Category Archives: War Commentary


“Demolishing the homes of Arab civilians… Shooting handcuffed prisoners… Forcing local Arabs to test areas where mines may have been planted…”

These sound like the sort of accusations made by British and other European officials concerning Israel’s recent actions in Jenin. In fact, they are descriptions from official British documents concerning the methods used by the British authorities to combat Palestinian Arab terrorism in Jenin and elsewhere in 1938.

That’s the fascinating beginning of an article in the Jerusalem Post, that describes how there are no new things under the sun.

New Terrorism?

An aircraft has hit the Pirelli Tire building in Milan. It’s been characterized as a terrorist attack. Apparently it was a Piper with explosives on board. Unless they’re simply mistaking the fuel tank exploding for a deliberate one.

That’s too bad. Italy was already on our side. I didn’t want this to occur anywhere, but it if it had happened in Paris or Brussels, it might have had a more salutory effect on some of the idiotic attitudes there.

Fox is now saying that there is a report that the pilot sent an SOS, so it’s still a confused situation.

[Update at 9:35AM PDT]

Now they’re saying that it’s looking less like terrorism, because of the multiple SOS signals. It’s still bizarre though, that it would accidentally hit the tallest building in Milan, and probably the closest thing to a symbol of capitalism they have there. Of course, the timing is not optimal to maximize casualties (early evening in Italy, when many have presumably gone home). It may indeed be just a weird accident.


For people who agree with Kathy Kinsley’s proposal that the Afghan scientists who hid the radioactive material from Al Qaeda deserve a Peace Prize, there’s now an on-line petition available.

I’ve signed it. (Thanks to Dan Hartung for setting it up)

[Update at 10:45AM PDT]

When I signed early this morning, I was number four. Now there are twenty seven. I know that Kathy and I have both publicized it, but don’t know if anyone else has picked it up on their blogs yet. We’ll know that Instantman has when it starts jumping by orders of magnitude. Did all those signatures come from my and Kathy’s site?

[1:11PM PDT Update]

Now there are thirty seven signatures, and I see that Bill Quick has linked to it.

Let’s see how fast we can spread this meme.

National Palestinian Radio

I just heard an infuriating broadcast on Morning All Things Considered (a program that was particularly woefully mistitled this morning–it should have been One Side Considered) on the situation in Israel and the West Bank. It was shockingly blatant anti-Israeli propaganda, even for them.

First, they give a run down of the news–Israel is still ignoring the U.S. calls to withdraw, except for a couple villages (which are not really part of a withdrawal, but just going through the motions to try to assuage world opinion). They are still holding the major cities, and “claiming” to have found rockets close to Jerusalem.

But the worst part was when they reported that there was a firefight on the Church of the Nativity. The reportage is that the Israelis have fired on it. The Israeli’s “claimed” to have been fired on first (but who can believe those lying Jews, I suppose one is to infer from the way they say it). They report anger from the Holy See, with a quote from some representative, who describes the attack as “barbaric,” and there is “no excuse.”

Absolutely no mention is made of the fact that armed Palestinian terrorists have been holed up there for days, possibly with hostages. Not just no criticism–no mention. If one only heard the report, and had no other knowledge, one would assume that the Israelis simply attacked one of the holiest Christian sites, with no true provocation.

Where is the condemnation, where is the outrage, at the Palestinians for taking over the Church in the first place? I’ve heard absolutely none, including from the Holy See.

Then, after the “news,” they of course have the obligatory, unbalanced interview with Peter Jennings’ ex-girlfriend, Hanan Ashrawi. They pitch a bunch of softballs at her, asking how terrible it is, expressing sympathy, asking if it’s true that she’s depressed and without hope, as she goes through her litany about Israeli “terrorism” and “war crimes,” how the Palestinian Authority is being dismantled and how the world simply stands by while Israel is not held accountable.

They don’t, of course, sully the moment by asking any unpleasant questions concerning Palestinian, or Palestinian Authority accountability for murders of Israeli civilians, or about the weapons caches being found. Again, if one heard only this broadcast, one would never know that prior to the incursion, Israel had been plagued by waves of murder bombers. No, it’s just the innocent Palestinian people being oppressed by the Evil Jews.


Like It Will Make A Difference?

In an article in the Journal today, Fred Kagan warns that the U.S. military lacks resources for the war.

Without passing comment on his general thesis, I have to take exception to this comment:

“…the importance of our missions in Bosnia and Kosovo should be allowed to slip from view, either. One of the purposes our forces serve there is to protect Muslims from Serbian attack. A pullout would mean that Slavs would again begin harming Muslims. Considering the precipitous rise in tensions between the U.S. and the Muslim world, is this the time to run that particular risk?

What risk? They’ve shown no gratitude, or even recognition of what we’ve done for Muslims in the Balkans. If we need the troops to fight where there’s actually a threat to us, pull ’em out of there. Let the Europeans spend some of that money they’ve had to build welfare states because we’ve been defending them for sixty years, to clean up the mess in their own back yard.

[Monday 1:25PM PDT update]

Reader “Pouncer” suggests:

If, in fact, the US is short resources to fight a major war, the “first domino” to kick over among Axis of Evil adversaries should be–North Korea.

We keep some 30,000 troops tied up there enforcing a cease fire at the DMZ. We’ve done so for 50 years. A very strong ally with major strategic interest in keeping the North Koreans under control is trained, rested, and ready to act under U.S. guidance. (That would be, unlike Northern Alliance or Kurdis irregulars, the actual ARMY of the nation of South Korea.)

The army is often charged with making plans “to fight the last war.” To the extent that’s true, there must be libraries full of plans to topple North Korea–hundreds of scenarios already wargamed out. Picking one may be a challenge, but any of the best ten of a hundred is likely to be okay.

Kick over North Korea, free up 29,700 U.S. fighting men (assuming about 1% casuality rates). Demonstrate resolve. Take the spotlight off the Middle East. Show Mainland China that we can be serious when the mood strikes us…

Then move the focus back on Iraq. If, that is, such a place still exists by the time the Israelis get through.

That’s not a bad idea, except that they’re probably worried about China’s reaction. The last time we tried that, we ended up facing Chinese troops, and it’s not unthinkable that the same could happen again. Of course, the difference is that China is not as enamored with NK as it used to be, and Russia has very little love for it, so we might be able to pull it off.

It’s too bad that we’ve kept Japan toothless for so long–it would be a lot easier to let them do the job, as their contribution to the war. But I suspect that would reopen too many old wounds from the last time they invaded Korea, with less benign intent.

You Might Be A Terrorist…

Like Reuters, The Muslim nations are having a problem coming up with a common definition for terrorism.

The countries agreed to form a 13-member committee to “work toward an internationally agreed definition of terrorism” under a U.N. convention to “formulate a joint organized response of the international community to terrorism in all its forms and manifestation.”

Well, I’m so relieved. I’ll sleep much better at night knowing that there’s a thirteen-member committee of Islamic nations working toward a definition of terrorism. Based on the following, though, one suspects that they may have some difficulty squaring the circle.

The declaration said the countries reject “any attempts to link terrorism to the struggle of the Palestinian people” to establish an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

“We reject any attempt to associate Islamic states or Palestinian and Lebanese resistance with terrorism,” the draft said.

They then proceed to make just such a link.

The roots of terrorism, including “foreign occupation, injustice and exclusion” should be addressed, it said.

While they’re coming up with the definition, maybe one of them can explain to me how “foreign occupation, injustice and exclusion” are roots of terrorism, but that the supposed victims of these evils aren’t engaging in terrorism.

To say that there are gray areas is not an excuse to avoid making calls on acts that are clearly black. There is a region between earth’s atmosphere and space that is neither air nor space. That doesn’t prevent us from saying that a Cessna 120 flies in the atmosphere, and that the Cassini probe to Saturn was in space.

There may be some acts that are open to interpretation by reasonable people as to whether they are terrorist acts or not, but they’re not the ones that have been dominating the news for the last half year.

Hey guys, let me help you out here–it’s clear that you’re confused.

With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, if you strap TNT to yourself and detonate it in a crowded pizza parlor, you might be a terrorist.

If you walk into a wedding party and start spraying it with AK-47 rounds, you might be a terrorist.

If you drive a rental truck full of high explosives into the basement of a skyscraper and blow it up, you might be a terrorist.

If you purchase airplane tickets, then slit the throats of flight attendants and commandeer the aircraft, and fly it into the side of that same skyscraper, you might be a terrorist.

And if you obfuscate the definition of terrorism, use illogical and inconsistent statements to defend the above behaviors, change the subject whenever anyone calls you on it, pretend that there’s any justification whatsoever for them, ship weapons to those carrying them out, and provide large amounts of funding to the widows and family of the perps, you just might be a terrorist yourself.

In which case, you might want to at least consider recusing yourself from any committee dedicated to “defining terrorism.”

Porous Snake

I thought that the purpose of Anaconda was to cordon off the area so as not to allow any of the “rebels” (and what’s up with that word, anyway? They’re not “rebels”–they’re colonial oppressors and terrorists) escape.

So why are we hearing news reports about some of them escaping?

Stuck In The Caribbean

Six months ago today, I’d just gotten back to San Juan from a diving vacation in Bonaire, and was about to get on an American flight back to LA via Dallas. The flight was supposed to leave about 11 AM Atlantic Standard Time (which also happens to be the same time zone as Eastern Daylight Time).

Packed, and waiting for the time to approach at which I was to take a cab to Luis Munoz Marin Airport, I was doing some work on the computer in our apartment in Isla Verde, listening to Fox & Friends on the television. Just as the program was coming to an end at 9 AM, I heard E.D. Donahey announce that they’d just gotten word that a plane had collided with the World Trade Center.

The first thing that crossed my mind was that it must have been a private pilot who lost his way. Was the weather bad? Then I saw the image, and it was clearly a CAVU day (Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited, other than the smoke coming from the fire). Now it was starting to look deliberate–it’s hard to come up with a plausible scenario in which someone flies into one of the world’s tallest buildings, on a clear sunny morning, by accident, short of a heart attack in the cockpit or something.

As the fire burns, Fox brings in a supposed aviation expert, who assures us (despite my own thoughts) that this is just a navigational problem of some kind–it’s very unlikely that it is deliberate. Just as he finishes saying this, I see, in real time, the second plane hit the second tower.

Probably feeling like a fool, the “expert” says something like, “well, now this is starting to look like it’s deliberate.” Award that man a clue!

We’re clearly at war, the only question is with whom.

It’s now just twenty minutes or so before I have to decide whether to take a cab to the airport and get on a plane to the mainland. It seems crazy to even bother, but there’s been no announcement as to the status of other flights. But fortunately, just about the time that I have to make the decision, they announce that all flights have been grounded. Even if that doesn’t include Puerto Rico, I know that no planes are going to depart to Dallas, and if even if it does, I won’t get another flight to LA. So I’m now stuck in San Juan indefinitely.

We get word that the Pentagon is hit. I call a business associate in Old Town Alexandria, who has just gotten in to work, and tell him to look out the window. He sees the smoke and flames on the other side of Crystal City.

Now, as I continue to watch, I start musing idly about how I’d get back to LA if I really had to. I’m thinking, I could catch a non-American flight over to Santo Domingo, and then maybe Air Jamaica or something to Tijuana, and then walk across the border. But then I hear that the borders are closed as well.

So, I ended up spending almost another week in Puerto Rico (not a bad thing at all, as Patricia was there). The following Monday, I was on one of the first flights to leave after the fleet grounding. Security was clearly tighter–I had to put my computer through the machine separately, for the first time. The crew on the flight was somber. I wondered if they had lost friends that day…