Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The Horror of Peace
Condoleeza Rice has made a visit to Beirut, meanwhile Thomas Sowell writes on the horrors of peace:
One of the many failings of our educational system is that it sends out into the world people who cannot tell rhetoric from reality. They have learned no systematic way to analyze ideas, derive their implications and test those implications against hard facts.
"Peace" movements are among those who take advantage of this widespread inability to see beyond rhetoric to realities. Few people even seem interested in the actual track record of so-called "peace" movements - that is, whether such movements actually produce peace or war.
Take the Middle East. People are calling for a cease-fire in the interests of peace. But there have been more cease-fires in the Middle East than anywhere else. If cease-fires actually promoted peace, the Middle East would be the most peaceful region on the face of the earth instead of the most violent.
Was World War II ended by cease-fires or by annihilating much of Germany and Japan? Make no mistake about it, innocent civilians died in the process. Indeed, American prisoners of war died when we bombed Germany.
There is a reason why General Sherman said "war is hell" more than a century ago. But he helped end the Civil War with his devastating march through Georgia - not by cease fires or bowing to "world opinion" and there were no corrupt busybodies like the United Nations to demand replacing military force with diplomacy.
There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.
"World opinion," the U.N. and "peace movements" have eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers demanding a cease fire, negotiations and concessions.
That has been a formula for never-ending attacks on Israel in the Middle East. The disastrous track record of that approach extends to other times and places - but who looks at track records?
Seems Condi is taking the same sort of line:
After some initial uncertainty, and mixed messages from the State Department, the Bush Administration now seems properly focused on exploiting the clash between Hezbollah and Israel as a strategic opening. The opportunity is to degrade Hezbollah and further isolate its enablers in Syria and Iran.
One of the most notable reactions to the fighting has been the absence of the usual solidarity from leading Arab countries. Governments in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf states understand the hegemonic ambitions of Hezbollah's patron, Iran, and they know this is a foretaste of Iranian trouble if the mullahs ever get a nuclear bomb. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave every indication in her press conference Friday that she intends to exploit that anxiety during this week's trip to Europe and the Middle East.
For starters, she was having none of the calls for a quick cease-fire. "I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante," she said. Such a cease-fire, she added, would allow "terrorists to launch attacks at the time and terms of their choosing and to threaten innocent people--Arab and Israeli--throughout the region. That would be a guarantee of future violence. Instead we must be more effective and more ambitious than that."
The 'status quo ante' being that Hezbollah (and Iran and Syria by proxy) are allowed to randomly launch missiles into Israeli civilian populations knowing that the International Community will ride to their rescue under the righteous sounding talk of diplomacy. But all that does is kick the can down the road while keeping the actual civilians of Lebanon hostage to terrorist incitements and Israeli response. Remember, Israel pulled out of Lebanon in 2000 and all it did was allHezbollahlah 6 years to train and load up on surprisingly sophisticated weaponry, including a system of tunnels, bunkers and a stockpile of up to 13,000 rockets, all amongst civilian populations.
Of course, all of this was built and gathered by Hezbollah under the watchful eye of, (who else?) UN "Peacekeepers."
Friday, July 14, 2006
North Korea is testing missiles and stealing trains from China. India's transit system gets bombed and later that day some people in Chicago are crawling out of a hole in the street because a subway car derailed and caught fire. The same train I take to and from work every day, by the way.
And if all of that doesn't get your heart going, this story will. I'm not a huge fan of the death penalty, but cases like this are why it's nice to have around. Yeah, I know, nobody was killed.... but still, it seems to be about the right punishment for the mother fockers.
But all of that is yesterday's news, overshadowed by Israel's retaliation against Hezbollah in Lebanon and the strong possibility that they could start hitting the real patrons - Iran and Syria. A widening of the war in the Middle East is a scary proposition, but I think I am in agreement with Dave Price - enough with the proxy wars! Iran is constantly attacking Israel via their Hezbollah proxies, yet they never face any consequences so they keep on going. Indeed, Iran, Syria, Hamas, all of the agitators over there count on the fact that Israel (as well as the United States) will avoid war at all costs and they use it as a bargaining chip; 'If you don't want all out war, you better concede xyz, because we are just crazy enough to start one!" So, in 2000 Israel pulls out of Lebanon, then a year or so ago, they pull out Gaza. Fat a lot of good that did. Today they are suffering under almost daily attacks from Lebanon and Gaza, while several soldiers are now held hostage.
I would look for some more direct retaliations aimed at Syria and Iran in the coming weeks, it's time for the string pullers to pay some costs.
The most thorough coverage is from Pajamas Media. Just keep on scrolling.
Chester has a the best single post summary and speculation of the bigger picture that I've read. Check it out, it's quite informative.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
If I could only write main posts like this....
In case you missed this, Wretchard writing in the comments to his own post:
One of the reasons why discipline is so essential in war is that it must subordinate the very basic human urge for revenge to policy. It's true this is the face of war; and we keep it from the sight of our children and civilians because it is the face of the devil. The only way civilizations face the devil is to treat war in an impersonal manner, so that you can joke about it afterward. Looked full in the face it is as unbearable as the Gorgon. The vocabulary of euphemism and ceremony grown up around it is the way we preserve our humanity and sanity in the presence of its countenance.
You really wonder what people like certain leftist academics would be capable of if they had unlimited power over their enemies, in the way that US soldiers in Iraq do when on operation. Think of it: you have machineguns, artillery, air at your command. Just pull the trigger and the trigger is the closest thing at hand. What you can do with that is several orders of magnitude greater than the power of enemy "swords". But you don't do it because it's contrary to orders and besides, commanders must use their heads and not their emotions. The last of the seven deadly sins is Wrath. We aspire to be its master. The enemy desires to be its servant.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
On the Other Side of the World....
The read of the week comes from Omar at Iraq the Model. He's combed through hundreds of comments on the BBC's Arabic forum and translated some of them. The results are quite telling. He observes:
The reactions I gathered were posted on an Arabic forum on the BBC Arabic website. About three dozens of comments were made by Iraqis both inside Iraq and in exile and all these comments were supportive of Israel or at least against Hamas as far as the topic is concerned except for only three comments; that's a 10:1 ratio while as you probably have guesses, the opposite ratio is true about the comments by the rest of Arabs.
These comments and some of the non-Iraqi Arab reactions they stimulated caught my attention.
In fact Mohammed and I spent an entire day reading through the 500+ comments in that thread and thought we could share some of the best and most interesting stuff with you.
What was written in that thread stands as one example of the change in the Iraqi way of thinking since the day we got rid of the dictator and shows that logic and facts are gaining more ground at the expense of emotions and conspiracy theories.
Perhaps our problem is that we in Iraq are evolving politically faster than we are doing when it comes to economy, security, etc. that we are even ahead of countries like Egypt or Kuwait in holding real elections and having a permanent constitution and fair representation of all the segments of the people.
And that has always been the struggle with the Arab street. It's often asked, 'Why do so many Arabs hate us?' A susbtantial part of the answer is because they are told to, they are victims of major propaganda operations from almost the moment they are born, from their school textbooks to their local madrassa to their official state run media, it is all-encompassing. The US (and of course the Jews) are the embodiment of evil, no further discussion needed or allowed.
In that context it is heartening to note that, in general the Iraqis, who now enjoy free speech and free press, are lining up against terrorism, while those still living under oppression carry on with the tragic status quo.
I found this comment particularly poignant:
"To answer Mr. Jihad (the Palestinian from Jordan) and his advice for Iraqis: Iraqis are singing outside the Arab flock for one reason which is that they distinguish the truth from the Arab illusions. Only 13 years ago Iraqis used to speak like the rest of Arabs; equipped with the illusions of the "Zionist conspiracy" created by Islamists and pan-nationalists. But Iraqis now have discovered the bitter truth. Who is murdering Iraqis on daily basis?? Who is prolonging the stay of foreign troops? That's the terrorists coming from Arab and Islamic countries!!
Israel doesn't want to become the "Great Israel" because Israelis are only several millions in this world...
We are people with long history that we are proud of and we possess enough education and awareness, so long live the new Iraq and let Israel live as our neighbor. I'd love to say that I wish Israel could rule the entire region; better than any Arab government except for the Iraqi"
An Iraqi in exile: Asia.
Read the rest, it's a nice snapshot of how discourse in the Middle East may be evolving. There is a long way to go to be sure, as centuries of authoritarian rule are not easily overcome, but liberty demands it.