Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Middle East Forecast

With the Israel-Hezbo war on hold for the moment a great deal is being said and written about the impact of the war and of the cease-fire.

I agree with David Frum that the biggest single lesson learned or issue made clear from this war is that neither the Palestinians nor any other Arab group or country considers a Palestinian state in the "Two State Solution" mode to be their goal. They consider Israel proper to be "occupied" territory and they are going to destroy it or die trying.

Israel "unoccupied" Southern Lebanon six years ago. At that time there was a lot of commentary on whether that would be interpreted as Israeli weakness or as Israeli generosity. The jury is now in: weakness. The opponents of that withdrawal pointed out that giving up territory for no concessions in the hope of being recognized as the good guys was a fool's mission.

Israel "unoccupied" Gaza last year. The same debate took place as did regarding the Lebanon pull out six years ago. The result was the same. A fool's mission.

Israel is, and will continue to come under attack until it eventually succumbs. I am hopeful that the battle to kill it will last 1000's of years, but the battle will never stop.

It is a bizarre world indeed wherein the fiction of a country of Jews being plopped down in the Middle East due to the guilty conscience of Europeans actually gains traction.

It is a bizarre world indeed wherein the only country ever created by UN Resolution (as far as I know) finds the UN unwilling to defend its existence and actively engaged in making it as difficult as possible for Israel to defend itself.

In January 2006 an official UN meeting on the subject of Palestinian relief took place in the UN building. A map of the Middle East was displayed. There was no Israel on the map.

Jews have been hunted down and killed like animals all over Europe and the Middle East for 1000's of years. We are long past asking what we have done to make everyone hate us. It doesn't seem to matter. They do. The arabs most stridently, at the moment.

For most of the 1000's of years of our being slaughtered by various arabs and europeans and slavs we did not defend ourselves. Happily those days are long over and killing off the rest of us is going to be a long, expensive and bloody task.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

What I mean by "Anti-American"

I use the term "anti-American" quite frequently in my writing. It occurred to me that its definition is not universal and that I should make an effort to define it as I understand it.

My definition begins with the Merriam-Webster definition:

"opposed or hostile to the people or the government
policies of the United States"

It seems to me that the dictionary definition of the term can apply only to non-Americans. The UN is, for example, an anti-American organization as defined above. It routinely opposes US government policy. Iraq was an anti-American country under Saddam's reign. It routinely opposed US Government policy and threatened the safety and security of the people of the United States.

It would be difficult to assert in any meaningful way that domestic political opposition to US Government policy is anti-American. Dems have long been trying to convince the voting public that they are being labeled as anti-American for simply opposing government policy. They have not been persuasive because the voting public knows a convenient fig leaf when they see one.

In my lexicon an American becomes anti-American when he steps beyond the boundaries of ordinary political discourse and advocates positions that threaten America's sovereignty and/or security.

Madeline Albright, former Secretary of State, lamented the fact that the USA is a hyperpower and suggested that our overwhelming strategic advantage over the rest of the world was destabilizing and unwelcome. The solution to this "problem" in her view was the reduction of our advantage over the rest of the world. That, in the view from down here, is an anti-American position. Any position advocating the reduction of America's various economic, strategic or tactical advantages necessarily diminishes our sovereignty and security.

The position described above also has another unfortunate component; it necessarily implies that America is not deserving of its preeminence and that it will abuse its advantage to the detriment of other countries. That is manifestly untrue and and has been proven so for decades.

But for the determination, strength and generosity of this country most of the "free" world would be speaking German, Russian or Japanese today.

The countries of Scandinavia and Europe would not have been free to develop their welfare states if the USA had not taken on the burden of their defense for the past 60 years. Canada would be bankrupt if it had to defend itself. I am not suggesting that the USA has undertaken the defense of the west at its own expense for all these years out of charity. As we have all seen countless times, self-interest often has very charitable results.

That huge coterie of US politicians anxious to gain or re-gain the "respect" of the world community by begging their indulgence and ceding our prerogatives to international organizations are, in my view, anti-American. They have no confidence or belief in the goodness of America and seem to see almost anything we do as bad. This view is only possible if one chooses to ignore all the great things America has done and continues to do and focus only on our warts. For the most part, this view also requires one to ignore or be ignorant of history.

The French have been anti-American since immediately after WWll. Idiots like John Kerry seem to think that their disaffection for us is some new phenomenon. Any American who has traveled to Paris in the last 50 years knows better.

Debating foreign and domestic policy is an essential element of the American experience. Advocating the reduction of US sovereignty through the ceding of national prerogatives to organizations like the UN or allowing foreign governments to dictate the foreign policy of the US is anti-American.

It is also anti-American and completely counterintuitive to suggest, as Stephen Bryer is fond of doing, that foreign law should inform the interpretation of the US Constitution. The Constitution is a uniquely American document and trends, legal or social, in Africa (or anywhere else for that matter) must, by definition, be irrelevant to it. Whether or not abortion on demand is available in Liberia or England makes no difference to the interpretation of the US constitution. Whether the execution of juveniles convicted of murder offends the US Constitution as cruel and unusual punishment does not depend on what the laws of Holland and Sweden say.

Looking to sources like those listed above for guidance in interpreting our Constitution belies a lack of faith in the institutions and people of this country that can only be interpreted as anti-American.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

If a Picture is Worth 1000 Words...

If a picture is worth 1000 words how much is a phonied up picture worth?

The developing controversy over faked Reuters photos and staged Reuters and AP photos begs the question.

The old saying regarding a picture's worth was coined to describe the phenomenal effect of presumably accurate photos on the human mind. Few of us have the gifts to enable us to compellingly describe even the most mundane of events.

Try describing the beauty of your child, the smile of your wife, the horrendous aftermath of a car accident or the horrendous aftermath of a wartime bombing. Most of us are simply unable to bring these scenes to life in a reader's mind no matter how many words we use.

Iraqi bad guys, Palestinians and Hezbollah have managed to geometrically expand the value added of a photo. Staging scenes of bombings and attacks that may or may not have taken place, doctoring photos to make the carnage of war appear a) to have happened at all and/or b) to be much worse than the actual events have become a common tactic. http://powerlineblog.com/archives/014951.php

The tactic would be considerably less effective if the Western Media was not so guilt ridden that it has rendered itself credulous. It appears that any photo showing carnage perpetrated by Israel and/or the USA is fit to print regardless of its provenance and with no consideration whatsoever of its technical integrity.

It appears that when the photo editors of Reuters, AP and the NY Times et al see a photo that conforms to their anti-Israel and anti-US bias it is automatically fit to print.

On Sunday and Monday Reuters had to "Kill" two photos demonstrated to have been altered and then removed the entire body of work of the photographer from their catalog. The NYTimes, having published another of this photographer's works on its front page on Saturday, reported Wednesday on the Reuters scandal in their business section. The photo published by The NYTimes has created some controversy but the Times apparently didn't think that most of its readers ought to be informed.

The Western Mainstream Media appears to have been completely compromised in their determination to support their anti-Israel and anti-American views with whatever lies, distortions and half-truths come across their wires. Their work product more and more resembles the government controlled media of the Arab world. In this case it is not the government controlling the output. It is the insidious and pervasive anti-Israel and anti-American publishers, editors and journalists who have surrendered their outlets as propoganda outlets for the enemies of freedom.