Monday, April 30, 2007
According to this piece by Garrett Moewe over at NRO, it looks like the liberals in the top tiers of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and PBS are so afraid of offending religious or racial interest groups on the left that they force a big time filmmaker like Ken Burns(The Civil War) to change his film on life in America during WWII because it didn't cover the lives of Hispanics in the nation during the war. Now this is what I would call an episode of multiculturalism gone amuck. If we're ever going to prevent a balkanization of this nation, then we've got to get away from the identity politics and return to a embrace of Americanization in which we celebrate what makes us an American and not what makes us different. Based on its past behavior, I'm betting that this isn't the last of problems for future filmmakers or producers who present an idea that differs from PBS' liberal bias.
As someone who spends a good bit of time in the yard and enjoy the planting of flowers and trees, I tend to think about the folks in history who came up with the technology that have made such activities more user friendly and enjoyable. One technology I tend to take for granted is invention of the wheelbarrow. Thankfully, Ralph Kinney Bennett has the foresight to write a wonderful piece over at TCS Daily that gives an informative history of this one wheeled wonder is essential to all garden lovers and yard workers. So take a moment out of your busy schedule to read a little bit of innovative history.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Bill Steigerwald has a good interrogatory with Bob Chitester, president and founder of Free to Choose Media who brought us Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" series, on what it takes to produce series on public television that properly educates the general public on the importance of classical liberalism, which place a heavy emphasis on private property, voluntary association and free markets. With individuals like John Edwards touting "Willie Stark"(See the movie All the Kings Men-1950's version) populism and his cohorts in the DNC candidates(and some in the GOP) presenting some quasi-socialist economic policies, it is good fortune for us that Bob Chitester is still at the game of producing classical liberalism friendly programs like his forthcoming series "The Ultimate Resource", which points out the power that individuals in the third world(And in the 2nd and 1st) have when they have access to the free market, strong property rights and the rule of law. While a lot of the folks voting for Edwards and company are less likely to believe in a "boot-strap" mentality of a minimum influence of the government on one's life, I'm confident this film will still catch a good bit of the people's eyes and change their perspective much like "Free to Choose" did in 1980. All in all, If you want to learn more about the man who brought us the gem of "Free to Choose," and introduces millions to the ideas of classical liberalism, then I suggest Bill Steigerwald's latest interview.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
While I don't agree with everything that Michael O'Hanlon, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has to say about foreign policy or even what to do with Iraq, I have to say that his most recent piece on the dangerous nature of the terrorists and the horrific results to our nation and our allies in Iraq and the region if we book out is a far better assessment of the reality on the ground than what Senator Reid and his pals on Capital Hill are saying. He might have a different approach that differs from President Bush or the various candidates running for a GOP nod but at least he is thinking about a strategy that is designed to win rather than handing our heads on a platter to the terrorists in Iraq and the region. If the Dems have any thought of winning the White House in 2008 or and reassuming the mantle of Harry Truman, then they would best advised to pay more attention to O'Hanlon's sober approach towards Iraq.
If you want to learn how the multi-national forces, Iraqi military/police and the various tribes(Sunni at that) are coming together in Al Anbar and its capital city Ramadi and taking on the insurgents/al Qaeda, then I highly recommend that you check out this great piece by Steve Schippert over at National Review Online.
Friday, April 27, 2007
I assure you that this sober look at Iraq will allow you to get your head around what's going on with our counter-insurgency fight in Iraq far more than the yak-yakking that we continue to see in D.C. or saw in last nights DNC debate.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
I'd say that this piece by Austin Bay pretty much sums up the actions on behalf of Senator Reid. Here's a look:
On Harry Reid's planet, America's enemies need only have one objective: to murder, in a sensational, media-magnifying manner, enough of their own citizens to discomfit and distress Harry Reid Democrats.
I distinguish Harry Reid Democrats from Harry Truman Democrats. Between these two Harrys spreads a vast moral chasm that 60 years of history do not fully explain.
"Give 'em Hell" Truman possessed a large quotient of common sense, as well as the courage of his convictions.
Assess Reid for yourself. Last week, the Senate majority leader said, "Now I believe myself ... that this war is lost, and that the surge is not accomplishing anything, as indicated by the extreme violence in Iraq yesterday."
But within minutes after declaring Iraq lost, Reid returned to the mikes to backtrack. "The (Iraq) war can only be won diplomatically, politically and economically, and the president needs to come to that realization," Reid said,
It's lost, but can only be won, if if what? If "Give 'em Hooey" Harry Reid is in charge?
How refreshing if Reid had the courage of his defeatist convictions, except his convictions aren't convictions, they are postures. Reid tosses a line to Democrat defeatists, then when he discovers his mistake, edges toward reality with an oily pirouette.
One can imagine Truman, Scoop Jackson, Carl Vinson and others rolling in their graves at the current actions by today's Democrats.
Here's a good column by Jonah Goldberg which shows why the voting public(At least the one's who really follow politics) should be wary of politicians who always throws up the line about the "people have spoken" or countless poll numbers to make a argument or point about important policies. I think he hits it out of the park when he noted the following:
That the public mood is a poor compass for guiding the ship of state is an old lament. Here are two reasons why.Here's hoping that the voters will get wise to this or we could have some trouble in the near future.
The first has to do with the laziness, spinelessness and vanity of political elites. Citing polls as proof you're on the right side of an argument is often a symptom of intellectual cowardice. If the crowd says two plus two equals seven, that's no reason to invoke the authority of the crowd. But pundits and pols know that if they align themselves with the latest Gallup findings, they don't have to defend their position on the merits because "the people" are always right. Such is the seductiveness of populism. It means never being wrong. "The people of Nebraska are for free silver, and I am for free silver," proclaimed William Jennings Bryan. "I will look up the arguments later."
Which brings us to ideology. The days when politicians would actually defend small-r republicanism are gone. The answer to every problem in our democracy seems to be more democracy, as if any alternative spells more tyranny. Indeed, once more the "forces of progress" are trying to destroy the Electoral College in the name of democracy. Their beachhead is Maryland, which was the first to approve an interstate compact promising its electors to whichever presidential candidate wins the national popular vote.
If these progressives have their way, we'll soon see candidates ignoring small states and rural areas entirely because democracy means going where the votes are. The old notion that this is a republic in which minority communities have a say will suffer perhaps the final, fatal blow.
As Boris Yeltsin's body is returned to the ground(Hopefully his soul to heaven- I hope he found some religion), I would like to offer a hearty thanks for his casting off the chains of Communism(at least publicly) and shoveling the final clump of dirt on the Soviet Union in 1991, after some heavy lifting by folks like Reagan, Thatcher, John Paul II and the failed efforts of Gorbachev to reform the unreformable beast of Communism. Aside from that little footnote in history, I'd say that Yeltsin will leaves a sad legacy of transferring power from the totalitarian Communism to the corrupt and strongman rule of the oligarchy(Who still reserved their admiration of the USSR) that we see under Putin. If you want to fully understand the legacy of Yeltsin, then I suggest you read the following pieces here and here.
*I'd also recommend that you check out this interesting piece by Alvaro Vargas Llosa over at TCS Daily on how the current state of affairs in Russia and that of Latin America are similar(The Latin American countries are drifting towards the Russian model but not quite to there yet) and could pose some problems to the US and our neighbors in our southern hemisphere. I just hope that such a trend is reversed before things get way out of hand.
If you want to discover how the government in North Korea is living high on the hog while its everyday citizens live in a horrific state of starvation and poverty, then I recommend you check out Claudia Rosett's review of Stephan Haggard's new book Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform in today's New York Sun.
*Also, check out Nicholas Eberstadt's The North Korean Economy: Between Crisis & Catastrophe.
This past week the talking heads and a large amount of Democrats, who make the rounds on the Sunday and morning news shows, nearly busted a gut in criticizing the US and Iraqi forces for putting up various security fences between or throughout neighborhoods in Baghdad. Now while these individuals are always so quick to jump on the whole issue to just through more gasoline on the "Bush bonfire," it would be nice if these politicians would back off such rhetoric and realize that the folks who are on the ground in Iraq and tasked with the running the counter-insurgency fight might know a little more about what they're doing than the pols in D.C. Thankfully, Max Boot has laid a pretty good argument over at Commentary's blog contentions on why the construction of such walls is an essential tool in fighting an effective counter-insurgency. I'd say that Boot sums the whole argument with the following:
The point of these barriers isn’t to create a dividing line between Sunnis and Shiites, although admittedly that would be their effect in some places. The real point is to allow Iraqi and American security forces to keep a neighborhood free of terrorists once it has been cleared. Concrete barriers limit movement, channeling cars and pedestrians through a handful of checkpoints (known formally as ECP’s, or entry control points). Security personnel manning those checkpoints can turn away anyone who doesn’t have any business being in the neighborhood.I'd be nice if the various politicians would find some time to read what Boot and other military/counter-insurgency experts and commanders like Lt. General Odierno and General Petraeus have to say about what is happening before they jump to any conclusions on the situation in Iraq.
And how will they know who belongs and who doesn’t? In order to make this policy effective, officials or soldiers need to canvas the neighborhood, gathering census-style data about every household. It would help tremendously if Iraq launched a formal census and issued biometric identity cards to everyone. Such a step is under discussion by the Maliki government, but don’t hold your breath—it won’t happen anytime soon. Even short of such a solution, U.S. and Iraqi security forces are already improvising population surveys in their areas using handheld computers.
The whole process ought to be familiar to students of counterinsurgency. It is, in essence, an update of the old plan known as “concentration” zones or camps. The latter name causes understandable confusion, since we’re not talking about extermination camps of the kind that Hitler built, but rather of settlements where locals can be moved to live under guard, thereby preventing insurgent infiltration. The British used this strategy in the Boer war, the Americans during the Philippine war, and many other powers took similar steps in many other conflicts. In Vietnam they were known as “strategic hamlets.”
This type of massive population movement is not practical today given Iraq’s dense urban environment and nationalist sensitivities, but concrete barriers and tamper-proof identity cards can achieve some of the same result. There’s nothing nefarious about the process. It’s Counterinsurgency 101. The only wonder is that it’s taken so long for this obvious strategy to be implemented.
*From the looks of this clip below, it looks like Senator Reid is going to act like a child and refuse to listen or believe Gen Petraeus as he updates Congress on the counter-insurgency fight in Iraq.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
If you haven't gotten into the meat of the story on Paul Wolfowitz and his current dust-up with the bureaucracy over at whole World Bank then I advise you to read the following column by Kevin Hassett. Though the facts and the ethics committee at the World Bank has cleared(Being they advised him to do what the members of the press deem as a wrong doing) Paul Wolfowitz of any impropriety, various members of the World Bank staff are still pushing forward their demands that the reform minded president step down. Though I personally tend to think this disdain has a lot to do with him being a member of the Bush administration and a participant in the Iraq war planning over at the Pentagon, I have to say that Hassert seems have hit the nail on the head when he noted the following:
The first is that an unscrutinized bureaucracy in charge of billions of dollars has, for many years, been up to no good. In this scenario, the Folsom investigations have hit the tip of the iceberg, and something along the lines of the United Nations ``Oil-for-Food'' scandal will eventually emerge.
The second (and more likely) possibility is that the staff and the board simply want to avoid embarrassment over their unwillingness to deal effectively with corruption in the past.
Adam Lerrick, my colleague at the American Enterprise Institute who was senior adviser to the chairman of a commission that took a critical look at international financial institutions, put it this way to me: ``The bank doesn't want to know the answers to these questions. They view a project as completed if the money is out the door. Their goal is to keep the money flowing, and the money flow to poor countries will slow to a trickle if they worry about corruption.''
To be sure, Wolfowitz has made some missteps. But the coordinated effort to harm him has revealed to polite society in Washington that something at the World Bank is seriously wrong.
Polite society has both Democratic and Republican members. The bureaucrats at the bank might have their way and they might get Wolfowitz's head. But if they do, they can be assured that the U.S. is going to focus even more intently on corruption at the bank.
The effort to discredit Wolfowitz has raised the stakes immeasurably. It seems unlikely the World Bank will ever be the same.
As with all bureaucracies, especially multi-national settings like the World Bank, the individual who comes in to reform the whole place and push out corruption is generally enemy number one and will catch hell trying to get work done. Here's hoping that Wolfowitz beats back his attackers so he can continue his current work.
Monday, April 23, 2007
If you thought that the recent massacre was the "biggest murder spree" in our history, then I recommend you check out this piece by Bill Steigerwald in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. It seems that in all corners of the world and at various times in history, individuals have evil impulses and act on them when you least expect it.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Harry Reid and his fellow Dems might think it's good politics to announce that the war in Iraq is lost but more cooler heads like Frederick Kagan(Who studies the counter-insurgency fight in Iraq daily) beg to differ. Here's a look at what Kagan had to say in the most recent edition of the Weekly Standard on Iraq:
Even when our soldiers and our Iraqi allies are slowly turning the tide(Expect many dark days of the enemy counter-attacking ahead before the storm ends), you still have the leader of the US Senate calling(in his hushed tones) them and their mission a failure. Defeatism is not a key to the White House for the Democrats in 2008.
Critics of the war also argue that the Sunni insurgency is no longer the central problem in Iraq, that sectarian violence has become the greatest and most intractable challenge. Sunni-Shiite hatred is centuries old, we are told, and American troops should not be put between hostile factions engaged in primordial violence that will spiral inevitably out of control. Facts on the ground do not support this conclusion. At the beginning of the current Baghdad Security Plan, both Moktada al-Sadr and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leaders of the two dominant Shiite militias, ordered their followers to support the plan and stop conducting attacks against Sunnis. Sectarian attacks, also known as extra-judicial killings, dropped dramatically. In recent weeks they have risen somewhat as Sadr s militia, the Jaysh al-Mahdi, has begun to fragment and rogue elements have resumed their attacks. But even so, the levels remain below what they were before the Baghdad offensive began in February. This pattern is the opposite of the one we saw last year during Operations Together Forward I and II in Baghdad, when sectarian killings reached new peaks a few weeks after the start of those undertakings.
The fact that extra-judicial killings dropped when Sadr and Hakim ordered them to do so shows that the sectarian violence is not a reflection of primordial and unreasoning hatred, but rather a calculated use of force by particular individuals to advance their own agendas. If Iraqis really hated each other to the extent that an endless cycle of killing was inevitable, they would not so readily have followed the orders of their leaders.
Hurriya is a neighborhood in central Baghdad that was once mixed and is now predominantly Shiite. Jaysh al-Mahdi fighters have been working to drive out the remaining Sunni families. When new U.S. forces arrived in the neighborhood and established Joint Security Stations (JSS), they sent out word and a telephone number, asking for tips. In a story that became national news, a Sunni woman called that number and reported that three Shiite gunmen were attempting to drive her family out. American forces responded and captured two of the gunmen, but the third escaped and managed to kill the woman the next day. The story was prominently reported as evidence of the failure of the Baghdad Security Plan, with the added detail that her family left the area the next day. In truth, as the soldiers manning the Hurriya JSS told me in early April, the family left only to attend her funeral and is still living in its house. One would have expected the tip-line to dry up, of course, since the Mahdi Army had proven that it could punish informants. On the contrary. Tips to that unit have increased dramatically, and it is now receiving tips even from Shiites about IEDs that have been placed to kill U.S. soldiers, and about Mahdi Army efforts to terrorize Sunnis. Why? Because the Iraqis in Hurriya have had enough. They resent the fighters, Sunni or Shiite, who bring violence and death to their neighborhood. They want to help those, American or Iraqi, who can protect them and bring them peace.
The key to this change in attitude, which is not confined to Hurriya, but is spreading throughout Baghdad, lies in the establishment of trust between Iraqis and Americans. In the Hurriya JSS, Iraqi and American soldiers live together in a single building. They eat together, plan together, analyze intelligence and tips together, and fight together. The locals know that they are there, and know that they can respond quickly. They trust them, both Americans and Iraqis, to try to protect them from violence. This trust comes from the permanent presence of American forces in the neighborhood and from the belief that they will be there for a while. As any policeman can attest, trust is essential to getting good information about bad things happening in a neighborhood. It is as essential to fighting terrorism as it is to fighting crime. And it can happen only when American and Iraqi forces work together to protect the population they live among.
As a huge fan of the Second Amendment and believer that it is our God given right to own firearms in order to protect yourself and your family from being robbed or killed, I have to scratch my head when politicians and members of the media started calling for stricter gun control laws on everyday Americans after the massacre at Virginia Tech. While I'm no expert on crime prevention, I can attest, from living in a house and a community of gun owners, that the likelihood of a gun wielding wacko or a thief entering my house and gunning down my family down is greatly diminished due to the fact that they're not so sure if they enter my house or my neighbor if they won't get blasted away by a snub nose .38 or 9mm. Now while liberals might scoff at this, I think it is high time we lessen these horrific gun restrictions on college campuses and cities, which do nothing but prevent law-abiding citizens from practicing self-defense against whacked-out gunmen. Though all of these slayings might not have been prevented, I can bet that the body count would have been minute if some student or professor had a gun in their possession at the time of the shooting. If you want a more detailed look at this argument then I suggest you read this wonderful piece by syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and this one by Mark Steyn.
*Also, check out John Lott's fine book More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun-Control Laws, and Clayton E. Cramer's Armed America: The Remarkable Story of How and Why Guns Became as American as Apple Pie for more.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
I know that John Edwards feels he's got something going with his Huey P. Long "man of the people" populism but such rings hollow when he keeps on doing things like build big house or his latest, which is $400 haircuts and expensive trips to various day-spas.
Monday, April 16, 2007
After reading this piece by Bill Sammon over at the Washington Examiner, I'd have to say that maybe I spoke too soon on the demise of Senator Fred Thompson's bid for the White House. I know his plan is to wade out this pre-election nuttiness which is romping through the MSM(Candidates are getting into the Imus circus for goodness sakes and having fund-raisers with rappers(Clinton and Obama) instead of talking about issues that are more typical of our politicians) in a effort to build a great following but such actions didn't get Reagan, Clinton, Bush and others into 1600 Pennsylvania. No matter how you cut it, candidates of today have got to get into the mix and draw a following by your ideas along with raising lots of money if they want to have a chance of receiving the keys from George W Bush in January of 09. So I bid him good health and hope he starts this great journey pretty soon.
Thursday, April 12, 2007
According to this piece by Dr. Joseph M. Knippenberg over at the Marietta Daily Journal, the movement towards school choice/vouchers (for special needs and regular students) is gaining a great amount of ground in the state of Georgia. Hopefully this will pave the road to the passage of SB 10 (GA Special Needs Scholarship Act) thus allowing parents with special needs the ability to move their children into schools that they deem appropriate for the safety and education of their disabled children. So here's hoping that such is the first of many steps towards greater school choice.
While a lot of the Democrats in Congress(See Sen. Biden's piece in today's Washington Post) and the MSM are pointing to the suicide bomber infiltrating the Green Zone as yet another mark on the "War is Lost" totem pole, there are also some individuals who have devoted a lot of time in studying the actions of our troops and our enemies and are making broad based assessments of the current counter-insurgency operations. One individual who seems to be taking a more studied look at Iraq(Rather than a snap judgement like most Senators) is Frederick Kagan, a military historian and AEI scholar, who has written a highly informative piece in the Weekly Standard that provides a full picture of what's happening in Iraq. Here's a brief sample of Kagan's piece:
The enemies of peace and order in Iraq want to win. To win, they stage attacks, as enemies in war always do. Those attacks destroy things and kill people. Complaints that Iraq is still violent, that people are still dying, that attacks are still occurring reflect not the failure of the current plan, but the complainers' incomprehension of war. When all the attacks have stopped and one can walk peacefully from one end of Baghdad to another, the plan will not be going well--it will be over, along with the war. Until then, attacks in themselves mean only that one enemy or another is still fighting and the war is still going on. In some cases, as in the Baghdad belts, they mean that we are taking the fight to the enemy, something it is essential to do in any war. Violence increases when they attack and when we attack--in itself, the increase says little about the prospects for victory.I understand the Senator has his point of view on Iraq and enjoys being a vocal critic of the administration but such shouldn't shade his eye's from the whole picture of this fledgeling democracy in the Middle East. So instead of ripping talking points from the MSM, Senator Biden or his staffers should read Kagan's pieces and the Iraq Report(Compiled by Kimberly Kagan in conjuction with the The Institute for The Study of War and the Weekly Standard).
Throughout the nation there are a lot of people who have caught the ethanol fever and are building various factories to make this alternative fuel. Such a fever is understandable due to the fact that folks are so willing to free us from our heavy dependence on foreign sources of fuel as well as a desire to rake in a serious amount of money through the production of this "liquid maize," but this move towards corn-based ethanol is also having a negative impact on the American people's pocketbook through the raising of the price of beef, chicken, and pork due to these fuel producers buying up the feed corn that is normally used by farmers. While it's admirable for these individuals to promote such alternative fuels, I've got to say that it will be much easier on the American consumer if these budding entrepreneurs would lay off the corn feed and venture into the sugar(Dropping the 54 cent a gallon tariff on imported sugar could spur this production) or cellulosic based ethanol(pine trees, bark, and switch grass) in which the raw materials are more readily available.
*Here's a piece on the sugar-based ethanol front.
Instead of the MSM and its gaggle of celebrities fretting over Don Imus and the fate of their talking salon, which helps sell a lot of their books, they need to move on and find a new forum that has a more family friendly atmosphere that elevates the conversation. Now it is true that these folks can venture over to the morning news shows and NPR to push their books, their is also another venue, which is Bill Bennett's Morning in America. Even though these authors might be wary of going on the conservative hosts program, they should be rest-assured that they'll find that an appearance on Morning in America will be much like a sit down in a graduate level college classroom(It has something to do with the fact he holds a Ph.D. in philosophy, is a former Secretary of Education and a fellow at the Claremont Institute.) that offers a hearty conversation between the guest and host rather than a Romanesque forum in which the host beats up the guest with silly questions or horrific insults. Now while it's too late in the day to tune into the greatness of Morning in America(6-9 AM) , I figured this good piece by Kathryn Jean Lopez over at National Review Online would give you a good introduction to Bill Bennett's radio show. I'd suggest the authors who ventured to Imus in the past would do better by showing up on Morning in America. So enjoy the piece and tune in to the show. (You can hear the show over at http://www.krla870.com from 6-9AM)
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Now while this pretty much nixes the former Senator's bid for the White House(Even if he didn't rule it out), I believe he could be very helpful in aiding the GOP and its potential choice in landing 1600 Pennsylvania Street come 2008. Even if his chooses not to help in the fight, he's still got a career in the movies, TV and as a great radio host(He's doing a good job as a stand-in for Paul Harvey.) Anyway my prayers go out to Fred Thompson and hope he continues to stay in remission.
Friday, April 06, 2007
After seeing this photo of an iPod that stopped a AK-47 bullet from killing Kevin Garrad of the 3rd ID, I think Apple could come up with a new desert camo iPod and name it something like the "IraqiPod" and ship it out to our troops or offer it up to folks in the United States.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Here's a good piece by Barry Rubin in the Jerusalem Post that shows you what can happen to a nation when it forgets its history and fails to confront a aggressor. I think that it's about time that the service academies within the UK start teaching such history and restore the spirit of John Bull or many more aggressors will follow Iran's lead.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Hal G.P. Colebatch has a good piece in the American Spectator on the plight of some 12,000 British citizens who are currently living in Zimbabwe. Even after Mugabe and his friends in Zimbabwe have confiscated farms from white settlers, devastated the rich farmland thus causing massive starvation, 1,800% inflation, forcing hundreds of thousands of the poor(Supporters of the opposition MDC), and sicking his thugs on the opposition party MDC, there are a lot of elderly British citizens who are concerned about their future but are stuck there because they can't afford to buy the gas(It's being rationed) or aren't in the shape to travel the long distance to South Africa. Here's a look:
OF THE 12,000 BRITISH PEOPLE remaining in Zimbabwe, it is estimated that about half are aged pensioners (except that Zimbabwean inflation and economic collapse has made their "pensions" worthless). Many are World War II veterans or the widows of veterans. Private charities, such as "Zimbabwe, A National Emergency" are trying to help them, but it appears the British government is doing nothing and has no interest in doing anything. (It is spending about $20 billion, so far, on the London Olympic Games, however.)I know that it is really the responsibility for these folks to get out of Zimbabwe when things started to slide but much like when we evacuated American citizens(On our dime) from Lebanon during the recent war between the Israelis and Hezbollah, the British should go and retrieve these people because it's the right thing to do. One can only imagine what these loyal British subjects will experience if they remain in the hell known as Zimbabwe. Since the West, the African Union as well as the Southern African Development Community, aren't willing to step into the fray and end such madness , then this is least the British could do.
The first big wave of white persecutions by the Mugabe regime, beginning in 2001, was the first major foreign-policy crisis, with large numbers of British lives at stake, for the Blair Government. Mugabe had shown his colors (which he had never bothered to hide much anyway) as a terroristic tyrant by the genocidal massacres of many thousands of Ndabele people previously. Prime Minister Blair and the Foreign Secretary, both then on holiday, left the matter to a junior Foreign Office Minister, Baroness Amos, who said and, as far as one could tell, did nothing whatsoever. In January 2002, she told the Today program that "in different parts of the world we see different countries turn to bad leadership and bad politics, and we've seen that coming in Zimbabwe for some years and it's a tragedy." That was it.
A plea by Prince Charles, who reportedly wrote privately to the Prime Minister's office asking that the British people trapped in Zimbabwe be helped, was apparently ignored. With the situation now desperate and complete chaos and civil war in Zimbabwe looking nearer every day, the stage is being set for a particularly cruel and unnecessary criminal tragedy.
*Here's an interesting piece from The New Yorker(They're liberal but do have some good stuff once in a while) on Zimbabwe.
I'd have to say that this post by Roger Kimball over at The New Criterion blog ARMAVIRUMQUE, seems to rightly sum up his disgust at the Iranian government's taking the 15 British sailors and marines hostage and then releasing them as "gift" to the British people. Here's the best part:
The last time I checked, one can legitimately make a gift only of what rightfully belongs to one. A burglar breaks into your house and steals something; you tell him to give it back; he maunders on about how "property is theft" or some such before finally calling a press conference and telling you he has decided to make you a gift of the thing he had just stolen. Thanks, pal! The Iranians made their point. They brazenly kidnapped those British military personnel, calculating, correctly, that the Brits would do nothing to stop them. They publicly humiliated the sailors and marines, thumbed their noses at the "international community," and made the point with brutal elegance that they could flout the law with impunity. Then they have the gall to say they have decided to make the British people a gift of their own countrymen.That just about sums it up my take on Iran.
After seeing the report above from ABC World News by Terry McCarthy, I'd have to say that a lot of Democrats in Congress shouldn't be so quick to quip before the cameras and to the rest of the MSM that President Bush and the Pentagon "don't have a plan" when it comes to securing Iraq. Now I know that the video shows various security barriers made out of concrete and barbed wire along the streets but if such barriers along with a hefty presence of US/Iraqi soldiers in these neighborhoods is effective in keeping down the violence then then I think the folks living there will continue to welcome this with open arms. As with anything in a counter-insurgency fight in such a difficult place like Iraq, we're going to have to wait a while to see how successive the new plan is working. Here's hoping that the success they've achieved so far will continue.
*Hat tip to the good folks over at Hot Air.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Amongst all of the various news reports, opinion pieces, blog posts on the 15 British Marines, who are currently being held in Iran, I have to say that Victor Davis Hanson seems to hit the nail on the nail-head with this post over at the Corner. Here's a sample:
Since 9/11 we have been lectured on the advantages of "soft" power, especially in the context of the economic engine of the EU used for moral purposes. But if the Europe Union is still extending trade credits to a belligerent that has committed an act of piracy against a fellow member, then there is neither soft or hard power, but no power at all.It'd be nice if a lot of the leaders in the West would find some time to read VDH's wonderful thoughts or at leat have a "What would Truman, Churchill, Thatcher or Reagan do?" moment instead of hawking "time for diplomacy" shibboleths that is interpreted as a sign of weakness.
In the context of the 300, we can now resurrect an old word from Herodotus—"Medize"—to describe modern Western states' capitulation to and accommodation with autocratic Persia.Since Ahmadinejad cut his teeth on hostage-taking, we should remember how that mess finally ended—with the assumption of office by Ronald Reagan, whom the clerics apparently feared was crazy enough to bomb them. So to get the hostages released, will it take some announcement from a would-be Prime Minister that the "matter will end" when he or she takes over? Probably not. This "incident" has proved a multilateral trifecta: a patrol sanctioned by the U.N. gets no support from the U.N., a member of the EU is left hanging in the interest of EU trade, a NATO member finds no NATO allies, other than the U.S., to offer support. So what is the purpose of these alphabetic organizations? Perhaps Ahmadinejad should start holding seminars, Henry Kissinger style, to instruct the Islamic world on how to deal with the West, given his instincts that Western rhetoric is in inverse proportion to Western willingness to stand up for a principle.
*This perception is driven further into the minds of dictators in the Middle East with Speaker Pelosi playing a game of shuttle diplomacy with Syria. Now I realize that direct talking /diplomacy is a preferred and less dangerous option but such is best practiced by the White House and the State Department(They're granted this role in the Constitution), who at the moment refuse to meet with Assad as long as his regime supports terrorism and continues to undermine the government of Lebanon. As I said above, you can't have conflicting stances on foreign policy and expect the dictators in the Middle East to take us serious or see us as a strong power. These dictators and their "brothers in arms" are playing for keeps.
Monday, April 02, 2007
After watching the clip above and reading various pieces on Fred Thompson(See here and here), I'd say that the former Senator from Tennessee would be a great fit for the GOP in 08. I know that Thompson(As well as Newt) is waiting for the public to get so fed up with the front runners(It'd be a good strategy for a long primary season like that of 1976 or 1980, when Carter and Reagan won in later primaries.) that they will demand a conservative voice that appeals to the free-market conservatives, small government conservatives, national security conservatives and social conservatives that make up the GOP but after seeing the financial reports on Romney and Rudy, I'd say that Fred Thompson has got to wrap up his work on "Law and Order" and declare his candidacy so he can get out his face, message and start raising funds for win in such a shortened political calendar. I'd prefer to have a choice of some bonafide conservatives(Thompson or Newt) that I know where they stand, rather than taking a chance on folks who are less committed conservative.
I think Senator Reid(D-NV)threats off cutting off funds for our troops within the next year-if President Bush vetoes the Iraq supplemental appropriations bill-is an "dog that won't hunt" with the blue-dog Democrats. Even more, the Democrats need to be aware that such actions might be great fodder for the Moveon.org, Code Pink and Hollywood crowd but such defeatist talk won't get a Democrat in the White House in the near future.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Bill Sammon has an article over at the D.C. Examiner, which notes that the Republicans in Congress are "rallying-around-the-president" with regards to his devotion to victory in Iraq. I think if the GOP holds pat and draws in the red-state/blue dog Democrats, they could deliver a clean Iraq supplemental bill and help our soldiers in Iraq to achieve their mission.(That's after President Bush vetoes the current bill.)