Friday, May 30, 2008

Rediculous Equivalence number 4,732

'Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has called Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip an "abomination".

He strongly condemned what he called international "silence and complicity" on the blockade, which he compared to the actions of Burma's leaders.

Speaking at the end of a two day mission to the area, the former archbishop said the humanitarian situation there could not be justified.'

Apart from being in the news cycle at the moment, please name one way in which the situation in Gaza is like the situation in Burma?

Lets see... nope, can't think of one, except that Bishop Tutu seems to know as little about the situation in Burma as he does the Gaza one.

In Burma, a cabal of military leaders rule a homogenous nation by fiat, using the military to ensure their continued dominance. They are assisted in this by most of their neighbors governments, especially the Indians who want the natural gas off Burmas shores. The UN has done absolutely nothing of consequence to bring the ruling Generals to book, and most of the big nations just ignore what goes on in Burma.

In EVERY SINGLE RESPECT, Gaza is different. Gaza is ruled by a terrorist group whose first actions as a government was to declare war on Fatah, the only other significant political grouping. Once they had killed enough Fatah operatives most of the others ran away to the West Bank. No country in the world condemned these murderous actions. Hamas are assisted in their murderous ways by Syria and Iran. Gaza is independent from Israel, and runs its own affairs using EU and American taxpayers money to do so. It has kept up low-level warfare with Israel through its whole independent existence. The UN constantly intervenes on the Palestinians behalf- in fact they even have their very own UN department. All the surrounding Arab nations keep up a barrage of hate-propaganda directed towards Israel, the country which gave Gaza its independence.

So how good is that parallel holding up Desmond? Stick to what you know (whatever that is).

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Big Media sputters to a halt

As the Iraqi insurgencies tail off, the central govmt and its army really take control of the country, and life starts to visibly improve for many ordinary Iraqis, people have started to mull over such matters as the performance of the Big Media outlets during Iraqs tragic turmoil.

'Law prof Glenn Reynolds points out again that much of the recent news doesn't fit the dominant media narrative that the war is a lost cause, a quagmire that will never see any semblance of victory.

On the same day this latest good news emerged, the American Journalism Review published an article entitled "Whatever happened to Iraq?" In the lengthy piece, journalists are interviewed about why there's been such a precipitous drop in news coverage of the war.'

'Paraphrased by the AJR author, the Los Angeles Times' foreign editor Marjorie Miller cites three factors. Miller points to
- the ongoing interest in the Obama/Clinton race
- the fantastic cost of supporting a bureau in Baghdad.

But the third factor proves most revealing:

- With no solutions in sight, with no light at the end of the tunnel, war fatigue has become a factor. Over the years, a bleak sameness has settled into accounts of suicide bombings and brutal sectarian violence. Insurgents fighting counterinsurgents are hard to translate to an American audience.'

The fatigue indicated has nothing to do with a bleakly endless tunnel. The fatigue has to do with turning out to be wrong on every last thing. If you go back through the journalistic predictions about the US/UK/Allied intervention in Iraq, pretty much every single one has turned out to be horse hockey.

The press predicted that the whole Arab world, indeed muslim world would enter a huge Armaggedon-like conflagration because of the Allied intervention; that most of Iraq was controlled by the insurgents; that the insurgents were the equivalent of the Minutemen in US history; that the Abu Ghraib 'atrocities' had turned all Iraqis against the Americans forever; that the insurgencies could not be defeated by the incompetent US forces; that no infrastructure improvements were being successfully completed; that if insurgents were 'defeated' in one place, they would just move somewhere else in Iraq; that the US was just bombing civilians and alienating the population irritreivably; that Iraq was fragmenting into three parts never to be rejoined; that Al Qaeda were not in Iraq; that Al Qaeda were somehow immune from being beaten militarily; that the Sunni Arabs and Al Qaeda were deeply in love; that Maliki and his govmt were corrupt Iran-lovers; that Maliki was incompetent and ineffectual and a partisan leader; that the Iraqi govmt would never pass the legislation that would bring the Sunnis back into the political process; that the surge and the COP's would never work because it was too late.

The one absolute certainty throughout the whole Iraq intervention was that whatever Big Media predicted or asserted, the opposite was much more likely to be the case. But like a hyperactive village idiot, the Big Media outlets have thrashed and spewed themselves to a standstill and they just don't have anything more to say. There are just no decent angles left to continue the narrative of disaster.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Why hate America?

"At the time I was very anti-American. ... It was all black and white for us. I used to be impressed with bin Laden. There was no other leadership in the Muslim world standing up for Muslims." When September 11 happened, Hassan says the view in his circle was that "Al Qaeda had given one back to George Bush."

Given one back? In mid-2001, why would any Muslim anywhere in the world hate America, or more specifically George W. Bush? Bush had been in office barely a year, and had done nothing anywhere in the world against Muslims or Muslim interests. Clinton had come to the rescue of the Muslims in Bosnia (very late in the day, but hey at least he did something, whereas the Europeans did absolutely nothing), the Muslims in Kosovo and tried to provide humanitarian help in Somalia. George Bush senior came to the rescue of the Muslims in Kuwait (and Saudi Arabia) in the early nineties. Before that, Reagan came to the aid of the Muslims in Afghanistan against the Soviets. So when politicised Muslims say that Al Qaeda 'gave one back', to what hostile actions are they referring?

The whole 'Muslims against America' thing strikes me as very bizarre. I can't think of a single thing America might have done to provoke such intense hatred. Britain ok; The British ruled most of the worlds Muslims at one point, sometimes with brutality. We have an intimate history with many parts of the Muslim world. But America has never had any imperial power in any Muslim country.

So what is Americas foundation crime? To be powerful and NOT Muslim? To want Oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq and Iran? To be a friend to Israel? To interfere in Irans internal politics? To give money to regimes like Egypt and Jordan? Although provocative to some, surely none of these could animate Al Qaeda to such visceral hatred?

Or perhaps the visceral hatred is always there, and it just requires some internal or external object to focus itself on. After all, there is no reading of history (as opposed to the ramshackle fantasies of the Islamists) which provides any logical justification for Muslim anger at the United States. For at least 150 years there has been no Muslim power of any importance, and because of their pathetic education systems and very low levels of industrialisation, unlikely to be any for a very long time. But thats not our fault. Why should we have to pay a penalty because many Muslims have an inferiority complex? Why should we suffer because the Arabs and the Pakistanis have decided to retreat into the fantasy world of losers?

Getting sick of 'I told you so'

'Ultimately, the ideological battle against Al Qaeda in the West may be won in places such as Leyton and Walthamstow, largely Muslim enclaves in east London, whose residents included five of the eight alleged British Al Qaeda operatives currently on trial for plotting to bring down U.S.-bound passenger jets in 2006. It is in Britain that many leaders of the jihadist movement have settled as political refugees, and "Londonistan" has long been a key barometer of future Islamist trends. There are probably more supporters of Al Qaeda in Britain than any other Western country, and, because most British Muslims are of Pakistani origin, British militants easily can obtain terrorist training in the tribal areas of Pakistan, Al Qaeda's main operational hub since September 11. And now, because it is difficult for Al Qaeda to send Middle Eastern passport holders to the United States, the organization has particularly targeted radicalized Muslims in Britain for recruitment. So the nexus between militant British Muslims, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda has become the leading terrorist threat to the United States.'

While our magnificent leaders watched on slack-jawed, we have become the next greatest jihadi camp after the NWFP of Pakistan. What a great achievement Labour Party! You should be proud.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Big fish starting to look very small in big pond

'Why do the affluent, astute Obamas cling to such doctrinaire grievances, and then offer insulting clarifications when called on them? The obvious explanation is that Barack Obama had previously navigated only on the small lakes of the Ivy League and Chicago politics, where the drumbeat of grievance pays real dividends and easy anti-American throw-off lines are hardly gaffes. But now, for the first time in his life, he is buffeted by the gales of an ever-widening national campaign where his once-persuasive themes suddenly sound absurd.'

I just caught Obama on Fox, laying into McCain about the new GI bill and being 'welded to Bush on every issue'. My first thought was that he sounded like the pompous nerds I encountered at the Model UN meets back when I was in Uni. Full of polished phrases and 'nuanced' language, but sadly remote from the actual people and places and events they were discussing. Endlessly discussing things in an academic environment where no debate ever has consequences is not a good preparation for running a large, complicated country. Adlai Stevenson anybody?

Obama is not up for this job, and its gradually becoming apparent.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I love George W Bush

I've been feeling twinges for some months and years now. Deep in my secret heart of hearts. But having recently read "World War IV: The Long Struggle against Islamofascism" by Norman Podhoretz, and the transcript of President Bush's speech to the Knesset, I realize its full blown puppy-love.

First, it was my realization that George W had a road-to-Damascus experience very similar to my own about who the bad guys are and what our response should be. That comes across very clearly in World War IV.

Next, it was this part of Mr Bush's speech to the Knesset:

'There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.'

George W Bush is not an intellectual. He reads a lot, and he seems to have the practical, straightforward mind. He doesn't overthink, in the vogueish phrase. He takes the men of violence at their word (and deed), doesn't underestimate them, and he doesn't have any intention of losing to them. Thats about it really. I pray that the next US President is blessed with this sort of common (pretty uncommon actually) sense.

Quiet diplomacy costs lives

'There are believed to be up to 3 million Zimbabweans living in neighboring South Africa who have fled the economic and political turmoil in their homeland.

Massive inflation, food and fuel shortages have sent increasing numbers of Zimbabweans to South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia in search of business and basic commodities—or whole new lives.'

'Emmerson Ziso fled hunger and repression in neighboring Zimbabwe, but now he wants to go back. Even his violent, chaotic homeland seems a haven compared to Johannesburg, where weekend attacks on foreigners left at least 12 dead.'

But hang on- I thought Thabo Mbeki had this all under control. His 'Quiet Diplomacy' has been operating at full tilt for at least ten years. Surely we're very, very close to a great breakthrough or something.

About half the world (possibly a lot more) seems to adhere to opinions like this-

'Successful diplomacy is not about the pious airing of personal opinions or the strutting of moral postures. It is about getting intransigent people with non-negotiable positions to do what you want without a fight.'

OK, so where's the beef? Mugabe's non-negotiable positions are:
1) I'm in charge until you take the presidential chain from my cold dead fingers
2) ZANU are the only political party who aren't a cover for the National Party
3) Everything wrong in zimbabwe is a direct result of colonialism; its all Britain and Americas fault

So, given that all of Mugabe's positions seem unchallenged at the mo, we must ask ourselves, what is it that Mbeki wants Mugabe to do? I think we must accept at this point that Mbekis messages to Mugabe have been along the lines of 'I agree with your point 1, your point 2 and your point 3, but I have to be seen to be disagreeing with you about something, so I say your curtains are too short.'

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is heading back to the stone age, a third of Zimbabweans live outside their homeland, and the regions temperature is gradually rising. Mugabe has ignored the result of the last election, and Zanu are using all their 'extra-judicial' bodies to beat and murder all opposition with impunity.

Lets face it, Mbekis diplomacy isn't worth a fig. Back in the mid 1960's ZANU decided that diplomacy wasn't getting results- so they decided to employ AK-47's instead. Maybe there's something in that...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Iran the squeaky kitten

"Iran is a big power and wants nothing more than its legal right to nuclear technology. Nothing can persuade us to abandon our right."

The words of no less an authority than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So, I thought I'd do a little research. We all know that the foundation of a great military is a great economy. So, how does Irans economy stack up against the Great Satan?

I checked here to find out what the respective GDP's were.

The US: 13,843,825 in 2007 (in millions of US Dollars)
Iran: 294,089 in 2007 (in millions of US Dollars)

That makes Irans economy just over 2% as big as the US one. Whoo hoo. Very impressive. Need more impressing? These countries all have greater GDP than Iran-

Austria (all the big powerhouse economies!)

and the biggest laugh of all

Switzerland: 423,938 in 2007 (in millions of US Dollars)

Yup, the land of cuckoo clocks, extremely conservative politics and over-complicated utility knives has a GDP over a quarter larger than Iran.

Now, I know we often bandy Belgium and Norway around as world powers... but I think we're going to have to take the diazepam or whatever it is that Mahmoud is sniffing away from him, and gently re-introduce him to the world as it actually is.

Here's a little question for Mahmoud when he comes down- if Iran is a great power, why doesn't the Iranian army sweep into Iraq and get rid of the great Satan from its very front porch? Jast askin'.

Oh THAT kind of debate

"I have deleted this comment by you:

"Whats best for baby?". Thats not the question gay couples ask first. The question they ask first is "Why do I have to pay any penalty for living a life of perversion?" Any sane society would not allow sexually aberrant couples who could never produce offspring by the normal method to bring up children, normalising their own sexual deviance in the process.

It is homophobic and offensive. Please read the talk policy before you post again, anything else that breaches it will be removed and you will have your posting privileges withdrawn.

Moderator" (

So, which bit is the homophobic bit? 'Perversion', according to is 'any of various means of obtaining sexual gratification that are generally regarded as being abnormal'. Is gay sex normal, or abnormal? That sounds like a debate question to me... but not to the Comment is Free moderator. So maybe it was 'aberrant', meaning 'deviating from the ordinary, usual, or normal type; exceptional; abnormal'. Or perhaps 'deviant', meaning 'Differing from a norm or from the accepted standards of a society'.

If you can't take that kind of language, and argue the points made, you aren't debating, you are, to use an apt phrase, having a circle jerk. Weirdly enough, a few hours later, I bumped into this story via Instapundit-

The left constantly touts diversity, accepting everybody for who they are, and listening to all points of view. But thats not how they transact business. As soon as they disagree, their first instinct is to shut down debate and cast those with non-orthodox opinions into the outer darkness. Its all very Stalinist. Unsurprisingly of course, if you know the history of the left.

Sure, what I said on CiF was no honeydew of sweet whisperings. It was direct, to the point, perhaps brutal. But Homophobic? Offensive? All comments in a debate are potentially offensive. Who cares? Some people are very very easily offended. If you stopped debate every time someone was at all offended, no debate anywhere would last for more than a few sentances. If the standard is 'offensive', then the intention is to close down debate as soon as it gets interesting.

We have to take back the Schools and the Universities people.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Let Lebanon be (yet another) warning

'With Iranian money and weapons, Hezbollah has built its own state-within-a-state in South Lebanon and South Beirut which is used as a base to wage war against Israel. Hezbollah also wishes to violently yank Lebanon from its current pro-Western alignment into the Syrian-Iranian axis. Roughly one-fourth of the population supports this agenda.'

If you NEED any further evidence why states-within-states and stalking horse organisations like JAM need destroying absolutely until they are gone....

Your friendly local JAM to the rescue

'Sadr continues to have more legitimacy than the central government or the coalition. Part of this is due to family reputation, part is due to Sadr's nationalism, and part is due to the extensive efforts by the Sadrists to provide essential services to the impoverished residents of Sadr City. It is also a byproduct of the dysfunctionality of the Maliki government and the inability of the government of Iraq to surge humanitarian aid into Sadr City during the recent fighting. In other words, in the competition to provide governance and legitimacy, the Sadrists have a significant advantage and will likely continue to do so.'

My general feeling about abu muqawama is that he (or they) are Military Intelligence, well-informed, but often just too clever-clogs for their own good. The above excerpt is a good example. There is a gloss of common sense about it, until you try to understand what it is saying. According to this analysis, the central govmt and by extension Maliki are lazy and/or negligent in not providing essential services in Sadr City. The Sadrists have valiantly and altruistically leaped into the gap to provide 'essential services' to the people. That means, traditional COIN tactics can't work because the people LOVE and RESPECT their militia, who provide them with all their human wants.

So, what are 'essential services'? How many JAM power stations are there? How much of the water and sewage infrastructure was installed by JAM? Hospital supplies? Road maint and road building? Businesses to employ the young folk? That would be zero, none, none, none, none, none and none. They provide 'security' in the same sense that the Gotti's and the Lucchese did. They do have a history of being anti-Saddam and being the same religion, but so was Maliki.

What this argument lacks is the actual gist of the situation. Because the JAM control Sadr City, nobody, not even Saddam, could get anything done there. Its pitifully poor because its 2 million ignorant Shia in the vice grip of an armed militia. The present govmt don't provide services there because anybody with the balls to show up to provide them would be murdered by the JAM. They don't try because they're not stupid or suicidal. I'm sure Mr Maliki would like 2m shia voters to vote for him, and if by providing basic services to them he could get them on board he would. But he can't.

Sadr City is basically a separate city from Baghdad; if Maliki ever wants to run Iraq properly, i.e. like the government of Denmark run Denmark, Sadr City must be part of Iraq, not a seperate mini-state. Every enclave like Sadr City is a permanent danger to the integrity of the Iraqi state, because enclaves are superb for intrusive forces like Irans Qods Force "Special Groups". It has to go. It may take six months, it may take two years, but it will have to be eliminated as a fact. It is faintly funny to hear Abu Muqawama say that the US can't really do anything about JAM in Sadr City. Did he/they say the same thing before Fallujah? How many Sunni terrorists are there in Fallujah?

It has struck me many times during the last four or five years that the old American can-do attitude, the bullishness, has disappeared dramatically from especially yanks younger than about forty. It is much more likely these days to hear from Americans why things are impossible, too much trouble, not worth the effort, just can't be done. Shame. I liked the old America so much more.

Time goes to bat for Al-Sadr

'Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki set out to break the back of the Mahdi Army in March, when he launched an offensive against areas the militia controls in the southern city of Basra. The Mahdi Army fought Iraqi forces to a standstill there while unleashing a daily hail of rockets and mortars on the Green Zone that left al-Maliki's government effectively the ones under siege. And when U.S. and Iraqi troops tried to press into Sadr City to chase the militia's mortar men and rocketeers, they barely managed to establish a foothold on the southern edge of the neighborhood before the situation stalemated.'

I watched a documentary over the weekend about Stalingrad. Reading this article reminded me of the pretty, tidy, completely fictional account of what was going on in the graveyard of the German Sixth Army fed to the German people. It was only when the first of the 3,000 (out of 250,000) German survivors got back home that the real story, in all its grim, bestial tragedy, was told. Whats going to happen to all those happy moonbats who are cheering on their latest mass-murderer heartthrob when he is killed by his own supporters for bringing complete disaster down on their heads? Whats going to happen when the unequivocal truth about Sadr City and Basra becomes universally known? Oh yeah, I remember- they'll do what they always do and cover their ears and shout la-la-la I can't hear you so its not true. They will slink away and deny they ever heard of Moqtada Al-Sadr/Saddam Hussein/Yassir Arafat/Muammar Kaddaffi etc. They will deny that they were cheering him on to victory, and wishing death and defeat on our soldiers. They will change the subject as fast as possible, and try to pretend that they aren't traitors and terrorist-lovers.

This article reads like it was written by a JAM PR guy.
'But one thing is clear: the latest pause in the running fight between al-Sadr and the U.S.-backed Iraqi government offers no visible solutions to the problems at the root of the conflict.'
... Which of course is blood for oil. Or was it hegemony? Or to get rid of weapons of mass destruction? Or to distract people from not catching Bin Laden? Or because Bush Jr wants to be like Bush Sr? Geez louise, I can't remember now what those 'root of the conflict problems' are... I must stop smoking so much pot.

Time is a mainstream publication, an old publication with a reputation. Its not some Islamist website set up by some snotty-nosed 16 year old wannabee jihadist. So how did this piece get in it? This isn't 'advocacy' journalism. It is blatant propaganda. Ok, its bad propaganda because good propaganda doesn't depend so perilously on hostages to fortune. But it is propaganda. Time should be ashamed.

Screwing around in other peoples countries

'It's an open secret that Pakistan instigated the terror campaign, and has supported it for years. But Pakistan will not openly admit this. However, quiet diplomacy between Indians and Pakistanis over the past three years has resulted in a reduction, but not an elimination, of Islamic terrorism in Kashmir. The Pakistanis are less blatant in their support. The Pakistani army, for example, no longer lays down mortar and machine-gun on Indian border troops, to make it easier for Islamic terrorist reinforcements, and supplies, to get across the border. But Pakistan still tolerates the Islamic terrorist camps in northern Pakistan, and does not interfere when the Islamic radicals recruit all over the country. In the past few years, the Pakistanis have arrested some of the Kashmir oriented Islamic militants, and harassed some of the militant organizations. But because the goal of making Indian Kashmir part of Pakistan is so popular, the government is unwilling to just shut down the terrorists.'

Hmmm. I just watched "Charlie Wilsons War" the other day, and it was very poor really. Strong on Washington political shenanigans, very very weak on both Afghanistan and Pakistan. The scene where Charlie first meets the Pakistani prime minister and a couple of Pakistani generals, who mock and barrack him for a) not being important enough, and b) having the temerity to proffer a small amount of money to the Afghan mujihadeen; a different light is cast on that when you know a bit about the neighborhood. The Pakistanis weren't really in the fight against the Soviets for the mujihadeen- they were in it for the Taliban. None of that comes across in the movie. And the scene where Charlie desperately tries to get funding at the end for Afghan schools; the suggestion is clear that the US is to blame for the subsequent nightmare that was the Taliban sorta-rule of Afghanistan because they left early. Not the Pakistanis, for sending in a bunch of madrassa-fodder armed and trained by the ISI. No no- how could the Pakistanis, who can't even make a CD, let alone a B-1 Bomber, be responsible for an invasion of its neighbor.

Well, it could and it was. And it has a lot of previous. Namely, Kashmir. Time and again, Hollywood and the American left posit the US and Britain as these giants bestriding the world, smashing all comers and not giving the little guys a moments peace. Whereas, in the real world, the Pakistans, the Irans, the Iraqs and the Argentinas invade other countries, or set up terrorist infrastructures in them, but don't get the opprobrium. Why is that? If I was them I'd be a bit annoyed. How many countries does Iran have to set up alternative governments in before it gets the credit?

The arse-whupping continues

'The Mahdi Army has taken heavy casualties in Sadr City and the surrounding neighborhoods since the fighting began on March 25. A total of 579 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal.'

This post at the Long War Journal has an excellent map showing the advance of the barriers sweeping north-east through Sadr City. The coalition and Iraqi forces are advancing block by block, killing or capturing the JAM and Qods forces, and then sealing the taken blocks against re-entry. Its like a huge vice, inexorably closing. A day will come soon, maybe in a month, when the whole of Sadr City will have been swept.

My prayers go out to the brave men, American, Iraqi, British, Australian and Canadian risking their lives so the people of Sadr city, and Baghdad by extension, can live securely and lawfully.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

JAM is toast update

'Iraqi soldiers for the first time warned residents in the embattled Sadr City district to leave their houses Thursday, signaling a new push by the U.S.-backed forces against Shiite extremist who have been waging street battles for seven weeks.'

You know??? The street battles that have been on the front pages of your newspaper and News website! The street battles that have been a hot topic for discussion on the cable news channels! The street battles that have all the punditry writing columns and op eds. No headlines, you say? No discussion on the cable news networks? No op eds? But thats just crazy!

Its almost as if the news outlets don't want to discuss what is going on in Iraq now its completely obvious who has won. But surely thats grotesque manipulation of the news agenda, you say. That would be like The Times or the Daily Mirror ignoring the Burma campaign or the Battle of the Bulge because they were in a strop because the allies were definitely going to win. And yes, it is. Its childish, its pathetic and it actually defies belief that the idiots at the major news outlets would let their politics so distort their work. It takes un-professionalism to new lows.

More on JAMs final stands here.

Happy Birthday Israel!

'Israel declared itself an independent state on 14 May 1948, three years after the end of World War II, and the death of six million Jews in the Holocaust.'

Possibly the most mendacious summary of the creation of Israel outside of Egypt/Saudi Arabia/Iran.

'...The state of Israel was proclaimed about six months after the United Nations General Assembly voted to partition what was then Palestine into Jewish and Arab states.

In the war that followed, some 700,000 Palestinians fled or were driven out of their homes.

The anniversary is calculated according to the Jewish lunar calendar.

Palestinians are due to mark the occasion, al-Nakba, on 15 May.'

So, this war that followed which you glide so easily over- what was that all about? Did the Jews, murderous bastards that they are, attack the poor ickle Palestinians and rob them of their land? No? Oh....

So what happened then? All the surrounding Arab nations and the Arabs of the other half of Palestine attacked what they thought was defenseless little Israel, and got their arses kicked? Oh... how bizarre! Thats not the story we've heard!

No kidding...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wright, the Black Church and cuddliness

Although this piece is not especially well-written, it does make some interesting points.

'...the left, with its healthy skepticism toward religion, has shown itself to be cynically flexible over the past few weeks in response to the utter insanities emitted from the big mouth of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Sen. Barack Obama’s pastor, mentor and friend of 20 years. Suddenly, some liberals have discovered a newfound love for extremists who hide behind the cloth to justify their radical views.'

'...John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation. Like most of his comrades, he tends to be a vociferous critic of the religious right, regularly denouncing them for all manner of bad deeds... Nichols ended his ode to Wright by comparing the preacher to none other than Thomas Jefferson.'

If we cast our minds back to Nick Cohen and his 'Whats left?' tome, you will recall he spent quite a lot of time trying to work out why the Left will now get into bed with absolutely anybody, no matter how deranged, immoral, genocidal or antagonistic to the traditions and values of the left. The only proviso is that they must hate America, Britain, capitalism and white men. Hugo Chavez? Tick. Yusuf Al Qaradawi? Tick. Muammar Qaddafi? Tick. Mahmoud Ahmedinejad? Tick. 'Rev' Jeremiah Wright? Tick. Attilla the Hun? Er... Tick. Could we see this as a kind of dumbing down by the desperate, flabby, intellectually dishonest shambles that used to be the Principled Left Wing, now that pretty much the whole world has thrown Communism on the scrap heap of history?

The ludicrous attempts at historical comparisons point to the dumbness as predominant, I believe. So many of the arguments on the left are based on completely disprovable contentions. It would be one thing if they kept to reasonable interpretations of the commonly agreed facts, but they don't: much of what passes for debate on the left is based on fantasies and dreams; i.e. nothing. At least the old left did their homework before advancing policies and positions; they could then defend them before any reasonable person, or indeed the jury of public approval. But many, many arguments on the left at present are so stupid, based as they are on falsifiable conspiracy theories or virtually no solid data that it is not worth trying to debate them. Who out there will debate the merits of 'Rev' Wrights 'argument' about the US govmt inventing AIDS to kill black people?

A lesser-discussed part of this bloggers life was spent at a virtually all-black University in Alabama. One thing I can say with absolute certainty- a very large majority of the 'Black Church' in America has no time for Wright-style politics. The Church attached to the University I went to spent all its jolly and raucous church-time praising the lord, singing with vast pleasure and enjoying each others company. I feel secure in extrapolating from this evidence because I met virtually no Christian blacks like Wright in my travels around the US, and many many like the ones I went to University with. There was no evidence that they felt the need to mix in all the rediculous Wright non-Christianity into their worship.

I did meet blacks with Wright-style views- highly politicised, angry and hate-filled people. But not in Church. They were very often unemployed, perhaps even unemployable. They were often involved in illegal activities, and perhaps to give themselves a moral pass, blamed their lifestyle on whitey. We'll see how many of them there are when the general election comes around, as I'm sure they won't have a problem with Obama spending 20 years listening to Wrights vile rants. And they probably won't pick up on the complete inappropriateness of the historical analogies used by lefties to defend Wright. They will see that Obama is black, and vote for him simply because of that.

I to admit- I can actually imagine Obama being elected US President. He is depending on novelty, easy charm and an absolute absence of personal accomplishments; those will get you very far in America. Many millions of Americans will not care that he cannot give a coherent account of his economic policy, his social policy, his environmental policy or his foreign policy. The only foreign policy pronouncement I have heard from him, that he would happily go off to sit and talk with Americas enemies in his first year with no pre-conditions, was laughed at by pretty much everybody in America who knows anything at all about American foreign policy- but does it matter? The great vast unwashed of the US voting public have no mental machinery for judging one foreign policy suggestion from another. And what Obama does have is a kind of feel-good factor, a warm-fuzzy feeling, that voting for Obama will be morally like helping an old lady across the road- something that will get you an extra jewel in your crown come judgement day.

That may take him across the line. John McCain- I like him, but then he's like me in many respects (I haven't been a POW in Vietnam, by the way). Hilary Clinton- she's a hawk and knows her policy positions intimately, but she's no cuddly toy. Will the real virtues of the latter two win out against the ersatz virtues of the former? We'll just have to see.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Some navel gazing

'Actually, anybody who thinks they can change the world by blogging is deluded (and Kevin has always struck me as one of the most realistic and self-aware bloggers out there).'

Thats just silly- thats like saying 'people who write can't change the world'. Tell that to Karl Marx, Thomas Paine, The Apostles Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Socrates. The fantastic thing about blogs is some of the people who blog are serious minds that I'd never have access to ordinarily. Some of them live so far away I'd never be able to talk with them. Some of them exist in social circles I'd never get access to. Some do jobs which require great knowledge and expertise. Being allowed to share the thoughts of those people is truly a marvellous thing.

Some blogs will change the world. Some already have.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Picking at the scab

'But the Palestinians reply: if we don't have an acknowledgement of the Naqba (catastrophe), and our right under international law to the land our grandfathers fled, how can we move on?'

That is the nub isn't it? In 1948, the Palestinians fought a war of national existence against the Jews. They lost. In 1967 they fought another one. Again they lost. But because the Jews aren't the Germans, they didn't wage a campaign of extermination against the defeated people. What did that get them? The opportunity to fight another war of national existence every ten years or so.

Why can't the Palestinians move on? I love the repetition in the quote of 'under international law'. Where does it say in international law that if you don't like a decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations you can overturn it by assembling eight Arab armies and killing all the Jews in Palestine? International law is only so useful... if you're going to pay attention to all of it.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Why Bother?

'The Israeli military has released video footage which, it says, clears it of blame for the deaths of a Palestinian woman and her four children in Gaza.

It says the footage shows the family died because a missile attack on a Palestinian militant set off explosives he was carrying, in a secondary blast'

'...More than 400 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the last five months, many of them civilians.'

The IDF should know better. Why bother presenting evidence to the international media when organisations like the BBC will never do anything but pass on Palestinian lies? The presentation of evidence is part of a civilised process of truth discovery that the BBC is not interested in. The BBC is an campaigning organisation, agitating on behalf of the 'victims' of Britain, America and Israel. The aging boomer lefties who run it were never on board with the Reithian ideals- their gospel is the litany of grievance, conspiracy theories and marxist libels they heard in their dorm rooms back in the sixties. The Palestinian 'struggle' is one of the causes dearest to their hearts. The IDF can present mountains of evidence, wheel in thousands of witnesses, everything you'd need in a court of law to prove innocence- it just won't matter.

The BBC wants to tell us a story about the poor ickle Palestinians and the brutal, sadistic merciless jewish killers of the jewish state. And evidence is not needed.

Just when we all needed a good laugh

'Nepal 'boosts global communism'

The leader of Nepal's Maoists has said that his party's recent election victory is a sign of the global resurgence of communism.'

Because where Nepal leads... its happened so many many times after all...

Builders and Destroyers

'When asked what he thought of the Mahdi Army, his voice dropped precipitously and he nervously glanced around before answering: “This is their country, but everywhere you can find someone who will destroy his own country, his own house.”'

I sensed long ago that the builders were going to win in Iraq, and that the destroyers, despite the avalanche of pain and terror they have unleashed, would lose. And I was right. Soon men like the one quoted above will have the pleasure of watching those destroyers die or put in prison; and then continue with their building.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Soft Jihad

'Female prison officers will be stopped from being present when male inmates are strip-searched, after a Muslim prisoner said he had been degraded.

The inmate told the newspaper Muslim News in March he felt degraded, oppressed and provoked on a daily basis at Whitemoor Prison, Cambridgeshire.'

Fancy going to prison and feeling degraded, oppressed and provoked? We are long, long, long past the point where prison authorities, indeed any public body in the country, could be ignorant of the strategy of muslims in Britain to force the country to observe all muslim laws.

'Mr Versi said: "He said this was one of the many things he wanted to complain about, but this for him was the most degrading.

"I think it's a lack of understanding, but he did try to explain these are sensitivities that he had to consider."'

Weirdly enough, when a non-muslim guy gets sent to prison, nobody gives a flying fuck about his sensitivities. And the great and good seem to think thats perfectly fine. After all, its almost as if it were a place of punishment, rather than a restful pause in a busy life.

Martin Luther King Vs Jeremiah Wright

A very confused and patchy discussion of race in America and its bearing on the Democratic primary race...

What seems unclear to the participants of the debate is the distinction between the conception of race relations espoused by Martin Luther King Jr and the conception espoused by Rev Jeremiah Wright. Martin Luther King foresaw a time when race would disappear from peoples sight, when it would become invisible and unimportant. All 'races' would live together without distinction, living happily together as Americans. This is directly contrary to the Jeremiah Wright conception. Jeremiah Wright foresees a time when Whites are subservient and bow the knee to blacks, although it is not clear how this will come about. He sees blacks and whites as eternally competing groups, although right and virtue is always on the sides of blacks and evil and oppressiveness are always white. This latter conception fits neatly into the larger conception beloved of Democrats which views the US (indeed all) polity as composed of an oppressive white majority constantly at war with a collection of aggrieved minority groups, blacks, latinos, native Americans, women, gays, transgender etc. Justice will be served when the minority groups rise up and destory and subdue the oppressive white majority, and force them into submission.

The two conceptions are utterly inimical. The first is a recipe for a happy and harmonious society, aligning perfectly with Christian teaching about love and the enlightenment ideals of treating very unequal people equally under the law. The second is a recipe for a fractured and warring civil space, a constant fight for both moral and physical superiority, and endless opportunities for enmity. It is also highly likely that the minorities will lose, as they hold very few advantages, and depend largely on the indulgence and forbearance of the longsuffering majority. In a straight fight, the minorities will always lose (see Zimbabwe).

I read articles like the one above, and can't help feeling that in general Americans are less and less clear about the basic positions held in the culture wars. Clarity is hard to find. Is Obama basically a Martin Luther King Jr, or a Jeremiah Wright? Does he know? When will we find out?