The Range Goes Green

for SpaceX. And they’ve rolled it out to the pad, and erected it.

It’s now less than forty-eight hours until their first opportunity, at 8 AM Pacific. On later flights, when they have to go to ISS, they’ll have a tight launch window (ten minutes more or less, depending on how much performance margin they have), but for the first couple flights at least, there’s no target they’re aiming at in space, so they can go any time within the window provide by the range (four hours, I think, on each day). As Clark notes, while I won’t be surprised if they’re successful (nor will I be surprised if they’re not, on this first launch), I will be surprised if they actually launch at 8 AM on Friday. I suspect that they’ll be operating on a hair trigger when it comes to anomalies that can delay them. There is a lot riding on success (and for those defending the old regime, a lot riding on their failure).

Bad News In The Mediterranean

From a scholar of the classics:

…we should pay attention to a growing concern in the southeastern Mediterranean: A bankrupt Greece has alienated its patrons in northern Europe, has alienated the U.S. through years of anti-American rhetoric, has little or no financial resources, and will be facing cutbacks in its military — and a newly assertive Turkey is carving out a position of influence in the region as the real, and far more serious, representative of Islamic government, perhaps in the fashion of the old Ottomans.

Though actually, the old Ottomans would be a preferable (though not good) alternative to the new Wahhibist fundamentalists. At the least, it’s bad news for the Greeks on Cyprus, but allowing Turkey into NATO is making less and less sense.

Ass Clown Alert

Glenn Greenwald and Gaza:

Putting aside the obvious strawmen (no one was arguing that there would “be no more Hamas,” or not a single rocket), what history has shown is that 3,000 rockets, missiles, and mortars landed in Israel in 2008 before the Gaza incursion, and that includes a lengthy cease-fire period. Since the end of the Gaza incursion, only about 200 projectiles have fallen in Israel from Gaza, and, I believe, none have caused physical injuries. Other commentators (but not Greenwald) have acknowledged that they were wrong about the efficacy of Israel’s military action.

But let’s repeat the initial point: Greenwald thinks that ANY military action that Israel may take against Hamas is illegitimate, and that Israel’s only proper response to whatever violence Hamas unleashes is diplomacy. If Hamas decides to adhere to its stated policy that its goal is the destruction of Israel and the exile of its inhabitants, and acts accordingly, Israel’s only resort is apparently to surrender.

And while we’re on the subject of Greenwald, here’s an interview with Greenwald in which he (a) claims that Israel’s boarding of a blockade-running ship violates international law because the ship was in international waters. Ruth Wedgwood, an actual expert in international law, then comes on to rebut him. I’m not an international law expert, and it’s not my cup of tea, but if you’re going to cite international law, you might as well get it right, and my understanding is that Greenwald is simply wrong here.

As was pointed out in the previous thread, if a ship is declaring an intention to run a blockade, it doesn’t matter where it is boarded. And the notion that this was piracy is ludicrous. Yes, this may have been a PR blunder of the first magnitude for Israel, but it wasn’t “illegal,” “piracy,” or a “massacre.” And of course, Israel is in the position of Caesar’s wife, and no matter what it does, other than surrender, it will be criticized.

[Update in the afternoon]

It’s Jenin all over again. As Mark Twain said, a lie will travel all the way around the world before the truth can get its boots on.

[Update a few minutes later]

Stopped clock alert. Joe Biden says that (unlike health care) the Israeli boarding was no big f’ing deal:

“[The Israelis have] said, ‘Here you go. You’re in the Mediterranean. This ship — if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we’ll get the stuff into Gaza.’ So what’s the big deal here? What’s the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it’s legitimate for Israel to say, ‘I don’t know what’s on that ship. These guys are dropping eight — 3,000 rockets on my people,'” Biden said.

Between this, and the comments of the Secretary of State, it looks like the administration finally realizes that they went overboard on their own recent Israel bashing. This won’t make their leftist base happy.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!