the North Koreans have more or less leverage than in 1994? -- Much, much more. Why would they make a different choice today than in 1994?
Many have called Jimmy an idiot (or idiotarian) in a jovial, well-meaning way. But I disagree. There is only so many times that a single man can endanger the world without people asking, "Is he doing this on purpose?" I say that he is and, like others who appease evil time after time, are evil themselves
Just one question, did Neville Chamberlain write an opinion piece after Hitler invaded Poland?
Not only is my boy, Misha, two month old today, but he was joined this morning by a baby girl cousin, whose name has not yet been revealed. Happy Birthdays!
Friday, October 25, 2002
I've always wondered what kinds of Jews became Judenraete, the Nazi appointed councils to run the Jewish ghetto and made sure that the Nazi rules were followed. What drove these people to suck-up and to seek acceptance from their future murderers? I always thought that their judgement was clouded by the war and the miserable conditions that they lived in.
It appears that I was wrong. It appears that the process of mental subjugation begins before the physical process. Case in point – Georgetown University's Georgetown Israel Alliance and the Jewish Student Association. This story was brought to light by NRO’s Rod Dreher in several posts. Yesterday he posted about the appearance of Bat Ye'or at Georgetown University, here and here. Bat Ye'or speaks about dhimmitude -- the legal status of non-Muslims in a Muslim country. There is nothing controversial about her views -- dhimmitude is not contested. Furthermore, the historian was herself born in a Muslim country and knows dhimmitude first hand.
Today, however, it is unpopular to tell the truth. In today's Georgetown paper, two leaders of the student Jewish community "apologized" for her comments (Rod's take). In fact Bat Ye’or was “denounced” (an echo, for me, of Soviet show trials). According to these leaders, Bat Ye’or and her husband committed the greatest crime of modern times: Offending Islam:
Most shockingly, however, they made offensive implications regarding Islam. They made no effort to make a clear distinction between pure, harmonious Islam, and the acts of a few who falsely claim to act in the name of Islam.
What in the world do these pampered Americans raised in a tolerant Christian country know about “harmonious Islam”? Have they ever lived in a Muslim country under Shari’a
? From what sources do they draw their idealistic vision of the harmonious Islam? And how does their idyllic vision explain the masses chanting “Death to America! Death to Israel!”? Who are they to “denounce” a speaker who questions their dogma?
In addition, the couple is called “hateful.” It appears that this term is now used against those who wish to speak the truth about the violent hate they see in the Muslim world. Just last week Charles Johnson
, a fellow blogger, was labeled “hateful
” for his efforts to bring the world’s attention to hate-spewing imams, anti-Semitic caricatures and other genocidal activities of “harmonious Islam”. Yet, it is not these things that are called hateful, it’s the act of calling attention to them. This is some sort of suicidal protocol, where the victims are not allowed to speak in order not to offend their tormenters. Think back to the 1930’s and imagine a refugee from Nazi Germany speaking about the race laws and the concentration camps only to be hushed and insulted as being hateful to the harmonious German community. Bat Ye’or is the modern day version of that refugee, and these student leaders are the Nazi apologists.
They are the modern version of the Judenraete
. Alleged leaders of a community who have already subjugated themselves to their oppressors. These leaders live to uphold the subjugator’s vision of the world and to make sure that no one offends their feelings. History tells us that no advantage can be gained by placating those who wish to enslave you. Cowering can buy some time, but the outcome does not change. The first step to subjugation is not physical – it’s mental. It’s impossible to fight for one’s survival when you believe that you don’t deserve to win.
And if you think that it’s only Jewish students who are succumbing to these suicidal tendencies – think again. They are merely a symptom of a large malaise of our liberal society. They take their cues from the larger American community, segments of which seem to be unwilling to stand up for our liberal values and eager to succumb to the authoritarian du jour
. Decades ago it was the socialists, today it’s the Islamists.
Thursday, October 24, 2002
Don't miss David Frum's part four of Myths about America: Unilateralism.
I often claim that I'm too busy to blog because of work or the baby. This week is no different, but there have been so many interesting things to blog about! One issue that has not gotten enough coverage has to be the North Korean revelation, which is a major addition to the "Why Appeasement Never Works" list. Right up there with Chamberlain and Hitler. So here are a few stories on the topic.
Writing today in the Washinton Post, John McCain talks about nukes in North Korea and the implications for Iraq.
Rather than asking why we do not pursue the same strategy toward Iraq and North Korea, the American people understand we are confronting Saddam Hussein today because we cannot kick the can down the road, as the Clinton administration did with North Korea, waiting until he possesses nuclear weapons, as North Korea now does, thereby constraining our ability to respond to a developing danger. We cannot allow Iraq to become the North Korea of the Middle East.
America's options in North Korea are limited because we did not take action a decade ago to permanently end Pyongyang's nuclear program. Certain options once open to us are now foreclosed because we dozed while this threat gathered.
Our current predicament in North Korea could portend our future with Iraq if we do not use every means available to us to end the threat it poses while we still have the freedom to act.
The lesson of history is pretty clear either face up to tyrants when they are weak or wait to face them when they are strong. In the nuclear age, that should be an easy choice.
in today's NY TAiSS (I was going to drop this until I learned a new trivia
fact) recounts the events as they unfolded:
Enter Jimmy Carter. Within a month after the rejection of Lugar and Nunn, our former president was in the dictator's office, in front of CNN cameras, announcing — as only an unofficial emissary, of course — that he had personally worked out a deal to defuse the crisis. In return for suspending plutonium production, the Koreans would receive free oil, a light-water nuclear reactor said to be less dangerous, and the top-level diplomatic contacts it long sought.
"It was kind of like a miracle," breathed Jimmy Carter about his supposed conversion of the North Korean leader from lion to lamb on live TV. Ignoring the protests from realists in this space and all over about appeasement and lack of verification, the Clinton administration embraced Carter's "miracle." After all, hadn't the North Koreans agreed to inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, headed by the sternly unfoolable Hans Blix?
As regards North Korea we should all ask the same question Andrew Sullivan
asked this morning -- "[W]hy hasn't anyone in the press asked Carter and Clinton what they now think of their legacy in North Korea? Why are these people never ever called to account?" Indeed.
article in the National review is a two-parter. The first deals with the North Korean revelation. The second part discusses the Left's tolerance of those who wish to destroy them
Western left-wingers find it difficult, indeed impossible, to grasp the fundamental nature of this hostility to the West's cultural and religious tolerance even when radical Islamism obligingly expresses it the clearest terms. Their own unacknowledged hostility to the West — their post-colonial guilt and multicultural masochism — simply gets in the way. They instinctively side with the Third World in any dispute between it and the West even when the West is plainly taking the more progressive position. For all their multiculturalism, they cannot really believe that people shaped by a different culture really hold different attitudes on everything from God to women's rights. They persist against all the evidence in seeing them as Western progressives in fancy dress. And they accordingly seek an explanation for Bali in the conduct of Western policy rather than in the beliefs of the bombers.
Radical Islamism and North Korean paleo-Bolshevism are what Burke called "armed doctrines." As such they can be reasoned with only after they have been unambiguously defeated. After North Korea and Bali we have no excuse for thinking otherwise.
runs with this theme and draws a damning conclusion of the Left:
In the end, it comes to this: The anti-warriors of the left would rather see Iraq continue as a slave state under Saddam Hussein than concede any legitimacy to the idea of an American (or at least a Republican) use of force. It's a price they are willing to pay. Because, you see, America is "a menace." Well, it is a point of view. But you might have a hard time convincing the average Iraqi torture victim that it is a liberal one, or moral one.
Then there is this snippet from the Weekly Standard on the motivations of Nobel Committee
. It seems that the Chairman of the Noble Committee, Gunnar "kick in the leg" Berge, is also the director general of the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate. It also seems that Norway's ex-petroleum economy has slipped into recession and it seems like a free Iraq will be able to supply more oil, thereby lowering the price. Could that be the real motivation? More
, "No Oil Peace
!" is becoming the call of humanists everywhere.
Then there's the hostage situation in Russia
(which I should be on top of!), the American Muslim
sniper and the return of the Politburo
and I also wanted to fisk Krugman
for his weekend lies on wealth inequality -- maybe later. Later.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
That Explains It!
NY Sun covers the TAiSS take over of the IHT. It turns out to be a hostile take over! Which led me to beleive that there is too much hostility in the newspaper world and the TAiSS is attempting to immorally occupy a foreign journalistic entity. Perhaps Jimmy Carter can visit the Gray Lady and the Post and begin a peace process. OK, enough nonsense. Here is the bit of trivia that caught my eye:
During the Vietnam war, the publisher-to-be of the New York Times, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., was asked by his father about a hypothetical situation. “If a young American soldier comes upon a North Vietnamese soldier, which do you want to see get shot?” The way the story is told in a recent history of the Times by Susan Tifft and Alex S. Jones, the young publisher-to-be replied: “I would want to the see the American get shot.”
Doesn't that explain everything?
There goes the IHT
You probably already know that the Washington Post is selling its stake in the International Herald Tribune to the NYT. The IHT is America's ex-pat paper. I have a question -- do Americans abraod need another voice telling them what the Europeans think? Under the TAiSS, will the ex-apt get anything different from the paper than Europinions written in American style? Probabaly not. They certainly wont get such strong editorial as today's -- "Let the U.N. Vote" which supports Charles Krauthammer's "Call Their Bluff!" column.
From the Telegraph
Here are parts two and three of David Frum's essays on America. Part Two deals with the Myth of the Oil War. Frum takes on a few angles that I didn't cover here. Specifically, he makes the point that the people who are most worried about oil are in the anti-war crowd.
Part Three deals with the Myth that War is revenge for Saddam's attack on George Sr. I've never believed that this is a serious argument here, but it seems that it needs addressing. Nevertheless, the article is an interesting lesson in comparative government.
Compared to the British parliamentary system, America's congressional-presidential system has many disadvantages. It is slow; it often produces sloppy laws and muddled compromises. But it has one great advantage: while Parliament is organised to produce the sharpest possible divisions between the Government and the Opposition, Congress and the presidency are organised to produce something approaching a national consensus on the most important issues.
In 1993, Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan warned President Clinton against trying to ram his healthcare proposals through Congress on a party-line vote. "Anything that big and important," Moynihan predicted, "will pass the Senate 70-30 - or not at all." And what is true for important peacetime measures is doubly true for war.
Monday, October 21, 2002
Little Green Footballs
Words continue to lose their meanings as Charles Johnson's Little Green Footballs is labeled as a potentially hateful site by MSNBC's Weblog Central. The Commissars of Acceptable Views obviously dislike Charles' pro-Israeli views. Unfortunately, such views are rare among the Lefty media, including MSNBC, and his detractors would rather not see such truths be aired.
In fact LGF fights against hate (for philosophers -- can you hate hate? would it be PC?). In today's world, hate against Americans and Jews is acceptable and welcomed in polite society. On the other hand even looking the wrong way at a murderous riot of Islamists will earn you a label "hateful" and "controversial."
The tactic applied to LGF has been perfected on college campuses. By labeling an idea or a person "hateful" all inconvenient discussion can be stopped. No further inquiry can be made. Moreover, apparently LGF came under scrutiny after one determined detractor complained. I think that Eric Alterman's Left-wing blog is hateful (even the name is violent -- Altercation) -- but do you think that it will ever come with a label?
Anti-War -- Anti-Semites
Andrew Sullivan discusses the blatant anti-Semitism of today's Left. The question is always asked, "Is any criticism of Israel anti-Semitism?" The answer is no. But, if you have a set of moral standards, you are expected to apply them evenly. If there is something you don't like about Israel (or America) you are expected not to like the same things in other countries. Especially, if they are qualitatively worse. When people do not apply their morality evenly, you have to ask in what circumstances they apply one set or the other. Andrew lays out the case of unequal moral application:
Summers' argument was a simple one: why has Israel been singled out alone as worthy of divestment? Supporters cite its continued occupation of the West Bank. There's no question that Israel's policies in that regard are ripe for criticism, and to equate criticism of that with anti-Semitism is absurd and despicable. Similarly, it's perfectly possible to argue against Israel's domestic policies without any hint of anti-Semitism. But to argue that Israel is more deserving of sanction than any other regime on earth right now is surely bizarre. Israel is a democracy; it is multi-racial; Arab citizens of Israel proper can vote and freely enter civil society; there is freedom of religion and a free press. An openly gay man just won election to the Knesset. In any other Middle Eastern country and the Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, he'd be in jail, executed or crushed under a pile of rocks. There is simply no comparison with apartheid South Africa, where a tiny ethnic minority denied the majority any vote at all. Compared to China, a ruthless dictatorship which is now brutally occupying Tibet, Israel is a model for democratic governance. And, unlike China's occupation of Tibet, Israel's annexation of the West Bank was undertaken as a defensive action against an Arab military attack. Or compare it to any other country in the Middle East, from Syria's satrapy in Lebanon, to Mubarak's police state, to Iraq's barbaric autocracy or Iran's theocracy, and it's a beacon of light. To single Israel out for condemnation and divestment, while ignoring all these others, is so self-evidently bizarre that it begs an obvious question. What are these anti-Israel fanatics really obsessed about? Where are the divestment campaigns for China or Zimbabwe?
It is clear that Israel is being singled out, can we assume that it's anti-Semitism. Well, Israel is the only Jewish majority country in the world and the accusers have a long history of anti-Semitism. The assumption must be that is the driving force. Allow me to give you an analogy from American politics. Suppose a group of retired Klansmen were harassing a black-owned company for, say, zoning violations while similar white-owned businesses were left alone. What would you assume was the primary motivation? Would you take the Klansmen's claim that race has nothing to do with it at face value? Why is this different?
Andrew talks about what motivates the anti-war movement:
But what they do know is what they are against: American power, Israeli human rights abuses, British neo-imperialism, the "racist" war on Afghanistan, and on and on. Get them started on their hatreds, and the words pour out. No wonder some have started selling the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in Central Park.
This negativism matters. When you have a movement based on resentment, when you have a political style that is as bitter as it is angry, when your rhetoric focuses not on those who are murdering partiers in Bali or workers in Manhattan, but on those democratic powers trying to defend and protect them, then your fate is cast. A politics of resentment is a poisonous creature that slowly embitters itself. You should not be surprised if the most poisonous form of resentment that the world has ever known springs up, unbidden, in your midst.
Not only that, but an ideology driven by hate is extremely violent. Don't be fooled by their claims of "peace." This is a violent bunch and given a chance they will wreck as much damage as the other hate driven ideologies of our time -- socialism, fascism and Islamism.
My deepest condolences to the families of those murdered today in Israel.
Two interesting opinions in London newspapers:
William Rees-Mogg gives his readers a taste about American opinion of the war to liberate iraq. Some of his conclusions:
Again and again, I was asked: “What else can we do?” I was being asked this by people who are far from being uncritical supporters of the policy. They have heard the arguments that have been going on in Washington between the State Department and Pentagon, or, inside the Pentagon, between the generals and the politicians. They fear the possible consequences of further terrorist spectaculars in the US, or, still worse, biological attacks, possibly including smallpox. If 9-11 had not happened, they might be still on the side of inaction. But they now believe that time is not on the side of the United States in the war against terrorism.
On Euro-American relations:
Continental Europe, and the EU itself, is seen as unreliable and irresponsible. The German election, in which Chancellor Schröder won a last-minute victory by campaigning against the United States as a warmonger, is not going to be forgotten. Winning any French concession at the United Nations has been as difficult as drawing an impacted tooth. “Don’t they understand the danger?” is as common an American comment as: “What else can we do?”
Equally, there is widespread gratitude and admiration for Tony Blair. Another typical comment is that Britain has had three great Prime Ministers in modern times, Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. Historically-minded Americans discuss the continuities between the Pax Britannica of the Imperial period and the Pax Americana of the present day. I was asked whether the British resented the fact that power and responsibility had passed from Britain to the US. I said not. It has certainly become much easier to explain to Americans why some of us in Britain do not wish to join the euro.
Please read the whole thing -- it is excellent.
The other opinion is in the Telegraph is by David Frum
, an ex-speech writer for President Bush. The Telegraph will present a series of his opinions on Myths and Realities of American politics. The article deals with the Myth of the Jewish control of America. Now, its shameful that this is an issue in Europe, although not surprising. Nevertheless, I'm glad its being tackled.
Three weeks ago, I was standing in Piccadilly, watching the big anti-war march pass by. Two girls in Islamic headdress glanced my way, nudged each other, and then approached me.
"Have we seen you on television?" one of them asked.
I had appeared on a British television programme about Iraq shortly before, so I answered that yes, very possibly they had.
"We knew it!" they exclaimed. Then they hissed: "You're part of the Jewish lobby, aren't you?"
"Oh yes," I said, with maybe more bitterness than I should have. "I'm the man responsible for putting up your interest rates."
I wish I could say that those two girls had learnt their politics from some ranting mullah in a north London mosque. In fact, the certainty that American policy is controlled by what one British magazine called a "kosher conspiracy" was the single most widely held opinion I heard in the course of an eight-day visit to Britain.
I will follow this series.
Pray for the Death of Peace Processes!
Max Boot in the Weekly Standard and Clifford D. May in the National Review Online tackle the disastrous consequences of the latest rounds of peace processes: Israel, Northern Ireland and North Korea. Max Boot:
POOR BILL CLINTON. He tried so hard to be a peacemaker, and until recently it appeared that he had at least partially succeeded. Sure, Middle East peace didn't emerge from the frenzied negotiations at Camp David in July 2000. But at least he had succeeded in brokering deals to bring "peace" to Northern Ireland and the Korean peninsula. Then--oops--it all unraveled last week.
From Northern Ireland came word that Britain was suspending the local assembly in which Protestants and Catholics were supposed to share power. The legislative body had been set up as a result of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, brokered by Clinton's special envoy, George Mitchell. As a condition of power-sharing, the Irish Republican Army was supposed to disarm and become a nice, housebroken political party, like the Tories or Labour. But it never has.
Even more disquieting news arrived from North Korea. In 1993 Pyongyang refused to allow international monitors to inspect its nuclear facilities, as required under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Pact that it had signed. The Clinton administration averted a crisis by negotiating a much-touted peace agreement. North Korea would promise to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. In return, the United States, Japan, and South Korea would shower all sorts of goodies on the Stalinist regime, including help in building two light-water nuclear reactors for allegedly civilian use. The United States delivered its end of the bargain--ground was broken on the first of the Western-funded reactors in August--but North Korea neglected to do the same. Last week Pyongyang brazenly announced that it had unilaterally abrogated the 1994 Agreed Framework and was developing nukes and even "more powerful weapons."
One should not jump to conclusions, one should not generalize, and certainly no one should revert to stereotyping. It would be unfair, after all, to suggest that all dictators, tyrants, and megalomaniacs are the same. They're individuals and they are all — every single one of them — special.
Still, it may be that we — how do I say this without sounding judgmental? — it may be that we need to acknowledge that such people may have at least a propensity to be less-than-fully candid, a tendency not to scrupulously keep their word and fully live up to their agreements. (Or maybe they simply interpret such terms as "promise" and "agreement" differently than we do, based on our respective cultural constructs and backgrounds?)
Like many other things in life, a "peace process" is an idea that sounds good, but cannot be practically implemented. One could say that even the notion of a peace process is laughable since if both parties already wanted peace -- then they would already have it. No process would be necessary. What we have learned time and time again is that a process cannot teach a side to want peace. In fact, these processes only serve to legitimize, arm and better equip those parties who in the end want only war.
It is unfortunate that humans cannot learn from history, but we have to lessen the incentives for people to repeat costly mistakes. The lesson of the Munich "peace process" was learned by millions who lost their lives. We do not yet know how many will die because of North Koreas nukes or Saddam's WMD. At some point we must assign moral blame to those who claim they want peace but recomend solutions that have time and time again led to violence. Human life is too precious to be left in the hands of "peace processes."
Sunday, October 20, 2002
The Soul of the Left
Almost everyone in Blogland has mentioned this article by Christopher Hitchens, "So Long, Fellow Travelers." Nevertheless, allow me to add my two cents. Hitch, who recently left The Nation discusses the anti-war forces.
The most depressing thing, for me at any rate, has been to see so much of the Left so determined to hamper this process, which is why, after 20 years, I have given up my column in the Nation magazine. The Left has employed arguments as contemptible as those on whose behalf they have been trotted out. It maintained that any resistance to ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo would lead to a wider war, chaos and/or the rallying of the Serbs to Milosevic. It forecast massive quagmires and intolerable civilian casualties. If this sounds familiar, it may be because you are hearing it again now and heard it last year from those who thought the Taliban-al Qaeda base in Afghanistan was not worth fighting about.
But the element of bad faith in the argument is far worse than the feeble-minded hysteria of its logic. In the Balkans, those on the Left and Right who favored intervention could not live with the idea that Europe would permit the extermination of its oldest Muslim minority. At that point, the sensibilities of Islam did not seem to matter to the Ramsey Clarks and Noam Chomskys, who thought and wrote of national-socialist and Orthodox Serbia as if it were mounting a gallant resistance to globalization. (Saddam, of course, took Milosevic's side even though the Serb leader was destroying mosques and murdering Muslims.)
Hitch is obviously frustrated with the ideological tilt of the Left.
As someone who has done a good deal of marching and public speaking about Vietnam, Chile, South Africa, Palestine and East Timor in his time (and would do it all again), I can only hint at how much I despise a Left that thinks of Osama bin Laden as a slightly misguided anti-imperialist. (He actually says he wants to restore the old imperial caliphate and has condemned the Australian-led international rescue of East Timor as a Christian plot against Muslim Indonesia). Or a Left that can think of Milosevic and Saddam as victims.
Instead of internationalism, we find among the Left now a sort of affectless, neutralist, smirking isolationism. In this moral universe, the views of the corrupt and conservative Jacques Chirac -- who built Saddam Hussein a nuclear reactor, knowing what he wanted it for -- carry more weight than those of persecuted Iraqi democrats. In this moral universe, the figure of Jimmy Carter -- who incited Saddam to attack Iran in 1980, without any U.N. or congressional consultation that I can remember -- is considered axiomatically more statesmanlike than Bush.
I have to give him credit for realizing that the current of wave of protestor's (along with the editors of The Nation) do not reflect his principles. However, Hitch never stops to wonder if the Left ever followed its principles. In fact, the Left never does. The concern for the poor is used as a pretext to usurp power or to destroy the existing social order. In this case, a deep overriding anti-Americanism. Even Hitch fails to apply the same level principles when he talks about Israel. Hitch, a self-described
"son of a Jewish mother and … married to a Jewish woman" has a bit of a Marxian self-hate complex. Read the next article and see what I mean.
Here is an opinion from a Howard Jacobson
of The Independent. He reflects on the self-hate present in societies and nations. This is precisely the major drive behind the anti-war (anti-everything) movement. And it answers Hitch's quandary, above, of why the Left does not even pretend to stick to its own principles.
Ditto those who blew apart the however many hundreds of kids dancing the last of their lives away in Bali. It behoves us to stay out of their motives. Utterly obscene, the narrative of guilty causation which now waits on every fresh atrocity – "What else are the dissatisfied to do but kill?" etc – as though dissatisfaction were an automatic detonator, as though Cain were the creation of Abel's will. Obscene in its haste. Obscene in its self-righteousness, mentally permitting others to pay the price of our self-loathing. Obscene in its ignorance – for we should know now how Selbsthass operates, encouraging those who hate us only to hate us more, since we concur in their conviction of our detestableness.
Here is our decadence: not the nightclubs, not the beaches and the sex and the drugs, but our incapacity to believe we have been wronged. Our lack of self-worth.
The best thing about Tom Friedman's column is that it confirms the AP report I mentioned earlier about the landslide-like support in Iran for rapprochement with the US. As I've said before this is good news, and Iran will become one of our greatest allies in due time. However, very few media outlets have mentioned this news story. Besides Tom, the Financial Times and Time Magazine (all found using Factiva) -- no one thought enough about this development to mention it.
As usual, Tom is wrong in the rest of the piece. Like the rest of the Times, he doesn't let facts stop him from pushing his agenda. He is blabbing about oil again (my take on that) and what oil does to governments. In a sense he is right -- oil can be a crutch, but that's not the whole story. Syria and Egypt have no oil, but their governments are no less totalitarian. And don't forget North Korea -- no oil there.
Jim Hoagland has some intrigue from the CIA about its assessment of Iraq. He is always worth a read.
Oh yeah, I'm not even going to touch Maureen Dowd -- she's finally gone batty. Better read Josh Chafetz, tha author of the Immutable Laws of Maureen Dowd.
Peter Beinart has a great piece on the Noble Prize and Jimmy Carter which I read in the print NY Post. But it's not on their site -- I think that it must be identical to this in The New Republic (I haven't registered).
Stupid Question of the Month
Just heard on ABC's This Week with George Sephonopolus -- "Why don't we go to war with North Korea like we are going to war with Iraq?"
I am very surprised that this question is being asked. The answer is so obvious to me. OK, we are not going to war with North Korea becaue they ALREADY have nukes and WILL USE them if attacked. There is nothing we can do. What kind of war do they expect? Let me summarize -- we go in, they nuke Seoul -- millions of dead. Is that what they want?
Saddam has NO NUKES and we want to AVOID with him the situation we have with North Korea. That is why we are going to war with Iraq. By the time they get nukes it will be too late.
Was that so hard?
Call Their Bluff!.
Charles Krauthammer says that we should call France's UN bluff. The UN veto is the only thing that gives France her international prominence. If they walk away here we walk away from the UN. Paraphrasing Dirty Harry, Krauthammer says, "Do you feel lucky?"
Thursday, October 17, 2002
You’ve got Nukes!
Guess who’s got nukes? Our dear Axis-ites in North Korea! And who is responsible for this travesty? None other than Nobel Prize (for Peace!) winner, Jimmy Carter! And, oh yeah, who paid for the program? We did! Thanks go out to Bill Clinton.
This is how it went down. We determined that the DPRK was working on a nuclear reactor. We were too chicken to do anything about it, so Carter negotiated a face-saving deal. How the Peace Crowd did cheer! They would give us their word never to build weapons (“cross my heart, hope to die”) and we would send them food and fuel and build them a less lethal reactor. Can you see the North Koreans laughing behind our backs? They took our word! Too bad we have no bridges to sell the Americans. Now we know how the farce ended.
This is the Jimmy Carter brand Peace (“Not available in stores!”). This is exactly what he and the other sophisticates would want us to do in Iraq. Appeasement – taking dictators at their word will not work with Saddam. It has not worked with him for 11 years. It did not work with the Dear Leader of North Korea. It did not work with the palestinians. It did not work in Northern Ireland. It did not work with Hitler 60 years ago. It has NEVER worked! Why is it exactly that we go through this time and time again? Who are these people who put the world in jeopardy in the name of peace?
The problem is that we, as a society, do not understand the true nature of the Neville Chamberlains and Jimmy Carters of the world. We give them the benefit of the doubt and call them naïve or misguided. The Blogsphere has dubbed them Idiotarians as if their only crime is idiocy. No, ladies and gentlemen, they are far worse than that.
As far as I’m concerned these people are evil. Maybe, you can argue that Chamberlain and his ilk had no idea what Hitler was up to when they let him grow in strength and prosecute a massive genocidal war. But, today’s batch of “peace” activists cannot use the excuse of ignorance to justify their stance. They know very well what happens when you appease a dictator. They should know the consequence of inaction!
Yet they proceed on their path of restraining us from liberating a nation from its oppressor and the world from the weapons of genocidal destruction. Why? How do we morally judge those who would restrain a firefighter from rescuing a person trapped in a burning building?
With the North Korean revelation, there is less doubt in my mind that those who resist the war to liberate Iraq are evil. I will no longer tolerate the plea to give “it” another chance, just like I’m tired of the same crowd of advocating a go at bloody socialism, just one more time. Each time has cost dearly. Maybe not us directly, but those unfortunate enough to live in cesspits like Iraq and North Korea. Each time another woman has been raped by an official rapist and a father has had to watch his child be tortured. Each time has given these regimes time to build their deadly weapons to protect themselves and to continue the cycle of rape and death. I say enough!
Savage No-Love for the Left
Dan Savage, better known for his Village Voice sex column (the only reason to read the voice), takes on the hypocrisy of the Left on his web page.
You see, lefties, there are times when saying "no" to war means saying "yes" to oppression. Don't believe me? Go ask a Czech or a European Jew about the British and French saying "no" to war with Germany in 1938. War may be bad for children and other living things, but there are times when peace is worse for children and other living things, and this is one of those times. Saying no to war in Iraq means saying yes to the continued oppression of the Iraqi people. It amazes me when I hear lefties argue that we should assassinate Saddam in order to avoid war. If Saddam is assassinated, he will be replaced by another Baathist dictator--and what then for the people of Iraq? More "peace"--i.e., more oppression, more executions, more gassings, more terror, more fear.
Please read the whole thing. It is a tough day for the Left when it begin to lose the S+M homosexual crowd. Like me, and many of my friends and colleagues, we are tired of the hypocrisy and inhumanity of the Left. The more I hear, the more I believe that the anti-war crows hates America more than it believes in the "principles" that they like to mouth off.
Gotta Read This
I saw this on the wires, but can't find a link. It's a sad story, but offers much hope:
DJ Iran's Pollster Jailed After Poll Showed Support For US
Dow Jones News Service via Dow Jones
TEHRAN (AP)--The manager of a government-run think tank has been jailed on charges of spreading lies after an opinion poll his agency conducted showed support for a dialogue with the U.S., his lawyer said Thursday.
Behrouz Geranpayeh, head of the National Institute of Public Opinion, was interrogated at a Tehran court Wednesday and immediately taken to jail pending trial, lawyer Amir Hosseinabadi told The Associated Press.
He said the charges against Geranpayeh included spreading lies through an opinion poll and fabricating official names. He said his client could be freed on a bail of 2 billion rials ($1=IRR1,741.25), but that the interrogation would continue on Saturday.
The poll showed that 74% of people over 15 years old backed dialogue with the U.S. The results prompted hard-line newspapers to criticize the survey and accuse the institute of fabricating an opinion poll to try to promote the idea of relations with the U.S.
"The charges against Geranpayeh have no legal value. A government agency has carried out a scientific study on the order of the parliament. Nonlegal charges demand nonlegal reply," Hosseinabadi said.
He said an opinion poll conducted by the Intelligence Ministry had the same findings.
Earlier this month, the court closed Geranpayeh's institute on similar grounds. Also, the head of the official Islamic Republic News Agency, Abdollah Naseri, has been questioned after his agency reported the findings of the survey.
The reformist-dominated parliament denied the charges against Geranpayeh, saying the institute only carried out an order from the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee to conduct a survey. The parliament insisted the findings were accurate.
President Mohammad Khatami's Cabinet also denounced the charges.
The charges are part of an escalating power struggle between hard-liners who seek support from Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and reformists who back Khatami's program of social and political freedoms.
While Iran's hard-liners believe the only authority to decide on Iran-U.S. relations is Khamenei, reformists have said the issue of Iran-U.S. ties should be decided in a referendum.
Khamenei, who has the final say in all state matters, has repeatedly rejected any dialogue with the U.S. In May, he said any talk of dialogue or resuming ties with Washington amounted to "treason and stupidity."
Iranians resent the U.S. role in a 1953 coup that toppled the elected nationalist government and brought pro-U.S. Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi back to power.
Relations between the two countries thawed after the 1997 election of the reform-minded Khatami, who has sought better relations with Western countries. Earlier this year, however, U.S. President George W. Bush has pointed to Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as part of an "axis of evil" trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. Iran has denied the charge.
I have high hopes that after the liberation of Iraq, Iran will emerge from theocratic rule. When this happens, it will be one of our greatest allies. Her people know what it's like to live in a tyrannical regime, they've had enough of Islamism and they are ready to pursue a free society.
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Slow Blogging Day
Not too much wisdom today. Nothing is pissing me off or making me furious. My mind is just in a state of waiting for IT to begin. Or maybe I'm just tired. Nevertheless, allow me to suggest some useful readings:
Reuel Marc Gerecht talks bout the neccesity of the liberation of Iraq.
Robert Kagan talks about its aftermath.
Also, Pete du Pont talks about Americas commitment to liberty in the Middle East. I liked these lines:
Five times in the last century America made substantial international military commitments to rid the world of serious threats to civilization: World War I, World War II, 1947 (when President Truman began to resist communist expansion in southern Europe), Korea and Vietnam.
They were long-term commitments. Our containment commitment lasted until the U.S.S.R. disintegrated in 1989; we are still keeping the 1941 commitment with U.S. troops in Germany and Japan, and U.S. forces secure South Korea's freedom. Indeed, we help maintain a safer world by stationing troops in more than 100 countries.
In 2002 the threat is not the Kaiser, Hitler or Stalin, but Islamist terrorism. Once again, America is making an international military commitment, this time to see that terrorists and rogue states do not destroy the peace, security and liberty we secured in the past half century. Our commitment in 2002 is as noble as that of D-Day in 1944, the Korean War or the Berlin Airlift. It is a commitment to keep America, and the world, safe from future Sept. 11ths.
I like that!
On the subject of good readings, have I mentioned Oriana Fallaci's The Rage and the Pride
? I guess I have. It's really good.
Finally, I'd like to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the Bali attack.
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
A young Iranian woman, Farideh Tehrani, is astonished by the Western media's gullibility towards Iran.
We are constantly amazed, though, at how different our reality is from what some American journalists, academics, and opinion-makers portray it as. So often, we hear self-described Iran experts on CNN and reporters in America's leading newspapers explain away the dictatorship under which we suffer. We hear them talk about how young people and women still support President Khatami! No. We do not! Yes, Khatami did win elections, but those came absent any real competition. In 1997, he won the election only after his colleagues on the Guardian Council disqualified 234 other candidates. Is that a democracy? Listen to us: We no more want to be part of an Islamic Republic than did the Hungarians, Czechs, or Poles want to be part of a Communist dictatorship.
This situation is like the movie Groundhog Day. Didn't we learn that people do not enjoy living under tyrannical regimes during the Cold War? Is that concept so hard to grasp? Why is it that the press continues to take dictators at their word? Why do we wake up everyday as if we have learned nothing?
A recent AP headline read, "Saddam Unopposed in Iraq Elections
." Is this an election? It's like saying, "Groom Alone at Wedding, Marries Self." Don't some things require that at least two people are present? More like a coronation. Why do journalists refuse to use the same common sense they use when writing stories about American politics? Aren't people the same everywhere?
We also ask you: Please tune out the biased and shallow works of journalists who use their pens to editorialize rather than report news. The Los Angeles Times's Robin Wright often calls Khatami "the leading reformer in Iran." How is it that she has such open access to Iran, while her colleagues who report real and hard news are refused visas? Ms. Wright, why is it you have yet to write a single sentence critical of the abhorrent atrocities of the clerical regime? Where are you during our public executions, or the stoning of women that have doubled under Mr. Khatami? Where are your reports on the students languishing in prison, the girls detained, raped, and abused by the Islamic Republic's judges? You call Khatami a democrat yet you neglect his rejection and belittling of the very concept in the pages of Keyhan? Perhaps your Iran expertise does not include speaking Farsi? You quote his liberal speeches in Europe, yet are deafeningly silent about his televised speeches in Iran, declaring: "Those who abide by the Quran must mobilize to kill." To us as Iranians, that is unfathomable. Don't you realize that when we read your work, we ask what good is free press if it does not report the truth?
Well, Farideh, the press is free, but unfortunately they are all taught to think alike. Actually, they are conditioned not to think when it comes to any dictatorship or tyrant who opposes the US. Otherwise, they would have realized by now not to take at face value the pronouncements of winners of one-candidate elections or leaders of "People's Republics." Or, maybe they no longer report the news, but make stuff up to go along with their notions of how things should be.
At this moment in our history, Iranians have limited means to voice our calls to the world beyond the rapidly crumbling walls of the clerical regime. We have a sense of urgency. Yet we feel left behind by the very champions of civil rights, human rights, and liberal reform who once dominated headlines. Don't abandon us now, not at this junction in our history.
Please spread the word.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Europeans are Alarmed!
At the American plans for occupation of Iraq, the Telegraph reports.
Diplomats say that the suggestion, made by senior Bush administration officials on Friday, has endangered frantic American and British efforts to secure a United Nations Security Council resolution backing tough new weapons inspections inside Iraq.
Which is precisely the reason the NYT published the story in the first place. Nothing like a self-righteous loser trying to force what it thinks is right (Did you notice a theme in the opinions page today?). In any case, the European reaction was to be expected -- I had already written
Staring down a barrel of a gun
CNN/Reuters is reporting that "The world was much closer to a nuclear holocaust during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis than governments knew, according to former U.S. and Russian officials and military officers." At one point we were depth charging a Soviet submarine armed with nuclear-tipped torpedoes. We missed and they never fired back and we are all alive today.
The trouble with comparing the Cuban Missile Crisis to the present situation with Iraq is the above fact. We came to within an inch of total annihilation. Sure we came out of that one OK, but are we so contemptuous of human life to foolishly have another spin at the Russian roulette? With Saddam holding the trigger? Not in my name!
I Like Strong-Willed Women
My wife is one. And so is Oriana Fallaci. I've been reading her just released sermon (her term) "The Rage and The Pride". This is the type of work I always wanted to write, but my skills don't match my ambitions.
Saturday, October 12, 2002
The NYT, Again
How does one make any sense of today's editorial from the TAiSS (getting old?) about Northern Ireland's devolution in light of the many utterances of the paper with respect to the one between Israel and the Palestinians? I mean, this editorial gave fairly pragmatic advice for the British:
"Sinn Fein's good faith is now in some doubt." Gee, they never lost faith in the PA, despite the revolving door prisons, anti-Semitic propaganda and, oh yeah, a terrorism campaign. Sinn Fein's offense -- "illegally possessing sensitive information" is obviously much worse.
"To prevent a total rupture, Britain should once again temporarily suspend home rule in Northern Ireland, as it now seems likely to do, to buy time for a more lasting solution." That is sound advice. Why did the Times never urge the Israelis to suspend the PA's home rule? Again, the suicide bombings are worse than "illegally possessing sensitive information", right?
"The fundamental problem is Sinn Fein's intimate relationship with the I.R.A. and the I.R.A.'s continued refusal to declare a permanent peace." Replace Sinn Fein with the PA and the I.R.A. with the al-Aksa Martyr Brigade. Unless the Times believes that killing Israeli teens is not as strong a symptom of a "refusal to declare a permanent peace" as "illegally possessing sensitive information."
Sure enough, after this the editorial reverts to it more typical po-mo stance. "At the same time, the Ulster Unionists must unequivocally embrace the idea of power-sharing and accept whoever the Catholic community chooses to represent it." However, this may not be a bad ideal so long as violence does not return to the province.
So what gives rise to the TAiSS' radically different views? I can't figure it out, but I've come up with some possibilities:
Perhaps there is some kind of moral statute of limitations on colonization. The Protestant occupation of Northern Ireland has been grandfathered in (along with he British colonization of North America, Australia, New Zealand, the Arab colonization of North Africa, the Chinese "Overseas" settlement, the Bantu expansion in Africa, the Turkish march from Central Asia -- really pretty much everyone else). Unfortunately, the Israelis missed the deadline -- nothing personal (and please ignore the Chinese occupation of Tibet -- its different).
There is not enough violence. You see, Left Logic goes something like this: People deserve things only when they are "desperate" and "hopeless". One shows those qualities by killing and slaughtering your opponent. It's obvious that Irish Catholics are not desperate enough -- terrorism in the region has come to a stand still. Maybe the TAiSS feels that they don't want independence badly enough. Let me tell you, this type of logic is a great incentive if you want "peace." Well, Jimmy Carter type of peace, anyway.
Is it because white people are fighting white people? Not too long ago, Charles Jacobs opined that the reason that there is no outrage about the bloodbath and slavery in Sudan from the white liberal establishment is that struggle is between two "oppressed" peoples (my take). In which case, the Left is either confused on who to support or doesn't care because its goals are to delegitimize the West and it's not involved. Maybe this is a variation of the phenomenon -- when two sets of whiteys clash, the Left is speechless. Unfortunately, Irish Catholics can't ever assume the mantle of victimhood (past famines notwithstanding) -- they are too religious and the Left will never forgive the Church's (especially Pope John Paul II) support in felling Communism. Perhaps Sinn Fein should focus their propaganda on the Black Irish (whoever they are) battling the White Protestants. It can work -- didn't Nelson Mandella claim that the Palestinians were "black" (ditto for Iraq) while their closest genetic cousins, the Jews, were "white"? See Gerry, all you need is some re-branding.
Finally, you can't help noticing that in Israel's case, the occupiers are Jewish. Gee, couldn't this be just another double standard for Jews?
Friday, October 11, 2002
Is that the ap"peace"ment prize?
Carter wins the Nobel "Peace" Prize, putting the final nail in the coffin of the Nobel Prize Committee's reputation and the use of the English language. The Prize Committee is best known recently for stating, in the immediate aftermath of the suicide attacks in Israel that it regretted giving Shimon Peres his prize, without any like words for Arafat. Now comes the award to a man last seen legitimizing the dictator Castro. Along with a rebuke for President Bush. I'm surprised that they did not award the prize to Saddam, seeing that he has kept back the terrorist Americans for so long.
Also wounded, the English language. What does "peace" mean anyway these days? Does it actually mean achieving peace -- as in a halt to hostilities or just mouthing off about the concept of peace while at the same time ignoring great humanitarian crimes? With Carter, it seems the latter definition fits the best.
I think that we should leave good old Nobel out of this and re-name the award. I suggest the Neville Chamberlain Peace Prize.
The NYT reports that the Administration is thinking about a military occupation of Iraq. If this plan seems familiar to you, it's because you read it at the CouterRevolutionary first (sorrry, couldn't resist).
Congress approves the liberation of Iraq! Thanks for all your phone calls -- I will remove that banner eventually.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Its that time of the month and I have my periodic research project to put out at work. Blogging will be slow till Moday. But few interesting articles:
Wash Post: Lead editorial backing Bush and Jim Hoagland on Iraq.
NY Post: Eric Fettmann on who's really being political here and Max Boot on a post-War Iraq.
Hopefully more soon -- I still really want to discuss the Rosenbaum article below.
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
Ron Rosenbaum has a great article in the New York Observer about his parting with the Left. It is an absolute Besides the fact that his account is powerful and well-written, it also mirrors my break with the Left since September 11th. I badly wanted to write a commentary, but I have no time this week -- maybe this weekend.
The key to this article is the willful ignorance of the Left to its own shortcomings. Culturally, we are all supposed to know and fear right-wing extremesim, but left-wing extremism is not considered ideological (or systematic) but a unique product of circumstance. That is how the bloody Soviet, Red Chinese and Khmer Rouge are explained away. In reality, there is no difference between left and right extremism -- it's just extremism.
Here’s the analogy: Heidegger’s peculiar neutrality-slash-denial about Nazism and the Holocaust after the facts had come out, and the contemporary Left’s curious neutrality-slash-denial after the facts had come out about Marxist genocides—in Russia, in China, in Cambodia, after 20 million, 50 million, who knows how many millions had been slaughtered. Not all of the Left; many were honorable opponents. But for many others, it just hasn’t registered, it just hasn’t been incorporated into their "analysis" of history and human nature; it just hasn’t been factored in. America is still the one and only evil empire. The silence of the Left, or the exclusive focus of the Left, on America’s alleged crimes over the past half-century, the disdainful sneering at America’s deplorable "Cold War mentality"—none of this has to be reassessed in light of the evidence of genocides that surpassed Hitler’s, all in the name of a Marxist ideology. An ideology that doesn’t need to be reassessed. As if it was maybe just an accident that Marxist-Leninist regimes turned totalitarian and genocidal. No connection there. The judgment that McCarthyism was the chief crime of the Cold War era doesn’t need a bit of a rethink, even when put up against the mass murder of dissidents by Marxist states.
The point is, all empires commit crimes; in the past century, ours were by far the lesser of evils. But this sedulous denial of even the possibility of misjudgment in the hierarchy of evils protects and insulates this wing of the Left from an inconvenient reconsideration of whether America actually is the worst force on the planet. This blind spot, this stunning lack of historical perspective, robs much of the American Left of intellectual credibility. And makes it easy for idiocies large and small to be uttered reflexively. (Perhaps the suggestion I recently saw on the Instapundit.com Web site calling for an "Anti-Idiotarian" party might be appropriate.)
I hope to comment more on this great article this weekend. BTW, I think that the credit for "Anti-Idiotarian" goes to Charles Johnson
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Universities Now and Then
View of Nuernberger Tor, one of the entrances to the University of Erlangen, on top of which a banner has been placed stating that Jews are not desired here.
John Leo writing in US News talks about the latest wave of hate sweeping academia.
Israel itself is often seen as an intolerable colonial outpost, planted in the historically victimized Third World by the West. The thing that most Americans admire about Israel, that it has many of the same features as the United States–free speech, an open society, democratic institutions–makes it a natural target of America-hating campus sentiment. Hostility to Israel was a strong feature of the New Left in the Sixties as it is of the campus left today.
The primary carrier of the "Israel is illegitimate" message on campus is the movement to get universities to stop investing in corporations that do business in Israel. Divestment won't happen, but a slanderous point is being made, that Israel is a hopelessly racist state, the one nation in the world that must be singled out for financial punishment. The divestment movement is the successor to last summer's atrocious U.N. conference on racism, which surveyed the entire world but chose to focus on only one "racist" state, Israel. For the backers of divestment, political opposition to Israeli policies isn't nearly enough. No, the only open, democratic nation in its part of the world must be isolated as a pariah. Is this what people on campus really want?
Yes, it is. They talk a good game, but when it comes down to it, they campus activists and their faculty mentors are merely the latest in a long line of bigots.
Modern Journalism 2
You've probably already read about the TAiSS poll fabrication. They took a poll, but the numbers did not agree with their own take -- so they made up a story. That's why I call them the TAiSS -- based on the Soviet news agency TASS. Yeah, I know I'm real clever. Anyway, Dick Morris and David Tell both discuss this. Read Morris first -- he discusses the bias of the questions asked. Then read Tell -- even with the biased questions they couldn't get the answers they wanted, so they ignored the poll and made up their own story instead.
Question Three. "What do you think is the single most important problem for the government--that is, the president and Congress--to address in the coming year?" Nagourney and Elder write that voters answered they are "more concerned about the economy and domestic issues than with what is happening to Saddam Hussein." In fact, however, Times/CBS poll respondents identified "Terrorism/War/Security" as the one "most important problem" facing government (30 percent), with "Economy/Jobs/Stock Market" ranking second (26 percent). And even this result understates the truth: Listed third among the responses is an additional foreign policy category, "Iraq" (7 percent)--which means that voters principally concerned with international matters outnumber those who prefer to think about issues that "Democrats had hoped to capitalize on" by an almost 3-to-2 margin.
Question Eighteen. "Which of these should be the higher priority for the nation right now--the economy and jobs, or terrorism and national security?" This, of course, is simply a forced-choice restatement of the more open-ended Question Three, above. And its results therefore speak more directly to the conclusion suggested by the Times' front-page sub-hed: "Poll Finds Lawmakers Focusing Too Much on Iraq and Too Little on Issues at Home." Trouble is, Question Eighteen's results flatly contradict that sub-hed. A full 50 percent of respondents said terrorism should be a higher priority than the economy. And only 35 percent said the opposite--again, a nearly 3-to-2 preference for foreign policy.
Question Twenty-Nine. "In deciding how to spend their time, presidents have to weigh the importance of foreign policy problems and problems here at home. Given the importance of each, do you think George W. Bush has been spending too much time on foreign policy problems, OR too much time on problems here at home, OR has he been spending his time about right?" According to the Times, which ran it as a five-column headline across the top of page A14 yesterday, the answer is clear: "Public Says Bush Needs to Pay More Heed to Economy, Less to Iraq." Unfortunately, though, Actual Results Prove Times Account of Poll Dishonest. A majority of respondents (52 percent) told Times/CBS researchers they think the president is dividing his attention "about right" and another two percent complained that Bush spends too much time on domestic issues. Only 41 percent of respondents said they think the president overemphasizes foreign policy. Among key, swing-voting independents, the trend is even starker: 58 percent of respondents said they believe the president devotes enough or too much effort to domestic questions, while just 35 percent complained that he is neglecting them.
The actual data
is available on the CBS site. Judge youself.
Follow the story at Instapundit, where Glenn is tracking a news item and a leader in the UK Independent about the President's speech last night. The trouble is the story and the opinion were posted before the speech was given! The Left is adept at manipulating the media to suit its own ends. The Soviets were masters of this art and they were even clever enough not to get caught at it! Keep working at it, Independent!
Monday, October 07, 2002
I Refuse to Live in Fear!
This is the line that resonated the most to me as a NYC resident. I'm, of course, referring to the President's speech tonight. I refuse to live in fear, I refuse to have nightmares about what will happen to and my family if there's a WMD attack.
The speech was magnificent. Bush answered all the questions the critics asked and if anyone says that a case has not been made they are either deaf or deliberatly ignorant.
Sunday, October 06, 2002
How 'bout a quick reading list?
Let's start with VDH and the possibilities that a war to liberate Iraq will open:
If Saddam sends a half-dozen germ- or chemically laced Scuds into Israel, what will happen if they are tracked by Israel satellites, targeted by improved second-generation Patriot-like missiles, and blown apart in their descent over Jordan and the West Bank, with their toxic clouds kept eastward by Mediterranean winds? Will the Palestinians again cheer if the Iraqi projectiles this time break up over Ramallah, spreading their patron's frightening poisons over themselves? What will be the official Palestinian response: anger or praise for Saddam? Or perhaps: "Shame on you Jews for not allowing just yourselves to be gassed?"
If the so-called Arab street in Cairo, Amman, or on the West Bank applauds our enemies in the next war, will American taxpayers at last demand that we no longer send millions of dollars to the autocracies of Jordan, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority who encourage such outbursts to deflect anger from their own failures? In the pre-September 11 days, our diplomatic insiders might have winced at such overt and puerile anti-Americanism, but nevertheless were confident that their own "expertise" and "experience" with such "complex" issues could ensure American hayseeds that what they saw and heard on their screens is not what they really saw and heard on their screens. Will that be possible this time when the shooting breaks out?
Indeed, we are entering a new phase of political understanding. The keepers of the old Leftist flames are working as hard as possible to keep their views alive. But no amount of lies and slogans will make people ignore the basic fact of life: America is the best country in the world and is worth defending. Its as simple as that.
writing in the Spectator talks about Euro-American relations and the new understanding:
But the problem is this. Before 11 September, most Americans tolerated the anti-Yank diatribes from Europe as a quaint example of the local culture. Filtered through the smoke of the World Trade Center, it’s no longer quite so cute. The real phenomenon of the last year is not Europe’s anti-Americanism, which has always existed, but a deep, pervasive and wholly new American weariness with Europe. Saddam’s creditors in Moscow and under-the-table trading partners in Paris, his useful idiots in Europe and kindred spirits in the thug states may yet team up to stymie America at the UN and those 150,000 ‘peace’ marchers will cheer. But be careful what you wish for.
A very important opinion in Friday's Boston Globe -- Charles Jacobs asks "Why Israel and not Sudan, is singled out?
An instructive case is Sudan. Atrocities there exceed every other world horror. For 10 years the blacks of South Sudan have been victims of an onslaught that has taken more than 2 million lives. Colin Powell calls it ''the worst human rights nightmare on the planet.'' Yet with the important exception of the black Christian community here, there has been a disturbingly muted reaction from well-known American human rights champions. The media cover the deaths in Sudan only occasionally.
Western lack of interest is all the more stunning as Khartoum's onslaught has rekindled the trade in black slaves, halted (mostly) a century ago by the British abolitionists. Arab militias storm African villages, kill the men, and enslave the women and children. Accounts by journalists and others depict the horror. In these pogroms, after the men are slaughtered, the women, girls, and boys are gang raped - or they have their throats slit for resisting. The terrorized survivors are marched northward and distributed to Arab masters, the women to become concubines, the girls domestics, the boys goat herders.
It is hard to explain why victims of slavery and slaughter are virtually ignored by American progressives. How can it be that there is no storm of indignation at Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, which, though they rushed to Jenin to investigate false reports of Jews massacring Arabs, care so much less about Arab-occupied Juba, South Sudan's black capital? How can it be that they have not raised the roof about Khartoum's black slaves? Neither has there been a concerted effort by the press to pressure American administrations to intervene. Nor has the socialist left spoken of liberating the slaves or protecting black villages from pogroms, even though Wall Street helps bankroll Khartoum's oil business, which finances the slaughter.
[Note: I believe that he is wrong here -- the oil companies in Sudan are Canadian and Chinese, not American]. Jacob's theory is that the Leftists are comfortable criticizing people who they also consider "white", but when the conflict is between two "oppressed" (non-white) groups, they don't know what to say. I don't think that it ends here -- I think that anti-Semitism is a definite part of Israel's isolation. First, because anti-Semitism has been an established part of Leftist doctrine since Marx. Second, most Jews would probably find it ironic to be placed in the "us" category considering that only 60 years ago in Europe 6 million Jews were mortally classified as "them". Classic bigotry assigns to the subject of its hate the worst possible moral category -- 60 years ago it was "them", today it is "us". In addition, anti-Americanism and Israel's ties to America have a large impact here. If Sudan was America's strong ally, these groups would be all over them.
Nevertheless, I like his analysis because it is what I try to here. The CounterRevolutionary Inquiry! (tongue-in-cheek) looks at people actions and not their words to base a moral judgement. This is what Jacobs does -- sure they say the support human rights, but why is it for only certain people and not the world at large?