The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Monday, January 31, 2005

              U.S. Official takes a leak

Don’t look now, but here’s another leak to the media about the possibility that Israel may take a preemptive strike at Iran’s nuclear targets of interest.

"The vice president said we're very concerned that this might happen"
One Elder’s take… the concern should be that it does not happen. Back during the first Gulf war, Israel was convinced to show “restraint” as Iraq fired upon its civilians. This restraint inspired respect and admiration from Israel’s neighbors… not. Lesson learned boys and girls.
|| Elder of Zion #6 3:48 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Breaking News
Dow Jones is reporting
AMHERST, N.Y. (AP)--A Buffalo radio station reported Monday that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is being taken to a hospital after collapsing while delivering a speech to a local Chamber of Commerce.

Update: Doesn't look like its anything serious.
|| Nudnik 1:11 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              This is what democracy looks like ...

An Iraqi man shows his dye-stained finger signifying he has voted at a polling station in Basra.

An Iraqi woman holds up her hand, and shows a purple finger, indicating she has just voted, as she leaves a polling station in the centre of Az Zubayr, southern Iraq.

Iraqi women show off their ink stained fingers after voting at a polling station in Baghdad.

An Iraqi woman holds her finger aloft for the ink to dry after voting at a school in the town of Abu Al Khasib on the southern edge of the Iraqi city of Basra.

An Iraqi woman cries tears of joy after casting her vote, outside a polling station in Najaf.

Iraqi immigrant Simon Atty watches, after completing his ballot, as his son, Joseph, 6, places the form in a box at the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, Calif.

An Iraqi woman flashes the V-sign for victory after casting her vote at a polling station in Tehran.

An Iraqi woman smiles and looks her inked finger after casting her ballot for her country's long-awaited national election in a polling station in Tehran, Iran.

And this should send a special message to the Mullahs in Iran: GET READY! Democracy is coming soon to a theater near you!

Let Freedom Reign Baby!!!

|| Mad as Hell 1:36 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Sunday, January 30, 2005

              Statue of Liberty
At least one foreign leader likes President Bush.
January 30, 2005 -- BAGHDAD — The man replacing the mayor of Baghdad — who was assassinated for his pro-American loyalties — says he is not worried about his ties to Washington.

In fact, he'd like to erect a monument to honor President Bush in the middle of the city.

"We will build a statue for Bush," said Ali Fadel, the former provincial council chairman. "He is the symbol of freedom."
|| Nudnik 10:22 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Kerry schtups the pooch
A real bad week for former presidential candidate John Kerry… Earlier last week he was reminded where the Capital building was just in time for him to play Senator again. One of his first acts, his public display of his regal starched shirted, transparently sore loseresque, blocking of the Condi Rice nomination, once again, clearly exposed him as a man not worthy of this nation’s highest post. Then, today, in the midst of a display of great bravery and triumph (in the form of the Iraqi elections) reminiscent of our Country’s own infancy, he chose to make the Sunday talk show rounds to urinate in the proverbial ice cube tray of our country’s success.
"It is hard to say that something is legitimate when whole portions of the
country can't vote and doesn't vote"

I mean, I have not seen this sort of display of political timing since Al Gore gave that speech about global warming on the coldest day of the year. Once again Mr. Kerry has shown a willingness to put his own political aspirations ahead of the interests of the country in which he lives and serves. The final nail in the coffin came today when ol’ man Soros took his shot at Mr. Kerry, functionally assuring his permanent place in history along side Mondale, Dukakis and the Buffalo Bills.

Nudnik Adds:
I was listening to the interview on the radio and what seemed even more ridiculous than Kerry's "sore losereque" was the questions Russert was asking. On one of the most significant days of the last 25 years, when there are free elections in the center of the Arab Middle for the first time in hundreds, if not thousands of years, Russert's asks Kerry about whether he really was in Cambodia in Christmas of 1968 and if he still has that lucky hat! Come on! Who cares about that at this point?
|| Elder of Zion #6 5:04 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, January 28, 2005

Read this story (reprinted below) and then name it. The winner of this contest gets… ummm… what I like to call Bubkis. To get the ball rolling… I’ll start ‘er off with a couple of entries:


A Slovak man trapped in his car under an avalanche freed himself by drinking 60 bottles of beer and urinating on the snow to melt it. Rescue teams found Richard Kral drunk and staggering along a mountain path four days after his Audi car was buried in the Slovak Tatra mountains. He told them that after the avalanche, he had opened his car window and tried to dig his way out. But as he dug with his hands, he realised the snow would fill his car before he managed to break through. He had 60 half-litre bottles of beer in his car as he was going on holiday, and after cracking one open to think about the problem he realised he could urinate on the snow to melt it, local media reported. He said: "I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there.

|| Elder of Zion #6 4:14 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              An outfit… to die for.
Can you say “missing the point”… again?!?! The Washington Post chooses to focus on the appearance of our representative in comparison to the other dignitaries at the Auschwitz liberation ceremony. Maybe a slightly more (note sarcasm) worthwhile angle for a story would be to point out that Cheney represent the country that sacrificed many lives to assist the liberation in the first place. By contrast, many of the others sitting next to him were representing nations that, at best, stood by and watched the atrocities happen or, at worst, were responsible for what took place there. Come to think of it, back in the 40s the Nazis dressed a little nicer than the common American soldier. All polished and neat and ready to kill a jew or two. I mean... when is the last time you saw a member of British Royalty dress up in a Marine uniform for a rave party? No offense, but… ummm… I’ll take a warm jacket and some slow to market liberation over a nice suit and tie with a dose of genocide any day.
|| Elder of Zion #6 11:27 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, January 27, 2005

              Useless and Deceitful
The Diplomad has been chronicling the relief operations in Indonesia and the ineffectiveness of the UN in this endeavor. And now, after doing virtually nothing to help the people of Indonesia, the UN has taken credit for the quick response to this disaster. Useless, deceitful, corrupt, anti-American, and terror-sympathizing. Is there really any reason for the continued existence of this organization?
|| Nudnik 3:44 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
George Will weighs in with his take on the reaction to Larry Summers's comments of last week and what it means to about the liberals' belief about rights.
Addressing a conference on the supposedly insufficient numbers of women in tenured positions in university science departments, he suggested that perhaps part of the explanation might be innate -- genetically based -- gender differences in cognition. He thought he was speaking in a place that encourages uncircumscribed intellectual explorations. He was not. He was on a university campus.

He was at Harvard, where he is president. Since then he has become a serial apologizer and accomplished groveler. Soon he may be in a Khmer Rouge-style reeducation camp somewhere in New England, relearning this: In today's academy, no social solecism is as unforgivable as the expression of a hypothesis that offends someone's "progressive" sensibilities.
|| Nudnik 3:17 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Half Man, Half Beast
I wonder if science isn't getting a little ahead of itself on this one.
|| Nudnik 2:35 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The Panic of the "Realists"
The "realist" branch of the foreign policy establishment was very unhappy about Bush's Inaugural Address, as was evidenced by Richard Haas's article in the Washington Post. Their main criticism is that Bush's vision is too far-reaching and not achievable. But as Saul Singer points out, Bush's goal is not as daunting as it seems.
What the realists don't realize is that if there is a problem with Bush's speech, it is neither utopianism nor excess ambition. If anything, Bush has made the goal of securing the world seem more daunting than it really is.

The terror the world is at war with is not quite as amorphous and global as it is made out to be. It is limited to one particularly virulent subculture within one civilization: to militant Islamism. And that subculture can only count two governments and one society as active allies: Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Of these, Syria is small and weak and the Saudis are also quite vulnerable and divided. This leaves Iran, the one regime in the world whose fate will determine whether the war takes a significant step forward or backward.
|| Nudnik 2:09 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              RE: Who the hell are you people?
Elder, those are very interesting questions that you ask. Seems to me that this issue of identity affects all immigrants, at one point or another. My theory is that one's identification with a particular country (and I am speaking only about immigrants) has much to do with the way one immigrated and whether one has the possibility of returning to one's country of origin. For those who immigrated to the US with no possibility of ever returning to their country of birth, the identification with the US is much stronger than for those who can go back. My example is Russian immigrants who came to the US in 90s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Many of them don't have as strong of an identification with America because they can always return; they did not flee their country of birth, they left to try something new. Alternatively, those who fled the Soviet Union in the 70s gave up (or were forced to give up) their Russian identity, and thus think of themselves as American, having no other nationality to fall back on.
|| Nudnik 1:44 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The Last Afghan Jew
An interesting article about the last known Jew in Afghanistan. Sadly, it seems that he will not be staying in the country much longer. After he leaves, a community that existed in that country from the 8th century AD (and by some accounts from the Assyrian Exile in 720 BC) will be completely gone.
|| Nudnik 12:58 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Who the hell are you people?
Had me a very interesting, yet distressful and disappointing, conversation yesterday that got me to thinking. The conversation was with a coworker who I generally like and respect. The conversation topic was U.S. foreign policy as it relates to China. My coworker was born in British occupied Hong Kong and moved to Canada as a youth. He eventually moved to the U.S., where he has lived for his entire adult life. Last year he attained full citizenship. During the course of the conversation, I was struck by the fact that he was referring to the Chinese as “we” or “us” and to the U.S. as “you” or “them”. I stopped him and asked, “aren’t you an American”? He replied that he was Chinese, stating that he viewed himself not as an American or even a Chinese-American, but as a Chinese man who happens to be living in America. I pressed forward, asking why he would define himself in this way given that he has never actually lived on Chinese soil. He started stating something about cultural influence and affiliation. I continued by pointing out that he chose to live here. He chooses to stay here. I pointed out that it was not his choice to be born in Hong Kong. I asked him about his citizenship as well as his oath, which he inherently took to protect his country with his life. “His country... America”. His response was that his citizenship was an act of convenience and that the oath was just something he had to say to get this done. As you can imagine I was taken aback by this admission, but my point here is not so much to take a shot at my colleague, but instead to raise a broader question.

What I would like to ask is, not in a legal sense, but on a personal level when did you become (if you have become) an American? Was it at birth, or at some point of realization as a young kid? Was it during a speech from a family member or friend, or from a politician? If you are an immigrant, was it the day that you got off the boat, or at some point when you felt accepted or at home or maybe the day that you were sworn in? Was it an issue of culture, language or loyalty? Personally, I have lived here for most of my life and have, for as long as I can remember, considered myself an American. As such, I was taken aback by the fact that not everyone of my neighbors feels similarly. I am left with a feeling that I take for granted an assumptive minimal level of loyalty or patriotism from those that I live and work with. I have always assumed that, regardless of political affiliation or viewpoint, for the most part people still considered themselves, quite simply, American. Sadly, I suppose I was mistaken.
|| Elder of Zion #6 11:02 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

              Sharansky's Influence
By most accounts, many in the Bush Administration have read Natan Sharansky's latest book, The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror, and most agree that Bush's thinking about the GWOT and America's role in the world has been heavily influenced by it, as was evident in Bush's Inaugural speech. After hearing Bush's speech last week, my father-in-law's comment was that now, if anything goes wrong, the Jews will once again be blamed. It seems that this article, judging by its tone, would confirm his view.
|| Nudnik 11:04 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Stop Bitching, Start a Revolution
In this hilarious video, Evan Coyne Maloney interviews a few of the protesters at the Inauguration. What is a bit frightening is how the thinking of many in the Democratic Party is similar to these members of the loony Left.
|| Nudnik 10:35 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Iraq's New History
With the Iraqi elections coming up in a few days, there will be much analysis of what they mean. Fouad Ajami, eloquently gives his assessment.
It is no small irony that the American project for opening up the politics of the Arab world is being launched from Iraq. At first glance this would seem to be the most forbidding of landscapes. Arabs of my generation who came into political awareness in the '50s were raised to an idea of Iraq as a turbulent and merciless place. But this is the hand that history has dealt us. Americans may be strangers in the Arab world, but a bitter frustration with the ways of the Arabs, born of 9/11, has pushed America deeper into Arab life. That frustration has given urgency to a new determination to reform the Arab condition, to strike at that cluster of unreason and anti-Americanism that has poisoned Arab culture. We haven't been particularly skilled at that, and perhaps no foreign sword could cut the Gordian knot of an old, stubborn culture. But there is nobility in what is being attempted. Under Anglo-American protection the Kurds, for decades the victims of official persecution, were able to build a decent, moderate political world in their ancestral north. Now the work of repair extends beyond the Kurds, and Iraq today represents the odd spectacle, a veritable reversal of intellectual galaxies, of a conservative American president proclaiming the gospel of liberty while liberals fall back on a surly belief that liberty can't travel, can't spread to Muslim lands.

Leave aside American liberalism's hostility to this venture and consider the multitudes of America's critics in Arab and European intellectual circles. It is they today who propagate a view of peoples and nations fit--and unfit--for democracy. It is they who speak of Iraq's "innate" violence. For their part, the men and women in Iraq--who make their way to the ballot box, past the perpetrators of terror--will be witnesses to the appeal of liberty. In their condescension, people given to dismissing these elections say that Iraq is the wrong place for a "Jeffersonian democracy." (Forgive the emptiness of that remark, for America itself is more of a Hamiltonian creation, but that is another matter.) No Jeffersonianism is needed here. A kind of wisdom has been given ordinary Iraqis--an eagerness to be rid of the culture of statues and informers and terror. It takes no literacy in the writings of Mill and Locke to know the self-respect that comes with choosing one's rulers. Though it would not be precisely accurate to speak of the "restoration" of democracy in Iraq, older Iraqis have a memory of a more merciful history. Now Iraq has to be rehabilitated. These elections--flawed, taking place alongside a raging insurgency--are part of the rehabilitation of this deeply wounded country.
|| Nudnik 10:22 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Iranian Terror Plot
Representative Curt Weldon is alleging that the CIA ignored an Iranian plot to crash an airliner into the Seabrook nuclear plant in New Hampshire.
The memorandum reported that Ali relayed the Iranian plan to attack a nuclear reactor in New Hampshire during a secret meeting with Weldon on May 17, 2003. The plan, said to resemble that of Al Qaida's suicide strikes against New York and Washington in 2001, called for Iranian-backed insurgents to hijack Canadian passenger jets and crash them into the Seabrook reactor in New Hampshire.

Weldon quoted Ali as saying the attack had been called for between Nov. 23 and Dec. 3, 2003. But he said Iran postponed the attack until after the November 2004 presidential election.
|| Nudnik 3:28 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Who knew?
Call me naive but I did not realize that the Star-Spangled Banner was originally much longer than the popularly sung “Anthem” version of today. Below is the full length poem version as it was written:

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen thro' the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion, A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash'd out their foul footsteps' pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when free-men shall stand Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation; Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto: “In God is our trust!” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

|| Elder of Zion #6 2:09 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              March of Democracy
Joshua Muravchik, in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, gives some very interesting statistics about democracy around the world.
The skeptics continue to point to cultural differences to explain why democracy is absent from various non-Western states. But this is the true picture: In Latin America and the Caribbean, 32 out of 35 states have elected governments. In Asia and the Pacific, the ratio is 23 out of 39. In the states of the former Soviet Union and its satellites, 17 out of 27 are democratic. And in sub-Saharan Africa, 19 out of 48, or 40%, of the governments have been elected by their people, despite the familiar litany of disabilities: poverty, illiteracy, AIDS, tribalism and borders drawn artificially by former foreign rulers.

The one region completely left behind, until now, by this democratic revolution is the Middle East and North Africa, where Israel remains the only democracy among 18 states.
Over the last 25 years, the number of democratic states has grown in every region but one. Is it any surprise, then, that this region is the epicenter of terrorism?
|| Nudnik 1:40 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

              The Mouth of the South
Drudge reports on a great response to Ted Turner's rant today comparing FoxNews's popularity to Hitler's popularity before World War II.
A FOXNEWS spokesperson responded: "Ted is understandably bitter having lost his ratings, his network and now his mind -- we wish him well."
|| Nudnik 4:52 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Results, Not Timetables
In their interrogation of Codolezza Rice, one of the main questions asked by the Democrat Senators was about an exit strategy for Iraq. Henry Kissinger and George Schultz reject this line of thinking as short-sighted and wrong.
The implications of the term "exit strategy" must be clearly understood; there can be no fudging of consequences. The essential prerequisite for an acceptable exit strategy is a sustainable outcome, not an arbitrary time limit. For the outcome in Iraq will shape the next decade of American foreign policy. A debacle would usher in a series of convulsions in the region as radicals and fundamentalists moved for dominance, with the wind seemingly at their backs. Wherever there are significant Muslim populations, radical elements would be emboldened. As the rest of the world related to this reality, its sense of direction would be impaired by the demonstration of American confusion in Iraq. A precipitate American withdrawal would be almost certain to cause a civil war that would dwarf Yugoslavia's, and it would be compounded as neighbors escalated their current involvement into full-scale intervention.
The Democrats want to bring troops "home" now. And while this is certainly a desirable short-term goal, in the long-term it could be disastrous. If one looks back at US occupations of other countries, the ones that have succeeded have been the ones where the US stayed longer than five years. I wonder why the Democrats aren't asking about an exit strategy from Germany; after all, our troops have been there for 60 years. The main question for the Democrats on Iraq is do we want to withdraw or do we want to succeed?
|| Nudnik 4:24 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Holocaust Remembrance
60 Years ago this week, the Nazi deathcamp Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Army. So in commemoration of this event and in the spirit of "Never Again" a number of ceremonies are being held around the world, and even at the UN. In today's Boston Globe, James Carroll draws attention to the initial reporting, in the New York Times and others, of the liberation.
The identities of the victims were given as "more than 4,000,000 citizens" of a list of European nations -- Poland, Hungary, Netherlands, France. But what is most remarkable about the Times story -- apart from the fact that it was buried on page 12 -- is that in defining the identities of those victims, the story never used the word "Jew."
He goes on to say
What gives the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz its special gravity is that this crime, while committed by Nazis -- and the particular guilt of the perpetrators must always be insisted upon -- could not have occurred but for the religiously and culturally justified anti-Semitism that both spawned the crime and then enabled it nearly to succeed.
Yet in writing about the "culturally justified anti-Semitism" of the Nazis he completely neglects the new "culturally justified anti-Semitism" of the Arab world, and specifically of the Palestinians. One need only to read MEMRI to see this. Or to listen to Natan Sharansky.
It is important to document this phenomenon, he said, because many people view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as centered on political issues, when the Palestinians have tied redemption to killing Jews. "It's not connected to borders, it's not connected to compromise, and no compromise will be reached [once] it's a battle of God against the Jews."

"As in Nazi Germany, there is an entire 'culture of hatred' in Palestinian society today, from textbooks to crossword puzzles, from day camps to TV music videos," Sharansky charged in a statement issued by his office ahead of the press conference. "Calling for the murder of Jews, as Jews, is the end result."
Carroll, and other writers continue to ignore what the Arabs say, and continue to attribute the terrorism against Israel to "the occupation". And in so doing, encourage the continuing belief among Arabs that at some point they will be able to destroy the State of Israel and all the Jews, and Europe won't do a damn about it.

Remembering the Holocaust simply for the sake of remembering the people killed is important, but that is not the point of "Never Again". If we dismiss the genocidal impulses and utterings of the Arab world, or ignore the slaughter going on in Darfur, or the ethnic cleansing that occurred in the Balkans just a few years ago, then all the commemorations and remembrances are worthless. "Never Again" is a call for action to prevent genocide, not another self-righteous throwaway phrase of the "seriousness of the international community" to do this or that without ever doing anything.

UPDATE: In another excellent article, Mark Steyn shows what the remembrance of the Holocaust has become in today's Europe.
|| Nudnik 1:51 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Sharon's Plan
It seems that Ariel Sharon has had enough and is (finally) willing to go all the way in terms of stopping the daily rocket attacks on Israelis.
Sharon demanded that the IDF deploy artillery to shell targets in the Gaza Strip, including in towns and villages, as long as Hamas continued to launch Qassam rockets or mortars at Israeli communities. He adopted a blatant eye-for-an-eye approach - to pay the Palestinians in kind, but with much more and much deadlier force. He also spoke of the need to move large forces into the northern Strip.
I hope that this is Sharon's real intention, and not just a press release put out to mollify the residents of Sderot and the Jewish communities in Gaza. As I have said before, there will not be peace until the Palestinians are, and understand that they are, fully defeated. The inability and unwillingness of Israel to admit that the Palestinians have been waging a war, and to respond accordingly has dragged out the situation much longer than it should have ever gone on.
|| Nudnik 1:23 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Hersh's Fables
A week or so ago there was a lot of fuss about an article that Seymour Hersh had written in The New Yorker alleging that US and Israeli special forces units were in Iran looking for nuclear sites for possible airstrikes. As I said at the time, Hersh has generally not been a reliable source. Now, Michael Ledeen shows that Hersh seems to be peddling an old story, only with some names changed.
Slightly more than three years ago (in the issue dated November 5, 2001), he wrote something for the New Yorker (lightheartedly labeled "FACT") called "Watching the Warheads." It's about Pakistan; and Hersh warns us that our hunt for Osama "has evolved into a regional crisis that has put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at risk, exacerbated the instability of the government of General Pervez Musharraf, and raised the possibility of a nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India." And of course, Hersh darkly notes that the smart guys in Washington (the "government's intelligence and diplomatic experts") and the fools in town ("the decision-makers of the Bush Administration") are at odds over the matter. Indeed, it's led to "a serious rift."

That's one of the main themes of his more recent piece. The only difference is the target of opportunity. Then it was Pakistan; now it's Iran. Now, as then, according to Hersh's vision, Rumsfeld's guys are sneaking around: "In recent weeks an elite Pentagon undercover unit — trained to slip into foreign countries and find suspected nuclear weapons, and disarm them if necessary — has explored plans for an operation inside Pakistan." And then, as now, the Israelis are in it too: "The American team is apparently getting help from Israel's most successful special-operations unit, the storied Sayeret Matkal, also known as Unit 262, a deep-penetration unit that has been involved in...the theft and destruction of foreign nuclear weaponry."

The Israelis in this case were said to be helping our guys "at undisclosed locations," maybe in the United States. But it's the usual tandem. Do you think Hersh has a template for this story, and just changes the name of the country according to the evening news?
I would hope that there are US special forces units in Iran (as well as many other places), and in all likelihood they are there. That is, after all, one of their jobs. But Hersh's hysterical hyping of stories, using his "unnamed" sources, does not make him a credible journalist.
|| Nudnik 11:19 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Monday, January 24, 2005

              The "Realist" View
In Today's Washington Post, Richard Haas offers the old school "realist" view in arguing that the promotion of freedom is not, of itself a true policy. It is the "don't rock the boat" argument.
The idea, stated forcefully by President Bush in his second inaugural, that the United States would henceforth support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture "with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world" is by any yardstick an important declaration. A foreign policy doctrine, however, it is not.
While admitting that democracy in countries that presently breed terrorism may be helpful in our GWOT, he contends that democracy can be am unpredictable and messy thing.
To begin with, democracies are not always peaceful. Immature democracies - those that hold elections but lack many of the checks and balances characteristic of a true democracy - are particularly vulnerable to being hijacked by popular passions.
But any country moving from a dictatorship to a democracy will have to go through the stage of being an "immature democracy". Does Haas then mean that we should discourage that? That because they will not be a "perfect" democracy from the beginning, we should discourage democratization? Undoubtedly many of the attempts at democratization will proceed in fits and starts, but movement towards a representative form of government is certainly better than the stability of tyranny. At one point, even the US was an "immature" democracy. Should that experiment not have been attempted because of the instability that existed for the first 100 years of our republic? One has to start somewhere.

Haas then goes on to say that we shouldn't push for democracy because it is difficult and costly.
It is also difficult to spread democracy. It is one thing to oust a regime, quite another to put something better in its place. Prolonged occupation of the sort the United States carried out in Japan and West Germany after World War II is the only surefire way to build democratic institutions and instill democratic culture. But as Iraq demonstrates, the rise of modern nationalism and modern methods of resistance means that such opportunities will be rare, costly and uncertain to succeed, despite an investment of billions of dollars and thousands of lives.
Yes, creating something where nothing existed is often costly and difficult, but it does not mean that it should not be done.

Finally, Haas gets to the bedrock of the realpolitik school of foreign policy - "he may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch".
We may prefer that China, Russia, Pakistan and Palestine also be democratic, but a preference is something markedly less than a vital interest. The United States simply cannot afford to allow promoting democracy to trump cooperation on what is truly essential.
As President Bush said in his speech in London a little while ago, our policy of supporting dictators and tyrants because it seemed expedient has failed. Haas's view of the world is very pessimistic - spreading democracy is going to fail anyways, so why not continue doing what we have been doing (never mind that that policy brought us 9/11 and the spread of Islamic radicalism). Haas is wrong that Bush's vision is an idealistic one without a basis in vital national interest. In fact, what the Bush speech was all about was tying the ideology (spreading democracy and defeating tyranny) to the realism of doing this for our own good, not just for the sake of others.
|| Nudnik 11:56 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Academic Jihad
Lee Kaplan writes about another in a long line of academic attacks on Israel. This one happens to be at Princeton, and is a fellowship in the Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, funded by the Moroccan Royal family.
More than anything else, the fellowship description of “Society under Occupation: Contemporary Palestinian Politics, Culture and Identity” reads like a Palestinian propaganda pamphlet:

“Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip has now persisted for over thirty-seven years, during which time the number of Israeli settlers in the occupied territories has grown to hundreds of thousands and Israeli control over the territories has been strengthened by the use of checkpoints, by-pass roads, military engagement and, most recently, the construction of a wall separating Palestinians from Israel and from one another. Despite living under occupation, as refugees, or outside their homeland, Palestinians have maintained a vibrant cultural and political life. In 2005-2006, the Institute will focus research on contemporary Palestinian life, both under occupation and in the diaspora. We wish to explore Palestinian culture, society and religious life, as well as Palestinian national identity and contemporary Palestinian political, legal and ethical thought. We also hope to examine Palestinians’ understanding of dispossession and occupation, and their visions of a post-occupation future.”
At this point most Universities, especially their Near East Departments, have become bastions of the anti-Israel jihad, even going so far as endorsing Palestinian suicide bombing. In effect, these supposed "progressives" have embarked on a campaign of delegitimization of the only state in the Middle East that actually shares the values they supposedly hold dear.

Josef Joffe confronts the main anti-Israel ideas of the Left and looks at what the world would be without Israel.
Imagine that Israel never existed. Would the economic malaise and political repression that drive angry young men to become suicide bombers vanish? Would the Palestinians have an independent state? Would the United States, freed of its burdensome ally, suddenly find itself beloved throughout the Muslim world? Wishful thinking. Far from creating tensions, Israel actually contains more antagonisms than it causes.
|| Nudnik 1:25 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              More Good News From Russia
Dow Jones reports on the continuing slide into tyranny of Russia.
MOSCOW (AP)--A group of nationalist lawmakers is calling for an
investigation aimed at outlawing all Jewish organizations in Russia, accusing Jews of fomenting ethnic hatred and provoking anti-Semitism.

In a letter dated Jan. 13, about 20 members of the lower parliament house, the State Duma, asked Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov to investigate their claims and, if they are confirmed, to launch proceedings "on the prohibition in our country of all religious and ethnic Jewish organizations as extremist."

Arguing that Jews were to blame for anti-Semitism, the authors of the letter want Jewish groups outlawed based on legislation against extremism and fomenting ethnic discord.

"The negative assessments by Russian patriots of the qualities and actions against non-Jews that are typical of Jews correspond to the truth, indeed these actions are not random but prescribed in Judaism and have been practiced for two centuries," says the letter, faxed in part to The Associated Press by the office of lawmaker Alexander Krutov.

Thus, it says, "the statements and publications against Jews that have incriminated patriots are self-defense, which is not always stylistically correct but is justified in essence."
|| Nudnik 1:20 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The Al Capone Precedent
Mad As Hell, a new poster on The Nudnik File, sends along this story.
German authorities on Sunday arrested two suspected members of al Qaeda, one of whom had tried to obtain nuclear materials and had contacts with Osama bin Laden, officials said.
The two suspects sought to raise money by taking out an 800,000 euro ($1 million) life insurance policy on Yasser Abu S., who planned to fake a fatal traffic accident and use the money for jihad, or holy war, the statement said.
If they can't convict them on the terrorism charges, at least they will be able to get them on insurance fraud.
|| Nudnik 1:10 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Sunday, January 23, 2005

              Confronting Iran
Edward Luttwak writes about the upcoming confrontation with Iran and the possible consequences. He calls a nuclear Iran "the scariest prospect of all". And while he believes, like everyone else that the problem should be solved diplomatically, he seems to believe that the prospects of that are fairly low, and therefore the US will need to do something.
Unless European diplomacy obtains real guarantees from Iran, President Bush will soon have to decide to do to Iran what the Israelis did to Iraq. If he decides to attack, he will not announce it in advance: just a television broadcast the following morning announcing a job done. The "international community" will denounce the raid hysterically in public while approving of it whole-heartedly in private.

Conventional wisdom says that bombing Iran would lead to Iranians rallying round their government. I am not sure that would happen in today's Iran. Its rulers' bizarre combination of rigid religious conservatism, blatant corruption and economic incompetence has made them exceptionally unpopular. Half of the population is not Persian – and many of them would view an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities not as an attack upon them, but on their imperialist rulers. Even the Persian majority may not want their hated clerical despots to control nuclear bombs. A raid on nuclear sites, nearly all of which are in remote locations, may not provoke the population to rally round their rulers but, of course, the Iranian government would not collapse. Some form of retaliation would be inevitable.
|| Nudnik 11:12 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Cynicism and Delusion
The incomparable Mark Steyn once again shows that the Democrats still don't get it.
I picked up the Village Voice for the first time in years this week. Couldn't resist the cover story: ''The Eve Of Destruction: George W. Bush's Four-Year Plan To Wreck The World.''

Oh, dear. It's so easy to raise expectations at the beginning of a new presidential term. But at least he's got a four-year plan. Over on the Democratic bench, worldwise they don't seem to have given things much thought. The differences were especially stark in the last seven days: In the first half of the week, Senate Dems badgered the incoming secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice -- culminating in the decision of West Virginia porkmeister Robert C. Byrd to delay the incoming thereof. Don't ask me why. Byrd, the former Klu Klux Klan Kleagle, is taking a stand over states' rights, or his rights over State, or some such. Whatever the reason, the sight of an old Klansman blocking a little colored girl from Birmingham from getting into her office contributed to the general retro vibe that hangs around the Democratic Party these days. Even "Eve Of Destruction," one notes, is a 40-year-old hippie dirge.
The Democrats have become, in both foreign and domestic policy, the reactionary party. Unless they get some new ideas, they are doomed to being the minority party for a long time. And electing Howard Dean to head the party does not fall under the getting new ideas goal.
|| Nudnik 6:20 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Un Cluelessness
You can always count on the UN for an inane report. The headline of this article: Report: Reckless Post-War Spending Causes Corruption. The examples of "post-war corruption" are from Liberia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Bosnia-Herzegovina. Undoubtedly pumping money into these countries with no oversight or control, as the UN routinely does, will lead to corruption. But the countries cited were not exactly the perfect examples integrity and good governance before the wars. The UN has an amazing ability to grasp the obvious.
|| Nudnik 6:12 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
On this first weekend after the inauguration, there are a number of articles reviewing Bush's inaugural speech and its significance. For the Democratic media organs (The New York Times, NPR, MSNBC) the speech was "simple-minded", and avoided mentioning the key issue of the day - Iraq. Both of those criticisms are simply wrong and themselves simple-minded.

The speech truly was revolutionary. Robert Kagan shows Bush's transformation from a "realist retrenchment" when he first came to office, to a "moralistic policy of promoting democracy in the Middle East derived from hard-headed calculations of American security interests", and with this speech to a revolutionary idealism of spreading democracy for the sake of democracy, "unmoored...from the war on terrorism".

Michael Barone traces the idea of the "fire of freedom" from George Washington to Lincoln to Bush.
Bush is not the first president to liken liberty to fire. George Washington in 1789 said, "The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered . . . deeply, . . . finally, staked on the experiment intrusted to the hands of the American people." In 1941 Franklin Roosevelt quoted Washington and went on, "If we lose that sacred fire--if we let it be smothered with doubt and fear--then we shall reject the destiny which Washington strove so valiantly and so triumphantly to establish." Bush chose to quote Lincoln. "The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: 'Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.' " There is a narrative here: Washington established liberty in America, Lincoln extended liberty to the slaves, Bush means to spread liberty around the world. And by force of arms when necessary.
The one disagreement that I have with this analysis is that while Washington was a revolutionary, and Bush is setting himself up to be one, Lincoln was not. Lincoln was in essence a reactionary - trying to preserve the status quo of the Union.
|| Nudnik 5:30 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              War on Democracy
Many on the Left - especially, but not limited to the far Left - have argued that the insurgency in Iraq is a fight against US "occupation". Michael Moore has even referred to al Zarqawi and his terrorists as "freedom fighters" and compared them to the Minutemen of the American Revolution. Today, in a new audio recording, al Zarqawi has declared war on the Iraqi elections. I wonder how the left can continue to argue that the insurgency is being waged against "occupation", when Zarqawi has now clearly stated his true goal - no democracy in Iraq.
|| Nudnik 10:29 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, January 21, 2005

              My mom is "cooler" than your mom?
For years I have always though that my mom’s Gazpacho soup recipe and flawless laundry etiquette secured her spot as the coolest mom in town... until... this story.

PS... The boy who narked should be shunned and ostracized from the schoolyards of history.

PPS... I love you mom.
|| Elder of Zion #6 5:17 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Identifying the Enemy
In an excellent article, Diana West once again reminds us of one of the central issues in the GWOT: being able to identify and name our enemy, something political correctness seeks to prevent.
Which takes me back to the original idea of what there is to achieve by writing about those central, retrograde aspects of Islam that clash with Western society — namely, the precepts of jihad and dhimmitude, and the dictates of sharia law. Clarity is the goal. We are unlikely to witness a security-lite inauguration four years — or eight or 12 years — hence if we remain confused about the ideology that animates our foes. And we are unlikely to ward off the spread of jihad, dhimmitude and sharia law the world over — including the U.S.A. — if we know nothing about it, or, worse, know only apologetics about it. Infinitely more pleasant, they are also misleading.

But apologetics are what we get. Take the reading list that Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, our new commander in Iraq, has given senior staff. It whitewashes jihad, dhimmitude and sharia law with the works of Karen Armstrong and John Esposito. No Bat Ye'or; no Ibn Warraq; no Robert Spencer; no Daniel Pipes; no Paul Fregosi; no Oriana Fallaci; not even any Bernard Lewis. Ignorance before September 11 was bad enough; perpetuating that ignorance is inexcusable.
Until we are able to clearly see and unapolagetically state that we are in a world war against Islamism, and that the main proponents of this ideology happen to be from the Arab world, we can not win. Unfortunately, it will probably take another event on the scale of 9/11 for people to acknowledge this.
|| Nudnik 3:41 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, January 20, 2005

              Palestinian Police in Gaza
Hoping to avert a massive Israeli military operation in Gaza, the Palestinians have pledged to deploy police to Northern Gaza to stop the terrorists firing missiles and mortars into Israel. I am somewhat skeptical that the "police" will actually be willing or able to do anything, since they and the terrorists are often one and the same. More than likely, there will be a few days or weeks of relative calm (only a few mortars a day), and then the firing will resume as before. Israel will then need to do what it has been planning to do, an Operation Defensive Shield in Gaza. Israel Harel argues that such an operation, far from destroying Abbas's authority, could actually strengthen it.
Patrons of the Palestinian president should have been the first to demand that the IDF do in Beit Hanun and Khan Yunis what it did in Operation Defensive Shield in Nablus, Tul Karm, Qalqilyah, Ramallah and Hebron. And they should be demanding this not for Sderot, heaven forbid, but in order to save the presidency of Abu Mazen, because after the IDF crushes his opponents and withdraws - and no one in Israel wants the army to remain there - the Palestinian president will be able to stabilize his rule and, in keeping with the dreams of those who continue to believe in the honorable intentions of him and the rest of the Palestinians, become Israel's "partner for peace."
|| Nudnik 3:56 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Inaugural Speech
In many ways President Bush is the inheritor of Reagan's legacy; both men realized that the United States was involved in a world war that must be one, and both had the ability and courage to make moral judgments. Unfortunately, one area where Bush is not Reagan's heir is in his oratorial ability.

Bush's second inaugural speech was excellent. In its steadfastness and optimism it is similar to a number of his great speeches from 2002, but I needed to read it, instead of simply hearing it, to appreciate its greatness.
At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical - and then there came a day of fire.

We have seen our vulnerability - and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny - prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder - violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.
This is the core belief of President Bush and his administration. It is the reason that Bush changed our dealings with Middle Eastern dictators. And it is the reason that we went to war in Iraq. And what makes this president so impressive is that he does not give in to the whims of public opinion, or the opportunistic "realism" of Europe. His ideology is an incredibly optimistic one. He truly believes (unlike many of the "progressive" ilk) that if given a chance, all people would choose freedom and Democracy, and he has committed himself to give all people a chance to achieve this.
When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public and the Liberty Bell was sounded in celebration, a witness said, "It rang as if it meant something." In our time it means something still. America, in this young century, proclaims liberty throughout all the world, and to all the inhabitants thereof. Renewed in our strength - tested, but not weary - we are ready for the greatest achievements in the history of freedom.
|| Nudnik 2:38 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
That was the key word of the second Inaugural Speech of President Bush, a word that was repeated 25 times in he speech. Freedom has been the theme of the Bush Presidency, and was the key word of his campaign. It is a challenge to the world, and to our domestic opposition; and one that puts them on notice that the agenda from the first term will continue, regardless of whether Barbara Boxer and John Kerry like it. I will post the entire speech later, with some more thoughts about it.
|| Nudnik 1:27 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              “Something Else” = [fill in the blank]
At last night’s Boston gala event, democratic wigs (big and small) discussed the concept of embracing religious based initiatives in their thinly veiled attempt to hold on to a small sliver of remaining power and popularity. Featured speaker Hillary Clinton was presented to the crowd by Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, calling her...

"the first first lady to be a US senator and maybe the first woman to be something else."
I think we all know what the “something else” is that they have in mind. So... umm... what does “something else” mean to you?

|| Elder of Zion #6 11:41 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

              Dirty Bomb
Drudge is reporting that the FBI is currently searching for a dirty bomb in Boston.

Federal and state authorities are investigating a nuclear terrorist threat against Boston after a man calling from Mexico told California police that he smuggled two Iraqis and four Chinese over the border, the Boston Herald has learned. "He refers to some sort of nuclear material that will follow them through New York up into Boston.'' The threat was serious enough that Mayor Menino ordered the Fire Commissioner and the state's Homeland Security Chief into his office at City Hall, where they met with officials from the CIA, FBI, and Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, a high-ranking city official told the Herald.
|| Nudnik 4:45 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Those Who Forget the Past.....
In the last week, much was made of Prince Harry's wearing a Nazi uniform to a costume party. Undoubtedly it was a stupid thing to do on his part. Yet this was the action of one immature, spoiled, not too bright kid.

Today Reuters reports that Moscow is planning to erect a new statue of Josef Stalin. Never mind what this says about Putin and today's Russia - that it is willing to once again honor a brutal dictator who killed tens of millions of people. But what does it say about the West that no one is outraged by this?
|| Nudnik 2:16 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              The Immorality of the Left 2
Ralph Peters writes about Hotel Rwanda, a new movie about the massacres that took place there during the Clinton Administration.
Only one thing troubles me about "Hotel Rwanda": Those on the left will see this film, shake their heads . . . and conclude they've done their duty by spending a couple of bucks at the multiplex. The one thing the left won't take from the film is a sense of its moral bankruptcy.

The left is blind to the suffering it condones. But every ranking member of the Clinton administration should live in shame not only at Clinton's reluctance to intervene in Rwanda, but at his outright obstruction of efforts to address the problem in the U.N. Security Council (you know you've hit a moral bottom when the United Nations looks more virtuous).
And yet, the same people who are "shaking their heads" from this are the same ones who are now protesting US involvement in Iraq. Saddam killed more people than were killed in Rwanda, yet the Left insists that we should have left Saddam alone; that it was none of our business.
It's a wonderful thing to be an idealist, but to be one successfully requires embracing practical means, not slogans. The leftist catechism that military intervention is always bad (less bad, though, when initiated by a Democrat) means turning away from the pleas of those marked for death.

The left had a grand time with the abuses in Abu Ghraib prison. But I didn't meet a single anti-war activist in Iraq last year, when I toured a network of torture chambers Saddam's regime had used to butcher the Kurds.

Leftists are always happy to weep over corpses, but they find it an inconvenience to save the living.
|| Nudnik 1:45 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              City Journal
The Winter edition of City Journal, the quarterly publication of The Manhattan Institute, is up. Heather McDonald examines the interrogation of terrorists by US forces. Theodore Dalrymple writes of The Specters Haunting Dresden. And Victor Davis Hanson looks at Postmodern War, and the US's ability to triumph in it.
|| Nudnik 1:24 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

              Abbas's Peace
Since the "election" of Mahmoud Abbas the number of terror attacks and rocket and mortar attacks against Israel has only increased. Abbas has said that he will not disarm the terrorists, only try to talk them into laying down their weapons. (and though one of the Palestinian "security chiefs" has stated that they will disarm them, it seems hardly believable). Today, after the second suicide bombing in Gaza, and certainly pressure from the PA, the al Aksa Martyrs Brigade (or the Yasser Arafat Martyrs Brigade, as it is now known) has stated that they will not launch any attacks in Israel. This does not include the West Bank or Gaza, where they feel free to continue their attacks. Undoubtedly, there will be a chorus demanding Israel now make some sort of gesture to the terrorists. Of course, the al Aksa Martyrs Brigade has not been able to launch any attacks in Israel for quite a while because of the fence and Israel's aggressive counter-terror operations, so this "cease-fire" is completely meaningless.

At this point the indications are that Abbas's "grace period" is over and unless there is serious action against the terrorists on the part of the PA, Israel will begin major operations in Gaza. What isn't publicized is that there is a way to respond to the Kassam attacks; its called counterbattery fire. On the current battlefield, artillery is equipped with radar that tracks incoming fire and can pinpoint its origin. Fire is then directed on that location. The same can be done with the Kassams. The only issue is that they are usually fired from populated areas, meaning that Israel's fire would land in civilian neighborhoods and would cause international outrage. But as Yoel Marcus writes, it is now time for An Eye for an Eye.
There is a breaking point and a time when the government must take off its gloves and present the other side with a flat ultimatum: For every indiscriminate round of fire on a civilian target, we will retaliate in kind on the closest and most populated Palestinian city. We will give it to them good. An eye for an eye.
If Israel were as "brutal" as its attackers claim it is, these attacks - and in fact all Palestinian attacks - would have long ago been stopped.
|| Nudnik 3:47 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man..."
Larry Summers, the President of Harvard University, seems once again to have wound up on the wrong side of the Left establishment. This time, he is being attacked for challenging the idea that are actually differences between men and women. To the vast majority of people this idea is fairly obvious. But to the Left, it is nothing short of radical - the idea that equality and "sameness" are not the same thing seems to be too complicated for these intellectuals.

So what was the response to Summer's offense?
"I would've either blacked out or thrown up," said Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who stood up and left Summers' speech, reports the Boston Globe. "It is so upsetting that all these brilliant young women (at Harvard) are being led by a man who views them this way," she added.

Summers was dimly aware that stating the obvious is a provocation on liberal campuses. So he girded his audience for comments about "differences" between the sexes with the preface, "I'm going to provoke you." But his ginger approach to the subject was still "upsetting" to members of the audience. Not false, but upsetting. Notice that professors don't even bother to formulate their criticisms in cerebral language anymore; they just express emotional hurts.
Of course, being the gentleman that he is, Summers has taken the appropriate steps to remedy this offense: Harvard Chief Sends Roses to Fainting Female Prof
Mr. Summers expressed regret today that the female scientist was "hurt by my brutal suggestion that further research was needed to find reasons for the observable phenomenon of male dominance in science and math. I hope the dear lady can forgive me for bringing up such coarse subjects in mixed company. In the future, I shall show more sensitivity in the presence of the fairer sex."
|| Nudnik 2:25 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Iran is so “in” this season
As I said to a very drunk liberal friend of mine 2 years ago regarding the election of our next President...
"Vote for the guy you want sitting in the big chair the day that we throw down with Iran. That day will come during the next 4 year cycle. I have my opinion on many other issues, but comparatively, they are small potatoes."

This day is coming soon and, thankfully, we have the right guy in the chair. Now let’s hope he does not let us down...

What the Pentagon can now do in secret.

Iran Says It Has Military Might to Deter Any Attack

Nudnik adds:
Seymour Hersh's "revelations" that the Pentagon is conducting reconaissance on Iran seem to be obvious. I would certainly hope that the Pentagon has been doing this for a long time. Additionally, as this editorial describes, Hersh is not exactly the most reliable reporter.
Most notably, historian Arthur Schlesinger once called Hersh "the most gullible investigative reporter I've ever encountered" — one whose "capacity to exaggerate is unparalleled."
It is also very possible that Hersh is being used by people in the administration to issue a warning to Iran. Either way, it is good to see that something is actually being done about Iran.
|| Elder of Zion #6 1:46 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, January 14, 2005

              Demography As Destiny
One of the main arguments behind the Oslo accords, and the Israeli Left's insistence on establishing a second Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, was the demographic bomb. According to the conventional wisdom, Israel had to cede the West Bank and Gaza because if it didn't Arabs would very soon outnumber Jews in the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. But what if this were not the case? Caroline Glick looks at a new report (accessible at that shows that the assumptions about Palestinian population growth have been wrong, and in fact were most likely propaganda from the Palestinian Authority meant to demoralize Israeli society.
|| Nudnik 3:01 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              War on World War IV
Norman Podhoretz, in this excellent follow-up to his September article on World War IV looks at the internal forces arrayed against President Bush and his attempt to "drain the swamp" of the Middle East. A long essay, but well worth the time.
|| Nudnik 2:32 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Well that did not take very long.
Israel suspends all ties with Palestinians... link
|| Elder of Zion #6 1:53 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, January 13, 2005

              NYTimes Still Doesn't Get It
Today's New York Times editorial gloats at the conclusion of the search for WMDs, and in the process shows that it still doesn't get the reason for the war, and on top of that doesn't really care about the facts either.

The search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq may have been one of the greatest nonevents of the early 21st century, right up there with the failure of the world's computers to crash at the end of the last millennium. That Y2K scare at least brought us an updated Internet. Fear of the nonexistent W.M.D. brought us a war.
I've written many times about the actual reason for the war, and WMDs aren't it. At best, they were a cause - like the shooting of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the cause, but not the reason for World War I.

But perhaps, the most inane assertion that this editorial makes is that

What all our loss and pain and expense in the Iraqi invasion has actually proved is that the weapons inspections worked, that international sanctions - deeply, deeply messy as they turned out to be - worked, and that in the case of Saddam Hussein, the United Nations worked. Whatever the Hussein regime once had is gone because the international community insisted.
First of all, Hussein's stocks of weapons are not gone because of the "international community". They are gone because of the US. Does anyone really think that the "international community", without the US would have done anything about Saddam's weapons, or even about his invasion of Kuwait? More importantly, their assertion that the UN inspections and sanctions worked is contradicted by the Duelfer Report, something they refer to but apparently did not read carefully. The Key Findings of the report state the following:

Based on this report and Saddam's behavior, it is easy to predict what would have happened had the US not invaded Iraq. France, Russia, and China - as well as most of the Left - would have pushed to end the weapons inspections and sanctions on Iraq, ostensibly because of the hardship these sanctions were causing for the people of Iraq. After sanctions had been lifted, the previously mentioned countries would have signed massive contracts with Iraq, guaranteeing billions for Saddam. By now Saddam would have reconstituted most of his chemical and biological weapons, and with the help of A.Q. Khan would have been well on his way to developing nuclear weapons. This is the alternative present that the "anti-war" people propose.
|| Nudnik 2:02 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Make My Day
Apparently, Clint Eastwood is not a big fan of Michael Moore.
"Michael Moore and I actually have a lot in common - we both appreciate living in a country where there's free expression," Eastwood told the star-dotted crowd attending the National Board of Review awards dinner at Tavern on the Green, where Eastwood picked up a Special Filmmaking Achievement prize for "Million Dollar Baby."

Then, the Republican-leaning actor/director advised the lefty filmmaker: "But, Michael, if you ever show up at my front door with a camera - I'll kill you."

|| Nudnik 11:55 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

              Sharansky's Tests
Natan Sharansky proposes four tests for the Palestinians without which they will not be able to convince Israel (and hopefully the United States) that they are serious about peace. The key to the success or failure of a new "peace process" is for the Palestinians to embrace a free society.
Oslo failed because it was based on the premise that a strong dictator would make a strong peace. What Oslo's architects did not understand was that dictators need external enemies to justify the repression necessary to keep their societies under control. In contrast, democratic leaders, dependent on popular support, have a powerful incentive to deliver peace and prosperity to their citizens.
Because of the last few years of brainwashing by Arafat's PA, developing such a society will not be easy and will undoubtedly take a long time. A rush to impose a solution to the conflict, i.e. rewarding the Palestinians for no achievements, will only lead to more war and a greater instability in the whole region.
|| Nudnik 11:11 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Time's Up
It seems that the Bush Administration, after initially backing Kofi Annan, has had change of heart.
"What we have heard, so far, is that there were serious problems inside the U.N. on the management of this. We're not sure if there were criminal problems, but there were certainly management problems," outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites) told Fox News.

"And the secretary-general will have to be accountable for those management problems," he added in the television interview taped for broadcast on Wednesday.
I'm not sure what brought about this reversal, but with Europe fully backing Annan this could set up another confrontation, with the UN again coming out the loser.
|| Nudnik 10:03 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Two Years
Israel's head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Aharon Ze'evi, spoke at a seminar at the University of Haifa today. His comments on Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons was not encouraging.
According to estimates, Iran is not currently capable of enriching uranium to build a nuclear bomb, but it is only half a year away from achieving such independent capability - if it is not stopped by the West
What is even worse, however, is Europe's attitude to this.
The Iranians can reach Portugal with nuclear weapons. This doesn't worry the Europeans. They tell me that during the Soviet regime as well they were under a nuclear threat, and I try to explain to them that Iran is a different story.
Clearly, Europe has decided to accept a nuclear armed Iran, and hope for the best.
|| Nudnik 4:38 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Dan Pipes' take on Abbas
From Daniel Pipes article, New York Sun (1/11/05)...

There's some puzzlement about Mahmoud Abbas, the new chairman of the Palestinian Authority. Does he accept Israel's existence or want to destroy it?

Actually, there is no contradiction. By insisting on a "right of return," Mr. Abbas signals that he, like Yasser Arafat and most Palestinians, intends to undo the events of 1948; that he rejects the very legitimacy of a Jewish state, and will strive for its disappearance. But he differs from Arafat in being able to imagine more than one way of achieving this goal.

No matter what the circumstances, Arafat persisted, from 1965 to 2004, in his reliance on terrorism. He never took seriously his many agreements with Israel, seeing these rather as a means to enhance his ability to murder Israelis. Arafat's diplomacy culminated in September 2000 with the unleashing of his terror war against Israel; then, no matter how evident its failure, it went on until his death in November 2004.

In contrast, Mr. Abbas publicly recognized in September 2002 that terror had come to harm Palestinian Arabs more than Israel. Intended to prompt demoralization and flight from Israel, this tactic in fact brought together a hitherto fractured body politic, while nearly destroying the Palestinian Authority and prostrating its population. Mr. Abbas correctly concluded that "it was a mistake to use arms during the intifada and to carry out attacks inside Israel."

Mr. Abbas shows tactical flexibility. Unlike Arafat, who could never let go of the terrorist tool that had brought him wealth, power, and glory, Mr. Abbas sees the situation more cogently. If stopping the violence against Israel best serves his goal of eliminating the sovereign Jewish state, that is his program. He no more accepts what he so charmingly the other day called the "Zionist enemy" than Arafat did (or Hamas, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad), but he is open to a multiplicity of means to destroy it. As he announced after his electoral victory this week, "the lesser jihad is over and the greater jihad is ahead." The form of jihad must change from violent to nonviolent, but the jihad continues.

And count the many ways to undo the Jewish state: nuclear weaponry, invading armies, mega-terrorism, plain old terrorism, Palestinian demographic fertility, the "right of return," or confusing Israelis to the point that post-Zionist leftists cause the population unilaterally to crumple and accept a dhimmi (subservient) status within "Palestine."

For an instructive parallel to Mr. Abbas' having concluded that violence is inappropriate, consider Stalin in the decade before World War II. Aware of his weakness, he announced in 1930 an intention for the Soviet Union to be a good international citizen:

Our policy is a policy of peace and of increasing trade connections with all
countries. A result of this policy is an improvement in our relations with a
number of countries, and the conclusion of a number of agreements for trade,
technical assistance, and so forth. We shall continue to pursue this policy of
peace with all our might and with all the means at our disposal. We do not want
a single foot of foreign territory.

These were not empty words. Stalin did largely keep to this program - until 1939, when he felt strongly enough to go on the offensive, at which point he initiated an unparalleled half-century's campaign of aggression, which ended only with the Soviet state's collapse.

For Mr. Abbas, it is 1930. He understands the need to cool things down. As someone who can realistically appraise circumstances and quietly respond to them, he is potentially a far more formidable enemy to Israel than the one-note, blindly violent, and flamboyantly evil Arafat.
|| Elder of Zion #6 1:23 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Who's Next
Debkafile is reporting that President Bush has authorized General Casey to attack Syria in February. Clearly, since it is Debka, it should be taken with a large grain of salt, but nevertheless the general idea seems to make sense. One of the main benefits of invading Iraq was having a large number of US troops in a central location of the Middle East, able to threaten Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. In light of the fact that Syria has been supporting the insurgents in Iraq, sheltering Saddam's former lieutenants, and very possibly hiding his WMD, a move on Syria would make sense. Additionally, such a move may be beneficial in stopping Iran's nuclear program, as they may be more willing to comply if they see that the US still has the will and capacity to act.
|| Nudnik 12:49 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Monday, January 10, 2005

              President Abbas
As was pretty much known by all - such is Palestinian democracy - Mahmoud Abbas won the election for President of the Palestinian Authority. And as would be expected, his victory was hailed as the beginning of a "moderate" and "democratic" leadership for the Palestinians. In this excellent article, Efraim Karsh traces back Abbas's political heritage through Arafat all the way to the Nazi-supporting Haj Amin al-Husseini, and shows that with leadership like this there is no more chance of peace now than there was a year ago. Until a new generation "untainted by terror", as Bush stated in his speech of June 24 2002, takes over control of Palestinian society, there will not be peace. To think otherwise is wishful thinking and willful ignorance.
For all their drastically different personalities and political style, Arafat and Abu Mazen are warp and woof of the same fabric: dogmatic PLO veterans who have never eschewed their commitment to Israel’s destruction and who have viewed the “peace process” as the continuation of their lifetime war by other means. (A younger and more direct reincarnation of Arafat is Marwan Barghouti, the jailed Fatah terrorist with undisguised political ambitions.) As late as July 2002, Abu Mazen described Oslo as “the biggest mistake Israel ever made,” enabling the PLO to get worldwide acceptance and respectability while hanging fast to its own aims. Shortly after Arafat’s death this past November, in his address to a special session of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Ramallah, he swore to “follow in the path of the late leader Yasir Arafat and . . . work toward fulfilling his dream. . . . We promise you that our hearts will not rest until the right of return for our people is achieved and the tragedy of the refugees is ended.”
So long as the Palestinian territories continue to be run by men of this kind and by their terrorist organizations, there can be no true or lasting reconciliation with Israel. And so long as the territories continue to be governed by Arafat’s rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can develop. Just as the creation of free and democratic societies in Germany and Japan after World War II necessitated, above and beyond the overthrow of the ruling parties, a comprehensive purge of the existing political elites and the reeducation of the entire populace, so the Palestinians deserve a profound structural reform that will sweep the PA from power, free the territories from its grip, eradicate the endemic violence from political and social life, and teach the virtues of coexistence with their Israeli neighbors. Until this happens, there will be no lasting peace in the Middle East.
|| Nudnik 3:01 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Barbarella Turner
There is an interesting e-mail going 'round regarding Jane Fonda. I have transferred the text below as it makes for quite an interesting read.

She really was a traitor.


This is for all the kids born in the 70's who donot remember, and didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and olderbrothers and sisters had to bear. Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the "100 Women of the Century." Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat. In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the "Hanoi Hilton."Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American "Peace Activist" the "lenient and humane treatment" he'd received. He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward on to the camp Commandant's feet, which sent that officer berserk. In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.

From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the "Hanoi Hilton",,, the first three of which his family only knew he was "missing in action". His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a "peace delegation" visit. They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Numbero n it, in the palm of his hand. When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like: "Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?" and "Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors? "Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper. She took them all without missing a beat. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper. Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years. I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia; and one year in a "black box" in Hanoi. My North Vietnamese captors deliberatel poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot, SouthVietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near theCambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs.) We were Jane Fonda's "war criminals." When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi, I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I wouldbe willing to meet with her. I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as "humane and lenient. "Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with large steel weights placed on my hands,a nd beaten with a bamboo cane. I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.

These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of "100 Years of Great Women."Lest we forget..." 100 Years of Great Women"should never include a traitor whose hands are covered with the blood of so many patriots. There are few things I have strong visceralreactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as manypeople as you possibly can.I t will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget.

Maintenance Squadron, Chief ofMaintenance
DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343
|| Elder of Zion #6 1:41 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Second hand post from NEO ELDER
During one of our clandestine Elders of Zion gatherings, I was handed a note under the table from NEO ELDER, asking me to post the following... (Elder of Zion #6)


Ted Koppel
ABC News: Nightline
Interview with Khaled Mashaal

Not sure if any of you caught this, but unfortunately my TIVO still is programmed to pick up Nightline each night (I know I know, I should have gotten Ted outta the Tivo ages ago – but I didn’t … but I digress).

So Friday night, Ted was interviewing Khaled Mashaal, the “political leader” of Hamas. (and don’t ya love the term “political leader”???... It almost makes him not sound like a terrorist... but when in doubt, remember the immortal words of Benjamin Netanyahu “if it walks like a terrorist, talks like a terrorist, and quacks like a terrorist, it must be a duck!... anyway, I digress again... sorry). So Ted and the terrorist had a nice 30 minute chat about world events. You know: the plight of the poor Palestinians... the tyranny of imposed by the Zionist occupiers... and the legitimacy of the “martyrdom operations” conducted by Hamas that are legitimate lawful forms of resistance (which by the way, I learned this evening are the God given right of every Palestinian “as a matter of reciprocity”) … the best part was when the terrorist (ooops, I mean the political leader of the resistance movement fighting the Zionist occupiers) said that his fine organization (and I quote) “Does not target women and children or civilians.” (I guess they assume that only IDF folk ride those buses... anyway, I digress again).

So where to start with all of this? First of all – the mere fact that Ted was interviewing one of the most wanted terrorists in the world is disgusting – and Ted even dignified the terrorist by calling him sir and tossing nothing but softball questions. And the only thing funny about the whole thing was listening to one of the most wanted terrorists in the world refer to Koppel as “Mr. Ted” (and that was kinda funny)... but it gets worse.

In his “Closing Thoughts” segment, Koppel said:

“Years ago in Nairobi Kenya, I remember Jomo Kenyatta pulling up his trouser leg to show visiting secretary of state Henry Kissinger the scars he still bore from leg irons he was forced to wear in prison. The British had jailed him as a terrorist. Kenyatta would go on to become the first president of an independent Kenya and the British went home. Similarly, in British occupied Palestine, Menachem Begin, and his Irgun fighters were considered terrorists. Begin of course went on to become prime minister of Israel. After 26 years in prison, Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa. Yasser Arafat, certainly a terrorist earlier in his career, received a state funeral in Cairo just a few weeks ago. He died, of course, president of the PA.

Do all terrorist leaders go on to become revered statesmen? Certainly not. Just don’t be surprised if one of these days Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal shows up at the White House for tea. Such things have happened before.”

Not under W’s watch it won’t Ted – not under W’s watch. And I bet that’s why Ted and all his media elite friends are still having tissy fits over Gore losing in 2000 and Kerry losing this past November! I know! Maybe if Kerry had won we could once and for all regain the respect of the world (especially the respect of the terrorists) and finally understand why the US and Israel are hated so much by having a man who has killed hundreds of women and children explain it to the leader of the free world over tea!

Well Ted, maybe such a tea time will come about in 2008... but for all of our sakes Ted, I certainly hope not. Insh’alla!

And that’s an Insh’alla coming from a Jewboy Ted! So go put THAT in your tea time peace pipe Ted and go @#^%$#$#$@#$&%$&%^*... ok, I’ll stop now :-)
|| Elder of Zion #6 8:16 AM || Permalink || (0) comments

Friday, January 07, 2005

              We Don't Care Anymore
It seems that no matter what the US does, it is it is criticized and maligned. Invariably, the worst motives are attributed to us, despite the fact that the US has done more for freedom and justice in the world than all the NGO's, human rights organizations, and international organizations. Victor Hanson, in a great article, thinks we are sick and tired of this attitude of the rest of the world. At this point, there is no danger that the US will retreat into isolationism, but undoubtedly these slights and offenses will not be quickly forgotten.
|| Nudnik 3:59 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Tower of Babble
Dore Gold, the former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, has recently written a book about the accomplishments of the UN. Today he is interviewed on FrontPage.
|| Nudnik 3:41 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              From Someone Who Knows Drowning
John Cole picks up on Teddy Kennedy's questioning of Alberto Gonzales yesterday. On would think that Kennedy would stay away from any topic related to drowning.
|| Nudnik 3:40 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Abbas's Election
HDS Greenway once again writes on the future of the Middle East "peace process", and once again he gets it wrong. Seeing only what he wants to see and not the reality, he - like many others - sees a "window of hope" in this weekend's Palestinian "election".

His most obnoxious point is that Israel's "hard-liners" are the equivalent of Hamas and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.
Palestinian and Israeli ultras are the mirror image of each other. Both refuse to compromise, believing that their side should have everything between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River.
Of course, he neglects to mention that no Israeli "hard-liners" have bombed a bus or cafe, and that the vast majority of Israelis do not support killing of innocents, something that can not be said of the Palestinians.

He ends with a quote from Hanan Ashrawi
But, as the oft-time spokeswoman for Palestine, Hanan Ashrawi, told The Jerusalem Post: "The Palestinians' problem is not absence of democracy -- it's absence of freedom."
This can not be described in any other way than bullshit. The Palestinian problem has not been a lack of freedom, it has been their desire to destroy Israel, rather than create their own state.

On the other hand, Charles Krauthammer is someone who does see Abbas for who he really is, Arafat's heir. In today's op/ed piece he takes the world to task for once again not listening to what the Palestinian leader is saying.
Some of the American and Israeli responses to Abbas are enough to make you weep. Spokesman at the U.S. Embassy in Israel: "We don't think it is useful to focus on every statement by every official; what's important is the process." Official in Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's office: "Words don't count in the Middle East; what counts are actions."

Have we learned nothing? In the Middle East, words are actions. Never more so than in an election campaign in which your words define your platform and establish your mandate. Abbas is running practically unopposed, and yet, on the question of both ends and means, he chooses to run as Yasser Arafat.
In Abbas's first moment of real leadership, his long-anticipated emergence from the shadow of Arafat, he chooses to literally hoist the flag of the terrorist al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
|| Nudnik 3:19 PM || Permalink || (0) comments

Thursday, January 06, 2005

              Absolutely Amazing
Here are some examples of the conspiracy theories going around on the loony left sites. Of course, its about the oil and the US is clearly responsible. The only possible word for this is insanity.

What is more amazing is that there have been similar - though not nearly as loony - theories from the mainstream left (if it can be called that), trying to link this earthquake and tsunami with global warming. The issue behind these arguments is development is bad; development leads to people "improper" use of the environment, and that in turn leads to more death and destruction when natural disasters occur. This argument is nonsense. Death and destruction from natural disasters occur because of lack of development, not too much development, as this article and this article point out.
There was a time, recall, that when most natural disasters were unsurvivable and unpredictable - they came without warning and wiped out whole swaths of communities. In 1959, floods in China killed 2 million. As recently as 1970, 300,000 died in floods in Bangladesh. But natural disasters that hit the developed world seldom even make the list anymore. The Lisbon earthquake killed an estimated 30,000, but that was in 1755.

Environmentalists have correctly noted that 96 percent of death from natural disasters now occurs in the developing world, and that poor, Caribbean countries suffer far worse death and injury from the same hurricanes that also batter Florida. Yet somehow they conclude this is the fault of the developed world for being developed, not a sign that poor countries would be better off if they developed, too.
Environmentalists don't really care about people. If they did, they wouldn't come up with such anti-human policy proposals.
The tsunamis are a terrible natural disaster. But they pale in comparison to the not-so-natural disaster known as modern environmentalism.
|| Nudnik 2:36 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
              Not Better, Just Different
A few years ago I started reading Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, which was the hot book at the time. I soon put it down, completely annoyed with his arguments, which seemed simplistic and didn't take into account any kind of potential individual achievement - In his universe, any given culture was determined by its surroundings and external circumstances, destined never to overcome them. Apparently he has a new book out, and probably in connection with that wrote a long piece for the New York Times on January 1st. Bruce Thornton dissects that article and Diamond's arguments.
Two of this cohort's orthodox dogmas are multiculturalism and materialist determinism, and Diamond's book confirms both. Multiculturalism is a species of cultural relativism: no culture, no matter how successful, is "better" than another, just different. But maintaining this belief is difficult in the face of the West's remarkable dominance of the planet and its success at providing the highest living standards and greatest political freedom to the largest numbers of ordinary people.
Diamond's solution to this disconnect between empirical fact and intellectual prejudice is ingenious: he admits the West's superiority, but attributes it not to a superior culture but to the accidents of climate, geography, and species availability. Western culture and ideas and values are not better than any other, but simply the accidental beneficiary of random material causes. This idea brings us to the second dogma dear to the hearts of the intellectual establishment, material determinism. To the determinist of this stripe, all causes are material; culture, religion, ideas, art, and the actions of people all have their origins in the material world and its forces. This superstition is one of the modern world's most important dogmas, and can be seen in Darwinism, Marxism, the "selfish gene" cult, sociobiology, and most species of psychology, all of which discount spiritual reality, culture, free will, and everything else that does not fit into the materialist calculus.

|| Nudnik 1:09 PM || Permalink || (0) comments
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