Saturday, August 05, 2006

I thought terrorism itself was a war crime.

Human Rights Watch recognizes real war crimes. How long have the Palestinians been launching rockets over the fence? What takes these people so long to recognize the obvious?

They just can't help it

The MSM, that is. This could have been a case of a photographer photoshopping the image to make it more marketable, but if a Reuters employee did it, he/she should be fired. If he did it with the knowledge of his superiors, . . . Does Reuters really have any credibility left to lose?

Update: Reuters has withdrawn the photo. Too bad the damage is already done.

Update: Reuters has banned the author of the faked photo from its freelance roster.

Meanwhile, Riehl World View has uncovered another phonied up photograph in the media. They're really going to have be more careful, especially when it's obvious that the Arabs are demanding that the press show more carnage. I mean, when Hezbollah goes to all that trouble to get Lebanese civilians killed by Israeli artillery, bombs and missiles, you want those images shown around the world, no? Someone needs to tell them the story of the boy who cried "Wolf!"

Friday, August 04, 2006

COOL GRAPHIC! Check it out to see how pinpoint bombing works. Can you imagine what this would have looked like if we didn't have JDAMs?

How weird can things get?

Apparently, owning Wal-Mart stock is now a taboo for liberal politicians.

Putting an opponent in blackface is fine, though, if you do it through a blogger who's a volunteer for your campaign and then pretend you don't know her. Can you say "plausible deniability"? Maybe it's unfair for everything your supporters do to stick to you, but when they're highly visible and involved supporters it does. The kind of people you attract is often a measure of what you stand for.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Who's counting?

The AP reports that Hezbollah launched a record number of their cheap rockets at Israel yesterday. No mention of how many, more accurate, bombs and artillery shells Israel has replied with.

I read a book called The Arab Mind which says that to Arabs, just having engaged the enemy is a victory, which was why Egypt felt that its dishonor had been assuaged when it launched its sneak attack on Israel in the 1970s. To them, the raid is the thing. To attack suddenly, take some captives and then run back home, is considered a great victory, since they tend to equate grandiose threats and boasts with having done the deeds themselves. I don't know whether this is true, but it would explain why Hezbollah has been gaining support from the Lebanese.

The author wrote that Egypt felt that, after its attack on Israel, it was then free to make peace with it without losing face or honor. Unfortunately, the terrorists are more implacable that the more rational politicians in the Arab world, which is why the only choice we have to smite the terrorists and slay them.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

ID defeated?

Intelligent Design is getting attention again. The more I think about it all, the more I think they just ought to present the evidence and drop the subject of why things are the way they are. Or is that all that biology is about these days? Natural selection is a perfectly reasonable explanation for adaptations, but it doesn't disprove my religion, which includes eternal progression of the human soul.

It still strains credibility with me to say that this is all rooted in a lucky coincidence. DNA is a very complex molecule and life is even more complex and elegant. It seems that a proper analysis of evolution depends on our ability to comprehend low long billions of years is and what can happen in that time from a random assemblage of chemicals. It starts to get into astrophysics as well as just chemistry and biology. That seems to go beyond the range of even a high school AP class. I'd be happy just to understand the Krebs cycle, without getting into the ultimate questions of theology as well.

Haditha back in the news again

The AP is reporting that:
Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.
So it's a leak. Why would someone who cares about the honor and integrity of the military and the rights of the Marines accused in this leak prejudicial information to the press?

There was a time when I'd conclude that there was fire to go with this smoke. The media have thrown that away. I'll wait until it's official.

Slow News Day

The NYTimes to black entertainers: "Ditch the fat strong women." So the political correctness police now feel justified in lecturing black audiences on what characters they should respond to. First we had to avoid stereotypes like the Kingfish on Amos and Andy. Then along came Al Sharpton, a walking talking black stereotype if there ever was one. Stereotypes are created by being true or popular. If blacks want to have their own stereotypes, let them.


Katherine Harris proves that she can't win. This is so frustrating from a party perspective. You try to find viable candidates only to have people like this horn in and screw things up. It's a problem for democracy, and yet another reason for smaller national government.

More disproportionate response, please

Jonah Goldberg's latest just convinces me that Israel really has nothing to gain from trying to placate international opinion. You're not going to get respect, no matter what you do, and in that neighborhood, being the craziest and meanest sumbitch on the block may not be whe worst option remaining. There's a Far Side cartoon out there labeled "Nature's ways of saying 'Don't touch.'" It has a coiled rattle snake, a cat with its back raised and showing its teeth, etc. The last panel is "a man wearing a trench coat, with a boot on his head, a child's pool floaty around his middle and carrying a bazooka."

Maybe disproportionate response is the only kind these people understand. Western military technology is highly advanced, and highly cumbersome. It takes a lot of time and effort to gear up for a military response. So you take a lot of harassment and even violence from people like Hezbollah or Al Qaeda before you hit back. Our problem, and maybe Israel's, is that we waited far too long before responding. The longer we allow them to operate with impunity the more encourage escalating attacks. Hezbollah specializes in provoking "disproportionate responses." I favor letting them know that there are other kind from the U.S.

Sadly, we have too many weak-kneed "leaders" in Washington to make that work. It's time for the people to take back the leadership, but I'm not sanguine about that happening as long as our media are dominated by bien pensants.

Attention, Italy

First they go after the Jews. But they are the canaries in the coal mine. You should take this seriously.

It's a plot! Republicans donate to Green Candidate.

Heh. It's pretty funny to see lefties so righteously indignant, while their fellows are putting out stuff like the Lieberman in blackface photo.

Walid Jumblat says the Israeli actions are driving Lebanon further into the arms of Syria and Lebanon. If the world lets Hezbollah off the hook, he'll be right. If we break up this Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, I think there's a chance to give Lebanon some real peace for a change, but not if we follow the U.N. approach.

And the award for stupidity goes to:

Jane Hamsher at the Puffington Host. This is why the Democrats going to keep losing elections. They had a tin ear before, but now they're completely deaf.

It's kind of ironic that most of Lieberman's defenders are conservatives, when he has one of the most liberal records in the Senate. He may be liberal, but he is a vanishing breed among Democrats, a politician for whom politics stops at the water's edge. He's been honest and logical about the war on terrorism and is now being driven from the party by the radical anti-war, anti-Bush types for whom those are the only things that matter.

It's fascinating to see your opponents drive of a cliff like this. You don't know whether to cheer or try to save them.

Update: Hamsher "apologizes:"
For weeks, Senator Lieberman has attempted to woo African Americans by pretending to be someone he clearly is not. Meanwhile, his campaign has liberally distributed race-baiting fliers that have the "paid for by" Joe’s campaign disclaimer at the bottom, lying to the press about their intended recipients.

But for some reason, more questions have been asked about me, a blogger. With so much at stake this election, is the choice of images used by a mere supporter really newsworthy?
After viewing the "shamelss race-baiting flyer, I'm not impressed that it justifies putting Lieberman in blackface, but then Hamsher's blog has never impressed me much with it's thoughtfulness.

Can you put strings on a Declaration of War?

Some house members are trying to get the resolution authorizing force in Iraq repealed. I wonder how they feel about involuntary abortions.

Don't take this as an expert opinion.

This quote on Yoni's site pretty well sums up a major rule of warfare:
"[T]his is just not a realistic way to prosecute a war. We need to enter kill the enemy and hold the ground. This is the way armies win wars."
I respect those who have the training and the experience in fighting wars and so my comments are just the thoughts of an amateur.

In conventional warfare, it seems obvious that what Yoni's source notes is true. The sides establish fronts and battle lines and duke it out.

But I'm not sure if that rule applies as well to guerrilla wars where the enemy mixes with the local civilian population and pops up everywhere to kill your troops. The difficulty is in getting the enemy to come out and fight where you can identify them and kill them. If you do it the way Yoni's friend suggests, you can't very well allow people back into the conquered territory without a very good way of sifting out the Hezbollah. An example of failure to hold territory is Vietnam. An example where it failed is Russia's experience in Afghanistan. I think the question is how many troops it takes and how well you can protect them from hit and run attacks.

Another approach is the one the U.S. took in Afghanistan. You take a given area, build a fortified base, then sent out sorties to engage the enemy as intelligence comes in. Of course, that means you may end up taking the same ground again and again.

Again, I'm just trying to think these problems through for myself, unencumbered by training or experience, but it seems to me that the reason for the Geneva Conventions was to protect non-combatants to the extent possible. Israel could send in people out of uniform and try to mix them in with the locals and use the tactics of the terrorists against them, but as we've learned, the world seems to hold Western nations to the Geneva rules even when they give the terrorists a pass for violating them. Liberals tend to think that everybody, even a captured terrorist and illegal combatant, is entitled to the benefit of international law, regardless of whether he has complied with it himself. That seems like saying that we have to fight with one hand tied. These tactics seem to require that you kill as many as you must to achieve your objectives. The innocents who are killed should be charged to the illegal combatants.

I keep coming back to how /Hafez Assad dealt with the Shiite uprising in Hama. These people are used to those rules and anything less just seems to make them think you're not serious. We've done similar things in the firebombing of Dresden and Hamburg and the firebombing and use of nukes in Japan. War is a terrible thing. You have to become hardened to human suffering, yet somehow maintain your own humanity. I think most warriors learn to compartmentalize, but not spend much time feeling sorry for someone who's trying to kill you and yours. You kill him and his.

The lefties will call me a chickenhawk, because I didn't serve, but the response is that civilians opposing the war, chicken-doves if you will, have no moral authority to judge the decisions that have to be made in war.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

First and last comment on Mel Gibson

I don't care what Mel Gibson said to the cops or whether he's anti-semitic or not. He's just an actor who is excessively rich, and his personal life and addictions are uninteresting to me. I feel the same way about O.J. Simpson and Bill Clinton, although I think they both got away with stuff that Mr. Gibson would be pilloried for, and neither has shown the slightest shame or sincere repentance for what they've done. They just deny. Patrick Kennedy, if his efforts at recovering from his dependencies were real, deserves to be given a chance, although I'd never vote for anyone who had shown such lack of judgment. I don't vote for people who commit adultery otherwise engage in vice. They are supposed to be leaders, and are thus subject to a higher standard of conduct than somebody from Hollywood. Those who demean George Bush as though he had never overcome his previous irresponsible behavior, yet give a pass to the Kennedies and Bill Clinton are hypocrites. I won't even consider voting for Newt Gingrich, and I think Dick Morris deserves his first name. It requires a showing of real sorrow for one's sins and real character in overcoming them to earn my trust as a leader. I can withhold condemnation on a personal level, as Jesus taught, but that doesn't mean I have to accept a person without character as a leader.

Gibson seems to be sincerely struggling with alcohol and trying to atone for his past sins, however, so I refuse to judge him other than by his acting and movies. If he were running for office, however, and asking for my support he wouldn't get it. But as a private individual or even just as a celebrity, he's got bigger problems than whether I approve or disapprove of him.

If George Bush were still getting drunk or whatever else he used to do wrong, I'd be unable to trust his word or respect his judgment and I wouldn't support him, even if I do agree with his policies. I'm ashamed to have voted for Richard Nixon, but I didn't know as much about him in 1972, as I did later. Once he ceased to be a political officeholder, I could pardon him, but for the reasons that President Ford did, not because I thought he was innocent of obstruction of justice.

Of the current candidates for president, I don't trust McCain's judgment, even if his character is sterling and his service makes him a hero. I do trust Mitt Romney because he has demonstrated great ability and good character. I don't respect Rudi Giuliani, although I agree that he handled matters after 9/11 with skill and provided leadership. I suppose I'd vote for him against Hillary, but not too enthusiastically. I don't know enough about George Allen at this point, but he seems like a lightweight, and Frist doesn't really impress me as a decisive leader.

Heart of Darkness

Hugh Hewitt's friend, Yoni Tidi, is an Israeli veteran with unique contacts inside the IDF, and reports a bit of lore about the methods of Hezbollah that's stomach turning. If it can be verified, which I hope, it could knock the legs out of all of Hezbollah's claims about Israel's atrocities.

It shouldn't suprise anyone that the terrorists would do such things to people they have long written off as subhumans, the spawn of "monkeys and swine," but this story puts it in terms that demonstrate what they consider that to mean.

We're on the right side, unless the neo-McGovernites now running the Democrats gain any real power. Then we'll become a worthless as the U.N. or the E.U.

About the O-i-i-l

This report on Venezuela's nationalized oil company is just another reason for the U.S. to launch a national program to become self-sufficient in oil production, even if we have to bypass some environmental laws to do it. I'm not against environmental regulations, but ours are so cumbersome and timewasting that most of the time all they do is prevent needed developments. Utah, Colorado, Montana and Wyoming have vast deposits of oil shale that dwarf the reserves of the Arabs and Persians, and they could be developed for about $40 per barrel, but that will be fought by the environmentalists and those who think we can switch to solar, ethanol or hydrogen with the flip of a switch, when none of those has proven competitive with coal powered generation and petroleum.

Flip a coin.

Interesting links on whether Hezbollah or Israel is winning. I think Israel has the same advantages and liabilities as the U.S. They have superior weapons and personnel, but they're constrained by world opinion. I think that they've made mistakes in going too slow and with insufficient force, and they should NEVER apologize for civilian casualties when they're the result of Hezbollah's choice of hiding among the innocent. Those deaths are chargeable to Hezbollah and no one else. They're caused by violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions. That point needs to be made constantly and forcefully, to counter all the the griping from those who can only think in terms of more ceasefires.

I think that Israel can still win, but it will have to do more than fiddle while it waits for the U.N. or NATO to intervene. This war won't get any easier to win the longer we wait. You can bet that we're up against three layers: Hezbollah; Syria and Iran; and China, North Korea, Pakistan (possibly) and Russia who are selling technology to Syria and Iran. It's no surprise that Iran has made such big strides in missile tech. We basically neutered the CIA during the 1970s thanks to Frank Church, and it will only get worse if we get another Democrat administration. We can't afford to dither, yet that seems to be all we do. I think Bush's "arrogance" has saved a lot of lives, and made progress, but it's slow going, and public opinion gets eroded with time and bad media coverage.

I wish I could be as optimistic as Glenn Reynolds, but all the technology in the world won't save us from own weak character and foreign policy fiddling.

Yet another repetition of why we must steel our nerves.

Jimmy Carter can't keep from minding everybody else's business. His latest encyclical begins:
The Middle East is a tinderbox, with some key players on all sides waiting for every opportunity to destroy their enemies with bullets, bombs and missiles. One of the special vulnerabilities of Israel, and a repetitive cause of violence, is the holding of prisoners.
You can see where this is headed. It's Israel's fault because it misled Hezbollah into thinking that it could commit yet another act of war and get away with a simple prisoner exchange.

If we were seeing Israelis entering the neighboring territories and blowing themselves up in the midst of crowds of civilians, I might have some sympathy for these arguments, but the fact is that Israel has not been the aggressor or first offender in any of its conflicts, with the exception of the Suez Crisis and its war for statehood.

Meanwhile, Bret Stephens in the Wall Street Journal argues that:
. . . if it keeps going as it is, Israel is headed for the greatest military humiliation in its history.
He cites the slowness of this operation, intelligence failures, and claims that the government has been too reluctant to use ground forces, basically hoping to use precision bombing to degrade Hesbollah, which hasn't worked, and caused extensive civilian casualties among the Lebanese who are being used as hostages by the terrorists.

It seems that Israel has decided to clear a strip on the south of Lebanon, but hasn't gone all out against Hezbollah because it hopes an international force will come in and protect it from future rocket barrages. That strikes me as giving Syria and Iran more time to resupply Hezbollah. We Americans, Judeo-Christians that we are, don't like killing, collateral damage or friendly fire deaths. Both we and the Israelis would prefer to live in peace. But I can't see why anybody thinks that delaying the final showdown with the people whose avowed aim is to destroy all Jews and to take away the religious freedom of all non-Muslims. They are not going to be persuaded by ceasefires and peace talks. Their goals are as non-negotiable to them as our freedoms are to us. They see overtures for peace as an opportunity to regroup to attack us again.

We understood these things about the Nazis and the Japanese regime which attacked us at Pearl Harbor, but we seem to think that it's different this time, just as we did in Vietnam. We've seen how well that worked out. The fact is that if a cause or an enemy justifies war, then war should be all out until the enemy is destroyed. Beginning with Korea, we have pursued the ethereal vision of a limited, more nuanced, more humane war. No such thing ever existed. We've done about all we can to avoid unnecessary carnage in our military weapons and methods, but our enemy sees that as a weakness and uses it against us by using non-combatants as shields in violation of international law. After all we can do, war still comes down to mangling and/or killing other people and destroying property.

It's a shock to see carnage, even in nature. That's why you seldom see a poster of a wolf killing a sheep with blood around its face. It's even more of a shock to see another person with a head, arm or lower body missing. We instinctively avoid such thoughts and images. But that will not prevent us from being forced to confront them by people who think we can't take it. As long as they think so, we're going to be attacked by them. They think that if they blow up the WTC or send suicide bombers among us, we'll fall to our knees and beg for them to stop. Some of us will and have done so. But that isn't how we got to be the most free, most powerful culture on earth. We got there by summoning all our might and slamming it to those who have tried to take our freedom.

We once thought we could make the world safe for democracy. That ended up with the rise of fascism and communism. We defeated both, but common sense should tell us that making the world safe for democracy and freedom is not a one-time thing, it's a continuing struggle. Our leaders understood that during the Cold War, but we have a large minority today who actually believe that if we refuse to fight back, these people will recognize our good faith and realize that we're really not a threat to them and become our friends. That might work if the only motive people had for war were to drive back a threat, as it is for us. What it fails to acknowledge is that there are people who seek power and don't care what our attitude toward them is. They see us the way wolves see sheep, not as fellow wolves. What we need to make them understand is that beneath our placid exterior we're their worst nightmare.

There's one way that has worked with such enemies in the past and that is conversion. We could preach and testify and convince them that their hatred and violence toward us is sinful and wrong. Unfortunately, the West is losing its traditional faith, even as the fundamentalism of Muslims is resurging. The only thing left for us is to fight. If we aren't willing to do so, then we'd better get ready to submit. That's what Islam means.