Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Michael Ledeen on War on Terror He says we're drifting. That is sure what it feels like to me. Bush seems uninvolved, like his father was in 1992. Not a good sign.

Freedom is our greatest weapon against the terrorists, and we do not always need to send armies to support its spread. Syria and Iran are ripe for revolution, and the dictators know it. The revolutionaries are looking to Washington for clear and material support. They are not getting it today. Twice in the past, the president slid into a similar funk, first permitting himself to be gulled by the Saudis into believing he had to make a deal with Arafat before he was entitled to liberate Iraq, then permitting the British to drag out the run-up to Operation Iraqi Freedom with endless votes in the Security Council. Each time he realized his error, and pressed on with greater vigor. It’s time for him to do that again. He should revisit his definition of the Global War on Terror: a battle against a network of terrorists, and the countries that support them. A long battle perhaps, but a clear one, with clearly identified enemies and with a wide variety of tactics to bring them down.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Japanese WW2 Soldiers Found Alive in Jungle Wow. What a story, if true. I was just wondering about this the other day, and here are some more of them, perhaps as many as 40. I figured the guy in 1974 would be the last but apparently not.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Reason: Havana Hustle: Cuba’s New Socialist Man learns to wheel and deal But what about the health care? What about the free education?

Cuba today is wracked with silent fear. In the wake of a massive spring crackdown on independent thought and action -- Castro has tossed nearly 80 dissidents in jail, executed three boat hijackers, shuttered home-based businesses, and closed at least one popular discotheque -- few feel secure. Jineteros now whisper or quickly demand dollars. Educated Cubans hide American books at the first sign of a visitor. Black marketeers sweat the sales they need to survive. It’s as if Havana were the setting of a metropolitan hide and seek, with all the citizens holding their breath to keep from being found by Fidel.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Unmitigated Galloway My god, can Chris Hitchens write. I'd hate to have him as an enemy. This piece is one of his best, and tears George Galloway a new one.

TO THIS DAY, George Galloway defiantly insists, as he did before the senators, that he has "never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one, and neither has anybody on my behalf." As a Clintonian defense this has its admirable points: I myself have never seen a kilowatt, but I know that a barrel is also a unit and not an entity. For the rest, his defense would be more impressive if it answered any charge that has actually been made. Galloway is not supposed by anyone to have been an oil trader. He is asked, simply, to say what he knows about his chief fundraiser, nominee, and crony. And when asked this, he flatly declines to answer. We are therefore invited by him to assume that, having earlier acquired a justified reputation for loose bookkeeping in respect of "charities," he switched sides in Iraq, attached himself to a regime known for giving and receiving bribes, appointed a notorious middleman as his envoy, kept company with the corrupt inner circle of the Baath party, helped organize a vigorous campaign to retain that party in power, and was not a penny piece the better off for it. I think I believe this as readily as any other reasonable and objective person would. If you wish to pursue the matter with Galloway himself, you will have to find the unlisted number for his villa in Portugal.

Why Islam is disrespected It's a shame that we seem to care what these "people" in the Middle East think.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Steve Benson really outdoes himself today. Does anyone ever look at his scribbles before they go in the paper?

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Iowahawk strikes again: Newsweek Lutefisk Story Sparks Fury Across Volatile Midwest I think this is his funniest one yet.

The debris-strewn streets of this remote Midwestern hamlet remain under a tense 24-hour curfew tonight, following weekend demonstrations by rock- and figurine-throwing Lutheran farm wives that left over 200 people injured and leveled the Whippy Dip dairy freeze. The rioting appeared to be prompted, in part, by a report in Newsweek magazine claiming military guards at Spirit Lake’s notorious Okoboji internment center had flushed lutefisk down prison toilets. Newsweek’s late announcement of a retraction seems to have done little to quell the inflamed passions of Lutheran insurgents in the region, as outbreaks of violent mailbox bashings and cow tippings have been reported from Bowbells, North Dakota to Pekin, Illinois.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Andrew C. McCarthy on Newsweek & Koran Excellent points here. People are more upset with Newsweek than they seem to be with the ones who actually killed people over the Newsweek story.

In my world, militant Muslims, capitalizing on the respectful deference of others, have been known tactically to desecrate the Koran themselves: by rigging it with explosives, by using it to secrete and convey terrorist messages, and, yes, even by toilet-flushing parts of it for the nuisance value of flooding the bathrooms at Guantanamo Bay. Just as they have used mosques as sanctuaries, as weapons depots, and as snipers' nests.

There's a problem here. But it's not insensitivity, and it's not media bias. Those things are condemnable, but manageable. The real problem here is a culture that either cannot or will not rein in a hate ideology that fuels killing. When we go after Newsweek, we're giving it a pass. Again.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Nat Hentoff writes on the dozens of Cuban librarians jailed for decades for offering people books such as 1984. So now I have one source close at hand the next time Cuba comes up.

Why does the New York Times insist on calling jihadists "insurgents"? By Christopher Hitchens

In my ears, "insurgent" is a bit like "rebel" or even "revolutionary." There's nothing axiomatically pejorative about it, and some passages of history have made it a term of honor. At a minimum, though, it must mean "rising up." These fascists and hirelings are not rising up, they are stamping back down. It's time for respectable outlets to drop the word, to call things by their right names (Baathist or Bin Ladenist or jihadist would all do in this case), and to stop inventing mysteries where none exist.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

'They will burn in hell for what they have done to me' Jesus Christ, and we call these people our allies? And Bush walks around hand in hand with them? This is by a Brit who was arrested by the Saudis for an Al Queda bombing, back when the Saudis used to pretend that there was no terrorism in their country.

"I was totally confused. I had no idea of what I was supposed to confess to. I tried to ask them. Their response was to start hitting me with a pick-axe handle. They beat me all over my body. They brought in a huge 22 stone Saudi to sit on me while they beat the soles of my feet. They forced a metal rod between my knees and hoisted me upside-down, and beat me on my exposed buttocks. It was excruciating."

Mr Mitchell's two torturers eventually told him they wanted him to confess to planting a bomb that had killed another Briton named Christopher Rodway. "They said my wife and son were involved too. It sounded like a joke: my son was a year old." The two interrogators were in deadly earnest. "They kept on hitting me. The only time they broke off was when they went to pray."

The Death of a Muslim Woman: "The Whore Lived Like a German" The Religion of Peace claims another victim. But who are we to say which culture is right or wrong?

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Claudia Rosett on Oil-for-Food Do we really need to justify the war with Iraq any more? Despite all this, the usual idiots won't care.

Citing interviews with Saddam’s former deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, former vice president Taha Yassin Ramadan, and an unnamed former senior Iraqi official, the Senate report says that Iraq's Baathist regime, in doling out rights to buy cheap oil through the U.N. program, “gave priority to foreign officials, journalists and even terrorist entities.” Ramadan, Saddam’s former vice president, told Senate investigators that such oil allocations were “compensation for support.” According to the report, the list of terrorists named by these Iraqi officials as engaging in this quid pro quo includes “the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Abbas, and the Mujahedeen-e Khalq.”

Another of the report’s findings is especially interesting in light not only of Saddam’s subversion of Oil-for-Food to bust sanctions, but also as context for the hot debate within the U.N. Security Council just prior to the U.S.-led military overthrow of Saddam in 2003. The report explains that the prime targets of Saddam’s scheme to buy influence were “individuals and entities from countries on the U.N. Security Council.” Both documents and interviews with former senior officials of Saddam’s regime confirm that “The regime steered a massive portion of its allocations toward Security Council members that were believed by the Hussein regime to support Iraq in its efforts to lift sanctions — namely, Russia, France, and China.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Lileks on the usual idiots, European protestors. They don't care who they support as long as it isn't America.

In the good old days, one could count on the progressive elements to side with a pluralistic, tolerant, secular democracy against a theocratic regime made up of glowering, Jew-hating misogynists. But that was before the permanent adolescents of the '60s hijacked the left with their fragrant blend of anti-Americanism and loathing of the very culture that guarantees their freedoms. To them, Iran is a problem only inasmuch as it provides the Zionist Oil-Cabal Neocons with an "enemy." And if the mullahs respond to a successful revolution by nuking Israel on the way out? Well, how many Jews does the world really need, anyway? Europe's been asking that question for centuries. An answer might be nice.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

This is a heartbreaking photo. Here are the results of the Left's "liberation movement." This is what their freedom fighters are all about. A suicide bomber drives through a crowd of children to blow himself up near some soldiers. The only ones he killed were Iraqis like this little girl.

Chris Hitchens here on the rise of the Idiot Right, which has similar problems to the Idiot Left. Ironically enough, after reading this I thought to myself "Amen."

I have never understood why conservative entrepreneurs are so all-fired pious and Bible-thumping, let alone why so many of them claim Jesus as their best friend and personal savior. The Old Testament is bad enough: The commandments forbid us even to envy or covet our neighbor's goods, and thus condemn the very spirit of emulation and ambition that makes enterprise possible. But the New Testament is worse: It tells us to forget thrift and saving, to take no thought for the morrow, and to throw away our hard-earned wealth on the shiftless and the losers.

At least two important conservative thinkers, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, were unbelievers or nonbelievers and in any case contemptuous of Christianity. I have my own differences with both of these savants, but is the Republican Party really prepared to disown such modern intellectuals as it can claim, in favor of a shallow, demagogic and above all sectarian religiosity?

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Stink over rat fails to sink cafe This is too funny. An Aussie restaurant paints over a dead rat on the floor rather than clean it up. And that's just the start.

Perhaps the neocons got it right in the Middle East The lefties must really hate seeing things like this in the paper, especially in their favorite rag, the Guardian.

The greatest danger for those of us who dislike George Bush is that our instincts may tip over into a desire to see his foreign policy objectives fail. No reasonable person can oppose the president's commitment to Islamic democracy. Most western Bushophobes are motivated not by dissent about objectives, but by a belief that the Washington neocons' methods are crass, and more likely to escalate a confrontation between the west and Islam than to defuse it.

Such scepticism, however, should not prevent us from stepping back to reassess the progress of the Bush project, and satisfy ourselves that mere prejudice is not blinding us to the possibility that western liberals are wrong; that the Republicans' grand strategy is getting somewhere.