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Friday, July 28, 2006

Let Israel Die, So Life Can Go On

In his glossary of terms like "excessive", "cycle of violence", "disproportionate" and "innocent", Victor Davis Hanson explains why there is such a different set of definitions for Israel as compared to the rest of the world:

But most of all, the world deplores the Jewish state because it is strong, and can strike back rather than suffer. In fact, global onlookers would prefer either one of two scenarios for the long-suffering Jews to learn their lesson. The first is absolute symmetry and moral equivalence: when Israel is attacked, it kills only as many as it loses. For each rocket that lands, it drops only one bomb in retaliation — as if any aggressor in the history of warfare has ever ceased its attacks on such insane logic.

The other desideratum is the destruction of Israel itself. Iran promised to wipe Israel off the map, and then gave Hezbollah thousands of missiles to fulfill that pledge. In response, the world snored. If tomorrow more powerful rockets hit Tel Aviv armed with Syrian chemicals or biological agents, or Iranian nukes, the “international” community would urge “restraint” — and keep urging it until Israel disappeared altogether. And the day after its disappearance, the Europeans and Arabs would sigh relief, mumble a few pieties, and then smile, “Life goes on.”

And for them, it would very well.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Princeton MSM Uses Race Card In Place Of Reasoned Argument

While a purely local issue, this illustrates the liberal debate strategy.

Remember my letter to the editor of the Princeton Packet that questioned whether adding Hindi to the languages curriculum was warranted given its likely increased costs in this era of massive taxes upon the citizens? I had suggested a cost analysis was required before we replace a traditional course while agreeing that there is an obvious benefit of such a course.

Here was my short letter:

To the editor:

While our children would undoubtedly be enriched by becoming fluent (or just learning poco) in Hindi, in this era of massive property taxes that only go up, a marked inability of long-time residents to afford to remain in their homes and the specter of state taxes increasing, this “Nice To Have” proposal to add Hindi to the foreign languages curriculum of our schools must wait for another day.

We respect the valuable addition to our community of those whose home language is Hindi. We also recognize the business relations between America and India that will continue to develop in trade between these free market giants.

The future of all students requires preparation for the high-tech world of the 21st Century. Core subjects already being taught must be the focus of our schools. Pragmatically, we must recognize that the addition of a new subject will either require hiring instructors at more costs or the replacement of established subjects. The need for such a change must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt”. Learning Hindi is not a “Must Have” need. It is merely a “Nice To Have” item for our students of all nationalities. “Nice To Have” programs require scrutiny before implementation and must be shelved given the current state of NJ and local economics.

Here is the Princeton Packet's editorial on the subject. Notice the racist "straw man" they create to blacken a position about which they claim neutrality.

Here was the Packet's neutral review of the opponents of the proposal:

“First, there's the English-only crowd”

“Then there's the schools-are-already-too-expensive mindset”

“This is often accompanied by us-versus-them paranoia.”

“And, finally, there's the throw-them-all-out-and-build-a-wall mentality.”


Note the dismissive descriptions of the proposal's opponents. My letter was the only one published by the paper that disagreed with the Hindi proposal. Yet the Packet describes an apparent slew of letters they never published:

“That this suggestion should evoke this kind of angry, irrational and, yes, racist response reflects a level of intolerance that tears at the very fabric of American society and American ideals.”


My letter was not angry, irrational or racist.

The use of the racist card is cowardly and desperate. The editorial could not summon the courage to dispute any facts or reasoned arguments, so they bludgeon opposition with a phantom racist. I do not doubt that some irate citizen fired off a missive that failed to follow the politically correct guidebook. Some may have been overtly racist.

However, the editors’ opinion shows through the facade in the penultimate paragraph:

“We don't have a strong opinion one way or another about whether Hindi should be taught in the West Windsor-Plainsboro schools — but we think the idea is certainly worthy of consideration, study and public discussion. Maybe, after talking it over, the community will decide it's a good idea. Or maybe it will be deemed too expensive for the moment. Or maybe the district will decide to introduce it as an extracurricular activity, with the possibility of later expanding it into a course.”

That was my very point!

Meanwhile, we never hear about letters in support of the proposal. Can they be characterized in a negative way? Are the proponents using their heightened vote count due to demographics to bully the proposal by a sympathetic but cowed public? Maybe the editors are not overtly stating their opinion but their use of the racist “straw man” and negative connotation in descriptions of the proposal's opponents provide evidence that the Packet editors are in favor of the Hindi language advocates.

One final note: I am actually in favor of teaching "alternative languages". I see more utility in learning some Hindi, Chinese dialect and Arabic given the development of world economies and international relations. These languages are more valuable in my opinion that French or Russian. These alternative languages langauges should be offered by an entrepreneur. Smart parents would be wise to take advantage of such an offer. But it should be voluntary.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

1200-Year-Old Book Of Psalms Discovered- Open To Psalm 83

CNN.com reports that a construction worker in an Irish bog stopped his backhoe when he unearthed something. Mired in the muck was a Bible---The Book Of Psalms. Archeologists believe the Book of Psalms dates back to around 800 A.D.

It was open to a page:

describing, in Latin script, Psalm 83, in which God hears complaints of other nations' attempts to wipe out the name of Israel.

Thanks to author Bill Suda for the link.

Vexing A Sitting President With Litigation and Our Nation's Security

This will seem surprising that I would offer a defense to Bill Clinton but on this very important issue, he always received my support. I was against the sexual harassment litigation brought by Paula Jones that the SCOTUS allowed to proceed against Bill Clinton when he was President. It was not becuase I doubted her accusations. (If anything, I am more convinced that Bill Clinton likely committed such acts against Jones and other women).

But America is imperiled when a President of the US is distracted by hearings, depositions and litigation. All of that can wait until he reverts back to his normal citizen role after he leaves office. My opinion is reached due to years of first-hand experience in witnessing ungrounded and vexatious civil litigation. For me, a sitting president would have to be charged with a serious criminal charge with significant supporting evidence before I would agree to allow him to be sued or indicted. While a statute of limitations is needed to force litigation to go forth close in time to the acts for the benefit of witness memory to remain strong, I did not see the Clinton-Jones matter as exposed to that danger.

What was gained by the legal action? Clinton lied to save his reputation (and maybe his marriage). What was the harm of that legal foray? The complete distraction of the Commander in Chief.

While the 90's looked peaceful as we were enjoying it, we now know there were numerous dangerous developments taking place that could have been reined in or stopped by assertive action by the President. From China to Iran to Al Qaeda to North Korea to the PLO, a President focused on national security could have made our present much more safe. Our options today would be greater. What Clinton handed off to Bush was a quickly ticking time bomb (9-11 was a mere months after Bush assumed office) that only the fictional Jack Bauer could nullify in time.

Would Clinton have acted differently on everything had he been focused on the national security? No. He was still a poll-minded pol and a big D Democrat. That would not have changed at all had the Paula Jones lawsuit been stayed.

Dick Morris looks at the current Middle East War and blames Clinton for the situation. He writes:

In a nutshell, this illustrates the difference between the Democratic and Republican approaches to Israeli security.

Bush and his administration clearly see the Israeli attack as an opportunity to clean out terrorist cells that have come to be pivotal in Lebanon. With Hezbollah’s power extending into the cabinet in Beirut, it is clear that Israeli military action is necessary to forestall the creation of a terrorist state on its northern border.

While Clinton said he embraced the need for Israeli security, when the going got rough he bowed to world opinion and called for a cease-fire. When the United States asks Israel to stop fighting, it is like a boxer’s manager throwing in the towel. The bottom line is that true friends of Israel cannot afford to let leftist Democrats take power in Washington.

But American Jews have voted Democrat in the past and will continue to do so in the future. It is really the Christian evangelical Right that stands up for Israel.

Maybe nothing would have been different today. But the excuse would not be available that Clinton was distracted by the lawsuits. The same applies to President Bush. An impeachment process after the potential Democrat assumption of Congressional power would be disastrous to our national security. Would that cause the Democrats to reconsider the consequences?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The New Decor Works In Middle East

Having Middle East hostilities between Israel and a terrorist-harboring regime with terror sympathizers nearby would normally create massive logistic problems for the US. But considering we have toppled a historic trouble-maker who at least would have provided Hamas and Hezbollah financial support while cutting off a transportation lane from another Israeli enemy, the war equation is much different.

Josh Manchester at TCS explains that our presence in Iraq tilts the dynamics considerably. He notes that the recent anti-Hezbollah comments from members of the Arab League is evidence of how much has changed in the Middle East since Saddam was removed.

Even Saddam himself has recognized the strength of the US position to stop Iranian entry. Writes Manchester:

Saddam's own comments, as reported in Deutsche Presse-Agentur, about the war in Lebanon:

"Toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has issued a warning to the Syrian leadership 'not to go too far in its alliance with Iran,' blaming Tehran for the current flare-up of violence in the Middle East, the head of Saddam's defence team claimed Tuesday ... 'I am convinced that the Iranian and US agendas have met in Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab world and Arabs are now placed between the US-Israeli hammer and the Iranian anvil,' Duleimi quoted Saddam as saying."

This is a man whose prized dictatorship was overrun by US forces, who was captured by US forces, and who as a result is on trial for his life. He blames Tehran primarily for the current flare-up, not some Zionist-US conspiracy in the standard rhetoric of the region. Remarkable.

What occurred in our Iraq invasion did change the dynamic in the Middle East in a big way. What would have been Arab unity against Israel now shows Iran to be a bigger threat to the sovereigns.

Manchester:

Were Saddam still in power, the Arab world would not feel nearly as threatened by Hezbollah, the Frankenstein's monster of Iran's creation. Instead, they would have sided with the Syrian foreign minister's strong support for Hezbollah. Saddam himself might even have offered cash rewards to anyone attempting martyrdom against the Jews.

And the clincher:

Decisive action is what has traditionally been missing from the wars of the Middle East. Land changes hands, blows are exchanged, and peace eventually is negotiated. But the underlying dynamic never changes because the sides are rarely faced with a decisive defeat, the only condition that can force the most avowed of men to abandon the ideas they hold dear.

It took devastation in the 1940's to halt Japanese and German supremicist ideology among the populace---the people Sharansky calls the "double-thinkers" who are not true-believers and can be persuaded to open their mouths upon the defeat of the dictators. This is now needed in the war against Islamo-Fascism.

Monday, July 24, 2006

UN Assisted Hezbollah In Israeli Kidnapping

For those of you who think the UN should do the truce-keeping in Lebanon the event of a cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hizbollah, then you need to read this from the Volokh website. The prior instances of UN forces assisting Hizbollah have been unreported in the MSM despite its open knowledge.

Lebanon's Guilt

In his piece on Lebanon's partial guilt in the current fighting in the Middle East, David Horowitz writes:

Lebanon is host to the terrorist aggressor which has sworn to eliminate Israel and its Jews from the face of the earth. This is the explicit creed of both Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran. And not just in their charter or in statements made months or years ago. Iran’s little dictator reiterated the threat even yesterday in the midst of Islam’s aggressive war against the Jews: “Israel has pushed the button of its own destruction. The Zionists made their worst decision and triggered their extinction by attacking Lebanon." Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government, occupying two cabinet positions and seats in its parliament. The Lebanese government agreed to enforce UN Resolution 1559 which calls on it to disarm all militias on its territory, namely Hezbollah. If the Lebanese Government had performed this obligation, there would be no war, and there would be no Lebanese civilian casualties.

Instead the Lebanese government allowed Hezbollah to build its headquarters and underground bunkers in the populated neighborhoods of Beirut. It allowed Hezbollah to import 13,000 missiles to be fired into Israel’s cities and towns. The 75,000-man Lebanese army has not sealed off the Syrian border and, according to reports, has allowed Syria to re-supply Hezbollah in the midst of its aggression. The Lebanese government has allowed Hezbollah to build underground fortresses on its southern border in position to attack. It has allowed Hezbollah to launch rockets into the towns of northern Israel to terrorize and kill innocent civilians.

Think Tanker Andrew "Skip" March adds:

I am listening to Co. Jack Jacobs talk about Lebanon and its role in the recent war. To be sure, Lebanon is not an innocent by-stander. Col Jacobs has observed that not only has the Lebanese government not take action to disarm Hezbollah, the government has in fact been paying Hezbollah for protection from the terrorist organization taking control of the rest of Lebanon. I think they call that extortion.

It should be to no one's surprise that while Hezbollah has been building up its offensive capabilities in southern Lebanon since Israel withdrew, UN security forces have been playing volleyball behind barbed wire in full view of Hezbollah activities, according to Col. Jacobs. And, Kofi Annan resists personally calling Syria's Asad to end their support for Hezbollah and reign them in. This certainly makes the UN something much less than an innocent.

Watching the MSM, you are left with the distinct impression that the average Lebanese citizen is blaming Israel and the US for the recent Israel operations, characterized as disproportionate aggression. A perception bolstered by the Lebanese government (that is paying for protection). Not so, according to Jacobs. The average Lebanese citizen knows that Hezbollah is the villain here and they want them gone. This disproportionate response characterization makes me wonder if today's critics would have called for the US to bomb a Japanese naval base and then go home after Pearl Harbor.

Skip

My comment:

Some of what I hear in the context of Lebanon is the same view expressed in other areas besides global politics: That people or countries do not choose to do what they do.

This concept that adults are incapable of deciding matters of their self-interest for themselves---that they are merely driftwood swept up in an inevitable current---allows them to escape responsibility and a means to a solution. Sure, many things develop outside of our individual control. But that is when one uses their heads to decide what is best in a changed circumstance.

The MSM looks at terrorists and their supporters as people who become a certain way after GW does something. Throughout the McLaughlin Report, Eleanor Clift's answer for the Middle East War was GW. No, the Lebanese (and the rest of the world) have been warned clearly that supporting terrorism makes you an enemy of the free world. This is a choice and with any choice come consequences.

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