Sunday, August 27, 2006

Let's Hear it For Lantos

US Rep. Tom Lantos said Sunday that he would ask the U.S. Administration to freeze the USD 230 million aid package to Lebanon proposed by President George W. Bush until the Lebanese government takes control of its borders with Syria and prevent arms smuggling to Hizbullah guerrillas.

Lantos, the top Democrat on the House International Relations Committee, spoke after meeting with senior Israeli officials, including

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Lantos, from California, said he told Olmert that the US Aid package to Lebanon was important, "but that this package should be withheld until the Lebanese government displays responsibility," he said. "A porous Syrian-Lebanon border will only invite the repetition of Hizbullah attacks in the future. Hizbullah must not be allowed to rearm again." (AP)
Not that I think a wise policy like this has any ability to be passed in today's environment, but at least it shows that somebody is seeing the situation straight on.

12th Imam is Coming To Town

Judith, the administrator of Kesher Talk had a lovely shabbat dinner the other night and mentioned the people's cube website, which I had never yet visited. So I went to pay a visit.

And here collected for your amusement is the following:


This one's a little late - it was meant for August 22.

But, then, hey, it's pertinent whenever the apocalypse arises.


And read the shiny song lyrics:

Twelfth Imam is Coming to Town

by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
(translated from the Farsi by Laika the Space Dog)

You have no clout
You better not spy
You better watch out, I'm telling you why.
Twelfth Imam is coming to town

H-Bomb is on list
I'll use more than twice
Good Muslims who die
Will go to paradise
Twelfth Imam is coming to town

He knows if you're a Christian
He knows if you're a Jew
He knows if you're an in-fi-del
He's told me what to do

So....You have no clout
You better not spy
You better watch out, I'm telling you why.
Twelfth Imam is coming to town
Twelfth Imam is coming to town

Green politics:


And this one tells it straight:


By the way, Judith's an excellent cook.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Flat Fatima On the Waterfront

This doesn't quite compare to Fatima in Oz, but I still find it amusing.

Hezbollah Sinks Australian Warship


Thursday, August 17, 2006

The State of the Israeli State

So Syria is planning to start its own Hizbullah now:
On the heels of what it views as a Hizbullah victory against the Jewish state, Syria is forming its own Hizbullah-like guerilla organization to fight Israel in hopes of "liberating" the Golan Heights, an official from Syrian President Bashar Assad's Ba'ath party told WorldNetDaily yesterday.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Syria learned from Hizbullah's military campaign against Israel the past month that "fighting" is more effective than peace negotiations with regard to gaining territory.

He said Syria's new guerilla force would be trained by Hizbullah leaders.

"Syria is very serious about establishing this new guerilla force," the official said.
Does anyone understand why Olmert didn't strike Syria in the first days of this war?

And now Peretz is trying to blame the military for not telling him about Hezbollah's missiles.
When Defense Minister Amir Peretz took office four months ago, Hezbollah and the missile threat were at the bottom of the priority list senior IDF officers presented him, Peretz says. In private conversations over the past few days, Peretz said officers did not tell him there was a strategic threat to Israel, and did not present him with all relevant information about the missile threat.
How ludicruous was it that he was appointed Defense Minister in the first place? As though it were an insignificant appointment.

Fortunately, Olmert is now involved in a financial scandal, having to do with the purchase of his apartment, which may provide everyone a convenient opportunity for his exit.
Here is the news: Aliza and Ehud Olmert will be summoned to an investigation in the State Comptroller's office within a few days.

The prime minister and his wife will be presented with these findings: The price they paid for their new house on 8 Cremieux Street in Jerusalem is lower than its market price by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The difference between the sum they paid - some $1.2 million - and the house's value - $1.6-1.8 million - is hard to explain. It raises suspicion that the prime minister and his wife illicitly received about half a million dollars.
Much as I admired Ariel Sharon, one can only ask, with respect to Olmert and his leadership of Israel, what was he thinking? Clearly, he wasn't thinking much past his own term and expected his legacy to carry the day. And, maybe, in the end, even he got tired. Or wanted to badly to redeem his international reputation.

In any case, he never would have conducted a campaign like Olmert. There would have been no war or a much tougher one.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

My Weekend Plans

The next few days, I'm going to be doing a fair amount of this:


So blogging on my end will be light.

[Uh, have I just admitted I'm a Zionist piglet?]

Friday, August 11, 2006

Measuring Olmert for a political shroud

[ Is anyone but me now wondering what Olmert agreed to in advance to secure the robust support not only from the US, but from Britain's Tony Blair. Because it is hard to imagine why Blair of all people would lend such robust support to it without it being in realization of a goal he believes in so strongly,
such as the Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. ]

Vital Perspective has the text of the UN resolution. So does the Corner, where there is some parsing of it if you scroll up and down.

John Podhoretz thinks Olmert is being measured for a political shroud. His nephew, an IDF soldier, thinks that Olmert's picture will be listed in the dictionary besides the word "coward".

Rich Lowry reports that his sources tell him there is intense anger in the US Administration right now against Israel:
Was just talking to a friend who was noting that there is intense anger toward Israel within the administration for botching the war. He thinks the attitude was, "What's the point of giving them more time when they do nothing with it?" He thinks it's the worst defeat for Israel since 1948. He also guesses that the reason that the French flipped against the first resolution wasn't so much the Lebanese reaction as the realization of how poorly Israel was faring militarily. His general rule when it comes to U.N. resolutions in the Middle East is that they either simply reflect the facts on the ground, or make the victor give away a little bit of his victory; they never let someone pull victory out of a hat from defeat. So Israel will utlimately get from this resoltuon what they won on the ground, which is to say not much.
I myself feel that the destruction Israel wrought on Lebanon is less morally defensible for serving so little purpose. Since that damage was not in service of some useful end, like destroying Hezbollah, or destroying Hezbollah more than it did, if there is no useful, strategic, moral point to it, than it is harder to see the point of it at all.

Olmert: Fortune's Fool and His Own

Ari Shavit on Olmert:
Ehud Olmert may decide to accept the French proposal for a cease-fire and unconditional surrender to Hezbollah. That is his privilege. Olmert is a prime minister whom journalists invented, journalists protected, and whose rule journalists preserved. Now the journalists are saying run away. That's legitimate. Unwise, but legitimate.

However, one thing should be clear: If Olmert runs away now from the war he initiated, he will not be able to remain prime minister for even one more day. Chutzpah has its limits. You cannot lead an entire nation to war promising victory, produce humiliating defeat and remain in power. You cannot bury 120 Israelis in cemeteries, keep a million Israelis in shelters for a month, wear down deterrent power, bring the next war very close, and then say - oops, I made a mistake. That was not the intention. Pass me a cigar, please.

There is no mistake Ehud Olmert did not make this past month.

He went to war hastily, without properly gauging the outcome. He blindly followed the military without asking the necessary questions. He mistakenly gambled on air operations, was strangely late with the ground operation, and failed to implement the army's original plan, much more daring and sophisticated than that which was implemented. And after arrogantly and hastily bursting into war, Olmert managed it hesitantly, unfocused and limp. He neglected the home front and abandoned the residents of the north. He also failed shamefully on the diplomatic front.

Still, if Olmert had come to his senses as Golda Meir did during the Yom Kippur War, if he had become a leader, established a war cabinet and called the nation to a supreme effort that would change the face of the battle, a penetrating discussion of his failures could be postponed. But in blinking first over the past 24 hours, he has become an incorrigible political personality. Therefore, the day Nasrallah comes out of his bunker and declares victory to the whole world, Olmert must not be in the prime minister's office. Post-war battered and bleeding Israel needs a new start and a new leader. It needs a real prime minister.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


Well they do share the same profession.

I Question the Timing

Is the British So-Called Terror Plot a Karl Rove Plan?
You know, in order to help Joe Lieberman win the coming Senate race in Connecticut against Ned Lamont.

Because the timing is really suspicious.


Come on! You just know someone on Kos or the Democrat Underground website is thinking this.

UPDATE: Heh!! No sooner articulated than found.

Mary Katherine Ham has found precisely this theory already promulgated among the dhimmillati.
Lieberman loses, CODE RED, CODE RED, CODE RED

No, really.

Bush just invoked a Code Red terrorist emergency, our first ever.

And isn't it queer that the emergency is declared within a day of Republican party leader Ken Mehlman launching an all-out offensive against Democrats following Joe Lieberman's loss in Connecticut, an offensive in which Mehlman, the White House and Republican operatives are claiming that Democrats no longer care about national security or the war on terror.

And just at that moment we get our FIRST ever red alert. Beam me up, Scotty.

Tom Maguire makes the same point:
A friend remarked to me that Karl Rove's reach is long indeed, if he can get the Brits to announce this a day after the Dems go with Lamont in Connecticut.

Though a commenter at Ace thinks that Rove bungled it, which is why news of it came a few days too late.

In more entertaining news, a UK Panel is being assembled to ask: Why Do They Hate Airplanes?
The expert panel will examine various theories about why airplanes engender such hatred among devoted followers of a peaceful religion.

"Is it the horrendous noise? The speed? The condensation trails?" said one unnamed source close to the panel, listing some of the areas of inquiry the experts plan to pursue. "Because if it's any of those things, we can get to work on engineering changes to make airplanes more tolerable to our Muslim brothers."
Of course, this is less funny, if you don't know that mere days ago, the highest-ranking Asian police officer claimed that Islamophobia is fuelling Islamic extremism. So - in an eternal catch 22 - the terrorism is caused by Britain's reaction to terrorism.

More on Olmert's War Dither

UPDATE: Michael Widlanski at Front Page Magazine has more on the schism between government and army over the conduct of the Lebanon campaign.
As Israel nears the end of four weeks of fighting along the Lebanese border and seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, Israeli decision-makers appear guided by three main principles:

*--avoidance of diplomatic sanctions;

*--avoidance of military casualties;

*-- and avoidance of domestic political blame for the countless and obvious mistakes in judgment being made at the upper levels of government and the army.

Prime Minister Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Israeli Army (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz have reiterated the slogan "there is no military solution to terror." They have studiously avoided setting some clear and measurable war goals that look obvious to former Israeli officials and IDF officers, including:

*--Destroying the military machine of the Iranian-financed and controlled Hizballah terror organization that has continued to strike Israel even after Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000;

*-- And Stopping the daily rocket fire on Israel from Lebanon and Gaza.

None of these goals has been met, and many Israeli analysts can scarcely hide their disgust with the government's performance.

If Olmert manages to achieve precisely nothing in this war except strengthening support for Hizbollah - I think all of the civilian upheaval on the part of the Lebanese - and the Israelis - borders on fiasco.

How Mad At Olmert's Handling of the War Are You?

Mad Enough for A Coup?

Some of Israel's senior military staff are, apparently.
Some senior officers have been mentioning the C-word in private conversations. They have been saying that a coup d'etat might be the only way to prevent an outcome in Lebanon that could embolden the Arab world to join forces with Syria and Iran in an all out assault on Israel, given the fact that such a development would be spurred entirely by the Arab and Moslem world's perception of Israel's leadership as weak, craven and vacillating, and therefore ripe for intimidation.
Not that I think it would be a good idea. Is the Israeli Government still doing no confidence votes?

Read all about the military plan that might have been.

I'm really sore about the no bombing of Syria part. They're on heightened alert now and cleaning out military posts untouched since the 1973 war, so it won't be possible effectively and cost free now.

Well, it's either Netanyahu or a general for Prime Minister next. Which, as long as it is not Ehud Barak again, suits me just fine. Speaking of which, did you read Shimon Peres abstained on the vote to send the troops to the Litani River. I guess people like BHL - - the Bernard Henri Levi(TM) - and other Europeans would admire the Prince Priest of Zionism less if he had voted to fight hard.

In any case, Olmert's slip about the convergence plan being implemented may have led to its permanent postponement:
[W]hat did Olmert say? He said that in his opinion this war would strengthen the need for his realignment plan. Two hours after uttering these words he received an ultimatum: if this issue is still alive, said the West Bank settlement representatives in the Knesset, we shall call our people home: from junior to senior officers, those in the standing and reserve army, as well as the people of Eli, Itzhar, Beit El and Ofra. These are the spears with which you have embarked on this war, and he who controls these spears cannot permit himself to threaten them with the destruction of their homes. That's what Knesset member Benny Alon said in a statement that is an explicit threat calling for rebellion, unheard of in the region since the War of Independence.

And indeed within 12 hours, Ehud Olmert folded, as no prime minister has folded since Benjamin Nethanyahu vis-à-vis the Khaled Mashaal affair.

This event, which was almost washed away in the blood of the innocent, precedes the new reality that will set in when the war is over: a political, civilian earthquake, whose statement by the settlers' representatives in the Knesset will sound the first note.

In the second phase of this development, a determined home front will direct everything it has towards a conflict with the cabinet in its bid to hold it accountable.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Stalinist Indeed!

At Kesher Talk, Van headed a post, Nutroots Go Stalinist in CT.

Stalinist, indeed.

It turns out that Lamont's father is:
Corliss Lamont was a brilliant, very wealthy by inheritance, communist fellow-traveler through the '30’s and '40’s and '50’s, who continued in such anti-U.S. foreign policy crusades on to his death in 1995, having opposed the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
Bruce Kessler at Democracy Project, has the opinions of Lamont's father. They could come right out of a Kos Diary today.
The fact is, of course, that both the Truman and Eisenhower Administrations, in order to push their enormous armaments programs through Congress and to justify the continuation of the cold war, have felt compelled to resort to the device of keeping the American people in a state of alarm over some alleged menace of Soviet or Communist origin.
They are all like that.

UPDATE: It turns out this guy is Lamont's grandfather, not his father.

Living the Red State Life

So, after a few months of dithering and not quite getting around it, I finally went on my first shooting expedition at the shooting range on West 20th Street.

I went with Mary who wrote up her experiences already at Exit Zero and another friend, Steven, also from the Liberal Hawks list.

First they make you sit down to a class to learn about the mechanisms of the rifles. At that level, they are pretty basic. They teach you about the safety lock, how to clear your rifle if it jams, etc. Then they show you how to load your ammunition into the clips. And then they take you inside the range to shoot. You start with the target at twenty feet, which is really easy, and then, at will, you can move your target back as far as fifty feet. The targets are on the pulley system, so periodically, once the targets are far enough away so that you can't see where your shots are hitting, you pull them forward to see what you have done.

The only problem with this system is that since at that distance, it is demned hard to see where you are hitting, and it is so much fun to shoot off rounds, you don't pull the target in often enough to correct your mistakes.

This is my target at 50 ft.


Not terrible. Not great. My shots were hitting right, due to an overcorrection of the fact that earlier they were hitting left. But, as I said, at that distance I couldn't tell and automatically correct. Clearly I need to practice, which I intend to get.

Mary and I both stayed to shoot off 100 rounds.

I could have easily done another hundred.

Then we went out to dinner at Punch and talked about blogging experiences. Good thing Mary remembered the name of the restaurant, because I hadn't. It was a tasty, light dinner for a summer night.

Can't wait to go again.

A White House Divided

I've been kind of amazed at Condi's support for the war. My impression of her had been that she was much more of the "realist" school; and when it comes to Israel, the realist school always demands capitulation and diplomacy.

I even wrote in my first post about this war that very soon after the war began Condi and her state department would start signaling it was disproportionate and needed to be brought to a close.

But now, if this article in Insight Magazine is to be believed, it turns out that this war has been the occasion of the first Bush/Condi schism. And Condi and the State Department want to end it. Whereas Bush has broken with her advice on this, has his own view and it is more aligned with the Cheney/Rumsfeld wing which wants Israel to go on, and hopefully do some work towards finishing Hizbullah off.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has become increasingly dismayed over President Bush's support for Israel to continue its war with Hezbollah...

For the last 18 months,Condi was given nearly carte blanche in setting foreign policy guidelines," a senior government source familiar with the issue said. "All of a sudden, the president has a different opinion and he wants the last word."

The disagreement between Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice is over the ramifications of U.S. support for Israel's continued offensive against Lebanon. The sources said Mr. Bush believes that Israel's failure to defeat Hezbollah would encourage Iranian adventurism in neighboring Iraq. Ms. Rice has argued that the United States would be isolated both in the Middle East and Europe at a time when the administration seeks to build a consensus against Iran's nuclear weapons program.

Instead, Ms. Rice believes the United States should engage Iran and Syria to pressure Hezbollah to end the war with Israel. Ms. Rice has argued that such an effort would result in a U.S. dialogue with Damascus and Tehran on Middle East stability...

Ms. Rice's biggest supporter has been Brent Scowcroft, who served under the first Bush administration as national security advisor...

A comprehensive peace settlement would not only defang the radicals in Lebanon and Palestine, and their supporters in other countries, it would also reduce the influence of Iran -- the country that, under its current ideology, poses the greatest potential threat to stability in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Egypt and Jordan," Mr. Scowcroft wrote in a column in the Washington Post on July 30.

The sources said Mr. Bush's position has been supported by Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and to a lesser extent National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley. They have urged the president to hold off international pressure and give Israel more time to cause strategic damage to Hezbollah as well as Iranian and Syrian interests in Lebanon...

Aides for Mr. Cheney have argued that the United States should have targeted Hezbollah and Syria during the war against Iraq in 2003. They said despite U.S. intelligence warnings Hezbollah was allowed to dominate Lebanon and build a formidable force along the Israeli border.

"There was talk of taking care of Hezbollah and Syria, but Condi and [then-Secretary of State Colin] Powell said 'no way. We don't need another front,'" an official said.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Laugh Break of the Day

If you want a laugh break, this video, Stephen Colbert interviewing Eleanor Holmes Norton, is extremely funny:

Don't cry for me, Siniora

I found this "new Lebanese anthem" in talkback 21 to a YNET article:

Don't cry for me, Siniora,
the truth is
I never loved you
I love Hizbulla

The anthem, not incidentally, came up in response to an article detailing how Tzipi Livni admonished Siniora to wipe away his tears and act with strength, not Hizballah induced weakness, for the sake of his country and his people.
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni called Tuesday in her Knesset speech to the Prime Minister of Lebanon Fouad Siniora "to wipe away his tears and to start acting in order to create a better future for the citizens for whom he is crying." In a special discussion in which the families of the kidnapped soldiers participated, Livni related to Siniora's crying in front of the foreign ministers of the Arab world in Beirut Monday.

According to Livni, Israel is paying the price for the weakness of the Lebanese government, the same price the Lebanese people are paying. "Siniora is using his weakness to call the international community to strengthen him. We say to the international community not to leave its decisions as mere decisions on paper, which are later pointed to when they are preserved in archives. We must not give veto power to Hizbullah. With the international community understands Siniora's weakness it gives more power to Hizbullah."
What interesting sexual politics! The female foreign minister of Israel admonishing the male prime minister of Lebanon not to cry and show his weakness. I bet that goes over well in the Muslim world.

Of course, the last time that Siniora cried publicly he was reacting to Hizbullah propaganda that 40 Lebanese civilians had been killed. The true number was one one casualty.

In more news from Israel, an increasing number of IDF soldiers and reservists are now asking to freeze their sperm, lest the worst happens to them while they are in combat situations, injury or death. This way their partners or parents will be left with the choice to have children or grandchildren from the seed of the dead soldier. I think it is an excellent idea. It might be an alternative which other modern armies want to offer their soldiers going into combat as well.


And in even more news from Israel, Lisa from On the Face visits an Israeli refugee camp, and afterwards both she and Egyptian Sand Monkey are depressed about it, but for very different reasons.

Sand Monkey has some pictures up at his site, as well as his explanation. Read the comments, too!

Itamar suggests that perhaps the Reuters photoshopping crew should have lent a hand before they went up on the web!

Lisa also explains why she is depressed about it, which makes for sobering reading. Appearances can be deceiving, while also being quite attractive.

Beauty Treatments Go Futuristic and Not in A Good Way

The stem cell debate is a gray on gray area for many people. Nor is it a debate, as currently framed in the US, on which I feel strongly, because I think each side has a point.

But this is just beyond the pale.

Apparently, there's a new, and entirely unregulated, industry of beauty spas, where stem cells from aborted babies (optimum time period: from six to twelve weeks, abortions are "volitional" of course, though they are remunerated) are used in rejuvenation treatments for people of a certain age and material position. In some cases, the promise is that injecting these stems cells from aborted foetuses can take as much as 10 years off of someone's looks; but the treatments must be repeated yearly.

The promise: The clinic claims that the foetal tissue derived from elective abortions at six to 12 weeks is rich in regenerative stem cells. 'We inject the cells taken from the liver tissue of human foetuses directly into the vein in the back of your hand,' ...

'The results are incredible. You'll feel and look different after a month because these cells help the body to regenerate itself. The effects last for approximately a year before it needs to be "topped up'' '.

...Barnett Suskind, chief executive of IRM, is unapologetic about the treatment he carries out. 'It is the most natural form of healing there is - in ten years, everyone will be doing this,' he says. 'You think better, sleep better, and look better. Your quality of life improves and your libido certainly improves.'

Anyone out there read the sci-fi novels of Lois Bujold? She has an entire renegade planet, known as Jackson's Whole, devoted to the treatment of such "beauty treatments," entirely unregulated of course, and run by medical crime families. Anyone can get any treatment, as long as they pay through the nose for it, including growing clones for replacement body parts, etc.

The industry described in the article I cited above makes such unpleasant aspects of a sci-fi future so much more imminent. Who can doubt such practices will be more widespread in future? It strikes me as practically cannibalistic, but wrapped up in sterile, "scientific" packaging, like buying meat in the supermarket. So you are utterly removed from contemplating the barbarism of what your body is consuming.

UPDATE: Now Drudge has picked up the story. Huh. Usually it goes the other way.

Monday, August 07, 2006

We Go Together..Like the Fire That Needs the Flame

Londoners demonstrate their support for Hezbollah:


Walid Phares:
"The vast majority of intellectuals still live on a pre 9/11 planet. They refuse, even after the rise of democratic movements and dissidents in the region, to acknowledge that the jihadists are a fascist movement."

Which is, in fact, precisely what the London Socialist Worker claims: During Saturday's march, the London crowd was supporting the resistance.
While the march encompassed all those opposed to Israel's aggression, those speakers who declared their solidarity with the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine received huge cheers.
In these peoples minds, there appears to be a perfect, eidetic notion of the resistance somewhere in the aether, such that whenever any form of it appears, anywhere on earth, all left-thinking people are obliged to support it.

But lo and behold, in this case, "the resistance" is nothing more than the workings of shi'ite fundamentalism.

Meanwhile, back in Iraq, another arm of the shi'ite militia, in Sadr city, also a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran, works towards the Islamic revolution, proving Phares' point.

Do the people in London realize this, too, is who they are cheering on? Another head of the same hydra they are supporting back home?

There is growing evidence that Shia militias have been killing men suspected of being gay and children who have been sold to criminal gangs to be sexually abused. The threat has led to a rapid increase in the numbers of Iraqi homosexuals now seeking asylum in the UK because it has become impossible for them to live safely in their own country...

One photograph is of the mutilated, burnt body of 38-year-old Karar Oda from Sadr City. He was kidnapped by the Badr Brigade in mid-June. They work with the Ministry of Interior and are the informal armed wing of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, who make up the largest Shia bloc in the Iraq parliament.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

More Photo Fraud


I expect everyone sentient that reads blogs for political news now knows about the photoshopping photo fraud Charles Johnson uncovered, put out by Adnan Hajj, photo stringer at Al Reuters.

Here are two more examples: the first, at EUReferendum also involving Adnan Hajj, fools with the plumes of missile released from a fighter jet; the second involves the same women, days apart, lamenting her lost house, in what looks to be a staged photo op in Hezbollah territory in South Beirut.

A War Even A Leftist Could Approve

Le Bernard Henri-Levi(TM) visits Israel. And testifies that he approves the war.

Prepare yourself for a surfeit of nauseating namedropping. Mais, bien sur. For how else to rassurer his leftist confreres, à Paris, that this war is kasher. He even starts, mon dieu, by exploring its relationship to the Spanish civil war, to magic up an added leftist certificate of approval!

Yet, we can't deny, malheureusement, that more of this kind of reassurance is precisely what is needed in Europe and in Britain at this point in time.

Le Bernard(TM) provides much self promotion, drops plenty of leftist names, mentions his personal relationships with all the big-wigs who are leftist bigwigs and makes some very, very odd remarks. For example:
[David Grossman (the author)] is also, along with Amos Oz, A.B. Yehoshua and a few others, one of the country's moral consciences.
Ah yes. I often think to myself: Israel has only a few moral consciences today; and strangely enough they are all leftist novelists.

Ahem. What a spectacularly bizarre way to see and interpret the world.

Or maybe he means these are the only Israelis whose testimony about the war - that it is a just war after all, and not as it is painted in the European media - his confreres would believe, seeing that they, themselves, are mostly all leftist literary types. Or aspiring to be such. N'est-ce pas? It translates this unfamiliar world along axis lines they can suddenly understand and relate to.

Nevertheless, if you can get over all the European atmospherics...okay, the bit about "handsome Peres...[the] prince-priest of Zionism" is utterly revolting, but that is in the peroration, so you can skip it and the next two paragraphs that are even worse - one of which has Shimon Peres mention Bill Clinton and Mahmoud Abbas as -- wait for it:
"The men of good will. My friends. The friends of enlightenment and peace. The ones who will never renounce peace because of terrorism, or nihilism, or defeatism."
Ahem. Isn't Mahmoud Abbas still a holocaust denier? Or has he thought better of that yet? All I can say is thank God that the Arafish is still in a stable state, because otherwise "Shimon" would be tempted to use such prosy, eye-watering diction about him.

Though it does make me wonder whether "Shimon" actually believes this nourishkeit, or whether he isn't, himself, playing to Le Bernard's(TM) sentimental leftism. In which case, he'd be an utter charlatan, but I'd admire him far more than if he were sincere in this case. Although, the other possibility is that compared to having Hamas in office, you lose perspective about reality and all of a sudden, in comparison, Mahmoud Abbas becomes by necessity much better than he is.

As I said, if you can get through all that, it is an interesting piece of work. As BHL tries to explain to the unenlightened Francaises - and, by extension, to the unenlightened readers of the New York Times, where his translated piece turned up today - why this war is necessary, even when it is producing civilian casualties. And how it ties into Iran's confrontation with the West. And he even hints, indirectly - I take it he doesn't feel he could use stronger language lest he lose his audience before he has them - how the French have been a disappointment thus far in playing a responsible role in the developing confrontation with Iran. But, thus, it displays a certain craftsmanship.


On the other hand, we need no reminding that not all leftists are on board with this war, not even all homegrown Israeli ones. And The UK Observer (the Sunday Guardian) goes to some trouble to sniff them out and tell the world about them.

Yonatan Shapiro, a former Blackhawk helicopter pilot dismissed from reserve duty after signing a 'refusenik' letter in 2004, said he had spoken with Israeli F-16 pilots in recent days and learnt that some had aborted missions because of concerns about the reliability of intelligence information. According to Shapiro, some pilots justified aborting missions out of 'common sense' and in the context of the Israeli Defence Force's moral code of conduct, which says every effort should be made to avoiding harming civilians.

Shapiro said: 'Some pilots told me they have shot at the side of targets because they're afraid people will be there, and they don't trust any more those who give them the coordinates and targets.'

He added: 'One pilot told me he was asked to hit a house on a hill, which was supposed to be a place from where Hizbollah was launching Katyusha missiles. But he was afraid civilians were in the house, so he shot next to the house ...

'Pilots are always being told they will be judged on results, but if the results are hundreds of dead civilians while Hizbollah is still able to fire all these rockets, then something is very wrong.'

So far none of the pilots has publicly refused to fly missions but some are wobbling, according to Shapiro. He said: 'Their target could be a house firing a cannon at Israel and it could be a house full of children, so it's a real dilemma; it's not black and white. But ... I'm calling on them to refuse, in order save our country from self-destruction.'
I think we are awfully lucky in this moment that most of the anti-war left in Israel have desisted from such self defeating behavior.

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Helena Bonham Carter
looking kind of witchy

Helena Bonham Carter has been cast as Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter 5.

I think that's a great bit of casting. I can imagine her, quite well, being deliciously, powerfully evil on screen. And I expect her scenes with Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, will also work quite well. Though it makes me wish even more that Gary Oldman had never been miscast as Sirius. I don't get that choice at all.

Olmert Cries Bullsh*t to the Europeans

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told European leaders to stop preaching to him about civilian war casualties in an interview published on Sunday in the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag...

"Where do they get the right to preach to Israel?" Olmert said when asked about criticism from European capitals of Israeli military operations that have led to a heavy civilian toll.

"European countries attacked Kosovo and killed ten thousand civilians. Ten thousand! And none of these countries had to suffer before that from a single rocket.

Some 10,000 Albanians died in Serbia's 1998-99 counter-insurgency war and there were allegations of random brutality by both sides.

"I'm not saying it was wrong to intervene in Kosovo. But please: Don't preach to us about the treatment of civilians."
I guess, now that Europe is officially a post-Christian civilization, they don't take that bit about removing the gigantic log in their own eye before criticizing the speck in someone else's very seriously any more.

Not that they ever did.

Speaking of which, I finally viewed the appalling Kingdom of Heaven, by Ridley Scott. Having quite a lot of training in history, I find historical anachronism quite grating on me in general. But the interesting thing about this film, was that, while being laughably, pathetically anachronistic, it was a perfect tribute to the present temperament in Europe.

In it, you have, in the West, a world weary and depressed elite that no longer believes in its own institutions. And is barely willing to defend them. And facing them, you have that part of the Arab civilization that believes most intensely in its own tradition.

One can believe quite readily in that template of Europe conceding to the Arab world.

And, perhaps, they believe, that having ceded Jerusalem once to the Muslims, and gained themselves a measure of peace thereby, it is only fitting to do so again.


Interesting point. The great warrior, Salah Hadin, under whose rein Jerusalem was transfered back to Muslim hands from Christian ones, was a Kurd from Tikrit, not an Arab. FWIW.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


Previously hidden writings of the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes are being uncovered with powerful X-ray beams nearly 800 years after a Christian monk scrubbed off the text and wrote over it with prayers.

Over the past week, researchers at Stanford University's Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park have been using X-rays to decipher a fragile 10th century manuscript that contains the only copies of some of Archimedes' most important works.

The X-rays are generated by a particle accelerator. They cause tiny amounts of iron left by the original ink to glow without harming the delicate goatskin parchment.

"We are gaining new insights into one of the founding fathers of western science," said William Noel, curator of manuscripts at Baltimore's Walters Art Museum, which organized the effort. "It is the most difficult imaging challenge on any medieval document because the book is in such terrible condition."

Following a successful trial run last year, Stanford researchers invited X-ray scientists, rare document collectors and classics scholars to take part in the 11-day project.

It takes about 12 hours to scan one page using an X-ray beam about the size of a human hair, and researchers expect to decipher up to 15 pages that resisted modern imaging techniques. After each new page is decoded, it is posted online for the public to see.

And here is the new archive site. Where you can see the pages. Sort of.

It kinda gives you a headache just starring at it.

Truth in Advertising: A Fitting Logo for the BBC

BBC has begun test marketing its new logo:


[Hat Tip: Stephen Pollard]

An Interesting Synchronicity of Thought

Youssef Ibrahim:
A prominent writer for the Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, Hoda Al Husseini, put it well yesterday when she argued that, in the end, Sheik Nasrallah and those like him - including Hamas and the other jihadis who launch wars on the enemy only to destroy their own nations, people, and welfare - will be looked upon by fellow Arabs as people who "hate Israel far more than they love their own people."

With each passing day of the Lebanon war, this is sinking in.

Golda Meir:
"We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

Friday, August 04, 2006

Lebanon War Round Up

Here are some interesting links:

David Warren on why Qana has disappeared from the news:
My reader may be wondering what happened to all the coverage from Qana. As usual, when the "liberal" media begin to realize they've been had, the story disappears. But it is never properly corrected. We get a few days of blazing headlines, and round-the-dial TV coverage of an "Israeli massacre", laden with innuendos, and then -- the fade-out. This will not do.

NY Sun's Encomium to Political Leaders of the Anglosphere
sometimes it takes a crisis to gain a sense of who one's friends are, and friends of America and Israel have seen several emerge in the current conflict, particularly Prime Minister Howard of Australia and Prime Minister Harper in Canada.

The European Union may refuse to list Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. But when Mr. Howard was asked whether he planned to take Hezbollah off his government's terrorist list, he replied, "No chance, full stop. No chance at all."

Shades of Saddam Hussein's methods. Con Coughlin reports that Iran is Compensating Families of Hezbollah Dead:
Iran has set up a fund to compensate the families of Hezbollah fighters killed or wounded in the conflict with Israel, Lebanese security officials have disclosed.

Iran's Shaheed Foundation is making initial payments of $1,000 to relatives, in a program that was originally set up in the 1980s to compensate the families of Iranian soldiers killed during the country's eight-year war with Iraq.

Tehran is believed to have set aside $2 million for its Lebanon compensation fund, and further payments will be made to bereaved families when Iranian officials have assessed their needs...

Lebanese officials have also disclosed that many of Hezbollah's wounded are being treated in hospitals in Syria to conceal the true extent of the casualties.They are said to have been taken through al-Arissa border crossing with the help of Syrian security forces...

Hezbollah's operational council has drawn up casualty lists that have been passed to the Shaheed Foundation. Copies have been seen by the Daily Telegraph and have also been obtained by Lebanese newspapers, which have been pressured by Hezbollah not to publish them.

"Hezbollah is desperate to conceal its casualties because it wants to give the impression that it is winning its war," a senior security official said. "People might reach a very different conclusion if they knew the true extent of Hezbollah's casualties."

Stephen Pollard continues to report on the BBC biased reporting in this war.
The central problem with the BBC's coverage is that, for all the fair and accurate reporting which the BBC carries, there are two regular and systematic forms of bias against Israel. First, editorialising masked as reporting, which usually begins with the assumption that Israeli action is 'disproportionate' and which gives free and uncritical rein to the allegation that the IDF is guilty of war crimes. And second, unbalanced reports or programmes.

Michael Rubin at The Corner points out that Muqtada al-Sadr's rally of 100,000s in Sadr City, Iraq, was wholly bought and paid for by Iran.
[I]t would be wrong to believe that such protests are spontaneous. Who organized the buses bringing protestors north? Who paid for them? Who put out word to ensure safe-passage along some of Iraq's more dangerous roads?... Iran contributes $80 million per month to his cause. Cause and effect? We're seeing it now.

First You Give Your Life...Then They Tear Down Your House

Further to a post on Kesher Talk about Olmert's recent politically doltish pronouncement that he is going to proceed with realignment as soon as he can (irrespective of new security concerns or even popular consensus), there's an interesting piece in the Jerusalem Post discussing the background several of the soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's comment that military success in the North could create momentum for his realignment plan was horrible.

It came just one day after tens of thousands of settlers and religious Zionists mourned the one-year anniversary of the "expulsion" from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria.

At no other time of the year were religious Zionists so conscious of their tense relations with the Olmert government...

It also came less than a week after the death of Maj. Ro'i Klein, 31, who lived with his wife and two children in Eli, a settlement in Samaria. Klein died heroically by jumping on a Hizbullah grenade to take the brunt of the explosion, thus rescuing his fellow soldiers.

The Kleins lived in Eli's Yovel neighborhood.. on the Olmert government's list of "illegal outposts" slated for evacuation.

Rafi Ben-Bassat, vice chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council ... commented on the impact of Olmert's statement, saying: "First you die for your country and then, as a prize, they tear down your house."

Given the tenor of Tony Blair's recent comments in LA, one can hypothesize that Olmert's political misjudgement was in part a down payment in return for Blair's extraordinary support.
Unless we re-appraise our strategy, unless we revitalise the broader global agenda on poverty, climate change, trade, and in respect of the Middle East, bend every sinew of our will to making peace between Israel and Palestine, we will not win. And this is a battle we must win.
No doubt Olmert still feels committed to this policy, though it seems obvious, before any implementation, there first needs to be security reassessments in light of the method of Hezbollah's entrenchment in Lebanon. One hardly feels that access to such munitions will be limited only to Hezbollah in the future, especially now that an alliance exists between Hamas and Hezbollah. Moreover, remember the arms shipment in Karine A.

More from the original article:
Lt. Amihai Merhavia, also of Eli, was killed in the same Bint Jbail battle. Merhavia, active in the movement for Greater Israel, was dismissed from the IDF's 51st Battalion for writing a letter to the chief of General Staff expressing his opposition to the disengagement plan. Merhavia was also beaten unconscious during a demonstration against uprooting the Gilad Farm outpost.

But Merhavia struggled, with the help of officers who knew and respected him, to be reinstated in his battalion.

Olmert's statement gave the impression that he is either oblivious or callous to the tremendous internal conflict experienced by soldiers like Merhavia and Klein, both students of the religious premilitary Academy in Eli, and hundreds of additional religious Zionist young men currently fighting in the North.

These young men have been taught by their rabbis to serve the Jewish people wholeheartedly and unselfishly, even if they must give up their lives. They have been taught that the State of Israel is holy because it is the vehicle for realizing the first steps toward redemption, which includes the ingathering of the exiles.

But at the same time many of these young men are still spiritually devastated by the traumas of the Gush Katif and North Samaria expulsions. These expulsions seem to contradict the gradual forward-moving process of redemption.

Somehow these soldiers must compartmentalize their feelings. They must somehow separate their dismay at the misuse of the IDF as a force for evacuating Jews from their homes - instead of a force for destroying our enemies - from the loyalty and pride they have in a Jewish state that is the best guarantee against destruction of the Jewish people.