Friday, June 14, 2002

Peggy Noonan pens an excellent column about Homeland Security. I can't praise it any better than Mickey Kaus already has.

David Brooks has an excellent point in the opening paragraph about the "Trustafarians," those leftist intellectuals who run foundations established with the wealth created by businesses they hate--oil, for instance. Thus we have the Pew Trust spending money from the Sun Oil Company to support more wilderness and less oil exploration. Fortunately, this is all self-limiting. After some period of time, all the money will be gone, and there won't be any more fortunes to fund new foundations. The bad news is that none of us will be alive to behold it.

He skewers the new Homeland Security Department pretty well too. The problem, as I see it, is that it's far easier to retask existing personnel than to fire them and hire new ones. I agree with Brooks' analysis, but I don't support his call for a new independent commission. I would have just beefed up Ridge's agency by giving him status in the cabinet and budget authority and requiring the other agencies to funnel intelligence to that new agency. Otherwise we are just putting new wine in old bottles.

Charles Krauthammer writes about the effect that terrorism has on daily life. It's easy to criticize Israel for its violent responses to suicide bombings, but I doubt that the U. S. would tolerate this level of lawlessness for very long.

I feel a growing apprehension that there will have to be a confrontation with Islam, since its moderates seem unwilling or unable to counteract its radicals. Saudi Arabia is the nexus of evil, since it uses its wealth to spread the intolerance of Wahabism. The West has a philosophy, won through centuries of religious conflict, of religious tolerance. But Islam has as one of its most basic beliefs that Muslims have a divine right to rule the world. Tolerance can only occur once non-Muslims submit to Islamic law. If God were truly guiding the religion, it might be tolerable, but Islam is dominated by demagogues whose ambition and overheated emotions seem to spread through the populace like smallpox.

Religion has been coopted by mortal men, who deny that God speaks anymore, and, if a true prophet showed up, would kill him forthwith. The Catholic Church is suffering today from this phenomenon, although it has been present since Constantine: the idea that God has handed over the right to direct his gospel to mortal men and has no more interest in seeing that it is done right. This is an insult to God, and leads to cynicism and despair.

The war is coming in much greater intensity than we have experienced thus far. America must toughen up and quit dithering about our silly preoccupations with privacy, civil privileges, environment, discrimination, etc. and pull together.
Every war before has started by exposing the weaknesses in our defense and our military, after which the good leaders came to the fore. In peacetime, the bureaucrats and the technocrats take over because the real doers are interested in being where the action is. But in war, the bureaucrats won't cut it. We can't afford to be hamstrung by foolish consistencies like lax security at airports because we're afraid of the racial profiling charge, or handcuffing the FBI because we refuse to give up privacy even to protect ourselves from evil.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

Hereand here are two reports on the roach motel in reverse that is Saudi Arabia. The roaches bring you in, but they don't allow you to leave, if you're a woman. It's not much different from slavery. If women want to be Muslims and submit to Sharia law that's fine, but apparently a Saudi father can take his children there and they can never leave, even after they reach adulthood.

This should be a serious diplomatic issue, but the State Department won't address it. "For 16 years, the Saudi desk at the State Department has told [Pat Roush. the mother of two daughters taken there 16 years ago,] 'Let's look at this from a Saudi's point of view.' " How long will we keep making excuses for this sad excuse for a nation?
William McGurn, who reported the first of the above links, was on the Fox News Channel's Special Report with Brit Hume.

President Bush needs to call up the Arabian ambassador and make it clear that unless all of our citizens who want to come home are allowed to do so, the Saudis will be added to the Axis of Evil.

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

Debra Saunders has a refreshing take--politicians help their friends and don't help their enemies.

But when President Bush helps his brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, by having Uncle Sam buy up Florida's federal offshore-oil leases, Gov. Gray Davis is indignant that President Bush won't do the same for California. Davis tried to pin California's electricity crisis on Bush, and Bush is supposed to respond by helping Davis out. Ha!

Gray Davis is the definition of chutzpah.

Tuesday, June 11, 2002

The Washington Post lost no time in denouncing the treatment of Jose Padilla, but one has to ask, with citizens like this, who needs enemies?

Eugene Volokh has discussed the problems with terminating his citizenship. We might need a new law.

Personally, I think we should provide a preliminary proceeding to determine whether someone like this still can claim citizenship, but it shouldn't be automatic, in case we want to charge him with treason. Just because treason is defined in the Constitution, however, is no reason why we can't add some additional offenses with slightly different elements. How about engaging in or conspiracy to engage in terrorism against American citizens and military personnel?

We also need some way to declare war against NGOs like al Qaeda, Hezballlah, Islamic Jihad, etc. so that Congress can declare a state of war and invoke all Constitutional provisions involved therein.

A Review of Bill Bennett's new book Why We Fight

Quote: Tolerance too often seeps into nonjudgmentalism, which as Bennett notes, is a sickness "encouraging a paralysis of the moral faculty."

We need more people saying this. One thing that always mystifies me is how people who think religion is equivalent to mindrot keep twisting and pushing beliefs from the New Testament--turning the other cheek, for example. Except that turning the other cheek only works with people who strike you on the cheek. If they kill you, the phrase is without meaning. When people are trying to kill you, I don't think that religion requires you to allow you life to be taken, but apparently a lot of peaceniks do.

Monday, June 10, 2002

Gwynne Dyer writes "Europe's Current Shame is Islam-phobia, Not Anti-Semitism"

Mr. Dyer is a fool. While there is certainly plenty of anti-Islam sentiment in Europe, including some outright bigotry and hatred, most of it is well-founded, since Islam justifies the overthrow of every non-Islamic regime. After reading a couple of books by Bernard Lewis, I am not too sanguine about the suitability of fundamentalist Muslims for residency in the U.S. either. Anyone who is opposed to religious freedom and the establishment clause doesn't belong here.

This piece on OpinionJournal appeals to me, but its suggestion that to stimulate new ways of thinking President Bush should fire somebody, kind of bothers me, too. I would certainly cheer the firing of Norm Mineta, because his decisions have been bone-headed for someone charged with the safety of the flying public. However, the idea that we just need to find someone to fire, like Bob Mueller's firing was called for by WSJ, is kind of simplistic and stupid, as well.

One problem with this is the difficulty of getting a replacement in place. With all the background checks and political sniping and hearings, what really good candidate would be attracted? And who runs things while the new guy/gal is being vetted? I can understand why Bush is reluctant to go through all that again having most of his first year in office wasted by this nonsense.

It's also very difficult to fire lower level Federal employees. It seems that the worse they are, the harder it is to get rid of them.

It seems to me to be a better tactic to work around the bureaucracy, rather than putting new wine in old bottles. In the meantime, the government needs to reduce its size. It's not easy to get rid of dead wood in a system where so much of it was erected by politicians who view it as the monument to their own achievements.

The NYTimes' Take on Blogging

This is what bothers me about most "intellectuals" today. They seem to be more interested in the gossipy, schoolgirl kind of stuff than in ideas. Who cares whether there's a "Rift Among Bloggers"? Who cares what anybody else thinks about the Warblogs?

The assumptions of this article seem to be that it's important to define classes within every community and that the disagreements among them are what is interesting and newsworthy. I suppose that I, being socially retarded and depressed, can't understand that, but it seems to me that the only reason to be concerned about such nonsense is to be able to decide who has the power, who the winners and losers are, and which side one wants to be on. Given that blogging is first and foremost about speaking one's mind, why would anyone really care about this kind of story? It's clearly written from the perspective of someone who is reporting for the elite on a democratic arena they don't understand.

American Muslim held in plot to deploy 'dirty bomb' in U.S.

Now we will see whether it would have done any good to pick up the 9/11 hijackers before they carried out their plot.

I expect to hear a lot in the press soon about how the rights of Abdullah Al Mujahir, also known as Jose Padilla, have been and are being violated, how this is just a reaction to all the recent criticism of the FBI and CIA, and more from CAIR about how this is racial profiling. Get set for the onslaught.

One of the points Ronald Kesser makes is that it makes no sense to have agencies like the FBI and CIA and then not trust them. Apparently, the Clinton Administration was more worried about being politicallly correct than in protecting the country, and Louis Freeh was more interested in playing political games than in making the FBI truly effective and secure. We are lucky to have Bob Mueller in place. He has already done more than most of us realize to clean up the mess he inherited. But you won't hear this from then WaPo and the NYTimes.