Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wise Solutions to CO2 Emissions

Fire of Liberty

If the Green Lobby is really serious about the threat that CO2 poses to this world, then I suggest they take a hard look at these zero-CO2 emission solutions.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Destroying Europe Internally

Fire of Liberty

While I've pointed in the past about how Europe faces a serious problems within their society with regards to their various Muslim communities as they continue to promotion of the failed policy of "multiculturalism" which allows these individuals to dwell in the culture, laws and language of their or their parent's homeland thus failing to assimilate into their new homeland. Even worse is the fact that a lot of the individuals who took to the streets of France, plotted the bombings of trans-Atlantic flights, or the bombing of subways and buses in London, have used the government sponsored "multiculturalism" programs of education to their advantage while still holding resentment to their new countries. Well one nation that seems to be experiencing home-grown jihadis via their policy of "multiculturalism" is Germany which discovered three weeks ago with the thwarting of a train bombing with the arrest of Youssef Mohamad el Hadjib and Jihad Hamad. One individual who seems to get to the nuts and bolts of Germany's Muslim communities failing to assimilate and the emergence of homegrown terrorists in their midst is Evgeny Morozov, who has penned a wonderful piece over a TCS Daily. While I recommend that you read the entire article to discover a problem that is endemic in a lot of nations in Europe, I figured I'd share with you a sampling of Morozov's piece:
The failed integration of Muslim immigrants -- many of them in second and third generations -- into the community at large, a malaise that is slowly paralyzing the whole continent, has been apparent in Germany. This year the situation deteriorated quite rapidly: first, it was the case of an almost ritual murder of a girl of the Turkish origin by her brother who was enraged at her disregard for the strict Islamic traditions; then, it was an appeal by a group of teachers (most of them ethnic Germans) to close down a school, where they have been teaching, because, with a predominantly immigration population, it became too unruly to teach in.

So even though the current terrorist threat does not come from the immigrant population per se, but rather from students who entered Germany for short-term studies, there is absolutely no guarantee that their example will not inspire thousands of alienated and radicalized youngsters, most of them German citizens, to follow the pernicious example.

On some level, the threat emanating from the Muslim student population is even worse: they are largely unknown to the German security forces; they have a much stronger association with what is going on in the Middle East, and they have no attachment to Germany whatsoever. Furthermore, the current mass-production scale of the German university system hardly allows for early detection of such radicalized youngsters: with 500 students sharing a lecture hall, it is next to impossible to remember the names, not mention psychological traits, of the student body. Psychological counseling is still mostly unheard of in German schools.

Known for its financial generosity when it comes to education, Germany spends millions to educate people like Youssef Mohammad and even Mohamed Atta, one of the masterminds of 9/11, who then go on to use their technical expertise to construct bombs and explosives (in all fairness, one should point out that the two train bombs did not explode because they were poorly constructed -- so even the German technical education is no longer as good it used to be).
I just hope that a lot of the leaders of Europe realize the danger that these individuals pose towards their existence especially when the promote the idea of "multiculturalism" rather than assimilating these individuals. It makes you wonder how many bombings like we saw in Madrid and London, killings as in Amsterdam, continued mercy killings through-out Europe as well as riots in France are they going to take before the powers that be jump up and say enough is enough and get things right. Here's hoping they take notice real soon.

*Until they comes to their senses, I recommend you check out the following books to get a better grasp on what threatens Europe:

Londonistan by Melanie Phillips

While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer

Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too by Claire Berlinski

Rise of Foreign Policy/National Security Populism?

Fire of Liberty

Professor Arnold Kling has a good piece over at TCS Daily which notes that with the most recent airline threats in the UK, sectarian violence in Iraq, fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and threats coming from Iran, the folks in the US (UK and Israel) are more likely than not to push away from the advice of political elites and take on a populist stance towards foreign policy and national defense. Here's a look at Kling's interesting piece:
My sense is that popular opinion is likely to gravitate toward one of two positions.

1. The Middle East is a hopeless cauldron of hatred. We should focus on homeland security, stay out of the Middle East, and have as little interaction with the Muslim world as possible; or
2. A major war is inevitable, so that we need to get ready for it. Nothing else will stop Iranian aggression, and nothing else will stifle the funding, sponsoring, and glorification of terrorists.

In 2008, I believe that either a Republican running on (1) as a platform or a Democrat running on (2) as a platform could win broad bipartisan support. However, my guess is that the Democrats are likely to come closer to representing (1) in 2008, and as of now my sense is that (1) is more popular than (2).

In my own thinking, I tend to vacillate between (1) and (2). The advantage of (2) is that it helps align our interests with the UK and Israel, which are not in a position to adopt (1). The UK, with its larger and more radical Muslim population, necessarily is affected by international Muslim belligerence. For Israel, staying out of the Middle East is not an option.

The main prediction from this essay is that we will see an outbreak of popular frustration in the next few years. I think that many people are tired of political spin machines, diplomatic "solutions," and fancy intellectual models of the world that fail in practice. They long for a leader who talks straight and who can make the plays work on the field the way they were designed to work on the chalkboard.
Now Kling does note that the rise of such populist attitudes amongst the US populace towards foreign policy/national defense is a danger because it leads to the rise of populist economic thinking amongst our leadership that will have an far worse impact on this nation. For me, I'm inclined for Populism(2) and from my read of things, I think that most Americans are inclined to favor politicians who have a populist attitude towards foreign policy/national security as long as they're committed to the complete destruction of our enemies. You only have to look at various leaders like George Washington, Andrew Jackson(some could say he was too populist), James K. Polk, Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Reagan to realize the appeal to a populist with regards to foreign policy and national security. Let's just hope such populist's follow the lead of Kennedy and Reagan and shy away from economic populism. All in all, the chief objective is to take down our enemies where they hide.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Arab Introspection

Fire of Liberty

The Toronto Sun's columnist Salim Mansur has a wonderful column which notes that even though the "Arab Street" goes bonkers when Israel and the United States accidentally kill various Arabs in the pursuit of terrorists, they tend to shy away and fail to voice their opposition at the various regimes and people of the Arab/Muslim world kill their own people. If the Arab/Muslim world can move away from the victim mentality that the various terror regimes use to divert their citizens anger away from them, then the greater Middle East could become a more peaceful and prosperous region.

*For a further reading on the mentality in the Arab/Muslim world you should pick up a copy of Kanan Makiya's wonderful book Cruelty and Silence: War, Tyranny, Uprising, and the Arab World.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Getting Ready For A Bigger Fight

Fire of Liberty

I finally got caught up with my reading and came across a wonderful column in the Jerusalem Post by Caroline Glick which points out that the recent fighting between Israel and Hezbollah is a harbinger of further conflagrations with Hezbollah and terrorists in the PA territories, Syria and Iran. With this at hand, she aptly notes that Israel has got to double its efforts in finding and destroying terrorists where they roam(Gaza, the West Bank and southern Lebanon) building up missile defenses, greater training for a future fight. So here's hoping that the Israeli government is up to the challenge and is ready when these dangerous vipers strike.

**From the looks of this article, the Israeli government might be under a different kind of management with leaders more willing to pull the trigger and let the IDF do what's needed to slap down and destroy danger when it comes knocking.

A Broken Windows Approach To Iraq

Fire of Liberty

For anyone whose familiar with the Op/Ed pages of the Washington Post, you've more likely than not have come across various pieces by columnist David Ignatius. Now while most of Ignatius's pieces have been critical of our efforts in Iraq and tend to present a realist foreign policy approach on par with folks in the Department of State and Council of Foreign Relations(Some contenders for DNC Prez Bid - Joe Biden), he seems to at least offer a balanced look at the situation on the ground in Iraq from time to time. Well today he offers an interesting piece that points out that even though there is a great amount of sectarian violence in Baghdad and its surrounding neighborhoods, the combined efforts of US and Iraqi military in these areas has created a situation that has put a significant dent in sectarian violence. What makes Ignatius's piece so interesting is that he went out of the "Green Zone" on patrol with Gen. John Abizaid and experienced first hand what our forces have achieved during "Operation Forward Together." Just take a look at Ignatius's sober look on our efforts in Iraq:
As our convoy of armored Humvees rumbled down Amal al-Shaabi Street, we approached a little store selling toys and knickknacks. Abizaid, a Lebanese American who speaks Arabic well, bounded out of his vehicle and began conversing with the owner, a man named Firas. The shopkeeper seemed amused to meet an American general who asked in Arabic, "How's it going?" His message to Abizaid was repeated many times by others during the afternoon: Sunnis here are glad to see the Americans restore order; they tolerate the Iraqi army, but they distrust the Iraqi police; they want basic services such as water and electricity. As for Maliki's government, "It doesn't do anything," the owner of an ice cream parlor called Afna told Abizaid.

We stopped a few minutes later at Abbas Mosque, a small Sunni shrine. Sheik Khaled Mohammed al-Ubaidi, dressed in a knitted white prayer cap and a long white robe, came out to greet Abizaid. The general asked if security had improved and the sheik answered: "Thank God, yes!" Now that U.S. forces are going after Shiite death squads, he said, Sunnis here "understand the Americans are serious about the rule of law." (In the past three weeks, the U.S. military has killed about 25 death squad leaders and captured more than 200, according to Thurman.)

The cleanup has brought a similar respite to Doura, the second neighborhood we visited. You can still see the pieces of red tape on the front gates of each of the homes that were swept. The murder rate has fallen by 83 percent in August, compared with the 30 days before the crackdown began. For Baghdad overall, the murder rate has dropped 41 percent this month.
It's true that Ignatius points out there's a lot of work on behalf of the US military and the Iraqi government to secure the areas around Baghdad, he does note that at least for the moment the current approach to violence in Iraq is working. The way I see it, the military is putting boots on the ground, conducting no-nonsense patrols in the neighborhoods, and establish a good report between the villagers and the combined forces thus applying a "broken windows" approach to these areas in Iraq much like Rudy did against crime in New York City.(I believe there's a lot of sociology/criminal justice students in the military. They're probably getting the small war/insurgency fighting manuals down pat.) Here's hoping that the combined forces keep up such good work.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tearing Down Iran's Scaffolding

Fire of Liberty

I found an interesting commentary by Jonathan Paris(Former senior analyst at Council of Foreign Relations) in the New York Sun which lays out an interesting plan on how to effectively take down the Iranian regime. According to this wonderful piece, the best way to take out the regime is by slowly but surely bleeding the mullahs of their various bases of support by confronting and taking down the various Islamic terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories, Hezbollah as well as the dictatorship in Syria. Paris notes that after the West tears down the terrorist scaffolding that surrounds the Iranian regime, then the US and its allies can push forward their efforts in supporting the democratic movement within Iran. If more folks in the State Department, NSC, and certain segments of the White House and Congress listened to Paris's(The person not the place) advice, then we'd have some better results than the current run-around we're seeing at the UN and in the press.

Drying Up North Korea's Funds

Fire of Liberty

The Financial Times has reported that the Vietnamese government has shut down various North Korean bank accounts that had been used to finance the activities of the Hermit Kingdom. I have to say that the North Koreans are becoming persona non grata in the world when even a fellow communist nation shuns you and your money. It might make the North Koreans peeved and result in harsh behavior but the simple truth is the fact that despotic regimes need money to continue their wicked actions and the more you cut them off the more they're limited to do. So for the first and last time, I wish to give Vietnam a hearty thanks for their help in shunning North Korea.

Wary Optimism

Fire of Liberty

According to this piece in the Financial Times, the Italian government has decided to pick up the baton and is pushing forward as the lead force within UNIFIL. Now while it's nice to see a nation taking a pro-active stance with regards to Lebanon, I have agree that the center-right opposition and military forces of Italy are right when they note their weariness towards putting their armed forces into southern Lebanon against a armed terrorist group like Hezbollah especially when you have fuzzy mandates and no clear-cut rules of engagement like they have under 1701. I think the following sums up my concerns about the deployment of troops(A lot of our allies) into Hezbollahland:
"“If we were to be allowed to disarm Hizbollah, then I would be the first to say yes to the mission, but as things stand we risk placing our troops in the middle without even being allowed to slap anyone,"” said Francesco Storace, an opposition politician and former government minister.
I wish them luck but too many things look very similar to 1983 Beirut and that's not good. No wonder the French gave a big "non" in being the lead force in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah's PR Tricks

Fire of Liberty

Here's a look at what Hezbollah is willing to do in order to gain the upper-hand and rise their stature in the Middle East. Thank G-d for bloggers and journalists for sorting out the bunk being put up by Hezbollah.

Mugabe's Thuggery Continues

Fire of Liberty

Even with an inflation rate at the 1,000% level (and growing), massive unemployment as well as a starving population due to the lack of food(Mugabe gave farms to cronies who know squat about farming), the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe has decided to shell out some £35 million($68 million) to procure some six K8 ground-attack jets from China. With the foreclosures of farms, massive evictions of people who voted against Mugabe, intimidation against political opponents one can only imagine what a country at the hands of Mugabe will do with these ground-attack jets.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Iran's Deadly Wargames

Fire of Liberty

The Jerusalem Post has an interesting article that notes that Iran is running some large war games in Iran. Let's just hope that Iran is just playing some games and trying to show some strength with the upcoming UN security council's deadline with regards to their nuke program. With its support for Hezbollah during its confrontation with Israel and talks of destroying Israel, I'm thinking that these drills and war-games might be an early warning of a possible conflagration between Iran and Israel or some other American friendly country in the Middle East. These activities bring about greater fears of what the leadership in Iran has for the greater Middle East after reading the following from an August 8, 2006 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal by the noted Middle East expert Bernard Lewis:
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.

What is the significance of Aug. 22? This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

A passage from the Ayatollah Khomeini, quoted in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook, is revealing. "I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."

In this context, mutual assured destruction, the deterrent that worked so well during the Cold War, would have no meaning. At the end of time, there will be general destruction anyway. What will matter will be the final destination of the dead--hell for the infidels, and heaven for the believers. For people with this mindset, MAD is not a constraint; it is an inducement.
I just hope the Iranian desk at the Departments of Defense and State, CIA, the White House as well as the Israeli General Staff are keeping a close eye on Iran's military and its messianic President. Time is not on our side with regards to Iran and its quest for the bomb.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Enabling Hezbollah's Continued Terror

Fire of Liberty

I have to say that Salim Mansur's most recent column in the Toronto Sun pretty much sums up the main reason why the cease-fire is merely a symbolic gesture and isn't meant to do anything but quell the noise coming out of the "peace now" crowd and the Arab League.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mullahs fear the Dish

Fire of Liberty

Besides building nukes, arming terrorists, shutting down blogs and the media as well as harassing/imprisoning/beating of its citizens/dissidents, the mullahs are also finding time to destroy all satellite TV dishes that dot the rooftops throughout Iran. I don't know if the regime is anyway close to a collapse but you've got to think that the regime is very fearful of the fact that the citizens might get ahold of media outlets like the BBC, CNN International, Sky News and the Iranian dissident channels out of Los Angeles and elsewhere that offer facts that their regime doesn't want them to hear or see. Thanks to blogs like Gateway Pundit and other blogs, we get images of how this regime will do anything to keep the steel heeled boot on its citizens.




Dealing With Homegrown Terrorists

Fire of Liberty

Salim Mansur has a good column in the Toronto Sun which provides an overview of how Canada dealt with its own Homegrown terrorists and how such actions can be a shining example of to the US, UK and others nations of the West of what's effective and non-effective in the current or future dealings with such groups or individuals.

Tricky Terrorists

Fire of Liberty
Eli Lake has a good piece in the New York Sun which notes that during the recent fighting in southern Lebanon, the IDF discovered that the terrorists of Hezbollah were wearing IDF military fatigues during the street to street fighting in Hezbollah strongholds. Here's a brief sampling of what the New York Sun has uncovered about Hezbollah:
During a battle on the evening of August 6 and early hours of August 7, in the town of Hule, an IDF unit found two Hezbollah dressed in Israeli fatigues and helmets in a civilian home. The battlefield commander was forced to order his men to remove the white hats they wear on their helmets to distinguish his men from the enemy.

An embedded reporter, Itai Engel, from the weekly television news series "Uvda" — widely regarded as Israel's equivalent to "60 Minutes" —— filmed the battle with a night vision camera.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Engel said,"There were two of them in one of the houses. The soldiers realized they were wearing army uniforms. They had the helmet cover as well. They were wearing everything the IDF soldiers wear."

The report of Hezbollah in IDF uniforms fighting Israelis shows that Israel's foe has studied the Israel Defense Force closely. The tactic presents a challenge for soldiers trying to fight them; according to Mr. Engel, the house to house fighting was brutal, and the surprise of fighting the enemy in friendly uniforms only added to the fog of war.

The story also serves as another example of the Iranian proxy's predilection for fighting outside the laws of war. Earlier, the Israelis claimed Hezbollah fired rockets into its northern towns and cities from civilian positions, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon warned in the first week of fighting that the terrorists were using the U.N. positions as cover.
This just goes to show you that terrorists will do anything to confuse the soldiers in the fog of war in order to inflict maximum damage on the enemies. This just makes you wonder what atrocities these terrorists, who were wearing IDF uniforms, committed on the people of Lebanon just to blame Israel. I guess the IDF and other forces who take on the terrorists of Hezbollah and Al Qaeda have to be more on heir toes than they normally would with regular forces of the past.

UNIFIL as a Window Dressing

Fire of Liberty

As I noted in a previous, the UN's efforts to provide an adequate UNIFIL force in Lebanon is falling on its face because the crafters of UN Resolution 1701 have failed to provide a clear mandate for the forces entering Lebanon. Any nation would be foolish to think about sending its troops into a climate like southern Lebanon in which Hezbollah is threatening to make Beirut of 1983 look like child's-play especially when these forces are restricted on what they can do to respond to such threats. What's even worse is that the UN leadership(Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch Brown) is unwilling to face the fact that Hezbollah is not a militia but is a terrorist group that is willing to kill or do anything necessary to achieve their goals. To really understand how the UNIFIL forces will be mere window dressings rather than being an active partner in the disarmament of Hezbollah, you should check out Benny Avni's"U.N. Is Scrambling to Rescue Mission as France Falters" in the New York Sun. The thing that stuck out the most for me and reminds me the dangers of entering into a multi-national peacekeeping force under a UN banner is the most is what keeps on coming out of U.N. deputy secretary-general Marc Malloch Brown's office. Here's just a brief look:
The confusion about the role of the force was not made easier by Mr. Malloch Brown, who tried to describe what he called "prudently designed rules of engagement." The force, he said, would be "non-offensive in character," but the rules would allow troops "to robustly use force, if it's necessary."

There would be "no large scale disarmament of Hezbollah," he said, but rather "policing a political agreement."
I guess you get such responses from folks like Mark Malloch Brown who fails to identify Hezbollah as a terrorist group by insisting that they're mere militias. No wonder France or other nations are unwilling to commit the life and limbs of their soldiers into areas that they can't fully protect themselves from. If the UN was really wanting to disarm Hezbollah and end the problem once and for all, then they should have laid out a rock-solid mandate that provides the UNIFIL forces with the authority to apply an aggressive and offensive posture towards Hezbollah rather than just sitting in the middle of a free-fire zone in which the Lebanese army(Who wouldn't or couldn't enforce 1559) are supposed to be their sole protectors. I guess that's what you get when you do things via the UN, which is sad for the people of Lebanon and Israel who suffer under the deadly hands of Hezbollah.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ceasefire Blues

Fire of Liberty

The more I look at the ceasefire and the creation of the UNIFIL force in Lebanon, According to this piece in the Jerusalem Post the member nations are very hesitant in bucking up the UNIFIL force due to the fact that they haven't been given a clear mandate on what their mission is or if they are given the right to use violent force to deal with Hezbollah because such a mission is give to the Lebanese arm. To make matters worse, the Lebanese army/government continues to insist that they're not going to create a confrontation with Hezbollah by trying to disarm them. So what this basically does is to create a situation similar to the world community which pretty much relegates the member nations of UNIFIL into a position much like we saw in 1983 when the US, France and other nations were deployed in Beirut. During this time the small contingent of US Marines and French soldiers were bivouacked in the middle of a Middle Eastern "Wild West", where threats from militias and terrorists awaited all hours of the day. In fact soldiers who served and survived this experience in Lebanon recalled how they were constantly under fire(guns & mortars) from the enemy but due to due the UN mandate these soldiers were ordered to keep their guns unloaded and not to fire back under any circumstances. This lack of a strong mandate to confront and disarm the terrorists would eventually result in the horrific bombing of the US Marine Barracks and the French Paratroopers which subsequently resulted in these forces leaving Lebanon and turning into a war zone for a decade more. This time also allowed Hezbollah to fill the vacuum in southern Lebanon and establish a force that would launch the recent attacks on Israel and resume its war with Israel.

As usual the Resolution 1701 is just another example of how the UN makes for a good debating society that offers a good talk but in the long run is just as pure fluff when invoking their resolutions. So just sit back and watch the UNIFIL forces continue to be as feckless as they've been since being formed in 1978 while the Lebanese army enters south of the Litani to play "paddy-cake" with Hezbollah. I just hope the soldiers in UNIFIL don't suffer the same fate as the US Marines, French Paratroopers and embassy staff did back in 1983.(But we're talking about Hezbollah and we know how trustworthy they really are.)

The Inner Caveman

Fire of Liberty

Josh Manchester has written a wonderful piece over at TCS Daily that pretty much notes the Jacksonian foreign policy tendency of the American populous.(He uses Phil Hartman's Frozen Caveman as an example) Basically Manchester notes that most people in the US are generally in line with President Andrew Jackson, which is that we're not great fans of fighting war but once we are provoked and enter into a war we're ready to use everything in our arsenal to take down our enemies where they hide and thus returning back to our everyday life when the fighting is over. The whole point is that the people of the US are willing to stay with any and all fights/wars that we get into as long they see that the government is pouring everything into the fight to lay our enemies to the wayside. With that said, I suggest that the US bucks up its efforts in Iraq by sending more troops into Iraq once and for all to roll up the danger spots that keep on causing problems for our troops and that threaten to cause the erupting civil war. It would be nice to say to "hell with Iraq" but I prefer that we get the job done right the first time so we don't have to go in again years later or give a boost to Osama's arguments (See here) thus losing the greater War on Terror(Islamic fascism). Even more, we should finish the fight as a testimony to our devotion to our fallen soldiers who gave their last full measure to help the folks in Iraq enjoy the G-d given rights that we take for granted in the states. So let's push onward to victory and reawaken that Jaksonian spirit that burns deep in the soul of America.(Ok, it's true that a section of the left and a small cadre on the right are repulsed to Jacksonian tendencies but that's them.)

*For more on Josh Manchester, check out his blog The Adventures of Chester.

>For a more thorough discussion on the Jaksonian impulse of the US populous , take a look at Walter Russell Mead's great book Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World.

It's Time To Push Forward

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good column by Saul Singer in the Jerusalem Post that points out why the War on Islamic Fascism is far different than the wars of yesteryear and how Israel, the US and the West have to be more vigilant and willing to take all steps necessary to take on terror states like Syria and Iran(And finishing the job properly in Iraq) thus killing the terrorists like Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Qaeda by shutting down their funding, support and refuge. It might seem that we can't handle another campaign in these places but if we keep putting things off till a later time we run the risk of Iran developing a nuclear weapon which is much like handing a killer a knife and saying kill me. So instead of us twiddling our thumbs and allowing the wily Ahmadinejad to use Mike Wallace(See here and here) and the American airways to shape the arguments on his own grounds, we need to get more aggressive with our enemies and use every tool in our tool-box to clean up the snake pit that dispatches its deadly vipers to destroy the West. Now is not the time to rest.

Standing Up To The Barbarians At The Gates

Fire of Liberty

Now if you tune into the MSM or surf the Internet to lefty websites like DailyKos and Huffington Post you'll find folks going gogo over President Bush's low poll numbers on Iraq and Ned Lamont's(And fellow Democrats) continued mantra that President Bush blindly led us into Iraq and how we need to get out of of there immediately so we can focus more on Al Qaeda. Though these individuals are piling more and more on the President much like a shark going after a bleeding whale or fish, you got to hand it to the President for standing tall against the harbingers of Islamic fascism by refusing to give up on our fight in Iraq. I think the President is proving his stand-patness when he makes the following statement:
"Leaving before we complete our mission would create a terrorist state in the heart of the Middle East, a country with huge oil reserves that the terrorist network would be willing to use to extract economic pain from those of us who believe in freedom," Bush said Wednesday.

"If we leave before the mission is complete, if we withdraw, the enemy will follow us home," he said.
Yes, the war on Iraq is not at the level of post-war Japan but you've got to agree that getting up a leaving Iraq wouldn't make the situation any better or on our war on Islamic fascism. The "peace now" crowd might find their arguments real trendy at the moment but they fail to realize that Osama bin Laden has stated in his 1998 fatwa that he and his fellow terrorists can outlast the American forces because he sees them as "paper tigers" and if you drain enough of their blood, they'll pull out much like they did in Vietnam and Somalia. So these folks can mock the President for "standing the course" but they need to take note that he understands what makes the terrorists tick and isn't willing to fail at achieving his number one job which is the security of this nation and its citizens. All in all, President Bush offers a far better solution for taking the fight to the Islamic fascists and bringing them to their knees than what the "head in the sand" crowd that is making a resurgence in this nation.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mullahs Trying To Stop Bloggers In Iran

Fire of Liberty

It looks like the mullahs in Tehran are getting a little bit nervous with the bloggers in Iran. Folks might disagree but I'm betting that the desire for freedom has caught on fire in Iran and the regime is frightened to death of the organizational skills and free flow of information(something that generally is squelched by the regime) that exist within the blogger community that they've decided to crack down on what the folks in Iran can do on the net. Now while the kids and the bloggers of Iran are tech-savvy enough to get around the censors for the time being, I'm sure the regime will catch up. With this at hand, I'd suggest that the US government should get busy in its efforts in supporting the democracy movement within Iran by transforming Radio Farsi from its current pop-radio format into a more serious news outlet much like we had with Radio Free Europe or Voice of America during the Cold War. We might not be able to strike Iran militarily or funnel funds into the democracy movement in Iran at the moment but nothing should stop us from helping the people reach around the mullahs and their censors.

Fidel Castro Refuses To Go To The Beyond

Fire of Liberty

While Fidel Castro hasn't met his end much earlier than I expected, I'm guessing the end is nigh and its about time that the US starts preparing for this day. Now while the White House, State, Defense and the NSC have drawn up contingency plans of offering financial, political and security assistance to Cuba once the Castro regime ceases to exists, it tends to be more fluff and diplo-talk and fails to really uplift the Cuban people from the 47 years of Castro's Marxist economics. Thankfully Deroy Murdock, a senior fellow of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, has an excellent column which lays out four point libertarian/free market policy on what the US can do upon the death of Castro which will "cause a rising tide to raise all boats" and endear the Cuban people to the US and look away from the likes of Hugo Chavez. While I'm pretty much a big proponent of all of Murdock's points, I have to say I'm pretty much a big fan of the following two points:
Second, Washington should transform Cuba into a giant free-trade zone. The fastest way to bring Cuba out of the 1950s and into the 2000s is to let Cubans produce whatever they wish and export it to America without the hindrance of tariffs, quotas, and other ridiculous obstructions. In exchange, Americans should be free to sell Cubans whatever they care to purchase without worrying about Havana imposing trade barriers.

During a 1993 fact-finding mission to Cuba, I was impressed with the Cuban people'’s energy and ingenuity. Cars that were built during the Eisenhower era still ran because Cubans simply invented auto parts out of tin cans and rubber tubing to substitute those that were manufactured while Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz appeared in brand-new episodes of II Love Lucy. Given unfettered access to America'’s market, Cubans would develop a lifeline that soon would nurture them to financial well-being.

Third, as part of this economic aperture, the U.S. should terminate the absurd and destructive federal sugar program. Government-fixed prices and restrictions on foreign sugar supplies hit Americans in their wallets. As Timothy P. Carney explains in his new book, The Big Ripoff: How Big Business and Big Government Steal Your Money, "“From 1998 until 2004, American consumers have paid an average of about $1.8 billion more for food annually because of these import quotas."” Such restrictions also export poverty to tropical nations that could benefit by selling sugar to American buyers.

Given its sultry climate and proximity to the U.S., Cuba could resume the sugar shipments that Ike Eisenhower halted in 1960. Becoming America'’s sugar bowl would provide Cuba with a steady stream of cash while obviating the federal subsidies that encourage sugar farming in Florida. Absent such outrageous payments, the Everglades and its wildlife would stop choking on pesticides and other chemicals that flow in from taxpayer-supported sugar plantations.
The only problem with implementing such a policy is the powerful forces of Big Government(Which includes labor unions and the farm lobby/protectionists of this nation) and an even bigger stumbling block which is Castro's persitant will to stay on this Earth and remain head of the roost. Here's hoping for the Cuban people that Castro never makes it to 140 like his doctors predicted months ago.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Crack In the Cease-fire

Fire of Liberty

Well it seems that my predictions of the cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah crashing and burning due to disagreements amongst member nations over the creation of a stronger UNIFIL or some squabble within the Lebanese government and army over the disarmament of Hezbollah is becoming a reality. According to this piece in the Jerusalem Post, the Lebanese government is shying away from fulfilling its core mission of disbanding/disarming Hezbollah by failing to deploy some 15,000 troops south of the Litani River as well as the fact that Lebanon's defense minister Elias Murr has noted that even though the army will be deployed to the region, they're not going to ask or even force the terrorists of Hezbollah to hand over their weapons. If you've got a government that doesn't take the threat of terrorists in their own nation more seriously by failing to send in forces with a clear mandate of taking down/disarming then you see why 1559 was never fulfilling. In fact this inaction on behalf of the Lebanese army is ruffling feathers within France, who dispatched their foreign minister Philippe Douste-Blazy to Beirut to state point-blankly to the Lebanese government that if they don't green light its soldiers to disarm Hezbollah then they won't send in their contingent to beef up UNIFIL. Now I don't know how much this threat on behalf of France is making the Lebanese government quake in its boots but it sure shows the great amount of problems that you have within a multi-national peacekeeping force and why most of the time things usually goes to pot and their objective is never achieved.

From the looks of it, this early dustup is a clear sign that the UNIFIL and Lebanese army coalition will more likely will turn into a complete flop much like 1559 thus allowing Hezbollah to live to fight another day. I think IDF could have saved a lot of time and hassle for the UN, Lebanon and Israel if they had initiated a full scale ground war but then again things don't work in the Middle East like people want it to go.

Interesting Fact on the IDF

Fire of Liberty

Here's an interesting piece in the Jerusalem Post on an all-Druze unit in the IDF that has shown the excellent mettle in the fight against Hezbollah and for their homes/homeland. In fact the IDF is even hinting of making them an elite force in the IDF after their performance. It's always great to read such wonderful stories on the IDF's various units and realize that there's a lot of non-Jews fight for the sake of Israel. (So much for Nasrallah's and other Arabs arguments about the "Jewish aggression".)

Multi-Culturalism Is A Bane To The Nation-State

Fire of Liberty
Mark Steyn has a good piece in Sunday's edition of the Chicago Sun Times on how the most recent terror plot in England is one of many problems that its citizens and government will confront as the nation continues to let multi-culturalism run amuck. Here's a brief sample of Steyn's wonderful piece:
Hence that statistic: Seven percent of British Muslims consider their primary identity to be British, 81 percent consider it to be Muslim. By comparison, in the most populous Muslim nation on the planet, 39 percent of Muslim Indonesians consider themselves Indonesian first, 36 percent consider themselves Muslim first. For more than four years now, I've been writing about a phenomenon I first encountered in the Muslim ghettoes of the Netherlands, Belgium and other European countries in the spring of 2002: Second- and third-generation European Muslims feel far more fiercely Islamic than their parents and grandparents.

That's the issue: Pan-Islamism is the profound challenge to conventional ideas of citizenship and nationhood. Of course, if you say that at the average Ivy League college, you'll get a big shrug: Modern multicultural man disdains to be bound by the nation state, too; he prides himself on being un citoyen du monde. The difference is that, for Western do-gooders, it's mostly a pose: They may occasionally swing by some Third World basket-case and condescend to the natives, but for the most part the multiculti set have no wish to live anywhere but an advanced Western democracy. It's a quintessential piece of leftie humbug. They may think globally, but they don't act on it.

The pan-Islamists do act. When they hold hands and sing "We Are The World," they mean it. And we're being very complacent if we think they only take over the husks of "failed states" like Afghanistan, Somalia and Lebanon. The Islamists are very good at using the principal features of the modern multicultural democracy -- legalisms, victimology -- to their own advantage. The United Kingdom is, relatively speaking, a non-failed state, but at a certain level Her Majesty's government shares the same problem as their opposite numbers in Beirut: They don't quite dare to move against the pan-Islamists and they have no idea what possible strategy would enable them to do so.
Here's hoping that a lot more liberal democracies(Canada, Australia, US) look at what has conspired in England and shy away from the mantra of "multi-culturalism" which has been all the rage of late. It's alright for people to want to celebrate their culture and ancestry but they also have to realize that becoming a citizen of a state and accepting the language, laws, and culture of their new home is a far greater priority and a necessity for their own future and the sake of their nation. You'll never achieve a proper functioning society/nation if everyone goes their own way and creates their own mini-state within their government standing by and promoting this for the sake of "multi-culturalism."

*If you want to learn more about the dangers of multi-culturalism, the failure of individuals(Muslims in this instance) to assimilate to their new nations, and their government's feckless response to this problem, then I highly recommend you check out the following books:

Londonistan by Melanie Phillips

Menace in Europe: Why the Continent's Crisis Is America's, Too by Claire Berlinski

While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within by Bruce Bawer

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Fight Has Just Begun

Fire of Liberty

As I surveyed the various cable networks and the big three networks these past two days, I've noticed a tad bit of celebration amongst the reporters and news-casters about the UN pushing through a ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. Now it's understandable for people to be happy for peace in southern Lebanon but in the case of this most recent ceasefire I have to say the popping of champagne corks and the huzzahs will be short lived because the terrorist of Hezbollah will eventually return to the firing of rockets on Israel and the rest of their terrorist activities in the near future. As I've noted in previous posts the only true way to really ease or erase the threat of Hezbollah is for the IDF to send in 30,000 plus soldiers with a compliment of tanks, helicopters, special forces, and a host of other tools at their disposal into southern Lebanon and roll up the terrorists town by town up to the Litany river. Unfortunately the Israeli PM and his cabinet(None of which had experience in fighting wars, which is very rare in Israel.)played a pick-a-target and bomb it campaign for most of the conflict and then to a limited ground war as the fighting went which went against the good advice of IDF General Staff and their commanders in the field thus leaving the terrorists sitting pretty in southern Lebanon after the UN stepped in.

While I can understand the trepidation of Olmert and his cabinet from going full force into southern Lebanon due to their bloody experience there from 1982 to 2000, I'm not sure what the 15,000 UN troops coupled with 15,000 Lebanese troops will be able to do with Hezbollah. I'm more inclined to see the forces that are going to fill the 14km territory between Israel and the Litani River will be paralyzed by inaction and infighting within the Lebanese army and the gov't of Lebanon in the refusal to take up arms against their fellow brethren in Hezbollah not to mention the member countries(France, Italy, Malaysia, Turkey and Spain) of the UN forces will have arguments(Assembling a force and equipment will be a greater challenge) about what they're willing to do to take down Hezbollah. One only has to look at past UN missions in places like Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda or the experience of UNIFIL to see where the UN forces failed to step in and stop an aggressor because they didn't want to show partiality to one party over the other. So while the MSM and the diplomatic corps laud this ceasefire as a step in the right direction to settle the fighting, I see this event as just a pause in the fight and a breather for Hezbollah thus allowing them to amass more missiles from Syria and Iran and the building up of their forces for a even greater fight. I'm betting the adage "once a terrorist always a terrorist" bests describes Hezbollah and it won't be too far in the future that they demonstrate this fact. I just hope that the UN forces and the Lebanese army will get out of Israel's way when they have to return the fight in southern Lebanon after Hezbollah resumes its attacks on Israel. I just wish Israel had conducted a full scale ground war with 30,000 plus IDF troops during this month long campaign against Hezbollah rather than waiting on a ceasefire and hoping the UN and the Lebanese army fill the gap. Well there's always another tomorrow.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Germany Proposes A Smoking Ban

Fire of Liberty

Amity Shlaes has an interesting but historic take on the German government's proposed ban on cigarette smoking in public places.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Sage Advice from Bibi Netanyahu

Fire of Liberty

Here's some wise advice from Binyamin Netanyahu with regards to Israel's fight against Hezbollah. I just hope Olmert and his cabinet are reading this.

The DNC Needs More Liebermans Not Less

Fire of Liberty

After watching Sen. Joe Lieberman fall to the hands of the anti-Iraq War Ned Lamont(Far more to the left than Lieberman), I have to say the days of having Scoop Jackson Democrats are becoming a thing of the past. At one time you would have found a lot of Democrats before and during the Cold War who were liberal when it came to domestic matter but were for a more beefed up foreign policy and willing to stand up to any aggressor that challenged our liberties here or abroad. The folks of MoveOn.org, DailyKos and the folks to the left of the DNC might think that it's in their best political interests to throw politicians like Lieberman into the wind because they stand up for their country and shoulder to shoulder with a president of another party during a time of war but in reality what they're doing is demonstrating that they can't aptly handle anything in the field of foreign policy and national security. I can only imagine how many times FDR, Truman, Carl Vinson, John F. Kennedy, George F. Keenan, Scoop Jackson, and other Democrats in this mold have rolled over in their graves at the way things are heading with regards to the Democratic Party. I for one enjoy that the nation has been trending Republican because the Democrats have marched to a more liberal piper since the days following Clinton but I also like for this country to have two political parties who compete for the leadership of this nation but are still willing to stand up or improve upon our efforts to defeat threats that come before this nation.

If the Democrats don't start hewing back to the center and offering a more muscular foreign policy of yesteryear, I can assure you that they're are going to have more disappointing nights come the next national elections.(Yeah, I know the Republicans have got to straighten their flight paths with regards to domestic issues in order to stave off defeat but with regards to foreign policy/national security they've got far better chances of winning in 06 and 08.) So for the sake of this nation I hope the Dems turn back to the days when they were respected by this nation for their stance on foreign policy and national security before they become a dead party much like that of the Federalists and Whigs. Now until they wake up from the current coma, here's hoping that Joe Lieberman comes up with an overwhelming victory this November in his run as a Independent. I might not agree with his politics but you've got to cheer for a guy who makes a decision and stands behind such a decision no matter how hot the water gets. So let that "Joe-mentum" ride.

*See here and here on what others are saying about Joe Lieberman and his future.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Adam Smith's Way To The Electric Car

Fire of Liberty

Stephen Bainbridge, UCLA law professor and blogger, has a good piece in today's D.C. Examiner which points out why General Motor's EV-1(electric car) was such a failure. According to Bainbridge, the main culprit behind the EV-1 wasn't the folks at GM or some grand conspiracy by the oil companies but is really the free-market. No matter how many times you create laws that require a car company to build such cars, companies are not going to shell out millions of dollars and countless man-hours on the creation of a car that in reality has a big sticker price that not viable to folks in the "real-world." Luckily, one only has to look a the geniuses at Toyota to see what happens when you let the free-market and consumer choice kick in and push government enforced measure back into the foreground. So if we're going to have electric cars and super fuel efficient vehicles now and in the future then we've got to tell the hulking government and allow Adam Smith's invisible hand to take over.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Security #1 Goal for NATO in Southern Afghanistan

Fire of Liberty

The Times has a great editorial out today notes that if southern Afghanistan and the whole country in general are going to rise from the ashes of the Taliban then the NATO forces have got to be able to do what they've been sent their for which is securing the countryside. I'd have to say if the military commanders in NATO read and hewn to the following recommendations by the editors, Afghanistan will rise much like the mythical phoenix:
Bridges can be built under fire, but tend not to last. It may be true that the battle for hearts and minds, another phrase politicians love, can be won only if people see clear improvements in their lives. But in southern Afghanistan those same people urgently need to be convinced that Nato can get al-Qaeda and the Taleban off their backs.

So long as they fear their return, and their vengeance, villagers will hedge their bets. They are the more inclined to do so because Kabul is little trusted in the largely Pashtun south —— and distrust has been compounded by corruption, incompetence and irresolution among local officials appointed by the Government of Hamid Karzai.

Nato'’s aim is rapidly to create and then expand secure zones in each of the six provinces, which it hopes will become magnets of opportunity and relative prosperity. This "“new Afghanistan"” strategy will work only if President Karzai can forcefully be persuaded that competent civil administration is imperative, and that he must curb his dangerous propensity to cut deals with local strongmen and militias.

Nato has a hard enough fight on its hands without also arousing hatred by immediately eradicating opium poppies which are close to being Helmand'’s sole source of income. Nato would be wise to be imaginative in a battle that cannot be won without a better strategy, one that may need to include licensed poppy cultivation for pharmaceutical purposes. Nato'’s job in Afghanistan is to create the conditions for peace. Without military and politics realism, however, the notion of stability here will be a fantasy.
Now while I have some qualms about some of their arguments with regards on how to deal opium production , I have to agree that sometimes such realism is a must for forces who serve in such a inhospitable place like southern Afghanistan. So here's hoping that the NATO forces achieve their objectives for their own sake or the Afghan people.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Discerning The Enemy

Fire of Liberty

Here's a good piece in by Mark Steyn which pretty much points out that the same people who call Israel's response to terrorism "disproportionate" fail to make similar points when terrorists or individuals conduct acts of terror against US or other civilians. You'd think after seeing all the acts of terror against our people, the Israelis and other innocents around the world these people would discern who the bad folks really are.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Terrorists in the Cross-Hairs

Fire of Liberty

Now here's how the West has a definite advantage over the terrorists that roam the countryside and cities of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Bloody Hands of Raul Castro

Fire of Liberty
As I noted in my post Could This Be The End of El Hefe, it bugs the heck out of me how the folks in the MSM are bound and determined to present Raul Castro as a pragmatist, willing to transform economy in the mold of China, as well as a willingness to work with the US after Fidel. Thankfully Mari Werlau, president of the Free Society Project, Inc., has a good piece in the New York Sun that points out that Raul is one of the chief propagators of Castro's Terror since the fall of Cuba to the Communists in 1959. After reading the following, I have to say that the perception of Raul being a guy we can work with and is willing to introduce change is far from the truth:
When Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista took to exile on January 1, 1959, Raul was charged with the governorship of Santiago, the country's second-largest city. While Fidel triumphantly marched toward Havana, Raul was ordering executions. He had at least 278 former members of the Batista government, police force, or Armed Forces executed in the first fifteen days of January. In just one day, on January 12th, he sent, without trial, over one hundred men to the firing squad. Raul is said to have stomped into the room where a Revolutionary Tribunal was staging a mass trial. Holding a caliber .45 pistol under his belt and a machine gun on his hand, he yelled, "Bring this comedy to an end. These despicable men don't even deserve a trial, they are unworthy dogs." The men were taken in groups to San Juan Hill, where they were executed to cries of "Long live Cuba" or "Long live Christ the King." The killings went on all night, the victims buried in mass graves dug by bulldozers.

Raul was defense minister during the bloody Angola war of the 1980's, during which several civilian massacres were reported, including a chemical gas attack on a village documented by U.N. observers. But what is perhaps his most heinous exploit is his leadership, as defense minister, for over four decades of systematic assassination of civilians trying to flee Cuba. Special Air Force units have been dedicated to sinking rafts by throwing sandbags from helicopters or light planes. The mere beginning of a documentation effort (CubaArchive.org) has uncovered more than two hundred victims of Cuban border guards, mostly civilians, including many children. The preliminary tally already exceeds the number of total assassinations in Berlin Wall crossings.

Raul is also Castro's primary and only known associate in the plunder of Cuba's economic resources. The Limited Partnership of Two has accumulated vast wealth via the most spectacular privatization of an entire country, no matter it's been materially destroyed in the process. As ordinary Cubans live destitute existences, the brothers also control a vast global conglomerate of enterprises that feed a network of bank accounts in Switzerland. A select group of cronies within the highest echelons of the ruling elite is allowed to participate only within certain bounds. What is perhaps most important in analyzing events is often missed.

Whether it is Raul — alone or in conjunction with others — who affects the planned succession, what happens next will depend primarily on who holds the key to Cuba's huge repressive apparatus. If reports from former Cuban intelligence officers are true, Cuba has more secret police and informants per capita than any of the former Soviet bloc countries, including the former Soviet Union's KGB and East Germany's Stasi. Cuba's vast Stalinist apparatus is well geared to handle events, at least in the beginning, as long as the leadership can maintain cohesiveness. State structures controlling all aspects of society are also well in place.
One can only imagine what the Cuban regime will be like under the rule of Raul Castro. Let's hope for the sake of the Cuban people and democracy in general that his rule and that of his brother is over in the near future.

*Also go to Cuba Archive to see the horrific nature of Rual and Fidel Castro.

Political Battleship

Fire of Liberty

This article just goes to show you that Sen. Clinton's most recent game of Battleship in the Senate Armed Service hearing with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld(I have to say the septuagenarian defense chief blew a huge hole in her battleship) was for mere sound-bites and political cover from the ant-Bush/Iraq War Democratic base and leftist bloggers. No wonder she and fellow Democrats raised a fuss when the defense chief wanted a classified hearing instead of the preferred 10 A.M. live event. She should be wary of turning to far to the left or she'll lose the center and the squishy-right that she'll need to become the second Clinton to sit in the White House.(I'm thinking the she'll lose the air in her sails come primary time. She also has to face Mark Warner(Fmr. Gov. of VA), Joe Biden(Delaware), Gore(He's out in the public too much not to run.), Kerry, Edwards, Bill Richardson(Gov. NM), and don't forget the Dean factor(He's no friend of the Clintons).

Cuba's Future

Fire of Liberty

I have to say that President Bush is taking a pretty "good approach on the subject of Cuba and the how we are willing to help the Cuban people take the march to freedom with the eventual demise of Castro's regime. While this is a step in the right direction, I think the White House, NSC, State and Defense Departments should take some sage advice from the editors of National Review and increase its efforts of promoting democratic ideals by increasing radio and TV broadcasts in Cuba much like we did with Radio Liberty/Voice of America during the Cold War as well as boosting the democratic movement in Cuba through NGO's and religious entities. With the political situation of Cuba up in the air, after Fidel ceding power to his brother Rual, the situation is ripe for a more pro-active approach on behalf of the US. Only time will tell the true destiny of Cuba.

Speaking of Cuba, check out the following pieces:

"Cuba Libre?" by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (WSJ)

"Low Fidelity" by Alvaro Vargas Llosa (TCS Daily)

"No Más" by Peggy Noonan (WSJ - Opinion Journal)

"No Tears for Fidel, Please" by George Weigel (LA Times)

"America Should Play Discreet Role In Post-Castro Cuba" by Georgie Anne Geyer (Syndicated Column) - I had to throw a differing of opinion in here as well.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Energy Wise Legislation

Fire of Liberty

It looks like Congress is taking the right steps in creating greater energy independence from places like the Middle East or other volatile regions by opening up our outer coasts for exploration and drilling. Now while the bill will have to go into conference to iron out the differences in the House and Senate versions, its a good step in the right direction. Here's hoping the get this pushed through.

Praying For Freddy Fender

Fire of Liberty

I just heard on New York's WABC 77 radio that Freddy Fender has incurable cancer. As a fan of his music, I'd like to send out my prayers to him and his family. Being the son of a cancer survivor , I have to say that the power of prayer and the upbeat attitude of the patient is a definite must in surviving. So here's hoping that the big guy upstairs provides him a miracle so he can keep up the good fight to enjoy more time with his family.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Playing Jedi Mind Tricks

Fire of Liberty
Now while the MSM is steadily reporting on the casualties and destruction in Lebanon and Israel, the diplomatic chess-matches in the UN and the world over a possible ceasefire as well as Israel's expansion of the war in southern Lebanon, few people realize that Israel is also fighting a psy-ops battle with Hezbollah through its TV station. According to this good article by Eli Lake in the New York Sun, the IDF is using the power of technology to tap into the terrorist run TV station and playing havoc with Hezbollah supporters. Just take a look at what the IDF has been doing the past twenty-plus day:
In the middle of newscasts and programming from Hezbollah's Al-Manar station, Israeli technicians are hacking the signal and replacing it with a 90-second spot that begins with a gun site superimposed on a crude drawing of Hezbollah's leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, looking at the ground.

The image is punctuated by the sound of three gunshots and framed on the top with the words, "Your day is coming, coming, coming." On the bottom of the image of Sheik Nasrallah are the words: "The state of Israel." For the next 90 seconds, the message is clear: Give up. Resistance is futile.

The special broadcast to Al-Manar's audience from Israel is the latest salvo in the Jewish state's propaganda war against the Iranian-backed terror militia after Israel's military managed to hack into the satellite feed of the station over the weekend.

The spot goes on to show Sheik Nasrallah giving a speech in which a voice says: "There is no doubt that this is the strongest air force in the area. And we can't stand up against it." It features the view from Israeli bombers striking targets in Lebanon and ends with an announcer saying, "Nasrallah knows the truth, but he continues, as is his way, to drag Lebanon into destruction, to throw sand in your eyes."
You've got to say that Hezbollah's higher ups are shaking their fists and pulling hair out of their heads over the fact that their chief propaganda outlet is being counter-minded by the IDF. If for one have to commend the IDF psy-ops forces in their efforts of breaking the back of Hezbollah support via the mind. Hopefully such work will reduce the work of the IDF but I'm guessing that fighting Hezbollah on the ground will be the determining factor.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Best Approach Towards Charity

Fire of Liberty

Now while I've never been a big fan Ann Coulter and her style of writing, I have to say that I'm pretty much in agreement in what she had to say here with regards to the most effective ways of doling out charity and fighting poverty.

Could This Be The End of El Hefe

Fire of Liberty

As the Cuban community in Miami(Other areas where people stand united against Castro's regime. Especially those in Cuba.) and freedom loving people voice their joy over Castro handing over power to his brother and the possible demise of the near-near-octanagarian dictator, we can mark this day down as the beginning of the end of Fidel's reign in Cuba. While Fidel might bounce back tomorrow, I'm guessing from this hand-over of power and the lack of information coming out of Cuba(Not much happens in a closed society) is an indication that the Cuban dictator is in far worse shape than what the MSM is reporting. Now I'm not one to wish or celebrate the death on anyone, I have to say that I won't shed a tear when El Hefe leaves this earthy realm and finds a seat beside Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, Pol Pot and other vile dictators in a climate hotter than Cuba. So here's hoping that Castro doesn't run the roost much longer so the march to freedom and democracy can begin.

Now while today is a good day for Cubans in general, I'm a little fearful of what awaits the Cuban people with Rual Castro at the helm of the Cuban state. The one thing that's troubling about all the reports coming from NPR( See here, here, here and here) and the MSM is that Raul Castro is far more pragmatic, less devoted to the Marxist ideas of his older brother and more willing to work with the West. Now if anyone takes this as gospel then I've got five million in the bank for ya'll. The simple truth is that Rual Castro wouldn't be sitting as the Minister of the Armed , the number two man and successor of his older brother if he wasn't as blood-thirsty tyrant as well. All you have to do is read this short profile of Rual Castro in The Times to realize that this is not one of those people that is willing to turn over a new leaf by lessening the regime's strangle-hold on the Cuban people or offering a rapprochement to the West. What the West(Mainly the US) has got to hope for is the demise of Castro and the hopes that there's enough animosity towards Rual that the Cuban military and the people oust him thus paving a way to opening up Cuban to the world. As with all dictatorships that last so long things don't go as we wish but here's hoping that the Grim Reaper is on the way and the folks of Cuba take things in their hand and destroy the vestiges of this vile regime. (I prefer the Franco approach to Spain when he handed the reigns of power to King Juan Carlos and the parliament.) I expect some rough times ahead for the Cuban people with the possible demise of Castro and Rual taking over but as with life I'm positive that the forces of good and liberty will win the day.

Now while the details about Castro are a little fuzzy, I thought you'd find the following pieces about Fidel Castro, his life and the future of Cuba very interesting. So see here, here, here, here(A liberal view), here, here, here, here, here, and here.

***More Reading***
>Check out Babalu Blog to get a Cuban American perspective on the Cuba and the news on Castro.

>Also see the following books:

Cuba: The Morning After
By Mark Falcoff

Cuba After Castro
By Edward Gonzalez

Castro's Final Hour
By Andres Oppenheimer

After Fidel
Brian Latell

The Man Who Invented Fidel
Anthony Depalma