On Dixie’s Land I’ll Take My Stand

Lee surrendered to Grant a hundred and thirty seven years ago today, at Appomattox Courthouse, effectively ending the War Between The States. This site describes the events leading up to that final capitulation. I’m struck by the professional tone of the letters between the two generals, in the days prior.

This is one of the reasons that Grant was a great general. He was always a clear communicator, and his letters to his officers had the same clarity–describing exactly what was to be accomplished strategically, without necessarily dictating how, leaving that instead to their initiative.

Also, to put this event in context of current events, consider, as we mourn the loss of some three thousand dead.

That war killed over six hundred thousand Americans on both sides. And this was when the country only had a total population of about forty million. Losing the equivalent today, percentage wise, would be like losing four or five million people, mostly men in arms.

New Front In The War On Terror?

From the Washington Times:

Turkish officials are warning NATO allies that they have detected new bases for the militant PKK Kurdish Workers Party being built in northern Iran, at least three in the Iranian city of Umriye disguised as medical facilities. The PKK have apparently relocated — with Iranian permission — after being driven out of northern Iraq last year by Turkish military raids. The Turks say they have evidence that the new camps are storing weapons and training insurgents — and are dropping strong hints of an al Qaida connection.

As the story points out, such warnings are often prelude to a cross-border strike. The Turks have done this to Iraq in the past, under similar circumstances, but I’m not aware that they’ve ever gone after Iran. If they do, this could set up another flashpoint in the Middle East, whether Al Qaeda are involved or not.

Is The War Over?

Instantman points to this WaPo article that has an interesting image in it. It’s a map of Israel that he says makes no distinction between Israel proper and the occupied territories.

He overstates it a bit. There is a thin black line separating the West Bank and Gaza from the rest, and they are separately labeled, but he’s right in the sense that they’re not cross hatched or differently colored–presbyopics have to put on their glasses to see the difference.

I’m figuring that they just got it from a Palestinian text book, and changed the name of the map from “Palestine” to “Israel” for domestic consumption. Those lazy WaPo reporters…

[Update at 1:21PM PDT]

Whoops, somebody at the Post must read weblogs. They’ve taken it down.

Apocalyptic Fears

There’s a thread over at Charles Johnson’s site about this article in the LA Times.

As I point out in his comments section, I think that the concern over nuclear winter is overblown. That theory has been pretty throughly discredited, at least as originally propounded by Sagan et al. No one really knows what the effects of a massive nuclear war would be, but if it’s unlikely that a Soviet-US exchange would cause one, it’s hard to see how Israel alone could. However, Israel is certainly capable of making glowing parking lots out of places like Baghdad, Riyadh and even Mecca.

To the commentator who suggested that the West Bank itself might be a nuclear target, there are a number of reasons that this would be unlikely. The Israelis wants that territory for itself, and won’t want to have to clean up a radioactive mess. They’d prefer to keep everything intact.

Which brings up a disconcerting thought. Have they developed a neutron bomb?

These posts are getting depressing. I’ll try to shift the subject back to space a little later today.

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.


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