Friday, April 26, 2002

Root Causes, is from Policy Review, No. 112, a review of Bernard Lewis's book What Went Wrong?.

I sent them the following comments:

I have just read Mark Bowden's article about Saddam Hussein in the May 2002 edition of The Atlantic Monthly. One of the central explanations of Saddam was given by a defected Iraqi journalist was the difference between the village culture and the city culture of Iraq. The hallmarks of the village were tribal loyalty and power maintained through violence.

What struck me in reading Lewis' book and his earlier work, The Middle East, was that what we think of as Islamic Civilization was not the product of the Arabs, but of Turks, who conquered the Arabs and then were converted to Islam. The Arabs are still tied to their nomadic, tribal roots, with the same attitudes and impulses as those ascribed to Iraqi villages. I can see no other way to deal with these people other than by defeating them militarily and forcing Kemalism upon them, and even then, I doubt it would work without directly interfering with their religious beliefs, which Americans, especially, would be reluctant to do.

Bernard Lewis, who knows the Middle Eastern mind better than about anybody, warns that our attempts to placate the Arabs will have dangerous results:

Our anxious pleading with the fragile and frightened regimes of the region to join--or at least to tolerate--a campaign against terrorism and its sponsors has put the U.S. in a corner where it seems to be asking permission for actions that are its own prerogative to take.

Likewise, the exemptions accorded to some terrorist leaders, movements and actions not immediately directed against us have undermined the strong moral position which must be the foundation of our global war on terrorism. The submission to being scolded and slighted, as Secretary of State Colin Powell did in his recent meeting with the king of Morocco, and his failure to meet with the president of Egypt, make the U.S. seem it is reverting to bad habits. That only further contributes to a perceived posture of irresolution and uncertainty on the part of the U.S. administration.

In this Article, linked at LGF, a radiologist describes the injuries inflicted by suicide bombers. It's truly horrible.

One must wonder why there is so much sympathy for the Palestinians in the face of this kind of thing. People who will do such things don't deserve sympathy, and the people who support them deserve to be tried for crimes against humanity.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

Brit Hume, the Un-spinner

Everything I've been hearing all day on NPR and PBS was about how we're really in for it from the Saudis if we don't clamp down on Israel.

"In turn, Bush urged the crown prince to rally other Arab leaders behind a Mideast peace process and to pressure Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to end terrorism.

"A spokesman for the Saudi embassy, Nail Al Jubeir, shot down a New York Times story from Thursday that said Abdullah came to Crawford to tell Bush that it is Bush's last chance for constructive relations with the Arab world, and that the key to recovery is to get Israel to back off its hardline dealing with the Palestinians."

The Arab world is writing checks they can't cover, but their leaders won't countersign them, because they know how impotent their countries really are. So Abdullah goes to Crawford and rides in the presidential truck, everyone dances the kabuki program and he goes home.

The press keeps pressing the "peace now" button but it is still stuck and they don't know anything else to do, but look to the Europeans for guidance. What's it called when you keep doing the same thing over and over despite the fact that nothing is happening?

If any of these people could set aside their indoctrination for a just a moment they'd realize that Israel is not the villain in this, and that its actions have been successful in putting a stop to the suicide bombers, if only until Arafat can rebuild his terrorist network. As the facts continue to seep out, we learn that the big massacre wasn't really, that many of the buildings destroyed were blown up by Palestinian booby traps. Now we learn that the Israelis photographed the whole thing from the air and can prove their side of the story, not that anybody will listen.

This only makes it more important that the United States not be intimidated by negative press and world opinion into abandoning the only democracy in the region.

More on Cornell West

He's getting nearly universal criticism. Especially at Instapundit. What triggered this post however, was the thought that he is as guilty as Jesse Jackson of "shakedown," he just applies it to universities and their presidents. Princeton's turn is coming.

Blacks, in general, have developed this attitude that anyone who doesn't give them what they want or criticizes them is a racist bigot. It's in many columns by black writers, and all over the place in politics. Cynthia McKinney is a good example.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

There's a great story in the May, Atlantic Monthly by Mark Bowden.

It has this great quote:

"Most people would say that the main conflict in Iraqi society is sectarian, betweeen the Sunni and the Shia Muslims. But the big gap has nothing to do with religion. It is between the mentality of the villages and the mentality of the cities." The speaker, Saad Al-Bazzaz, goes on to explain that in the villages the tribe is the source of all security and the recipient of all loyalty. The only thing that counts is violent power. In the cities, society is more like the West. Peace and law are primary values, because they allow relationships and cooperation to operate freely. He then points out that Saddam Hussein is basically a villager who has gotten far enough to control a nation through thuggery.?

In a larger sense, this is what's wrong with all Arab societies. They are basically tribal and they belong to a religion that views the world in tribal terms, where control comes from above and settles over all, who are required to submit. Submission is the translation of Islam.
The Arabs are basically a tribal people, as were the Hebrews. But the Jews, the modern remnant of the Israelites have been changed by being scattered throughout the world and have lost that element of their character. They have embraced modernity, science and technology, while Muslims have haven't kept pace. This tribal loyalty is transferred to Islam, which keeps them from thinking independently or speaking out about the harm being done by people like Arafat, Saddam and Bin Laden.

The sources of the Terror

If you've ever wondered about the Palistinian Refugee Camps which look more like a tradtional slum, it's because that's really what they are. They've been around for 50 years and have turned into Arab low income housing projects and nests for terrorists.

Aah! The reason there are refugee "camps" in the West Bank, according to Marc Ginsberg on Brit Hume's program, is because they get aid money from the U.N. Their status as refugees serves Arafat's political purposes as well. They are officially stateless persons under U.N. rules and no one has ever acted to change that status. The Arabs are unwilling to give up their claim to a "right of return" to territory which is now Israel, which is pointless, but it establishes a permanent grievance to fuel hatred for the Jews.

Maybe the Jews could return to their former homes in EUROPE but, of course, that wouldn't be welcomed by the Europeans. How about trading the Jews for their right of return to the ghettos in Russia, Poland, Germany, France, etc.? Maybe the Europeans have already figured this out and decided that their best hope is for the Arabs to complete the Final Solution for them.

Are Democrats out of ideas?

Fox News reports that the Democrats today announced their slogan for this year's congressional campaigns, "Securing America's Future." It turns out that the Republicans have been using the same line for quite awhile. Gebhardt says he didn't know that, but it was in the title of one of the Republicans' bills and they've held several rallies using "Securing America's Future" as a theme.

What's next? Maybe they'll change their name to Dempublicans.

Jonathan Rauch argues that social conservatives should support gay marriage, because marriage is a good thing, and gay marriages would help support the institution of marriage in society.

Sorry, but that doesn't work for me. They used to make short subjects showing animals dressed up as people with voices supplied by voiceover actors. It was cute, but it wasn't real life.
Gay marriage would help gays pretend that their lives are normal, but it just won't make them normal. I'm not opposed to partner benefits and protection of gays from violence which has been ignored by society in the past, but gay sex and gay lifestyles will always be the elephant in the room, and you can't hide it by putting a shade on its head and calling it a lamp.

Request for Reports

Now, I know that few if any readers check this site other than by accident, but since I'm talking to myself, I might as well think big.

Every once in a while I think of a question that at least one of the people wants to know. And the press is always talking about the people's right to know. So if any enterprising reporters or their editors happen to see this, how about diggin up this factoid:

How many Palestinians have been lynched or otherwise murdered by their own people when someone accused them of being collaborators with the Jews?

If anyone happens to see this, send your own questions to

Arabs excell at PR

This link from Best of the Web, substantiates use of P.R. techniques by Arabs, who basically have no other choice. They can't win wars or deliver economic improvement, so they fall back on songs, slogans and demonstrations.

"We are currently at the height of a war in which the Arab armies are playing no role because of their impotence and fear of what the United States will say. Volunteers cannot cross the border after Egypt almost completely closed it off and in Jordan, a state of alert has been declared along the border. That leaves us, we who feel the pain of Palestine, only to deal with it on the intellectual level," explains a member of the writers' association.

By "dealing with it on the intellectual level," he means attending conferences, writing and performing songs, developing slogans, demonstrating, and giving interviews like this one. One of the accepted modes of protest at present is the repeated call to boycott American products and the United States in general. But even this boycott suffers from a lack of clear goals."

My favorite was a song called "God Protects Arab Children." Is that how they describe wrapping them up in dynamite vests and sending them out to kill other innocent people?

May I suggest a method that might work? How about boycotting terrorists and demanding better schools and decent jobs?

What Day Is It?

Tom Friedman says that "[Saudi Crown Prince] Abdullah wants to ignore yesterday, Sharon wants to ignore tomorrow, and Arafat wants to ignore today." The Saudis, he says, are refusing to acknowledge their own responsibility for the rise of Wahabism and the consequent rise of terrorism. Sharon doesn't have a plan for establishing a Palestinian state and living in peach with it. Arafat--well, Arafat, is a skilled PR man. He won't agree to anything that might make him responsible for leading a true government. All he knows is the game of bait and switch, always changing the subject to the Palestinian suffering as justification for terrorism. He knows how to survive and little more. Terrorism is the source of his power and riches. What would he do with a real country?

I think Friedman is expecting too much from Sharon. How can he do anything to help create a Palestinian state when Arafat is blocking every approach. Sharon is a warrior. That's why he is heading the Israeli government now. Planning for the future is probably less important to Israelis right now, than making sure there will be a future. The nice thing about democracy is that when Sharon is no longer the man for the moment, a new leader will be elected. But it is unrealistic to talk about a peace as long as Palestinian society is a terroristocracy. That's why the U.S. needs to keep the pressure on the Arab states and stand up for Israel against all its critics.

The best future for the Palestinians would be to become Israeli citizens, but they can't and won't see that until they free themselves from the hate culture that dominates Islam in the Middle East.

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

A fascinating exchange

on Special Report with Britt Hume. He spoke with Eric Dezenhall, a media consultant who helps clients learn how to handle the media. The Israelis are winning on the ground, but they are being pilloried in the media, because they don't "own the symbols of victimhood." Whoever tries to justify using force will lose, because the media only understand "villains, victims and vindicators." The Israelis, Dezenhall says, think that press relations is a frivolous waste of time, but the Palestinian spokespersons are very skillful at schmoozing western reporters, going to lunch, using the vocabulary of "tolerance, diversity and victimhood," the kind of language the international media eat up.

As if to prove this point, the Israelis announced today that they will not cooperate with a U.N. investigation of the incursion into Jenin. Make that the "horrible massacre and devastation of Jenin." Now why would they not want to cooperate? Because it will most likely be as fair as a Ku Klux Klan report on the civil rights movement.

A following story focused on Jews who are leaving the Democrats for Bush because they feel he is supporting Israel and dealing properly with terrorists. It would be nice, but I wouldn't count on it. Time will tell.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Lileks Bleat today is about the fascist anti-American anti-globalist demonstrations in Washington. American consumer culture offends them. Of course it does. It wouldn't be freedom without an awful lot of stupidity, from the Munsters and the Clampetts to free Chinese plastic Disney toys from McDonalds. But, on the whole, I prefer it to the kind of place these morons would create if anybody listened to them.

Cornell West heads South

Personally, I think that African-American studies deserves maybe a week in an American History course. Definitely not it's own department. In any sane world, Cornell West would have been a pimp or a gang leader, anything but a professor demanding that the Ivy League kiss his butt.

American minorities have swallowed up the whole. Everybody has a grudge over something that happened to their ancestors or over something in the present that they don't like.
Genealogy has become a major cause for grievance identification.

We all, white, black, red or yellow, should thank our lucky stars to be able to live here and now,. and quit comparing the hands we've been dealt to find something to bitch about. There's too much pride in everybody's heart, too much anger and superciliousness, and not enough humility and thankfulness. Maybe we all need to spend 6 months living in Africa or Afghanistan just to teach us how incredibly privileged and blessed we are. And how little we deserve any of it.

Cornell West feels he was "disrespected" by Larry Summers who had the temerity to suggest he should start doing his job. Well, Cornell, don't let the office door hit you on your way out. Princeton's idiocy is Harvard's incredible good fortune.

TechTV | Twisted List: The Web's Scariest Music Videos

These are undoubtedly the funniest, most bizarre video clips on the Web, especially the one that's No. 1 in India.
Click on "Indian Rapper"

The perfect answer for the Antiglobalist complaining that American culture has overwhelmed everything else.

If that's true, why don't we have a Trotskyist candidate?

Let's hear it for Le Pen

And I thought it was a new model from Bic.

Apparently the media feels a need every so often to show that it knows France is still there. I think it was inculcated in them in high school world history. Or maybe, because of all the negative stuff about anti-semitic violence, they felt they had to change the subject. Whatever the reason, the stronger than expected performance of Jean-Marie Le Pen in the French primary is today's big story. The main thing he is known for, besides having a girl's name, is having once said, or written, that that Holocaust was a "detail" in the history of WWII. So that tells us what? That he's a Frenchman!

Mark Steyn skewers the Jenin "Massacre" stories.

InstaPundit.Com: "MY FOXNEWS COLUMN TODAY calls Bush a Fair-Weather Federalist for his stance against cloning"

I'm having a hard time working up any enthusiasm for this fight. I think that therapeutic cloning is probably no more morally objectionable than organ transplants, but I expect that the research will continue anyway and, once it's a proven technology, nobody is going to stop it from being used.

Virginia Postrel advises in her book that we should handle this kind of thing with resiliency and a sense of humor. (OK, she actually said that's how dynamists should deal with new ideas and trends, but why not do the same when we see stasists acting foolishly?) The delays will probably result in lots of needless suffering, but that's nothing new.

I have rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of those things stem cell research might help, but I can't afford the deductible for the current genetically engineered treatment available now. So what good is another one going to do me? Besides, the wait for FDA approval will put any new treatments beyond my lifespan, so I'm trying to be resilient and handle it with a sense of humor. It could be worse. It could be ALS or Altzheimers.

The New French Left

I know I should be concerned about politics in France, but I'm not. I know they're playing with fire by trying to assert themselves in the Palestinian-Israeli problems, but what can the U.S. do about it? They've been hypersensitive for years. Their general attitude toward the U.S. is one of irritation, envy and jealousy, because we're now the main power in the world and they're not. Frankly (no pun intended), it's pointless to pay any attention to anybody in France except the Police who are helping track and capture terrorists. Everything the U.S. does pisses them off, so why try to get along?

The Palistinians have their own war profiteers:

The Faces of Martyrs as a Calling in Demand

Quote of the Day

From the Jerusalem Post, via Best of the Web:

"The miasma of international hypocrisy is running so thick that Israel should consider wearing its pariah status as a badge of honor."

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Sedan or sports car? Emotions are revved up

Having just finished The Future and Its Enemies by Virginia Postrel, I found this piece by George Will quite an apt description of the the tendency of what she calls stasists to take the fun out of everything and the joy out of driving.