September 30, 2006
"The greatest good we can do our country is to heal its party divisions and make them one people."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to John Dickinson, 23 July 1801)
September 29, 2006
"As parents, we can have no joy, knowing that this government is not sufficiently lasting to ensure any thing which we may bequeath to posterity: And by a plain method of argument, as we are running the next generation into debt, we ought to do the work of it, otherwise we use them meanly and pitifully. In order to discover the line of our duty rightly, we should take our children in our hand, and fix our station a few years farther into life; that eminence will present a prospect, which a few present fears and prejudices conceal from our sight."
-- Thomas Paine (Common Sense, 1776)
Looking at the results of this new PIPA poll of Iraqi citizens, I'm inclined to think that the Iraqis are ready to take responsibility for their own freedom and security.
I downloaded the actual questionaire and methodology and have linked it here (the original is linked from the article referenced in the previous paragraph). I found this link more interesting because it gave the poll and results without any analysis. Thus leaving me to draw my own conclusions -- a refreshing change from most of our traditional media just reporting the parts they want to.
National Political Estimate
The New York Sun has a good editorial about the politicization of the National Intelligence Estimate.
The leak of portions of a National Intelligence Estimate in a way that made it look like the Iraq war made America less safe is so obviously a political stunt that we wouldn't want to make too much of it, but we wouldn't want to make too little of it, either, for it illuminates the way in which congressional Democrats are allying themselves with elements in the press, the intelligence agencies, and retired military officers to undermine the elected president of America and his defense secretary. In Latin America or parts of Asia and Africa, this sort of behavior would be a prelude to a coup, and the American left would cluck disapprovingly. Yet when the intelligence officers and generals are intriguing with the opposition in Washington, it gets chalked up as politics, which is exactly what it is.
I personally question the supposed information that was leaked as a part of the NIE. For one thing, the NIE is a classified report and is protected accordingly. The only people who have access to it are those who have sworn to protect that information. In my book, any person who breaks that oath by providing that kind of classified information to a newspaper is an unreliable source of information. How can you believe a person who broke a promise, a solemn oath, by providing that information? He's established his bona fides as a liar just by talking about it to someone without a clearance or need to know.
As it turns out, the information in question was pulled out of context and only showed a small part of the picture. Classified information was once again widely disseminated by less-than-honorable newspapers in this country. And, believe me, that act has harmed America's security. It has given our enemies some insight into our strategic thinking -- which is an important part of fighting a war. And whether or not we care to admit it, these terrorists are very much at war with us.
Fox News published a promising report this week about the increasing acceptance of Iraq by the international community. Here's how it starts:
Iraq is getting more respect now that it has an elected government, fully participating in dozens of meetings at the U.N. General Assembly."Now it's business,"said Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari.
As the annual meeting of the world's leaders heads to its finale on Wednesday, the Iraqi minister said that since he started coming here in 2003 he's never been busier.
"This is a good sign because Iraq really _ despite the bad news, the negative news coming out of Baghdad _ is moving steadily toward a functional state,"he said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.
. . . has had me flat on my back this week. As you see, it has greatly curtailed my blogging activites. I hope that I'll be able to resume them now that I'm on the mend.
September 28, 2006
"[E]very Man who comes among us, and takes up a piece of Land, becomes a Citizen, and by our Constitution has a Voice in Elections, and a share in the Government of the Country."
-- Benjamin Franklin (letter to William Straham, 19 August 1784)
September 27, 2006
"If men of wisdom and knowledge, of moderation and temperance, of patience, fortitude and perseverance, of sobriety and true republican simplicity of manners, of zeal for the honour of the Supreme Being and the welfare of the commonwealth; if men possessed of these other excellent qualities are chosen to fill the seats of government, we may expect that our affairs will rest on a solid and permanent foundation."
-- Samuel Adams (letter to Elbridge Gerry, 27 November 1780)
September 26, 2006
I pronounce it as certain that there was never yet a truly great man that was not at the same time truly virtuous."
-- Benjamin Franklin (The Busy-body, No. 3, 18 February 1728)
September 25, 2006
More permanent and genuine happiness is to be found in the sequestered walks of connubial life than in the giddy rounds of promiscuous pleasure.
-- George Washington (letter to the Marquis de la Rourie, 10 August 1786)
Charles Krauthammer has a good op-ed at washingtonpost.com about how radical Islam has no sense of irony.
"How dare you say Islam is a violent religion? I'll kill you for it" is not exactly the best way to go about refuting the charge. But of course, refuting is not the point here. The point is intimidation.
First Salman Rushdie. Then the false Newsweek report about Koran-flushing at Guantanamo Bay. Then the Danish cartoons. And now a line from a scholarly disquisition on rationalism and faith given in German at a German university by the pope.
And the intimidation succeeds: politicians bowing and scraping to the mob over the cartoons; Saturday's craven New York Times editorial telling the pope to apologize; the plague of self-censorship about anything remotely controversial about Islam -- this in a culture in which a half-naked pop star blithely stages a mock crucifixion as the highlight of her latest concert tour.
[Shamelessly stolen from Boudicca.]
Our fiscal future
Rep. Jim Cooper (D - Tenn.) has an interesting post up about how our national deficit calculations do not include Social Security or Medicare entitlements, and when those are factored in, the deficit is 5 times bigger than reported.
Ask a congressman what the national debt is, and he will say $8.5 trillion. That’s a lot of money, but it completely ignores our two largest and most important government programs, Social Security and Medicare. If you include the promises made by those programs to workers who are already paying Social Security and Medicare taxes, the national debt jumps to $46 trillion.
So which number is correct? Do we face a mountain, or a Mount Everest, of debt? If you believe that Congress was just kidding about your retirement or health care benefits, we owe $8.3 trillion. If you think America is serious, the total is $46 trillion.
Go read the rest.
[Hat tip to Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters.]
September 24, 2006
"I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
-- Nathan Hale (before being hanged by the British, 22 September 1776)
Jeff Jacoby has an insightful op-ed up about the violence being perpetrated in Islam's name. Here's his conclusion (emphasis added):
In every case, the pretext for the Muslim rage was the claim that Islam had been insulted. Freedom of speech was irrelevant: While the rioters and those inciting them routinely insult Christianity, Judaism, and other religions, they demand that no one be allowed to denigrate Islam or its prophet. It is a staggering double standard, and too many in the West seem willing to go along with it. Witness the editorials in US newspapers this week scolding the pope for his speech. Recall the State Department's condemnation of the Danish cartoons last winter.
Of course nobody's faith should be gratuitously affronted. But the real insult to Islam is not a line from a papal speech or a cartoon about Mohammed. It is the violence, terror, and bloodshed that Islamist fanatics unleash in the name of their religion -- and the unwillingness of most of the world's Muslims to say or do anything to stop them.
You should read how he got there. Recommended.
September 23, 2006
"We know the Race is not to the swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?"
-- John Page (letter to Thomas Jefferson, 20 July 1776)
Not sure, but The Jawa Report has more. Just scroll down for all of the info . . .
Hugo Chavez, dictator of Venzuela, disturbs me. The U.N. General Assembly's reception of his hate-filled speech disturbs me even more. Thor Halvorssen points out the outright deception in Chavez's speech yesterday.
Chavez has said the United States is "afraid of truth, is afraid of independent voices," yet Chavez has suffocated all dissent in his own backyard. Beyond rewriting the Constitution to bolster his legal power, he's passed a law banning "the use of language deemed to be insulting to the President of the Republic."
Indeed, any expression of dissent, public or in private, against any public official is punishable with prison.
Francisco Usón - a former minister in Chavez's own Cabinet - recently drew a six-year jail term for expressing an opinion on television. Carlos Ortega - the president of Venezuela's AFL-CIO-affiliated federation of workers - got a 16-year sentence for instigating a legal strike despite protests by the International Labor Organization of this unspeakable violation of human rights. (Ortega escaped from prison last month.)
Chavez claimed yesterday that the United States protects terrorism while his own government is "fully committed to combating terrorism and violence." In fact, Chavez has demonstrably protected and armed the FARC terrorists of next-door Colombia. (He's also presided during the greatest crime wave in Venezuelan history, with a death toll exponentially larger than any previous government's.)
Chavez denounced capitalism as the generator of "mere poverty." Yet, thanks to a capitalist oil boom, he has profited from the richest Venezuelan government in history - but squandered its wealth on a new Venezuelan oligarchy of petro-millionaires masquerading as government officials. Meanwhile, misery and malnutrition are at a historic high.
Chavez railed against Western-style democracy. Yet it was western style democracy that brought him into power (after his own armed coup failed) and may remove him in the end. This is why he does everything he can to hollow and weaken democratic institutions.
And this tyrant was applauded by many of the world leaders at the U.N. yesterday . . .
What is this world coming to?
September 22, 2006
"It will not be denied that power is of an encroaching nature and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it. After discriminating, therefore, in theory, the several classes of power, as they may in their nature be legislative, executive, or judiciary, the next and most difficult task is to provide some practical security for each, against the invasion of the others."
-- James Madison (Federalist No. 48, 1 February 1788)
You quite possibly have not heard or read that there was a protest yesterday where tens of thousands of Israel supporters protested Ahmadinejad of Iran and called for the release of the Israeli soldiers who were kidnapped in July.
As world leaders convened for the second day of the United Nations General Assembly, tens of thousands of supporters of Israel gathered across the street from United Nations headquarters to protest President Ahmadinejad of Iran and to call for the unconditional release of the Israeli soldiers kidnapped on July 12. The international and national leaders who stepped up to the podium also challenged the United Nations to take preventative action against the Iranian leader who threatens the Jewish people with genocide.
The National Solidarity Rally, sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the Jewish Community Relations Council, sent a message of solidarity with Israel and support for the war against global terrorism and its state sponsors.
"This is a message to the leaders of the world that we reject Ahmadinejad and his message of hate and the immorality he represents," the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents, Malcolm Hoenlein, said.
Speakers at the rally included Foreign Minister Livni, Ambassador Bolton, Governor Pataki, Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, and Professor Alan Dershowitz.
"We stand united today against the terrorist and the hostage takers. We say to them terror will not defeat us," Ms. Livni said. "We will not rest until the Israeli hostages, our sons, come home to the embrace of a loving nation."
The wife of kidnapped soldier Ehud Goldwasser, Karni Goldwasser, demanded of the United Nations, "Stop talking and start to act," to bring her husband back home.
Mr. Wiesel chastised the United Nations for welcoming Mr. Ahmadinejad to the General Assembly at all. "A man who brings shame to the world has no place anywhere. He must be excluded from all groups of international nations," he said.
Go read the rest.
Popular Mechanics has a good article about research and development of Genration IV nuclear power plants. Here's how it starts:
Leaning over the rail of the metal catwalk, I peer down through 16 ft. of crystal-clear water at the cool, blue glow coming from the shapes at the bottom: partially spent uranium fuel rods. "Blue," says Joel Duling, my guide to America's most sophisticated nuclear test reactor, "not green like on The Simpsons." The narrow canal snakes under the catwalk and makes a dogleg through an opening in the wall into the reactor area, a cavernous room that feels like a jet hangar. The top of the Advanced Test Reactor (ATR) pokes unobtrusively above the concrete floor. Most of the 35-ft.-high steel cylinder housing the reactor core lies underground. The chain reaction occurring there produces 250 megawatts--enough to power 201,000 homes. But, the ATR does something more important than generate energy. The machine tests fuels and alloys against the extreme conditions expected in exotic new reactors--radical designs that could produce power in molten salt, snap together like LEGOs and operate without water, safely and affordably fulfilling the decades-old dream of clean, abundant nuclear power.
The test reactor, part of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Idaho National Laboratory (INL), sits on an 890-square-mile tract of land known simply as “The Site.” Located 45 minutes from Idaho Falls in the southeastern corner of the state, this swath of windswept desert is the epicenter of American nuclear energy research. Over the past half century, 51 reactors have been built here, including first-generation prototypes of the 1950s; only three still operate. But it is among the relics of these early experiments that the country's energy future is taking shape.
Very interesting article.
[Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.]
Victor Davis Hansen has a column up at Pajamas Media wherein he speculates about Europe's (or at least its political elite) lack of backbone -- and how it might grow one.
It has been a parlor game of sorts to guess when—but even more so if—the Europeans (Britain included) will sigh, “Enough is enough,” and so get tough with both their own unassimilated angry Muslim minorities and the radical Islamic world at large. There will never be liberal values in the Middle East, no change, no future—as there would not have been in Hitler’s Germany, as there is not today in Cuba or North Korea—without the defeat of Islamic fascism, in its latest Islamic incarnation, as an ideological force.
The latter always proves more frightening than any caricature, the proverbial wild teenager who starts throwing things when told that his room is a bit messy. The riots in France, murders in Holland, cartoon fiasco in Denmark, bombings in London and Madrid, foiled plots in Germany and Spain, and now the Pope threats—will Europe insidiously bleed from a thousand nicks or take action and call fascists fascists?
And yet what would such spine-strengthening look like?
He goes on to explain a dissonence he has noticed between European elites and the common European citizenry.
When I go to Europe, I am always struck how at odds the average European’s talk is from what one reads in the newspaper or hears on the television. That degree of frustration and cynicism will only get worse unless there is some honest talk about the dangers Europe faces.
And then he talks about the "American Street":
I respect and fear the American version far more, because its anger is fueled by reason and is slow and steady and furious when released. The world should not worry when the half-educated, fueled by zealotry and nursed on conspiracy theory, starts chanting; but it should when a rational and patient American slowly fumes and decides he has had it with the Iranian “President”, Hezbollah’s fascism, the various thugs on the West Bank, the Sunni Triangle’s murderers, the primordial of the Hindu Kush, or some subsidized dictator in Pakistan or Egypt lecturing us.
Go read all of it. Recommended.
September 21, 2006
"No Taxation without Representation!"
Anonymous slogan in response to British Tax Policy, Circa 1765
My oldest daughter, Ana (not her real name, but close enough), turns sixteen today. I still remember the evening she was born. . .
It was by C-section, and my lovely wife, after 12 hours of labor, was pretty much in a daze when the doctor pulled this slippery, blood-covered, little baby out of the incision in her belly. The baby looked around wildly and started to cry -- letting the world know that she was NOT happy with her new situation.
I comforted Lovely Wife while a nurse cleaned up our new daughter and wrapped her in a warm, soft blanket. Ana was still declaring her outrage in no uncertain terms when the nurse handed her to me. I took her in my arms, such a tiny little girl, and spoke to her. Upon hearing my voice, our beautiful daughter who was still loudly trumpeting her displeasure, suddenly stopped crying.
At the sound of my voice.
I missed a lot of her early childhood thanks to my job but, when she was six or seven, was able to take a different position with the same company that required a lot less travel. And I am so glad I did.
We've had our ups and downs, but they were mostly ups -- and, all the while, she continued to grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Now our firstborn is sixteen. She is still a beauty, she dances with beauty and grace and loves to play the piano, she has a wonderful sense of humor (she still laughs at her daddy's jokes), she is whip smart, is a great big sister, is quite mature for her age, she is friendly and caring, has a big heart like her mother, and has a close relationship with God.
How could I be so blessed?
I love you, Ana. You are growing into an amazing young woman. One who I am very proud of. I am so glad to be able to see you growing up, and am looking forward to seeing you continue to grow into what God has planned for you.
And I am so blessed to be your dad.
Happy birthday, Punkin' . . .
Anne Applebaum, over at washingtonpost.com has a good op-ed up about how the West needs to stop saying 'sorry' and start standing up for our right to free speech. Here's her conclusion:
Maybe it's a pipe dream: The day when the White House and Greenpeace can issue a joint statement is surely distant indeed. But if stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.
Go read how she got to it . . .
September 20, 2006
"I trust that the proposed Constitution afford a genuine specimen of representative government and republican government; and that it will answer, in an eminent degree, all the beneficial purposes of society."
-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 1788)
September 19, 2006
"[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes - rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments."
-- Alexander Hamilton (letter to James Bayard, April 1802)
September 18, 2006
"Strangers are welcome because there is room enough for them all, and therefore the old Inhabitants are not jealous of them; the Laws protect them sufficiently so that they have no need of the Patronage of great Men; and every one will enjoy securely the Profits of his Industry. But if he does not bring a Fortune with him, he must work and be industrious to live."
-- Benjamin Franklin (Those Who Would Remove to America, February 1784)
September 17, 2006
"What is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part [the necessary and proper clause] of the Constitution and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them...the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in a last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people, who can by the elections of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers."
-- James Madison (Federalist No. 44, 25 January 1788)
September 16, 2006
"To give to every citizen the information he needs for the transaction of his own business; To enable him to calculate for himself, and to express and preserve his ideas, his contracts and accounts, in writing; To improve, by reading, his morals and faculties; To understand his duties to his neighbors and country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either; To know his rights; to exercise with order and justice those he retains; to choose with discretion the fiduciary of those he delegates; and to notice their conduct with diligence, with candor, and judgment; And, in general, to observe with intelligence and faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed."
-- Thomas Jefferson (Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia, 4 August 1818)
Food for thought
"Rome fell September 4, 476AD. It was overrun with illegal immigrants: Visigoths, Franks, Anglos, Saxons, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Lombards, Jutes and Vandals, who at first assimilated and worked as servants, but then came so fast they did not learn the Latin Language or the Roman form of government. Highly trained Roman Legions moving rapidly on their advanced road system, were strained fighting conflicts worldwide. Rome had a trade deficit, having outsourced most of its grain production to North Africa, and when Vandals captured that area, Rome did not have the resources to retaliate. Attila the Hun was committing terrorist attacks. The city of Rome was on welfare with citizens being given free bread. One Roman commented: 'Those who live at the expense of the public funds are more numerous than those who provide them.' Tax collectors were 'more terrible than the enemy.' Gladiators provided violent entertainment in the Coliseum. There was injustice in courts, exposure of unwanted infants, infidelity, immorality and perverted bathhouses. 5th-Century historian Salvian wrote: 'O Roman people be ashamed... Let nobody think otherwise, the vices of our bad lives have alone conquered us'."
September 15, 2006
"Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks-no form of government can render us secure. To suppose that any form of government will secure liberty or happiness without any virtue in the people, is a chimerical idea, if there be sufficient virtue and intelligence in the community, it will be exercised in the selection of these men. So that we do not depend on their virtue, or put confidence in our rulers, but in the people who are to choose them."
-- James Madison (speech at the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 20 June 1788)
Thomas Sowell weighs in about the New York Times article that nastily (and erroneously) smears four conservative think tanks. And he adds some thoughts that should make all of us stop and examine the greater issue that he refers to.
The self-infatuated idea nobody could disagree with you for honest and informed reasons is far more dangerous than possible influence from donors' money. Far more is involved here than cheap-shot journalism. It is the audience for such journalism that is the real concern.
Our whole educational system, from the elementary schools to the universities, is increasingly turning out people who have never heard enough conflicting arguments to develop the skills and discipline required to produce a coherent analysis, based on logic and evidence.
Read the whole thing. Then think about it.
Larry Kudlow has a post in his blog that supports the contention that tax cuts were good for us -- and he provides the numbers:
Democrats told us three years ago that we could not afford President Bush's tax cuts.
With a straight face, they told us that none of them were affordable.
They told us none of them creates jobs. In fact, they actually warned us that tax cuts would do damage to our long-term economic growth and contribute to the national deficit.
That's what they told us.
Well, the facts tell us something different. Just look.
Since President Bush's 2003 tax cuts we've witnessed:
-34 consecutive months of growth.
-GDP growth has averaged 3.7% a year.
-5.7 million new jobs have been created.
-unemployment has fallen to 4.7%, (lower than the average of the past four decades when it averaged 6%)
-tax cut revenues have increased 36%
Just in case you were wondering.
A great story never told
Callimachus, over at his blog, Done with Mirrors, has a lengthy post up detailing the the thoughts and experiences of a friend who worked in and around Iraq for a contractor doing reconstruction work there. His friend, Kat, had some very non-PC things to say about, for instance, Halliburton:
There are probably only three to maybe five companies in the world with the types of expertise and experience necessary to take up this type of work. The scope of Halliburton's work in Iraq was far more extensive than the US government could readily oversee on its own. It would be monetarily impractical if not physically impossible for the government to plan and put into place overnight the kind of business structure Halliburton has taken years to build.
She is not very kind to the legacy media:
I need to say, I have a lot of anger here, and I apologize for that. Unfortunately I think you’re going to see a lot more of it in the future from others, especially if this war continues to be played more like a political football game than a real war within the press and much of the government. There’s a lot at stake, from the kids like my little brother that we have fighting it, through the people who have tried to rebuild Iraq, to the long-term futures of several nations.
It’s just not as trivial as it continues to be presented, on any level. Some in the media tend to believe the Iraq story can only be related through scenes of blood. They are still trying to find the monks burning, or the naked children running along the roads of Viet Nam. But there is much more to this war than that, and now, just as then, they simply miss the big picture.
From what I saw, much of the media is simply lazy, and most of it is more concerned with money and personal politics than in delivering a good product with honesty. This is an opinion, and is a nasty, crappy thing to say to people who spend countless hours busting their asses in a tearing rush to deliver basic news to people. But understand, I'm not addressing that comment to the rank and file whose job it is to take what is available and deliver it to the masses. I'm speaking to those who decide what news to actually cover, and to those who actually provide the coverage.
[ . . . ]
Beyond a couple of poorly received White House briefings that went all but completely ignored, I never saw a thing mentioned about the massive reconstruction projects underway in Iraq. There were no fact-filled and hard-hitting stories on those jobs. By and large, the US and European publics are completely clueless about the rebuilding process and the complexities that have been involved in it. Because the press ignored it completely.
[ . . . ]
The press missed something vital about Iraq, and as a result the American and world public never really understood. Nobody ever got it. Iraq wasn’t just another city in the US or in Europe.
And as a result US and European citizens can share no connection to and no pride whatsoever in what those of us in Iraq have accomplished. You can’t feel it, because you’ve never seen it. And those of us who have experienced it have few ways to convey it to you so you can relate to it and share it with us. There’s a pretty hollow feeling that comes with that. It’s like being a sixteen year old and winning a big talent contest, but your parents weren’t there to see.
And she concludes with a very important point:
The size and complexity of the work being undertaken in Iraq was something not seen since the post-World War Two rebuilding of Europe and Japan. In truth, given the time frame available, the coalition bit off far more than it could chew, and ultimately it was forced to reduce its efforts. But that didn’t halt the most important projects from being completed or continuing to this day.
There is so very much more covering the reconstruction eforts, security, and the media. I found this a very interesting and quite informative description of what has been going on in Iraq the last two years.
September 14, 2006
"Our unalterable resolution would be to be free. They have attempted to subdue us by force, but God be praised! in vain. Their arts may be more dangerous then their arms. Let us then renounce all treaty with them upon any score but that of total separation, and under God trust our cause to our swords."
Call me paranoid but . . .
. . . that doesn't mean they are not out to get us.
My first thought upon hearing about the terrorist attack on our embassy in Syria was that it was staged, by Syria, in order to ease our hardline attitude towards them. Walid Phares, over at Counterterrorism Blog provides a lot more reasons why Syria may have staged that attack.
According to well informed Syrian sources, today's Terrorist attack against the US embassy in Damascus is one of the "Machiavellian" Assad operations. Let's remind ourselves that the Syrian regime's senior strategists and intelligence officers were trained by the sophisticated "intox" schools of the former Soviet's KGB. One of the main tactics of this old school, refined by Hafez Assad during his rule of Syria is based on the following concept: If the equation is to your disadvantage, create a new problem, offer to solve it, obtain recognition; and by that you'd change the equation.
The strategic objective of the Assad regime today is to deter Washington from further pressures against Syria, in the form of the Hariri investigation, the US pressure through the Security Council to deploy forces along the borders with Lebanon and the American ongoing support to the anti-Syrian Government in Beirut. Tehran-Damascus-Hezbollah axis is in dire need to "contain" Washington's pressures and gain time, as much possible of time. Why would they need time? Because they have to rearm Hezbollah, crumble the Lebanese Government, and face off with UN pressures on the nuclear. Syria has the marching orders to disorient the United States, and hence it adopted a twin approach:
Go read the rest.
UPDATE: Olivier Guitta, also over at Counterterrorism Blog, has more to add.
James Meigs has a confession:
ON Feb. 7, 2005, I became a member of the Bush/Halliburton/Zionist/CIA/New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy for world domination. That day, Popular Mechanics, the magazine I edit, hit newsstands with a story debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories. Within hours, the online community of 9/11 conspiracy buffs - which calls itself the "9/11 Truth Movement" - was aflame with wild fantasies about me, my staff and the article we had published. Conspiracy Web sites labeled Popular Mechanics a "CIA front organization" and compared us to Nazis and war criminals.
For a 104-year-old magazine about science, technology, home improvement and car maintenance, this was pretty extreme stuff. What had we done to provoke such outrage?
al-Qaeda -- then and now
Harold Hutchinson provides an encouraging editorial about how we stand in the war against al-Qaeda.
The United States has made major strides in the war on terrorism in five years, although much remains to be done.
On September 12, 2001, the day after the attacks, there were seven countries designated as state sponsors of terror by the State Department: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, and North Korea. The Taliban regime in Afghanistan was not recognized by the United States government, and thus Afghanistan was not formally listed by the State Department. This makes for a total of eight countries that sponsored terrorism.
Five years later, three of these governments that sponsored terrorism are now off the board.
Go read the whole thing.
September 13, 2006
"[A] rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive."
-- Thomas Jefferson (letter to Marquis de Lafayette, 4 November
Good news from Iraq (despite the press)
Bill Crawford has compiled a lot of good news from Iraq. Here's a taste:
Perhaps the senators should read what one Iraqi had to say recently about the trial of Saddam:
“I’m happy to see justice taking its course today,” said Haider Kadhim, 28, the owner of an electronics shop in Baghdad, a city that suffers from chronic power shortages.
Kadhim said he had bought 20 litres of petrol for his generator to make sure he had the electricity needed to watch the trial, which was broadcast on all local channels with a 20-minute delay. This was to ensure that sensitive portions with security implications could be censored.
“It is shameful that Saddam should claim he is the president and commander in chief of the armed forces,” said Kadhim, referring to Saddam’s self-introduction when he was asked by the judge to identify himself for the record.
In addition, let me reprint the words of the Sgt. Major of the Army, Kenneth O. Preston:
"The morale of American GIs serving in Iraq continues to be high, regardless of the danger, difficult conditions and family sacrifices they face, the Army's top enlisted leader said yesterday."
"They really look at it as a badge of honor," the sergeant major said.
Indeed, the Army will meet its recruiting goal for 2006.
Perhaps this story will give lie to the idea that Iraq would be better off under Saddam:
The remains of 80 people, believed to be Kurdish victims of Saddam Hussein's regime, were unearthed in two mass graves near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Monday, a Kurdish security official said.
Tens of thousands of Kurds were killed in a military campaign in 1988 codenamed Anfal — Spoils of War — for which Saddam, his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as Chemical Ali, and five other former commanders are now on trial in Baghdad.
He reports on political and security issues, the Iraqi economy and reconstruction efforts, and some of our American heroes over there. Go read the whole thing.
Afghanistan -- heroin capital of the world
Michael Yon has an alarming report up at National Review about how the Taliban is cultivating heroin to bankroll their insurgency.
This has very negative ramifications for the world in terms of an increase in heroin addiction and resultant upsurge in crime. And yet . . .
Despite the increasing human toll levied by opium production in Afghanistan, there is still no coherent plan for stopping the violence, shutting off the flow of money to the enemy, and eradicating and replacing poppy in Afghanistan.
Somehow this is not surprising.
September 12, 2006
"Republics are created by the virtue, public spirit, and intelligence of the citizens. They fall, when the wise are banished from the public councils, because they dare to be honest, and the profligate are rewarded, because they flatter the people, in order to betray them."
-- Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)
I apologize for the light blogging lately, but have some good reasons: 1) I am still awaiting replacement parts to effect repairs on my computer at home, 2) I watched The Path to 9/11 (a very good dramatization, in my opinion, that was generally pretty accurate with what was in the 9/11 Commission report) so Sunday and Monday evenings were taken, and 3) I'm fairly busy at work this week.
I hope to be able to increase my blogging efforts by next week. In the meantime, I thank you for your patience.
September 11, 2006
Jose Cardona left for his job at Carr Futures on the morning of 11 September 2001, and never came home. The office he worked in was housed in the World Trade Center, and he was there on that horrible day when two airplanes were flown into the WTC towers by murderous fanatics.
Prior to that fateful day, Jose lived with his wife, Paulina. He had worked for Wall Street companies for fourteen years and was employed at Carr Futures as a clerk. He had been working a second job on Saturdays by driving around in the family car and selling fish and various wares from his home country of Ecuador in order to make extra money for the baby boy he and Paulina were expecting in January 2002.
He had an eleven year old daughter, Sasha, from a previous marriage whom he loved dearly, and who loved him just a much.
He enjoyed spending time with Sasha and also Miguel, 14, Paulina's son.
Jose loved his family, and he enjoyed life. He is still missed by his daughter, who wrote this at a memorial website on 11 December, 2001:
Daddy, I will always love you no matter what happens you will always be in my heart. We all miss you and will never forget you. I love you!!!!
Sasha continues to write notes to her father at various other websites. In April of this year, now a 16 year old young woman, she wrote:
I remember how we use to play games and also when I use to get a low grade you use to always tell me that I could do it.I had your love I had it all. Im thankful for everyday you gave me Im thankful cause I was loved by you. Daddy how I wish you were with me I would give up anythin to be with you to bring you back to life. luv u
Jose and Paulina's son, Joshua, now four, is growing up, writes Miguel in October 2005.
Jose was considered a warm, wise, and helpful man by many of those who knew him and commented about him in various memorials. He was the friend of Danny Lopez, a colleague at Carr Futures.
The following profile about Jose was originally published in the New York Times on 9 December 2001.
The Good Things
Pictures of José Cardona show him dancing on a conga line with his wife and friends, clowning around after getting off a horse during a vacation, having dinner with his daughter from a previous marriage — Sasha, 11 — and his wife's son from hers, Miguel, 14.
He loved his family, liked the good things in life and wanted his wife, Paulina Cardona, 33, to look sexy.
She said her husband was so touched he cried when she surprised him with a tattoo of a rose on her left breast, his idea. And he cried again, she said, when the couple found out that she was expecting their first child and the baby would be a son.
Knowing his family would expand, Mr. Cardona wanted to make extra money to buy a house. So on Saturdays, the couple would get up at 6 a.m. and travel around New York City in their car selling fish and products from Ecuador, their home country, to friends and friends of friends.
When his customers found out that Mr. Cardona was missing at the World Trade Center, some asked: "He sold fish there?"
In fact, Mr. Cardona, 35, had been working for Wall Street companies for 14 years, most recently as a clerk at Carr Futures.
The baby is due in January.
Rest in peace, Jose Cardona, and may God continue to give strength and comfort to your family.
This is my way of honoring Jose's memory. If you would like to join me in remembering him, you are welcome to add a comment.
September 10, 2006
"The injury which may possibly be done by defeating a few good laws, will be amply compensated by the advantage of preventing a number of bad ones."
-- Alexander Hamilton (Federalist No. 73, on the Veto Power, 21 March 1788)
Computer still down
Just FYI, my computer has a motherboard problem that I cannot repair. The motherboard problem has caused other problems, as well. I have been able to ascertain that my hard drives seem to be okay, so data is not lost. However, I cannot access that data easily until the new board and CPU that I've ordered are installed. Hopefully some time next weekend it'll be back up and running.
In the meantime, I am using my lovely wife's very nice Dell laptop for performing computing tasks that cannot wait until next weekend. One of those tasks is to re-create a tribute I had prepared about Jose Cardona, who died five years ago tomorrow as a result of the murderous attack on the World Trade Center.
Thank you for your patience.
September 09, 2006
"A local spirit will infallibly prevail much more in the members of Congress than a national spirit will prevail in the legislatures of the particular States."
-- James Madison (Federalist No. 46, 29 January 1788)
"They're (Iran) out to get you (United States). We're (Israel) just the first step."
-- Benjamin Netanyahu on Hannity & Colmes, 06 Sep 2006
September 08, 2006
"The history of ancient and modern republics had taught them that many of the evils which those republics suffered arose from the want of a certain balance, and that mutual control indispensable to a wise administration. They were convinced that popular assemblies are frequently misguided by ignorance, by sudden impulses, and the intrigues of ambitious men; and that some firm barrier against these operations was necessary. They, therefore, instituted your Senate."
-- Alexander Hamilton (speech to the New York Ratifying Convention, June 1788)
Josh Bolton rebuts Harry Reid
Chief of Staff Josh Bolton responds to a letter, published by Harry Reid and other Democrats, that resolves all of Iraq's problems. [/sarcasm]
It makes for good reading.
I've reprinted it in the extended entry.
September 5, 2006
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid
528 Hart SOB
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Reid:
Thank you for your September 4 letter to the President. I am responding on his behalf.
A useful discussion of what we need to do in Iraq requires an accurate and fair-minded description of our current policy: As the President has explained, our goal is an Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself. In order to achieve this goal, we are pursuing a strategy along three main tracks -- political, economic, and security. Along each of these tracks, we are constantly adjusting our tactics to meet conditions on the ground. We have witnessed both successes and setbacks along the way, which is the story of every war that has been waged and won.
Your letter recites four elements of a proposed "new direction" in Iraq. Three of those elements reflect well-established Administration policy; the fourth is dangerously misguided.
First, you propose "transitioning the U.S. mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection." That is what we are now doing, and have been doing for several years. Our efforts to train the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have evolved and accelerated over the past three years. Our military has had substantial success in building the Iraqi Army -- and increasingly we have seen the Iraqi Army take the lead in fighting the enemies of a free Iraq. The Iraqi Security Forces still must rely on U.S. support, both in direct combat and especially in key combat support functions. But any fair-minded reading of the current situation must recognize that the ISF are unquestionably more capable and shouldering a greater portion of the burden than a year ago -- and because of the extraordinary efforts of the United States military, we expect they will become increasingly capable with each passing month. Your recommendation that we focus on counter-terrorism training and operations -- which is the most demanding task facing our troops -- tracks not only with our policy but also our understanding, as well as the understanding of al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, that Iraq is a central front in the war against terror.
Second, your letter proposes "working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the Constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources." You are once again urging that the Bush Administration adopt an approach that has not only been embraced, but is now being executed. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is pursuing a national reconciliation project. It is an undertaking that (a) was devised by the Iraqis; (b) has the support of the United States, our coalition partners and the United Nations; and (c) is now being implemented. Further, in Iraq's political evolution, the Sunnis, who boycotted the first Iraq election, are now much more involved in the political process. Prime Minister Maliki is head of a free government that represents all communities in Iraq for the first time in that nation's history. It is in the context of this broad-based, unity government, and the lasting national compact that government is pursuing, that the Iraqis will consider what amendments might be required to the constitution that the Iraqi people adopted last year. On the matter of disarming militias: that is precisely what Prime Minister al-Maliki is working to do. Indeed, Coalition leaders are working with him and his ministers to devise and implement a program to disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate members of militias and other illegal armed groups.
Third, your letter calls for "convening an international conference and contact group to support a political settlement in Iraq, to preserve Iraq's sovereignty, and to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort." The International Compact for Iraq, launched recently by the sovereign Iraqi government and the United Nations, is the best way to work with regional and international partners to make substantial economic progress in Iraq, help revitalize the economic reconstruction and rebuilding of that nation, and support a fair and just political settlement in Iraq -- all while preserving Iraqi sovereignty. This effort is well under way, it has momentum, and I urge you to support it.
Three of the key proposals found in your letter, then, are already reflected in current U.S. and Iraqi policy in the region.
On the fourth element of your proposed "new direction," however, we do disagree strongly. Our strategy calls for redeploying troops from Iraq as conditions on the ground allow, when the Iraqi Security Forces are capable of defending their nation, and when our military commanders believe the time is right. Your proposal is driven by none of these factors; instead, it would have U.S. forces begin withdrawing from Iraq by the end of the year, without regard to the conditions on the ground. Because your letter lacks specifics, it is difficult to determine exactly what is contemplated by the "phased redeployment" you propose. (One such proposal, advanced by Representative Murtha, a signatory to your letter, suggested that U.S. forces should be redeployed as a "quick reaction force" to Okinawa, which is nearly 5,000 miles from Baghdad).
Regardless of the specifics you envision by "phased redeployment," any premature withdrawal of U.S forces would have disastrous consequences for America's security. Such a policy would embolden our terrorist enemies; betray the hopes of the Iraqi people; lead to a terrorist state in control of huge oil reserves; shatter the confidence our regional allies have in America; undermine the spread of democracy in the Middle East; and mean the sacrifices of American troops would have been in vain. This "new direction" would lead to a crippling defeat for America and a staggering victory for Islamic extremists. That is not a direction this President will follow. The President is being guided by a commitment to victory -- and that plan, in turn, is being driven by the counsel and recommendations of our military commanders in the region.
Finally, your letter calls for replacing Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. We strongly disagree. Secretary Rumsfeld is an honorable and able public servant. Under his leadership, the United States Armed Forces and our allies have overthrown two brutal tyrannies and liberated more than 50 million people. Al Qaeda has suffered tremendous blows. Secretary Rumsfeld has pursued vigorously the President's vision for a transformed U.S. military. And he has played a lead role in forging and implementing many of the policies you now recommend in Iraq. Secretary Rumsfeld retains the full confidence of the President.
We appreciate your stated interest in working with the Administration on policies that honor the sacrifice of our troops and promote our national security, which we believe can be accomplished only through victory in this central front in the War on Terror.
Joshua B. Bolten
Chief of Staff
Identical Letters Sent To:
The Honorable Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader
The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader
The Honorable Dick Durbin, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader
The Honorable Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip
The Honorable Carl Levin, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
The Honorable Ike Skelton, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee
The Honorable Joe Biden, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
The Honorable Tom Lantos, Ranking Member, House International Relations Committee
The Honorable Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee
The Honorable Jane Harman, Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee
The Honorable Daniel Inouye, Ranking Member, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
The Honorable John Murtha, Ranking Member, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
How safe do you feel?
Bluto, at My Pet Jawa reports on a poll asking Americans: 'Do You Feel Less Safe Now Than Before 9/11?'
He also has some pertinent commentary:
How can anyone feel safer when the New York Times, one of the patrons of this very poll, feels comfortable betraying their own country by publishing classified documents relating to active counter-terrorism programs?
Good, strong economy
Larry Kudlow has a good op-ed up about a speech by Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, jobs, tax cuts, and Democrats. And he takes a gentle swipe at the media, too.
Long-term jobs growth has moved to an all-time high of 145 million in the household survey and 136 million in nonfarm payrolls. Both measures are rising at about 1.5 percent, the average for jobs growth dating back to 1995. As for unemployment, at 4.7 percent it is well below the 5.1 percent long-run rate.
This suggests we are near full employment and that the economy is operating close to its full potential to grow. It’s still the greatest story never told.
He talks about the recent reports in the news that say after-inflation wages have actually fallen over the last 5 years.
Along with articles in the New York Times and Washington Post, the Economic Policy Institute released a Labor Day study complaining that while productivity has increased 33 percent over ten years, real wages have declined since 2000.
But this neglects a broader measure called total compensation, which includes tax-free retirement and health benefits. Across the 2000-05 period, inflation-adjusted total compensation has increased 13.1 percent, and over ten years has advanced 31.8 percent, in line with the productivity rise. That’s a bright picture.
I recommend you go read the whole piece.
September 07, 2006
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. . ."
The Declaration of Independence, 4 July 1776
September 06, 2006
"Work as if you were to live 100 Years, Pray as if you were to die To-morrow."
-- Benjamin Franklin (Poor Richard's Almanack, 1757)
My PC is experiencing frequent catastrophic shutdowns, so my blogging will be sporadic at best.
Parts are on order.
I appreciate your patience.
September 05, 2006
"The citizens of the United States of America have the right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of as if it were by the indulgence of one class of citizens that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent natural rights, for happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens in giving it on all occasions their effectual support."
-- George Washington (letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, 9 September 1790)
September 04, 2006
"The aim of every political constitution is, or ought to be, first to obtain for rulers men who possess most wisdom to discern, and most virture to pursue, the common good of the society; and in the next place, to take the most effectual precautions for keeping them virtuous whilst they continue to hold their public trust."
-- Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (Federalist No. 57, 19 February 1788)
Rumsfeld's address to the American Legion Nat'l Convention
SecDef Donald Rumsfeld recently addressed the American Legion National Convention. In case you have only been exposed to media news accounts of what he said, I provide this link to the SecDef's actual speech. Here's a taste:
Iraq, a country that was brutalized by a cruel and dangerous dictatorship, is now traveling the slow, difficult, bumpy, uncertain path to a secure new future under a representative government that will be at peace with its neighbors, rather than a threat to their own people, to their neighbors, or to the world.
As the nature of the threat and the conflict in Iraq has changed over these past several years, so have the tactics and the deployments. But while military tactics have changed and adapted to the realities on the ground -- as they must -- the strategy has not changed, which is to empower the Iraqi people to be able to defend, and govern, and rebuild their own country.
The extremists themselves call Iraq the “epicenter” in the War on Terror. And our troops know how important their mission is.
There's a lot more. And it is an accurate representation. Highly recommended.
Melanie Phillips voices her concerns about the apparent culpability of the global media in demonizing Israel and glorifying the Hezbollah terrorists who attacked them. Here's how she begins:
Early in the recent Lebanon war, the blogosphere revealed the fabrication of images by Reuters, whose reputation is now in shreds among those dwindling numbers in the western mainstream media who still acknowledge there is such a thing as the truth. Since then, the nature and scale of the various frauds perpetrated by the media during that war put those doctored Reuters pictures into the shade. The western media are no longer merely producing questionable professional practices in reporting a war. They are now active participants in it --and on the wrong side of history.
Read the whole thing. She provides links and citations to back up her statements. I found it compelling because, after loads of independent research on my part, it fits so well into my thoughts on the subject. I do think that the media has backed off from slamming Israel (somewhat) since hostilities have ended.
September 03, 2006
"If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement, we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute."
-- Thomas Paine (Rights of Man, 1791)
Lorie Byrd has an op-ed up at Townhall about the news media missing the story. Here's her concluding paragraph:
A famous politician speaking to Matt Lauer on the Today Show once said of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, “the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy…” She was wrong about that one. DNA proved that the “great story” there really was about a President who was reckless enough to have an affair with an intern in the Oval Office and then use his power to orchestrate a coverup. She did have a point, though. Sometimes the “great story” isn’t the one the media is telling, Sometimes it is just as interesting to find out how a story, especially one revealed to be incorrect in so many ways, came to be believed by so many journalists and so widely reported in the first place.
Go read how she arrived at that conclusion.
September 02, 2006
Today is the 50th anniversary of my Mom and Dad's wedding.
Sadly, Dad is not here with us to celebrate.
Mom and Dad had a good, solid, loving marriage. A marriage that provided a loving, nurturing, secure environment for raising their four children.
Their marriage was a blessing to all six of us.
Thank you, Mom and Dad.
I wish we could all celebrate this anniversary together.
We still miss you, Dad.
September 01, 2006
"A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired."
-- Alexander Hamilton (The Farmer Refuted, 23 February 1775)
Steven den Beste has an interesting essay discussing guerilla warfare and disproportionate response.
IMHO Israel botched this war, but that's not the question I wanted to address in this discussion. The question I began with was, why did so many people demand "proportionate" responses from Israel, and condemn Israel's bombing campaign as being "disproportionate"?
It's because Israel refused to play the game. Israel opened up an offensive which ran at a logistically unsustainable rate for Hezbollah, which Hezbollah could not avoid fighting. The code word "proportionate" really meant, "Israel, you have to limit yourself to fighting at a level that Hezbollah can sustain. Otherwise it's just not fair!"
Lebanon border, 2003
John, over at OPFOR has a post up about his experience on the Lebanon-Israel border back in 2003.
I find it highly illustrative of Hezbollah's true character.
I've reprinted it in the extended entry.
Standing on the Lebanon Border
With all that is happening in southern Lebanon, it was silly of me to wait so long to post this story.
August 2003. I was in Israel, studying at the Jaffe Center for Strategic Studies, located on the University of Tel Aviv campus. After a few days of lecture, we hit the road, traveling to various IDF bases, the Gaza border, law enforcement units, and one very cool trip to shoot firearms with the Jerusalem undercover police.
Several days into the trip, we found ourselves at an IDF outpost on the Israel-Lebanon border. We mulled around the mountain base, chatting with the Israel soldiers, and snapping photographs.
I found myself in a conversation with an Israeli soldier, an American Jew who had grown up in Brooklyn, about the small Israeli unit's mission.
"We keep an eye on Hezbollah," he said. "Two eyes, actually. They're busy up here." I was curious, "what do you mean?"
"Here," the soldier handed me a pair of binoculars, "look on the crest of that hill, right next to that village."
I couldn't find what he was pointing at, "whatever you're trying to show me, I ain't seeing man."
He gave me one of those patient half-smiles and elaborated, "look for the yellow flag."
Sure enough, flying high next to a Lebanese village was the yellow flag of Hezbollah. "Now look below it," he commanded.
I focused the binoculars, only to watch as an artillery emplacement materialized. "Holy s*$#," you guys just let them point that thing at you? "Not at us," responded the soldier, "at Shlomi."
Shlomi was the Israeli town, nestled in the valley below us. The IDF outpost's responsibility was to protect the village and her inhabitants against Hezbollah, who had operated freely in southern Lebanon since the IDF's withdrawal in 2000. Hezbollah, the soldier explained to me, wasn't interested in the outpost, but rather the Israeli citizens below.
I left the outpost with a newfound appreciation for Israel's ability to flourish in the face of such blatant infringements on their national sovereignty.
I appreciated that success even more, when --not an hour after we left-- that Hezbollah gun emplacement opened up on Shlomi, killing an Israeli teenager.
It was an unprovoked attack on an innocent town, an absolutely unexcusable act specifically prohibited by any and all of the modern laws of armed conflict.
And that incident is, in short, why I have supported and will continue to support Israel in their fight against Hezbollah.
August 27, 2006 11:33 AM
The Long War
Michael J. Totten, a freelance journalist who is currently in Israel. has an informative post up about the embattled residents of southern Israel.
There is something slightly creepy about using Qassam rockets as garden art. But Qassams are a part of life in Southern Israel. And there’s something slightly defiant as well as creepy about integrating them into the landscape.
He provides quite a few pictures, as well.