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Friday, August 18, 2006

UN Force of None

Great point by blogger The Dignified Rant:

So a UN Security Council ceasefire is in place for Lebanon--international test duly taken and passed!

In our so-called unilateral invasion and liberation of Iraq, we gathered close to 50,000 in our Coalition of the Willing (initially, Britain provided that vast majority, with Australia and Poland contributing smaller numbers). Yet even more than three years later, over 20,000 allied troops participate in Iraq. Only about 40% of those are British.

The UN has added none to the 2,000 UNIFIL contingent set to enforce Resolution 1701. I cannot see France finding enough willing bodied men to enforce anything.

Econ Thinking Is Lacking

Economist Arnold Kling's essay on "A Preference for Ignorance" captures an often stated view of mine. Citizens, average people, sem to trust that the experts know better about the efficacy of public policy proposals than they do. However, a cost-benefit analysis is not applied to a public policy proposal, one never knows if the policy was helpful or not.

Sometimes this unexamined policy just means that money was spent with no improvement in a given problem. However, when the unimproved are school children, the downside is massive.

Kling reviews a study done in Kenya where it showed that schools that used flip charts had students doing much better than students whose schools did not use the flip charts. That would normally lead to a public policy madate that all schools use flip charts. But then the researchers did a test where flip charts were dispersed randomly among 178 schools. There were no differences in outcomes between the flip-charters and the non-flip-charters. Maybe the results had to do differences in the students.

Kling expands the analysis:

We seem to be most determined to remain ignorant in the field of education. The testing in No Child Left Behind is based on observational studies, rather than experiments. That is, we look at school quality solely in terms of outcomes. We label a school as good or bad without having any idea whether the school actually adds value.

Imagine what might happen if one were to run a controlled experiment, pooling a group of students and randomly assigning them to different schools. Would the "good" suburban school really do better than the "failing" urban school, once the population of students is similar?
I suspect that controlled experiments in education would show shockingly little value added. That is, if you were to randomly assign students to schools, the children of good parents would do well regardless of where you send them, and conversely.

I have written before about my children's school district. It is one of the top 3 in the state and averages about 1200 on SAT scores. However, I have not witnessed a discernible teacher or school quality. If anything, the good behavior of the students and the parental presence in the school on a daily basis makes the teacher's ability to teach mush easier than in an inner city. I witness intense parental involvement in their children's academic development. And that is what is the likely reason for the district's success.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Do Not Join The Game Without The Balls To Win

War can be like a poker game as sheer military hardware and the number of soldiers can be overcome by tactical strategy and execution. Sad to say, it appears that Israel’s hand was misplayed by PM Olmert despite significant advantages, politically and militarily.

Jed Babbin writes that Olmert’s war strategy (apparently accepted and followed by the US) was based upon HOPE:

Olmert's indecisiveness - which achieved a level hitherto unknown outside Old Europe - mistook hope for a foundation stone of policy. Olmert hoped that Hizballah could be demolished by air power even though he hobbled it with rules of engagement that guaranteed the Hizballah forces would escape. He hoped that his military would bring him plans to win easily, without the loss of many Israeli troops and without inflicting many civilian casualties. But Olmert never had a plan to win or a clue of what it would take to do so. Olmert's bitter experience is new to him, but as old as Caesar to military historians. Hope is not a policy, and wishing doesn't win wars. Which is not to say that apocalyptic visions can't come true.

Without repeating all of the specific missteps, it is clear that Israel’s enemy was fighting a more ruthless brand of war than Olmert cared to pursue. In poker parlance, Iran through its Hezbo proxy played high stakes each hand and Olmert would never see the bet. Knowing this from the outset, Hezbo could fight as long as necessary because the opponent had no heart in the game. Talking big is no substitute for acting big. And in this war refusing to harm “innocent” citizens in order to kill the enemy was a losing strategy.

The positive is Israel has ample resources for another poker game. However, they better begin it soon. And I’ll take a representative in charge with the balls to see a high bet and raise it.

And please ignore any of the inaccurately used poker terms. I know that all I have to do is watch ESPN and I’ll learn the game from the best.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

They Never Practice What They Preach

Drudge reports that Senator Obama Baraka gave a speech at an Illinois Town Meeting and spoke about the need to conserve on our gas use "by switching to higher mileage hybrids. "

He then got into a GMC Envoy and drove off. That is not a hybrid.

Chemical Bombs Are In-Zain

A married couple was part of the London bomb plot as reported by police to the NY Post:

The Alis planned to use 6-month-old son Zain's baby bottle as a liquid bomb, blowing themselves and their child up, along with hundreds of others aboard the flight...

No one would suspect them to kill their own baby.

This is so brilliant. These terrorists are really becoming difficult to discover. As comedian Bill Maher stated just after 9-11, they are certainly "brave".

British Muslim Attitudes

Reporting on British citizens turned Muslim terrorists, Don Feder reviews recent polls where 81% of Brit Muslims:

consider themselves Muslim first and British second – or perhaps a distant third, after soccer-playing, explosives experts.

Feder recounts a recent news piece on BBC where a neighbor of one of the plotters stated he was a good lad but recently began studying the Koran. Feder writes:

When a Christian is reborn, he usually does good deeds and begins witnessing about Jesus. A newly observant Jew might keep kosher, become Sabbath-observant or start studying Torah.

Feder quotes Churchill:

“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

Rices Hopes for Peace

Sec'y Rice has an op-ed in the WaPo where she outlines the "hopes" of Resolution 1701 that orders, per Rice, "a full cessation of hostilities in Lebanon", expand Lebanon's sovereignty with increased UNIFIL soldiers (up to 15,000) and "lasting peace" through "no foreign forces, no weapons and no authority in Lebanon other than that of the sovereign Lebanese government".

I certainly accept the "hope" attendant witht his resolution. My guess it will not be lasting as hoped.

Rice concludes:

Innocent people in Lebanon, in Israel and across the Middle East have suffered long enough at the hands of extremists. It is time to overcome old patterns of violence and secure a just, lasting and comprehensive peace. This is our goal, and now we have laid out the steps to achieve it. Our policy is ambitious, yes, and difficult to achieve. But it is right. It is realistic. And ultimately, it is the only effective path to a more hopeful future.


Time is running on Iran's capacity to create a nuclear bomb. Such a development will lead to a control over the world's oil supply for the leader of the world's terrorism. This cannot be allowed no matter how many negotiations result in documents of accord. Because each one, like Hitler's signing of various pacts are worthless.

If the letter of Resolution 1701 is not explicitly followed, the warfare must resume.

Ignoring the Americans Who Want To Win This Thing

Josh Manchester finds a majority of Americans who are largely ingnored by both political parties: The Unfrozen Caveman Voter. Between the extremes of the Bush-haters and the anmti-Muslim racists (both of a kind), this person would proclaim:

Hey, all you elected politicians and media types and academics! I'm just an average guy. I wake up and I go to work and I have a family. I don't know much about Shi'ites, Sunnis, Wahhabis, Salafists, Imams, Mullahs, root causes, or the desire for democracy in the Muslim world or whatever. My mind can grasp these concepts just fine, the fact of the matter is I just don't care. I don't know much about all that stuff, but there is one thing I do know: when a bunch of "death-to-america" chanting yahoos want to destroy our culture, attack our cities, down our aircraft, and build nuclear weapons, then they are entitled to the business end of a B52.

No these people are not war-mongers. They want action against the enemies we are currently dancing around with.

Manchester writes:

It's hard to say just what policy exactly might satisfy the caveman demographic. But really, the Unfrozen Caveman Voter intuits a large portion of the art of warfare: opportunities must be created and then exploited -- or if they come by luck, they must be exploited all the same. And finally, the use of extreme and otherwise intolerable violence is necessary if used in the service of victory.

The last line is important. Remember that our enemy decapitates journalists, computer contractors and peace-workers along with their combatants. That is because we are all its mortal enemies. We must match them with our own brand of brutality. It was done to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. It is the only way to win this war.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Religion Of Peace's Hatred Of Airplanes

Scrappleface wonders why Muslim fanatics hate airplanes. A panel has been created to investigate the root cause of this hatred.

The expert panel will examine various theories about why airplanes engender such hatred among devoted followers of a peaceful religion.

“Is it the horrendous noise? The speed? The condensation trails?” said one unnamed source close to the panel, listing some of the areas of inquiry the experts plan to pursue. “Because if it’s any of those things, we can get to work on engineering changes to make airplanes more tolerable to our Muslim brothers.”

Hitler With A TV Touch

The President of Iran, Ahmadinejad discussed with Mike Wallace topics he feels strongly about: US national health-care insurance, prison over-crowding but stopped short of offering cheaper gas.

Bernard Goldberg notes:

Mr. Ahmadinejad came across as, well, a fairly typical, run-of-the-mill liberal. I listened carefully as he laid out his position on the war in Lebanon and on the Bush policy in Iraq, and I could not detect any significant difference between his views and those held by a lot of blue-state liberals, especially the liberal intellectuals on our college campuses. "Killing innocents is reprehensible," he told Mike Wallace. "Why are Americans killing Iraqis?" he asked. Hey, I just heard the same thing on Air America.

Does anyone out there think Ahmadinejad and other Islamic terrorists want Republican victories in 2006 and 2008? And one wonders why.

Next War Coming To A Middle East Democracy Soon

While terrorists proclaim victory and the UN appears positioned for a hapless peace in Lebanon, Israel licks its wounds and prepares for the next war. Another nation facing extermination looks towards a conservative for security.

Question for the MSM: Did Israel not suffer any victims in this war?

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