Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Dynamic Duo

I've got to say, I find Peres' statement that Sharon is the only leader who can lead Israel to peace more surprising than Sharon's turn away from Likud. Anyone who followed Israeli politics could see that move was in the wind given how much anger Likudniks have against Sharon. They'll not forgive what they perceive as his betrayal on Gaza for years.

But it is pretty amazing that Peres now openly states Sharon is the best leader to bring Israel to peace... Whoever thought they'd see that in their lifetime? The lamb lies down with the lion...well or something like that.

Well I never believed the leftist mantra about how Sharon was an evil general and war criminal. But I remain permanently disappointed he isn't doing anything about the situation on Temple Mount. And continuing to not do anything confirms the status quo, making it harder and harder ever to be able to do anything.

A less attractive theory to explain the two, is that it is a bunch of men in their seventies supporting each other because of their reluctance to release the reins of power into the hands of younger men.

Ha'aretz takes this latter view; actually, an extreme form of this latter view. Peres has said goodbye to Labor, so now it is time for Labor to pull out the arsenal of knives they have obviously kept sharp for years to use against him.

Every time [Peres] ran for office, the voters pushed him away from the centers of national responsibility. Because they knew, with their sharp senses, that this is a man who has no God other than his personal good.

This path of wheeling and dealing led him yesterday to the moment of truth of his political life. Some 60 years of wheeling and dealing were condensed into one appearance before the nation. He was faced with two alternatives  to show dedication to the path he has walked and believed in all his life, or to take a job with his mate, Ariel Sharon. Once again it was obvious he would not be able to resist the temptation and would choose the second option.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I'll be back in a few days.

An Oscar For Munich?

Does Stevie Boy Wonder Spielberg hope to snag an oscar for Munich, the controversial new film about the aftermath of the Israeli response to the PLO massacre at the Munich massacres, based on an apocryphal account by Yuval Aviv, purporting to be a Mossad who participated in the operation?

Apparently so.

By experiencing how the implacable resolve of these men to succeed in their mission slowly gave way to troubling doubts about what they were doing, I think we can learn something important about the tragic standoff we find ourselves in today.” Sound like anyone we know?

Say, Murtha on Iraq? And the stance of much of the left side of the fence on their ambivalence about a hard and lengthy fight? An Oscar is practically in the bag. And all for holding up a mirror to reflect themselves in all their morally sophisticated glory. "See" they cry. "We're deep thinkers."

The problem, to my mind, however, stems from Spielberg transfering his ambivalence about Iraq to Israel and her fight against terrorists because he doesn't want to fess up to the "public" which include red-state pro-war types, just how problematical he thinks the Iraq war is. And so, he's licensing an entirely new path of assault against Israel for fighting her wars against terrorists, and all to save himself and his business partners the negative economic fallout on his production company.

Former posts on this subject:

Not Faster Please
The Final Irony
Updating Spielberg
Et tu, Brute?

iAbolish Wants Your Help To Get Mauritania to Crack Down on Slavers

Sign their petition.

Tell Mauritanian leaders: free the slaves and crack down on slave owner.

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists conducting a salvage dig in the Armenian monastery in Jaffa expected to find artifacts connected to the ancient fortifications of the city. However, a few days ago they were surprised to discover, some 60 centimeters below the monastery floor, no fewer than 10 horse skeletons.

Excavation directors Amit Re'em and Martin Peilstoker said yesterday the horses may have died in battle, and if so, it occurred long before the 17th century, when the monastery was constructed. It was possible, the archaeologists said, that the horses were buried as early as the Hellenistic period, about 2,200 years ago, or in the Early Arab period, 1,500 years ago. The archaeologists assume the horses were buried outside the city wall because of the stench of them decaying.

"This is the last thing we expected find here," Re'em said yesterday. "If we continue the dig we may find arrowheads or other artifacts that attest to a battle the horses were involved in." Re'em and Peilstoker are now trying to ascertain the breed of the horses and how they died, with the assistance of Hebrew University veterinarians. "Work on the remains is very delicate, and every detail can move us ahead. I believe we'll know in a week or two," Re'em said.

Zarqawi Not Dead

says Iraq Al Qaeda. The story is a "lie." That word is getting a little overplayed lately, isn't it?
"The media has lately circulated this news that was announced by the Crusaders (U.S.) about the death of the leader of the group in an armed confrontation ... which was an additional lie," the group said on a Web site statement.
Uh huh. The foreign minister of Iraq - just another crusader.

The left might think that this past month has been bad for Bush, but it's been worse for Zarqawi.

Jack Kelly points out that "If it turns out Zarqawi was among seven al Qaida leaders killed in Mosul Saturday, it'll have been a really bad week." Snort. I'd say that makes it worse than anything Bush and Cheney have gone through. Although, Kelly points out, even if Zarqawi is still alive, he's now the most unpopular man in Jordan and, as I pointed out below, his family have revoked their protection over him, making it possible for people to kill him with no recrimination on their part.
This is a big deal, said Jim Robbins, who teaches at the National Defense University: "One of the reasons I thought the report of Zarqawi's death was credible at first was that his tribe had forsaken him," Robbins wrote.

"Extended tribal ties among groups in al Anbar province in Iraq may be what has kept him safe thus far." It could have been a tip from a disgruntled relative that led U.S. and Iraqi troops to surround the house in Mosul where seven men and a woman died, several by blowing themselves up. More likely, they were ratted out by Iraqis who had once been friendly to al Qaida, but are turning against it.

There has been a surge in tips from Iraqis over the last month, a U.S. intelligence officer told the Washington Post. "These tend to be traditional Iraqi leaders -- sheiks and imams -- upset with the organization, especially its recent execution of Sunni Arabs in Ramadi," the official said.

Ramadi, the capital of al Anbar province, is a smuggling center that long has been as lawless as Dodge City before Wyatt Earp became marshal. There have been running gun battles betweenlocal insurgents tied to the former regime of Saddam Hussein and al Qaida. There also have been gun battles between al Qaida and U.S. troops in Ramadi, which have gone badly for al Qaida.

Nearly 200 "insurgents," most of them al Qaida members, have been killed or captured in Operation Steel Curtain, now in its second week, a joint Marine-Iraqi operation which has been cleaning out hideouts along the Syrian border.

Zarqawi has lost a number of key lieutenants in recent weeks, thanks to the increasing number and timeliness of tips. The most recent were Abu Ahmed, the "Emir" of Sadah, nabbed on day three of Steel Curtain, and Abu Ibrahim, a technology expert who manufactured triggering devices for roadside bombs, taken in Baghdad Oct. 31st. More of Zarqawi's command network was lost in the house in Mosul, even if he himself got away.

WMD in Syria?

According to the annual Middle East Strategic Balance released Tuesday by the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, "there were unconfirmed reports that Syria received Iraq's stockpile of chemical weapons, just before t he Iraq war broke out, to add to its stockpiles of nerve gas."

Nevertheless, Syria's military position is weakening overall, with an aging Air Force of 350 combat aircraft, the majority of which are now obsolete.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Quelle Horreur!

[Scroll Down for Updates]

Geez How Stupid Can Leftists Be?

Pretty Damn Stupid.

I saw this headline this morning:


And I knew assorted moonbats leftists were going to fall for it hook, line and sinker.

Eyeroll. Give me a break.

Yep, Bush wanted to bomb Al Jazeera in Qatar, our Middle Eastern ally, where we have Middle East headquarters. Yep that makes a lot of sense...if you are a deranged leftist.
Do the brainless dipshit journaljismers realize that the US military commitment to Qatar exceeds our commitment to England? Do they know that what they suggest makes about as much sense as having F-18’s based outside of Atlanta conduct a long range bombing run on CNN - in Atlanta? Instead of bombing the headquarters in Qatar, perhaps we should have some of our soldiers swing by there with some satchel charges in between waking up, grabbing donuts, and going to work?

Damn. I’m really lost on this one. Would the US bomber, whether a B-1B or B-52, even have time to retract it’s landing gear on the bombing run, or would it take off, circle around a while so the pilot can wolf down a donut, drop the bombs, and then land so the pilots can finish their coffee? Wouldn’t the whole run be a complete waste of fuel? I ask this because my boss’s niece was a B-1B pilot who now flies out of Qatar, a country the approximate size of a postage stamp.
Even the BBC isn't taken in by it. More or less. BBC News website world affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds said: "An attack on al-Jazeera would also have been an attack on Qatar, where the US military has its Middle East headquarters. So the possibility has to be considered that Mr Bush was in fact making some kind of joke and that this was not a serious proposition."

Duh! And I thought the British prized themselves as the ones with a sense of humor? Not so much any more...

Having lived in France just after Ronald Reagan made his joke about pushing the button vis-a-vis Russia, and having seen the sophisticated Europeans entirely lose their sense of humor, and having argued with them about the nature of American humor, this just feels like ancient history repeating itself.

UPDATE I: On a related note of the wilfull desire to believe anything that sounds bad about the Bush administration, there is this story circulating the past week about White Phosphorus, used in Fallujah. In the comments of Balloon Juice, Jason Von Steenwyck provides the definitive reason the story is bogus. White Phosphorus, he insists, is less lethal than other forms of firepower:

The reality that I’m trying to get across to these idiots who get everything they know about this from what they read from other idiot commenters on blogs is that on the modern battlefield, White Phosphorus SAVES lives, both friendly and noncombatant.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that there is nobody who’s dead now who would have been alive had we just used DPICM an HE rather than White Phosphorus. And what the italian propaganda presentation cannot show, because it cannot be readily quantified, are the large numbers of noncombatants who are alive now who would have been dead had we not had WP rounds at our disposal to use in lieu of HE and DPICM.

Dr Sanity refers to these two examples of the left championing theories, no matter how foolish, that show the WH in a poor light, examples of "intellectual and moral bankruptcy combined with malignant narcissism."

UPDATE II: And now, in a mark of moral bankruptcy, the Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Kevin Sullivan have decided to dignify this story with an article in the Washington Post. To ensure that it has legs. And that it embarrasses the White House. Pincus used his CIA connections to find out the following: A former senior U.S. intelligence official said that it was clear the White House saw al-Jazeera as a problem, but that although the CIA's clandestine service came up with plans to counteract it, such as planting people on its staff, it never received permission to proceed. "Bombing in Qatar was never contemplated," the former official said.

Despite this, however, the article ingenuously goes on to cite occasions on which Al Jazeera was hit with fire once during the Iraq war and once in Kabul. Oh that's a solid case then!

What an embarrassment -- for the Washington Post -- that they're peddling this story.

Josh Marshall thinks this shows how the prestige of the Bush Administration has rapidly diminished.
The one thing that I think you can say with some surety is that this is yet one more example of the president's rapidly diminishing power, credibility and prestige. Six months, not to mention a year ago, I think there's little reason to believe a paper like the Post would have touched such a story and touch it in a way that entertains the possibility that President Bush actually had to be talked down by Tony Blair from bombing a news network whose editorial line he found too critical.
And for this reason, the Washington Post believes it's proper to lower its journalistic standards?

It's not the Bush Administration that is desperate - as the left keeps on insisting. It's the left itself. Grabbing at everything and anything. In this case, Walter Pincus is showing his "objectivity" a little too clearly.

UPDATE III: Glenn answers his critics who now insist he needs to apologize to Eason Jordan: The real answer, of course, is that since Al Jazeera is a CIA front operation we'd never bomb it. Duh.

Yeah, that about sums it up.

The Worm Turns

Fascinating glimpse at Mitterand, from his shrink's new book. You might think that his shrink should not be allowed to write about Mitterand's sessions, but Mitterand, being Mitterand, instructed him to do so. French politicians, narcissists all. Although watching Chirac makes me nostalgic for Mitterand. I get the impression he was better for France than Jacques "no response to Paris burning" Chirac.

Maggy Thatcher, portrayed as a brilliant diplomatic poker player in this article, for some odd reason is said to have liked Chirac once. Heck, I thought I liked him once, years ago, when I lived in France. But only before I knew him. He was much more attractive as the corrupt opposition leader than the corrupt leader of France himself.

Jerusalem at Dawn

Murtha the Dove in Hawk's Clothing

My co blogger at KesherTalk points out that Murtha was instrumental in advising the Clinton Administration to withdraw precipitately from Somalia. Thus confirming in Al Qaeda's eyes just how easy it is to cow us into surrender.

Not content with that, he's going for a double header on Iraq, so the terrorists can have their biggest victory against us yet - early withdrawal from Iraq. Which will prove to them we don't have the stomach for the long fights.

Was this guy asleep during the 1990s? Didn't he realize there were unfortunate consequences for American interests as a results of his advice, and the fact that the Clinton Administration followed up on their brave stance in Somalia by refusing to respond vigorously to terrorists attacks throughout his time in office?

At Captain's Quarter's, the Captain reports on this piece on Murtha in Newsmax, while sounding a cautionary note that Newsmax's reporting is not, ahem, infallible. And there's a very interesting conversation going on in the comments pointing out, among other things, Murtha's words from his own book, "From Vietnam to 9/11":

" In Somalia a well-meaning humanitarian intervention ended in failure because we interjected ourselves into a civil war. I am not arguing that we should have acted decisively with a larger military force in either case. As I have explained, I opposed the intervention in Somalia from the day the decision to intervene was made."

And commenter Jake reminds us of Ben Laden's own words: “We think that the United States is very much weaker than Russia. Based on the reports we received from our brothers who participated in jihad in Somalia, we learned that they saw the weakness, frailty, and cowardice of US troops. Only 80 US troops were killed. Nonetheless, they fled in the heart of darkness, frustrated, after they had caused great commotion about the new world order”.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Zarqawi thought to be dead...

According to Iraq's Foreign Minister, the Associated Post reports today:
Al-Qaida in Iraq chief Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was believed to have been killed in a military operation in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Iraq's foreign minister said Monday.

Hoshyar Zebari told the official Petra news agency during a visit to Moscow that Iraqi authorities were testing DNA samples from several corpses of insurgents killed in a weekend gunfight in Mosul.

"American and Iraqi forces are investigating the possibility that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's corpse is among the bodies of some terrorists who died in the special military operation in Mosul," he said.

State television carried the urgent news in a scrolling newsbar at the bottom of the screen during regular programming, suggesting that Jordanian officials likely believe the report.

No other details were immediately available.
Still just a rumor, but a louder and slightly more insistent one this time around.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dead or Alive?

In other news, Zarqawi may or may not be dead. 8 high ranking Al Qaeda members blew themselves up in Mosul today after a local tip-off enabled US troops to surround them. Zarqawi may or may not be one of the eight.

If it turns out to be the case, it's interesting that it followed so quickly on his family's renunciation. See the story below for details.

UPDATE: Omar at Iraq the Model reports on the reports of Zarqawi's possible deaths as well.
The terrorists blew up the house when an Iraqi assault team tried to break into the house, the blast killed four Iraqi soldiers and wounded ten policemen and also killed all of the hiding terrorists.

Eight charred bodies were found in the scene, one of them belong[ing] to a woman.
UPDATE II: The US already has a sample of his DNA, for matching purposes. Debka is reporting that the 8 bodies are burned black and unrecognizable as is. And that "US and Iraqi forces raided al Qaeda sanctuaries in Baghdad and captured several suspects."

UPDATE III: Pamela at Atlas Shrugs puts up an image that symbolizes all our hopes on this story about Zarqawi.

UPDATE IV: And now the AP is covering the story as well, adding new detail:
On Saturday, police Brig. Gen. Said Ahmed al-Jubouri said the raid was launched after a tip that top al-Qaida operatives, possibly including al-Zarqawi, were in the house in the northeastern part of the city.

During the intense gunbattle that followed, three insurgents detonated explosives and killed themselves to avoid capture, Iraqi officials said. Eleven Americans were wounded, the U.S. military said. Such intense resistance often suggests an attempt to defend a high-value target.

American soldiers controlled the site Sunday, and residents said helicopters flew over the area throughout the day. Some residents said the tight security was reminiscent of the July 2003 operation in which Saddam Hussein's sons, Odai and Qusai, were killed in Mosul.

Renouncing the Devil and All His Works

Here's a story that is getting little play as of yet. Zarqawi's family has renounced him:
The family of al-Zarqawi, whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, reiterated their strong allegiance to Jordan's King Abdullah II in half-page advertisements in the kingdom's three main newspapers. Al-Zarqawi threatened to kill the king in an audiotape released Friday. "A Jordanian doesn't stab himself with his own spear," said the statement by 57 members of the al-Khalayleh family, including al-Zarqawi's brother and cousin. "We sever links with him until doomsday."

The statement is a serious blow to al-Zarqawi, who no longer will enjoy the protection of his tribe and whose family members may seek to kill him.

"As we pledge to maintain homage to your throne and to our precious Jordan ... we denounce in the clearest terms all the terrorist actions claimed by the so-called Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh, who calls himself Abu Musab al-Zarqawi," the family members said.

"We announce, and all the people are our witnesses, that we - the sons of the al-Khalayleh tribe - are innocent of him and all that emanates from him, whether action, assertion or decision.

The statement said anyone who carried out such violence in the kingdom does not enjoy its protection.
This remarkable statement follows after a demonstration against Zarqawi and his terrorism in Amman last Friday of 200,000 strong. That also got little play in the MSM.

Down The Toilet

In the Comments to my post, The King Democrats Have No Clothes at KesherTalk, Jewish Atheist and I argue about our differences on Iraq.

I make the point that I still think it is likely that Saddam disposed of his WMD's before we attacked. After all, the fact that we were coming was not exactly a surprise.

In FrontPageMagazine, Jamie Glazov interviews Bill Tiernay, a former weapons inspector in Iraq during 1996-1998 for UNSCOM and asks him where he thinks the WMD went. Here is his explanation:

FP: Ok, so where did the WMDs go?

Tierney: While working counter-infiltration in Baghdad, I noticed a pattern among infiltrators that their cover stories would start around Summer or Fall of 2002. From this and other observations, I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush’s speech at West Point in 2002. One of the steps taken was to prepare the younger generation of the security services with English so they could infiltrate our ranks, another was either to destroy or move WMDs to other countries, principally Syria. Starting in the Summer of 2002, the Iraqis had months to purge their files and create cover stories, such as the letter from Hossam Amin, head of the Iraqi outfit that monitored the weapons inspectors, stating after Hussein Kamal’s defection that the weapons were all destroyed in 1991.

I was on the inspections that follow-up on Hussein Kamal’s defection, and Hossam said at the time that Hussein Kamal had a secret cabal that kept the weapons without the knowledge of the Iraqi government. It was pure pleasure disemboweling this cover story. Yet the consensus at DIA is that Iraq got rid of its weapons in 1991. This is truly scary. If true, when and where did Saddam have a change of heart? This is the same man who crowed after 9/11, then went silent after news broke that Mohammed Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence operative in Prague. Did Saddam spend a month with Mother Theresa, or go to a mountain top in the Himalaya’s? Those that say there were no weapons have to prove that Saddam had a change of heart. I await their evidence with interest....

FP: Let’s talk a little bit more about how the WMDs disappeared.

Tierney: In Iraq’s case, the lakes and rivers were the toilet, and Syria was the back door. Even though there was imagery showing an inordinate amount of traffic into Syria prior to the inspections, and there were other indicators of government control of commercial trucking that could be used to ship the weapons to Syria, from the ICs point of view, if there is no positive evidence that the movement occurred, it never happened. This conclusion is the consequence of confusing litigation with intelligence. Litigation depends on evidence, intelligence depends on indicators. Picture yourself as a German intelligence officer in Northern France in April 1944. When asked where will the Allies land, you reply “I would be happy to tell you when I have solid, legal proof, sir. We will have to wait until they actually land.” You won’t last very long. That officer would have to take in all the indicators, factor in deception, and make an assessment (this is a fancy intelligence word for an educated guess).

The Democrats understand the difference between the two concepts, but have no qualms about blurring the distinction for political gain. This is despicable. This has brought great harm to our nation’s credibility with our allies. A perfect example is Senator Levin waving deception by one single source, al-Libi, to try and convince us that this is evidence there was no connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, as though the entire argument rested on this one source. Senator Levin, and his media servants, think the public can’t read through his duplicity. He is plunging a dagger into the heart of his own country.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The New Jesus Seal

A newly excavated seal, from the sixth century, found in ancient Tiberias, bears the likeness of Jesus on it. On its reverse side, it contains the inscription "Christos" and the depiction of a cross.
The archaeologist in charge speculates the seal belonged to a highranking Church official.

And, separately, Geza Vermes, the well known, Jewish, Dead Sea Scroll scholar, suggests a method of rapprochement between Jewish and Christian communities who often are ill at ease in dealing with each other.
Jews will have to stop being afraid of Jesus and treating Him as taboo. When we look at Him through the prism of history, rather than theology, and in the light of all the freshly gained knowledge of the world in which He lived, He reveals Himself as Jesus the Jew, who in the judgment of Martin Buber, one of the greatest modern Jewish thinkers, deserves an “important place in the religious history of Israel”.

From my own experience, I think a lot of Jews still regard the serious mention of Jesus as taboo, although the subject is rarely addressed head on. It's more often squelched.

I can endorse Vermes' perspective on this matter. I've found the historical approach to work quite well at easing awkwardness that may arise in religiously fraught situations. From the Jewish perspective, this approach helps to defuse the matter entirely.

The task Christians have to confront is, if anything, even more challenging. They must face up to the fact that the image of Jesus and the formulation of His message have come down to the Church not in their original language — they were delivered to simple Aramaic-speaking Galilean Jews — but in a culturally alien language (Greek) and in a form adapted to the needs of Hellenised non-Jews of Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. The saying, Traduttore traditore (a translator is a traitor), applies not just to texts but to the transmission of religious ideas as well.

Christians will need to discover the Jewish meaning of the authentic message preached and practised by Jesus and a way to apply it to their own circumstances today.

My Ballsy Congressperson...

...votes "present" on the resolution to send troops home from Iraq immediately.

Jerry Nadler! What a courageous stance!

Rome anyone?

Anyone out there watching Rome?

Finally saw the penultimate episode. Wow -- that one was good, best one in weeks - although the arena was too small to be believable.

Guess we all know what is coming next week - the question is how they get to it.


Friday, November 18, 2005

The Democrat's War Plan for Iraq

'Nuff said.

Though actually, on consideration, I think I like Scrappleface's version of the events better:
Rep. John ‘Jack’ Murtha, D-PA, today responded to news of deadly bomb attacks on two Iraqi mosques by calling for an immediate withdrawal of Muslims from Iraq...

“Shiite Muslims have done all they can in Iraq,” said Rep. Murtha, “but it is time for a change in direction. It is evident that continued Shiite worship is not in the best interest of the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf Region.”

The Cost of Weakness - Here and In Israel

By all means, at all costs, let's preserve the Noble Lie - that Abbas is a "good" Partner for Peace.

I'm just wondering aloud about the price Israel and her citizens now have to pay for the perception of Bush as weakened.

Soccer Dad writing at Israpundit, weighs into the story a day later with an analysis of the editorial positions of the Washington Post and NYTimes. Since I've never seen the NYTimes' editorial staff adopt a position on Israel with which I agree, I no longer read what they have to say on the subject.

He also provides a link to Arieh Sullivan's article in the Jerusalem Post
In the small picture, giving up control of the Rafah crossing is just another price Israel paid for quitting the Gaza Strip. But in the larger picture, it shows the lack of Israeli vision about how exactly it plans to control the Palestinians as they assume greater sovereignty.

What would impact directly on Israel's security would be the importation of Katyusha rockets and artillery (such as long range mortars) since they are so far the only weapons that could seriously penetrate the Israeli shield erected around the coastal strip.

The danger of the Rafah precedent will be apparent when the Palestinians open their sea and air port where this sort of weapons could be more readily imported. It will be difficult for Israel to insist on a veto here after giving it up on the land crossing to Egypt.

Furthermore, the introduction of international supervision and Egypt also makes it all the more difficult to attempt to shut down the crossing should, for example, there be severe terrorist attacks in Israel.
I can't imagine first term Bush pushing Israel into this situation which is going to backfire and backfire hard.

And Scott at Powerline neatly sums up the matter by stating:

Why is it that "realists" seem not to comprehend the most basic facts regarding the war to exterminate Israel?...The problem with "realism" and the "realists" in the State Department is that they're so unrealistic.

Hence, the Noble Lie. Abbas is a partner for "peace". And "peace" and stability are the goal at all costs. As long as the cost is borne by someone else, and can go "undetected" if nothing blows up in the US. As Hitchens reminds us about Scowcroft, another realist:
Realism of the Scowcroft sort presided over the Iran-Iraq war with its horrific casualties and watched indifferently as genocide was enacted in northern Iraq. It allowed despots free rein from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and then goggled when this gave birth to the Taliban and al-Qaida.
Previous post on this topic: Were Condi's Demon Eyes Prescient?

The Return of Bast, Kitten Avenger

Judge gives jail time, fine, night without food in the wilderness, to woman who abandoned 40 kittens in two Lake MetroParks.

It's a good thing this woman didn't live in Ancient Egypt, where cat murder resulted in the death sentence.

Score one, possibly two, for the Tory's David Cameron

Even here in the US hinterlands, i.e. NYC, we've heard of the fearsome BBC interviewer, Jeremy Paxman. So it's rather amusing to read, via Normblog, that David Cameron served Paxman up with some of his own dish during a recent interview:
Mr Cameron also turned the tables on Paxman, telling him: "This is the trouble with these interviews, Jeremy. You come in, sit someone down and treat them like they are some cross between a fake [and] a hypocrite. You give no time to anyone to answer any of your questions. It does your profession no favours at all and it's no good for political discourse." He later complained the interview was farcical and asked for a deal: "Maybe two sentences, and then you can interrupt."
Good for David!

And as another point in his favor, there is a rumor circulating that "that he will persuade the former leader William Hague - and possibly the thrice-defeated Kenneth Clarke - to join his shadow cabinet. 'It's a serious option,' a Cameron aide said."

Better yet, why doesn't Hague come back to fill the position of Tory leader himself? He's still my favorite Tory.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Were Condi's Demon-eyes Prescient?

When I read stories like this one, about the Mideast deal just brokered by Condi, giving Palestinians control of the Gaza-Egypt border, as well as free access to their own port in Gaza, I feel like demonizing Condi myself. Condi, in fact, stated she would not leave the Middle East until she had such an accord signed by both parties.

Rice met separately with Israeli and Palestinian officials throughout the night to defuse what she called "the hard issues" that kept the two sides from signing the deal.

The agreement, brokered by former World Bank president James Wolfensohn on behalf of the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union, compels Israel to cede to the Palestinian Authority control of the movement of people and goods across the Gaza-Egypt border at the southern Rafah crossing.

The Palestinians could take control of the border as soon as Nov. 25, according to the agreement.

The Palestinian Authority pledged to prevent smuggling of weapons or militants across the border.
And we trust them implicitly to do so, based on their past record. Meanwhile European Union representatives will monitor compliance. Well that should ensure that the Jews evil Zionists Israelis are forced to stick to the letter of the law. While the Europeans facilitate the Palestinians in sticking to their version of its spirit - in other words, the Palestinians will tell the Europeans they're sticking to the law, while doing exactly the opposite, to loud sounds of approval all around. After all, the EU will hardly want to upset the European street any more than it is already.

Debka reports that:

The protests came from the top levels of Israel’s armed forces, the Shin Beit and all other intelligence services and the police. Rarely before have so many expressions of alarm been rushed to the head of government by all of top security agencies...

There is no longer any barrier to Palestinian terrorists bringing shoulder-launched anti-air missiles any time to the point from which they can turn Israel’s international airport into a disaster zone and paralyze international air traffic to and from the country.

Our sources reveal that the prime minister’s office made sure the six-page accord left by Rice was not translated into Hebrew. Israeli television and radio audiences were therefore not exposed to its contents.

Israel is denied any veto power over the arrival of terrorists from Sinai to Gaza or from Gaza to the West Bank in both directions. A wanted terrorist can simply board a bus in Gaza and commute to Hebron or Ramallah without restraint. Israel officials may not stop and search it the vehicle, albeit on Israeli soil, let alone make an arrest. They can only gnash their teeth in frustration.

All this only two months before the Palestinian election is likely to deliver a large mandate to Hamas.

And what is the built in incentive system meant to keep the Palestinians on the straight and narrow track.


Now I don't sneeze at economics as an incentive in the least. That would work splendidly for rational types.

But it will hardly work for people raised on the milk of terrorism all their lives - by Arafat, by Hamas, Hezbollah and now Al Qaeda. Who all, by the way, very well understand the threat that capitalism forms to their higher calling of terrorism and rarefied Islam. And know how to combat it quite well with their own propaganda.

The Bush administration currently appears unmanned. Sharply unpopular at home - and unable even to enforce discipline among Senate Republicans who, to their shame, followed John Warner's lead in voting to reprimand the Bush administration on its conduct of the war, I can't see them mustering sufficient resolution to demand the Palestinians actually live up to their agreements. It took them months upon months finally to stand up to the Democrats on perverting their own record on Iraq. After fighting for this precipitate policy, just how quickly can we count on them to stand up for Israel against the Palestinians when that, too, is necessary?

As Captain Ed points out, soon we can look forward to the humantiarian shipments of Karine B, Karine C, Karine D, Karine E...

So let the good times role for the Palestinians, aye...

The King Democrats Have No Clothes

What would you have to believe simultaneously in order to sustain the anti-war Left's current lie about the evil machinations of the President that led us - deplorably - into the Iraq war?

Christopher Hitchens nets the Democrats and leaves them twisting.

But are they intelligent enough to realize it?

Not if we are to believe their own account of themselves.

Let us suppose, then, that we can find a senator who voted for the 1998 act to remove Saddam Hussein yet did not anticipate that it might entail the use of force, and who later voted for the 2002 resolution and did not appreciate that the authorization of force would entail the removal of Saddam Hussein! Would this senator kindly stand up and take a bow? He or she embodies all the moral and intellectual force of the anti-war movement. And don't be bashful, ladies and gentlemen of the "shocked, shocked" faction, we already know who you are...

Why does this certified disarmament upset people so much? Would they rather have given Saddam the benefit of the doubt? Much more infuriating about the current anti-Chalabi hysteria is this: He turns up in Washington with a large delegation of Iraqi democrats, including a female Shiite ex-Communist, several Sunni dignitaries from the "hot" provinces, and the legendary Abdul Karim al-Muhammadawi, who led a genuine insurgency among the Marsh Arabs for 18 years. And the American left mounts a gargoyle picket line outside and asks silly and insulting questions inside, about a question that has already been decided. What a travesty this is. Not only do the liberal Democrats apparently want their own congressional votes from 1998 and 2002 back. It sometimes seems that they are actually nostalgic for the same period, when Saddam Hussein was running Iraq, and there were no coalition soldiers to challenge his rule, and when therefore by definition there was peace, and thus things were more or less OK. Their current claim to have been fooled or deceived makes them out, on their own account, to be highly dumb and gullible. But as dumb and gullible as that?

Scrappleface Nails Luther

A year or more ago, Wretchard, of the Belmont Club compared the change augured by the development of the internet to the development of the printing press in the late 15th century.

And now Scrappleface goes him one better.

Bloggers Charles Johnson and Roger Simon officially launched the “citizen journalist” Open Source Media blog by nailing a pair of pajamas to the front door of The New York Times.

Whacking the President

The Ex-President, that is.

Both the NYSun and the NYPost whack Bill Clinton for his extremely non-Presidential behavior yesterday in Dubai in calling the Iraq War "A Big Mistake".
It has long been accepted that former presidents do not publicly criticize their successors, particularly when it comes to foreign policy; certainly the first President Bush held his tongue when it came to judging Clinton's dubious foreign-policy performance.
Each editorial points out that this is part of the tag-team tactics of the Clinton team. While Hillary holds firm on her pro-war stance, Bill fondles the anti-war crowd.

Two, two, two bints in one.

UPDATE: Today the WSJ weighs in by coopting the recent Bush strategy for dealing with hypocrites Democrats, by using their own words to point out the hypocrisy of their current position.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Libby Investigation Passes Go, Turns to Farce

So now Bob Woodward reveals he knew all about the Wilson-Plame affair before Libby is reputed to have mentioned it to any journalists. Woodward doesn't believe he, himself, mentioned the story to Libby, but he may have, since it is in his notes as one of the questions he had for Libby.

Furthermore, he believes he mentioned the story to Walter Pincus, at the Washington Post, but Pincus remembers differently and says that he Woodward never did.

Betsy Newmark, writing at Michelle Malkin's points out that this plague of misremembering between Pincus and Woodward is likely to impact severely the impression of the misremembering between Russert and Libby.


I imagine Libby and his legal team are dancing a jig right about now.

Moreover, this shines a terrible light on Andrea Mitchell, who it turns out, will be shown publicly to be far less honest than Woodward. Woodward came forward with an honest angle on the story, Andrea publicly lied on Don Imus' show - which was evident to anyone who saw the segment - trying to squirm out of her admission on TV in 2003, that she, as well as other reporters, knew that Plame was Joe Wilson's wife.

And Tom Maguire reports that his friends on the left are feeling very snippy at Woodward right now. Will he get any Fitzmas invitations, if he turns out to be the Grinch who finally steals Fitzmas?

Scrappleface covers the farce aspect of the case.

UPDATE: Just watched several minutes of Chris Matthews discussing this story on Hardball. There was Chris practically salivating over the fact that now the story behind the story might net Cheney. In his dreams. Meanwhile, he had Richard Cohen on, who refused to believe that the story behind the story was a "big conspiracy," rather than business as usual. Wilson wrote his editorial and the WH explained it away dismissively as "his wife got him the job." Both times Cohen made this assertion, Matthew's negative body language, in voice and reaction, was just palpable.

On Fox News, Joe diGenova stated with great force that Fitzgerald now has an absolute duty to re-calibrate his law suit based on the new information that came out, and if necessary to withdraw the charge.

The Clinton Colors

Clinton says Iraq invasion was a big mistake

You know, I'm just so glad Clinton delivered this message first to students of the American University in Dubai.
The United States made a "big mistake" when it invaded Iraq, former President Bill Clinton said Wednesday, citing the lack of planning for what would happen after dictator Saddam Hussein was overthrown.

"Saddam is gone. It's a good thing, but I don't agree with what was done, " Clinton told students at the American University of Dubai.

"It was a big mistake. The American government made several errors ... one of which is how easy it would be to get rid of Saddam and how hard it would be to unite the country."
How very Presidential of him.

I don't imagine, for example, he's smelling any blood in the water -- drip, drip, dripping from low polls -- and deciding to circle around?

Clinton a shark? With his stalwart character?

No way!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Bush At Long Last to Take Off the Gloves...

And Hit Back at the Dems on their positions on pre-war Intelligence. And not a minute too soon. In fact, it's many minutes too late.

But how will the media cover the narrative?

Heh -- I bet they go for a preemptive strike to squelch it! Despite believing that preemptive strikes are "wrong" and "unAmerican."

We already know how the Dems will react since National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley rehearsed the argument yesterday.
Democrats immediately took issue with Hadley's account. Within minutes of his briefing, the Senate Democratic caucus issued a statement saying the responsibility did not fall on lawmakers who voted to authorize use of force: "Some critics of how the administration misused intelligence did believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. What these critics object to is the hyping of the intelligence by the Bush administration."
Yes, poor fools, they were taken in by that idiot George and all his evil men. Completely suckered by him and his hyping. All capacity for independent thought apparently removed.

Scrappleface makes a similar point.

As for “lying about WMD”, or even hyping them into something out of step with the National Intelligence Estimate at the time, Norman Podhoretz rightly compares that canard to a cartoon character that no matter how many times it is spectacularly killed off through facts and logic, always bounces up again. Here he slays the beast again.

Cori Dauber adds: It's About Time and points out that the Washington Post article only takes note of the WH argument, without in any way articulating it. As opposed to the attacks on the WH argument, which are recounted with depth and detail.

What did I say above. The Media will deal with this WH foray by a preemptive attack to squelch it. And this is a perfect illustration of how you squelch and delegitimize an argument in print.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Whither Britain?

UPDATE: Stephen Pollard discusses how Blair's loss on this vote signals the end of the period of New Labour - and with it the end of the term in which Tony Blair can accomplish anything. He thinks the Labour party in Britain is now reverting to its old instincts.

Melanie Phillips on the voting down in Britian of the initiative to keep suspected terrorists in prison for 90 days, at police urging.
We now have the astonishing political situation in Britain where a Labour Prime Minister represents the country’s overwhelming desire for appropriate laws to protect itself, and as a result loses his authority in Parliament as a result of an alliance between the left of the Labour party and the Conservatives on the grounds that measures to prevent atrocities amount to a 'police state'. What on earth are the Conservatives for if they can’t even defend the country’s security because they now line up with the left in assuming that the police are a conspiracy against personal freedom, and refuse to acknowledge the implications of the changed nature of the terrorist threat? The Tories have now lined up with those claiming fatuously that the 90-day provision would have introduced ‘internment’ or a ‘police state’. Thus does Britain now describe sensible provisions to defend itself.
And Carol Gould, writing in Frontpage, says,
During the debate today in the Commons, a member of the Loyal Opposition shouted at the Prime Minister, "Are we to live in a police state?" Blair was nonplussed and visibly shaken. His anger could barely be controlled. There we were: a member of the House repeating the refrain of every media outlet in Britain that – despite July 7th – Britain risks becoming a ‘police state’ or a ‘fascist state like the USA’ if we crack down on home-grown terrorists. Instead, we must wheel out every permutation of Islamic spokesperson to tell us how evil our culture is and how Britain has become a lapdog to Washington Zionist neocons. We must, they shout, not listen to the police and security services but let terrorists go back out onto the streets after twenty-eight days in custody.

Archaeologists decry Wakf 'renovation'

So the Wakf wants to perpetrate more renovation on the Temple Mount, apparently in order to make the entire thing into a huge mosque complex so that any rights that Jews have, even to tread upon the ground, will eventually cease to exist entirely.
"As part of our follow-up on Wakf activities over the last years, it has become clear that these projects are part of an overall Wakf plan to turn the whole compound into one exclusive Muslim site...and we have firm basis to suppose that the Wakf's aim this time as well is to take over this structure as well and incorporate it into the mosque at the site," the November 7 letter read.
It seems to me that Sharon, having been charged with igniting the Second Intifada because of his jaunt around the top of Temple Mount, signalling not incidentally to Jewish voters that he thought Temple Mount contained an important matter of principle, is now being extra careful never to interfere with the administration of Temple Mount again. And not even to draw worldwide attention to the harm being done to Israel's most important monument.

I find that a dereliction of duty.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

You Win One, You Lose One

Israel has reached an immigration deal with Ethiopia on Falashmura, so that the entire community will be relocated by the end of 2007.

At the same time, India is suddenly making trouble about the conversion and relocation of the Bnei' Menashe. The effort by Israeli rabbis to convert the remaining 7000 people in India has been halted, narrowly averting a crisis in Israel-Indian relations.

Previous post on the Bnei Menashe here

Who Knew Oksana Baiul Was Jewish?

Apparently she didn't either until recently.

Hat tip: Canonist

The Academy Does the Lubavitcher Rebbe

There was a conference last weekend at NYU discussing the Kabbalah of the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Called “Reaching for the Infinite, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Life, Teachings and Impact.” It sounds fascinating, actually. Or bits of it do. I wish I had learned about it before it occurred, rather than afterwards.

Apparently, heh, a few disputes broke out. Not surprising given the controversial topic. Notably one between Norman Lamm, head of Yeshiva University, and Professo Elliot Wolfson of NYU, a leading academic scholar of kabbalah. Fortunately, the Canonist took notes, here excerpting some of Dr. Lamm's comments in response to Wolfson.
Early in his paper, Professor Wolfson avers that "the secret of the secret"…is that "in its most inwardness, the soul is conjoined to divinity…the soul is consubstantial with God," and refers to this as "an insight that significantly closes the gap separating the human and the divine, a gap that is typically assumed to be a basic tenet of Biblical and rabbinical Judaism."

While this is not alien to Kabbalistic thinking, the idea of yichud refers to unification with the sephirot, never — to my knowledge — with the ohr ain sof itself. The adept must therefore steer a careful course between depicting the highest stages of religious consciousness and the erasure of the ultimate gap between God and man.

That sounds like good old neo-platonism to me. Nothing too scary.
[…] Is this not easy to distort into justification that the Rebbe as Messiah is part of the Godhead?
Not in the least, in my opinion. But perhaps Professor Lamm does not expect run of the mill Lubavitchers to have a working familiarity with the nexus points between neo-Platonism and Judaism in the mystical tradition?
For Rabbi Schneerson, according to Professor Wolfson, "Messianic redemption is, in hypernomian terms, the overcoming of all binaries…a mystical vision that allows one to see that darkness and light are no longer distinguishable."

...Granted that this ethically anarchic state is reserved for the messianic era, and presumably not for us in the here-and-now, is it not easy to find in this concept a "source" for a kind of Sabbatian antinomianism and moral nihilism — especially if one believes moshiach has arrived, in the form of Rabbi Schneerson?
Hmm, calling this state ethically anarchic is certainly not careful, neutral language. And even though a spot of Sabbatianism is always fun -- at least to discuss -- the kind of mystical vision that Professor Wolfson is alluding to seems as far a cry as possible from moral nihilism.

On the other hand, I don't myself believe that the days of the Messiah are already here - heh! as though that's a shock to anyone - and can't quite imagine the mindset of someone who does. But, during the Sabbatian period, it strikes me that what led the people astray and into sin was the leadership itself propelling the people that way. At this point, while there might be some doctrinal differences, there is no suggestion, as far as I know, that people must participate in becoming broken shards by sinning so that they then can be uplifted and made whole, as part of the process of the messianic days. As was true during the Sabbatian period.

UPDATE: Elliott Wolfson responds in person on the Canonist to one of his critics. If mysticism or classical philosophy is the kind of thing that interests you, or if you want to know what the Rebbe's Torah was ultimately about, these several paragraphs are well worth your while. It throws a light on the internals of Lubavitch kabbalah. And certainly helps translate the greatness of the Rebbe.

Hat tip: Paleojudaica

Speaking of Texas...

Andrea Yates Gets a New Trial

I, for one, am glad. If ever a woman killed her children from post-partum insanity, she seems to be the perfect case. Why have the law at all, if not for cases like her? Of course, the Texas burden to prove insanity is famously difficult.

I bought Jeralyn Merrit's arguments at the time, that there should be a legal category in the US, as there is in Britain, of guilty, but insane.

Krauthammer's take on Andrea Yates, from 2002.

The Rumor Of My Demise Has Been Greatly Exaggerated

So, famously, spake Mark Twain, combatting constant rumors about his death in the press.

Parsing DeFrank on the Rumor of the death of the Bush-Cheney Special Relationship.

Thomas DeFrank, writing in the Daily News, has a new installment of his saga on the cooling of the relationship between Cheney and Bush. Titled, appropriately enough, With policies under fire, Bush-Cheney relationship cools.
The CIA leak scandal has peeled back the veil on the most closely held White House secret of all: the subtle but unmistakable erosion in the bond between President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

Multiple sources close to Bush told the New York Daily News that while the vice president remains his boss's valued political partner and counselor, his clout has lessened - primarily as a result of issues arising from the Iraq war.
Etc. There's more in that vein. Which of course causes the cockles of Democrat's positively to tremble with schadenfreude.

So what I'm trying to figure out is how "to read" this ongoing story.

Since we don't know who is leaking these vignettes to DeFrank, yet he informs us the story has multiple sources, I'm still left with a series of questions about it.

Is this story true? If so, true in what way and to what extent? How much cooling is there? First of all, how much of a story is it? After five years, some fluctuation or erosion or friction in even the closest political alliances is natural. His boldest statement, which gives the strongest support to this scenario is this part of the narrative:
"The public side of the relationship hasn't changed," a close presidential loyalist said. "The private side of the relationship is not to the degree it used to be. Cheney has been his gray-haired senior adviser. That's the void that needs to be filled."
A close presidential loyalist could be anyone, particularly with some paleo-conservative leanings. Which leads neatly to our second question.

Is this scenario wishful thinking on the part of the leakers? Are they leaking to help facilitate the outcome they so devoutly desire? To support this claim, we have the following clue.
These sources also said Libby's indictment was a wake-up call for White House aides who have long believed the Cheney national security operation has enjoyed too much of a free hand in administration policymaking.

"Cheney never operated without a degree of (presidential) license, but there are people around who cannot believe some of the advice (Bush) has been given.
Here at least there is a reference to sources, plural. But we are also told, "The relationship is not what it was," a presidential counselor said. "There has been some distance for some time." A presidential counselor could be anyone, close or distant. Meanwhile what is the agenda of that counselor? And why is s/he leaking in an Administration famous for its dislike of such leaks. To what purpose? Which leads to the third question.

Is it planted disinformation because at the moment it will "benefit" the administration if there looks to be an unusual distance between Cheney and Bush, at this point of vulnerability that has arisen from the Libby indictments? To add some weight to this contention, we find:
The source declined to offer any specifics, citing the extraordinary sensitivity surrounding the Bush-Cheney relationship.
So, reference to only one source at this point, and no specifics. Not entirely convincing.

Furthermore, Bush continues to speak eloquently and passionately about the mission in Iraq. What particular of Cheney's advice on the war does he disagree with now? That part, the article does not divulge leaving the misleading impression that the President now questions the mission in Iraq in total.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

We Can't Have That Now, Can We

Oh they feel "left out." And I imagine their feelings were hurt, too.

Well, then, by all means, let them help control the internet!

That's Kofi Annan, laying out his best argument as to why America should cede control of the Internet to other countries.
But developing countries find it difficult to follow all these processes and feel left out of Internet governance structures....

Everyone acknowledges the need for more international participation in discussions of Internet governance. The disagreement is over how to achieve it. So let's set aside fears of U.N. "designs" on the Internet. Much as some would like to open up another front of attack on the United Nations, this dog of an argument won't bark.
I'm confident it will bark, and very loudly.

Recent posts on this subject:
1) The World Wide Web (of Bureaucrats?)
2) Is the Guardian Engaging in Wishful Thinking
3) Ye Gods!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Edging Towards the Black

Astronomers are edging closer to seeing the dark hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
Astronomers are reporting today that they have moved a notch closer to seeing the unseeable.

Using a worldwide array of radio telescopes to obtain the most detailed look yet at the center of the Milky Way, they said they had determined that the diameter of a mysterious fountain of energy there was less than half that of Earth's orbit about the Sun...

It also leaves astronomers on the verge of seeing the black hole itself as a small dark shadow ringed with light, in the blaze of radiation that marks the galaxy's center.

Until now, the existence of black holes - objects so dense that not even light can escape them- has been surmised by indirect measurements, say of stars or gas swirling in their grip. Seeing the black hole's shadow would require the ability to see about twice as much detail as can now be discerned...

"We're getting tantalizingly close to being able to see an unmistakable signature that would provide the first concrete proof of a supermassive black hole at a galaxy's center," [said] Shen Zhiqiang of the Shanghai Astronomical Observatory....

Astronomers have identified thousands of probable black holes. The candidates include objects billions of times as massive as the Sun at the centers of galaxies, where, it is theorized, gas and dust swirling toward their doom are heated and erupt with jets of X-rays and radio energy.

But the putative holes are too far away for astronomers to discern what would be their signature feature: a point of no return called the event horizon, in effect an edge of the observable universe, from which nothing can return. Instead, the evidence for black holes rests mainly on the inference that too much invisible mass resides in too small a space to be anything else...
Which is fascinating as it suggests a physical boundary to the universe, that it is not infinite in all directions. Although on the other side of the black, who knows what resides?
...The center of the Milky Way is about 26,000 light-years away, in the direction of Sagittarius. The new observations conclude that at the center of the galaxy an amount of invisible matter equal to the mass of four million Suns is crammed into a region no more than 90 million miles across. That small size, the radio astronomers said, eliminates the most likely alternative explanation of the fireworks at the galaxy's center: a cluster of stars. Such a dense cluster would collapse in 100 years.

Even more conclusive proof would come from the observation of the black hole's shadow, which would be about five times the size of the event horizon and appear about as big as a tennis ball on the Moon as seen from Earth...
Any Jewish mystics out there or kabbalistically educated physicists who want to opine on the relation of the kabbalistic theory of tsimtsum to black holes?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Not Faster, Please!

Spielberg is rushing to get out his new film, Munich, before the December deadline, so it can be considered for movie awards.

Does he have to?

Munich, you may recall, is Spielberg's take on the aftermath to the Munich massacre at the 1972 Olympics, based on a "memoir," purporting to be about an "ex-Mossad agent" who claims he took part in the hits against the Palestinian perpetrators of the massacre, as ordered by Israel. The "memoir" has been debunked as entirely fictional. And the sole security experience of the author's source, one Yuval Aviv, came from working as a security guard at El Al in New York.

In fact, the movie is really a pretext for Spielberg to comment about his ambivalence about the "good side" in today's War on Terror. And transfer that ambivalence to Israel.

Former posts on this subject:

The Final Irony
Updating Spielberg
Et tu, Brute?

"Traditional" Values

Beating your wife now okay in Australia – if she's a Muslim.
POLICE are being advised to treat Muslim domestic violence cases differently out of respect for Islamic traditions and habits.
Oh, it's traditional. Well that's okay, then.

Of course, so is honor killing and genital mutilation.
Women's groups are concerned the politically correct policing could give comfort to wife bashers and keep their victims in a cycle of violence.

I think they should sue the bastards - by which I mean whoever dreamt up this assinine process. I can't imagine the Australian High Court would find this differentiation legal.

Distorting The Dead

Kudos to Michelle Malkin for following up on the Corporal Jeffrey B. Starr story with an op ed in the NYPost and a blog entry.

This is the story in which the Times journalist, James Dao, distorted the meaning of the last letter of Corporal Jeffrey B. Starr by choosing to include in his article only the quotation which matched the narrative the reporter was pushing, denuded of the context found in the rest of the text of the letter. Which exhibited the Corporal's absolute belief in the mission he had signed up for three times in Iraq. Obviously the strong statement of support of the Iraq War by the Corporal did not fit the narrative that the Times daily pushes and which the Times readership enjoys so much: that the war in Iraq is wrongheaded and only causes needless, unwilling casualties.

But they support the troops. So that's all right.

Earlier post on this issue here.

Paté de Foie Girl

This story is truly vile.

Even more disgusting than engorging goose livers for paté de fois gras is engorging young Mauritanian girls to bring on early puberty, so that they can be married off at a younger age.

As with genital mutilation, it is the older women enforcing barbaric customs on the younger ones. This time with torture devices.

According to this fact sheet on Mauritania, we find out that: Virtually all Mauritanians are Sunni Muslims. They adhere to the Maliki rite, one of the four Sunni schools of law. Since independence in 1960, Mauritania has been an Islamic republic. The Constitutional Charter of 1985 declares Islam the state religion and sharia the law of the land.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

The Alito Battle

Nice column by John Podhoretz on the politics of the Alito confirmation:
No war, but a lot of ugliness. For example, it took only two hours for the anti-Alito rhetoric to overheat, courtesy of New York's own Sen. Chuck Schumer. He decided, in a pretty amazing display of bad taste, to use the late Rosa Parks' corpse as a weapon.

"The real question today is whether Judge Alito would use his seat on the bench, just as Rosa Parks used her seat on the bus, to change history for the better or whether he would use that seat to reverse much of what Rosa Parks and so many others fought so hard and for so long to put in place," Schumer said.
I happened to catch that live, by the way. As disgusting a piece of rhetoric as I've ever seen, wrapped up in some decent acting. Which is to say, Schumer kept a straight face while whinging lying through his teeth speechifying. As Podhoretz concludes:
Barring some shocking revelation, Alito is in by Christmas.

Chuck Schumer, however, will have to wait until next Yom Kippur to seek atonement for the sin he committed yesterday.
Ann Althouse also has a column on Alito today.

Captain Ed provides some background on the smear currently going around, that Alito purposefully lost a case involving some mafioso, which allowed them to be released. It turns out this is Democrat talking points, straight from the DNC, which was proved by the company holding the license for the copy of Word that created the document is -- the DNC. And by the two authors of the piece, both of whom work there.

Here's the transcript of the document.

Meanwhile, Althouse has the story about the rumor going around that Alito is actually Jewish, or of Jewish origin. Seemingly based on the incongruity of an Italian being named Samuel.