Monday, February 28, 2005

Rotting From Within

Lee Harris again has an illuminating essay on terrorism. This, for example, sums up the reaons for my utter contempt and impacable opposition to the left:
I have identified three distinct sources of cant in defense of Palestinian terrorism, each of which may be summed up in the stock phrases that usually spring to the lips of those who are engaged in the process of defending or apologizing for Palestinian terrorism. They are:

(1) The "cycle of violence"
(2) The "legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people"
(3) The "Zionist occupation"

My reason for spending so much time dissecting the cant surrounding Palestinian terror is simple. I am convinced that the West shares much, if not most, of the blame for the most startling fact of our epoch, namely, the political triumph of Islamic terrorism.
This is why I can never forgive the left and their self-destructive mewlings.
If the word "triumph" sounds premature or alarmist, ask yourself what nation state has had the impact on the geopolitical world order that the Islamic terrorists have had in the last half century. Without a navy or an air force or an army, without any of the paraphernalia of a normal nation state, a handful of terrorist organizations have managed to seize the center stage of world affairs, and have been deciding the fate of nations. They have all but shattered the international system of alliances upon which the Pax Americana depended; they have turned many of our former allies into current enemies; they have rallied fifth columnists within every Western democracy, including our own, to champion the cause of radical anti-Americanism; they have seduced the progressive Left into defending the most reactionary regimes in the world. They have turned one European election to their own purposes, and have thereby acquired a technique that can be all too easily applied to other elections, raising a question of the survivability of parliamentary democracy in the face of future coordinated terrorist strikes. They have put the governance of the United States on permanent hold by putting the fight against terrorism on top of our national agenda, where it will remain as long as the terrorists are willing to act to keep it there. In short, it is the terrorists who are calling the shots.

How did this happen? How did the vast power of the West, and the enormous benefits of the Pax Americana, fail to defend us against the demon of terrorism?

This is where Western culpability lies. We meant well. We sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians, and for good reason; but we let this sympathy get the better of our judgment.
But at least the left is going to get Padilla out of jail, so everything's going to be all right.
You walk into my house and shoot my wife dead. I chase you out of the house and gun you down in the street. The next day your son kills me; and two days following my son kills your son.

Now here is a cycle of violence, and yet can there be any doubt who started this cycle? You did. True, I may have done things that, in your opinion, justified your violence; but provided I did not use physical violence against you or yours, then you were the first one to escalate to the deliberate use of violence.

So how could I have stopped the cycle of violence? Well, by not doing anything to you or your kin when you killed my wife.

But would this have stopped the cycle of violence? What if you came the next day and shot my son, and I still didn't use violence to avenge myself. In this case, is my refusal to stoop to the use of violence a factor promoting the end of violence, or an incentive to more violence on the part of the person who first decided to use it?

The "cycle of violence" is a cant phrase, like so many other cant phrases circulating today, in that it permits us to feel as if we have said something profound when in fact we are talking utter nonsense. Yes, violence, once begun, often breeds violence -- but, as history amply demonstrates, violence breeds violence no matter how the other party responds to it. Fighting violence breeds it, but so too does appeasing violence. Furthermore, massive and overwhelming violence, far from continuing the cycle of violence, often stops it in its tracks, like the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In the words of the immortal Curtis Lemay, "If you kill enough of them, they stop fighting."

More Dominos

The world, it's a'changin.

Not only is Egypt's Mubarak suddenly going to allow (some) opposition parties to participate in elections, but the Lebanese government has just resigned:
BEIRUT, Lebanon - With shouts of "Syria out!" 25,000 protesters massed outside Parliament in a dramatic display of defiance that forced out Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister and Cabinet Monday, two weeks after the assassination of a popular politician touched off increasing unrest.

Syria remained silent about the rapidly changing atmosphere in Beirut, where it ruled unopposed for years, even deciding on the Lebanon's leaders, after deploying troops ostensibly as peacekeepers during the 1975-90 civil war.

But the dramatic developments — reminiscent of Ukraine's peaceful "orange revolution" and broadcast live across the Arab world — could provoke a strong response from Syria, which keeps 15,000 troops in Lebanon. It also could plunge this nation of 3.5 million back into a period of uncertainty, political vacuum or worse.
Oh, talk about a gift that a "response from Syria" would be! Talk about an excuse for intervention! The CNN "pity machine" works both ways...

But this all has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the policies of G. W. Bush, right? At least according to the credit given by the MSM...

Judges From Another Planet

This is just beyond belief:
WASHINGTON - A federal judge ordered the Bush administration Monday to either charge terrorism suspect Jose Padilla with a crime or release him after more than 2 1/2 years in custody.

U.S. District Judge Henry Floyd in Spartanburg, S.C., said the government can not hold Padilla indefinitely as an "enemy combatant," a designation President Bush gave him in 2002.

"The court finds that the president has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold petitioner as an enemy combatant," Floyd wrote in a 23-page opinion that was a stern rebuke to the government. He gave the administration 45 days to take action.

"We think that this is a wonderful decision," said Padilla's attorney, Andy Patel, as Padilla waited on another line. "It is one of those moments that all Americans should be proud of."
Proud? Proud?

Bite me.
"If everything you say about Jose Padilla is true, prove it," said Denyse Williams, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (news - web sites) in South Carolina, which has filed a brief in support of Padilla's attorneys. "Everybody says the war on terror could last a lifetime. If they can do it to him, they can do it to others."
That's right -- they CAN, and they SHOULD!

Look, let's come back to Planet Sanity, shall we? Consider regular, garden-variety LEGAL combatants (they shouldn't call Padilla an "enemy combatant", he's properly an "illegal combatant).

Tell me, when, in the history of the world, have ordinary prisoners of war EVER had access to lawyers and the legal system?

When? NEVER!

The notion is absurd, as they are not under the jurisdiction of civilian law.

Nor should they be!

And tell me, when, in the history of the world, did people fret over how long a war might last, because it might mean keeping the POWs detained past their bed times?

When? NEVER!

So surely, illegal combatants aren't to be treated more leniently? How could that make sense? Where did this idea that prisoners of war of any kind must be charged with crimes? Just because the war might be indefinite? No war was ever held on a definite timetable, people!!!
David Salmons from the U.S. Solicitor General's Office countered at the time that the president has the right to detain any enemy combatant while the United States is fighting al-Qaida. But he added there's no risk that the president may round up citizens and detain them.

That's the fantasy: evil Bushitler is going to start putting away people he dislikes forever, if he can do it to Padilla... So they imagine they're on the front lines of some important civil rights battle, which is more important for them to win than the real battle against the actual people trying to slaughter us by the millions.

Well suppose the power to detain IS abused. Then guess what, the President will be impeached and the problem solved. That's how it's meant to happen.

Those who plead Constitutional Rights are being violated should go read it, and find out the Constitution explicitly allows for the suspension of the Writ of Habeus Corpus when the public safety requires it, such as in the case of insurrection, invasion, or rebellion. Which means, in layspeak, they can lock you up and throw away the key and forget about you forever: because the Founders knew that sometimes that's necessary to preserve the Constitution for everyone else, and checks are put in to stop an overzealous President, which DON'T however include the ACLU eviscerating the power of the President!

So before I hear a peep from anyone, I want to know if they think every war we ever fought was violating the "Constitutional Rights" of ORDINARY combatants that were held indefinitely, and without access to lawyers, and without being charged with any crime.

See, holding POWs is not a criminal matter! They're being detained for our safety, not because they committed a crime!

In Padilla's case, and those like him, the "crimes" of being an illegal combatant are ON TOP of that, and it would be perverse in the extreme to have privileges descent upon them that they otherwise would never have had they been ordinary combatants!

His citizenship status and location of capture should be completely irrelevant.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Tools of the Worshipper

Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper, is
the in-depth manual of Islamic law based on the Shafi'i school of thought, with a detalied index and commentary on specific rulings... 'Umdat al-Salik wa 'Uddat al-Nasik (Reliance of the Traveller and Tools of the Worshipper) is a classic manual of fiqh. It represents the fiqh rulings according to the Shafi'i school of jurisprudence.
And guess what? Due to the magic of e-commerce, a 1,200 page translation of this official manual is available on Amazon.

And thus one can read for one's self.

But let us look at a summary according to what the first "user comment" at Amazon indicates:
Reliance of the Traveller provides exceptional insight to Islamic values. The revised edition, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, is certified by al-Azhar University, the Muslim worlds most prestigious institution of higher learning with the following "...We certify that this translation corresponds to the Arabic original and conforms to the practice and faith of the orthodox Sunni community (Ahl al-Sunnah wa al Jamma'a)."
So this is the real deal.
ordinary citizens who value "truth" may find the passages contained in Book R, Section 8, Lying (pages 744 - 746) quite illuminating.

Lying is permitted in war, settling disagreements, and a man talking with his wife or she with him. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable by is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory. (p. 745)

"When, for example, one is concealing a Muslim from an oppressor who asks where he is, it is obligatory to lie about him being hidden. Or when a person deposits an article with one for safekeeping and an oppressor wanting to appropriate it inquires about it, it is obligatory to lie about having concealed it, for if one informs him about the article and he then seizes it, one is financially liable (to the owner) to cover the article's cost."(p. 745)
The religion explicitly tells them to cover up for each other, too:
The Reliance of the Traveller further discusses slander. "Slander means to mention anything concerning a person that he would dislike, whether about his body, religion, everyday life, self, disposition, property, son, father, wife, servant, turban, garment, gait, movements, smiling, dissolution, frowning, cheerfulness, or anything else connected with him." (p.730) 'Do you know what slander is?' They answered, 'Allah and His Messenger know best.' He said, 'It is to mention of your brother that which he would dislike.' Someone asked, 'What if he is as I say?' And he replied, 'If he is as you say, you have slandered him, and if not, you have calumniated him. The Muslim is the brother of the Muslim. He does not betray him, lie to him, or hang back from coming to his aid. All of the Muslim is inviolable to his fellow Muslim: his reputation, his property, his blood. Godfearingness is here (the heart). It is sufficiently wicked for someone to belittle his fellow Muslim." (p.730.)
Hmmm, such prohibitions on criticism from Big Mo himself look oddly like cult-like characteristics, no?

Now, as we know from The Boy Who Cried Wolf, once you've compromised your trustworthiness, people won't believe you when you do actually tell the truth. That is obvious to all.

So isn't it curious that this Islamic culture teaches that to lie to the infidel is lawful, and even obligatory?

What does that tell us about their calculation concerning the need for them ever to be able to have a trustworthy dialogue with us?

It tells us clearly: this culture has NO INTEREST in having a meaningful, trustworthy dialogue with the infidel! They have already chosen to be implacably hostile, and to opportunistically deceive and lie for immediate gain.

I can already hearing the left whining, "but but but, you're saying we just have to disbelieve them outright? To be ever suspicous? That smacks of witchhunts and McCarthyism! What if they have something true to tell us?"

Hey, I didn't write Tools of the Worshipper. Just passing on what their accepted mores are. But given such knowledge, we can skip a step and revise the old saying to simply:

Fool me once, shame on me!

Woe, Canada

I was going to be commenting on the head-scratching implications of Canada opting out of North American missile defense -- which, as someone pointed out, is essentially giving "diplomatic immunity" to missiles attacking us!

But there's a new Canadian blog that's been covering the topic already quite well, so you can read all about it there!

I'll just remark on the most obvious points:

So, we're supposed to "consult" before launching interceptors over Canada, according to their PM, when their airspace has already been violated by an aggressor? At least our response was a blunt, "yeah, right." Good for Ambassador Cellucci!
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Paul Martin said yesterday that Canada has to be involved in any U.S. decision to shoot down an enemy missile in Canadian airspace, but the American ambassador said the country had given up its right to be involved in any such decision.

Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador, made the remarks just after Mr. Martin officially announced Canada would not join the controversial missile-defence shield.
"We will deploy," Mr. Cellucci said. "We will defend North America.
"We simply cannot understand why Canada would in effect give up its sovereignty, its seat at the table, to decide what to do about a missile that might be coming towards Canada."

Moments earlier, Mr. Martin had told reporters he expected the United States to consult with Canada.

"Canada is a sovereign nation and we would expect and insist on being consulted on any intrusion into our space," Mr. Martin said.

He did not explain what kind of consultation he expects out of the Americans in the event of a missile attack, and federal officials refused to expand on the scenario.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Bizarro World

I find this an utterly bizarre inversion of morality:
The World Council of Churches, the main global body uniting non-Catholic Christians, encouraged members Tuesday to sell off investments in companies profiting from Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Council's Central Committee, meeting in Geneva, praised the United States Presbyterian Church for examining the possibility of divestment in Israel similar to the financial boycott it used against the apartheid regime in South Africa two decades ago.

The Presbyterian threat, which echoes divestment debates at some U.S. universities, has set off a wave of dissent in the church and angered American Jewish leaders.
Talk about hypocrisy! Do they ever utter a peep about divesting from the true terror regimes? They don't even pretend to be even-handed in their condemnations, which in itself would be a cop-out.

What's even weirder is in case they hadn't heard, Israel is unilaterally removing -- by force if necessary -- all of its settlements in Gaza, and is withdrawing behind its brilliant Security Wall in the West Bank. It's like they want to jump on a bandwagon and feel like they had something to do with the impending historic settlement of the palestine issue, which is nearly a fait accompli.

That it may end up officially annexing some of that territory legitimately captured in war should surprise no one; what is really surprising is that they haven't simply expelled that group of Arabs who 40 years ago started calling themselves "palestinians" (after the name the British had whimsically given to the region after the manner of the Romans, who had named their ancient colony after the biblical Philistines to annoy the Jews -- the Philistines having nothing to do with Arabs and being long extinct), and taken it all. That would be in accordance with typical world behavior: literally millions of Europeans, for example, had to move all over the place as borders were moved after each of the World Wars.

But people have odd ideas about what's going on with Israel, due to very poor teachings of history. The short answer is, obviously the Jews have been in Israel since the biblical times of the bronze age thousands of years ago, but the Arabs didn't come along until the middle ages. And in modern times, there was never any independent Arab country of palestine, but rather the area had been ruled by the Ottoman Turk Empire until it was broken up after WW1, and then divided into arbitrary colonies by the French and British, which were further rearranged as they withdrew after WW2. There's no historical justification for the arbitrary identification of a subgroup of Arabs known as palestinians as distinct, say, from those who ended up in the arbitrary region called Jordan next door.

One place to find out a wealth of information on he creation of Israel, that addresses many common misconceptions, is here. If one believes the source is biased, the refernces can be checked and at least a basis for further research is given.

For example, one finds that:

"Jews stole Arab land."

Despite the growth in their population, the Arabs continued to assert they were being displaced. The truth is that from the beginning of World War I, part of Palestine's land was owned by absentee landlords who lived in Cairo, Damascus and Beirut. About 80 percent of the Palestinian Arabs were debt-ridden peasants, semi-nomads and Bedouins.18

Jews actually went out of their way to avoid purchasing land in areas where Arabs might be displaced. They sought land that was largely uncultivated, swampy, cheap and, most important, without tenants.
It was only after the Jews had bought all of the available uncultivated land that they began to purchase cultivated land. Many Arabs were willing to sell because of the migration to coastal towns and because they needed money to invest in the citrus industry.20
The Peel Commission's report found that Arab complaints about Jewish land acquisition were baseless. It pointed out that "much of the land now carrying orange groves was sand dunes or swamp and uncultivated when it was purchased....there was at the time of the earlier sales little evidence that the owners possessed either the resources or training needed to develop the land."24 Moreover, the Commission found the shortage was "due less to the amount of land acquired by Jews than to the increase in the Arab population." The report concluded that the presence of Jews in Palestine, along with the work of the British Administration, had resulted in higher wages, an improved standard of living and ample employment opportunities.25

In his memoirs, Transjordan's King Abdullah wrote:

"It is made quite clear to all, both by the map drawn up by the Simpson Commission and by another compiled by the Peel Commission, that the Arabs are as prodigal in selling their land as they are in useless wailing and weeping (emphasis in the original)."26

Even at the height of the Arab revolt in 1938, the British High Commissioner to Palestine believed the Arab landowners were complaining about sales to Jews to drive up prices for lands they wished to sell. Many Arab landowners had been so terrorized by Arab rebels they decided to leave Palestine and sell their property to the Jews.27

The Jews were paying exorbitant prices to wealthy landowners for small tracts of arid land. "In 1944, Jews paid between $1,000 and $1,100 per acre in Palestine, mostly for arid or semiarid land; in the same year, rich black soil in Iowa was selling for about $110 per acre."28
One normally doesn't hear that much of the land was bought. Much like the case of William Penn, who not only received the royal grant of land of Pennsylvania from King Charles, but then also went and bought it, fair and square (and not for a few trinkets, but for a reasonable sum), from the Delaware chiefs and their Iroquis overlords, meaning the remaining Native Americans were squatters.
Penn paid a total of 1200 pounds for the land, which though a large sum, was probably fair for both sides. Penn took the advice of Dutch and Swedish colonists who had already set some parameters for treaty agreements These earlier settlers provided invaluable assistance in delineating who to contact, and who to pay for the land. On the other side of the 'covenant chain', the Delaware had many years of negotiating such treaties, and were ready to sell their land to Penn, on their terms. Disease had decimated much of their population so they needed less of the land near Philadelphia, and at the time there was plenty of un-occupied space to the North and West of the (future) city. As well, the Indian's 'ownership' of the land, was not as 'savagely simple' as had been assumed. (Jennings, 201). They worked with a complex arrangement of overlapping 'right's to use certain areas, and rights to dispose of these obligations. So Penn may have had to pay several times to the same holder in order to clear all claims.
Not everyone would be as scrupulous as Penn, of course, but the point is the situation was not the unmitigated land-grab of popular conception, just like with the Israel issue.

And this site has a nice animated intro. Both links were found on LGF.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Islam Encourages Rape And Slavery

An interesting new blog out of Norway, that discusses Islamic infiltration of Scandinavia, and the difficulties of confronting it due to Political Correctness. See the conclusion to this entry:
The conclusion one may draw from this is that the authorities in Sweden and Norway know about, or should know about, a disturbing amount of Muslim immigrant rapes of native Scandinavian women, yet choose not to make this information known to the public. Perhaps it would be just too politically incorrect to reveal the negative effects of decades of naïve immigration policies. Perhaps it would also destroy too many multicultural pipe dreams among the intellectual elites, who have built their current careers and reputations on advocating how culturally and economically enriching this new population mix would be. So in the end, the safety of young Scandinavian women is sacrificed in order to keep the glossy image of a multicultural society intact. It is a chilling demonstration of an Eurabian continent that now appears to care more about not upsetting relations with its immigrant population than about protecting its own citizens.
There is a great deal of supporting information, including quotes like:
Swedish laws prohibiting "hate speech" against racial minorities have been vigorously enforced. There have, for example, been a number of gang-rapes of Swedish women by Muslim immigrants. But Swedes must be careful what they say about them. On May 25, neo-Nazi Bjorn Bjorkqvist was convicted and sentenced to two months in prison for writing, "I don’t think I am alone in feeling sick when reading about how Swedish girls are raped by immigrant hordes." ["Jag tror inte jag är ensam om att må dåligt när jag läser om hur svenska tjejer har våldtagits av invandrarhorder"]
An incredibly revealing article that tells us all we need to know about the multiculturalist fetish in Europe and some parts of North America, not to mention the need for change within Islam. Apparently, the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that 65 percent of rapes of Norwegian women were performed by "non-Western" immigrants – a category that, in Norway, consists mostly of Muslims. The article quoted a professor of social anthropology at the University of Oslo (note: her name is Unni Wikan) as saying that "Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes" because Muslim men found their manner of dress provocative. The professor's conclusion was not that Muslim men living in the West needed to adjust to Western norms, but the exact opposite: "Norwegian women must realize that we live in a multicultural society and adapt themselves to it."
The German journalist Udo Ulfkotte told in a recent interview that in Holland, you can now see examples of young, unveiled Moroccan women with a so-called "smiley". It means that the girl gets one side of her face cut up from mouth to ear, serving as a warning to other Muslim girls who should refuse to wear the veil. In the Muslim suburb of Courneuve, France, 77 per cent of the veiled women carry veils reportedly because of fear of being harassed or molested by Islamic moral patrols.

Hijab, the Islamic veil, is thus not ”just a piece of cloth”. It serves as a demarcation line between proper, submissive Muslim women and whores, un-Islamic women who deserve no respect and are asking for rape. The veil should more properly be viewed as the uniform of a Totalitarian movement, and a signal to attack those outside the movement. Judged in the light of the Mufti who said that women who don’t wear it are asking for rape, how on earth can the veil be said to be about ”choice”? The freedom to choose not to be raped if you dress in a normal fashion in your own country? Is that what freedom is about in Europe in 2005?
Rape, of course, is specifically sanctioned by Islam, as one of the fringe benefits of jihad; there is even a procedure for technically making it a social norm, because Muslim men are allowed multiple wives. Thus, the women to be raped are considered to be serially temporarily "married" to the rapist, and then immediately divorced.

The victim of course has no say in the matter, whose previous marriage is considered annuled as a consequence of being the spoils of jihad.

Also, slave girls are specifically set aside as available for the pleasure of the jihad warrior. This is going on today -- right now -- in the Sudan.
The Islamic legal manual ‘Umdat al-Salik, which carries the endorsement of Al-Azhar University, the most respected authority in Sunni Islam, stipulates: “When a child or a woman is taken captive, they become slaves by the fact of capture, and the woman’s previous marriage is immediately annulled.” Why? So that they are free to become the concubines of their captors. The Qur’an permits Muslim men to have intercourse with their wives and their slave girls: “Forbidden to you are ... married women, except those whom you own as slaves” (Sura 4:23-24).
And we're supposed to respect such an abomination of a system, which is not ancient history but functioning today -- based on the example of mohammed himself! -- as some kind of legitimate religion?


Just because a lot of people adhere to it? To be polite to them?

As others have pointed out, given the foolishness of human nature, in fact one might consider that the more widely held is an opinion, the more ludicrous or destructive it is apt to be.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Not Your Father's Liberals

It could not be a greater contrast to look at the differences between, say, the civil rights protestors of the martin Luther King Jr. days, and the polyglot alliances of leftists that parade around today, banging drums, carrying big puppets, and running around naked in the streets.

Take for example the reception of a recent Greenpeace action.

In one case, the protestors did nothing more than assert their true Constitutional Rights, in order to claim them; in the other, the protestors were merely breaking the law by trespassing and disrupting private business.

In one case, the protestors expected to get beaten; in the other, they were highly surprised to be met with resistance, their protest being seen more as a vehicle for self-fulfillment rather than an actual real-world struggle.

In one case, the marchers expected the world to be morally shaken by the spectacle of their treatment for peacefully asserting their Rights; in the other case, the anarchists met nothing but derision, mockery, and glee from the sight of their being pummeled.

That's because in one case, the protesters were true classic liberals; and in the other case, nothing but thugs intent on destroying the marketplace that supports Western culture.

It's actually instructive to read about the "Bare Witness" protest site, for proof about their motives and psychology:
While she doesn’t consider herself a “political person” or a “nudie” she organized the ‘NO BUSH’ protest driven by, what she described as a, “boiling over of self expression that was not popping out… it was bubbling over and I felt it deeply and I wanted to do something to release.”
All about me. Ok.
“It’s more important for me to show people that they can break a social norm and once they have done it, it’s incredible self empowering to the individual.” When not pedaling nude, Schmidt programs computers for a living.
Ah, yes, let's break all those nasty "social norms". That is by definitoin the act of an enemy of our civilization. When they've broken all social norms, our society is destroyed. So they can reform it in their image, presumably. We should take their aims seriously.
It’s about not being reasonable anymore” says, Suzanne Hart, 49, an author from West Marin County, California who is nearing completion on her book titled, ‘Unreasonable Women Bearing Witness: Naked Vulnerability in The Face of Naked Aggression.’ “Being reasonable is calling your congressman and standing on the street corner with a sign ” but that doesn’t get you on the front cover of a newspaper or a spot on the evening news.
Oh my. A LOT going on here! Latent exhibitionism, for example -- I want to be on the front cover! And an open declaration of not being reasonable, of not participating in the democratic process like a civilized person!

They already know they won't get their way by legitimate means, so they conclude that rather than being wrong, they have to circumvent our carefully constructed Constitutional political process.

This is by definition subversion and tyranny!

Recall that the original civil rights protestors expected the political process to ultimately work for them. But these people are rejecting reasonableness.

We should respond to them in kind.

Protesting Bush in Brussels

Bush in is Brussels to rally Europe to rosue itself in defense of the West, now that they have to face the fat he'll be in for another 4 years. And of course the usual enemies of civilization have turned out in protest:
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Hundreds of demonstrators protested George W. Bush's visit Sunday, hours before the U.S. president was to arrive in Belgium at the start of a conciliatory swing through Europe.

Bush will meet with more than two dozen European leaders during a tour aimed at healing the trans-Atlantic rift that opened during his first term, notably over the Iraq war.

In his weekly radio address Saturday, Bush said he doesn't believe the West is split between an "idealistic United States and a cynical Europe ... America and Europe are the pillars of the free world."

"Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic understand that the hopes for peace in the world depend on the continued unity of free nations," he said. "We do not accept a false caricature that divides the Western world between an idealistic United States and a cynical Europe."
Who are the protestors, and what are their specifi grievances?
"He is coming to persuade and influence the European leaders. We are afraid the European leaders will distance themselves from their people," said Pol de Vos, one of about 700 anti-Bush protesters marching peacefully in downtown Brussels.

An alliance of 88 environmental, human rights, peace and other [anti-West left-wing] groups have planned protests near the U.S. Embassy for Monday and near the EU headquarters on Tuesday.

The Web site of the 'Stop Bush' alliance accused Bush of "crimes against humanity," saying he undermines international law and is an obstacle to the fight against global warming.
Let me tell you something about "global warming". I'll post more details later, but as a scientist I tell you it's a largely fabricated issue: the projections are highly suspect in methodology, the projected warming is within the noise of "normal" climate fluctuations, there's little we can do about it without impoverishing ourselves to medieval levels even if it's real, it won't be any warmer that it was in the year 1000 AD (or perhaps 10,000 BC) and we got along fine just then, and catastrophic global cooling is a much bigger concern and far more likely.

The "normal" state of the earth is to be locked in an Ice Age for loooonnngggg periods. We're living on borrowed time, civilization having arisen in one of the relativly short "interglacials", which should be ending any time now. Remember Greenland? Why is it called Greenland when it's a vast sheet of ice except for a tiny sliver of coast?

Maybe because when the Vikings discovered and settled it, it was still green?

How would you like everthing from the North Pole down to Boston under a sheet of ice a full mile thick?

We're just not close enough to the Sun to experience run-away warming ala Venus, no matter how much "greenhouse gas" is in the atmosphere!

Now what about the Kyoto treaty? It was rejected by the Senate unanimously!

The vote was 95 to ZERO.

Since when does the narrowly divided Senate in these partisan tiems agree on anything, unless it's a collosal, obvious boondoggle, carefully crafted to do nothing but transfer wealth from the U.S. to the rest of the world?

Even Kyoto's backers admit their own projections show it not having any significant effect on the warming! It's really all about a complicated procedure of assigning "carbon rights" to various countries, giving more rights than needed to the Third World, and not giving enough to the developed world, forcing the latter to purchase the rights from the former.

It's just a shakedown scheme!
On Monday, Bush meets with Belgium's King Albert II at the Royal Palace and with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt before giving a speech on trans-Atlantic relations. In the evening, he is to dine with French President Jacques Chirac, who was a leading opponent to the war in Iraq.
And maybe to get Chirac to do something about its former colony Syria for bumping off his buddy in Lebanon.
Bush will then travel to Germany on Wednesday, before heading to Slovakia for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And maybe to tell him to not be so helpful to Iran.

The Bush Tapes

An attempt by the NYT to dig up some dirt on W is backfiring:
Secret Recordings Foreshawdowed Bush Plans
NEW YORK - Private conversations with George Bush secretly taped by an old friend before he was elected president foreshadow some of his political strategies and appear to reveal that he acknowledged using marijuana, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The conversations were recorded by Doug Wead, a former aide to George W. Bush's father, beginning in 1998, when Bush was weighing a presidential bid, until just before the Republican National Convention in 2000, the Times said in a story posted on its Web site.
And, they get to mention the name of the Boogeyman again:
He also praises John Ashcroft as a promising candidate for Supreme Court justice, attorney general or vice president.
Hmmm, "Justice Aschcroft". Interesting.

But the tapes also reveal Bush to be a far more thoughtful person than even I, a supporter, had believed him to be!
On one tape, Bush explains that he told one prominent evangelical that he would not "kick gays, because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?"

Bush also criticizes then-Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) for admitting marijuana use and explains why he would not do the same.

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana questions," he said, according to the Times. "You know why? Because I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."
If they think they're putting a wedge between Bush supporters with these revelations, I think the will be sorely disappointed:
The tapes show Bush crafting a strategy for navigating the tricky political waters between Christian conservative and secular voters, repeatedly worrying that evangelicals would be angered by a refusal to bash gays and that secular Americans would be turned off by meetings with evangelical leaders.
And here's a newsflash: nobody cares about the mary jane angle. Nobody.

Is Spock a Commie?

Is Star Trek's Mr. Spock a commie?

I have often stressed how the totalitarian left is so callous to individuals. The attitude is common among socialism's intellectual supporters, that for example Stalinism or Maoism is somehow less reprehensible than Nazism, because at least it had a "worthy goal".

See for example this book by a sobering Martin Amis:
Not quite a memoir, this book sandwiches a lengthy treatise on the horror of life in Leninist and Stalinist Russia between Amis's brief personal takes on his gradually dawning awareness of Soviet atrocities. In his first and final pages, he deals with three generations of dupes who supported Soviet rule: that of H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw; that of novelist Kingsley Amis, the writer's father and member of the Communist Party in the 1940s; and that of leftist contemporaries of Martin Amis himself, notably the writer Christopher Hitchens. Throughout, Amis snipes at Hitchens in particular ( What about the famine?' I once asked him. There wasn't a famine,' he said, smiling slightly and lowering his gaze. There may have been occasional shortages....' ) Alexander Solzhenitsyn tried to tell the West about Stalinism in the '70s, but this grim patriarch had no appeal for the New Left, a generation interested only in revolution as play, Amis says.
"Revolution as play" describes well the motivation of the Greenpeace agitators in my previous blog entry.

And never mind the "worthy goal" is ludicrously unworkable, being the elimination of wealth differences via the destruction of capitalism, which means everyone equally starves. Some utopia, that!

Devoid of an external spirituality, the leftist is driven to produce a heaven on Earth, and thus anyone who stands in the way of their grandiose social engineering vision can be destroyed without a twinge of conscience, for it serves their fantasy of a Greater Good.

Any individual can be gleefully disposed of, for the good of the whole.

These are the kinds of people who will likely agree with the statement, "I love mankind; it's [individual] people I can't stand."

So what are we to make of Star Trek's Mr. Spock?

The Star Trek movies II-IV, in a neat self-contained story arc, revolve around two opposite themes.

SPOILER ALERT! I'm sure you all know the story, but in case you don't and want to see the movie, I'm going to reveal a plot point or two. BE WARNED!

At the end of The Wrath of Khan, Spock sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise and everyone else on board, stating that he was driven by pure logic, because "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."

Then Kirk and his small band of loyal officers break all sorts of laws and get themselves into a great deal of trouble and difficulty, to essentially resurrect Spock. Wondering what logic could have compelled them to do so, it is explained to Spock by Kirk that they took those risks because "The needs of the One outweigh the needs of the Many."

Both statements, stripped of context, neatly sum up the opposite philosophies of the Left and Right.

But does that make Spock a left-winger?

No, not at all! There's a key difference. Spock made the decision that his individual needs were outweighted by "society's" for himself alone.

That's the difference.

That makes Spock's actions truly noble and praiseworthy. As far as the Star Trek canon goes, there's no evidence Spock ever attemtped to impose onto others, the disciplines he subjected to himself.

Your typical lefty, however, believes the Cause is so important, that they can make the decision for individual sacrifice for someone else.


And that's the Root of the Evil of Leftism.

Now, can we see Kirk's philosophy as a simple blueprint for a society that upholds the Rights of individuals against any majority, no matter how large? Is it not problematic though for society, that it must take costs onto itself, to defend the individual's rights, because that cost is in effect borne ultimately by a group of individuals? Doesn't that make it just as useless as Leftism, in the final analysis?

No, not at all -- the situations are not symmetric!

To believe the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one at first glance bring benefit to the largest group, and thus a Utilitarian may find this attractive. However, if you're the "one" whose needs are outweighed, guess what, you're absolutely crushed! So if that turns out to be YOU, well, it's rather disastrous! And whatever "benefit" accrues, being spread out over a large group, may be diluted to meaninglessness: imagine for example by punitive taxation we soak the "rich" of all their excess cash and hand it out equally to everyone. Wow, everyone gets a few bucks, which hardly makes any difference, but now the luxury industries whose goods could only be bought with marginal, disposable cash are all out of business, along with everyone they employed...

And furthermore, since society as a whole is nothing but the sum of individuals, all of whom can be crushed, then society itself as a whole is destroyed ultimately by Leftism.

And this fact is supported time and again by the historical record!

But in the other case, let us recall that those who bore the risk with Kirk to serve the Needs of the One were volunteers -- like those serving in our Armed Forces. And whatever cost is to be borne by society to protect the individual gets diluted over many. And since society is nothing but a sum of individuals, all of whom have protected Rights, then society as a whole is ultimately protected.

The only way to be sure of serving the Greater Good is to be like Spock, and decide for yourself -- and for yourself alone! -- when the Needs of the Many outweigh the Needs of the One.

In other words, people should be inspired to follow Spock's example, but government should adhere to Kirk's!

So hmmm, let's see, that would make McCoy...
Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a metaphor!

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Sod Off, Swampy!

Get some of your own back, eco-fascist thugs:
Kyoto protest beaten back by inflamed petrol traders
By Laura Peek and Liz Chong

WHEN 35 Greenpeace protesters stormed the International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) yesterday they had planned the operation in great detail.

What they were not prepared for was the post-prandial aggression of oil traders who kicked and punched them back on to the pavement.

“We bit off more than we could chew. They were just Cockney barrow boy spivs. Total thugs,” one protester said, rubbing his bruised skull. “I’ve never seen anyone less amenable to listening to our point of view.”
Awww, poor wittle lefty, are you being repressed? Can't understand why the obviousness of your self-important "cause" doesn't give you license to disrupt the lives of others without consequence? Living in an ivory-tower dream world in which you are protected by Political Correctness, rather than by rough men who stand ready to do violence in the night to keep your miserable ungrateful useless lifestyle safe?

Gee, I can hardly imagine why they weren't more "amenable" to "listening" to your "point of view" when you invade and disrupt like this:
When a trader left the building shortly before 2pm, using a security swipe card, a protester dropped some coins on the floor and, as he bent down to pick them up, put his boot in the door to keep it open.

Two minutes later, three Greenpeace vans pulled up and another 30 protesters leapt out and were let in by the others.

They made their way to the trading floor, blowing whistles and sounding fog horns, encountering little resistance from security guards. Rape alarms were tied to helium balloons to float to the ceiling and create noise out of reach. The IPE conducts “open outcry” trading where deals are shouted across the pit. By making so much noise, the protesters hoped to paralyse trading.
This kind of frivolous all-about-me grandstanding is not going to be tolerated any more.

Some causes are worthy of fighting for, like John Brown being driven by religious fervor to act against the intolerable institution of slavery shortly before the Civil War would officially break out and people like him would have been given medals instead of being hanged. But you better be prepared to kill or be killed, so make sure your issue is, you know, really important, before you go making a nuisance.

Or you'll be humiliated like this:
But they were set upon by traders, most of whom were under the age of 25. “They were kicking and punching men and women indiscriminately,” a photographer said. “It was really ugly, but Greenpeace did not fight back.”

Another said: “I took on a Texan Swat team at Esso last year and they were angels compared with this lot.” Behind him, on the balcony of the pub opposite the IPE, a bleary-eyed trader, pint in hand, yelled: “Sod off, Swampy.”

“They grabbed us and started kicking and punching. Then when we were on the floor they tried to push huge filing cabinets on top of us to crush us.”

Mr Beresford said: “They followed the guys into the lobby and kept kicking and punching them there. They literally kicked them on to the pavement.”

Last night Greenpeace said two protesters were in hospital, one with a suspected broken jaw, the other with concussion.

The tide is turning.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Nice Article

Again, it's always easier when someone else does the hard work of writing something I agree with. Here's an excerpt from a scathingly direct essay that eviscerates the arguments about "chickenhawks":
In my fleeting moments of empathy, I can muster some modicum of sympathy for the condemnation of chickenhawks. I watched the remake of All Quiet on the Western Front, the same as everyone else. I remember the grotesque contrast between the enthusiasm of the naïve pro-war schoolteachers and the bloody realities of the World War I trenches. (Pro-war schoolteachers! It sounds like science fiction.) No one smiles at the thought of fat white guys in fezzes and monocles sipping cognac while pushing little men across a map, plotting out wars where poorer, browner men die to support the fantasies of empire.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the peace vigil: the allegedly poorer, allegedly browner men support the war, and the fat guys in fezzes and monocles now inveigh against it. Military support for the war and the Bush administration is exceptionally high. It's the well-to-do in the ritzy suburbs who wring their hands, mumbling "Dulce Et Decorum Est" while listening to dreary reports about the Iraqi quagmire on NPR. To generalize: the closer and more intimate you are with the war in Iraq, the more you support it.
There's more.

Well Said

Commenter Buddy Larsen at Belmot Club puts it very well:
The best face that can be put on the Western Left's performance in GWoT is that it believes the West is at fault in the war. The wealth/poverty gap grew too large and peace was no longer possible.
The frustration is that this is exactly the problem that OIF is meant to begin solving. Either narrow the gap by 911-ing the West into the 1930s, or by raising the ThirdWorld out of a poverty that both causes and is caused by an obsolete political model.

That the Left objects to the only solution that has been offered, for the problem the Left itself identifies, means either that cognition--because of poor schooling and pop culture?--has fallen below cultural-survival level, or that the Left has actually bought the Marxist critique that capitalism is too dynamic and cannot HELP but cause war, and that the solution to war is to rid ourselves of the Marketplace, which exists to feed us via discounting those imbalances.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

About Those Jobs...

I recall last summer, before the election, the Democrats raising the complaint that Bush would be the first President since Hoover to lose jobs during his first term. They began saying he'd lost "2 million jobs!"

If you kept listening over the months, the number kept going down.

"1.9 million jobs!"

"1.5 million jobs!"

The pundits tended to keep mentioning the 2 million job loss figure. Even though that was only the "payroll" number, i.e. the number of jobs held at big companies, and ignored the "household survey", which showed jobs going up if you included the self-employed.

But, it turns out, now that the final payroll numbers are in for the year, 2004 was a fantastic year for job growth, and all the jobs lost from the dot-com implosion and the 9/11 attacks...came back!

We find this information however buried in the very last paragraph of the news story saying jobless claims were the lowest in 4 years last month:
However, in 2004, payroll jobs increased by 2.2 million, after three years of job losses, and last month's job gains allowed President Bush to escape the dubious distinction of being the first president since Herbert Hoover to experience a net job loss during his first term in office.
Well, so much for that talking point!

Basing a political platform on requiring bad news for America is not a recipe for success.

SF Plot Devices

And now for something completely different, I found this essay on plot devices in Science Fiction novels to be very amusing and instructive, especially as he uses as examples some of my favorite authors, such as Zelazny's (second) Amber series and Simmons' Hyperion books:
The general public regards sf as a wonderland of amazing gadgets and special effects in titanic collision -- where, by implication, all problems and conflicts are artificial because the author (or the movie producer) can always dispose of a superscientific threat by dreaming up a hyperscientific counter-attack. What a superficial and unfair view -- or is it? By and by we shall examine the technological clutter of some recent and popular books.
The author of this essay is one David Langford, whose writings I am not familiar with, but as he's apparently a physicist and likes the same kind of themes I do, perhaps I should start reading him! The review of one of his books (Different Kind of Darkness) at Amazon says:
Even the most serious of these 36 tales of fantasy, horror and science fiction are charged with a subversive wit and spirit of playfulness that show Langford's determination to turn genre clichés on their heads. "Cube Root" plays out as a standard post-apocalyptic scenario about the breakdown of social order following a nuclear strike—until the soldiers whose eyes it is seen through discover the disaster was faked, and that they're possibly part of a behavioral study. In "The Motivation," pictures discovered in a pornographer's stash point to a mystery whose solution provides its own peculiar titillation. A physicist by profession, Langford (He Do the Time Police in Different Voices) laces his stories with teasing references to particle theory, fractals and higher mathematics, and often finds ingenious fictional analogs for them, as in "Waiting for the Iron Age," in which the immortal Wandering Jew offers a brief meditation on quantum physics and the inevitable entropic decline of a world he'll outlast. The author is particularly fond of closed-room mysteries, which he wreaks variations on with the vigor of a math prodigy unraveling insoluble theorems. Vampires, Lovecraftian horrors and virtual reality simulations all make appearances, but Langford's deft and clever touch makes them seem refreshingly original themes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Best Buddies

Syria and Iran officially join forces:
TEHRAN, Iran - Iran and Syria, who both are facing pressure from the United States, said Wednesday they will form a "united front" to confront possible threats against them, state-run television reported.
Hmmm, kind of like an "Axis", to coin a term.

This is great news!

What's really interesting about this is that it puts to rest, once and for all, the myth we often heard that the secular tyrants (like Saddam) would never, NEVER ally with religious radicals (like al-Qaeda). Not to mention Syria and Iran are even split further as Sunni vs Shiite, and ethnically as Persian vs Arab, UNLIKE the Saddam/al-Qaeda nexus!

We don't hear much of that argument any more do we, yet nobody is going to 'fess up and say they were wrong about such claims.

It's an amazing blunder on their part to announce this. We've known Iran and Syria have been working together for quite some time -- just read former National Security Council consultant Michael Ledeen's book on the Terror Masters -- but now they lose all plausible deniability, and the anti-war Left loses a key talking point in downplaying the threats we face.

From the product description at Amazon,
The War Against the Terror Masters examines the two sides of the war: the rise of the international terror network, and the past and current efforts of our intelligence services to destroy the terror masters in the U.S. and overseas. Ledeen's new book also visits every country in the Near East and describes the terrorist cancers in each. Among many revelations that will attract wide attention: *How the terror network survived the loss of its main sponsor, the Soviet Union. *How the FBI learned from a KGB defector--twenty years before Osama's bin Laden's murderous assault--of the existance of Arab terrorist sleeper networks inside the United States. *How moralistic guidelines straight-jacketed the FBI from even collecting a file of newspaper clippings on known terror groups operating in America. *How the internal culture of the CIA, and severe limitations on its ability to operate, blinded us to the growth of terror networks.
The write-up by Publisher's Weekly illustrates the difficulties we have in convincing pacifistic dreamers what their real priorities should be:
His unnuanced theory of terrorism, however-the "terror masters" are "tyrants" who loathe America because of its mere "existence" as a symbol of freedom-downplays political complexities and ignores America's tarnished record in the Middle East. And while Ledeen urges the United States to help the citizens of terrorist states overthrow their despotic rulers, he warns that to do so-i.e., to be ready for war-Americans must give up their faith in "radical egalitarianism" and "the perfectibility of man" in favor of Machiavellian principles ("The only important thing is winning"; "It is better to be feared than loved"). Some readers will applaud Ledeen's hard-nosed demand to "reconcile our democratic values with the necessity of imposing our will," but others may think the compromise too great.
What is wrong with these people?!?

Unnuanced? Newsflash: Kerry lost!

Tarnished record? It's only tarnished in the eyes of the unreasonable. No rational assessment of our "record" comes close to being a reason to avoid firm action to stamp out terror regimes.

Compromise too great? What, it's better to just let them work their evil unopposed by force? What kind of self-indulgent selfishness supports such a view, merely to stoke one's own sense of moral superiority, at the expense of the rights and lives of real people? The callousness of the Left to individuals is one of their most staggering, and most characeristic features.

But how else would they have been able to murder 100 million people last century in pursuit of their ludicrous social goals?

But I digress...

Arabs Rise In Protest...

...Against other arabs!
BEIRUT, Lebanon Feb 16, 2005 — Mourners holding banners saying "Syria Out!" crowded around the flag-draped coffin of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and his family warned the pro-Damascus government to stay away Wednesday as hundreds of thousands of people turned his funeral into a spontaneous rally against Syria.

Along the funeral route through downtown Beirut, the Lebanese flag was hung from balconies and pictures were posted of Hariri, who was assassinated Monday by a massive car bomb that also killed 16 others.

Angry mourners shouted insults at Syrian President Bashar Assad to "remove your dogs from Beirut" a reference to Syrian intelligence agents, part of an overall contingent of 15,000 troops deployed here since 1976.
Where are the world-wide protests over this long-running Syrian occupation?
"Mr. Hariri's death should give in fact it must give renewed impetus to achieving a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon," Burns said after a meeting later in the day with Lebanese Foreign Minister Mahmoud Hammod. "And what that means is the immediate and complete implementation of the U.N. security resolution 1559, and what that means is the complete and immediate withdrawal by Syria of all of its forces in Lebanon."
The world is changing, and the fruits of W's policies are surely partly responsible:
Breaking with Islamic tradition, hundreds of weeping women waving white handkerchiefs joined men in the march.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Persian Expedition

Iran has been much in the news lately, from its declaring it will "never" give up its "right" to develop nuclear weapons technology, to tales of sniffer drones trying to hunt for hidden uranium enrichment sites.

[Governments, especially tyrannical ones, do not have rights; only individuals do. In the realm of international relations, it's a misguided and dangerous fantasy to believe anything else but a Hobbesian State of Nature exists, in which Might trumps Right, and it's best to Carry a Big Stick. In the Best of All Realistically Possible Worlds, the Carrier of the Biggest Stick would be the United States -- what, you really want to live in a world in which the mad evil mullahs have the bomb, just to satisfy some bizarre notion of "fairness"?]

(a further aside: I always hated the snide saying, "oh, do you think might makes right?" No, but might is what gets its way, so the right had better be mighty, because being right and dead does nobody any good...)

Michael Ledeen, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute think-tank, has long pointed out Iran as one of the prime poles motivating Islamic terror:
Thirdly, the brilliant maneuvers of the Army and Marine forces in Fallujah produced strategic surprise. The terrorists expected an attack from the south, and when we suddenly smashed into the heart of the city from the north, they panicked and ran, leaving behind a treasure trove of information, subsequently augmented by newly cooperative would-be martyrs. Above all, the intelligence from Fallujah — and I have this from military people recently returned from the city — documented in enormous detail the massive involvement of the governments of Syria and Iran in the terror war in Iraq. And the high proportion of Saudi "recruits" among the jihadists leaves little doubt that the folks in Riyadh are, at a minimum, not doing much to stop the flow of fanatical Wahhabis from the south.

Thus, the great force of the democratic revolution is now in collision with the firmly rooted tyrannical objects in Tehran, Damascus, and Riyadh. In one of history's fine little ironies, the "Arab street," long considered our mortal enemy, now threatens Muslim tyrants, and yearns for support from us. That is our immediate task.

It would be an error of enormous proportions if, on the verge of a revolutionary transformation of the Middle East, we backed away from this historic mission. It would be doubly tragic if we did it because of one of two possible failures of vision: insisting on focusing on Iraq alone, and viewing military power as the prime element in our revolutionary strategy. Revolution often comes from the barrel of a gun, but not always. Having demonstrated our military might, we must now employ our political artillery against the surviving terror masters. The great political battlefield in the Middle East is, as it has been all along, Iran, the mother of modern terrorism, the creator of Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, and the prime mover of Hamas. When the murderous mullahs fall in Tehran, the terror network will splinter into its component parts, and the jihadist doctrine will be exposed as the embodiment of failed lies and misguided messianism.
Now, the best measures to take at this juncture to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, which would be a disaster of enormous scale for the cause of freedom, are not obvious. However, many pundits are out there claiming that "no good military options exist" for attacking the suspected sites.

What they really mean is, they'd like it to become Conventional Wisdom that there are no military options, so that we find ourselves bound to inaction, like Gulliver, by their Lilliputian strands of negativity.

It is utter nonsense!

Let's suppose it's true that we cannot be sure of destroying all suspected sites from the air. The argument is then that the only other option is complete invasion and occupation, which given the unprecedented! quagmire! failure! disaster! (NOT!) of Iraq, we cannot possibly do in larger Iran.

As if that were the only model of military action!

Such people have ZERO sense of history.

Let me tell you about the famous Anabasis, the March of the 10,000 Hoplites in 401 BC, also known as the Persian Expedition, as described by Xenophon:
Xenophon accompanied a large army of Greek mercenaries hired by Cyrus the Younger, who intended to seize the throne of Persia from his brother, Artaxerxes II. Though Cyrus' army was victorious in a battle at Cunaxa in Babylon, Cyrus himself was killed in battle and the expedition rendered moot. Stranded deep in enemy territory, the Spartan general Clearchus and most of the other Greek generals were subsequently killed or captured by treachery. Xenophon played an instrumental role in encouraging the Greek army of 10,000 to march north to the Black Sea.
This feat of arms was unprecedented. Completely surrounded, deep in hostile territory, their leaders slain, an entire empire mobilized against them in a foreign land, the Greeks did not panic and devolve into a mob of every man for himself, but democratically elected new leaders and methodically fought their way home, arriving in Hellenic lands in 399 BC.

Keep in mind that they had to live off the land. They had no aircover. They had no armored vehicles. They had no humvees, armored or otherwise. They had no GPS. They had no medevac. No radio.

Their technology was not any different from that available to the Persians, either.

How did they succeed? They had a better doctrine of warfare, and perhaps more importantly, were cut from a finer cloth: they were free men who did not shrink from what was merely nearly impossible.

And they retained their discipline.

Now, given the superior discipline of the U.S. armed forces, PLUS the fact that we dominate technologically nearly like gods, with complete air superiority to allow inexhaustible resupply, and with tanks that are the equivalent of the phalanx of the Greek hoplites, who can seriously doubt that a single combat division couldn't simply drive into Iran and go wherever it pleased?

I mean, how could they possibly stop it?

heck, probably even a single Brigade Combat Team could do it.

It might be slow going, and the press would call it a failure after 3 days, but in Victorian days, the Brits thought nothing of sending out punitive expeditions that would take months to achieve their objectives.

But there is absolutely no way in a few weeks or months it couldn't simply visit, in person, every suspected nuclear site and neutralize it.

And think how destabilizing to the regime that would be! The mullahs and their imported foreign thugs would be exposed as completely powerless! The campaign could declare every town it passed by as "liberated", and by not attempting at all to directly "take over" the country, would have less chance of provoking a nationalistic backlash.

A modern day Persian Expedition should be considered a viable option, in spite of what the naysayers who want to cage American power would like us to believe.

History teaches otherwise.

The only advantage the 10,000 Hoplites had over our army of today is that they didn't have to put up with seditious reporting from CNN and their ilk!

Wednesday, February 09, 2005


It is impossible to understand our current world situation without pondering this assertion by Nelson Ascher of Europundits ("Columns by notable Eurobloggers on politics, culture, and society"):
Maybe we, or at least many of us, were too busy commemorating the fall of the Berlin wall in late 1989. Thus, we overlooked all those people who weren’t exactly happy with the outcome of the Cold War.
And so, spontaneously up to a point, anti-Americanism became the alternative ideology that came to fill in the vacuum left by the failure of traditional, USSR-based communism and its Maoist or Trotskyite satellites.
Now, whatever they wanted to defend or protect doesn’t exist anymore. They have only things to destroy, and all those things are personified in the US, in its very existence. They may, outwardly, fight for some positive cause: save the whales, rescue the world from global heating and so on. But let’s not be deceived by this: they choose as their so-called positive causes only the ones that have both the potential of conferring some kind of innocent legitimacy on themselves and, much more important, that of doing most harm to their enemy, whether physically or to its image.

We, well, at least I was wrong to dismiss the pre-1989 leftists as dinosaurs condemned to extinction by evolution. While I was looking the other way, they were regrouping, inventing new slogans, creating new tactics and, above all, keeping the flames of their hatred burning. The history is still to be written about the moment when the left made its collective mind up and decided to strike an alliance with radical Islam....All that can be said is that, right now, we have a “fait accompli”.

This newly ever-growing Western left, not only in Europe, but in Latin America and even in the US itself, has a clear goal: the destruction of the country and society that vanquished its dreams fifteen years ago. But it does not have, as in the old days of the Soviet Union, the hard power to accomplish this by itself. Thanks to this, all our leftist friends’ bets are now on radical Islam. What can they do to help it? Answer: tie down America’s superior strength with a million Liliputian ropes: legal ones, political ones, with propaganda and disinformation etc. Anything and everything will do.

In the same way as the murderers of 911 used the West’s technology against itself, the contemporary left will do its best to turn democracy into a suicidal pact. This is already being done, obviously. The fight for Guantanamo Bay is, in many ways, as important as that for Baghdad. And, whenever a British born terrorist is released and sent back to the UK, to be joyfully acclaimed by the pages of “The Guardian”, “The Independent” or through the waves of the BBC, that fight is being lost. Radical Islam is being given one more tactical victory and the left’s strategy is being vindicated.

There has been some talk recently about the probable inevitability of a nuclear attack on the mainland US in, say, the next ten or fifteen years. The Berlin Wall’s orphans are already busy creating the slogans, formulating the dogmas, writing down the articles and books that will allow them, when the worst happens, to lay all the blame on the victims, making retaliation as difficult as it can be. They’re carefully preparing their case and the court is already in session.
This should have been obvious, but wasn't. But clearly, those armies of KGB-funded "peace movement" and "anti-nuclear" people devoted to world communism didn't just vanish in 1989.

It's indidious how they always try to push the meme that it's the nasty Bush administration (or "The Man", generally), that always has to "invent" some new enemy to keep the people scared -- witness human pusbag Michael Moore claiming "there is no terrorist threat!".

When in fact, the very people whispering in our ears that there is no threat are themselves the enemy!

And always were.

Don't forget, the Rosenbergs really were guilty, according to former Soviet sources.

And McCarthy's claims that there were communist agents in high levels of government were, we now know, factually true. FDR's administration was riddled with them:
The VENONA project was a long-running and highly secret collaboration between the United States intelligence agencies and the United Kingdom's MI5 that involved the cryptanalysis of Soviet messages.
The VENONA documents, and the extent of their significance, were not made public until 1995. They show that the US and others were targeted in major espionage campaigns by the Soviet Union as early as 1942.

The decrypts include code names for 349 individuals who were maintaining a covert relationship with the Soviet Union. It can be safely assumed that more than 349 agents were active, as that number is from a small sample of the total intercepted message traffic. Among those thought to be identified are Alger Hiss, believed to have been the agent "ALES"; Harry Dexter White, the second-highest official in the Treasury Department; Lauchlin Currie, a personal aide to Franklin Roosevelt; and Maurice Halperin, a section head in the Office of Strategic Services. Almost every military and diplomatic agency of any importance was compromised to some extent, including, of course, the Manhattan Project. Even today, the identities of fewer than half of the 349 agents are known with any certainty. Agents who were never identified include "Mole", a senior Washington official who passed information on American diplomatic policy, and "Quantum", a scientist on the Manhattan Project.
While critics debate the identity of individual agents, the overall picture of infiltration is more difficult to refute. The release of the VENONA information has forced reevaluation of the Red Scare in the US.
These legions of what Stalin called "useful idiots" didn't go away.

Their alliance with Islamic fascists should be no surprise, as I've explained here, because both Communists and Islamists are both politically Authoritarian Leftist Utopians -- the only difference is the former is socially progressive, the latter socially traditional. But they are fellow travels in terms of methods and the destruction of the individual for the good of the collective.

These are the same people who perpetuate the myth that Nazis (the only "authorized" "universal bad guys") are Right wing, and somehow thus akin to Republicans. As explained here and here, the Nazis (the name means National Socialists, after all!) are indeed leftists.

We should insist it's quite possible to be reasonably socially progressive, and still right-wing (meaning, embracing smaller rather than larger government, and according more rights to the individual rather than to a nebulous "society").

In fact, such a combination used to be known as the "classic liberal"!

But, as Orwell predicted, Leftists destroy language to control meaning, so they can pretend to be the true liberals.


Fight them at every turn!

Para Bellum

Found an old post on the now-very-much-missed USS Clueless that explains pithily something we should all understand, especially as some are clamoring that the Geneva Conventions for captured soldiers are a blanket edict of international law that must apply een to illegal combatants.

The Conventions however are better honored by applying them only to those who also accept them; otherwise there's no real-world incentie for anyone to follow them.

Using game theory, den Beste rigorously shows:
You want to buy kilos of grass; he wants to sell them. He wants your money. You can "cooperate" by bringing money and paying, you can "cheat" by bringing a gun and taking the drugs without paying. He can "cooperate" by bringing drugs, or "cheat" by bringing something that looks like drugs but isn't. Each of you remembers the next time what happened this time. (The point being that if either guy cheats, the other guy can't complain to the cops, which is necessary for this analysis.)

Both sides benefit most in a long series if they cooperate; money is exchanged for drugs. Of course, if the relationship is about to end and both sides know it, there's a strong incentive to cheat on the last buy. Right?

There's been a lot of analysis of this, and it turns out that honesty isn't the best policy. One guy decided to run a computer tournament; people were permitted to create algorithms in a synthetic language which would have the ability to keep track of previous exchanges and make a decision on each new exchange whether to be honest or to cheat. He challenged them to see who could come up with the one which did the best in a long series of matches against various opponents. It turned out that the best anyone could find, and the best anyone has ever found, was known as "Tit-for-tat".

On the first round, it plays fair. On each successive round, it does to the other guy what he did the last time.

When Tit-for-tat plays against itself, it plays fair for the entire game and maximizes output. When it plays against anyone who tosses in some cheating, it punishes it by cheating back and reduces the other guys unfair winnings.

No-one has ever found a way of defeating it.

Now let's analyze two different and even more simplistic approaches; we'll call them "saint" and "sinner". The saint plays fair every single round, irrespective of what the other guy does. The sinner always cheats.

When a saint plays against another saint, or against tit-for-tat, the result is optimum but more important is that everyone gets the same result. When a sinner plays against another sinner, or against tit-for-tat, everyone cheats and the result is still even, though less than optimal.

But when a sinner plays against a saint, the sinner wins and the saint loses.

Which brings me back to the point of all this: Is there anything I would rule out in war? Nothing I'd care to admit to my enemies, because ruling out anything is a "saint" tactic. The Tit-for-tat tactic is to be prepared to do anything, but not to do so spontaneously. In other words, if the other guy threatens to use poison gas, you make sure you have some of your own and let him know that you'll retaliate with it. That means that he has nothing to win by using it, and he won't. (A war is a sequence game and not a single transaction because each day is a new exchange. If you gassed my guys yesterday, I can gas yours today.)
I believe that my nation must adopt tit-for-tat instead of using saint tactics, because it is much better. But for that to work, I have to be willing to be as dirty as he is, if he forces me to be.

This is the theoretical basis for such aphorisms as "To get peace, you must prepare for war." That means that your nation is prepared to use tit-for-tat. The pacifist idea of publicly pledging to never go to war, or to never use a particular tactic in that war, is instead a saint strategy, and it results in disaster.

The Geneva Convention is deliberately constructed to be tit-for-tat. It says explicitly that a nation is obligated to follow the convention only if the other nation is also a signatory and is also following it. If the Geneva Convention was binding on signatory nations even against non-signatory nations, it would be a "saint" tactic. But since you follow the convention with others who also do, and don't against those who don't, that makes it "tit for tat".

Tit-for-tat says that you're civilized to those who are civilized to you, and you're a vile son-of-a-bitch to those who want to be that way.
This also speaks to why we should have an announced policy of massive nuclear retaliation against, as Belmont Club puts it "anyone who would gain", should a terrorist nuclear attack happen here:
To the question 'who might America retaliate against if a shadowy group detonated nukes in Manhattan' the probable answer is 'against everyone who might have stood to gain'. The real strategic effect of the GWOT was been to convince many states that this would indeed happen to them. That the decline in Al Qaeda is possibly due to the implicit threat of collective punishment on the Islamic world is a sad commentary on human nature. But there it is.
It is the only rational way.

I was always so irritated by the nuclear freeze and unilateral disarmement people in the 80s. I could never decide if they were just naively retarded, or deviously evil.

Probably the latter.

As a commenter named fred writes at that Belmont Club post, again putting my thoughts into words better than I could:
My money, for future reference, would be on the jihadis who will go the route of using viruses. How in God's name do you defend against that?

If one has doubts, as I do, that some of those Muslim countries we think are coming around to our viewpoint on terrorism, then we can never be sure that, for example, the Saudi Arabian government is doing all it can to snuff out terrorist organizations and discourage its citizens from considering the lives of infidels expendable. Something has to be done to focus these countries very ardently on the consequences of looking the other way or, worse, helping the jihadis out on the sly. There is one solution that is not pleasant and I can hear the bleating about it now. Yet, it was fairly well-understood during the Cold War that MAD made sure that the Kremlin thought long and hard about beginning to sequence the launch codes. It sort of focuses the mind more on survival rather than conquest. Keeps the fingers away from the keys. They should have it firmly in their minds that Mecca and the Hijjaz could be contemplated as the world's most extensive pile of glass....

The word of what we will do should go forth far and wide, so that the devout will know that their holy city and its Kabaa will no longer exist. Now, the ante's been upped and even those who hate us will have to deal with the ruthlessness we can measure out.

And there you have it. If they want their people and their lands to be inviolable, then ours must be considered inviolable as well. Only the deranged will think that Allah can save them from the retribution that will surely follow from their suicidal acts. Our people have got to get it out of their heads that we can somehow do or say something that will make them love and respect us. This is never going to happen, so we might as well get used to the fact that our security, in part, is going to depend upon them fearing us and knowing that, if we have to be, we can outdo them in sheer ruthlessness.
Why isn't such a policy made public? As pointed out in Dr. Strangelove, the Doomsday Deterrent only works if people know about it.

Those opposed are thinking in the wrong time frame; they have imagined we've already been nuked, and they can't stomach the idea of retaliating, especially against third-worlders. This misses the point entirely; the idea is to prevent us getting hit in the first place, so we never HAVE to make such a decision! The policy costs us nothing as they already hate us, and figuring out who, if anyone, to actually retaliate against will be the least of our worries should the situation arise.

It's not about being deliberately provocative either, but simply about aligning the interests of unfriendly governments and peoples with our own.

Does this make us as bad as they are?

In a word: NO!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Rangers at Pointe-du-Hoc

Last week I happened to catch part of the classic epic movie fo the D-Day landings, "The Longest Day", based rather faithfully on Cornelius Ryan's 1959 book of the same name.

And you know, I really hate it when literature tries to demonstrate the absurd and futile nature of war.

War. Hell. One and the same.

Duh! Yeah, we know. It's not useful to dwell on.

Repeatedly driving that point home, as was done in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, only makes it harder to muster the will to fight when the need actually arises.

As in, now.

Western civilization is in need of a massive "deprogramming". The process began to reverse a bit, amid elitist howls fo disapproval, in the Reagan 80s, with the counterattack of non-PC characters like Rambo and the Dark Knight. The sudden fall of the Evil Empire, however, caused us to let our guard down for a decade.

So the part in "The Longest Day" where I turn it on is one of my favorites: a small band of Rangers is assaulting a narrow beach and climbing sheer cliffs under Nazi machine gun fire in order to capture dug-in batteries of heavy cannon on the high ground that would menace the flank of the main landing.

The mission was seen as crucial; and at impossible odds, with great heroism, and at greater cost, they climbed right into the fortifications and seized the bunkers.

The movie shows them walking around in the bunkers, stunned: the pillboxes are empty! The guns are nowhere to be found! The leader mutters, almost in shock, something to the effect of, "they were never here, there aren't even any gun mounts!"

And the Brooklyn kid character laments, in a daze, " mean...we came all this way...for nuthin'?!?"

Exeunt Omnes.

(well, actually, it was a hard cut to another scene.)

That always annoyed me, how it was all a set-up for the "message". Oh, the irony! Oh, the stupidity! The lovable big-guff character died for nuthin!

Well, that account didn't quite square with my dim memory of what I had read in a book at my elementary school, many years ago, abbreviated as the account at that level necessarily was.

So I went to my shelf and took down my copy of Ryan's "The Longest Day" to read exactly what was being adapted.

On page 184 of the paperback edition, Ryan writes:
Minute by minute the valiant Ranger force was being chipped away. By the end of the day there would only be ninety of the original 225 still able to bear arms. Worse, it had been a heroic and futile effort -- to silence guns which were not there. The information which Jean Marion, the French underground sector chief, had tried to send to London was true. The battered bunkers atop Pointe du Hoc were empty -- the guns had never been mounted.
So the movie faithfully reproduced that. It's just so perfect a tragedy, with even the classic device of the "undelivered message", that makes one lament, "if-only...!"

But wait! There's more! A footnote then informs us
Some two hours later a Ranger patrol found a deserted five-gun battery in a camouflaged position more than a mile inland. Stacks of shells surrounded each gun and they were ready to fire, but the Rangers could find no evidence that they had ever been manned. Presumably these were the guns for the Pointe du Hoc emplacements.
Now hold it right there! It's more like, Cornelius Ryan could find no evidence. What, the guns just put themselves in the woods by themselves? Some non-people just stacked the heavy shells nearby for no particular reason, and then wandered off?

Perhaps Ryan didn't want to find such evidence to ruin his point?

This aroused my suspicion, so I went to my other book, D-Day by Stephen Ambrose, who, writing in 1994, had 35 more years of research to draw on, and draw heavily on it he did, using the resources of 1,380 first-person accounts.

Ambrose's account is quite different!

First, he points out the Rangers had a secondary mission of some importance, that they went right to work on, being to set up roadblocks to prevent reinforcements from attacking the main landing beaches. So it had a purpose in any event.

But second, Ryan is deficient in many important details, and in his whole spin!

Ambrose tells that decoy guns were found in the bunkers with telephone poles for barrels to fool spotter planes, and that tracks led away into the forest -- indicating the guns had been mounted, and were withdrawn to save them from bombardment.

On page 415 of the book club trade paperback edition,
The primary purpose of the rangers get those 155 mm cannon. The tracks leading out of the casemates and the effort the Germans were making to dislodge the rangers indicated that they had to be around somewhere...Excellent soldiers, those rangers -- they immediately began patrolling.

There was a dirt road leading south (inland). It had heavy tracks. Sgts. Leonard Lomell and Jack Kuhn thought the missing guns might have made the tracks. They set out to investigate. At about 250 meters (one kilometer nland), Lomell abruptly stopped. He held his hand out to stop Kuhn, turned and half whispered, "Jack, here they are. We've found 'em. Here are the goddamed guns."

Unbelievably, the well-camouflaged guns were set up in battery, ready to fire in the direction of Utah Beach, with piles of ammunition around them, but no Germans. Lomell spotted about a hundred Germans a hundred meters or so across an open field, apparently forming up. Evidently they had pulled back during the bombardment, for fear of a stray shell setting off the ammunition dump, and were now preparing to man their guns...
Lomell and Kuhn destroyed the heavy guns with thermite grenades, and another patrol led by Sgt. Rupinski discovered and detonated another "huge" ammunition dump nearby.

Ambrose also indicates the rangers discovered the guns after 30 minutes of patrolling, by 0900, and not after a leisurely 2 hours, as Ryan implies; it was 2 hours after the initial landing, not after the discovery of the empty bunkers.

Ambrose concludes this section with the scathing rebuttal, directed apparently at Ryan,
Later, writers commented that it had all been a waste, since the guns had been withdrawn from the fortified area around Pointe-du-Hoc. That is wrong. Those guns were in working condition before Sergeant Lomell got to them. They had an abundance of ammunition. They were in range (they could lob their huge shells 25,000 meters) of the biggest targets in the world, the 5,000-plus ships in the Channel and the thousands of troops and equipment on Utah and Omaha beaches.

Lieutenant Eikner was absolutely correct when he concluded his oral history, "Had we not been there we felt quite sure that those guns would have been put into operation and they would have brought much death and destruction down on our men on the beaches and our ships at sea. But by 0900 on D-Day morning the big guns had been put out of commission and the paved highway had been cut and we had roadblocks denying its use to the enemy...The rangers at Pointe-du-Hoc were the first American forces on D-Day to accomplish their mission and we are proud of that."
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

So I relaxed and recovered afterwards by catching the end of Bronson's trashy and ludicrous but oh-so-satisfying Death Wish 3.


One "solution" often bandied about to the problem of Islamic fascism is the equivalent of a "Reformation". A discussion that the resurgence of fundamentalism might indeed already be this Reformation, or at least that the issue is more complex than that, is found here:
What Islam really needs to in order to modernize is an Enlightenment, which would bring the separation of the church and state, democratization, liberalization and the acceptance of principles and practices of tolerance, openness, innovation and progress. Yes, in many ways the Enlightenment was a child of the Reformation, but the Western world had to go through two centuries of conflict and upheaval to get there. Today, we don't have that much time to wait until the Muslim world truly embraces modernity.
I would add the following critical observation.

It must be noted that what was "reformed" in Christianity was not the text that motivated it, nor of the basic doctrines behind it, but rather simply the institution of the Church. It was a bureacratic reformation.

With Islam on the other hand, there is no "church" to reform. What's worse, the problems are rooted in the texts of the koran and the hadith. That's intractible.

Because to reform a religion's text, rather than merely its institutions, is essentially to destroy it, and that's going to get a lot of resistance.

The effort required would be more akin to "deprogramming" a massive cult, than a Reformation:
During participant-observation at a Unification Church training camp, the author found, to her surprise, that her intellect was unaffected; the “brainwashing” affected her emotionally (limbic system). Cult life involves much ritual behavior (R-complex) but de-emphasizes intellectual processes (neocortex). Interviews with deprogrammers indicated that their goal is to get the cultist to see contradictions between cult doctrine and practice—in essence, stimulating the neocortex. Thus, cult conversion and deconversion emphasize different parts of the brain.
Hmmm, what major religion demands intrusive, repeated ritual behavior several times a day, every day?

Interestingly, such efforts have already begun!
Saudis "deprogramming" terrorists
One of the approaches used at times to "deprogram" cult members is an examination of the leader's claims within a broader historical context.

It seems the government of Saudi Arabia understands this principle. They have decided to do their own form of "deprogramming," in an effort to solicit information from incarcerated terrorists and apparent followers of Osama bin Laden.

Islamic clerics are now working with prisoners to point out how far they may have strayed from basic Moslem teachings. By untwisting the Koran they hope to eventually "deprogram" the terrorists who might then provide helpful information, reports Newsday.

The FBI is observing this approach apparently with some interest.

One Saudi official stated, "It can be effective."

Though a Saudi professor of religious studies observed that some of the terrorists "have been brainwashed to a point of no return."
I'm not convinced they're serious about this, but it could be a positive development.