Joke of the Day

The World Court, an organization with neither legitimacy nor accountability, condemned Israel, a democratic country, for building a security fence that is saving lives every day. The Court’s head judge wrote:

. . . “The wall … cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order.

“The construction … constitutes breaches by Israel of its obligations under applicable international humanitarian law. Israel is under an obligation … to dismantle forthwith the structure,” he said.

Where does this head judge, who is so concerned about humanitarian and legal obligations, come from? From China, a country ruled by an unelected clique of mass-murderers that lacks legitimacy and accountability and treats its citizens like ants in an ant farm.

It should long ago have become obvious, to anyone who has a clue, that the principal role of “international organizations” like the World Court is as weapons against the U.S. and Israel and other democracies that assert their right to defend themselves. These are the same organizations to which John Kerry and his political allies on the Left would grant increased resources and legitimacy. Bush, whatever his flaws, at least understands who our enemies are. The Democrats won’t be ready for national leadership again until they wise up in this area, and stop pandering to the idiots for whom it is always 1968.

Fog of War

The Israeli government released transcripts of conversations among and between the pilots who mistakenly attacked the USS Liberty in June 1967, and the military air controllers who directed them. You can find a composite transcript, as well as excerpts from an interview with one of the pilots, in this Jerusalem Post article.

The transcript is worth reading, if only because it confirms that the attack was a tragic blunder rather than an intentional act.

The excerpted interview with the pilot is also worth reading because it gives a sense of what strikes me as a culture clash that has to some extent framed the interpretation of this event. On the one hand some Americans, including former Liberty crew members, are convinced that the Israeli attack was deliberate and that the U.S. and Israel conspired to cover up the truth about it (see, for example, this site). On the other hand, Yiftach Spector, the pilot interviewed in the Jerusalem Post article, comes across like a caricature of Israeli cluelessness about public relations. He seems to misread the motives of the Liberty conspiracy theorists, whom he speculates are motivated by anti-Semitism, or by a desire for monetary compensation, rather than, as appears more likely to me, by traditional American conspiracist wackiness. (Spector was one of the pilots cashiered by the Israeli government after they publicly protested Israel’s policy of assassinating terrorist leaders. Whatever his good qualities, he appears to be at least politically naive.)

An analysis of the attack on the Liberty, by an authority on the subject, was recently published as a book.

(Via In Context)

“VENEZUELA BEFORE AND AFTER CHAVEZ”

Val Dorta posts a sobering analysis of Venezuela’s current political situation. The short version: Chávez is himself a manifestation of the weakness of Venezuela’s political culture. Merely removing him from power will not by itself bring prosperity and political stability. Structural reform, particularly economic liberalization to boost the Venezuelan private sector, is needed, yet the prospects for such reform seem unclear at best.

A Wise Voice From Italy

I look at the website of In theNational Interest from time to time. There is usually something good on there, and I commend it to your attention.

I recently noticed this interesting review of a book called The Inevitable Alliance: Europe and the United States Beyond Iraq, by Vittorio Parsi. Since it is in Italian, I’m not likely to ever read it. Parsi is yet another person who notes that the international system based upon state sovereignty which originated in the treaty of Westphalia is disintegrating. This is often taken to be a good thing by liberals, who hope to see an over-arching, supra-national world order emerge. However, the reviewer summarizes Parsi’s view as focusing not on some new superstate emerging. Rather, “…the emergence of failed and other rogue states as well as the menace of non-state terrorism—the latter being essentially a return to the privatized violence that marred pre-modern times.” Parsi notes that it is the supposedly unsophisticated United States, not Europe, which has “avant-garde grasp of the ‘new world disorder’”.

Read more

Email from Northern Iraq

I was recently forwarded some email from an American soldier in northern Iraq. I removed personal comments and information indicating his identity. I thought our readers would be interested:

I cannot wait to be home. I think I am all deployed out for awhile. It’s one of those things you’re glad you did it, but do not want to do it again. I guess that’s war. …Really, getting home is all that motivates me right, and of course, beating the bad guy. We’re beginning to see a lot of foreign fighters coming in, and I wonder how long Saddam’s influence will last as more and more of these guys pour in. They are for the most part fanatic types. I guess they and Saddam will be allies as long as we are here. Of course, that begs the question: do we go after them in their own countries? That is something only the American electorate can decide. Frankly, I do not think they have the stomach for that. Where does that leave this whole thing? Hopefully, the Iraqi’s can get their act together to make themselves a more viable state. Many are more than willing, and that is a good sign. Still, it is not a done deal. Let’s hope it ends soon.

Mosul is an interesting place. It is old, like many of the cities here. (Nineveh is here-capital of the Assyrian Empire) At the same time, it is in better shape than Baghdad. In fact, of all of the Sunni cities, it is probably in the best shape. How it works here is this — the Shiite cities, mainly down south around As Nasiriyah and An Najaf, they are in terrible shape. Saddam never really gave them anything. Hence, they are the farthest behind, infrastructure wise. Then comes the Sunni cities, which are mainly around Baghdad and north of the city. That is Mosul and Tikrit and those places. Generally, the infrastructure is better in those places. Finally, you have the Kurdish cities way up north like Dahuk and Irbil. Those places, free from Saddam’s influence for nearly twelve years, are much nicer, almost up to European standards. They understand capitalism and have bought into it.

In one of our towns, they had a wedding, and they bring weapons to the weddings and shoot them in the air as part of the celebration. One guy got a little crazy, probably drunk, and he shot and killed the bride and injured and the groom. The usual solution: the perpetrator pays the bride’s family for the loss. No jail. OJ should have gone here to commit his crime. (And since Goldman was Jewish, he would have been lauded as a hero.)

We have a long way to go, but we are on the right track. We’ve introduced town hall meetings here, and the local sheiks and muktars love it. They are thrilled that they can voice their opinions in a forum such as this. Let’s not kid ourselves here. We are imposing our culture on another one. I guess when you are out here, you begin to realize who we are and what we represent and why so many fear us. Our ideas are addictive. Many of these people do not want us to leave. I guess that is nice. The people who are committing these atrocious acts are few, but they are mainly foreigners and ex Baath. Baath party is like the Nazi party. It has to be expunged, its remnants destroyed. The foreigners are a different story. Their motivation centers on the fear of American culture. They fear what that means for them and their people. They are not poor. In fact, many are well off. Granted, they hire poor locals once they get here. And loyalties are easily bought here. Money is the ammunition of this conflict.

The foreign jihadis sound like the real problem. Will we allow Iran and Syria and Saudi become the Laos and Cambodia of this war? Or will we find a way to prevent enemy infiltrators from getting in? Or will we be able to create an Iraqi army and police force that can secure the border? That may be the key to the whole thing right there.