Monday, July 31, 2006

The 1930's All Over Again?

Seems I'm not the only one who thinks we are in a time warp back to the 1930's. Michael Ledeen has this great column in National Review Online today:

...
Meanwhile, a collection of frauds, writing in places like Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Mother Jones, continuously recycles a story saying that a neocon (code for “Jewish”) conspiracy duped Bush into going to war in Iraq, and is now arranging the invasion of Iran. Documented lies, like those peddled by Joe Wilson to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, are treated as reliable. Fantasies about American armed forces operating covertly in Iran, like those written by Seymour Hirsh, get taken seriously. And people like me are accused of masterminding the whole thing, even though I oppose a military campaign against Iran.

No one can doubt that this is a willful disinformation campaign, aimed at paralyzing and then destroying the president. I do not think people in the White House have ever fully appreciated their peril. I think that lack of understanding goes hand-in-hand with the failure in strategic vision that underlies our unwillingness to fight the regional war that is being waged against us.

It is the Thirties again. Many of the statements above apply to Franklin Roosevelt’s first two administrations, and to the political atmosphere of those dreadful years. Then, too, the mounting power of what became the Axis was ignored. As my father often reminded me, a few months before Pearl Harbor, at a time when Nazi armies were long since on the march, the draft passed by a single vote. Apologists for Hitler and Mussolini were legion, and some of our leading intellectuals were saying that American democratic capitalism was a failure, and we would do well to emulate the European totalitarians.

So I don’t see this moment as something unique, the result of some inner rot, or a moment on a greased skid leading to the abyss. It’s one of the many things we are. But we are many things, and we are not like the Europeans, many of whom are reviving their anti-Semitic fantasies in an effort to cope with their weakness and irrelevance.

I think, as I recently wrote, that we have been given an extraordinary opportunity by our enemies. I am disturbed at the lack of appropriate response, which in my opinion involves taking the war to Syran, mostly by political means. About a week ago a surprising number of Arab leaders said as much. I took it as a public plea to Washington to act vigorously, and an expression of the unspoken assumption that Israel would quickly destroy Hezbollah. Neither has happened, and so they are once again appeasing their own worst enemies, as are various Iraqi officials.

Read the whole article here.

PROOF: Hezboos Use Bodies of Dead for Propaganda

EU Referendum went through the sad catalog of photos showing Lebanese civilian deaths due to Israeli bombings and found something very interesting. The man at right, called by EU "Green Helmet" seems to appear on the site of many of these attacks and is either photographed carrying out the bodies of dead children, or helping others to do so.

Captions on the news photos refer to him as a "rescue worker." But is there only one rescue worker in all of Lebanon with responsibility for the entire country?

EU's got the photos and details here. Please be warned, many of the photos are graphic and disturbing.

EU asks "Who is this man? " that seems to pop up on the scene of every tragic bombing just in time to be photograhed holding a dead child?

And EU found another photograph of the same man, but apparently taken years before doing the same thing (I won't link to it, too graphic).

Clearly, Hezbollah is using the bodies of dead children for propaganda. News reporters are often not brought to the scene for hours after the attack. When they do arrive, they are under the direction of Hezbollah handlers (see here and here ).

We at Mike's America have a pretty good idea who the man in the green helmet is. The question I want to ask is "Why isn't the media asking who this man is?"

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Bloody Sunday: Hezbollah Causes Deaths of 60 women and Children Using Residence as Human Shield

"Why are they killing us? What have we done?" asked Khalil Shalhoub as he witnessed his brother's remains being removed from the building in Qana, Lebanon after Israeli aircraft bombed the building suspected to be shielding rocket launchers directed at Israel. 120 such rockets were fired at Israel today.

Fox News reports that at least 56 were killed in the attack, mostly women and children.

It's a sad and tragic event which should never have happened. And it's one that is likely to fit into the plans of those who wish to condemn Israel and push for a ceasefire that preserves Hezbollah's military capacity. The same military capability which violates every previous agreement intended to bring peace to the troubled region.

Ever since the crisis began, Mike's America has pointed out how Hezbollah has used the civilian population and U.N. peacekeepers as human shields. They deliberately choose to attack from these positions and then are first to raise the cry of "massacre" or "war crime" when unintended deaths occur. We've reported the statement from U.N. Humanitarian Chief Egeland who denounced Hezbollah for "this cowardly blending ... among women and children...I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."

Video Evidence Of Hezbollah Rockets Shielded by Civilian Residences

If you haven't seen the video from the Israeli Defense Forces showing the launching of rockets directly behind a large building in the area near Qana, it is here. It's an older video and apparently not the building which was struck today, but a nearby site which does illustrate how Hezbollah launches rockets from behind a large building to avoid detection.

The chart at right illustrates the course of rockets fired from Qana. The Israeli Defense Forces also has a further video showing how Hezbollah hides rockets in civilian targets.

More Questions: No Fighters Killed in Qana?
Reporters at the site of this tragedy report that it took many hours for them to reach the scene. They were not given any opportunity to investigate, photograph or videotape obvious military targets or dead Hezbollah fighters.

Prior to the strike in Qana, Israel took steps to warn the civilian population that strikes in this area were likely and warned them to leave. This is the same precaution they followed prior to their incursions into both Southern Lebanon and Gaza. These efforts include dropping of leaflets, phone calls to residences in affected areas and loudspeakers in some cases. Vital Perspective posted a copy of one of the leaflets warning that Israeli strikes were imminent.

From reports at the scene, survivors of the Qana attack complained that they were unable to leave, that the roads were "blocked." Yet reporters had no trouble getting to and from the scene.

More Questions

Unfortunately, the resources of the Israeli Defense Forces are more focused on fighting and winning on the ground in Lebanon and Gaza. But the propaganda war is being lost as the world sees images of dead children and only later considers the cause.

As we wait for more information, one thing is clear: this tragedy would not have occurred if Hezbollah has been disarmed. Furthermore, this tragedy would not have happened if Iran and Syria had not provided Hezbollah with the weapons, training and funding to attack Israel. Finally, none of this would be happening if the world demanded the same level of accountability and respect for innocent civilians from Hezbollah that they require of Israel.

Answering Khalil Shalhoub's question: "Why are they killing us? What have we done?" I would say: You have allowed Hezbollah to rearm and attack Israel. If you valued peace more than war, you would not have done so.

And Khalil: Mike's America readers may recall another "Bloody Sunday" 23 years ago when Hezbollah killed 241 U.S. Marines sent to Lebanon as peacekeepers. Isn't it past time you held Hezbollah accountable for the "cycle of violence?" Blaming everyone else for your problem hasn't worked too well has it?

Update: The research department at Flopping Aces has found a number of other links to the videos mentioned above and more. A number of these are provided by Vital Perspective, a collection of which can be found at You Tube.

Vital Perspective also reminds us that the deliberate placement of weaponry in a civilian area is a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Will we now hear all the bleeding heart lefties who moan about our benevolent treatment of homocidal terrorists at Guantanamo now take up the call about war crimes by Hezbollah? Don't hold your breath!

And just for the record, Flopping Aces linked to this video at the end of which you can clearly see ambulances with UN markings being used to transport Hamas terrorists in Gaza away from the fighting.

And some people say that Israel is committing war crimes?

Obsession: What The War on Terror Is Really About


Problem with embedded video? Direct link is here.

Skye at Midnight Blue Rants mentioned this video earlier in the week, so it caught my immediate attention when Always on Watch tossed the link to the video over the walls of the guarded and gated compound here at Mike's America. It's a download of the new film "Obsession." It's not about French perfume, but the movie "Obsession" which documents the terrorist threat from Islamic fanaticism.

It shows terrorists and their propaganda masters using their own words to define "jihad" as the destruction of every form of existence that dares counter their evil ideology matched against terrorist's deeds designed to bring about that horrible outcome.

You Tube has more on the movie, including the trailer for the film and a conversation between the director and talk-show master Rush Limbaugh.

This is a film that should be seen by every American. Hopefully, online efforts can inspire a wider viewing of this important message.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Birds of a Feather

Venezuelan Dictator Chavez Visits Iran

You know more about people by the company they keep. More than anything else, Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's visit to Iran today tells us more about him than anything else.

The meeting takes place at a particularly difficult time as the world is becoming more aware of the Iranian funding, support, training and weaponry supplied to the Hezbollah fighters attacking Israel.

Fox News reports that Following talks, Chavez pledged that his country would "stay by Iran at any time and under any condition," state television reported.
Ahmedinejad said he saw in Chavez a kindred spirit.

"I feel I have met a brother and trench mate after meeting Chavez," Ahmedinejad was quoted as saying by state-run television. "We think Iran and Venezuela should share all experiences of each other, stay by each other and they have to be supporters of each other."

Pictured at right above with the lunatic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the meeting in Iran and professions of mutual support remind history buffs of another great love match of evil made some 70 years ago between Adolph Hitler and Benito Mussolini.

It's bad enough that Chavez is making every attempt to be a nuisance as the grownups deal with the threats posed by Iran. What's worse though is what he is doing to the democratic opposition in Venezuela.

I wrote a post in March "If Bush is Hitler, What is Hugo Chavez?" describing the ongoing attempts to destroy any dissent and democratic opposition in Venezuela.

But Chavez is more like the bumbling oaf Mussolini than Hitler whose modern day incarnation is closer to the Iranian Ahmedinejhad.

And I can also hope that the people of Venezuela are able to handle the destruction of their democracy in the same way that the Italians handled Mussolini after the Italian defeat in World War II (see photo at right, history here).

From the Chavez File:

This is Why Terrorists Want Negotiations

PLO thug Yasser Arafat won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his efforts to secure the Oslo Accords. Many of us recall the high hopes that took place as those agreements were signed at the White House in 1993 with Bill Clinton playing the great peace maker.

But Oslo, and it's "land for peace" deal have brought Israel no peace. And it's clear that the agreements were a one sided victory for those whose only aim is more violence, more killing.

Ziyad Abu 'Ein, a member of Fatah PLO leadership, gave an interview on Al-Alam television in July, 2006 where he admitted:

"If not for Oslo, there would have been no resistance. Throughout the occupied territories, we could not move a single pistol from one place to another. If not for Oslo, the weapons we got through Oslo, and if not for the "A" areas of the Palestinian Authority, if not for the training, the camps, the protection provided by Oslo, and if not for the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners through Oslo - this Palestinian resistance could not have carried out this great Palestinian Intifada, with which we confronted the Israeli occupation."

This echoes what Palestinian Faisal Husseini said in 2001 when he called Oslo:

"a Trojan Horse . . . just a temporary procedure . . . just a step towards something bigger." Husseini said that something bigger is "Palestine from the river to the sea," i.e., from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, eradicating Israel. Oslo? Just a way of "ambushing the Israelis and cheating them."

Following the signing of the Oslo Accords, deaths of innocent Israeli men, women and children skyrocketed. Something to keep in mind the next time some terrorist enabler demands negotiations.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Solve No Evil: Moral Equivalence Perpetuates Violence

The following is a wrap up of recent events which I posted at the Wide Awakes. There's some new material here too, but for anyone who complains about the recycled remainder, I fall on the Doug Patton declaration: "I Don't Care..."

The level of willful self-deception and false moral posturing over the Hezbollah initiated attack on Israel is reaching monumental proportions. All week, I've been adding fresh examples at Mike's America. The following is an amalgam of images and selected text from those posts.



Full size image here.

The human tragedy in Lebanon is a direct result of Hezbollah tactics and strategy. Not only did they precipitate the current conflict by invading Israel, killing three soldiers and kidnapping two others, but they deliberately hide their rocket launchers in civilian areas and conduct their attacks from civilian areas and in close proximity to UN "peacekeepers."


Larger image here.

It's not a new tactic for terrorists as the photo below of Hamas terrorists attacking Israelis while surrounded by children shows:


Meanwhile, even the otherwise worthless United Nations condemned Hezbollah for using Lebanese civilians as human shields. UN High Muckity-Muck Jan Egeland (who referred to America's aid to Tsunami victims as "stingy") Declares that : "Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."


UN A Victim of It's Own Irrelevance

In the photograph at right, you see the Hezbollah flag flying next to the UN flag at a UN "peacekeeping" post. More sad news from this week marked the death of four UN "peacekeepers" after their position was hit by an Israeli bomb. One of those killed, a Canadian, sent an email just days before describing how Hezbollah fighters were all over his position and Israelis were returning fire, but not "deliberately" targeting the UN forces.

Today, Friday July 28, two weeks after the conflict began, UN Forces were ordered away from the border area. There are many questions one wishes the lamestream media would ask Kofi Annan as he parades around demanding another "cease fire" to replace all the other ceasefires and agreements and "peacekeeping" efforts that have been undertaken for more than 20 years. But two questions cry out more than others: "What "peace" did UN personnel keep as they witnessed Hezbollah preparing to attack Israel? And: "Why did Kofi permit "peacekeepers" to remain in an area where conflict was widespread?"


Full size image here.

As Hezbollah and Hamas continue to violate the basic rules of armed conflict, designed to avoid civilian casualties and provide clear identification of combatants, such as requiring uniforms, many on the left and their lamestream media allies continue to push the moral equivalence siren song that sees no right or wrong, no black or white; only shades of gray.

Such an outlook can only encourage future conflict by allowing particularly vile terrorist groups and states from avoiding any accountability.

Charles Krauthammer with his usual brilliance and clarity describes the situation this way:

What other country sustains 1,500 indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities, every one designed to kill, maim and terrorize civilians, and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy's infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?....

When one is wantonly attacked by an aggressor, one has every right, legal and moral, to carry the fight until the aggressor is disarmed and so disabled that it cannot threaten one's security again. ....

Israel's response to Hezbollah has been to use the most precise weaponry and targeting it can. It has no interest, no desire to kill Lebanese civilians. Does anyone imagine that it could not have leveled south Lebanon, to say nothing of Beirut? Instead, in the bitter fight against Hezbollah in south Lebanon, it has repeatedly dropped leaflets, issued warnings, sent messages by radio and even phone text to Lebanese villagers to evacuate so that they would not be harmed.

Israel has the military capability to level nearly all of Lebanon in a few days. Yet, the restraint they have shown is condemned nearly without exception.

Who Are These Hezboos anyway?

Pat Buchanan said recently that the United States has no reason to support Israel and it's fight with Hezbollah. Michelle Malkin has a video with Pat declaring ""You don't go after people unless they come after you..."

Well, Hezbollah has come after us. And here are 289 reasons why this is also America's fight with terrorists:

  • 17 Americans killed April 18, 1983 Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut

  • 241 Americans killed Oct. 23, 1983 Bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut

  • 1 American killed March 16, 1984 CIA Station Chief William Buckley Beirut

  • 2 Americans killed Sept. 20, 1984 Bombing of U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut

  • 2 Americans killed Dec. 3, 1984 Hijacking of Kuwait Airways Flight 221

  • 1 American killed June 14, 1985 Hijacking of TWA Flight 847, Beirut

  • 1 American killed February 17, 1988 Col Rich Higgins kidnapped.

  • 5 Americans killed November 13, 1995 Bombing Saudi National Guard Building, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

  • 19 Americans killed June 25, 1996 Khobar Towers US Air Force Housing

Justice for these dead Americans has been long denied. Mostly by the same kind of foolish moral equivalence that confuses victims with aggressors. Again,that's the same thinking that just invites more terror, more violence, and the deaths of more innocents.

Now, I can already sense the terror enablers, apologists and moral know-nothings bristling that if we only abandoned Israel to it's fate (certain destruction and the deaths of millions throughout the region) that we, the United States would not be in this predicament.

Well, we had the sad news this week of a Buddhist teacher in Thailand murdered in front of the students at his school by Islamic fanatics. His crime? Teaching something other than the approved ideology of Islamic hate. No connection to Israel in this attack, or the 1,300 deaths in Thailand at the hands of extremists.

Sadly, these attacks unlinked in any way to support for Israel are all too common. This week we also learned that Miss Indonesia was under threat from Indonesian Islamic fanatics after she participated in the swimsuit competition in the Miss Universe pageant.

She didn't win the title and I'm not sure she would have fared any better in the competition, or safety from extremist had she been attired with the Muslim approved swimwear pictured above.

Bring Back the Good Old Days?

John Kerry, the failed Presidential candidate who also served four months in Vietnam got into the act of blaming President Bush for the whole mess in the Middle East. "This wouldn't be happening if I were President" he told a crowd at Honest John's Bar and Grill (Honest Johns???HA!). He's probably right, Israel would have been destroyed by now.

But the current difficulties do bring nostalgic thoughts to the minds of Democrats who remember just how well Clinton faced up to the painful reality of the Middle East.


The Four Monkeys of the Clinton Team. Here no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, stuff your socks with classified docs.

Yes, there is nostalgia for the days when Clinton invited PLO terrorist in chief Yasser Arafat to the White House more than any other foreign "leader" and tried to broker a deal offering him more than any previous agreement only to have Arafat reject it and turn again to the wanton death of innocent Israelis at the hands of mass murdering terrorist bombers.

By now, it should be abundantly clear to all but the willfully ignorant, that refusing to see that one side is wrong and one side is right in this ongoing conflict has been a monumental failure with ever greater violence as the result.

Let's give peace a chance for a change and root for the side with right on their side: ISRAEL!

We make war that we may live in peace.

Aristotle

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Ancient Find in Ireland Points to Psalm 83 and Hope for Israel

As a rule, we don't delve too deeply into religion here at Mike's America. But the conflict in the Middle East tugs at our Judeo-Christian heritage.

So when an ancient text is discovered in Ireland this week with the page open to Psalm 83 we take notice. CNN, oddly enough, has the report, which was brought to our attention by Mr. Beamish of the Crank Files.

Psalm 83 describes the biblical attacks against Israel and the nightmare of war inflicted by those who attempt to destroy the nation of Israel.

The text in the old languages may be a bit too much for most of us modern types to understand. But here is an audio visual presentation which might make it more clear.

I think you will find the graphics relating the ancient nations to today's geography especially useful.

Israel is OUR fight too!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Muslims Out to Get Miss Indonesia, Dictate Standards of Conduct for All

Michelle Malkin and Jihad Watch report hat Miss Indonesia, who took part in the recent Miss Universe Beauty Pageant is under threat from Islamic fanatics at home for conduct " insulting for Indonesian dignity and women" for her participation in the swimsuit competition.

These are serious charges when you consider today's earlier post where we document the beheading of Indonesian girls properly attired but committing the crime of being Christian (warning, link contains graphic images).

But are we being too culturally insensitive to Muslim beliefs by holding our beauty pageants? After all, this isn't the first time Islamic fanatics have taken umbrage at women's freedom to participate in such competitions. Readers may recall the Miss World competition that was forced to pull out of Nigeria in 2002 after offended Muslims went on a killing spree and burned Christian churches.


I cannot imagine what a Muslim approved beauty pageant would be like with all those black burkas. I suppose the only glimpse of contestant individuality would be in the swimsuit competition with appropriate covering.

Though somehow, I doubt these contestants will win any pageants. Nor do they stand much chance in any Olympic swimming competition wearing rags like that!

Hezbollah Using UN "Peacekeepers" as Human Shields


Graphic found at Michelle Malkin

The death of four U.N. "peacekeepers" along the Lebanese-Israeli border is a tragedy that need not have happened. The first question: why were they there? Obviously there is no peace to keep.

But there are other questions as well. The U.N. openly declares that Hezbollah is using the civilian population of Lebanon as human shields (see below). And there are also numerous reports of Hezbollah postioning their rocket launchers and weaponry near U.N. observer stations (see photo at right, courtesy Michelle Malkin). And of course let's not forget that Hezbollah has used vehicles with UN markings for attacks on Israel in the past. Hezbollah is also not above using ambulances for the transport of fighters and weapons.

Does anyone really think that Israel would target UN personnel or ambulances just for the heck of it?

I'm not alone in questioning the leadership of Kofi Anan. Here's an excerpt from "The Free West" a blog sponsored by the German newspaper Die Welt:



Sometimes it seems as if United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anan isn't really of this world. For a head of the United nations he seems to exhibit a surprising otherworldliness. Today, a direct strike against a UNIFIL post in southern Lebanon by an Israeli shell killing four UN military observers has been lambasted by Anan as a deliberate attack.

This accusation is without any foundation and Israel has rightly demanded an apology. UNIFIL began as an opportunity for peace, but the UN Interim Force in Lebanon has never made good on its promise. It looked on as Hizballah fortified southern Lebanon, it failed to prevent Hizballah carrying out attacks on Israel. Throughout, Hizballah has used UNIFIL to give cover in battle and to limit Israel's options when counterattacking, while UNIFIL's tacit approval of Hizballah's presence has lent it apparent legitimacy.

'UNIFIL has provided more security to Hizballah than it has to Israel, thereby increasing the likelihood of conflict and helping to make the current war inevitable. Even if they wanted to, the troops could not escape the distorted political constraints imposed by the organization and the nations that sent them. Nor could they escape the iron law of peacekeeping forces: those that are "successful" are not necessary, and those that are most necessary are doomed to failure.'

As recent UNIFIL press releases show, in the last two weeks Hizballah has been firing at Israel from the vicinity of its bases, drawing Israeli fire to the international observers. This is a deliberate ploy to endanger UNIFIL personnel. Israel has fired at Hizballah targets being careful to avoid endangering UN lives. That one shell eventually went astray and killed four UNIFIL soldiers is an accident for which Israel has apologised and which will be the subject of an official inquiry.
But to recap: Hizballah deliberately endanger UNIFIL lives; Israel deliberately tries to avoid endangering UNIFIL lives.

Meanwhile, we're going to hold Israel responsible for civilian deaths in Lebanon and accountable under the Geneva Conventions rules for war while excusing the obvious war crimes of Hezbollah.

And people wonder why there is so much terrorism, war and murder in the world???


UPDATE: Canadian General received email from one of the slain soldiers who reported that Hezbollah was using the UN position for cover.

Full size image here.
UN Humanitarian Chief blasts Hezbollah for hiding behind civilians in Lebanon.

Buddhist Teacher Murdered in Thailand by Muslims. US Support for Israel to Blame?

Another sad news item which reminds us that the current troubles are not simply the result of U.S. support for Israel, "stealing Arab oil" or U.S. "occupation" of Iraq or Saudi Arabia. From the BBC:

Teacher shot in southern Thailand

Security is tight in the restive southern provinces
A teacher has been shot and killed in front of a classroom of children in southern Thailand, according to police.

Gunmen disguised themselves as students to shoot the Buddhist teacher at the primary school in Narathiwat district.

The attack is the latest in a string of violent incidents in the Thai south, where more than 1,300 people have been killed since January 2004.

Officials blames Muslim insurgents for much of the unrest, although criminal motives are also thought to be at work.
...
At least 30 teachers have been killed since the beginning of the insurgency.

Militants target schools and teachers because they see them as symbols of the Buddhist Thai authorities.

Islamic fanatics around the world are killing not only Jews, but Christians, other Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and anyone who fails to submit to their warped view of Islam.

The Palestinian Name has been documenting this violence and the Koranic inspiration cited by the fanatics as justification for this murder. I first came across the site when looking for documentation of the horrible mass murder of school children in Beslan, Russia (warning, this link contains graphic images). Those children, innocent of any wrongdoing, were made to pay the price for our failure to eradicate evil Islamic fanaticism. If you can bear it, Palestinian Name also includes the photos of Indonesian girls beheaded for the crime of being a Christian (warning, this link contains graphic images).

Yet those who claim to hold "peace" as their highest value and aspiration have only offered these and countless other innocents the peace of the grave as they continue to stand in the way of justice for these crimes and eradication of the monsters who commit them.

Victory over evil and defeat of Islamic fanatics is the only path to peace.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Good Economic News You Won't See in the New York Times

With the exception of the New York Times story regarding the declining Federal deficit, I bet you won't see the rest of this economic story reported in that paper or the rest of the mainstream media.

Former Delaware Governor Pete Dupont tells it this way in Opinion Journal:
John F. Kennedy believed that "an economy hampered by restrictive tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance our budget, just as it will never produce enough jobs or enough profits." So he proposed income tax rate reductions, which the Democratic Congress enacted the year after JFK's death. Back then, Democrats were for them: more than 80% of Democratic senators and representatives voted for the Kennedy tax cuts.

My, how times have changed. Today the Democratic Party is so vehemently opposed to income tax cuts that when President Bush's reached their final vote in May 2003, only 4% of Democratic legislators (2 of 48 senators and 7 of 205 representatives) voted "yes."
...
Mr. Bush signed the most recent tax cuts into law in the spring of 2003. In the past 33 months the size of America's entire economy has increased by 20%--or, as National Review Online's Larry Kudlow put it, "In less than three years, the U.S. economic pie has expanded by $2.2 trillion, an output add-on that is roughly the same size as the total Chinese economy."

In the 2 1/4 years before the 2003 tax cuts, economic growth averaged 1.1% annually; in the three years since it has averaged 4% per year, and in the first quarter of this year it was 5.6% on an annualized basis. Inflation-adjusted per capita GDP has grown 7.8% from 2003 through the first quarter of this year.

According to the government's establishment survey, in the 36 months since the tax cuts became law, 5.3 million new jobs have been added to the economy. According to its employment survey, 288,000 jobs were added in May and 387,000 in June. The unemployment rate dropped from 6.1% when the bills were signed to 5.4% at the end of 2004 and 4.6% today, and the rate has gone down for men, women, blacks and Hispanics. Hourly wage rates for workers are up 3.9% in the past year, and they increased at an annualized rate of 4.6% in the second quarter of this year, the highest quarterly rate in nearly 10 years.

Incomes are up too. As Stephen Moore noted in The Wall Street Journal, "the percentage of Americans earning more than $50,000 a year rose from 40.8% to 44.2%" between 2002 and 2004. As for very wealthy families, the portion of total income "captured by the richest 1%, 5% and 10% of Americans is lower today than in the last year of the Clinton administration."
...
But President Bush's tax reductions have been the most successful economic growth and opportunity work of any president in a quarter of a century. To paraphrase JFK, tax rate reduction is indeed a rising tide that lifts all individuals to greater opportunity.


As we head toward the November election. Keep the differences between Republicans and Democrats on national security and the economy at the top of your list. Results matter. Rhetoric does not.

Argument clinic

Argument clinic



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Anna's Clue Tank reminds us of this hilarious Monty Python classic. Somehow it seems to describe much of what the left thinks passes for debate.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Quick Takes: Lebanon, Hezbollah and John Kerry

Full size image here.

The last 48 hours has seen a plethora of news and commentary regarding the situation in Lebanon. For those looking for some good reading material on the subject, I suggest the following:

News and Notable

-John Kerry was in Detroit, home to one of the largest Lebanese Muslim communities. Visiting Honest John's Bar and Grill (Kerry? Honest John? HA!) referred to the crisis in the Middle East saying "If I was president, this wouldn't have happened." You're right "Honest John" you would have allowed Israel to be destroyed by now.

-Kerry's got to keep those MoveOn.Org fanatics happy if he's thinking of running for President again and the anti-semitism of those folks is downright scary. The Daily Standard held their nose and took a dive into the sewer of online leftwing lunatics. Comments at the Daily Kos such as "Israel is showing the entire world why the Iranian President was absolutely right to suggest that Israel cease being a sovereign state as is" are typical of the "anti-war" crowd that seems to have no problem if war eliminates Israel.

-Speaking of "anti-war" "peace" lovers, City Troll sends this link to photographs from the protest rally against Israel on July 22 in London. Take a look at the sign that says "Iran needs nuclear weapons (larger image here). The signs are the product of the International Communist League. And you thought all lefties were against nuclear weapons? WRONG! They're only against nukes when WE have them. No problem if crazy Iranians get nukes.

-The crisis has been pretty tough on the Lebanese. And the deaths of civilians is indeed tragic. But Ralph Peters points out the media bias: "Rocket attacks on Israel were reported clinically, but IDF strikes on Lebanon have been milked for every last drop of emotion. We hear about broken glass in Haifa - and bleeding babies in Beirut. "

-The current figure of 380 deaths in Lebanon is roughly ten times that on the Israeli side. But how many of those are actually Hezbollah terrorist fighters? UN High Muckity-Muck Jan Egeland (who referred to America's aid to Tsunami victims as "stingy") Declares that : "Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending ... among women and children," he said. "I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don't think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men."


Of course the tactic of using the civilian population as a shield for terrorists is nothing new as the photo of Hamas terrorists above shows.

-Wires From the Bunker cites the report that questions whether Hezbollah is actually preventing civilians from leaving areas under siege by Israel to act as human shields. Wires also includes the news that the bodies of Iranian troops killed in the fighting are being sent home to Iran. According to the New York Sun, there are reports of hundreds of Iranian fighters in Lebanon. City Troll also reports that Iranian suicide bombers may also be heading to the region. Perhaps as part of the promised Hezbollah "surprises."

-In another City Troll report, we ask whether those Hezbollah "surprises" might also include adding spent nuclear fuel from Iran to the warheads of rockets and missiles targeting civilians in Israel. Also of some concern is this report that Iran was recently caught "red handed" trying to smuggle highly radioactive Cessium out of Europe.

Commentary and Strategy

-In an op-ed on July 18, Newt Gingrich asked: "United Nations Resolution 1559, supported by the European Union, called for Hezbollah to be disarmed. If not now, when? If not by the Israelis, who?" He goes on to say that "The key steps to ending the violence in Lebanon first requires recognizing that Hezbollah in its military form must be eliminated, that the 100-plus Iranian guard in southern Lebanon must be removed and that the allowing of the Syrian and Iranian dictatorships to supply, train and equip the terrorists must be stopped.

-Similar thoughts were echoed by former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:
"Some 44 years ago, when Soviet missiles in neighboring Cuba threatened American cities, John F. Kennedy set one goal and ultimately prevailed in achieving it: Remove the missiles. Today, when Israel's cities are pummeled by Hezbollah missiles launched from neighboring Lebanon, our goal should be the same: Remove the missiles. Or destroy them....any cease-fire or diplomatic effort that does not have as its objective the disarming of Hezbollah will only strengthen the forces of terror. And that is also why the world should fully support Israel in disarming Hezbollah--for Israel's sake, for Lebanon's sake and for the sake of our common future."
- Mark Steyn reminds us that the goal of terrorists goes beyond destruction of Israel and cannot be appeased through negotiation. He cites the words of Hussein Massawi, the Hezbollah leader behind the slaughter of U.S. and French forces 20 years ago: "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." Steyn also tackles head on the idiotic notion that Islamic terrorism directed at the West is nothing more than a protest against Israel:
In 1971, in the lobby of the Cairo Sheraton, Palestinian terrorists shot Wasfi al-Tal, the prime minister of Jordan at point-blank range. As he fell to the floor dying, one of his killers began drinking the blood gushing from his wounds. Doesn't that strike you as a little, um, overwrought? Three decades later, when bombs went off in Bali killing hundreds of tourists plus local waiters and barmen, Bruce Haigh, a former Aussie diplomat in Indonesia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, had no doubt where to put the blame. As he told Australia's Nine Network: "The root cause of this issue has been America's backing of Israel on Palestine."

Suppose this were true -- that terrorists blew up Oz honeymooners and Scandinavian stoners in Balinese nightclubs because of "the Palestinian question." Doesn't this suggest that these people are, at a certain level, nuts? After all, there are plenty of IRA sympathizers around the world (try making the Ulster Unionist case in a Boston bar) and yet they never thought to protest British rule in Northern Ireland by blowing up, say, German tourists in Thailand.

-Ralph Peters, who we cited above, is concerned that Israel may be going too slow and too soft in their operations in Lebanon: "The situation is grave. A perceived Hezbollah win will be a massive victory for terror, as well as a triumph for Iran and Syria. And everybody loves a winner - especially in the Middle East, where Arabs and Persians have been losing so long.
Israel can't afford a Hezbollah win. America can't afford it. Civilization can't afford it. Yet it just might happen. Israel tried to make war halfway, and only made a mess."

-Finally, nearly every time we discuss military issues, some lefty who has never served their country in any way comes around to pull the Chicken Hawk routine. Jeff Jacoby has the answer to this ridiculous game:

"Chicken hawk" isn't an argument. It is a slur -- a dishonest and incoherent slur. It is dishonest because those who invoke it don't really mean what they imply -- that only those with combat experience have the moral authority or the necessary understanding to advocate military force. After all, US foreign policy would be more hawkish, not less, if decisions about war and peace were left up to members of the armed forces.
...
If only those who served in uniform during wartime have the moral standing and experience to back a war, then only they have the moral standing and experience to oppose a war. Those who mock the views of ``chicken hawks" ought to be just as dismissive of ``chicken doves."

In any case, the whole premise of the ``chicken hawk" attack -- that military experience is a prerequisite for making sound pronouncements on foreign policy -- is illogical and ahistorical.
...
Some combat veterans display great sagacity when it comes to matters of state and strategy. Some display none at all. General George B. McLellan had a distinguished military career, eventually rising to general in chief of the Union armies; Abraham Lincoln served but a few weeks in a militia unit that saw no action. Whose wisdom better served the nation -- the military man who was hypercautious about sending men into battle, or the "chicken hawk" president who pressed aggressively for military action?

OK That should be enough reading to fill a couple hours. Don't forget, you will be quizzed on this material!

Full size image here.

Bunker Busters On Their Way!

The GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" (larger image here).

From World Tribune:
The United States has approved an Israeli request for "accelerated deliveries" of precision-guided air munitions to Israel.

Officials said the Bush administration approved an Israeli request for bunker-buster weapons days after the outbreak of the Hizbullah war on July 12. They said the Israel Air Force concluded that its heavy air strikes on Hizbullah strongholds around Lebanon have been ineffective.

Officials said the Israel Air Force failed to destroy Hizbullah headquarters in southern Beirut. On July 19, Israeli F-15I and F-16I fighters dropped 23 tons of munitions on Hizbullah's command and control bunker, but failed to destroy the hardened facility.

"The administration and Congress already approved the PGM sale," an official said. "We're talking about accelerated deliveries."

More specifications here via Global Security.Org

Israel might also want to consider a few more purchases:

AGM-88 HARM anti-radar guided missile foreground, GBU-28 Bunker Buster, B61-11 the nuclear version of the Bunker Buster and BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" fuel air explosive.

FedEx Shipping is Extra!

Hezbollah Kills Americans

We heard a great deal of distortions and deception from the anti-war, anti-Israel left last week. False claims that there is no reason why the U.S. should support Israel as it faces down the terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

I can think of at least 289 reasons, listed below. These numbers do not include the many hundreds more non-Americans killed during these attacks, nor the toll taken on the thousands injured.

  • 17 Americans killed April 18, 1983 Bombing of U.S. Embassy in Beirut
  • 241 Americans killed Oct. 23, 1983 Bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut
  • 1 American killed March 16, 1984 CIA Station Chief William Buckley Beirut
  • 2 Americans killed Sept. 20, 1984 Bombing of U.S. Embassy annex northeast of Beirut
  • 2 Americans killed Dec. 3, 1984 Hijacking of Kuwait Airways Flight 221
  • 1 American killed June 14, 1985 Hijacking of TWA Flight 847, Beirut
  • 1 American killed February 17, 1988 Col Rich Higgins kidnapped.
  • 5 Americans killed November 13, 1995 Bombing Saudi National Guard Building, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • 19 Americans killed June 25, 1996 Khobar Towers US Air Force Housing

Hezbollah is directly and indirectly linked to the deaths of 289 Americans. Chief mastermind behind many of these attacks is IMAD FAYEZ MUGNIYAH, Most Wanted by the FBI.

The Beirut Memorial Online has the names of many of these Americans killed by Hezbollah. Their sacrifice is not forgotten, even if justice for their killers has been so long delayed.

Pat Buchanan: "You don't go after people unless they go after you..."

Sources:
-Frontline "Target America" Timeline.
-Center for Defense Information Terrorist Attacks Chronology.
-Talking Proud has a more detailed timeline including news photos of many attacks.

Is this what the left supports by their desperate opposition to Israel?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Vice President Cheney at Fort Stewart, Georgia



Above is a great photo we missed earlier in the week. Vice President Dick Cheney visited nearby Fort Stewart in Georgia on Friday, July 21.

The Third Infantry Division based at Fort Stewart has been on the front lines of the Iraqi campaign to bring freedom to the Middle East.

The Vice President's remarks are here, along with more photos from the visit.
Vice President Cheney: ...Everywhere I go in this country, I am struck by the depth of gratitude and admiration that Americans have for our men and women serving in the military. We do not take freedom for granted because we know it came with a price. Many based at Fort Stewart, including a good number here today, have been decorated for acts of bravery for outstanding performance. You have also had to say a last farewell to some devoted comrades in arms. And the families left behind need to know that their loved ones served in a noble and a necessary cause. Their sacrifice has made our nation and the world more secure. We will honor their memory forever.
...
In this new generation we are seeing once again that the American soldier in battle places the mission first, never accepts defeat, never quits, never leaves a fallen comrade. (Applause.) The spirit of the American soldier is to be honorable and just, and, even amid the cruelties of battle, to be decent and humane. By their courage, members of our military are taking the fight to the enemy and winning the war on terror. And by their openness and their kindness to others in thousands of interactions every day, members of our military have built permanent bonds of friendship between the United States and the nations we've liberated.




Vice President Dick Cheney administers the Ceremonial Oath of Re-enlistment of Corporal Jarrod Fields, at a rally for the troops at Fort Stewart, Ga., Friday, July 21, 2006. Cpl. Fields was wounded by an improvised explosive device in 2005 while serving in Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division. White House photo by David Bohrer

American Floyd Landis Wins the Tour de France!



American Floyd Landis wins the Tour de France!

Following Lance Armstrong's SEVEN wins, this makes EIGHT for the American team.

When will we rename this race the "The American's Tour de France?"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hezbollah Training for Israeli Attack for Six Years!

More from the Washington Times reporting the Hezbollah plan to attack Israel ever since Israel's U.N. mandated withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000.

As pointed out in yesterday's post: Here We Go Again! Ceasefire? Smeasefire! Terrorists laugh at U.N. resolutions and take full advantage of withdrawals by Israel, the United States or anyone else for that matter.

The result has always been ever greater loss of innocent life.

Pacifists and the "Peace" Movement Bring War Instead

"Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense. If you hamper the war effort of one side, you automatically help out that of the other. Nor is there any real way of remaining outside such a war as the present one. In practice, 'he that is not with me is against me.'"-- George Orwell

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.--John Stuart Mill

With the "ceasefire now" crowd and their cousins the "peace at any price" loonies in full howl over Israel's defense against the monsters of Hezbollah, it might be a good time to reflect on the results of the so-called "peace" movement.

In March, I reminded readers of the 60th Anniversary of Hitler's remilitarizing of the Rhineland and the misguided attempts of peace advocates to avoid war. Because they so wished to avoid conflict, an easy and perhaps bloodless opportunity to stop Hitler was lost and sixty million people died as a direct result.

But apparently the lessons of history are not so easy for some to accept as we see once again the opposition to the Israel effort to defend themselves against Hezbollah aggression.

Thomas Sowell has words of wisdom on this subject:
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.
...
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?
...
The most catastrophic result of "peace" movements was World War II. While Hitler was arming Germany to the teeth, "peace" movements in Britain were advocating that their own country disarm "as an example to others."

British Labor Party Members of Parliament voted consistently against military spending and British college students publicly pledged never to fight for their country. If "peace" movements brought peace, there would never have been World War II.

Not only did that war lead to tens of millions of deaths, it came dangerously close to a crushing victory for the Nazis in Europe and the Japanese empire in Asia. And we now know that the United States was on Hitler's timetable after that.

For the first two years of that war, the Western democracies lost virtually every battle, all over the world, because pre-war "peace" movements had left them with inadequate military equipment and much of it obsolete. The Nazis and the Japanese knew that. That is why they launched the war.
"Peace" movements don't bring peace but war.

Dems Not Serious About Missile Defense

Friday we got the news that Iranians were in North Korea to witness the missile tests on July 4th. This raises new issues about the coordination between these two members of the axis of evil and what new threats they may be planning.

Japan and the United States also announced plans to install missile defense systems at Congressman Jack Murtha's favorite military base in Okinawa as well as place advanced missile defense systems on Japan's Aegis cruisers.

After the threats from North Korea, and what we have been witnessing from Syrian and Iranian rockets and missiles targeting civilians in Israel, there is a renewed push to advance the technology for missile defense.

A renewed push by all who take defense and deterrence seriously. Apparently, that still excludes many Democrats.

Here's an excerpt from an editorial from the Wall Street Journal:
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il has now defied world opinion by test-firing a Taepodong-2 missile capable of hitting San Francisco. The fact that the missile failed is small consolation, since we are also now seeing in Lebanon a further proliferation of missiles from Syria and Iran that can reach deep into Israel. Does anyone doubt that Iran, or some other adversary, will build an ICBM capable of hitting the U.S. as soon as it is able?

All of which makes the U.S. political debate over missile defenses worth revisiting, not least because some Democrats are still trying to strangle the program. In the House, John Tierney of Massachusetts this year proposed cutting the Pentagon's missile-defense budget by more than half. His amendment was defeated on the House floor, but it won the support of more than half of his Democratic colleagues, including would-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

A successful test of the latest anti-missile technology on July 12. No thanks to Democrats!


Meanwhile in the Senate, Carl Levin (D., Mich.) offered in June to cut off funds for the ground-based interceptor program that Mr. Bush recently activated in Alaska in anticipation of the North Korean launch. Mr. Levin wants to stop new interceptors from being built, but Senate Republicans wouldn't bring his proposal up for a vote. Mr. Levin has been waging his own private war against missile defenses for a generation, to the point of outflanking Russian objections on the political left.

No missile defense is perfect, but even our current rudimentary shield has proven to be strategically useful these past few weeks. The Navy had at least one ship-based Aegis missile-defense system deployed off the Korean coast, with a potential to shoot down a North Korean missile. The Aegis cruisers have successfully shot down missiles in seven of eight tests in recent years, and could become an important player in protecting allies and U.S. forces against regional missile threats. The U.S. is also dispatching PAC-3s, a more sophisticated version of the Patriot anti-missile system, to Japan. This kind of capability adds to the credibility of the U.S. deterrent, reassures allies and enhances American influence.

Virtually none of this would exist had Democrats succeeded over the years in their many attempts to kill missile defenses. Going back to 1983, Senator Ted Kennedy dismissed Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative as a fanciful "Star Wars" program. Ten years later, with President Clinton in office, Democrats starved the program of funds. Republicans made funding defenses part of their Contract with America and spent most of the 1990s battling the Clinton Administration to keep the program alive.

It seems old habits die hard. And even though we are entering an even more dangerous age when terrorists and dictators are threatening with ever more advance lethal weapons, some Democrats still try and deprive us of the technological edge which history has proven keeps us safe.

For those who claim that there is no real difference between Democrats and Republicans, keep this issue in mind as the fall election nears. There is no clearer difference between the two parties than a superior defense advocated by Republicans and a reliance on the U.N. a "global test" and unilateral disarmament offered by Democrats.

Terrorist Muslim Cleric Who Fled Britain, Now Begs for Rescue from Beirut

This is funny. From The Sun Online:
EXILED preacher of hate Omar Bakri has begged the Royal Navy to rescue him from war-torn Beirut.

The Muslim cleric who fled Britain last year, tried to board a ship full of women and children yesterday but was turned away.

He also wrote to the British embassy asking to be allowed back on “humanitarian grounds”.
...
Bakri, 46, left his family in Edmonton, North London, last August and went to Lebanon after a Sun campaign to kick him out.

Charles Clarke, then Home Secretary, banned him from returning here.
The mad mullah, who hailed terrorists as “magnificent” martyrs, bought a £150,000 bolthole in the exclusive Doha district of Beirut.In March he boasted: “When I left England I bought a one-way ticket out. I never want to see the place again.”

But cowardly Bakri changed his tune as soon as bombs started dropping.
...
Over 20 years in the UK, Bakri sponged £300,000 in benefits. He preached violence and praised the 9/11 al-Qaeda terrorists as the Magnificent 19.

Bakri was dubbed the Tottenham Ayatollah.

Trying to sneak aboard a rescue ship for women and children. Real brave terrorist don't you think?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Here We Go Again! Ceasefire? Smeasefire!

"We will have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

Well the race is on. Who can be the first to strut their flawed theories of moral equivalence the loudest and demand that Israel cease fire in their efforts to destroy the Hezbollah terror machine which has afflicted the Middle East for the past 25 years?

First up is Appeaser in Chief, Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations. Thursday he outlined his "cease fire now, security for Israel maybe" views in the U.N. Security Council. No surprise there, as President Bush pointed out in his candid open microphone comments to Tony Blair that Kofi's "attitude is basically ceasefire and [then] everything else happens. "

How many times have we been down this road before?

Thank goodness we have Ambassador John Bolton at the United Nations. Like President Bush, he understands the problem of yet another one-sided cease fire when he states:"How do you get a ceasefire with a terrorist organization? I'm not sure anyone has done that before and I'm not sure it's possible."

Exactly! How many times has Israel agreed to a ceasefire, only to find that terrorists used the time to rearm and plan the next round of attacks?

Mike's America readers will recall recent history where Israel withdrew from settlements in Gaza to "buy peace." And yet, wasn't there a "ceasefire" in place when Hamas dug a tunnel out of Gaza to attack Israel and take Israel's soldier, Corporal Shalit hostage? Wasn't there a ceasefire in place when terrorists kidnapped and murdered eighteen-year-old Eliyahu Asheri?

Wasn't there a ceasefire in place when Hezbollah violated U.N. Security Council resolutions and crossed the blue line , the border separating Israel andLebanon, and took Israeli soldiers hostage sparking the current crisis?

And are not the rockets raining down on the civilian population of Israel the past week an open violation of every ceasefire agreement?

What good is another ceasefire that allows terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah to escape, rearm and strike again?

U.N. Record for Peacekeeping Not Good.

As pointed out above, ceasefires in the past have not resulted in peace. United Nation's efforts have done little more than create temporary feel good diplomacy enabling the perpetrators of violence to escape defeat while living to fight again with ever more deadly weapons.

Take for example the sad episode following Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Israel fully complied with U.N. mandates to leave occupied territory by May of that year. And yet, on October 7, 2000 Hezbollah, used vehicles with fake U.N. markings to illegally cross into Israel, kidnap and kill three Israeli soldiers.

What's worse, U.N. "peacekeepers" witnessed the incident and videotaped it, but refused to give Israelis the tape which might have freed their soldiers for fear of compromising U.N. neutrality.

Need more information on the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL), visit their web site. They're led by Major-General Alain Pellegrini, of FRANCE! Need I say more?

Another round of this nonsense is clearly NOT the solution to the problem. What other form of "international presence" referenced by Prime Minister Blair in his open-mic conversation with President Bush remains to be seen. But more of the same is not going to solve the problem.

Next Up: The Usual Demand for Prisoner Exchange

In the past Israel has agreed to cease fires and prisoner exchanges only to see ever more aggressive violence against civilians and renewed hostage taking.

So it should surprise no one that the pattern is repeated with the call yet again by Hezbollah for another prisoner exchange as the solution to the current crisis.

But who would Israel exchange for their kidnapped soldiers? Further Adventures of Indigo Red and Moonbattery point to this report:

(CNSNews.com) - The Arab prisoner Hezbollahallah wants Israel to release in exchange for two abducted Israeli soldiers, is serving multiple life sentences for killing a four-year-old girl with a rifle butt.

Samir Kuntar is one of only two or three Lebanese prisoners still held by Israel, and Hizballah said its July 12 assault is aimed at winning his freedom.
...
While the terrorists rampaged through the apartment, firing weapons and detonating grenades, Haran's wife Smadar hid in a crawlspace above the couple's bedroom together with their other daughter, two-year-old Yael, and a neighbor.

In an effort to prevent Yael from crying out and alerting the terrorists to their whereabouts, Smadar kept her hand over the child's mouth, and accidentally smothered her to death.

Meanwhile Kuntar and his group took Danny and Einat Haran to the beach.

"There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see," Smadar wrote later.

"Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar."

Strategic mistake

Israeli police shot dead two of the terrorists. Kuntar and the remaining man were tried and imprisoned. The other man was released as part of a May 1985 prisoner exchange - 1,150 Arab terrorists for three Israeli prisoners-of-war held in Lebanon - but Kuntar was not included in the deal.

Several months later, the PLF seized the Achille Lauro, an Italian cruise ship, demanding that Israel release Kuntar, along with other Palestinian prisoners. The hijackers killed a wheelchair-bound American Jewish passenger, Leon Klinghoffer.

Kuntar remains in jail and has been hailed as a hero among Israel's enemies. The Palestinian Authority last March announced it was giving the Lebanese-born prisoner honorary Palestinian citizenship.

Hizballah repeatedly has agitated for the release of Kuntar, and after the January 2004 prisoner exchange, vowed not to rest until it had done so.

Addressing a large Shi'ite gathering last February, Nasrallah declared: "We are working on making this year the year to free our brothers in Israeli detention - Samir Kantar and his friends."

Moral Equivalence?

How many times have we heard the advocates of a ceasefire or prisoner exchange say that it was important to maintain the path to peace? It's the same "peace at any price" mentality that has resulted in the horrific deaths of tens of millions in the 20th Century. Yet, their voices are heralded as "moral."

Many of these same folks claim that Israel's actions in their defense are on the same moral plain as their attackers. It's this abomination where some equate terrorist monsters who purposely target and kill civilians with Israel Defense Forces seeking to defeat them by attacking military targets. Can anyone tell me that suicide bombers directed at civilians, Arab and Jews, in buses or restaurants in Israel is equivalent to Israel's efforts to strike military and leadership targets?

These same advocates of moral equivalence see the world in shades of gray. There is no right or wrong. Yet they never seem to advance any solution which actually SOLVES the problem of evil that confronts us all more directly now, in the wake of September 11th, than ever before.

Before real solutions to the Middle East problem, or any problem for that matter, can be effective, an intellectually and morally honest appraisal is required. History teaches us that the failure to do this results in nightmares that humankind can do without.

More at Sparks from the Anvil.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dems and Media Whine About "Katrina" Style Evac of US Citizens from Lebanon

Well it didn't take long for the professional grievance pushers in the Democrat Party and their friends in the media to latch onto the U.S. effort to evacuate Americans from Lebanon.

But as you see in the image above and below, the evacuees aboard the US chartered Orient Queen cruise ship are being well cared for. And all at taxpayer expense due to complaints from evacuees that they actually pay for transportation to Cyprus.


Democrats and News Media Talking Points on Lebanon Evacuation:

  • JACK CAFFERTY CNN: Remember Katrina? France has gotten more than 700 of their people out!
  • CHRIS JANSING MSNBC: Sort of brought back, you know, the whole Katrina thing.
  • ANDERSON COOPER CNN: It's like Katrina all over again.
  • NANCY PELOSI: Just another manifestation of the Katrina mentality.
  • HARRY REID: It is too bad that this is being treated as a mini Katrina.
  • ANDREA KOPPEL CNN: The slow response that the Bush administration had after Katrina...
  • MILES O'BRIEN CNN: One of the people we talked to earlier today equated it to...Katrina!
  • KATE SNOW ABC: Some in Capitol Hill are bringing up memories of Hurricane Katrina. DAVID SHUSTER MSNBC: The image of Americans terrified has burned the Bush administration before following Hurricane Katrina.
  • PAULA ZAHN CNN: You have heard Katrina, calling it "a mini-Katrina."

Next time some lefty insists there is no media bias favoring Democrats just print this post out and shove it in their face.

Perhaps we should have sent New Orleans Mayor, Ray "School Bus" Nagin over to Beirut to lead the effort. What's next? A demand for FEMA debit cards so the evacuues can hit the duty free shops and stock up on liquor and porn? Will we now have to provide them with free hotel rooms for the next nine months?

Slap Happy Cynthia McKinney to Face Runoff in Dem Primary

Well it looks like the voters in Georgia's 4th Congressional District will be treated to a one on one matchup between Cynthia McKinney and challenger Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr.

Since no candidate got a majority in the July 18 primary (official results here) a runoff will be scheduled.

If a significant majority of third place finisher Coyne goes to Johnson, McKinney will be an ex-Congresswoman.

Mike's America readers will recall Ms. McKinney, the Congresswoman who punched a Capitol Hill Police Officer, then complained that the furor caused was because she was "black."

Ms. McKinney hasn't made many friends since then, especially in her district as she was a no show for two televised debates with her rivals.

We can only hope that voters in Georgia's 4th District have had enough of Ms. McKinney'embarrassingng race baiting. Should McKinney lose the runoff, she'll no doubt go for another play of the victim card. But as challenger Johnson is black, McKinney will have to claim it was because she is a woman. No doubt something to do with her hair.

Update:

Look who showed up for McKinney's "Victory" rally. Two losers!

UPDATE: OPEN MIC AT McKinney/Sheewitch meeting:

An open mic picked up the following:
McKinney: Cindy, you still on that hunger strike?
Sheewitch: No, I did my 8 hour fast earlier today.
McKinney: Good girl! That guy just brought in my delivery of BBQ!
Sheewitch: Did you get the Pecan pie too?
McKinney: Sure thing hon... And got a large bucket of fried chicken just for you. Got to keep your strength up.
Sheewitch: Thanks. You know how tough these fasts are. But I still don't seem to be losing any weight.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Putin & Those Pesky Russian Microphones!

When an American politician visits Russia, you can expect the KGB to plant bugs just about everywhere. And what do you bet that even if you switch a microphone on your table off, the KGB is still running tape?

Just two weeks ago, Secretary of State Rice was in Moscow for meetings in advance of the G-8 Summit and was caught on an open mic giving the Russian Foreign Minister a good talking to.

So I guess it shouldn't surprise anyone that there was another open mic, this one apparently left on by former head of the KGB, and current Russian President and host at the Summit: Vladimir Putin. It was the microphone in front of his empty seat that captured the off the record discussion between President Bush and Prime Minister Blair.

CNN has a longer portion of the video than you may have seen on Fox News. You'll notice that Prime Minister Blair reaches over towards Putin's empty seat to switch the microphone off.

The Fox News video presents the clearest audio, along with a running transcript.

While the press and immature Bush haters are going ga-ga over the naughty word President Bush used, what's really interesting is the remainder of the conversation which gives us a look into the behind the scenes activity taking place over Syrian and Iranian backed Hezbollah aggression, but also to the personal relationship between the two men.

The Washington Post transcript is more accurate than the error-laden Sky News version, except at one crucial point where President Bush says Syrian President Assad is "through" if we are successful in our Middle East strategy.



Someone, probably an aide, asks Bush something, evidently whether he wants prepared closing remarks for the end of the summit:

Bush: No. Just gonna make it up. I'm not going to talk too damn long like the rest of them. Some of these guys talk too long.
...
[Prime Minister Blair comes over to talk about trade] Bush then changes the subject, presumably to a gift Blair must have given him for his recent 60th birthday.

Bush : Thanks for the sweater. Awfully thoughtful of you. I know you picked it out yourself.

Blair : Oh, absolutely.

Both of them laugh. Then Bush turns serious, asking Blair about comments apparently made about the Middle East crisis by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, another guest at the summit.

Bush : What about Kofi? That seems odd. I don't like the sequence of it. His attitude is basically ceasefire and [then] everything else happens. You know what I'm saying?
Blair : Yeah. No, I think -- the thing that's really difficult is we can't stop this unless you get this international presence agreed. Now, I know what you guys have talked about but it's the same thing.
...
Bush : See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over.

Blair : Who, Syria?

Bush : Right.

Blair : I think this is all part of the same thing. What does he [Syrian President Assad] think? He thinks if Lebanon turns out fine, if we get a solution in Israel and Palestine, Iraq goes in the right way,

[note: at this point the Fox News video transcript captures the following more accurately]

Bush: He's through.

Blair: He's had it, [end Fox transcript] that's what this whole thing's about. It's the same with Iran.

Bush : I felt like telling Kofi to get on the phone with Assad and make something happen. We're not blaming Israel. We're not blaming the Lebanese government."

At this point, Blair notices the microphone and turns it off.

In a nutshell, it's about the clearest communication of the U.S. government's position, with which Prime Minister Blair concurs: We're not going to push for a ceasefire between Hezbollah and Israel until there is an agreement on some form of international "presence" presumably peacekeepers.

And both Prime Minister Blair and President Bush agree that if our efforts in the region as a whole are successful, that Syrian troublemaker Assad is "through" and Blair feels the same about Iran.

All in all a remarkable, candid exchange. Too bad they don't talk like this when it's on the record.

More at Expose the Left , Assorted Babble, Flopping Aces, A Tangled Web

Update: Please visit Real Clear Politics and vote for this post. Perhaps then we can get the full audio of this candid conversation.

Also, Wes Pruden, from the Washington Times, has a great commentary on this subject here.

Welcome Home Discovery!


Space Shuttle Discovery landed on runway 15 at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility at 9:14 a.m. EDT on Monday, July 17. During the nearly 13-day mission, the STS-121 crew tested new equipment and procedures to improve shuttle safety, and delivered supplies and made repairs to the International Space Station. Image credit: NASA/Tom Farrar

Sunday, July 16, 2006

From Russia With Love: Bush Goes to G-8 Summit

Last time we checked in on President Bush's travels, he was in Germany as guest of German Chancellor Angela Merkel (see previous post here). We pick up the President's travels on the eve of his departure for Russia. Chancellor Merkel threw a most informal pig roast in the village of Trinwillershagen, part of the former East Germany.

All photos from the White House web site.


As President George W. Bush and Laura Bush look on, German Chancellor Angela Markel slices up some barbeque Thursday, July 13, 2006, during dinner in Trinwillershagen, Germany. The Bushes continue their Europe trip when they depart Germany Friday en route to Russia and the G8 Summit. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

All the photos from the German visit are here. Now, on to Russia.


President George W. Bush calls world leaders concerning the situation in the Middle East from his Air Force One office en route to the G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, July 14, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper


President George W. Bush, center, attends a roundtable discussion with Civil Society at the Consul General’s residence, Friday, July 14, 2006 in St. Petersburg, Russia. White House photo by Eric Draper

That Eric Draper sure does like the dramatic wide angle photographs!



President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin look over the first car owned by President Putin, a Zaporozhets, Friday, July 14, 2006, before they attend a social dinner at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Russia. White House photo by Eric Draper

Sort of reminds me of the Hillbillies in Appalachia with the car on blocks in the front yard.



President George W. Bush participates in a working session at the G8 Summit in Strelna, Russia, Sunday, July 16, 2006. White House photo by Eric Draper



The G8 leaders pose of a photograph at Konstantinvosky Palace in Strelna, Russia, Sunday, July 16, 2006. From left, they are: Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi; German Chancellor Angela Merkel; British Prime Minister Tony Blair; French President Jacques Chirac; Russian President Vladimir Putin; President George W. Bush; Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi; Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper; Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen; and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. White House photo by Paul Morse



President George W. Bush welcomes President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic of China for a meeting at the G8 Summit in Strelna, Russia, Sunday, July 16, 2006. "The United Nations Security Council unanimously passed a resolution dealing with the North Korean issue, and I want to thank you for your leadership on that, Mr. President," said President Bush. "We're working together on the Iranian issue. We talked about the Middle East. I want to thank you very much for our continued dialogue on bilateral issues. The bilateral statement from their meeting is here. White House photo by Eric Draper


Time in between group meetings and dinners gave leaders a chance for one on one meetings. President Bush, who had recently met with both Prime Minister Harper of Canada and Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan at the White House, not to mention Chancellor Merkel, made sure to take advantage of the opportunity to talk one on one with many of his Summit partners.



President George W. Bush drives his electric GEM car to a meeting during the G8 Summit at Konstantinvosky Palace Complex in Strelna, Russia, July 16, 2006. Each of the G8 leaders is provided with a car that is decorated with the flag of the leader's nation. White House photo by Eric Draper

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