Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person
The inscriptions at American graveyards admonish the visitor to remember sacrifice, courage, and freedom; they assume somebody bad once started a war to hurt the weak, only to fail when somebody better stopped them.The European view of our current war is supposedly one of "nuance", of an ability to see more than just black and white. But sometimes things really are black and white. Nazism was evil. Communism was evil. Islamofascism - the new Nazism - is evil. There are no shades of grey there. And to those that say that bin Laden and his ilk hate us for what we do, not simply for what we are, why is it that
In contrast, the "folly" of war — to paraphrase Barbara Tuchman — is what one gleans at most World War II museums in Europe. The displays, tapes, and guides suggest that a sudden madness once descended equally upon normal-thinking Europeans and Americans at places like Nijmegen and Remagen. "Stupidity," a European visitor at Arnhem lectured me, best explains why thousands of young men killed each other for no good reason over "meaningless" bridges. Perhaps — but I suppose the answer to that also depends on whether in September 1944 you ended up on the German or on the Allied side of Arnhem.
Europe now really does believe that such evil disappeared spontaneously, without Willies and Joes driving to their flaming deaths in thin-skinned Sherman tanks to stop SS murderers in 70-ton Tigers. But then in a world where George Bush last year was said to be a greater threat to peace than Saddam Hussein, why should one be surprised that affluent Westerners perhaps feel SS killers led by Sepp Dietrich were as much victims of war as the defenseless Belgian civilians they butchered?
French and Germans are busy rooting out plots to blow up their own citizens — despite billions of EU money sent to terrorist organizations like Hamas, support for Arafat, and cheap slurs leveled at America in Iraq. Why do Muslim radicals hate Europe when Europeans have no military power, no real presence abroad, give billions away to the Middle East, despise Israel, will sell anything to anyone anywhere at anytime, and have let millions of Arabs onto their shores? Are daily threats to Europeans earned because of what Europe does — or is the cause who they are?We repeatedly hear the suggestions of Europe and the American Left that we need to look for root causes, that we need to understand why they do this. And the answer to that is an emphatic "No we don't". We need to defeat them, and then maybe, let future historians figure out why they didn't like us.
Indeed, if our dead could rise out of their graves they would surely rebuke us for our present blasphemy — shaking their fingers and remonstrating that bin Laden and his followers, both active and passive, are no different from Hitler and the other evil killers of their own age, who deserve to be defeated, not reasoned with or apologized to, and not understood. The voices of our dead abroad murmur to us, the deaf, that a nation is liked not by being good and weak or bad and strong, but only by proving both principled and resolute.
Sleep in peace, you ten thousand of St. Avold, and let us pray that we, the smug beneficiaries of your ultimate sacrifice, may still wake up from our own slumber.
'The embattled farmers stood and fired the shot heard round the world," declared Ted Kennedy in a moment of Revolutionary War nostalgia. Or he would have done, if he'd managed to stick to his text. But, in a strikingly erratic performance even by his standards, what actually emerged from the Senator's lips was: they "fired the shirt round the world".
That sums up better than anything what the Democratic Party's been trying to do this week for its Presidential candidate: fire the stuffed shirt round the world, put a rocket up a guy who seems weighed down by his own self-importance and project him into the stratosphere.
Floundering for a cause with which to rally the citizenry, the Democrats eventually found one: themselves.
"Our greatness is also measured by our goodness," declared Howard Dean.
"I've seen it in the people I've met and their desire to take our country back for the American people. I saw it in a college student in Pennsylvania who sold her bicycle and sent us a cheque for $100 with a note that said, 'I sold my bicycle for democracy'."
Really? John F Kerry's bicycle cost $8,000. Why doesn't he sell his for democracy? If you throw in the designer French T-shirt buttock-hugging lemon-hued lycra shorts, you'd probably be up around an even 10 grand. When Howard Dean and John Kerry and John Edwards talk about "change", what they mean is you send these bazillionaire grandees the 100-dollar bill and they'll keep the change.
There's a narcissism about the tone of this convention which cuts to the heart of the Democratic Party's problem: they don't believe in anything except their monopoly of goodness.
That's the essence of this convention: a condescending media congratulating a condescending leadership for effectively communicating to a condescending governing class their plans for everyone else. John F Kerry should enjoy it while he can. Electorally speaking, he'll lose his shirt.
He directly accused Bush of fighting a war not because it was in this country's national interest but basically because he "wanted" to.In terms of showing himself to the voters, his main emphasis was on Viet Nam, and virtually nothing about himself since then. Dick Morris writes:
He all but described the Iraq war in Michael Moore terms, as a war about oil, when he said that in his administration, "No young American in uniform will . . . be held hostage to our dependence on oil from the Middle East."
Kerry has every right to go after Bush with everything he's got. But in essence, while calling on the president to engage with Kerry in a battle of "great ideas," Kerry articulated only one big idea last night.
Kerry's big idea is this: He was a war hero and Bush is a lying scoundrel.
So, in the end, it appears Kerry has decided to run as Howard Dean with some medals.
Then, after this long rendition of his childhood, he tells us at length what it was like to serve in Vietnam for the four months that he was there. So far, so good.In terms of the most important issue of the day, the War on Terror, Kerry basically said nothing. "Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required". But when exactly is that? For Kerry it seems to be only after we have been attacked. Once again we see that his view on the war on terror is a legalistic one - we need proof before we act. And the proof that Kerry needs is a smoldering building or city. This is simply not serious given the threat we are confronting.
But then he spent only about one minute talking about what he has done since.
Beyond a brief allusion to his efforts for crime victims and to prosecute crimes against women as an assistant district attorney, his support for Clinton's plan for extra cops and a balanced budget and a reference to his work with John McCain on the POW and MIA issue in Vietnam, that's it.
What did this man do as an adult? What happened during his service as Michael Dukakis' lieutenant-governor in Massachusetts and in his 20 years in the United States Senate?
What bills did he introduce? What initiatives did he sponsor? Which investigations did he lead? What amendments bear his name? What great debates did he participate in?
What did he do for his constituents in Massachusetts? What businesses did he persuade to come to the Bay State? Which elderly did he help get their Social Security benefits? What injustices did he correct?
Kerry's biography ends at 24.
In pitching Mr. Kerry to be commander in chief, his campaign is also stressing the personal. Just as he captained that swift boat in Vietnam, he can lead the country now in dangerous times. Americans can be confident he'll use force against our enemies because he was willing to fight (and kill) in the Mekong Delta. But because he also knows first-hand the horror of war, he will not be as "reckless" as President Bush. "Strength" and "wisdom," as Bill Clinton put it on Monday--an alluring argument.The Kerry campaign has hinted that they will shut down most advertising during the month of August in anticipation of the heavy Bush response (as well as the need to conserve the limited $75 million federal funds he will be receiving until after the Republican Convention). This is a risky move, especially if Kerry does not receive the expected post-convention bounce. Bush will once again be able to portray Kerry as he wants to, and if he is able to take any kind of lead into the Convention, the election will be pretty much over.
Yet surely we all know that personal bravery is not the same as political leadership. The doubts about Mr. Kerry concern not his courage but his judgment and conviction, and have been formed as the result of public service that is far longer than his admirable four months in Vietnam. Those doubts are both political and philosophical.
On the latter, Mr. Kerry has simply been wrong about the major national security questions of his time. Leaving aside the special case of Vietnam, the Senator voted against nearly every major weapons system during the Cold War. He supported the recklessly naive "nuclear freeze" in 1984. He opposed SDI, which convinced the Soviets they couldn't win an arms race. He even opposed the invasion of Grenada at the time, though he now says that is the kind of operation he would support. In other words, he was a stalwart of the dovish wing of the Democratic Party that voters refused to entrust with the Presidency from Vietnam until the Berlin Wall fell.
AMERICA IS hated by the nations of the world almost entirely due to its support of Israel and the war in Iraq. The United States is the great champion of Israel and is therefore loathed by a world that despises the Jewish state. Likewise, the US has incurred the wrath of the world by refusing to turn a blind eye toward Arab tyranny as embodied in Saddam Hussein.
When Democratic Party leaders demand that George Bush be dumped so that America can be loved again by the French and the Germans, they are well aware that the only way that's going to happen is by a radical change in American foreign policy. That would take us back to Bill Clinton's days, when America was neutral on the Arab-Israeli conflict and when it largely turned a blind eye to Arab tyranny.
But so long as America puts principle before profit by standing up for tiny Israel against half a billion Arabs and forcibly removing Arab tyrants, the world will continue to hate the superpower. Washington has become an international irritant by shaking up a complacent world order that couldn't care less if the Arabs eventually democratize.
EVER since Sen. John Kerry emerged as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Republicans have accused him of hoping to restore the Clinton foreign policy. But the Democratic Party's platform, "Strong At Home, Respected In The World," envisages a Kerry presidency whose foreign policy would more resemble Jimmy Carter's.
When he accepts the Democratic presidential nomination tonight, John Kerry needs to give the nation a clearer idea of how his choices would have differed from President Bush's - particularly when it comes to the war in Iraq. The nation deserves to be told whether Mr. Kerry would have voted to authorize the invasion if he had known that Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction.This is simply inane. The true issue is what would John Kerry have done if he had the same knowledge regarding Saddam's WMDs that President Bush had. To phrase it the way the Times does is simply disingenuous. Given the available intelligence, President Bush (like the British, French, Russian, Israeli intelligence and UN Weapons inspectors) "knew" that Saddam had WMD. The real question is what would John Kerry have done in that situation, especially after 9/11?
Mr. Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, have said that they voted to give the president the power to go to war to strengthen Mr. Bush's hand with the United Nations.This is once again Kerry's excuse that he voted for threatening military action, but not actually using it. As any 6 year old learns, a threat is worthless unless it is backed up by something. Threatening and then doing nothing does not help a country's deterrence, to say the least.
They also had been given alarming intelligence reports, which they believed were accurate, showing that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling biological and chemical weapons and at least attempting to develop nuclear bombs.And given those reports, they voted to use force against Iraq, but now disavow those votes.
Those reports were wrong, and Congress was wrong in presuming that Mr. Bush would go the last mile to get United Nations support.Apparently for the New York Times, 17 UN Resolutions and an attempt at an 18th is not going far enough. Does the Times really think that if Bush just begged the French a little more, just asked nicer, they would have supported military action against Iraq? This is simply delusional. It is rewriting history with an attempt to deceive.
We can appreciate Mr. Kerry's complaints that he was misled on both counts.No, he wasn't misled. The intelligence was incorrect. That is very different from misleading, something the Times is trying to do with its editorials.
But he and Mr. Edwards have refused to say whether they would have acted differently if they had known then what they know now.Again, hindsight is easy, what would they have done knowing what was known then is the key issue.
When it comes to using force abroad, voters deserve a clear idea of how high Mr. Kerry would raise the bar from where Mr. Bush lowered it.So Mr. Bush "lowered the bar" by using intelligence from all the world's major intelligence services and enforcing the policy of the previous administration as well as the UN?
Saddam Hussein was a vicious dictator, certainly, who was continuing to disdain United Nations resolutions on weapons of mass destruction and refusing to give full access to weapons inspectors. But we know now that because of the resolutions and the inspections, Mr. Hussein no longer had the forbidden weapons, even if he still harbored ambitions of getting them someday.We also know that the UN resolutions were falling apart, in large part because of the French desire to resume trade with Saddam. So even if Saddam was not a direct threat to the US now, he would undoubtedly have been a threat to US interests later. Would the Times rather have dealt with a well-armed Saddam later?
Voters need to know whether Mr. Kerry agrees. Or would he have held back on invading Iraq and chosen instead to pursue the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the destruction of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and to focus diplomatic resources on places like North Korea and Iran?North Korea and Iran have both been dealt with using "diplomatic resources" by the Bush Administration. Its not clear what the result will be with North Korea, but these "diplomatic resources" have been an utter failure in dealing with Iran; in large part because Iran knows that with all the disagreement in the US, they are safe from US military action. Showing once again that soft power not backed up by hard power is worthless.
But while voters are certainly prepared to accept a candidate with a complex worldview, they also value the courage that comes with occasionally taking a leap and giving an answer that's straight and simple.The odds of getting a straight answer from Kerry tonight are pretty much nil.
I moved from the U.S. to Europe in 1998, and I’ve been drawing comparisons ever since. Living in turn in the Netherlands, where kids come out of high school able to speak four languages, where gay marriage is a non-issue, and where book-buying levels are the world’s highest, and in Norway, where a staggering percentage of people read three newspapers a day and where respect for learning is reflected even in Oslo place names (“Professor Aschehoug Square”; “Professor Birkeland Road”), I was tempted at one point to write a book lamenting Americans’ anti-intellectualism—their indifference to foreign languages, ignorance of history, indifference to academic achievement, susceptibility to vulgar religion and trash TV, and so forth. On point after point, I would argue, Europe had us beat.
Yet as my weeks in the Old World stretched into months and then years, my perceptions shifted. Yes, many Europeans were book lovers—but which country’s literature most engaged them? Many of them revered education—but to which country’s universities did they most wish to send their children? (Answer: the same country that performs the majority of the world’s scientific research and wins most of the Nobel Prizes.) Yes, American television was responsible for drivel like “The Ricki Lake Show”—but Europeans, I learned, watched this stuff just as eagerly as Americans did (only to turn around, of course, and mock it as a reflection of American boorishness). No, Europeans weren’t Bible-thumpers—but the Continent’s ever-growing Muslim population, I had come to realize, represented even more of a threat to pluralist democracy than fundamentalist Christians did in the U.S. And yes, more Europeans were multilingual—but then, if each of the fifty states had its own language, Americans would be multilingual, too. I’d marveled at Norwegians’ newspaper consumption; but what did they actually read in those newspapers?
A Democratic foreign policy is what I was looking for when I switched on the TV Monday to watch the opening lineup at the Democratic Convention. I sat through Jimmy Carter ("Brezhnev lied to me"), Al Gore ("no controlling legal authority"), Hillary Clinton (the "woulda coulda shoulda" commodities trader) and then, at last, there he was, Big Bill (ol' "what the meaning of 'is' is") telling us that sending Sen. John Kerry to the White House would make America safer, smarter, stronger--just the way it was by the time Mr. Clinton left office (a March Rich pardon on his lips and state silverware in his luggage--or did Sandy Berger pack that in his pants?).
"By the only test that matters--were people better off when we finished than when we started--our way worked better," said Mr. Clinton.
Mr. Clinton finished, of course, in January, 2001, by which time al Qaeda's training camps, on Mr. Clinton's watch, had already churned out thousands of terrorists we've been trying to catch ever since. By that time, the Sept. 11 plot was just eight months from completion; our intelligence community was if possible even dumber than it is now; Iran had already been working for at least half a decade toward its nuclear bomb; North Korea had already been cheating for years on Mr. Clinton's "Agreed Framework" nuclear freeze; Arafat's intifada had crowned the Clinton photo-op forays into the Middle East; and Saddam Hussein, having kicked out the United Nations weapons inspectors in 1998, was busy cashing in bigtime on the Clinton-launched United Nations Oil-for-Food program, buying influence and blackmail opportunities among our allies, some of them the very same allies Mr. Bush has alienated, pushed away, burned his bridges to . . .
Today's Democratic Party is the party of America's most politically radical people and also its most politically conservative: the party of the anti-globalisation, bicycle-courier Left, and also of the retired generals, diplomats and oil executives who sign petitions denouncing Mr Bush's rejection of five decades' worth of inherited wisdom on the Middle East.Tony Blankley, meanwhile, thinks that the divisions that this hatred obscure, will do more damage to the Democratic Party if Kerry is actually elected, than if he loses.
Today's Democratic Party is the party both of America's freest traders (such as Robert Rubin) and its fiercest protectionists (such as Richard Gephardt); of the ultra-secularists of Harvard, Columbia, and Berkeley and of fervently devout African-American churchgoers; of America's staunchest Zionists (such as Joe Lieberman) and its most conspiracy-minded anti-Semites.
Finally, today's Democratic Party is the party both of those who object to Mr Bush's foreign policy on principle (such as Richard Holbrooke, one of the two front-runners for the job of next Democratic secretary of state) and those who object only to its allegedly ham-handed execution (such as Delaware Senator Joe Biden, who is the other).
These incompatible groups all passionately dislike Mr Bush. But that dislike is not matched by any corresponding passion in favour of John Kerry.
The result is a hatred of Mr. Bush by the party activists that has consumed their policy passions and convictions. They hate Mr. Bush more than they hate the Iraq war. Their great intellectual battle of the 2000s — whether they should stay in the Clinton center or go back to their liberal convictions — has been subsumed temporarily by their common hatred of Mr. Bush. Should the American voters succumb to poor judgment and elect Mr. Kerry, a united Democratic Party may face the plight of the son in the Nazi story of hate and meaning. Bush hate is the glue that holds the party together. If he leaves the scene, the party may quickly fall apart.
"the enemy is not just 'terrorism,' some generic evil. This vagueness blurs the strategy. The catastrophic threat at this moment in history is more specific. It is the threat posed by Islamist terrorism -- especially the al Qaeda network, its affiliates, and its ideology."Carr objects to this phrasing because
the members of the commission have tried to rewrite the terms of the global war on terrorism and turn it into a global war on Islamist terrorism alone.and that this phrasing will be misinterpreted by the Arab world as a "clash of civilizations". Carr instead believes that we need to fight against terrorism in general. Obviously, this would require a definition of terrorism, which he provides, albeit in the form of a strawman argument:
Certainly terrorism must include the deliberate victimization of civilians for political purposes as a principal feature -- anything else would be a logical absurdity.that he then knocks down by saying that under this definition
..the United States...would have to admit that its fire-bombings of German and Japanese cities during World War II represented effective terrorism.While Carr acknowledges that there is a war and that we must fight it, he is wrong both about the definition of terrorism, as well as the actual enemy. Terrorism is more than just the "victimization of civilians for political purposes"; a more correct definition would be "the systematic use of terror or unpredictable violence against governments, publics, or individuals to attain a political objective". The US bombing Japanese or German cities was a war, not terrorism.
He was in Wisconsin the other day, pretending to be a regular guy, and was asked what kind of hunting he preferred. "I'd have to say deer," said the senator. "I go out with my trusty 12-gauge double-barrel, crawl around on my stomach... That's hunting."And of course, the quintissential quote of the Kerry campaign:
This caused huge hilarity among my New Hampshire neighbours. None of us has ever heard of anybody deer hunting by crawling around on his stomach, even in Massachusetts. The trick is to blend in with the woods and, given that John Kerry already looks like a forlorn tree in late fall, it's hard to see why he'd give up his natural advantage in order to hunt horizontally.
Possibly his weird Vietnam nostalgia is getting out of control. Still, if I come across a guy in the woods in deer season inching through the undergrowth with a mouthful of bear scat, at least I'll know who it is.
Conversely, if you're a 14-point buck and get shot in the toe this autumn, you'll know who to sue.
Crawling around on your stomach is a lousy way to hunt deer, but it's proved a smart way to campaign for president. For months now, George W Bush has been up there getting fired on from all directions. Meanwhile, down in the scrub, John Kerry was crawling forward on his stomach, a stealth candidate advancing slowly, off the radar, prone alone.
Sadly, the stealth candidacy has come to an end. This week the real John F Kerry has to stand up, and, judging from the way those Senate and House candidates in tight races are staying away from the convention, a lot of bigshot Democrats aren't too sure Americans are going to like what they see.
Afterwards, asked about his apparent enthusiasm for the potty-mouthed has-beens, he replied thus: "When I talked about the heart and soul, I'm talking about the artistic expression. I'm talking about sort of the, I mean, I believe in the arts. I think that there's a great expression in it, and there's always this struggle. You know, does life imitate art or art imitate life? Which comes first? It's a little of both.
"I do think we have a responsibility, as leaders, to stand up. I think there were people at that concert we had in New York who stepped over the line. I've said that. They don't speak for me. They speak for themselves. I will stand up and struggle, as others have, to try to get that right balance between violence and sex and things."
President Bush has clawed back on issues and attributes alike, reclaiming significant ground that Kerry had taken a month ago. Kerry has lost support against Bush in trust to handle five of six issues tested in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, including terrorism, Iraq, taxes and even health care. And Kerry's ratings on personal attributes — honesty, strong leadership, consistency, empathy and others — have softened as well.The VP and pre-convention bounce have been virtually non-existent for Kerry. And with the polarization of the electorate, a large post-convention bounce is unlikely.
JOHN KERRY and John Edwards want to bring you a stronger America. It says so on their signs and the slogan flickers across the thin, ticker-tape video screens that ring the Fleet Center, repeating over and over and over. To that end, they've decided to open their convention with the two biggest losers in the recent history of the Democratic party: Al Gore and Jimmy Carter.
Towards the end of his remarks, President Carter asks the delegates to repudiate "extremism" and worried about "extremist doctrines" which are pulling America into dangerous waters. I'm assuming he was talking about Bush, but you never know. After his speech, Jimmy Carter repaired to small box behind my workstation. There, the former president of the United States and his wife, Rosalynn, sat down next to Michael Moore.
Apparently, the nuts at the Democratic National Convention are going to be put in cages outside the convention hall. Sadly, they won't be fighting to the death as is done in W.W.F. caged matches. They're calling this the "protestor's area," although I suppose a better name would be the "truth-free zone."
I thought this was a great idea until I realized the "nut" category did not include Sharpton, Al Gore, Bill Clinton and Teddy Kennedy – all featured speakers at the convention. I'd say the actual policy is only untelegenic nuts get the cages, but little Dennis Kucinich is speaking at the Convention, too. So it must be cages for "nuts who have not run for president as serious candidates for the Democratic Party."
I didn't realize that tediousness is John Kerry's greatest trait. I didn't realize that a country barraged by a decade of Gingrich, impeachment, hanging chads and war may actually be looking for a Brezhnev to give it a break.It will be interesting to see the reaction of the delegates to Kerry. Obviously Clinton's speech and presence will be a hard act to follow. If by Thursday night people still remember Clinton's appearance, Kerry will look even more uninteresting by comparison.
I also didn't sense that the Democratic Party is just sober enough to realize it needs a designated driver like John Kerry to get it home at night. This is a whacked-out party that has spent the past year throwing back Howard Dean hurricanes, being gripped with Michael Moore fever and indulging in Whoopi-esque animosity binges.
And yet there's that moment when you are drinking, before you get really blotto, when you realize that you have just enough sobriety for one last lifesaving act of responsibility. For the Democrats, nominating Kerry is that act...
And that sums up perfectly the rotten state of domestic politics in America. A frivolous uncivil civil war is draining all the energy away from the real war. We warmongers didn't start the nitpicking, but somehow the entire landscape of U.S. politics has tilted so that a nation supposedly at war is spending most of its time looking through the rear window sniping about what was said and done in 2002, 2001, 2000, like the falling calendar leaves in a Hollywood flashback. The Democrats will always win on this playing field because, like some third-rate soap opera, their characters are not required to have any internal consistency.
What matters is where we're headed, not where we were. And, in that respect, John Kerry is still looking through the rear window. Not so much because of his remarkably poor choice of advisers -- Joe Wilson (the Politics Of Truth fraud), Max Cleland (with his schoolyard cries of "Liar, liar!") and Sandy Berger (with his pants on fire) -- but because Kerry's prescriptions (the U.N., the French) are so Sept. 10. A holiday from history is one thing. The Democrats are now embarked on a holiday from reality.
The real meaning of the court's decision, then, is to delegitimize not Israel's right to self-defense but its right to claim any territory, even for self-defense, over the Green Line.The fact that the "Court" describes the WB in this way - the way that most of Europe and the Left describes it - is another example of the utter failure of Israel's propaganda efforts. Under international law, the WB is NOT "Palestinian land" and never was. It is land that legally is disputed; it is the unallocated portion of the original Palestine Mandate whose status must be determined by negotiations, which is exactly what the UN stated in Resolution 242. This is the information that Israel needs to get out more forcefully.
The danger of that decision is to create the legal groundwork for an imposed solution that would force Israel back to the 1967 borders, even without a peace agreement — Yasser Arafat's dream scenario.
And so the war Israel needs to fight now isn't so much over the decision itself but its premise: that all land beyond the 1967 border belongs by right to Palestine.
At times, Kerry seems to be taking his cues from Jimmy Carter's 1976 presidential run, sounding as though he's blasting his opponent from the right while he quietly offers up solutions from the left. Nowhere is this truer than in the case of Iran, where, when you strip away Kerry's hard-boiled rhetoric about preventing the country from acquiring a nuclear weapon, what the candidate offers is a facsimile of the Clinton-era policy of "engagement." Likening the Islamic Republic to a much less dangerous threat from long ago, Kerry seeks to "explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam." Hence, Kerry says he "would support talking with all elements of the government," or, as his principal foreign policy adviser Rand Beers has elaborated, the United States must engage Iran's "hard-line element"--this, while the candidate tells The Washington Post he will downplay democracy promotion in the region. In fact, as part of this normalization process, Kerry has recommended hammering out a deal with Teheran a la the Clinton administration's doomed bargain with North Korea, whereby the United States would aid the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for safeguards that would presumably keep the program peaceful.
Kerry's calls for a rapprochement with Teheran come at a rather inopportune moment. The very regime that Kerry demands we engage, after all, has just been certified as an Al Qaeda sanctuary--and by the very commission in which the Kerry campaign has invested so much hope.
The two styles and views of these two presidents could no be more opposite. Clearly, the two visions of foreign relations clash. Clinton still lives in the old paradigm, pre-September 11, where our priority was to befriend all countries at any cost, even if it endangered our national security. By endorsing one of the top terror masters in the world, Arafat, Clinton is siding, even if it is only morally, with one of our mortal enemies. Additionally, he views it as a priority to bridge our differences with the world, especially Europe. It looks like he does not realize the extent of the war we are now fighting.
As far as President Bush, his determination to “stick to his guns” is very reassuring. He is resolute in winning this war, fighting terrorist and rogue states alike. He will not compromise the security of our nation for France or the United Nations. He has a vision and strategy that will ultimately bring us to victory.
Unfortunately, Senator Kerry does not seem to grasp the stakes of the current war on terror. His foreign policy mirrors that of ex-President Clinton, and can be summed up in one word: appeasement. Obviously, with such clear differences, the choice in the November elections will be simple. Even Clinton acknowledged it when he said that if the election is going to be about the war on terror, President Bush will be reelected.
If not war, then what? We know the central foreign policy principle of Bush critics: multilateralism. John Kerry and the Democrats have said it a hundred times: The source of our troubles is President Bush's insistence on "going it alone." They promise to "rejoin the community of nations" and "work with our allies."
Well, that happens to be exactly what we have been doing regarding Iran. And the policy is an abject failure. The Bush administration, having decided that invading one axis-of-evil country was about as much as either the military or the country can bear, has gone multilateral on Iran, precisely what the Democrats advocate. Washington delegated the issue to a committee of three -- the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany -- that has been meeting with the Iranians to get them to shut down their nuclear program.
The result? They have been led by the nose. Iran is caught red-handed with illegally enriched uranium, and the Tehran Three prevail upon the Bush administration to do nothing while they persuade the mullahs to act nice. Therefore, we do not go to the U.N. Security Council to declare Iran in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We do not impose sanctions. We do not begin squeezing Iran to give up its nuclear program.
Instead, we give Iran more time to swoon before the persuasive powers of "Jack of Tehran" -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw -- until finally, humiliatingly, Iran announces that it will resume enriching uranium and that nothing will prevent it from becoming a member of the "nuclear club."
France is native soil to many mysterious theories of international relations these days, but on Monday, President Jacques Chirac took the folie to a new level. To prove France rejects anti-Semitism, Chirac announced that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would be unwelcome in the land of liberté, égalité and fraternité.
The contretemps began on Sunday, when Sharon, speaking to visiting American Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, commented on the spreading rash of anti-Semitic incidents in France and encouraged French Jews to return to Israel "immediately." Despite Sharon's praise for France's efforts to calm its roiling tensions, Chirac and his foreign minister, Michel Barnier, took the opportunity to castigate the Jewish leader on the world stage, calling the remarks "unacceptable" and disinviting Sharon from a state visit until he had an "explanation."
We wonder several things here, but first is exactly which part of the remarks they didn't understand.
“Even after bin Laden’s departure from the area, CIA officers hoped he might return, seeing the camp as a magnet that could draw him for as long as it was still set up. The military maintained readiness for another strike opportunity. On March 7, 1999, Clarke called a UAE official to express his concerns about possible associations between Emirati officials and bin Laden. Clarke later wrote in a memorandum of this conversation that the call had been approved at an interagency meeting and cleared with the CIA. When the former bin Laden unit chief found out about Clarke’s call, he questioned CIA officials, who denied having given such clearance. Imagery confirmed that less than a week after Clarke’s phone call the camp was hurriedly dismantled, and the site was deserted. CIA officers, including Deputy Director for Operations Pavitt, were irate. ‘Mike’ thought the dismantling of the camp erased a possible site for targeting bin Laden.”Seems that thanks to Clarke's leak, the US missed a chance to kill bin Laden.
Flight crews and air marshals say Middle Eastern men are staking out airports, probing security measures and conducting test runs aboard airplanes for a terrorist attack.
At least two midflight incidents have involved numerous men of Middle Eastern descent behaving in what one pilot called "stereotypical" behavior of an organized attempt to attack a plane.
A second pilot said that, on one of his recent flights, an air marshal forced his way into the lavatory at the front of his plane after a man of Middle Eastern descent locked himself in for a long period.
The marshal found the mirror had been removed and the man was attempting to break through the wall. The cockpit was on the other side.
The second pilot said terrorists are "absolutely" testing security.
But instead of stopping him from pursuing the bomb, Saddam went underground and worked in secret until the program was uncovered by the U.N. nuclear watchdog in 1991.So the IAEA just happened to uncover this in 1991?? I seem to recall 500,000 US and coalition troops were somewhat involved in this uncovering. But of course, to al-Reuters and Louis Charbonneau, that whole military thing doesn't accomplish anything, so why even mention it.
It's been the misfortune of the Palestinian people to be stuck with Yasir Arafat as their founding father, a leader who has failed to make the transition from romantic revolutionary to statesman.Romantic revolutionary??????? This is how the Times refers to one of the world's arch-terrorists?? To the man who single-handedly made airplane hijackings a way of life??? To the man who has sent hundreds of terrorists to kill Israeli children??? To the man who is on tape (NSA recordings) ordering the murder of US diplomats in Khartoum??? How can anyone trust the Times after lines like this?
The retirement of Mr. Arafat, who is 74, would allow the creation of a more credible Palestinian government that could garner international support and claim the moral high ground in the confrontation with Mr. Arafat's equally stubborn nemesis, Ariel Sharon.And finally, the Times repeats the inane line regarding Arafat's legitimacy as leader:
Saying that it's time for Mr. Arafat to go is not the same as saying it is time for Mr. Arafat to be removed by force. He is, after all, a democratically elected leader, though the term he won in 1996 was never meant to be this long.Apparently "one man, one vote, one time" is a good enough democracy for the Times, not even to mention the actual undemocratic nature of that "election". I guess for the Times, Saddam was also democratically elected. Paraphrasing Dennis Ross, Arafat's "election" was slightly more legitimate than Stalin's, and less legitimate than Hitler's.
But today's war against Muslim fascism is still very much in progress. And this is a war of a different kind. It entails indiscriminate jihadist attacks on civilians to an extent not seen before by modern civilization. The attacking barbarians cut the throats of their innocent victims, people such as journalist Daniel Pearl and others, and thus achieve hero status in the eyes of tens – perhaps even hundreds – of millions of other Muslims.
Their offensive stretches from New York to Madrid, from Paris to Istanbul, and from Jerusalem to Jiddah.
So if President Bush fails in his reelection bid this November, it will be seen as a tremendous victory for extremist Islam and for supporters of terrorism and dictatorship in the Arab and Muslim world.
If Bush loses the election, the fanatics will celebrate his loss as a victory in their war against the greatest power in the world. It doesn't matter that John Kerry may be forced to continue Bush's global war against terrorism or that Kerry may retract conciliatory-sounding election promises.
The very fact of a Bush defeat will be interpreted in the fevered, fanatical minds of millions of jihadists and their supporters to mean that their path of sowing terror and death is the right one.
A Bush loss could well give renewed momentum for an al-Qaida offensive.
This prognosis should worry American voters who care about their country's security. Consequently, however difficult it may be for voters brought up on democratic values to acknowledge, they should be cognizant of the extraordinary significance of changing supreme commanders in wartime.
And they should especially think about how a Bush loss would likely play in the eyes of America's enemies.
The tale spun by former Ambassador Joseph Wilson that Iraq did not ever try to buy uranium yellowcake from Niger is now in the process of unraveling. And, of course, the phalanx of anti-war journalists is desperately trying to stop the bust-up. But it can't be done.On Sandy Berger and Trousergate:
I confess: I do not like Sandy Berger; and I have not liked him since the first time we met, long ago during the McGovern campaign, not because of his politics since I more or less shared them then, but for his hauteur. He clearly still has McGovernite politics, which means, in my mind, at least, that he believes there is no international dispute that can't be solved by the U.S. walking away from it. No matter. Still, here's his story about the filched classified materials dealing with the foiled Al Qaeda millennium terrorist bombing plot from the National Archives: He inadvertently took home documents and notes about documents that he was not permitted to take from the archives; secondly, he inadvertently didn't notice the papers in his possession when he got home and actually looked at them; and, thirdly, he inadvertently discarded some of these same files so that they are now missing.Jacques Chirac and France's actions at the UN:
French President Jacques Chirac has let it be known that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is not welcome as a guest in Paris. Mazel tov! Can you actually imagine Chirac putting out a genuine welcome mat for the Israeli leader who has shown that all of France's interventions in the area have brought nothing good: more of terror, more of Arafat, worst of all, more of Palestinian suffering, all to succor the illusion of French influence in the region.
At the last moment, however, France backed by Sweden blocked a final decision to abstain and pushed fellow members to support the resolution.If, and when, there is a terrorist attack in France, I, for one, will have no sympathy whatsoever. They have consistently betrayed Israel and the US, the two countries most actively fighting what is, in effect, World War IV - the War on Terror - and they should be treated like the back-stabbing appeasers and collaborators that they are.
"It was the French connection that delivered Europeans' support for the resolution," a Western diplomat who wished to remain anonymous told Haaretz yesterday. "In behind-the-scene negotiations over the wording of the resolution, it was sometimes hard to distinguish between the eagerness of the PLO observer al-Kidwa and that displayed by French Ambassador [Jean-Marc de la] Sabliere," the diplomat added.
The silence of the Left in the face of uncomfortable truths is a hallowed tradition, of course, dating back to the earliest crimes of the Soviet Union. When the reality confronting the Left contradicts the theory, the theory must be preserved at any cost.
And there’s no sign of improvement, not a glimmer of the least scrap of conscience or integrity on the Left. It’s all about revenge against a democratic system that gives a blue-collar worker a vote equal to that of a university professor’s ballot, about hatred for the free market for providing better lives for the great majority while Marxism drowned in the bile of its victims. There’s no one the new American Left so despises as the working man or woman who continues to believe in the United States.
The truth is that our Left is so intellectually decrepit, so infected by dishonesty, so morally feeble that it has only breath enough to condemn American actions. No matter how many brown or black human beings suffer around the world—starved, ethnically cleansed, raped, tortured, murdered—it doesn’t count unless you can blame America.
The new intifada, however, represents people who wish to accelerate the Israeli withdrawal and are prepared to make Gaza work.However, despite all the anger of Palestinians against Arafat, in most polls he still has fairly high approval ratings.
The new intifada's third aim is to tell the outside world to stop aiding and abetting the confederacy of rogues created by Arafat. The message is especially directed at the European Union, which has been giving Arafat almost a billion euros each year to play with as he pleases.
Arafat has used part of the money to buy support. Whenever faced with a critic, Arafat always asks: How much does he want?
The outside world knows little of the extent of corruption that the Arafat regime has created. It is common knowledge in the Palestinian territories that a dozen or two influential individuals, many of them related to Arafat by blood or marriage, control the economies of Gaza and the West Bank.
Baghdad, Iraq, Jul. 21 (UPI) -- Iraqi security reportedly discovered three missiles carrying nuclear heads concealed in a concrete trench northwest of Baghdad, official sources said Wednesday.This is still unconfirmed, but if true would obviously be huge. Given the previous erroneous reports of finds of WMD, this report should probably be viewed skeptically (no matter how much we would like to believe it).
The official daily al-Sabah quoted the sources as saying the missiles were discovered in trenches near the city of Tikrit, the hometown of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"The three missiles were discovered by chance when the Iraqi security forces captured former Baath party official Khoder al-Douri who revealed during interrogation the location of the missiles saying they carried nuclear heads," the sources said.
(2004-07-21) -- Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, former national security advisor to President Bill Clinton, today left the presidential campaign staff of John Forbes Kerry, after "a thorough frisking and examination of his briefcase."
The premature departure follows the announcement of an FBI probe of Mr. Berger on allegations that he stole classified documents from the U.S. National Archives.
"We're sad to see our trusted friend, Sandy Berger, leave the Kerry-Edwards campaign," said Mr. Kerry, "But we're glad to have a chance to recover some items that had gone missing while he was here."
Mr. Kerry, who is also a U.S. Senator, said the search of Mr. Berger's person and effects turned up the only existing copy of a missing Kerry-Edwards document called "Our Unshakable Beliefs" which Mr. Berger had accidentally misplaced in his left ear.
In his defense, Mr. Berger said, "the document was quite small, and I think it just stuck to my fingernail and then got lost in my ear hair. It's a sloppy mistake that anyone could make."
The Democratic Party has a theme for its 2004 nominating convention, which starts next Monday. It’s not, "From each according to his abilities; to each according to his needs." Nor, despite the fact that Ted Kennedy is a featured speaker, is it, "Yo, ho, ho, and a bottle of rum."
Believe it or not, the slogan with which the party of retreat will try to sell its internationalist nominee is "Stronger At Home, Respected In The World."
John Forbes Kerry is going to make America Stronger At Home, Respected In The World? And will Bill Clinton lead a moral revival? Will Larry Flynt return traditional values to the media? Will Mullah Omar (spiritual leader of the late, unlamented, Taliban regime) forge a new chapter in tolerance and understanding?
Sometimes a political figure becomes so hated that he can't do anything right in the eyes of his enemies. President Bush has achieved this rare and exalted status. His critics are so blinded by animus that the internal consistency of their attacks on him no longer matters. For them, Bush is the double-bind president.
The Americans could probably make a difference in Sudan, too. The USAF could target and bomb the Janjaweed as effectively as they did the Taliban. But then John Mann and Harold Pinter and Rupert Everett would get their knickers in a twist, and everyone from John Kerry to Polly Toynbee would complain that it's "illegitimate" unless it's authorised by the UN. The problem is, by the time you've gone through the UN, everyone's dead.
The UN system is broken beyond repair. In May, even as its proxies were getting stuck into their ethnic cleansing in Darfur, Sudan was elected to a three-year term on the UN Human Rights Commission. This isn't an aberration: Zimbabwe is also a member. The very structure of the organisation, under which countries vote in regional blocs, encourages such affronts to decency.
The Sudanese representative, by the way, immediately professed himself concerned by human rights abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib.
One day, historians will wonder why the most militarily advanced nations could do nothing to halt men with machetes and a few rusting rifles. After Kitchener's victory over the dervishes at Omdurman, Belloc wrote:
"Whatever happens/ We have got/ The Maxim gun/ and they have not."
We've tossed out the Maxim gun for daisycutters and cruise missiles. In Darfur, meanwhile, the Janjaweed on their horses are no better armed than the dervishes were. But we're powerless against them because we've fetishised poseur-multilateralism as the only legitimate form of intervention. Who needs a "Kipling of today" when the old one works perfectly well:
"Take up the White Man's burden/ The savage wars of peace/ Fill full the mouth of famine /And bid the sickness cease;/ And when your goal is nearest/ The end for others sought,/ Watch Sloth and heathen Folly/ Bring all your hope to nought."
He didn't know the half of it. Today, we have devised a system of protean "world government" that amplifies both the Sloth of the West and the heathen Folly of the thug states. And, because of it, in Sudan as in Rwanda, hundreds of thousands will die.
‘People don’t become suicide bombers for the fun of it, you know. They have grievances.”
The statement should have come as no surprise after all I had heard during the previous three hours, but still I was stunned. The speaker was one of two British journalists with whom I had spent the morning in and around the West Bank town of Kalkilya.
The Israel Defense Forces were taking foreign reporters on a tour of the “separation fence” late last month, days before Israel’s Supreme Court balanced humanitarian and security considerations, ordering the army to remove a small portion of the barrier and re-route other sections that might impose undue hardships on Palestinians.
Conducting our tour was a lieutenant colonel named Shai, the former battalion commander for the area. Also in the van: an IDF spokesman and the two Brits: Harriet, a foreign editor of the influential UK publication The Guardian, and Martin, a correspondent for the Times of London.
ON SUNDAY NIGHT, liberal activist group MoveOn.org organized more than two thousand screenings across the nation for op-ed filmmaker Robert Greenwald's assault on Fox News Channel, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War On Journalism. The DC Metro area played host to 16 screenings, with some 800 registered attendees.
With the end of the Sopranos season, my Sundays have been devoid of mob mentality, so I signed up to join the festivities. Unable to resist the masochistic temptation, I registered for a screening at an indigenous cooperative proclaiming itself the "Peace House."...
Maj. Michael Newton, a military lawyer who teaches at West Point, coined a new term earlier this year: "lawfare." It is the pursuit of strategic aims, the traditional domain of warfare, through aggressive legal maneuvers. Last Friday's decision by the International Court of Justice holding Israel's security fence in violation of international law is another milestone in the onward march of lawfare. The ICJ has now confirmed that lawfare and warfare can be pursued simultaneously.
The terror war against Israel, launched in the summer of 2000, has by now resulted in the deaths of nearly a thousand Israeli civilians. The security fence, by greatly impeding the movement of would-be terrorists into Israel, has helped to achieve a sharp decline in terror attacks over the past year. Nonetheless, the ICJ admonished that the nations of the world are obligated not to pressure Palestinians to abandon terrorism, but to pressure Israel to dismantle its security fence.
It is, more precisely, only a name applied vaguely to one of several financing and logistical arms of the Wahabi branch of what could more accurately be called the "Islamic Jihad". Not an army, nor a disciplined network of underground cells, but an historical movement -- and thus more comparable to something like "the Enlightenment" in the West, than to any organized militia. Not to say the Jihad shares ideals with the Enlightenment -- far from it -- but rather, it is similar in being a vast idealistic movement, consciously advanced by men who co-operate as and where they think they can be most effective -- but taking their orders, ultimately, not from men but from "the zeitgeist", or "Allah".The upshot of this is that the way we currently conceive of waging war on al-Qaeda is incorrect. A new "holistic" approach would be needed that would have to go against the current conceptions of political correctness.
For starters, it means we cannot draw neat, legalistic lines between who's in and who's out of the cabal. For instance, a journalist working for Al-Jazeera may be every bit as committed to the struggle as a man rehearsing the assembly of a mid-flight bomb. Each is advancing the Jihad by the means most available to him. And, exempting the one from prosecution while arresting the other is entirely obtuse.
Indications especially from the FBI are to expect a major terrorist hit on North America, sometime between now and the U.S. election in November. I think they are right to expect this. The political, economic, and social fallout from such a hit is unpredictably huge. But I am less and less confident that it can be prevented by anything resembling normal police methods. This is because, thanks chiefly to "political correction", we cannot look at the whole Jihad, and are in fact only looking for the pointy bits.
This is the font and source of the Left's rage and hate. The wrong side, the wrong ideas, the wrong attitudes and the wrong people had somehow contrived to win. And then, on top of the political and economic victories heralded by end of the Cold War, unsupportable enough in themselves, there came the USA's seemingly effortless military victory over Iraq in 1991 - in a war, as we remember, that the hard Left was unanimous in opposing, despite the fact it was unarguably just. The Left's fury and frustration boiled over. Who to blame for its immense, unimaginable defeat? To its question, "Why did the right side, the right ideas, the right attitudes and the right people not win?" the Left found a single, simple, one-word answer: Amerika. The rest, as they say, is polemics: the unending regurgitation of that helpless, futile response.Communism was the defining cause of the Left. Once it died, through its own utter failure, the Left lost something to be for. The only way they can now define themselves is by what they are against. This seems to also be a description of the Democratic Party - the mainstream Left. As has been shown through numerous polls, the majority of Democrats are not "for" Kerry, they are simply against Bush - showing once again the lack of any new ideas on the part of the Democratic Party.
Indeed, America's victory in the Cold War seems to have opened a kind of psychic wound in the collective sub-conscious of the Left, poisoning its soul. Perhaps the anti-American pandemic represents the effluxion by which the Left hopes to purge its own pain, understand its hurt, and heal it.
The "facts" of American evil and the hatred felt for it are not argued from circumstance or evidence: they are derived from an intellectual horizon wholly indifferent to logic. The evil is pre-assumed, cosmic and all-encompassing. It impacts the very basis of our reality, evidenced by the philosophies by which we understand it. America's evil is inherent, insistent and inevitable. And it is intended, deliberate and engineered, out of a spirit of pure, unadulterated malignance towards the non-American world. To Sardar and Davies, America is not a country at all, but rather a poisonous psychic space, and an infectious effluvium.
At this point, if not before, one realises that Why Do People Hate America? is purely the invention of its own malevolence. It resembles a scene from German Expressionist cinema, with strange splashes of light and dark, foreshortened figures, distorted shadows and an eerie, sinister mise-en-scene. Its underlying psychological state is reminiscent of nothing so much as Nazi hate literature, where you will find the Jews huddled in the same livid half-light, viewed through the same pornographying prism of delusional paranoia. This is worse than superstition; it is superstitious hatred; worse yet, it is hateful superstition.
The sun is burning hotter than usual, offering a possible explanation for global warming that needs to be weighed when proceeding with expensive efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases, Swiss and German scientists say.This sunspot theory - more sunspots cause warmth, less cause cold - has been around for quite a while. Over the last few hundred years there has been a fairly good correlation between sunspots and temperature variation on Earth. Of course, these correlations are ignored because there is really nothing we can do about the number of sunspots, and the environmentalists couldn't really blame the US for increased sunspots. If this is really a factor in global warming all the doommongers would have to find other things to scare us with.
"The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures," said Sami Solanki, the director of the renowned Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, who led the research.
"The sun is in a changed state. It is brighter than it was a few hundred years ago and this brightening started relatively recently - in the last 100 to 150 years," Mr. Solanski said.
Kerry can’t dance this way forever and expect to win. Voters need some sense of his proposed direction. For all the brickbats thrown at Bush, at least folks know where he stands.Cox&Forkum had a great cartoon of the position of Kerry and Edwards.
The same can’t be said for Kerry. Voters suffer migraines attempting to reconcile his criticisms that Bush should have submitted to the whims of France and Russia with Kerry’s supposed support for unilateral action. Ditto for endorsing preemptive action in between speeches where one of the biggest applause lines is, “In our Administration, we’ll never go to war because we want to; we’ll only go to war because we have to.”
Maybe Kerry won’t deviate much on the War on Terror. Who knows? But that’s the point.
Such a strike is likely if Russia supplies Iran with fuel rods for enriching uranium. The rods, currently stored at a Russian port, are expected to be delivered late next year after a dispute over financial terms is resolved.Obviously this is reminiscent of the Israeli strike against the Iraq reactor in 1981. The differences, however, will be huge between Iran's potential reaction and Iraq's non-reaction. It is almost certain that if Israel destroys Iran's facilities, Iran will retaliate through the Hezbollah and the thousands of missiles that Iran gave them. At this point the only hopes of averting these events is if either Russia decides not to deliver the material, or if the mullahs are overthrown.
An Israeli defense source in Tel Aviv, who confirmed that the military rehearsals had taken place, told the paper: "Israel will on no account permit Iranian reactors - especially the one being built in Bushehr with Russian help - to go critical."
...That the Arabs of the Land of Israel should willingly come to an agreement with us is beyond all hopes and dreams at present, and in the foreseeable future. This inner conviction of mine I express so categorically not because of any wish to dismay the moderate faction in the Zionist camp but, on the contrary, because I wish to save them from such dismay. Apart from those who have been virtually “blind” since childhood, all the other moderate Zionists have long since understood that there is not even the slightest hope of ever obtaining the agreement of the Arabs of the Land of Israel to “Palestine” becoming a country with a Jewish majority...
Columbia University historian Rashid Khalidi laments in the introduction to his critique of American policy in the Middle East, taking policymakers to task for listening to "ill-informed pundits rather than people who are actually knowledgeable about the rest of the world."
Rather than demonstrating why academics should be consulted by policymakers, however, Resurrecting Empire is a case study of why they are not. Khalidi's book, which examines the record of Western involvement in the Middle East and analyzes the likely outcome of the most recent U.S. incursions, rests on questionable sources, a tendency to favor polemic over fact and reflects little understanding of how policy is made.
Ostensibly, the mistakes made in 1944 were much greater, and cost many more lives than the mistakes made in 2003-4 in Iraq. Yet, the opposition party did not go looking for whom to blame for these errors. The reason for this is simple - in 1944 everyone recognized that we were at war and that defeat was not an option. Sadly, we have not reached that realization in this current war.
It becomes clear that our lapses could have been much greater if one studies the blunders of Eisenhower, Bradley, and Montgomery in 1944, not to mention the hare-brained ideas of great men like Churchill and Roosevelt — from being surprised at Pearl Harbor, Singapore, and the Philippines, to losing 50,000 casualties at Okinawa 90 days before the Japanese surrender, to allowing all of Eastern Europe to fall to the Communists. Yalta's terrible miscalculations make the present administration's foreign-policy slips seem minor in comparison.
But if in our war we look at the larger picture, we likewise come away with a different verdict from the one those details might lead us to. For all our Normandy-like mistakes, we are left with one truth that won't go away: A fascist, terrorist government is gone and something better is in its place, with a chance that it just might help alter the landscape of the region. Iraq was not Sicily, 415 B.C., when a democracy attacked an even larger democracy; this was not a 19th-century colonial march to steal resources; and this was not a Cold War coup to put in an anti-Communist thug.
Like Hitler, Saddam Hussein was a mass-murdering fascist, whom we had also appeased for years. For all his bluster, Hitler had not been in a prior shooting war with the United States, but after Pearl Harbor he had to be destroyed. In the same manner, after 9/11 there was no longer any margin of error in "boxing in" a rogue dictator that had struck four nations, violated most of the 1991 armistice agreements, ignored over a dozen U.N. resolutions, butchered tens of thousands, ruined the environment of Mesopotamia, constantly tried to recycle petrodollars to terrorists, attempted to assassinate a sitting U.S. president, and was in a stand-off with the U.S. Air Force involving 12 years, 350,000 sorties, and the control of two-thirds of Iraqi air space. Indeed, on September 11, 2001, American military forces were being fired on and firing back at the forces of just one nation in the world: Baathist Iraq.
Meanwhile, Saul Singer describes the legal contortions that the "Court" goes through to arrive at its judgement. More interestingly, he thinks that the reason that the fence is not being built on the Green Line needs to be stated clearly, and without apology.
What makes the travesty complete is that this denial of Israel's right to defend itself because doing so might violate "humanitarian" rights was read in open court by the chief judge representing China, whose government massacred hundreds of its own citizens demonstrating peacefully in Tiananmen Square. Not since Libya was made chairman of the Commission on Human Rights has the U.N. system put on such a shameless display of hypocrisy.
Moreover, the court had no jurisdiction to take this case. It is a court of arbitration, which requires the consent of both parties. The Israelis, knowing the deck was stacked, refused to give it. Not only did the United States declare this issue outside the boundaries of this court, so did the European Union and Russia, hardly Zionist agents.
The court went ahead nonetheless, betraying its prejudice in its very diction.
Since the Palestinians say they are not afraid of, and in fact seek death, their punishment can not be corporal. Since land is what they seem to care about, then that is where the pressure should be applied.
Perhaps this is so, but the more significant result is to amplify not only the necessity of the fence but of the decision not to build it on the Green Line. Even if Israel could have likely avoided the ICJ's black eye entirely by defending itself on what had become a quasi-border, that would have been a mistake.
The reason is that the objective of the fence had to be not just defending Israelis, but imposing a territorial price for the almost four years of unprovoked aggression the Palestinians have unleashed against us. Roughly speaking and as harsh as it may sound to say it, the more Palestinians feel that the fence is a "land grab," the more we are doing the right thing.
This is particularly true in the context of a disengagement plan which, we must admit, is susceptible to portrayal as a withdrawal under fire. The fence, and particularly where it is built, are the key antidotes to the sense that the disengagement plan is a net Palestinian victory.