Friday, November 07, 2003

Nothing To Hide? 

The Stanford Daily shows its spine, refusing to pull ads that pointed out jubilant Palestinians in Lebanon versus Israeli mourners on September 11 (via David Bernstein)
"The ads are very offensive, very racist," he said. "They're trying to demonize a whole population, and to play off the pain of Sept. 11 is unacceptable."
So we see that generalizations are bad. So what about this one: "Iraq -> Vietnam"? And any generalization (a not too inaccurate one at that) is better than pure fabricated crap.

And I think it's pretty clear who's playing off the pain of September 11.

The unassailable fact is that Palestinians were probably the only people on the planet cheering on camera on September 11 (fine, "some", just to appease the picky). And now they know it's the biggest PR bungle they ever made, so they need to tuck it away.

How these PR geniuses messed this one up, I don't know. I mean, look at how good these guys are.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Jessica's Ordeal 

The New York Daily News reports that medical records indicate Pfc. Jessica Lynch was raped after her capture by Iraqi fighters Baathist bastards, although she does not recall being sexually assaulted (from lgf).

Evil SOBs, I hope that we managed to kill them all. The worst part is knowing it's probably not the first time they did it.

Of course, NYT knows what's the real priorities in this story, burying the rape account five paragraphs in after taking a swift jab at the Pentagon for "exaggerating" her ordeal and dramatizing her rescue. In response, all I'm going to do is give Bill Adams' post about the issue, four months old but just as relevant.

I suppose it's better than the Baathist Broadcasting Corp.'s headline: "Jessica Lynch 'raped' in Iraq". Oh yah, nothing beats the sarcasm quotes.

UPDATE (Nov 07, 09:15 AM): The thing about reviving an old story is that there is already written material analysing it. Joe Katzman assesses his Winds of Change colleagues' thoughts several months back on Pfc. Lynch's capture and rescue. Cori Dauber pokes at the media again for accusing CENTCOM of circulating the myth that Pfc. Lynch was trying to shoot her way out in Nasiriyah.

Armed Liberal's assessment in last May of Pfc. Lynch's rescue is a great rebuttal to the nonsense that the rescue was "staged".
The notion that the U.S. forces 'overdramatized' the rescue by using flash-bang grenades, and relatively standard tactics for moving through a potentially hostile building is just absurd. As is the notion that we should have waited for her to be released, and not acted as promptly as possible once we had clear intelligence on her likely position.
Usually at this point, I say "I rest my case", but knowing the media, it won't be the end of it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Better Than Average Arab 

Fawaz Turki, a columnist of the Arab News, has changed his mind on the war on Iraq.
I'm convinced — and berate me here from your patriotic bleachers, if you must — that what we have seen in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates in recent months may turn out to be the most serendipitous event in its modern history.
And not only is this columnist pleased at what's happening now, he also recognizes America's (and its allies') honorable purpose.
No, I don't believe that by going to war, America had dark designs on Iraq's oil or pursued an equally dark conspiracy to "help Israel." I believe that the US, perhaps willy-nilly, will end up helping Iraqis regain their human sanity, their social composure and the national will to rebuild their devastated nation.
From reading some other columns, I can tell he's no saint. (Checkpoints lead to suicide bombers? I think there's some confusion with the concept of "causation" here. And don't get me started on Holy Land "binationalism", better known as "Jews-in-the-sea-ism".) But it's clear that this man truly loves his fellow Arabs and at least tries to use reason in figuring out what's best for his people, and that's better than a lot of his compatriots, or even many on the Left in the West.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Le Détritus Blanc 

I think this is a blogosphere exclusive, although several hundred thousands National Post readers would know about this already. The next French Marianne, symbol of the Republic, has been decided to be a talk show host whose show include such topics as "I'm a male cross-dresser but I'm still virile."

The French "intelligentsia" (I use that term reluctantly) is up in arms, decrying her as the "French Jerry Springer", especially insulting to them as Jerry represents the evil American cultural invasion. I think this is a good idea based on the reaction alone.

But maybe the mayors of France (who selected her) are onto something:
She has a degree in constitutional law and began as a regional news presenter in Paris before joining the talk show circuit seven years ago.

And Ms. Thomas is not without her opinions on the concept and history of the French call to arms.

She told television-listings magazine VSD that liberty was fine -- especially freedom of speech. Fraternity is about justice and education, she said, but equality has been misinterpreted by the French as a means to fit everyone into the same mould.

Ms. Thomas said equality means being unable to express your difference and her show is about giving ordinary people, not the Paris intellectuals, the chance to speak and be seen.

Not bad, but from this photo, she is no Laetitia Casta (the last Marianne). If I had to choose, I'd pick Sabine. Young, smart, beautiful, plus she's already a darling of the anti-idiotarians.

UPDATE (Nov 06, 01:00 AM): Merde in France linked me, making this my first blogosphere break. Thanks W!

Talking (And Lying) About Israel 

IAC held a seminar Monday afternoon where a social worker from Israel discussed her thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Interesting to listen to, though I didn't get too much new stuff out of her talking (except for the fact about 500,000 children under the poverty line in Israel).

What did make the conversation a lot more interesting (albeit much less intelligent) was the presence of a couple of pro-Palestinian guys who made a lot of argument about how Israelis are supposedly abusing and mistreating Palestinians. Of course, they aren't interested in the corruption of the PLO/PA, the suicide bombings, the mistreatment and struggle that the Jews went through to develop their own country, the long list of missed opportunities for the local Arabs to have their country, squandered by racial and religious prejudices and political manipulations of other Arabs... ...the list goes on and on.

What I hate most about the Israeli-Palestinian debate is when the pro-Palestinians slip in the occasional lie, and because their entire position is a cascade of BS, it is impossible to pick them out individually and the lies, told enough times, become truths.

Case in point: pro-Palestinian says "Israel massacred Arabs during the 1948 War." Haganah (predecessor of the IDF) did no such thing, and the closest event to a "massacre" was Deir Yassin, which was between Etzel and Lechi (Jewish paramilitaries) against Arab forces. Let's not forget that Etzel and Lechi were throwing grenades into houses with snipers inside, an Etzel armored car tried to warn villagers to leave but was stuck in a ditch, and Arab fighters were dressing as women and pretending to surrender, in order to kill Jewish forces.

The fellow then cites Benny Morris, claiming that Morris has shown definitively that the Jews were ethnically cleansing Arabs in 1948. Never mind that Morris himself points out that Arabs of the neighbouring states have been, since 1946, inciting their fellow Arabs in the Palestine mandate to leave if fighting starts, and that he found no blanket Jewish policy to kick out Arabs. And of course, let's not forget what happens to the Jewish residents when Arabs capture a village in 1948: just ask the 120 massacred at Kfar Etzion.

Times like these make me sick that such lying apologists for anti-Semitic terrorist scumbags exist, but glad that I bought The Case for Israel.

The $1,000,000 moment: the more argumentative pro-Arab had been complaining that the Israeli position is shrouded by the language of the discussion, words like "democracy", "freedom" and "security". The guest speaker retorted that he was doing exactly that with words like "apartheid", "colonialism" and "genocide". This generated a round of applause and a very embarrassed hypocrite.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Spicy Meatball 

Power Line spots something interesting in WaPo.

The recipients of the Iraqi funds were described by U.S. officials not as formal intelligence agents, but as prominent personalities and political figures who accepted money from Iraq as they defended Hussein publicly or pressed his causes.

(Emphasis mine)

Meanwhile, WSJ used the story on their front page.


I wonder why I ever stopped reading NRO. Maybe because it's the largest time-suck ever. There's plenty of other good reading material as well.

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Because They Are, Maureen 

Maureen Dowd's latest flight in from the cuckoo's nest:

Now we're in the postwar war, and President Bush is still manipulating reality. He wants to obscure the intensity and nature of the opposition, choosing to lump anyone who resists the American occupation in the category of terrorist.

(Emphasis mine)

No, Maureen. I don't call marching crowds in Iraq shouting anti-American slogans as terrorists, even though they "resist the American occupation". Neither would President Bush, or any other sane person.

Rather, I think we're lumping whoever that does this, this, this, and this as "terrorists".

Explain how blowing up an unarmed helicopter filled with soldiers going on vacation is designed to do anything besides to frighten troops and the American public.

There's a simple explanation to why all these animals are being called "terrorists". It's because they are.

Tet? Not (Yet) 

So what's with the week of intensifying attacks on the Coalition and the Iraqi people? I think it has to do with two factors: increased coordination between FRLs and Jihadists, and the hopes of inflicting a "Tet Offensive". Contrast the ICRC and police station bombings, which are considered to be tactically representative of the Jihadists, and the Al Rashid Hotel attack, which did not involve the deliberate death of the perpetrator, suggesting FRLs. And by timing the offensive at the beginning of Ramadan, when local emotions run high in any case, both sides seek to generate a general uprising.

This is precisely what the Vietcong/North Vietnamese Army (VC/NVA) seeked to do during Tet 1968: a massive coordinated attack designed to inflame sentiments against their enemies. However, Tet proved to be a military disaster for the VC/NVA, and the "success" of Tet was only due to its portrayal in the American press as a debacle for the US and South Vietnamese.

What will happen in Iraq? Much will depend on how the American public views what happens, just as the case 35 years ago in Vietnam. The mainstream media is still stuck in the last quagmire, but a developing alternative voice has grown out of the ghosts of Vietnam: whether they can tip the scales this time is yet to be known.

A New Star 

Cori Dauber is blogging up an impressive storm as guest blogger at Volokh. You should check her out in Volokh as well as her own blog, Rantingprofs.

Wet Eyes 

I've read a lot of touching stories about how average Americans have treated their fighting men and women with pride, but for some reason, this one was particularly touching. Perhaps it is because of the Chinook attack today.

The Big Picture 

Today's attack on the Chinook helicopter was a tragic event for sure, and my thoughts go out to the loved ones of the deceased. However, they are not the whole story in what is happening in Iraq. Here are some points I think deserve mentioning, plus my own thoughts on the issue.

The terrorist resistance is still restricted to the Baghdad-Fallujah-Tikrit "Sunni Triangle". Millions of Shia Arabs in the south and Kurds in the north are living in a relatively safe environment (safer than under Saddam!). For them, liberation and reconstruction are going well.

The perpetrators of the recent violence probably belong to two groups: former regime loyalists (FRLs) and foreign Jihadists. Signs are that they are closely coordinated, which is no surprise: FRLs need Jihadists to drive the suicide truck bombs, and Jihadists need FRLs to help get at the stashes of munitions left behind by the Baathists.

I don't think extremist Shia Muslims are a big factor: they'd be loath to cooperate with Baathists that tried to kill them just a few years ago, and Iraqis in general are suspicious of non-Iraqis because Saddam spent so much of Iraq's resources in pandering to non-Iraqis in the hope of being the leader of the Arab world. So they'd be left by themselves amongst an unsympathetic population. Plus all they have to do is look at how messed Iran is to know that Islamic theocracy works for nobody.

Add it up, and you see that the US problem can't be solved by delegating responsibility to the UN, or packing up and going home, or anything else the Left says. Because the enemy is not just targeting America: they are targeting the people of Iraq. None of the people setting up car bombs and blowing up buildings and helicopters are doing it because of short-term spite against America (that, of course, is the problem with the Left, and hence they project their problem as the attackers'). They blew up places like the UN and the ICRC because Iraq is an opportunity for them. America recognizes Iraq as an opportunity to create a democracy in a region where none exists. However, the opportunity is, as the Chinese proverb goes, also a danger where a renewed Baathist or Wahhabi regime can take over. The only way you can solve the problem is to kill the bastards, which will mean better border control, improved intelligence, and accelerating the development of the local Iraqi security apparatus. Local Iraqis can easily get into areas of rich intelligence and can more rapidly adapt to local conditions. In sum: more American involvement in Iraq, not less.