Monday, April 17, 2006

Policy on Iran nukes seems to be off-target Mark Steyn looks at our approach to dealing with the Iranian nuke program.

All the doom-mongers want to know why we went into Iraq "without a plan." Well, one reason is surely that, for a year before the invasion, the energy of the U.S. government was primarily devoted to the pointless tap-dance through the United Nations, culminating in the absurd situation of Western foreign ministers chasing each other through Africa to bend the ear of the president of Guinea, who happened to be on the Security Council that week but whose witch doctor had advised against supporting Washington. Allowing the Guinean tail to wag the French rectum of the British hindquarters of the American dog was a huge waste of resources. To go through it all again in order to prevent whichever global colossus chances to be on the Security Council this time (Haiti? The South Sandwich Islands?) from siding with the Russo-Chinese obstructionists would show that the United States had learned nothing.

Bill Clinton, the Sultan of Swing, gave an interesting speech last week, apropos foreign policy: "Anytime somebody said in my presidency, 'If you don't do this, people will think you're weak,' I always asked the same question for eight years: 'Can we kill 'em tomorrow?' If we can kill 'em tomorrow, then we're not weak, and we might be wise enough to try to find an alternative way."

The trouble was tomorrow never came -- from the first World Trade Center attack to Khobar Towers to the African Embassy bombings to the USS Cole. Manana is not a policy. The Iranians are merely the latest to understand that.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Nick Coleman: Somalis owed apology after Uptown arrests This was Lefty Nick's latest blathering last Friday. Below is a letter to the editor I sent in response.

After reading Nick Coleman’s column of April 7th I realize now that those of us who live in Uptown were not the ones who were really at any risk during the two weeks it took to find the alleged killers of Michael Zebuhr. No, it was the state of Minnesota’s Somali population that really should have been looking over its collective shoulder, because of something one guy said on a website somewhere.

Nick was quick to get out his broad brush and paint the town a vivid shade of racist red, but only provided one measly example of the widespread digital pogrom that was supposedly sweeping the Twin Cities. And all because a TV station said the suspects might have been Somali. If this impending Kristallnacht were so widespread you’d think he would have had something a little more significant with which to make his case.

Coleman’s column made me think about how for several years now I’ve been hearing that Muslims are at risk of a coming backlash over what happened on 9/11. But that backlash never seems to actually occur. Instead, we see Muslim holidays being celebrated at the White House, our politicians falling all over themselves to appear with various friendly imams, and we are regularly admonished not to judge an entire religion because of the actions of some of its adherents. And from what I’ve seen we don’t. Not that that has stopped the professional victim groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations from loudly decrying every frown or sideways glance they’ve received in the past five years.

To some people, it’s Americans who are always the problem. Just recently NBC sent Middle Eastern-looking people equipped with hidden cameras to a NASCAR race in Virginia. They were hoping some unshaven, toothless redneck in a wife beater t-shirt with an American flag on it would throw his Budweiser can at them, or at least say something rude. I guess this was intended to prove the inherent racism that lurks in the hearts of all of us in this wretched country. Unfortunately for NBC their stunt Arabs were ignored, even when they took out prayer rugs and started to pray. When last heard from the NBC producers were trying to take their little show on the road to a NASCAR event in Texas, no doubt because that would give the story an added bonus of a link to George W. Bush.

So nationally, Muslims are supposed to be at risk from their fellow Americans, and locally it’s Somalis who are in our Anglo-Saxon crosshairs. But maybe it’s people like Nick Coleman who shouldn’t be so quick to condemn an entire group without having something on which to base his condemnation. Though, come to think of it, if this columnist thing doesn’t work out maybe Nick can get on with NBC as a producer.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Chiropractor Claims He Can Go Back in Time Now this guy is on to something.

The Ohio State Chiropractic Board, in a notice of hearing, has accused James Burda of Athens of being "unable to practice chiropractic according to acceptable and prevailing standards of care due to mental illness, specifically, Delusional Disorder, Grandiose Type."

Burda denied that he is mentally ill. He said he possesses a skill he discovered by accident while driving six years ago.

"My foot hurt and, knowing anatomy, I went ahead and I told it to realign and my pain went away," Burda said Thursday.

Burda calls his treatment "Bahlaqeem."

"It is a made-up word and, to my knowledge, has no known meaning except for this intended purpose. It does, however, have a soothing vibrational influence and contains the very special number of nine letters," Burda's Web site says.

Has Ahmadinejad Miscalculated? Victor Davis Hansen here on Iran. This is a theme VDH has touched on in his books, specifically Carnage and Culture. It reiterates the mistake our enemies always make. They assume that we are weak and decadent, so fat and happy with our big screen TVs and fast food that we don't have what it takes to get down into the trenches and get ugly. Hell, look at our murder rate. Americans spend a lot of time killing other Americans. How easy would it be for us to kill those who really threaten us?

They forget that this country only exists because of war. Every other country exists because people had always been there, in many cases from prehistoric times. But here, from the French and Indian War to the Revolution, to the Civil War and Indian wars of the 19th Century to WWII, we created or protected this country by killing a lot of people. The US is a country that exists because of conquest. That's not to say we're the bad guys, or evil or anything Chomskyish. We immigrated here from other countries and fought the people who were here before us to get or keep what we wanted. Iran needs to understand that if it comes down to it we'll show them no more mercy than we showed Native Americans or the Japanese. I'm fine with that.

Open Kyoto to debate This is an open letter from a group of Canadian scientists to the PM asking him to reconsider what Canada has proposed to do about global warming.

Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future. Yet this is precisely what the United Nations did in creating and promoting Kyoto and still does in the alarmist forecasts on which Canada's climate policies are based. Even if the climate models were realistic, the environmental impact of Canada delaying implementation of Kyoto or other greenhouse-gas reduction schemes, pending completion of consultations, would be insignificant. Directing your government to convene balanced, open hearings as soon as possible would be a most prudent and responsible course of action.

While the confident pronouncements of scientifically unqualified environmental groups may provide for sensational headlines, they are no basis for mature policy formulation.

The study of global climate change is, as you have said, an "emerging science," one that is perhaps the most complex ever tackled. It may be many years yet before we properly understand the Earth's climate system. Nevertheless, significant advances have been made since the protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases. If, back in the mid-1990s, we knew what we know today about climate, Kyoto would almost certainly not exist, because we would have concluded it was not necessary.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Coach disciplined for distributing immigration protest flier at school That doesn't bother me as much as this part:

Rios, who still retains his duties as an English-as-a-second-language teacher, was copying and distributing a flier that read: "We gots 2 stay together and protest against the new law that wants 2 be passed against all immigrants. We gots 2 show the U.S. that they aint shit with out us (sic)," according to district officials.

No mention was made in the article to the bad grammar and basic incoherence of the letter. He's an "ENGLISH-as-a-second-language" teacher.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A science fiction story, a what if, about the coming century. It's by a writer named Dan Simmons who I've never heard of before but is pretty good here. Scary stuff.

A look at historic Islamic imperialism Pulling our head out of the sand is the first step. This will not end well. Millions are going to die in the coming years and I don't think it can be stopped because these people don't want it to stop.

As we have seen, however, Islamic history has been anything but reactive. From Muhammad to the Ottomans, the story of Islam has been the story of the rise and fall of an often astonishing imperial aggressiveness and, no less important, of never quiescent imperial dreams. Even as these dreams have repeatedly frustrated any possibility for the peaceful social and political development of the Arab-Muslim world, they have given rise to no less repeated fantasies of revenge and restoration and to murderous efforts to transform fantasy into fact. If, today, America is reviled in the Muslim world, it is not because of its specific policies but because, as the preeminent world power, it blocks the final realization of this same age-old dream of regaining, in Zawahiri's words, the "lost glory" of the caliphate.

Nor is the vision confined to a tiny extremist fringe. This we saw in the overwhelming support for the 9/11 attacks throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds, in the admiring evocations of bin Laden's murderous acts during the crisis over the Danish cartoons, and in such recent findings as the poll indicating significant reservoirs of sympathy among Muslims in Britain for the "feelings and motives" of the suicide bombers who attacked London last July. In the historical imagination of many Muslims and Arabs, bin Laden represents nothing short of the new incarnation of Saladin, defeater of the Crusaders and conqueror of Jerusalem. In this sense, the House of Islam's war for world mastery is a traditional, indeed venerable, quest that is far from over.

Fear of Confrontation A look at the coming war with Iran. Would acting be worse than not acting? God only knows.

Suppose that we refrain from confronting Iran over its nuclear ambitions. What do we stand to gain? Will the Islamist movement outgrow its militant phase and turn moderate and mature? Will our military capability increase faster than Iran's capabilities? Will the Islamists be satisfied with attacks on Israel and Europe, and leave us alone -- and is that acceptable to us? Unless one can give favorable answers to such questions, it seems to me that Iran must be confronted.

Recently, the columnist Mark Steyn wrote

"But there are two kinds of persons objecting to the war: There's a shriveled Sheehan-Sheen left that's in effect urging on American failure in Iraq, and there's a potentially far larger group to their right that's increasingly wary of the official conception of the war. The latter don't want America to lose, they want to win -- decisively."

Put me down for "decisive victory." Probably for Iraq, and certainly for the broader struggle against militant Islam, the defeat of the Iranian regime appears to be the necessary next step. It is hard to see how we can gain anything by failing to confront a WMD-seeking, terrorist-sponsoring regime that is bent on intimidation. If this is not 1933 all over again, then someone needs to spell out the difference.