Category Archives: War Commentary

“Iran Is Winning This War, Not America”

Michael Ledeen has a disturbing article over at NRO, which points out the foolishness and irrelevance of the statement by the anti-war types that “there’s no proof that Saddam had anything to do with September 11.”

Many of our analysts are currently falling into one of those linguistic traps that Ludwig Wittgenstein used to warn us about. They constantly ask, “which organization do these terrorists come from?” But they should be asking the empirical question: “Does it still make sense to talk about separate terrorist organizations?” I have been arguing for the better part of two years that we should think of the terrorists as a group of mafia families that have united around a single war plan. The divisions and distinctions of the past no longer make sense; the terror mafias are working together, and their missions are defined by the states that protect, arm, fund, and assist them: Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

“Iran Is Winning This War, Not America”

Michael Ledeen has a disturbing article over at NRO, which points out the foolishness and irrelevance of the statement by the anti-war types that “there’s no proof that Saddam had anything to do with September 11.”

Many of our analysts are currently falling into one of those linguistic traps that Ludwig Wittgenstein used to warn us about. They constantly ask, “which organization do these terrorists come from?” But they should be asking the empirical question: “Does it still make sense to talk about separate terrorist organizations?” I have been arguing for the better part of two years that we should think of the terrorists as a group of mafia families that have united around a single war plan. The divisions and distinctions of the past no longer make sense; the terror mafias are working together, and their missions are defined by the states that protect, arm, fund, and assist them: Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia.

Useful Idiots

Glenn’s already noted it, but it’s worth broadcasting this far and wide. Here’s an insider’s view of the “peace” movement and how it made itself an unwitting dupe for one of the most brutal dictators in the last few decades, all for the hatred of Amerikkka.

To be perfectly frank, we were less concerned with the suffering of the Iraqi people than we were in maintaining our moral challenge to U.S. foreign policy. We did not agitate for an end to sanctions for purely humanitarian reasons; it was more important to us to maintain our moral challenge to “violent” U.S. foreign policy, regardless of what happened in Iraq. For example, had we been truly interested in alleviating the suffering in Iraq, we might have considered pushing for an expanded Oil-for-Food program. Nothing could have interested us less. Indeed, we even regarded the paltry amounts of aid that we did bring to Iraq as a logistical hassle. When it suited us, we portrayed ourselves as a humanitarian nongovernmental organization and at other times as a political group lobbying for a policy change. In our attempt to have it both ways, we failed in both of these missions.

We were so preoccupied with our own agenda that we didn’t notice or care that the regime made use of us. When critics asked us whether the group was being exploited by the Iraqi regime, we obfuscated, and in so doing put Saddam and his minions on the same level as the U.S. government…

Tonight, I caught a portion of one of the HBO series “Band of Brothers.” It was the one in which the troops come across one of the camps (I didn’t see the whole thing, so I don’t know which it was–I think that it was Dachau).

Continue reading Useful Idiots

The Delusions Of The Protestors

Mark Steyn describes it to a tee.

Hitler’s problem was that he was over-invested in ideology. He’d invented a universal theory — the wickedness of the international Jewish conspiracy — and he persisted in fitting every square peg of cold hard reality into that theory’s round hole. Thus, Churchill must be a “puppet of Jewry.” As a general rule, when it’s reality versus delusion, bet on reality. That held true in the Cold War. Moral equivalists like Harold Pinter insisted that America and the Soviet Union were both equally bad. But the traffic across the Berlin Wall was all one way. East German guards were not unduly overworked trying to keep people from getting in. The Eastern bloc collapsed because it was a lie, and the alternative wasn’t…

…The new Universal Theory, to which 99% of Saturday’s speakers and placards enthusiastically subscribed, is that, whatever the problem, American imperialist cowboy aggression is to blame. In fact, it’s not so different from the old Universal Theory, in that the international Zionist conspiracy is assumed to be behind the scenes controlling the cowboys: Bush is a “puppet of Jewry,” just like Churchill was — notwithstanding the fact that America’s Jews voted overwhelmingly for Gore. But, if you believe that the first non-imperialist great power in modern history is the source of all the world’s woes, then logic is irrelevant. “It’s all about oil”? Yes, for the French, whose stake in Iraqi oil is far more of a determining factor than America’s ever has been or will be. “America created Saddam”? No, not really, the French and Germans and Russians have sold him far more stuff, and Paris built him that reactor which would have made him a nuclear power by now, if the Israelis hadn’t destroyed it in the Eighties.

Great Timing

Just in case you weren’t mad enough at the pusillanimous burghers in Brussels over the recent antics with the French and Germans, the Supreme Court of Belgium just decided that Sharon can be tried for genocide over Sabra and Shatila.

Like “hate” and “racism,” apparently the word “genocide” has lost all useful meaning.

Peace In Our Time

The EU says that we can’t go into Iraq without UN approval.

Well, I guess that settles it. Might as well have the ships turn back.

More and more, as I look across the Atlantic, it seems to be through a looking glass.

There seem to be multiple delusions going on here. First of all, we already have UN approval. SCR 1441 was carefully crafted by Powell to ensure that was the case. But the Europeans continue to fantasize that there is a need for another resolution (one that the French can therefore block by veto), when they lost that battle in October.

I guess that they’re in denial. If they were to no longer believe this, they’d have to confront the reality that they’ve made themselves utterly irrelevant. They’d no longer be able to pretend that they were players on the stage of world events.

But here are the other major delusions:

Prime Minister Costas Simitis of Greece, EU president until the end of June, said a war would harm peace and stability in the Middle East.

Speaking after a meeting with visiting Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase, Simitis said:

“We both estimate that peace (in Iraq) must be preserved. We both believe a conflict will result in delaying many developments and is a conflict that will not benefit stability and peace in the region.”

This supposes that “stability” is a positive attribute in a hellhole. After all, a grave is stable.

It also postulates that there is some existing “peace” in Iraq that is preservable, and that it is desirable to preserve it.

Take the second first. Can a country whose government terrorizes its own citizens, that has Al Qaeda guerillas attacking the northern parts nightly (the parts not under Saddam’s control), be properly said to be at peace? Not in my book. There will be no peace in Iraq as long as Saddam or one of his partners in monstrousness are in power there, and as long as Al Qaeda has safe haven in Iran from which to attack the Kurds in the north.

The Middle East is not at peace now, and will not be until there are wholesale changes in governments there. Thus, stability is not our friend, because it’s the stability of constant warfare by the regional governments against their own people (and particularly their women), some of which spills over into attacks on us, as we saw a year and a half ago.

We want to, we must destabilize the present Middle East–it’s the only hope of restabilizing it into something that offers hope for its inhabitants, and true peace, for us as well as them. As the old saying goes, sometimes, the only way out is through.

The Eurocrats who would perpetuate the notions described above are not contributing to peace, any more than did Neville Chamberlain sixty five years ago. Their course of delay and obfuscate would just make the ultimate necessary outcome much more difficult and costly in human lives, as did his.

More TSA Follies

[Note, as I write these words, this post is three and a half years old. For anyone coming here in April 2006 via Kathryn’s link at The Corner, this post is closed for comments, but I’ve started another one here]

I’m traveling, and have limited net access.

One quick travel horror story, though. We went to LAX terminal 4 (American) for a flight to St. Louis via Dallas. We got there later than we should have, for reasons both our fault and the cab company.

We got into line as usual for security (we had e-tickets). After waiting for several minutes, we were told that we had to have boarding passes. New procedure.

We tried the self-service machines, but they wouldn’t issue the passes, because we were too close to flight time. So resigned to missing the flight, we got into line to talk to an agent.

Fortunately, our flight was late, so we got our boarding passes and got back into the security line again.

This time, they segregated us into a separate line, apparently reserved for suspicious types, though it wasn’t at all clear what profiled us. This is apparently a new procedure, under test at this terminal (though not American’s other LAX terminal–terminal 3). Apparently they no longer pull random people out of line at the gate for the wanding and luggage rummaging, but instead do it at security. They also no longer check ID at the gate–the boarding pass alone is sufficient under this procedure.

One step forward, two back, in my opinion.

I guess the idea is that they no longer delay departures for people still being frisked at the gate. Now, you get frisked back at security, and if you miss your flight, you’re screwed.

Anyway, we managed to make the flight.

One more irritation. At the gate in Dallas, which was still using the old procedure, they asked for ID along with boarding pass. I have an old expired California drivers license that I use for ID, because it’s no big deal if I lose it (as I did my passport a year ago).

The agent looked at it, and said, “This license is expired.”

I said, “Yes. So?”

“It has to be a valid ID.”

“It is a valid ID.”

“But it’s expired.”

“But I’m not. Nothing happened after it expired to make it no longer my ID. It’s not a valid driver’s license, but it’s still a valid ID.”

There was no arguing with her. She had to see a current driver’s license. Not wanting to hold up the line, I got out my Wyoming license, good until 2004. And fumed.

This is called “not understanding the concept.”

Someone told her that it had to be a valid ID, without explaining what that means.

But what are you gonna do?

Some More Good Terrorists

The IDF apparently knocked off some top Hamas people today.

Good. It’s exactly what they need to keep doing. The best way to stop this nonsense is to make it look like a very unpromising career path.

[Update at 1:57 PM PDT]

Reuters says that the top guy got away again. Of course, it’s hard to know whether or not it’s true. Reuters doesn’t even think that he’s a terrorist–just a “militant.” At least they didn’t call him a “freedom fighter.”

The only place that the word “terror” or any variation on it appears in the article, of course, is with respect to Israel.

“We are determined to wipe out Zionist terrorism. They are targeting civilians. They are targeting children. There are at least 15 children among the wounded here.”

True or false: if there had been only children in that car, how many think that the Israelis would have fired rockets at it? Raise your hands, everyone.

Sorry, they weren’t “targeting children,” no matter how much Reuters wants to leave lies like this unchallenged. They do say that:

Israel denies trying to harm civilians in army operations against the Palestinian uprising. Since the start of the uprising, its forces — aided by informers — have traced and killed dozens of militants alleged to have attacked its citizens.

Palestinians brand such Israeli operations state-sponsored assassination and the tactic has been condemned internationally. Israel says it is acting in self-defense.

No mention of condemnation of the Palestinian war crime of hiding soldiers among a civilian population, of course. That’s never mentioned. I suspect that I’ll be much older, with much less hair, before it ever is, at least at Reuters.

On Hallowed Ground

Here’s a column by Dave Barry that (unusually) is not very funny.

It’s, instead, very moving. It also demonstrates once again (as did Mark Twain, and does James Lileks) that you can’t be a great humorist without also being a great writer. If you don’t read anything else today, I recommend this.

On This Week this morning (which was Sam and Cokie’s last show–I don’t know if I’ll be able to stomach an hour of Stephanopolous), a couple questions were asked. One was, what changed on September 11 that suddenly made Iraq more dangerous?

The answer is, of course, nothing. Saddam was just as dangerous on September 10 as he was on September 12.

The difference was not in the actual danger but in our perception of it. We now understand that we are no longer safely cocooned across vast oceans from our enemies–they can come here and attack us on our soil, and they are among us today. We now know that when people say they want to kill us, we should take them at their word.

But something else happened on September 11. While our perception of the danger increased dramatically, the actual danger decreased. I personally felt safer flying on September 12 than on September 10, not because of the Patriot Act, or because we made airline security workers federal employees with spiffy new uniforms, and not because I could fly secure in the knowledge that my seatmate didn’t have breast milk in a bottle, or a nose-hair trimmer.

No, I felt safer because I knew the danger, and I knew that my fellow citizens now knew the danger as well, and the brave, ordinary people on Flight 93 proved that never again would murderous madmen hold innocent lives hostage to evil, wretched goals.

As George Will said this morning, Americans are watching now. Even if the mindless bureaucracy of Norm Mineta refuses to racially profile, Americans are smart enough to know that the danger comes from young men (and perhaps women) from the Middle East, not little old ladies from Fargo.

Someone (perhaps Mark Steyn), said earlier this week that September 11 was like rolling Pearl Harbor and Jimmy Doolittle’s Tokyo raid into a single day. We were attacked without warning, and within an hour, we were fighting back, and struck a blow against the enemy.

The memorial – the word seems grandiose, when you see it – is a gravel parking area, two portable toilets, two flagpoles and a fence. The fence was erected to give people a place to hang things. Many visitors leave behind something – a cross, a hat, a medal, a patch, a T-shirt, an angel, a toy airplane, a plaque – symbols, tokens, gifts for the heroes in the ground. There are messages for the heroes, too, thousands of letters, notes, graffiti scrawls, expressing sorrow, and love, and anger, and, most often, gratitude, sometimes in yearbookish prose:

“Thanx 4 everything to the heroes of Flight 93!!”

Visitors read the messages, look at the stuff on the fence, take pictures. But mostly they stare silently across the field, toward the place where Flight 93 went down. They look like people you see at Gettysburg, staring down the sloping field where Pickett’s charge was stopped, and the tide of war changed, in a few minutes of unthinkable carnage. There is nothing, really, to see on either field now, but you find it hard to pull your eyes away, knowing, imagining, what happened there…

…we need to remember this: The heroes of Flight 93 were people on a plane. Their glory is being paid for, day after day, by grief. Tom Burnett does not belong to the nation. He is, first and foremost, Deena Burnett’s husband, and the father of their three daughters. Any effort we make to claim him as ours is an affront to those who loved him, those he loved.

He is not ours.

And yet …

… and yet he is a hero to us, he and the other people on Flight 93. We want to honor them, just as we want to honor the firefighters, police officers and civilians at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon who risked, and sometimes gave, their lives to try to rescue others. We want to honor them for what they did, and for reminding us that this nation is nowhere near as soft and selfish as we had come to believe.

We want to honor them.

Years will pass, and more people will come here, and more, people who were not yet born when Flight 93 went down, coming to see this famous place.

And so in a few years, when grass grows once again over the place where Flight 93 hit the ground, when the “X”s have faded from the hemlocks, there will be a memorial here, an official, permanent memorial to the heroes of Flight 93. It will be dedicated in a somber and dignified ceremony, and people will make speeches. Somebody – bet on it – will quote the Gettysburg Address, the part about giving the last full measure of devotion. The speeches will be moving, but they will also prove Lincoln’s point, that the words of the living can add nothing to the deeds of the dead.