1/25/2003

Hot off the presses, and ready for your review
Apparatus of Lies: Saddam’s Disinformation and Propaganda 1990-2003. Pretty damning content here, much of which we've seen or suspected before, nicely indexed, cross-referenced and footnoted. Its a tough call about which is more pathetic; some of the the lamely ridiculous claims and statements the Iraqi regime has peddled, or that there are people out there idiotic enough to swallow it as gospel truth. And so the contest begins for most detached from reality rant to claim this is all so much mumbo-jumbo to distract us from noticing that its all about the oil, or that the thought of senslessly killing brown skinned people in far away places has the same effect as Viagra for the chickenhawks. A true artisan may craft an explaination about how the J-E-W-S made Saddam and Tariq tell these gosh-awful fibs with mind control devices from a secret Mossad complex, that uses the Al-Aqsa mosque as a refractory antenna aligned towards Baghdad. Or not, but probably something that makes about as much sense, anyway. Hmm. Wonder if the day one ATO is in the chute yet.
Credit where credit is due?
Instaman has a link to an article that may be correct in pointing out a useage of 'Axis of Weasels' before Scrappleface launched it into high orbit. But originator? Doubtful. Here's another example that pre-dates that one; CowardlyPundit in the LGF comments section back in November. Mentioned by, um, us, at least. Advantage SR!

(Graphics credit to Natalie at Jessica's Well)
TESHUATAM HAYITA LANETZACH... Lynn B explains it all! The lines is from the famous Purim song Shoshanat Ya'acov. I knew I knew it from somewhere. Thanks Lynn. Now everyone go to her blog and reward her erudition with plenty of hits.

"The rose of Jacob was cheerful and joyous when they saw together the royal blue of Mordechai's [robe]. You have been their everlasting redemption, and their hope in every generation" Hence we see that the concept of netzach is implicit throughout the book of Esther. It can be said that it "surrounds" the book as well--for we find explicit reference to the term both before and after the book is formally read on the holiday of Purim. The prior reference appears in context of the haftarah ("appended Scriptural portion") read on the Sabbath before the Purim holiday, in which the central verse (Samuel 15:29) reads: "Netzach Yisrael lo yeshaker"--"the Eternity of Israel does not prevaricate." The subsequent reference appears in the short elegy, "Shoshanat Yaakov," which is recited after the book of Esther has been read in public. The word netzach appears there twice, in the sentence that reads teshuatam hayita lanetzach ("you were their eternal salvation") and in that which reads lo yekalmu lanetzach kol hachosim bach ("those who find refuge in You shall for all of eternity never be humiliated").

I HAVE A BLOGDAUGHTER? And it turns out to be Imshin! No need for a paternity test. She's sick at the moment, and didn't get the chance to go to Mitzpe Ramon after all, which is a shame, it's a nice place. I went there once, it's kinda like looking down onto the surface of Mars. There's this HUGE crater, and the town is built right on the lip. There's a Crater Observatory right on the edge with enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. Just put some red cellophane over them, and it looks like Mars Colonisation Authority HQ, Olympus Mons, circa 2057.

Tom Paine, who I regard as one of my main BlogDads (although he had a different name back then) cheered me up no end in my sick bed with this hilarious Donald Rumsfeld press briefing. And if that was not enough, he cracked me up with this description of what a space shuttle flight would look like if the whole crew were Israeli. Not to be missed. Tom Paine wrote the aforementioned biblical press briefing as a birthday gift for Judith Weiss of Kesher talk, who has this gem to offer (no connection to the biblical stuff). Tom has thrown down the biblical gauntlet, suggesting we all do our bit for the birthday girl. What does he want from me? Can’t he see I’m not well? (Sneeze, sniffle, sniffle, cough, splutter). In my distress I cried to the Lord, and he heard me. Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. What shall be given to thee? or what shall be done to thee, thou false tongue? Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper. Woe is me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! My soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth peace. I am for peace: but when I speak, they are for war. That about sums it all up, but not very suitable for a birthday celebration. First one to come up with what that is, gets to be Knesset member for Shas (If it’s a man. If it’s a woman, she gets to marry a Knesset member for Shas and raise his seventeen kids). This is too much for me. I’m going back to bed. By the way, there is a prison near Beer Sheva called “Ohalei Keidar” (the tents of Kedar). Maybe there is hope yet, and this is straight from the mouth of King David himself.

Actually, the reason I came to write that post about Rumsfeld was an interesting exercise in making odd leaps of thought and obscure connections. When I was in New York, I bought a CD by Neshama Carlebach, "Dancing With My Soul", on the off-chance some of her Dad's magic might have rubbed off on her. I'm still not sure why the Jewish Workingmen's Ring bookstore, supposedly a militantly Yiddishist and therefore athiest group, is selling so much religious paraphenalia, but I guess you have to sell stuff people want to buy. That's capitalism for you. Heh heh... Anyhow, I only just got around to listening to it the other day. To be frank, it left me cold. The songs ranged from workmanlike to unbelieveably awful, with a side trip to boring. Except for the final track, Tshuatam, which was absolutely bloody magic. And it's on this one that she in fact breaks away most from being "daughter of" and finds her own distinct voice. She lets rip with some drumming, insistent Middle Eastern rythmns, and a classic Jewish one-line repetitive chant. It's kind of trippy and trance-like. Sounds like Shlomo? Not at all, buy the album, listen to it, you'll see what I mean. I'm listening to it now. The words are simple. Tshuatam, ha'ita l'netzach, ve tikva b'kol dor ve dor. "You have been their salvation forever, and their hope from generation to generation". Now this sounds very familiar, and I'm certain I've heard it before, but I can't for the life of me pin down where this line comes from. Gotta a be biblical, right? Psalms perhaps? Sounds like King David's work to me, or at least one of his imitators. This is terrible, I'm not Jewishly illiterate, I really ought to be able to recognise something like this. Well, my Judaica Press electronic Tanach insists it's not biblical. I did word searches in Hebrew and English, and nothing turned up. But while searching, I did come across Isaiah Chapter 13. "Wow", I thought. "This is pretty hard core. Sounds like the Israelite Secretary of Defence giving a press briefing before a battle. Hey....." And so an idea was born. But I still can't track down that bloody quote! Is it from the Siddur? Anyone who can help me out by e-mailing me the answer wins a free link. And these days, Silent Running is a blog to be reckoned with. Linked to by all the quality blogs mate. No rubbish here. No flies on us. Mind you, you can see where they've been....

1/24/2003

CAN'T BLOG - TOO HOT Here's the current weather situation in Melbourne.

Saturday Fine. A mainly sunny day. Gusty northerly winds easing before seabreezes develop in the late afternoon. Current Temperature: 43 C

43! It's freaking 43! That's 109 real farenheit degrees for our American visitors! Plus there's a goddamn sharav-like wind that's blowing like a demented hair dryer set on "blast furnace" that's like nothing I've experienced since summer in Israel. AND it's bringing all the smoke from the fricking bushfires this way, so everything is bathed in a weird orange light. Apparently we're expecting half the state of Victoria to burst into flames this weekend, which doesn't suprise me in the least. Those gum trees look about ready to spontaneously combust. Ah screw it. When the going gets tough, the tough opt out entirely. I'm staying in, cranking the air conditioning up full, lying on the couch, and relaxing with my "Buffy" season five DVDs for the rest of the day. If the apocalypse comes - beep me.
ignorez, retarde, apaisez
Bigwig hosts a review of French military, er, accomplishments. Quite a list it is, too. In summation -
Let's face it. When it comes to war, France gets rolled more often than a Parisian prostitute with a visible mustache. They've been beaten so many times there's no fight left in them. There's no national anthem in the world as ludicrous as France's
Too-shay.
So what happens when you hit the trifecta?
Welcome everyone. Either flagged down by Prof Reynolds, visiting on advice of your favorite bartender Stephen, or sent here by Rufus' new dad, we're glad you stopped by, and hope to see you come back again. The tally on today's trifecta alignment of the blogsphere? 5300+. Thanks gents!
THOUSANDS OF HOLLYWOODS FINEST FLOCK TO SEOUL Horrified at the threats from North Korea that they will use the nukes they don't have on South Korea if the US doesn't stop ... er not attcking them or something, actors have put aside their differences and joined together to form a human shield and protect inocent civilians from the threat of war. Oh no hang on, sorry, it only counts if you're defending non democratic countries from America and allies enforcing the conditions under which we stopped kicking the shit out of them in the first place. My bad.
WILL THE HUMAN SHIELD BE EFFECTIVE? Here at Silent Running we look at all the angles and now we delve into the sticky issue of wether or not Sean Penn, Jane Fonda and like minded... err important people can protect "innocent Iraqi's" from George Bush's apparent desire to attack Iraq by targeting only children under 12 and kittens, preferably sheltering in hospitals and churches. Looking at it as a technical issue we went to the experts, the guys that will have to overcome this barrier. Capt. Hiram J "Hellfire" Snafleburg tells us that is essentially a problem of mass vs. destructive potential. "Sweet Dresden son" the Capt. said, "they'll have to clear out Hollywood before they get enough density to absorb the blast of a single 500 lb bomb". "Hell boy, one daisy cutter and they'll be picken entrails out of their Armani for a month". I did say it was a sticky issue. Well so much for that. Foot note: For those that want to cluck "international law", the only thing that covers it here is the Geneva Convention which prohibits the use of civilians and civilian property as protection from fire. Any Iraqi combatant doing so could be held accountable... as well as getting the crap bombed out of him. And the Sgt accused me of sleeping through the laws of land warfare lecture! Then of course there is the issue of giving aid to the enemy in time of war. To all you actors and singers who think that selling songs and movies gives you political and moral insights the rest of us don't have. Can you spell treason?
OH GOD, PLEASE LET KEITH GO TO IRAQ! MERCIFUL GOD IN HEAVEN, LET IT BE SO! This was the reaction I got when I casually mentioned to Tom that Keith Locke was publicly tugging himself about joining the human shield that is “going to stop the war cold”. I think not. Anyway for those of you that have just joined us, Keith Locke is a Green MP, alleged defence spokesman (because he saw a picture of a tank once), inaugural winner of the title “latte’ slurping denial monkey”, favourite of the leftie media and full time penis. This is the Einstein that declared that to make any preparation for terrorism is to let terrorism win and we should under no circumstances take any security precautions on account of terrorists. Well at least we know whose side he’s on. Apparently looking the other way and humming while thinking happy thoughts will see us through! The media always trot off to him for quotes on defence activity because they always get something that will sell papers, i.e. something mind bendingly bizarre and staggering in it’s stupidity. His public announcement that he is considering joining the human shield is going to blow up in his face big time. There are already offers to finance his expedition, for some reason he is supposed to take a GPS device with him… I digress. Others have asked if they give more will he go further sparking discussion of a New Zealand manned space program with a view to getting this mouth breather back to where he came from. He doesn’t actually qualify for a “human” shield anyway, aside from his total lack of morale fortitude to follow through. Is it possible I’m baiting him in the hope he will go? Who can say.
CRY HAVOC! AND LET SLIP THE GERBILS OF WAR!! Actually they have been renamed weasels since I first came up the title, but weasels was used for rhyming purposes and I think gerbils is about as militarily threatening as these weenies are going to get. Odd really how two of the main persona dramatis of the big one MkI & II have such short memories, if anyone should be aware of the consequences of not dealing with loose unit despots it should be these two. Hey France, thanks for the treaty of Versailles you pricks. Look at that, historical abuse. So anyway, economically speaking, war has always been a good time for New Zealand. The after effects of our wheeling and dealing can set us up for generations. In this spirit I plan to export Peril Sensitive Sunglasses to France and Germany. This trendy accessory is a must for all modern despot appeasing, head in the sand, its not my problem, think happy thoughts, anti-war weasel. Yes team these handy sunglasses help you develop a relaxed attitude to danger, at the first hint of trouble they black out completely thus preventing you from seeing anything that might upset you! The Peril Sensitive Sunglasses are a MUST HAVE item for all you Coombabah humming human shields who would rather see Americans die than the people that support an out of control megalomaniac. You’ll be able to strop about like the cool laid back Euro-trash you are and not have to worry about looking unhip with abject terror when reality hauls off to give you a good smack in the teeth… you may want ear plugs though because I hear tell arc-light can be a little noisy. Somebody please remind me why we all keep hauling Frances ass out of the fire?
JEWS IN SPAAAAAACE... What if, instead of just one astronaut, the entire Space Shuttle crew were Israeli? This list sent in by alert reader and coup plotter from my university days, John Roscoe. Hey John, has the statute of limitations on criminal conspiracy run out as regards that...uh...thing we talked about? You remember, that thing, with the guy, at the place? Good thing we never actually followed through on your idea, eh? We'd be just getting out of prison about now if we had!

The flight would leave an hour late. Instead of counting down from ten to blastoff, they'd read T'filat HaDerech. As the astronauts prepared to board the spacecraft, a young girl in a cheap navy jacket would ask them who had packed their luggage. She'd write their replies on her hand and nobody would understand why. At least one of the astronauts would actually be plainclothes security. The orbits around the Earth would take less time than 1 1/2 hours because the pilot would take a shortcut via a lower orbital level. The Shuttle would tailgate the American Spacelab until it was able to pass it (on the right). Each astronaut would have his or her own cellphone and spend most of the flight talking while they worked. After two days in space, the Palestinian Authority would complain to the United Nations and CNN that the Space Shuttle was actually their property and had been for hundreds of years. The next day United Nations would pass a resolution confirming this. Thomas Friedman would suggest that the Israelis give the Palestinians half of the Shuttle. Every time the astronauts appeared on live television, Judge Cheshin would threaten to cut off their press conference. But it wouldn't matter because all of them, including Mission Control, would be talking at the same time so nobody would understand a word anyway. The Shuttle would take two years for preparation - 6 months of training and a year and a half to argue who gets the seats. The Shuttle would need double the amount of toilets. And the astronauts would insist on drinking every hour (anyway the drinks come free with the ticket). The Shuttle would need special air filters to clear out all the sunflower and pumpkin seeds. On the re-entry landing, the Shuttle would have problems with overweight luggage. Some of the overweight would be "souvenirs" pulled off of the Shuttle. The astronauts would stand up to collect their things BEFORE the Shuttle came into the atmosphere. And they'd applaud at touchdown. The Space Shuttle would look like a mess after the flight. At least half of the astronauts would put in a request to apply the mileage to their Frequent Flyers account. The longest part of the trip would be standing at Passport Control at Ben-Gurion Airport. And the taxi home would be the most dangerous part.

SUPPLEMENTAL And the links just keep rolling in! What's with this blog today? Everything we touch seems to turn to pure gold. Laurence Simon comments: Tom Paine asks What if the entire Shuttle crew were Israeli. We all know what would happen if they were all Saudi... they'd smack it into the White House to finish the job that their 15-out-of-19 countrymen tried back in late 2001. That is, if they didn't ignite the sucker right there on the pad. VodkaPundit also links to this post! Must be Happy Hour.
Note: Judith Weiss, of Kesher Talk, is celebrating her 50th birthday next weekend. In honour of this event, and partly to thank her for her marvelous hospitality when I was in New York recently, I have written this post in her honour. It's partly biblical, partly about the war, and (hopefully) funny as hell, so I think it's appropriate. If I can get my brain into full gear, I intend to write a drash based on the parshat hashavua of her birthday, and I encourage other bloggers who know her to do something similar. Let's have a Blogger Festschrift! WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO USE - HARSH LANGUAGE? Depends on the actual words of course. What if Donald Rumsfeld were to take a more...er...biblical approach to his press briefings? A transcript is appended...

Thank you for coming ladies and gentlemen, we've just concluded a series of meetings with some of the frontline commanders and gone over some of the preparations needed in case war does in fact eventuate. Before taking your no doubt extremely intelligent and well-researched questions, I'd like to read out a brief prepared statement. This is my basic assesment of where we stand as of today, and how events might be reasonably expected to unfold. Ahem. The harsh prophecy of Babylon which Isaiah son of Amoz prophesied. On a tranquil mountain raise a banner, raise your voice to them, wave your hand that they may enter the gates of the nobles. I commanded My prepared ones. I summoned My heroes to execute My wrath, those who rejoice in My pride. Yes, Mary, you have a question? That's right Mary, I regard each and every one of our troops in the field as heroes, and frankly I have every confidence that they will indeed be able to execute my wrath in a fully expeditious manner. Isaiah the son of Amoz? Ah, he's one of our analysts here at defence, bright young guy, I think he deserves a little more recognition for his work, I've always found it excellent. Inspirational even. Remember the name. Now turning to the diplomatic front, and the recent Franco-German hissy fit, I will say just this. The sound of a multitude in the mountains' the likeness of a numerous people' the sound of the stirring of kingdoms of nations gathering` the Lord of Hosts appoints officers over the warring host. Well you could take it that way if you like David, I personally wouldn't characterise French military prowess in quite those terms, but I'm certainly not going to object too strenuously if you do. [Laughter]. Essentially we are experiencing plenty of diplomatic support from those of our allies who can be depended on, which is certainly encouraging news. You will note that Australia and New Zealand are sending forces to the theatre, which is a good sign. They come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, the Lord and the weapons of His fury to destroy all the land. Lament for the day of the Lord is near, like a raid from the Almighty it shall come. Well of course I'm not going to get into a discussion of dates for the start of hostilities Geoff. Lets just say the Day of the Lord is near and leave it that shall we? Now I would stress that we are not attempting to kill large numbers of people, that's just silly nonsense from people who don't understand modern warfare. We are conducting psychological operations which we hope will mean much reduced resistance. Therefore all hands shall grow feeble and the heart of every mortal shall melt. And they shall panic, pangs and throes shall seize them. Like a woman in confinement they shall writhe. Each man shall be amazed at his fellow, their faces are faces of flames. I think that's a fair assesment of what we want to achive. Now we are of course expecting Saddam to attempt to destroy Iraq's oil infrastructure, as he did Kuwait's last time. You have realise that the day of the Lord is coming, cruel with wrath and burning anger to make the land desolate and its sinners He shall destroy from it. For the stars of the heavens and its constellations shall not allow their light to illuminate, the sun has become dark in its going forth, and the moon shall not shine its light. Oil well fires will do that, but based on our experience in the last Gulf War we're confident environmental impact from burning wells can be contained. Hmmm? No Helen, we are NOT doing this for oil as you very well know, Frankly I'm tired of responding to this. And you ought to know better, a woman of your....long experience. Remember, this is a war for the protection of the United States that will also liberate the people of Iraq. I will visit evil upon the earth and upon the wicked their iniquity, and I will cut off the pride of the presumptuous' and the arrogance of the tyrants I will humble. That's the plan anyway. Civillians are NOT going to be targeted. The United States does not deliberately kill non-combatants, somewhat unlike our opponents. I will make mortal man dearer than fine gold and man dearer than the collection of the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make heaven quake and the earth will quake out of its place because of the anger of the Lord of Hosts and on the day of His burning wrath. No, I can't give you any definite indications of any plans we have for dealing with Saddam personally. We keep asking for his schedule, but so far none of his people have returned our calls. [laughter]. But if I were to hazard an educated guess, I'd says that within 48 hours of the start of the ground offensive he and his Tikriti gang shall be like a roving deer and like sheep who have no one to gather them, each man shall turn to his people, and each man shall flee to his land. Everyone who is found shall be stabbed and anyone who takes refuge shall fall by the sword. And their babes shall be dashed before their eyes their houses pillaged and their wives ravished. Ahhh, no, actually I believe that may have been an earlier draft of our Rules of Engagement, yes, I'm getting a signal...yes, the part about the babies has in fact been superseded. No babies being dashed. That's official. Write that down. No, on second thoughts DON'T write that down! In fact, I'm not sure why that was even suggested, I'm appalled. No, really! [laughter] And having seen photographs of some of the wives of the senior Baathists, I'm pretty confident there won't be a whole lot of ravishing either. Not unless the oil fires make it really dark at night! [loud and prolonged laughter] Our policy for dealing with the press is a simple one - we aim to be honest and open as possible, without endangering operational security. Naturally we want the truth about this operation to be presented fully and fairly so that the entire world can see what we are doing, and more importantly, why. I also hope that some of those folk in the universities and media establishment who still feel residual suspicion of the military based on the experiences of their long-lost youth watch the coverage and learn something. Behold I stir up Media against them who do not value silver and do not desire gold. Yes Tom that was sarcasm, you're obviously nowhere near as obstuse as your colleages have told me. To continue, the bows shall dash youths and on the newborn they shall not have mercy; on children their eye shall not look with pity. Er...Frank can we get someone onto this whole ROE thing? I keep getting earlier drafts, this is starting to get a bit embarrassing. [whispers] Jesus Christ Frank, this isn't cleared for public release, someone's dropped the ball on this one. I don't give a good goddamn, just fix it. Today would be nice, yes, thank you. Sorry about that ladies and gentlemen, some urgent business, couldn't wait. Please hand in your briefing notes to the security detail, we'll get you the updated notes before you leave the building. Come on Helen, I saw that. Fellas, she slipped it into her bag. If you could just...that's right, thanks. Now I see our time together is drawing regrettably to a close, and while I'd love to stay and chat, I'd just like to outline my own personal concept of how the conflict will eventually be resolved. You see, when this is all over, Babylon, the beauty of the kingdoms, the glory of the pride of the Chaldees shall be like God's overturning of Sodom and Gemorrah. It shall not be settled forever, and it shall not be occupied from generation to generation, and no Arab shall pitch his tent there, neither shall shepherds rest their flocks there. Why no Mary, I haven't actually discussed this with Colin, why do you ask? [sustained laughter] But seriously folks, this plan has several positive features that you need to think about. For example, it's going to encourage ecological diversity. Martens shall dwell there, and their houses shall be filled with ferrets, and ostriches shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And cats shall dwell in his palaces and serpents in the temples of pleasure, and her time is soon coming, and her days shall not be extended. Much like this briefing. Thanks for coming folks, tomorrow I'll be using material from another of our analysts here at Defence, bit of a gloomy gus, name of Jeremiah. I think he's on loan from State.

SUPPLEMENTAL Yes! Instalanche! Score! Glenn Reynolds comments: The question is, if Rumsfeld actually did this, how many people would pick up the reference? He's right you know, Isaiah 13 does kinda sound like his work.
The French counterpart to the 'Human Shield'
The 'Human Bomb'. Is this a secret French weapons project? Could all the spin about opposing action in Iraq a setup to ensure continued Air France access to Iraqi airspace so the can deploy this revolutionary weapons system? Accuracy looks pretty good, unless they were shooting for the window...

1/23/2003

Big Toys Day
Today was fun. I recently took over being the head computer flunky for our entire building, instead of just making life miserable for a small handful of users in one subsection. Just in time. Got to help switch our building over to using three of these. Things didn't exactly go 'as planned', despite the 'planning' being in the works for better part of 2 and a half years. Got to help troubleshoot the problem through several nodes of the base backbone architecture, to include connecting to things like this. Got an unplanned crash course in the differences between multimode and single mode fiber, and a re-acquaintence with the fact that in computing and networking, its all 1's and 0's. Either its on, or its off. Either you're the guy everyone is referring to with an endless stream of explitives attached, or you are the water walking hero and master of the universe, sometimes all within the space of 30 seconds. There is almost never, ever an in between. I was wondering if someone would win the prize today, and yep, someone did. When everything came back online, one of the first items delivered from the mail server was an email to tell me that there was a problem with emails getting hung up in the outbox...
Weasels, Weasels, Weasels, everywhere
All hail Scott Ott. First tossed out by CowardlyPundit in an LGF comment, Scott gives this one the usage it deserves. Aside from making the rounds on the .mil and .gov email server circuit, its also apparently sparking a grass roots movement, of sorts.
FORGET THE PRIDE, EMBRACE THE RAGE Ariel Sharon, the man everybody loves to hate, is Israel's Ajax, as has already been noted. History will probably not thank him for what he has done, but without him I shudder to think what might have happened. And despite all you might hear about him, he is not made of stone. I well remember reading an interview with him in which he was asked what he remembers most from his military career. Oddly enough, he didn't talk about Unit 101 and the reprisal raids, or his daring crossing of the Suez Canal, trapping the Egyptian Third Army. No, he spoke of the Milchemet Atzma'ut, the War of Independence. He was a very young unit commander, and was given a tough assignment as part of the effort to break through the Arab lines to secure a coridoor for supplies to get through to besieged Jerusalem. They had almost no reserves left, and had to send Arik's unit a group of Holocaust survivors, almost straight off the boat, with virtually no military training beyond "this is a rifle - point this bit away from you". I remember him telling the interviewer that both they and he knew that sending such untrained men, many of whom were medically unfit after years in Nazi hands and then displaced persons camps, into battle was an act very close to murder. He explained the tactical and strategic situation to these guys with tattoos on their arms and pale, emaciated faces. They didn't complain about their fate, although he says everyone was very clear about the obvious fact that thier chances of survival were not hugely good. He remembered some of them saying that it really didn't matter if they died, because they would do so with weapons in their hands, facing the enemy, on Jewish soil, fighting for their homeland. Many of them said any day they spent alive after enduring the Nazis was a bonus, and if their lives had to be spent in securing a Jewish future, then that's just the way it would have to be, and they wouldn't complain. Needless to say, there were terrible casualties among these poor guys when the attack went in at dawm. Sharon said that he still regularly visits the military cemetery where most of them were buried. Not just to acknowledge their sacrifice, but because so many of them had lost their entire families in the Holocaust, and no one else in Israel had known them. No one else would ever remember their names. But Arik did. He says he'll never forget them. This man is not a monster. As Oriana Fallaci notes. He recently telephoned her in person to congratulate her on something she had written. There had been a Palestinian attack on a kibbutz the night before, and she told him she was very sorry about it. His reaction may surprise you.

"I said, ‘Listen, dear, I know what happened last night in that kibbutz. Will you please permit me to express to you and to your people my condolences?’ Sharon started crying. I don’t know, I didn’t see the tears. But the voice was of a crying man, and he started to shout: ‘Oriana! You are the only one who says the word condolences! Do you know, these bloody heads of states, I just spoke with the British and the Americans’—meaning Blair and Bush—‘they did not say that word to me.’ And then with broken voice he said, ‘Do you know who were the dead last night? One was the grandmother who was in Dachau and who still had the number on her arm. The second one was her daughter, who was seven months pregnant. And the third one was the child of the daughter, who was 5 years old. And they are all dead! All dead! All dead!’ He was crying."

Link via Little Green Footballs.
AUSTRALIA FAREWELLS ITS TROOPS From the Wellington Dominion-Post.
SASHA'S BACK... ...and she's mad as hell! She's not gonna take it anymore. This time, it's personal! [Cue Arnold-Schwarzenegger-in-'Commando"-inspired montage of Sasha switching on computer, positioning keyboard, tapping out a post, fibre-optic cables humming, bloggers in exotic international locales (Eifel Tower, Taj Mahal, Sydney Opera House outside the window) peering intently at their monitors, picking up their phones, Congressmen, MPs, Indian princes, Chinese Communist Party apparatchiks and African Chiefs all getting urgent phone calls, going pale, issuing rapid-fire orders to startled-looking subordinates, faxes and telegrams being received in Whitehall office, Tony Blair looks up from desk as an undersecretary dumps huge mailbag containing several thousand messages on floor]

The anger, frustration and contempt I feel for your sheer petty Napoleonic malice and thuggery is something that will forever color my impression of your country. While terrorists and chemical weaponeers fly by you unhindered, a plain ol' American with no plans to incinerate your country is sent back permanently disgraced with LEAVE WITHDRAWN scrawled in her passport. Unlike you however, who probably spend your evenings watching EastEnders with a reheated curry in the company of your sixteen cats, I have friends. Friends with influence and friends who write influential things. And rest assured, that you have chosen to dump on the wrong people, laddies and lasses. I will devote my life to making your entire future sorry-ass existence as miserable as you made mine for nine hours in that Godawful airport. Count on it, assholes.

I think she's upset. Just a feeling I get. I suppose now that both Andrew and Sasha have had their immigration problems resolved, that puts the kibosh on Silent Running's plans to roll out the "Free the Pimlico Pair" coffee mug and t-shirt?
AUSTRALIA IS IN - YOU MAY FIRE WHEN READY Not sure how many countries have to join this war before the Left gives up this absurb charge of "US unilaterialism". The good guys are in, the Franco-German backstabbers are out (Good! I wouldn't want a French unit on my flank anyway) and the enemies of freedom are hopefully on the phone to Zurich, transferring huge wads of cash to the Caymans, and pricing retirement villas on the Cote d'Azure. Australia is on the way, with everything it can muster. Not much perhaps, compared to the US, but it's taken quite an act of political will by the government. By the way, than low hum you can hear clear across the Pacific is the Australian Left whining in unison. They're like mental patients released into the community, stumbling around mumbling bizzare slogans to themselves that have no relation to realisty. "Vietnam...mumble...bring the boys home....baby killers...body count...mutter...Amerikka...imperialism". Just back away, smile, nod, avoid eye contact. I think we're about to experience that odd mental gear-shift that occurs when we change from peacetime to wartime behaviour. In a sense, it's already starting. John Jay Ray notes such a symptom.

I live in Brisbane and our daily newspaper is the Murdoch-owned “Courier Mail”. Its headline today is “Bravehearts set sail” -- reporting that Australian troops have just left to join U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf readying for war with Iraq. I wonder how the N.Y. Times would have reported the story? “Troops depart amid controversy”, perhaps. The “Courier Mail” also reports that our Prime Minister has said that Australia would join the U.S. regardless of the U.N. It makes me proud to be an Australian.

OK EVERYBODY STAY CALM, as of right now the situation is totally under control! The RNZN is the way. Yes sit easy everyone, HMNZS Te Mana has departed NZ for patrol duties in the gulf, you can just see Saddam suffering an involuntary bowel motion can't you. Ok its not much but it does represent 50% of our grey funnel line shooting capability. The other 50%, HMNZS Te Kaha has been on station in Operation Enduring Freedom since December and will be returning home once Te Mana arrives. In other NZ military news, the last of our UN force in East Timor returned home recently and there will be a parade in the capital in honour of a very successful mission. The SAS returned at Christmas from a year long combat deployment in Afghanistan. Good to see everyone back and getting refitted with a fresh unit on station... you know, "just in case". Somebody must have smacked Dear Leader Helen with a clue X 4. Remember you tyrants and dictators of the world, New Zealand is capable of sending a gumboot!
For a limited time only, what a heck of a deal
Palestinian factions near deal on halting attacks. Now keep in mind, this is only a deal amongst themselves. Lest you get overly euphoric about the casual use of the word 'halt', mistakenly believing that they really intend to stop doing it altogether, read the entire bucket of shit these guys are trying to peddle. The 'halt' would be 'temporary'. Seems that indicates they are looking forward to continuing with the same anticipation of a hockey player in the penalty box staring down the clock. The 'halt' would be only in the pre-1967 boundaries. What, everything else just becomes a practice field for when the specified time frame expires, so they'll be fresh and ready to head to the nearest pizza parlor via the most crowded bus stop they can find? Finally, this generous show of self restraint would only be put into effect contingent upon the release of the failed bombers, snipers, and killers rounded up previously by the IDF, and the IDF would have to back off taking out the scumbags pulling the strings behind the scenes to send out little Abus to make their C-4 fashion statements. Haven't seen an official statement from the Israelis on this. Not going to look for one, because it doesn't really deserve the dignification of an official acknowledgement. The continued apprehensions, arrest, or eliminations of those attempting to commit murder is response enough. Thanks but no thanks. Think they need to dream up a better deal than half off on 10 pounds of shit in a five pound sack if we buy two before 10am.
LAST UNION WAR WIDOW DIES AGED 93 From the Wellington Dominion Post: Almost 138 years after the guns of the American Civil War fell silent, the last widow of a Union soldier has died in Tennessee at the aged 93. Gertrude Janeway died in the simple log cabin where she had lived since 1932, and is being buried alongside her husband, who died 66 years ago. She is outlived by a solitary Confederate widow, Alberta Martin, who is 95 and lives in Elba, Alabama. Mrs Janeways husband, John, was a 19-year-old farm boy in 1864 when he was seduced by the glamour of going to war and joined the Union Army under command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Within two months he was taken prisoner by Confederate soldiers in Georgia. After a brief internment in Savannah, Georgia, he rejoined the 14th Illinois Cavalry for the wars final four months in 1865. Gertrude Grubb was not born till 44 years after the South was defeated. She was just 16 when she was wooed by Mr Janeway, then in his late 70s, and her parents refused to let her marry him because of the 63-year age difference. “Mamma said we’d have to court for three years until I was of age.” Mrs Janeway explained. “So my man says: ‘Well, I will wait for her’… We sparked for three years, I called him Honey and he called me Gertie.” They married a month after her 18th birthday in 1927 in the middle of a dirt road in Blaine, Tennessee. Five years later they bought the log cabin and he died there of pneumonia, aged 91, in 1937. After he died, why it just seemed like a part of me went down under the ground with him,” she recalled. “He is the only one I ever had. There wasn’t anybody else.” Every month since then she has received a US$70 (NZ$128) Civil War widows pension from the federal government in the name of John January – the pseudonym he used to avoid his parents tracing him. Mrs Janeway said her husband did not talk much about his exploits in the Civil War. “He says the nighest he ever got to getting killed was when they shot a hole through his hat brim,” she told an interviewer, Her husband had told her: “I just hope I never killed anyone” -The Times John Janeway and Gertrude Grubb

We may take a few days to get the news down this way but we get it eventually.

1/21/2003

THE AL-GUARDIAN GETS WHACKED And nobody better to do it that Chris Textor, trying to peer through the Canberra smoke to make out his keyboard. Even with his city looking like the East End at the height of the Blitz, he's still got it. I read the original item in the Al-Guardian by Faisal Bodi, and immediately broke my promise to myself that I wouldn't start shouting at my monitor again. But Chis posted, so I don't have to. As always, go and read the entire thing. It's fisking at the molecular level.

Since the alleged discovery of ricin traces a fortnight ago, the gloves have come off in the government's dirty war against Britain's Muslims.

In other words, the same laws apply now as applied a fortnight ago. The same laws that apply to non-muslims. And yet again, Bodi introduces cretinous rhetoric ("dirty war") which he cannot justify.

Last week David Blunkett said he would support police in whatever steps they deemed necessary to flush out the "terrorists". The message came as the home secretary announced an inquiry into the events surrounding the tragic death of DC Stephen Oake, stabbed allegedly by an absconded asylum seeker in Manchester.

Let's see, the British Home Secretary says he will support police flush out terrorists in Britain. Truly the stuff of...um...nightmares or something. As fascist ideology goes, Mr. Bodi, this seems a tad anaemic. By the way...have you noticed the way Bodi uses the word "allegedly" here? I'll get to that in a moment. There's a more stomach-churning passage to be dealt with for now;

While the inquiry will identify the operational failures in last week's botched arrest, what it will avoid is an investigation of where the political culpability lies for his death. That must surely rest in parliament, and its enactment of latitudinous anti-terrorism legislation, which has positioned the police on the frontline of a war against the Muslim community.

Bodi reveals his true colours: a crazed islamist freak knifes a cop to death, but culpability lies not in the hands of the murderer, but in the hands of the government who - horror of horrors - are trying to rid Britain of precisely this brand of murderous psychos. A horrible breach, I'm sure, of all known hypersensitive multicultural protocols. And it's somewhat odd that Bodi does not address the fact the legislation applies to all non-muslim Britons as well.

I'd like to second Chris's nomination of this piece of vile rubbish as "most vomit-inducing piece of hypocrisy to appear in a mainstream newspaper in 2003". It's set a pretty high standard for others to beat, although I have no doubt the Al-Guardian and the Daily Fisk will keep trying.
RECALCITRANT, RECALCITRANT, RECALCITRANT...GO ON, ARREST ME YA BASTARD! Malaysia's recalcitrant leader, Dr Mahathir Mohammed, is overly fond of dumping buckets of rhetorical shit all over any Australian politician who dares to suggest that our system of government, values and law might have something to reccomend it. He usualy does this by saying that Asians are somehow a different species, and "western" ideas just aren't needed in Asia. Today we have an interesting example of this difference in cultural paradigms. Here in Australia, any letter to the editor column in any newspaper contains attacks on the government and prime minister. Entire websites are dedicated to lampooning the nation's leaders. The country's policies are debated ad nauseum in all manner of different forums. And do you know what happens to critics of the system? They get pre-selection for safe ALP seats, jobs at Radio National and positions on liberal think-tanks, that's what. Meanwhile, over in Dr M's tranquil Asian paradise, a website published a letter critical of government policy. Hi-jinks have ensued...

Police raided the Malaysiakini office in Bangsar yesterday and confiscated 15 computers and four servers under the Sedition Act. The raid by about a dozen police officers including several from Bukit Aman at 12.30pm follows a report lodged by Umno Youth last Friday on the alleged seditious nature of a letter that was published on the news website. Malaysiakini managing editor Steven Gan said police had initially asked for the identity of the writer of the letter - “Similarities between 'new Americans' and bumiputera” published on Jan 9 - but this request was refused. He said only one computer was involved in receiving letters from the public and the police were made aware of this, adding that without the 19 computers, it would be difficult for the three-year-old news website to get back online.

And what was it that caused the ire of Dr M to fall upon this website? A letter to the editor comparing Malaysia's racial politics to the situation in the United States, entitled "Similarities between 'New Americans' and bumiputera".

It is an obscenity to see well-fed Malays driving around in Mercedes Benzes and drawing fat salaries, yet availing themselves of "7.5 percent bumiputera discount" for posh houses, plentiful government scholarship forms to go overseas, entitlement to bumiputera unit trusts paying 10 to 15 percent returns when everyone else is in recession or going broke (the extra cash due perhaps to mandatory share allotments from new listings) while the Chinese and Indian Malaysians keep quiet because they know they do not count.

Not a dissimilar point to ones I have made myself on this blog, having lived in Singapore for two years and seen the racist bumiputera policies up close, large as life and twice as goddamn ugly. So the KL plods tried to shut the joint down. Let's not debate the issue, let's not have some give and take, just tell anyone whose opinion doesn't fit the image of the joyous new generation marching to a glorious, sunlit future under the enlightened direction of UMNO as a suspected traitor and shut them the hell up. Heh - didn't work, did it? Malaysiakini are back online now, and seem pissed off as hell. But come on guys - you cannot criticise the Asian Way! Paul Keating would agree. Don't you realise that freedom of speech is Un-Asian?

Malaysiakini editor-in-chief Steven Gan has refused to disclose the identity of the author of the letter, citing readers’ right to freedom of expression as well as journalistic ethics on the protection of confidentiality of sources. [ ... ] Malaysiakini will continue to uphold its convictions on the freedom of expression and press freedom, given the government’s repeated pledge that there will be no censorship of Internet content in line with creation of the Multimedia Super Corridor, Malaysia’s answer to Silicon Valley.

ANDREW DODGE AND SASHA CASTEL UPDATE I've been in contact with Our Intrepid Heroes as they do battle with the trolls at HM Customs and Immigration, and they tell me that they are indeed fighting attempts to send them both back across the pond to New York. They thank everyone for the interest in their plight, but can't really say very much about it for legal reasons. A solicitor is working on the case, and things are proceeding. Mind you, the fact that the bureacrats have been unable to simply shove them onto the next plane out of Heathrow has to tell you something about the strength of their case. I trust I make myself obscure? Further, deponent saieth not... In the meantime, Sasha and Andrew have been able to enjoy some of London's legendary hospitality, by attending a glittering intellectual soiree hosted by those sober and profound thinkers at Samizdata. Dammit, I TOLD them to keep Andrew away from the absinthe...

1/20/2003

Postal Strike?
Nobody bothered to say a word to the employees since the Postal Authority was turned into a govenment-owned company? What, they invoked a cone of silence? Could the 7% pay cut have anything to do with this? Or maybe the decision to open up the international mail market for competition? Hmm. Government owned now. Union threatening to bring a daily public service to a standstill. Seems to evoke a memory, what was it? Oh yes, PATCO. Keep it up and these guys may not have to just worry about 400 lost jobs. That will pretty much take care of the 7% reduction for 'remaining employees' too. Ahh, collective bargaining at its finest. Union working hand in hand with management to smooth out all those pesky workplace problems. Worked for Reagan and the Air Traffic Controllers!
Background Material
After reviewing the latest analysis over at Den Beste's place, I highly recommend that you grab a fresh cup of joe, a fresh pack of smokes, a fresh bottle of water, barley pop, or whatever, and do some background reading. Steven does tend to go to some length, but he does not become mired in the triviality of excessive detail. His two latest articles are, as usual, very well reasoned and informative. The political analysis, well, its a possibility. The real gem is the Iraq Operations situational analysis. Mr. Den Beste delivers a well above average armchair analysis. I'm not sure how far above average, but he puts together the known pieces very, very well.
Favorite line of the day...
trash-trawling gutter muppets
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Tim Blair refering to the squalor left behind by the concerned and feeeeeling crowds, as documented by Anna.
LIFE IMITATES MY WILDEST FANTASIES I was chatting to Chris Textor, who writes Whacking Day, on the ol' windows messenger thingy yesterday, and I joked that the Australian Left would probably try to find some way to pin the bushfires on John Howard. Oh how we both laughed at the ridiculous thought. "Hey, thanks to these fires, that's our Kyoto greenhouse gas emmission allowance shot to shit already, and it's only January!" I quipped wittily. Ha ha! What a joke. Well bugger me with the rough end of a pineapple, it certainly doesn't pay to underestimate the gibbering insanity of the Left. Read this, from the Sydney Morning Drongo.

Until Australia does the right thing and signs the Kyoto protcol expect more of the same. This is greenhouse, the best thing we could do to prevent it happening again is sign Kyoto. Canberra burns as Howard keeps fiddling on the international stage. Greenhouse predictions are dire for the dry Australian continent. Fire, its frequency, and intensity, are forecast to increase as the temperature rises. As John Howard tours Canberra's charcoal suburbs, I wonder if the unsigned Kyoto agreement pricks his conscience.

It's true you know - there are NO DEPTHS to which these lunatics will not sink! None! Only your most twisted fantasies can compete with them. Shit, I wasn't even serious when I said they'd find a way to blame Howard for the fires. By the way, the smoke has drifted all over south-eastern Australia, and yesterday morning as I walked to work across the Yarra River, the whole of Melbourne was blanketed in a smoky haze. Very disturbing.
t a c i t u s
Calls them out. Not a single coherent reply in over 104 comments. Good job.
What a bunch of elitist holier than thou slobs
Not only do hippie peaceniks have a rep for not bathing, they apparently don't bother to pick up after themselves very well either. What, no room in the back of the SUV to haul of your garbage? Afraid to get dirt on the carpet mats? One more way the peace activists are totally unlike drunken soccer fans - aside from that there are usually more of the drunken soccer fans, they're neater, even without a target. (Why is it on the left?) And a quick question for Anna - isn't Peter the tank killing bunny a Hun? Well, if it gets the peaceniks blood pressure up... (targetting reference spotted via Glenn)
Whew! What a relief
All hail Hans Blix. He went and gave those Iraqis what for and got them to agree to this
.He said Iraq was launching an investigation of the munition finds and plans to search elsewhere for others. The results of the probe will be made public, he said.
I guess that just about settles it. Bring all those soldiers home. Turn those Navy ships around. I'm sure with the Iraqis on the case, we'll be getting to the bottom of all this WMD nonsense jiffy quick. Good job Hans. This one finally surpasses the previous highlight of his career, when he got that group of foxes to seriously look into all that commotion out in the henhouse. Not. Hope those inspector folks have plane tickets out for no later than the 28th.
LGF makes Ha'aretz Headlines
Literally. Though not quite as funny as the Chinese being suckered by the Onion, but it comes close. Ha! Move Charles into the 'newsmaker' column.
Diana from Gotham has some thoughts on transfer.
Transfer is a fantasy. Transfer would be bad for me. Here is why it is a fantasy, and here is why it would be bad for me. It is a fantasy because even if it could be done (which it can't, but let it pass) moving three million Arabs beyond the borders of Israel would only be moving the problem, and not taking care of it. So three million Palestinian Arabs are transferred to a place somewhere beyond Israel's new, improved border. So what? They'll only take up residence there, even more aggrieved, even angrier, to plan and work for the day that they can finally take care of this intrusion into the Arab Middle East. Transfer will turn all of the Arab Middle East irremediably against the United States, Israel's proxy. It isn't now, but just give the Alisa's time, they will be.
It seems to me that the scenario Diana is describing is already taking place. Even more aggrieved? Even angrier? Really?
Who will they turn to? There's no one on the horizon now, but I could think of two possibilities for the future: Russia, and China. (China, with its rapidly growing economy, insatiable thirst for oil, amoral policies and huge population. Not a bad candidate. Not to mention a trade surplus with the US.)
So let me see: we should not upset Arabs, lest they unleash China on us. OK...
Why is transfer bad for me? For those of you who don’t live in a mental ghetto, for those of you who aren’t isolated in the back of a limousine, Israel has marketed itself as a liberal democracy, the only one in the Middle East. Now, anti-Zionists have published reams of stuff “proving” that that’s not true; and I’ll get to all that at some point; it’s a subject that I really should deal with, but not now. The point is, the image has been created, and if three million Arabs get expelled from their homes in a great big Kosovo redux, that image will be destroyed forever, or, as the anti-Zionists would put it, the truth about Israel would finally be on display, for all the world to see. Even Instapundit and James Lileks would disapprove. That would be very bad for me, because it would then lead to a furious anti-Semitic backlash in the US. The majority of Americans are neither born-agains nor Jewish. They are reasonably neutral, nice nominal white Christians who have satisfying private lives and a certain amount of equity. Detonate a Middle Eastern Armageddon and watch all of that go up in smoke. Then, well, I don’t really care to speculate what would happen, because it’s not going to happen. What, you were expecting some invocation of ethics, morality and universal human rights? Go read David Hume, or the Shorter Edmund Burke. Go read Isaiah. Others may call themselves warbloggers, pundits, cranks-without-portfolio (thank you, Jim Henley), I call myself a schmuck without a trust-fund. That's why I am so important to myself.
Fair enough.
Alisa looks at the map and has decided that separation isn’t quite to her liking. Well, too fucking bad, missie, it’s about the best you can do. Your problems with the fact that the place is full of Arabs aren’t my problems. You’ll have to find a way to get along with them.
Not fair. If it's Diana's ass or mine (because I want to move back to Israel), guess who's ass is more important to me?
Oh, but Alisa says that there won't be an Armageddon, she's talking about transfer, not expulsion. To which I say: bullshit, she is either a flat-out liar, or living in a fantasy world. I prefer to think that her idea of transfer is a self-deluding fantasy. Of course, Alisa doesn’t think, or say out loud, that Arabs would be violently expelled, or spoliated in any way, perish the thought. They’d be, well, transferred, a much nicer, more sanitary word. Apparently their singular lack of enthusiasm for this option up until now is just a clever negotiating tactic; the purpose of which is to raise their price. That’s why I say that Alisa in Wonderland is the right name for her. I guess all these suicide bombings are a form of government-subsidized performance art, too.
This is the only valid point that I hear so far, not only from Diana. Maybe I do live in a fantasy world, but I do think it can be achieved relatively peacefully. However, if it cannot, I see no other option, but a forced transfer. Like I wrote in my original post on the subject, transfer is the only solution except genocide (on either side). And it is the only way to separation.
This seems to further prove what I have been arguing for a while now: it is not Islam, it is the Arabs. Update: There is more here. The key sentence so far (long article): "It [Islamism] offered solace, seduced the young, and provided the means and the language of resentment and refusal." (Emphasis mine)
Nice Try
But I think its a tad late for something like this. Saddam is probably paranoid enough to think this is just a lure to get him in a known location so he could be taken out. Sounds reasonable to me. Taking him out, that is.
Connections
UK police raided Finsbury Park Mosque last night.
"Evidence gathered during recent counter-terrorist investigations in London and elsewhere has uncovered links between the premises and suspected terrorist activity. Such evidence has made this operation absolutely necessary at this time"
Lets see what that evidence might be. The toxin Ricin, and a dead cop, courtesy of four congregationals from Algeria. Two tennis shoes packed with plastique, seconds away from being ignited, by another member of the congregation, onboard a trans-Atlantic airliner. It is homebase for Egyptian cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, who advocates turning the UK into an Islamic state under Sharia law, by force if necessary, and is alleged to have links to the group that claims responsibility for bombing the USS Cole. By all appearances, the UK cops finally woke up and made a connection. More likely, 150 of them were out for a stroll at 2AM and tripped over the place. UPDATE: There was absolutely no mention in any of the articles associated with this activity that the police were simply, in fact, dropping off Teddy Taliban and making sure he got all settled in. Anything to that effect would be nothing more than scurrilous speculation, so I won't even mention it.

1/19/2003

Par for the St Andrews course
While making life absolutely miserable for Ian and Sasha, the British Bureaucracy once again proves it has its priorities in order, ducks in a row, and fecal matter properly amalgamated with this bowel movement. Is it just me, or is there something really, really wrong, at many different levels, for not only letting Teddy Taliban into the country, but patting him on the head and assisting him to fill out his application for a share of the dole? And this within days of the hassle dealt out to Ian and Sasha. Hmm, lets see. This guy was quite possibly in a position to do a bit of SHOOTING AT ALLIED SOLDIERS not so long ago. Ok, on the other hand, Ian and Sasha tossed about a few snarky comments about items of note from Her Royal Majesty's loony bin. Hmm. Time to change the kiddie's saying - Sticks and Stones may get you welfare, but Words will get you deported. Has a clunky sort of ring to it, eh? Twits. God Save the Queen, and the rest of us, from this moronic idiocy!!!!!!! (Hat tip to LGF, and LGF reader Brenda)
I guess timing is everything. I was in a lousy mood, and then I read this. I have not felt so frustrated by something I read in a long time. In fact, Schiff in his article repeats the same complaints I read over and over again. Here is one from Tommy Friedman. The same thing: if only Sharon would stop the settlements, and put forward a peace plan, everything would be dandy. Yeah, right. If only Sharon was Rabin. Well, guess what, we already had Rabin, and look what happened. Anyway, I digress... The most maddening thing about Schiff's article is that he has to blame someone for the desperate situation Israel finds itself right now, and guess who is to blame? See, the Palestinians cannot be blamed, because they are victims, and also because Arafat has turned them all from peace loving, Kumbaya-singing flower children, into suicidal maniacs. What can you expect from them? Sharon, on the other hand, is a war criminal, everyone knows that, don't they? Yes, he did wise up as he got older, and all that, but still, he only cares about the settlements and greater Israel, and...I digress again.
In the perception of many people, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is a strong leader who is the right person for war-time periods. However, what Israel really needs at the present strategic juncture is a statesman with a vision who will lead the country out of its complex conflict, and not a power-obsessed leader because of whom the national cart is sinking ever deeper into the mire. Israel needs a statesman who will be capable of exploiting new international circumstances to resolve the conflict before the entire Middle East is contaminated with nuclear and biological weapons.
A vision? How about being able to survive? Is Mitzna a man of vision for you? You want a way out? Everyone does, but there isn't one, and you know it, not until after the war in Iraq, and even then it is not going to be a picnic or a walk in the park. "...Because of whom the national cart is sinking..." Mr. Schiff, this is happening because your country is at war, in case you have not noticed, and it is at war not because of Sharon, in case you have forgotten. New international circumstances? What the hell is this guy talking about? Here we have more of the same, plus the obligatory lip-service: "Arafat is also bad, but not as bad as Sharon", and: "Palestinians are suffering, too, but they are used to it":
During his nearly two years as the country's leader of the country, Sharon has not even neared the status of a statesman who looks beyond war. The result is that under his leadership, Israel is sliding down a steep slope. A similar development has occurred on the Palestinian side, under their leader, PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, but that is no consolation. The downtrodden Palestinians are farther from realizing their national aspirations, but Israel has regressed in almost every sphere, and there is not a glimmer of light on the horizon.
OK, what else is new?
The occupation of the territories and of the Palestinian people - from whom, it is true, the suicide murderers originate - has become more intense and uglier. The same tendency will prevail in the future.
Yep. It's the occupation now, and it was the occupation during Oslo, and in 1964, and in 1936(?), and 1929.
Even when the IDF and the Shin Bet security service achieve a tactical military success, Sharon is incapable of exploiting it for the next step, in the political realm. It is in this context where Sharon's lack of being a statesman-leader is most pronounced. The struggle with the Palestinians has become a war of revenge and prestige, in which the victories on the battlefield slowly dissolve into nothing. On the ground, the settlers are deepening their grip and adding new outposts with a variety of stratagems. Is there anyone who believes that this situation can be dragged out indefinitely?
He lost me here. Is he trying to say that every time we kill or catch a terrorist, we should dismantle a settlement?
The Palestinians are losing more in tactical terms and from the point of view of day-to-day suffering, but in the present state of affairs, Israel is not capable of arriving at a decisive battle against them. The reason is not military, but above all political. Israel is incapable of accumulating more victory points, because it does not have a political initiative beyond the occupation. Hints that Sharon has some sort of political plan to resolve the conflict have turned out to be no more than baubles. His political initiative has not gone beyond the mantra that he is ready for painful concessions (painful for whom?). The Americans, too, are trying in vain to find a political initiative by Sharon.
It looks like Mr. Schiff has missed Bush's June speech. In fact Sharon's tactics, if not strategy, are in full accord with Bush's approach, and that is: the Palestinians get nothing until they straighten out, and stop terrorism. They have not done so yet, as far as I know. Schiff , like all Israelis, is very frustrated. But most Israelis, unlike Schiff, do not expect their PM to be a magician who is going to pull a rabbit of political "vision" (or, maybe a vision of a rabbit?) out of his sleeve. They vote for Sharon because they know that he is doing the only thing a leader (and any person) is expected to do: the best under the circumstances, the best he can. And they know that he can do, and is doing it better than anyone else. Not perfectly, maybe not even satisfactory, but better.
The horror
And the raw, naked disappointment of it all. Hundreds of thousands expected. Pre-emptive media hype in the can ready to support the groundswell of opposition. A time for the 'voices to be heard'. The unjustness will be revealed! Ooops. Only a few tens of thousands at the larger rallies. Mixed messages all over the place. Re-runs of the same ad-hominem and strictly visceral anti-American sloganeering. Don't expect them to let the issues be cluttered with facts, hasn't happened so far, and its unlikely to start now. Despite their moment where lots of news coverage was all prepared and ready to go, and ok, now you have our attention, what have you got to say...the wails of crushed and stifled dissent will continue. Opinion noted. Opinion evaluated as worthless trash and falsely idealistic, misguided, or cynically crafted anarchy. Next? Time is running out. With forces almost assembled, Inspectors beginning to uncover evidence of continued deception, and hints of a trump card yet to be played, the clock is ticking down. It is quite possible that the loon-bat reunions planned for mid-February will most likely be overcome by events. Not all is lost however - they can occupy themselves grasping at the straws of righteous indignation to decry the brutality. That is if Saddam's regime survives long enough to cook something up as novel as herding a lot of people into something likely to be attacked, or simply designating some building as either a hosptal, day care center, or mosque 15 minutes after the latest air raid.
ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO DEAR LEADER KIM JONG-IL! Never turn your back on a Korean delivery boy - that's today's harsh life-lesson courtesy of Scott Ganz.

I was about to write something when Andrew ordered Korean food from this new place, Kim Jay's. The delivery guy's here. I'll answer the door and be right back, taking care to leave my "Edit Your Blog" page running, because who would possibly want to act as an impostor on this blog in an effort to mislead my readers? *Sound of a scuffle* I have return from door! I am recently persuade many thing I say about Glorious Kim Jong Il not correct! Exalted Kim Jong Il, Giver of Bountiful, Keeper of Promises! Bringer of Cheese Doodles that Don't Leave Counter-Revolutionary Orange Powder On Fingers Like Swine-Blooded Capitalist Cheetos, will live Forever! Do you think I am impostor? You think I am spy who not speak English very excellent? HOW ARE YOU DARE? I am Scott! I am Normal American! I eat too much hot wing and watch Dick Butkis play the football! I dream of sleeping with American Celebrity Minnie Mouse! Yankee doodoo dandy! God Shave the Queen!

God shave the Queen? Oh god, and I was about to go to bed. No chance of falling asleep now, not with THAT charming mental picture in my head.