The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, July 31, 2006
The Hezbollah Waltz
The Thirties Revisited
I always have my doubts about “trends.” The history of 20th-century America is largely about a country that never prepared for war, and was always compelled--by our enemies--to conduct enormous crusades. It was seemingly all or nothing for us. The history of America in war, like that of most others, is largely about making enormous blunders at the beginning, and then sorting it out. Our great strength is not so much avoiding error, but the ability to recover quickly, change tactics and even strategy, and get it done. I think that applies to the three world wars in the last century.
The scary thing about our current jam is that 9/11 was supposed to have been the wakeup call, but we are again asleep. For this I blame our leaders--both the administration and the Dems. The administration is constitutionally unable to explain itself, and the Dems have no qualms about losing all present battles so long as they can elect their candidates and bring down this president.
The greatest failure of our leaders, with rare exceptions, is their refusal to see the war plain, which means Iran and Syria (might as well call them “Syran,” since they operate in tandem, with Tehran pushing most of the buttons). It was never possible to “win in Iraq” so long as we insisted on fighting in Iraq alone. You can not win a regional war by playing defense in one country. It was, and remains, a sucker’s game. Syran pays no price at all for killing our kids and our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now in Gaza and Lebanon/Israel.
Syran reasonably concluded that there was no price to pay for killing us, and so they predictably expanded the scope of the war. Our leaders do not see this whole; they see each component as a separate issue. They see that Hezbollah is an Iranian entity. They see Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers at work in Lebanon and Iraq. They know the best weapons in the war come through Syran and in many cases are manufactured by Syran. Any logical person has to conclude that you cannot win this war without defeating Syran.
But not a single voice comes from the White House to explain this, let alone to craft a strategy to accomplish it. The best foreign-policy speech in a long time--a lucid analysis of the threat of Islamic fascism and several excellent suggestions of how to combat it--was made two weeks ago by Senator Santorum, and yet his relatively modest bill to support freedom for the Iranian people has been vigorously contested and systematically blocked by Secretary of State Rice and Senator Richard Lugar.
Meanwhile, a collection of frauds, writing in places like Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Mother Jones, continuously recycles a story saying that a neocon (code for “Jewish”) conspiracy duped Bush into going to war in Iraq, and is now arranging the invasion of Iran. Documented lies, like those peddled by Joe Wilson to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, are treated as reliable. Fantasies about American armed forces operating covertly in Iran, like those written by Seymour Hirsh, get taken seriously. And people like me are accused of masterminding the whole thing, even though I oppose a military campaign against Iran.
No one can doubt that this is a willful disinformation campaign, aimed at paralyzing and then destroying the president. I do not think people in the White House have ever fully appreciated their peril. I think that lack of understanding goes hand-in-hand with the failure in strategic vision that underlies our unwillingness to fight the regional war that is being waged against us.
It is the Thirties again. Many of the statements above apply to Franklin Roosevelt’s first two administrations, and to the political atmosphere of those dreadful years. Then, too, the mounting power of what became the Axis was ignored. As my father often reminded me, a few months before Pearl Harbor, at a time when Nazi armies were long since on the march, the draft passed by a single vote. Apologists for Hitler and Mussolini were legion, and some of our leading intellectuals were saying that American democratic capitalism was a failure, and we would do well to emulate the European totalitarians.There is more...read it all here.
Who REALLY Killed the Children of Qana?
Today, it is becoming more and more likely that many aspects of the Qana "massacre" were staged by Hezbollah. There are three reports to link to today; first we go to AJ Strata who points out the evidence that this massacre was staged for the world cameras:
Folks on the internet (welcome to the brave new world) and fair and balanced news organizations have been working to understand the Qana quandry. The attacks happened between 12 and 1 AM, and people evacuate. Then some ‘poor’ people take shelter and the building collapses. But as bodies are pulled from the ‘rubble’ pictures show rescuers and victims amazingly free of dust and debris and blood. Did people die at the site? I am sure some did. But is Hezbollah pulling a fast one on a gullible world quick to jump to conclusions? Here are some reports on the matter.
The Isreali Insider notes a child victim with rapid rigor mortis setting in, among many other discrepencies:
Why would the civilians who had supposedly taken shelter in the basement of the building not leave after the post-midnight attack? They just went back to sleep and had the bad luck to wait for the building to collapse in the morning?
National Public Radio’s correspondent reported that residents of that building had left and the victims were non-residents who chose to shelter in the building that night. They were “too poor” to leave the down, one resident told CNN’s Wedeman. Who were these people?
What we do know is that sometime after dawn a call went hour to journalists and rescue workers to come to the scene. And come they did, in droves.
While Hezbollah and its apologists have been claiming that civilians could not freely flee the scene due to Israeli destruction of bridges and roads, the journalists and rescue teams from nearby Tyre had no problem getting there.
Lebanese rescue teams did not start evacuating the building until the morning and only after the camera crews came. The absence of a real rescue effort was explained by saying that equipment was lacking. There were no scenes of live or injured people being extracted.
There was little blood, CNN’s Wedeman noted: all the victims, he concluded, appeared to have died while as they were sleeping — sleeping, apparently, through thunderous Israeli air attacks. Rescue workers equipped with cameras were removing the bodies from the same opening in the collapsed structure. Journalists were not allowed near the collapsed building.
Meanwhile The Editors of the Washington Times discusses the war crime of using civilians as a "shield" to conduct operations--against other civilians! Here is a snippet of their commentary:
Israel is being vilified by opportunistic politicians and the international media over the air strike that killed 56 persons early yesterday in the Lebanese village of Qana. In the rush to blame Israel, a number of relevant facts are ignored:
1) the sad fact of the matter is that, no matter how much is done to minimize the risk to civilians, civilians inevitably die in wars;
2) Israel has placed its soldiers at risk in order to minimize civilian casualties in Lebanon, while Hezbollah, in flagrant violation of international law, including the Geneva Conventions, deliberately behaves in ways to maximize harm to Israeli and Lebanese civilians;
3) in Qana there were indisputable military targets, including locations from which Hezbollah has been firing rockets into Israel;
4) pending the outcome of an investigation, there is no way to tell whether all of those killed in the airstrike were "civilians," as Israel's critics confidently tell us, or whether the dead were actually a mix of combatants and noncombatants.
Senior Israeli officials said yesterday that Hezbollah rocket launchers were concealed in civilian buildings in the village, from which 150 rockets were fired over the past 20 days. They showed reporters video footage of rocket launchers being driven into Qana, from whence rockets were fired at northern Israeli towns, including Kiryat Shemona, Afula and Ma'alot. Israel targeted the building hit early yesterday because intelligence reports indicated that Hezbollah operatives were inside, along with Katyusha rockets and launchers. Typically Hezbollah fighters fire rockets at Israeli targets and then dart into nearby buildings.
Indeed, as it has repeatedly done in the course of the 19-day-old military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces have relinquished the element of surprise by dropping leaflets on Qana and many other Lebanese towns telling residents that they should leave the area because the IDF is preparing to conduct military operations against Hezbollah. Just as Israel tries to move Lebanese civilians out of the line of fire, Hezbollah does its best to put them in danger and peril. In a dispatch published yesterday in Australia, the Sydney Sunday Herald Sun demonstrates just how Hezbollah wages war.
Finally there is this superb ewssay by the always hard-hitting James Lewis of The American Thinker, entitled "Who Killed the Children of Qana?" Here is a representative excerpt of his powerful argument:
Nothing is more heartrending than the suffering of children. Emotionally we all want to put the blame on the bombs, the bombers, and those who ordered the bombing. And yet that is obviously a twisted perversion of reality. Because it is the explicit policy of Islamist terror groups to hide behind children, shooting missiles at Israeli civilians all the time. The gains to the terrorists are enormous. Israelis inevitably feel guilty about the unwanted casualties, but they don’t know what else to do in the face of constant attacks on their own children at home. The Muslim masses are predictably outraged because they only hear one side of the story. And the Leftist media continue to lie—- there is no other word for it—- about who is choosing to expose children to danger.
So the seeds are planted from the beginning. The BBC and the New York Times have labeled the black hats and the white hats for years and years. We are seeing just another replay of Leftist propaganda since Stalin—- who was the innocent victim of Western aggression until decades after his death, when a few old Lefties sheepishly admitted his crimes. Communism killed some 100 million innocents in the 20th century, according to the authoritative Black Book of Communism (Livre Noire du Communism in the original French).
And yet, the most famous intellectuals of the 20th century served this murderous ideology. We are simply seeing a repeat today, with the usual suspects on the Left siding with Islamic fascism just as they took sides with the Leftist fascism of Stalin and Mao.
The Qana story is just a replay of Abu Ghraib, the myth that Saddam had no WMDs, the Wilson-Plame bedroom farce, and on and on. It has just become a kind of reflex of the Left: Israel and the United States are always wrong. Everything is set up for the same mendacious narrative.
Hezbollah killed the children of Qana, just as it killed the children of Haifa. Hezbollah is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his fellow criminals of the mullahcracy in Tehran, who created the Hezbo monster with malice aforethought to “wipe Israel off the map.” There’s no mystery here. They are dead serious about a second genocide against the Jews of Israel. There has never been any effort to lie about it on the part of the Khomeini cult in Tehran. So we know who is responsible.
And yet, the “liberal” media always blame the good guys. There is something twisted and perverse about the media narrative, some sense of delight in enabling the overt malice of the Islamofascists. Because the media know. They know what’s going on. They are just playing dumb, trying to turn their easily-led audiences against those they hate the most. The media take an almost sexual delight in facilitating the murderous malice of Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad. In the calculus of moral responsibility, the New York Times and its ilk must therefore be held to blame in equal measure with the aggressor. “If it bleeds, it leads,” is their working slogan, and it is hard to evade the thought that the biggest “journalists” and editors have learned to enjoy that game, that sense of importance, that arrogation of power. They are co-conspirators in the slaughter of innocents.Read all of this essay; it cuts straight to the heart of the Achilles Heel of the West in this war for its survival: namely the media. Unless something is done about this problem, we could easily lose this war. And that would be catastrophic.
UPDATE: AJ Strata now has up even more evidence that the photograps from Qana were staged. (warning: these photographs are disturbing and not for the timid.)
Bolton Reportedly WILL be Confirmed
Chuck Schumer confirmed that he may change his position on the confirmation of John Bolton and now considers a filibuter "unlikely", removing one of the key struts to Harry Reid's obstructionism during Bolton's last confirmation attempt. Bolton's defense of Israel appears to have changed his mind:
A Democratic filibuster of John Bolton's nomination as United Nations ambassador is "unlikely," Senator Schumer said yesterday.
Mr. Schumer supported an effort last year to block Mr. Bolton's nomination from gaining a full Senate vote, but he confirmed that he is considering changing his position. ...
Mr. Schumer said he had not made a final decision on which way to vote and that a lot of Democrats were also contemplating their position. The Democrats would need the support of 41 of their 45 members in the Senate to block Mr. Bolton's nomination. Three Democrats crossed over to oppose a filibuster last year, meaning that a shift of even a few senators would signal Mr. Bolton's confirmation. "I think that if you count the votes, a filibuster is unlikely," Mr. Schumer said.
Further down, the good Captain rightly concludes:
I'm happy that Schumer has decided to stop playing partisan politics with foreign-policy positions, which clearly fall into the purview of the White House and have tenure limited to that of the president's term. Hopefully, his caucus will follow his lead and quit acting like petulant children. However, it would also be nice if they could finally make up their mind about whether multilateralism is a virtue or a vice and get their stories straight forthwith.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Mustering the Will to Prevail--Understanding that the Alternative may be unthinkable
Here are a few selected paragraphs from the whole. But read the whole thing: this is an incredibly important point--indeed it is the gist of the entire War for Civilization. We could not only lose this War, we could lose one or more American cities, millions of American lives, and perhaps America itself in the apocalypse that could happen if we do not Win this war now , while we still have the upper hand:
In fact, the notion that "fighting" a war is the monopoly of those "in uniform" gets to the heart of why America and its allies are having such a difficult time in the present struggle. Nations go to war, not armies. Or, to be more precise, nations, not armies, win wars. America has a military that cannot be defeated on the battlefield, but so what? The first President Bush assembled the biggest coalition in history for Gulf War I, and the bigger and more notionally powerful it got, the better Saddam Hussein's chances of surviving it became. Because the bigger it got, the less likely it was to be driven by a coherent set of war aims.
War is not like firefighting: It's not about going to the burning house, identifying what needs to be done, and doing it; it's not a technical solution to an obvious problem. And, if you think it is, you find yourself like George Bush Sr. in 1991, standing in front of the gates of Baghdad and going, "Er, OK. Now what?" Some people look at the burning house and see Hezbollah terrorism; others see Israeli obduracy, or a lack of American diplomacy, or Iranian machinations, or a need to get the permanent Security Council members to send peacekeepers, or "poverty" or "despair" or an almighty pile-up of abstract nouns. You can have the best fastest state-of-the-art car on the road, but, if you don't know where you're going, the fellow in the rusting '73 Oldsmobile will get there and you won't. It's the ideas that drive a war and the support they command in the broader society that determine whether you'll see it through to real victory. After Korea and Vietnam and Gulf War I, it shouldn't be necessary to have to state that.
No one can argue with U.S. military superiority. America has the most powerful armed forces on the planet. The Pentagon is responsible for 40 percent of the world's military spending, and outspends the next 20 biggest militaries combined. It's responsible for almost 80 percent of military research-and-development spending, which means the capability gap between it and everyone else widens every day.
We live in an age of inversely proportional deterrence: The more militarily powerful a civilized nation is, the less its enemies have to fear the full force of that power ever being unleashed. They know America and other Western powers fight under the most stringent self-imposed etiquette. Overwhelming force is one thing; overwhelming force behaving underwhelmingly as a matter of policy is quite another.
So even the most powerful military in the world is subject to broader cultural constraints. When Kathryn Lopez's e-mailer sneers that "your contribution to this war is limited solely to your ability to exercise the skillset provided by your liberal arts education," he's accidentally put his finger on the great imponderable: whether the skill set provided by the typical American, British and European education these last 30 years is now one of the biggest obstacles to civilizational self-preservation. A nation that psychologically outsources war to a small career soldiery risks losing its ability even to grasp concepts like "the enemy": The professionalization of war is also the ghettoization of war. As John Podhoretz wondered in the New York Post the other day: "What if liberal democracies have now evolved to a point where they can no longer wage war effectively because they have achieved a level of humanitarian concern for others that dwarfs any really cold-eyed pursuit of their own national interests?"
That's a good question. If you watch the grisly U.S. network coverage of any global sporting event, you've no doubt who your team's meant to be: If there are plucky Belgian hurdlers or Fijian shotputters in the Olympics, you never hear a word of them on ABC and NBC; it's all heartwarming soft-focus profiles of athletes from Indiana and Nebraska. The American media have no problem being ferociously jingoistic when it comes to the two-man luge. Yet, when it's a war, there is no "our" team, not on American TV. Like snotty French ice-dancing judges, the media watch the U.S. skate across the rink and then hand out a succession of snippy 4.3s -- for lack of Miranda rights in Fallujah, insufficient menu options at Gitmo.
Our enemies understand "why we fight" and where the fight is. They know that in the greater scheme of things the mosques of Jakarta and Amsterdam and Toronto and Dearborn are more important territory than the Sunni Triangle. The U.S. military is the best-equipped and best-trained in the world. But it's not enough, it never has been and it never will be.
We ignore Steyn's words at our own extreme peril. Will the cost of our collective weakness and lack of will be the loss of Civilization as we know it? And what price is "too high"? New York, LA, or London going up in a mushroom cloud. Half the population dying in a bioterror attack? Our enemies are not concerned about our "human rights"; they are concerned only that we are hastened to our graves as quickly as possible. In the face of pathological enemy like the terror masters of Radical Islam, can we afford NOT to do whatever is necessary to win this War?
Chinese and Cuban Drilling spurs calls for American exploration in the Gulf of Mexico
It is about time. Personally I think the Republicans could make this a huge wedge issue in the upcoming elections if they play their cards right. As gas prices rise, the idea that our enemies can drill in our coastal waters--but that we can't--should be anathema to most sane Americans.
The utter Depravity of Hiding behind Women and Children
Today she focuses her attention, commentary and artwork on hard intelligence (video evidence, amongh other things) that Hezbollah is beyond the shadow of a doubt purposefully using Lebanese innocents as unwitting (and often forced) human shields for their assaults on Israeli population centers--only to then bring in Al Jazeera and their willing allies in the Western MSM later to photograph the carnage and all gory details of the same dead Lebanese innocents after Israel strikes back at the launch platforms within these inhuman civilian hostage "firebases".
When hard evidence is found as to the true nature of these sociopathic monsters in Hezbollah, it is important to get that information out so the public can understand why it is important to support the Israelis in this fight (and they also could use a bit more knowledge as to the extent of Iran's involvement in their actions...)
Alexandra comments today on the increasing body of evidence as to the insidious and inhuman nature of our Hezbollah adversaries, who in the name of their God, willingly force innocent men women and children to be slaughtered to foward their Islamo-Nazi world view. And be sure and visit All Things Beautiful--I think the more you go there, the more you will find it to be one of the most unique blogs in the blogosphere. I'm glad Alexandra is on our side. From today's post "Grapes of Wrath Revisited":
Finally, the damning images that prove that Hezbollah terrorist militiamen dressed in civilian clothes, who seem to have gathered an inordinate amount of support in Lebanon, have indeed been using civilian, mostly Christian neighborhoods as shields against Israeli attacks, and hiding and using weapons in a densely populated area.
The Melbourne man who smuggled the shots out of Beirut told yesterday how he was less than 400m from the block when it was obliterated.
``Hezbollah came in to launch their rockets, then within minutes the area was blasted by Israeli jets,'' he said.
``Until the Hezbollah fighters arrived, it had not been touched by the Israelis. Then it was totally devastated.
``After the attacks they didn't even allow the ambulances or the Lebanese Army to come in until they had cleaned the area, removing their rockets and hiding other evidence.
I am sorry for the horrific human suffering created in the bombing of Qana, southern Lebanon today, but if these people do not care for human life they endanger, why should Israel sacrifice their own which they do care about? Hezbollah has been using Qana as a base for launching hundreds of rockets at Israel, happily waiting for the bitter memory of the Operation Grapes of Wrath propaganda to do their dirty work for them. The people there should be horrified and disgusted at what Hezbollah are doing, and at the inability and unwillingness of their own cowardly Government to disarm Hezbollah, instead of allowing the MSM to portray Hezbollah as some kind of liberating heroes. Israel cannot be blamed for loss of life in these circumstances.UPDATE: The American Thinker discusses "The Curious Case of the Qana Building Collapse" and wonders what happened during the 8 hour gap between when the building was bombed by the IDF (shortly after missiles were launched at Israel from the building in Qana that reportedly contined many of the "human shields" referenced above...) and when the building actually collapsed, killing all the children inside. Key grafs:
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are noting the strange 8 hour gap between the attack on Qana and the colllapse of the apartment building which killed so many children.
“The attack on the structure in the Qana village took place between midnight and one in the morning. The gap between the timing of the collapse of the building and the time of the strike on it is unclear,” Brigadier General Amir Eshel, Head of the Air Force Headquarters told journalists at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, following the incidents at Qana.
Eshel and the head of the IDF’s Operational Branch, Major General Gadi Eisnkot said the structure was not being attacked when it collapsed, at around 8:00 in the morning.
The IDF believes that Hizbullah explosives in the building were behind the explosion that caused the collapse.
Another possibility is that the rickety building remained standing for a few hours, but eventually collapsed. “It could be that inside the building, things that could eventually cause an explosion were being housed, things that we could not blow up in the attack, and maybe remained there, Brigadier General Eshel said.
Buildings about hal a kilometer away were attack at 7:30 AM, so the ricklety building theory may have something to do with it.
But why on earth were so many children and other presumed innocents inside the building 8 hours after it was attacked? Pardon my suspicions, but isn’t this possibly a case of Hezbollah intentionally killing them, in order to have an effective propagando tool?
Of course, the nut-job Left in the United States has long claimed that 9/11 was an inside job, and that the Twin Towers and one other building were (for some obscure reason) demolished by controlled demoltion. But I think this is not at all comparable. There is an excellent propaganda gain for Hezbollah from the slaughter of innocents, and they are a group which has never been bothered by a few deaths of “martyrs.”
The Continuing internal assault on Presidential Perogative
Meanwhile, members of Congress such as the highly unreliable "Republican" Arlen Specter, funded by special interests such as the ABA, attempt to wrest powers intended by the Constituiton to be within the sole responsibility of the Executive Branch and instead attempt to "assign" those powers to the judiciary and Congress. In a time of war this is not only unwise; it can be the difference between the US acting quickly on time-sensitive information for the good of the war effort and safety of American citizens and cities vs. and debating about alternatives in charged political environments for weeks or months in the courts or Congress. Yet suddenly the rights of a President to do this are being called into question. As the editors conclude:
Serious commentators know that constitutional signing statements have a history almost as long as the republic. It is true that everyone knows that President Bush has issued more signing statements than all previous presidents combined. As it happens, however, everyone is wrong. As of June, the president had issued 132 signing statements, of which 110 broached a constitutional issue. Bush’s father issued more during his four years in office. The critics use a trick to generate a fake statistic. When one of Bush’s signing statements raises constitutional questions about two provisions in a law, they count it twice. They count his predecessors’ signing statements once each.
Many of Bush’s signing statements, like those of his predecessors, have sought to vindicate aspects of the Constitution in which the president has a distinctive interest. The Constitution stipulates that presidents shall “from time to time” recommend legislation they judge “necessary and expedient.” When a bill purports to order the president to recommend legislation, Bush says he does not recognize the constitutionality of the order. He has raised that objection in about half of his signing statements regarding constitutional issues.
Now consider the solution that the ABA and Specter offer for this non-problem. Ordering courts (including state courts) to ignore signing statements is at least as much a violation of the separation of powers as signing statements themselves could ever be. And to ask the courts to judge the legality of signing statements in the absence of a case requiring them to do so is to ask them to issue advisory opinions — which, as every high-school student used to know, is foreign to our Constitution. The ABA even recognizes this point. It allows that the Supreme Court might hold its pet legislation unconstitutional. So we have now moved full circle. The imaginary problem is that the president doesn’t veto every bill that contains a provision he considers unconstitutional, and the solution is for the president to sign a bill that is probably unconstitutional.
President Lincoln speculated that there might be occasions when it was necessary to violate the Constitution in order to save it. He had in mind a crisis rather larger than any the ABA has identified.
Advice for Rolling Stone magazine: stick to music
In a screed Rolling Stone is passing off as journalism, James Bamford becomes the latest in a growing crowd of hacks to smear our friend Michael Ledeen.
Up until now, the fiction recklessly spewed by disgruntled intelligence-community retirees and their media enablers — some of whom have conceded that the claim is based on zero evidence — has been that Michael had something to do with the forged Italian documents that, according to the Left’s narrative, were the basis for President Bush’s “lie” in the 2003 State of the Union Address that Saddam Hussein had obtained yellowcake uranium (for nuclear-weapons construction) in Africa. Of course, Michael had utterly nothing to do with the forgeries (the source has actually been identified); the forgeries were not the basis for the president’s statement; the president did not claim Saddam obtained yellowcake — merely that intelligence reports indicated that Saddam had sought to obtain it; and the British intelligence reports that actually were the basis for the president’s statement were true (the Brits stand by them to this day). But hey, why let the truth get in the way of a good story?
Read the whole thing here--it is quite thorough. McCarthy systematically obliterates Bamford's twisted arguments, falsified "facts", and allusions to "consipiracy theory" where none existed--which are right up there with those near-psychopathic moonbats who believe that Bush and Rumsfeld "engineered" the destruction of the Twin Towers and Pentagon. These people need mental help, not increased circulation. And Rolling Stone is marginalizing itself as nothing more than an irresponsible home for partisan hacks.
In my college days, I had over 1000 record albums and subscribed Rolling Stone religiously because of its great music reporting. But as I said earlier, if they have to fabricate truth to make a political point (a la Rather at CBS), then they need to stick to music or else just fold operations; for this pathetic excuse for hard hitting "reporting" is a disgrace to that magazine and a disgrace to the plummeting integrity of Bamford.
Count me out on picking up that partisan rag ever again. It's a shame: once upon a time you could read Rolling Stone and actually believe what it was telling you. Those days are long gone.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
MSM War 'Glossary' from VDH
A “ceasefire” would occur should Hezbollah give back kidnapped Israelis and stop launching missiles; it would never follow a unilateral cessation of Israeli bombing. In fact, we will hear international calls for one only when Hezbollah’s rockets are about exhausted.
“Civilians” in Lebanon have munitions in their basements and deliberately wish to draw fire; in Israel they are in bunkers to avoid it. Israel uses precision weapons to avoid hitting them; Hezbollah sends random missiles into Israel to ensure they are struck.
“Collateral damage” refers mostly to casualties among Hezbollah’s human shields; it can never be used to describe civilian deaths inside Israel, because everything there is by intent a target.
“Cycle of Violence” is used to denigrate those who are attacked, but are not supposed to win.
“Deliberate” reflects the accuracy of Israeli bombs hitting their targets; it never refers to Hezbollah rockets that are meant to destroy anything they can.
“Deplore” is usually evoked against Israel by those who themselves have slaughtered noncombatants or allowed them to perish — such as the Russians in Grozny, the Syrians in Hama, or the U.N. in Rwanda and Dafur.
“Disproportionate” means that the Hezbollah aggressors whose primitive rockets can’t kill very many Israeli civilians are losing, while the Israelis’ sophisticated response is deadly against the combatants themselves. See “excessive.”
Anytime you hear the adjective “excessive,” Hezbollah is losing. Anytime you don’t, it isn’t.
“Eyewitnesses” usually aren’t, and their testimony is cited only against Israel.
“Grave concern” is used by Europeans and Arabs who privately concede there is no future for Lebanon unless Hezbollah is destroyed — and it should preferably be done by the “Zionists” who can then be easily blamed for doing it.
“Innocent” often refers to Lebanese who aid the stockpiling of rockets or live next to those who do. It rarely refers to Israelis under attack.
The “militants” of Hezbollah don’t wear uniforms, and their prime targets are not those Israelis who do.
“Multinational,” as in “multinational force,” usually means “third-world mercenaries who sympathize with Hezbollah.” See “peacekeepers.”
“Peacekeepers” keep no peace, but always side with the less Western of the belligerents.
“Quarter-ton” is used to describe what in other, non-Israeli militaries are known as “500-pound” bombs.
“Shocked” is used, first, by diplomats who really are not; and, second, only evoked against the response of Israel, never the attack of Hezbollah.
“United Nations Action” refers to an action that Russia or China would not veto. The organization’s operatives usually watch terrorists arm before their eyes. They are almost always guilty of what they accuse others of.
Read the rest of Hanson's commentary here.
Grand Jury subpoenas ex-NSA employee in leaks investigation
A federal grand jury in Alexandria is investigating unauthorized leaks of classified information and has issued a subpoena to a fired National Security Agency officer who has acknowledged talking with journalists about the agency's warrantless surveillance program, according to documents released yesterday.
The 23-member grand jury is "conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving unauthorized disclosure of classified information" under the Espionage Act and other statutes, according to a document accompanying the subpoena.
The demand for testimony from former NSA officer Russell Tice provides a sign of the Justice Department's aggressiveness in pursuing the leak investigation, which follows a series of controversial news reports on classified programs. It also marks the latest potential use of the espionage statute to combat such leaks.
In December, Justice opened a criminal investigation after the New York Times disclosed the existence of the eavesdropping program, which allows the NSA to monitor telephone calls to and from the United States without a court order if one party is linked to suspected of links to terrorist groups. The documents released yesterday do not make it clear whether the grand jury is focused on that report or on some other disclosure.
A Call for Unity and Sanity; the Daunting task in front of us and what it will take to win
To get out of a difficulty, one usually must go through it. Our country is now facing the most serious threat to its existence, as we know it, that we have faced in your lifetime and mine (which includes WWII). The deadly seriousness is greatly compounded by the fact that there are very few of us who think we can possibly lose this war and even fewer who realize what losing really means. First, let's examine a few basics:
1. When did the threat to us start?
Many will say September 11, 2001. The answer as far as the United State is concerned is 1979, 22 years prior to September 2001, with the following attacks on us:
* Iran Embassy Hostages, 1979;
* Beirut, Lebanon Embassy 1983;
* Beirut, Lebanon Marine Barracks 1983;
* Lockerbie, Scotland Pan-Am flight to New York 1988;
* First New York World Trade Center attack 1993;
* Dhahran, Saudi Arabia Khobar Towers Military complex 1996;
* Nairobi, Kenya US Embassy 1998;
* Dares Salaam, Tanzania US Embassy 1998;
* Aden, Yemen USS Cole 2000;
* New York World Trade Center 2001;
* Pentagon 2001.
(Note that during the period from 1981 to 2001 there were 7,581 terrorist attacks worldwide).
2. Why were we attacked?
Envy of our position, our success, and our freedoms. The attacks happened during the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton and Bush 2. We cannot fault either the Republicans or Democrats as there were no provocations by any of the presidents or their immediate predecessors, Presidents Ford or Carter.
3. Who were the attackers?
In each case, the attacks on the US were carried out by Muslims.
4. What is the Muslim population of the World?
5. Isn't the Muslim Religion peaceful?
Hopefully, but that is really not material. There is no doubt that the predominately Christian population of Germany was peaceful, but under the dictatorial leadership of Hitler (who was also Christian), that made no difference. You either went along with the administration or you were eliminated.
There were 5 to 6 million Christians killed by the Nazis for political reasons (including 7,000 Polish priests). (see http://www.nazis.testimony.co.uk/7-a.htm )Thus, almost the same number of Christians were killed by the Nazis, as the six million holocaust Jews who were killed by them, and we seldom heard of anything other than the Jewish atrocities. Although Hitler kept the world focused on the Jews, he had no hesitancy about killing anyone who got in his way of exterminating the Jews or of taking over the world - German, Christian or any others.
Same with the Muslim terrorists. They focus the world on the US, but kill all in the way -- their own people or the Spanish, French or anyone else. The point here is that just like the peaceful Germans were of no protection to anyone from the Nazis, no matter how many peaceful Muslims there may be, they are no protection for us from the terrorist Muslim leaders and what they are fanatically bent on doing -- by their own pronouncements -- killing all of us "infidels."
I don't blame the peaceful Muslims. What would you do if the choice was shut up or die?
6. So who are we at war with?
There is no way we can honestly respond that it is anyone other than the Muslim terrorists. Trying to be politically correct and avoid verbalizing this conclusion can well be fatal. There is no way to win if you don't clearly recognize and articulate who you are fighting.
So with that background, now to the two major questions:
1. Can we lose this war?
2. What does losing really mean?
If we are to win, we must clearly answer these two pivotal questions.
We can definitely lose this war, and as anomalous as it may sound, the major reason we can lose is that so many of us simply do not fathom the answer to the second question - What does losing mean?
It would appear that a great many of us think that losing the war means hanging our heads, bringing the troops home and going on about our business, like post Vietnam. This is as far from the truth as one can get. What losing really means is: We would no longer be the premier country in the world. The attacks will not subside, but rather will steadily increase. Remember, they want us dead, not just quiet. If they had just wanted us quiet, they would not have produced an increasing series of attacks against us, over the past 18 years. The plan was clearly, for terrorist to attack us, until we were neutered and submissive to them.
We would of course have no future support from other nations, for fear of reprisals and for the reason that they would see, we are impotent and cannot help them.
They will pick off the other non-Muslim nations, one at a time. It will be increasingly easier for them. They already hold Spain hostage. It doesn't matter whether it was right or wrong for Spain to withdraw its troops from Iraq. Spain did it because the Muslim terrorists bombed their train and told them to withdraw the troops. Anything else they want Spain to do will be done. Spain is finished.
The next will probably be France. Our one hope on France is that they might see the light and realize that if we don't win, they are finished too, in that they can't resist the Muslim terrorists without us. However, it may already be too late for France. France is already 20% Muslim and fading fast!
If we lose the war, our production, income, exports and way of life will all vanish as we know it. After losing, who would trade or deal with us, if they were threatened by the Muslims. If we can't stop the Muslims, how could anyone else? The Muslims fully know what is riding on this war, and therefore are completely committed to winning, at any cost. We better know it too and be likewise committed to winning at any cost. Why do I go on at such lengths about the results of losing? Simple. Until we recognize the costs of losing, we cannot unite and really put 100% of our thoughts and efforts into winning. And it is going to take that 100% effort to win.
So, how can we lose the war?
Again, the answer is simple. We can lose the war by "imploding." That is, defeating ourselves by refusing to recognize the enemy and their purpose, and really digging in and lending full support to the war effort.
If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. If we continue to be divided, there is no way that we can win!
Let me give you a few examples of how we simply don't comprehend the life and death seriousness of this situation:
President Bush selects Norman Mineta as Secretary of Transportation. Although all of the terrorist attacks were committed by Muslim men between 17 and 40 years of age, Secretary Mineta refuses to allow profiling. Does that sound like we are taking this thing seriously? This is war! For the duration, we are going to have to give up some of the civil rights we have become accustomed to. We had better be prepared to lose some of our civil rights temporarily or we will most certainly lose all of them permanently. And don't worry that it is a slippery slope. We gave up plenty of civil rights during WWII, and immediately restored them after the victory and in fact added many more since then.
Do I blame President Bush or President Clinton before him? No, I blame us for blithely assuming we can maintain all of our Political Correctness, and all of our civil rights during this conflict and have a clean, lawful, honorable war. None of those words apply to war.Get them out of your head. Some have gone so far in their criticism of the war and/or the Administration that it almost seems they would literally like to see us lose.
I hasten to add that this isn't because they are disloyal. It is because they just don't recognize what losing means. Nevertheless, that conduct gives the impression to the enemy that we are divided and weakening. It concerns our friends, and it does great damage to our cause.
Of more recent vintage, the uproar fueled by the politicians and media regarding the treatment of some prisoners of war, perhaps exemplifies best what I am saying. We have recently had an issue, involving the treatment of a few Muslim prisoners of war, by a small group of our military police. These are the type prisoners who just a few months ago were throwing their own people off buildings, cutting off their hands, cutting out their tongues and otherwise murdering their own people just for disagreeing with Saddam Hussein. And just a few years ago these same type prisoners chemically killed 400,000 of their own people for the same reason. They are also the same type of enemy fighters, who recently were burning Americans, and dragging their charred corpses through the streets of Iraq. And still more recently, the same type of enemy that was and is providing videos to all news sources internationally, of the beheading of American prisoners they held. Compare this with some of our press and politicians, who for several days have thought and talked about nothing else but the "humiliating" of some Muslim prisoners -- not burning them, not dragging their charred corpses through the streets, not beheading them, but "humiliating" them. Can this be for real? The politicians and pundits have even talked of impeachment of the Secretary of Defense. If this doesn't show the complete lack of comprehension and understanding of the seriousness of the enemy we are fighting, the life and death struggle we are in and the disastrous results of losing this war, nothing can. To bring our country to a virtual political standstill over this prisoner issue makes us look like Nero playing his fiddle as Rome burned -- totally oblivious to what is going on in the real world.
Neither we, nor any other country, can survive this internal strife. Again I say, this does not mean that some of our politicians or media people are disloyal. It simply means that they are absolutely oblivious to the magnitude, of the situation we are in and into which the Muslim terrorists have been pushing us, for many years.
Remember, the Muslim terrorists stated goal is to kill all infidels! That translates into ALL non-Muslims -- not just in the United States, but throughout the world.
We are the last bastion of defense. We have been criticized for many years as being 'arrogant.' That charge is valid in at least one respect. We are arrogant in that we believe that we are so good, powerful and smart, that we can win the hearts and minds of all those who attack us, and that with both hands tied behind our back, we can defeat anything bad in the world! We can't! If we don't recognize this, our nation as we know it will not survive, and no other free country in the world will survive if we are defeated.
And finally, name any Muslim countries throughout the world that allow freedom of speech, freedom of thought, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, equal rights for anyone -- let alone everyone, equal status or any status for women, or that have been productive in one single way that contributes to the good of the world.
This has been a long way of saying that we must be united on this war or we will be equated in the history books to the self-inflicted fall of the Roman Empire . If, that is, the Muslim leaders will allow history books to be written or read. If we don't win this war right now, keep a close eye on how the Muslims take over France in the next 5 years or less. They will continue to increase the Muslim population of France and continue to encroach little by little, on the established French traditions. The French will be fighting among themselves, over what should or should not be done, which will continue to weaken them and keep them from any united resolve. Doesn't that sound eerily familiar?
Democracies don't have their freedoms taken away from them by some external military force. Instead, they give their freedoms away, politically correct piece by politically correct piece. And they are giving those freedoms away to those who have shown, worldwide that they abhor freedom and will not apply it to you or even to themselves, once they are in power. They have universally shown that when they have taken over, they then start brutally killing each other over who will be the few who control the masses. Will we ever stop hearing from the politically correct, about the "peaceful Muslims"?
I close on a hopeful note, by repeating what I said above. If we are united, there is no way that we can lose. I hope now after the election, the factions in our country will begin to focus on the critical situation we are in, and will unite to save our country. It is your future we are talking about! Do whatever you can to preserve it. After reading the above, we all must do this not only for ourselves, but our children, our grandchildren, our country and the world. Whether Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal and that includes the Politicians and media of our country and the free world!
Please forward this to any you feel may want, or NEED to read it. Our "leaders" in Congress ought to read it, too. There are those that find fault with our country, but it is obvious to anyone who truly thinks through this, that we must UNITE!
It's true: Accurate and Objective War reporting actually does exist
Darkness descends on the Blogosphere: a plea for sanity
You should read it all--there are a lot of ugly and very disturbing details about this new phenomenon. I am quoting Moran's conclusions about all this liberally here because what he has to say is very important, and because he writes very well:
Couple this with the ongoing drama involving Seixon, Larry Johnson, Jason Leopold, and God knows who else and you have an extraordinarily disturbing picture. And I would say to my friends on the sane left who I know visit here from time to time and are kind enough to disagree with me rationally that the time has come for larger lefty blogs to stand up and be placed in the decency column by using some of that vitriol they hurl at the right and at the President with such practiced ease and send some of it in the direction of the guttersnipes, the bullies, and the dirty necked galoots who are making the internet a sewer and a place of dread.
I don’t like the direction that the blogosphere is going at all. All the great hopes for this new communications medium engendered in the lead up to and following the 2004 election are being subsumed in an avalanche of filth and threats that have gone far beyond bad jokes, inappropriate humor, or simple flame wars. It is no longer enough to “fisk” a post by a rival blogger. Now you must destroy the blogger himself, lay him low with withering personal invective of a kind that borders on threats to his person or even more disturbing, to his family.
I mentioned in my Seixon post that these tactics are a kind of hardball politics not seen on the internet before but not unfamiliar to those who have been involved in politics on the national level. Whispering campaigns of a vile nature carried out against opponents, the call in the middle of the night, siccing friendly reporters on rivals by rumormongering, digging up dirt on people’s personal lives, even veiled threats have all been part of The Big Game in Washington for decades. Somehow, you would think that the citizen journalists who inhabit the blogosphere could have immunized themselves from that kind of nastiness.
Alas, the stakes are considered so high by most that the old saw “The ends justifies the means” becomes a battle cry for those who seek the brass ring of power and the prestige that comes to those invited into the outer rings of the Councils of State. It is the politics of Court transmogrified to 20th century America. It is a game played for keeps. The victims are those who see politics as something less than life or death. And in that kind of contest, those most determined to prevail generally do.
Unless the blogosphere as one rises up in righteous anger and condemns without equivocation, without qualification, and without regard to ideology or party affiliation those who seek to sully this medium with the poisonous tactics of bullying, or threatening, or crossing over from the virtual world into the physical world in order to carry out vendettas against opponents, we will become a sideshow, a gaggle of carping, sniping, irrelevancies who deserved to be laughed at rather than taken seriously for our ideas or beliefs.
It’s not to late to take a stand. And I urge everyone that reads this to take that stand with me.
Count me in, Rick.
Despite its brutality, war is--at least for some western nations--a delicate balancing act. Use of excessive force often brings international condemnation, potentially under-cutting support, both at home and abroad. On the other hand, insufficient force may please the politicians and diplomats, but it can cause severe headaches on the battlefield.
We are beginning to hear that sort of claim in Israeli military circles. Some soldiers returning from the hard fighting in Lebanon have accused their leaders of committing insufficient military power to the battle. They have complained that Israeli airpower has been used sparingly, and the IDF should have leveled any buildings used by Hizballah fighters--after civilians had been warned to leave the battle area.
Are the Israelis being over-cautious in their operations against the terrorists? At this point, it's probably too early to tell, and a few background points are in order. First, it's quite common for soliders returning from the battlefield to complain about tactics they perceive as poor, or problems in military planning. Seeing your friends die in combat tends to have that effect. Talk to a U.S. veteran of Kasserine Pass, Anzio, or Tarawa, and you'll hear justifiable complaints about ineffective planning and incompetent leadership that resulted in unnecessary casualties. No military has a shortage of commanders who develop bad plans, or wither under fire. That may not be the case in south Lebanon, but Israeli soldiers are expressing frustrations that are common in combat.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Zawahiri Tape Raising Eyebrows
Last night, I posted on the newest video by Al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Bill Roggio and I have updated it frequently since then. I wanted to post this separate note to report that Evan Kohlmann and other experts are noticing and generating lots of discussion about the precise translation and intent of the tape. Is Zawahiri empathizing in his tape with just the Sunni Lebanese, or also with Hezbollah, or is he even signalling the intent or desire to collaborate with Hezbollah (note some of the quotes in my post below)? Or is he just horning in on the action to raise Al Qaeda's profile and generate recruits? For many experts, the Sunni-Shia split is too great to be overcome, even by terrorists with a common desire to annihilate Israel. On the other hand, on July 16 Doug Farah posted "The Potential for a Hezbollah-al Qaeda Alliance of Convenience," with this note: "However, al Qaeda's own writings, and testimony of senior al Qaeda operatives in U.S. custody (Jamal al Fadl) recounted the extensive contacts bewtween the two organizations while bin Laden was in Sudan, including joint military and explosives training." He also pointed towards Imad Mugniya's work with both al Qaeda and Hezbollah. Magnus Ranstorp posted on July 14 and Bill Roggio posted on July 12 about Mugniya's history with Hezbollah and possible role in the current conflict. Precision in the tape translation and expert knowledge of the history of the groups and individuals are critical to the analysis of the tape and a forecast of the potential outcomes. UPDATE: Here is a translation of the tape by the Site Institute (Acrobat file).
Also see this link from the same site about a Hezbollah cell in Dearborn, Michigan. Get ready...
Hitchens skewers Mr. and Mrs. Valerie Plame
As Novak says, the original question was: How did a man publicly critical of the Bush policy get the CIA's nomination for a mission to Niger? When he asked this question of his first source, he was told in effect, "That's easy. His wife works there and recommended him for the trip." This has since been confirmed by the report of the Senate intelligence committee, which quotes a memo from Valerie Plame making the recommendation in so many words (on the bizarre grounds that Wilson already enjoyed warm relations with the people he would supposedly be investigating at the Niger Ministry of Mines). It seems to me that Novak was well within his rights to check with Karl Rove and with the CIA that this was indeed the case, and to take down his copy of Who's Who in America from the shelf. As he puts it, "I considered his wife's role in initiating Wilson's mission … to be a previously undisclosed part of an important news story."
I have heard a few desperate individuals arguing that we have only Novak's word for all this, and I am not myself numbered among his most ardent admirers, but it is plainly out of the question that after almost two and a half years of being subpoenaed, and questioned by the FBI, and testifying under oath to a grand jury, and having only recently been advised by Patrick Fitzgerald that he is no longer a subject of investigation, Novak would perjure himself in print or on television. This leaves only one unresolved question, which is whether or not CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, when contacted by Novak, confirmed Plame's name but beseeched Novak not to use it. This is a bit better than Novak's word against Harlow's. Novak broke his silence while still under investigation to deny Harlow's claim—a rash step to take while he could still have been caught giving misleading evidence. His past role as a right-wing defender of the agency against whistle-blowers also makes it highly improbable that he would have exposed any employee to danger. Whereas Harlow, with a collapsing and discredited bureaucracy to defend, has every motive to remember admonishing Novak much more firmly than he actually did. (Come to think of it again, what was the CIA thinking of, sending a partisan amateur to investigate his own friends at the suggestion of his wife?)
No reporter or lawyer concerned with the case believes that Novak's original source was any other than Richard Armitage. I have heard it lamely said that, if true, this would "undercut" the idea that Wilson and Plame were targets of an administration vendetta. No. it wouldn't "undercut" the idea. It would annihilate it. Mr. Armitage exceeds even his own former boss and current best friend Colin Powell in visceral hatred of the neoconservatives. In that sense, and in his collusion with Bob Woodward on the story of the origins of the war, he actually is a "partisan gunslinger"—but on the Wilson side of the argument. However, in the present instance, that would only lend credence to Novak's testimony that the "disclosure"—if it was a disclosure and not just a confirmation of something well-known—was inadvertent.
So, after almost three years and an exhaustive investigation by a fairly serious and renowned prosecutor involving the jailing of a distinguished reporter, it has been concluded that there was never any breach of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act to begin with. One official at the White House has allegedly been caught in a secondary or even tertiary conflict of evidence. And the hapless Wilsons have been obliged to file their own civil suit, as if the "discovery" it might afford will surpass what Fitzgerald, armed with a quiver of subpoenas and waivers, has been able to accomplish. Meanwhile, the evidence continues to mount (see my Slate columns on the Zahawie case: here, here, and here) that the original British intelligence on the Niger connection was genuine, and that Wilson missed it. And I have some more material on that, which I shall be sharing with you soon.Emphases are mine. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning..."
And Speaking of John Bolton...
Another example is a so-called "memo to the Secretary of State" written for Foreign Policy magazine by Barbara Crossette, the long time UN correspondent for the New York Times and now a consulting editor at the United Nations Association of the United States of America. She wants the Secretary of State to reconsider Bolton’s re-nomination. Among Bolton’s sins, says Ms Crosette, is that "[At] the United Nations, Bolton has often overwhelmed and angered delegates from other countries…" Ms. Crossette’s case against Bolton is reported on an anti-Bolton site devoted to defeating Bolton’s re-nomination called Bolton Watch. http://boltonwatch.tpmcafe.com/
The one world government advocacy group Citizens for Global Solutions also opposes Bolton’s re-nomination, stating on its website: "Unfortunately, Bolton has seriously damaged the United States’ 60-year working relationship with the U.N. with less-than-diplomatic tactics; the results of which have led to a further diminution of American influence." click here
As a curious sidelight, it is interesting how interconnected some of these anti-Bolton groups turn out to be. For example, Scott Paul, one of the leaders of Bolton Watch, is currently Campaigns Manager at Citizens for Global Solutions.
What underlies these pathetic complaints about Ambassador Bolton’s performance is not really a concern about his style, but rather a debate over the degree to which the U.S. must bend its core principles to the lowest common denominator of ‘international consensus.’ Bolton’s opponents want to ensnare the United States in a web of multilateral institutional arrangements that would not only undermine U.S. sovereignty but would often be counterproductive. They want to slip UN misdeeds under the rug, pretending they never happened or are of little consequence.
Chilling audio (and transcript) of 9/11 phone call
If you want to know why we are fighting and why we must keep fighting, give this a listen.
Hewitt and Steyn discuss this week's events
Incidentally, If there is a more inept, outdated, and useless organization than the UN, I would like to know what it is so I can sell their stock short. Why we continue to throw millions of dollars at that ridiculous, anti-American institution is beyond my ability to comprehend. It is a complete farce; our taxpayer dollars could go to far better use.
The only good thing about the UN is John Bolton who has once again shown up the Democrats in the Senate for the partisan shills they really are. Hell, I would rather have Bolton as Secretary of State than Condi Rice. I never thought I would be saying that, but there it is.
Now go read that Hewitt/Steyn coversation...
Report: Nasrallah hiding in Iranian embassy
How ironic that the regime that held members of the American embassy hostage for over a year in Iran now is counting on the international community to recognize its right to harbor a criminal terrorist leader in its own embassy--the leader of the organization responsible not only for the missiles now raining on Israel, but also of the deaths of over 300 Marines in Lebanon in 1983.
Sounds to me like a pretty sweet target.
Epiphanies: A New Mission Statement
Obviously, Kirk and Spock wanted no part of this, and when the two planets were faced with the prospect of REAL war, the messy kind where things get broken and whole cities get wiped out, only then were they willing to look at the madness of what they were doing.
Today things are a bit different, but for the “soft, kind-hearted” West—we might as well be in such a war: we are so afraid of collateral damage causing us bad press that we hesitate to fight a REAL war—like we did in the Civil War and World Wars I and II—I am speaking once again of a mindset where we are willing to do whatever is necessary to win, understanding that sometimes there have to be sacrifices of innocents in War made for a greater good (in this case so we don’t go up in a mushroom cloud or else be forced to live in a 9th Century Caliphate under Sharia law…). There is only one problem, only one side is fighting the war this way—and it isn’t us. We have become so used to the antiseptic “smart” bomb taking out only the intended military target, that when our cowardly enemies hide amongst civilian populations the World cries foul if there is collateral damage—that is unless the casualties are American or Israeli…
The reason I bring this up is that we have been here before—in
Only this time, the stakes are MUCH higher. Nuclear weapons in the hands of jihadists who care only about killing as many of us as they possibly can is not my idea of how to win this war for the survival of our civilization. And so I started thinking last night about my blogging—not just for fun--but to make a real difference. As in Vietnam, the winner of this war will be shaped more by public opinion at home than it will by boots on the ground: I have no question in my mind whatsoever that the United States military can win any battle it sets out to win. We just have to have the willpower to let them do their thing here at home. So the more hearts and minds I can reach in this War for ideas and bandwidth, the more people will have exposure to some of the best minds writing on the Web today.
And this is where a slight adjustment in course may be helpful: The facts are, my blog was not getting the number of hits that other similar blogs have been getting. Certainly not as many as I would like considering I have been at this for two years now. I know--not that all of us can be Glenn Reynolds or Hugh Hewitt—but something is telling me that to really make a difference in this War for hearts and minds, maybe I need to change something if I am to reach a wider audience.
As I have pondered these things, I count myself as fortunate that I have been contacted over the last several months by bloggers and syndicated writers I respect enormously; men like James Taranto and Rick Moran, to name a couple. And some of the feedback I’ve gotten included (for some) that they would be more comfortable if I only posted a few key paragraphs rather than their entire articles. Guilty as charged: my mission statement has always been about just getting the information out there so the masses can see the best political writing on the web—but I can respect that some people actually would like you to visit their site (after all I want more visitors too…). And so I think I am going to try and paste a bit less material from other blogs and linking a lot more. This will hopefully achieve several aims:
- It will allow me more time to read and find the great writing already out there, and much less time editing.
- I may get to link to more material each day and also increase the hit counts of those whom I frequently use as sources.
- It will hopefully mitigate things a bit wherever any offense might have been taken in the past. (Along with my heartfelt apologies to any who have been inconvenienced because of the sheer amount of material of theirs I have published here.). The fact is: we on the right side of things in this War are stronger working together than competing. I am not in this for money—and with “six degrees of separation” even making a difference with just one more person per day could have incalculalble ripple effects that I will never know or appreciate. And that is what keeps me going.
- It will give me the impetus to do a bit more of my own writing, although Mark Steyn I am not…
This doesn’t mean that I will quit altogether pasting quality quotes—I’m just going to change my mission a bit and look at the numbers. If they actually go down due to this change, then maybe I need to rethink what I’m doing yet again. Still it is worth a try if only to see if I can get a little better about brevity and getting to the “main idea”, and also to see if by doing so I can actually make The Discerning Texan a more robust and interesting place to visit every day. In the meantime, I need to thank all of my loyal readers and would like to thank especially Radio Blogger, and Chris Muir for choosing to link me on their blogrolls. These are giants in the blogosphere and I really appreciate their continued support. Still...it might be nice to move a bit further up in Radio Blogger’s NASCAR standings.
Also I would be remiss if I did not mention: Frau Budgie, Texas Fred, Hatless in
In any case, please bear with me while I experiment with some slight format changes, briefer posts and more links, (unless it my own writing). And yes, I probably will keep putting up at least one cartoon. Sometimes a simple cartoon communicates so much more than hundreds of words could. And there are some great cartoonists out there who should be seen by more people.
Hopefully this new approach will allow me to highlight even more good material, and that thus my loyal readers will click through to some of the best blogs going today. The important thing is that the battle for our country’s hearts and minds is the most important battle in this War. I will always be looking for ways to improve the site, because our nation’s future could depend on any one of us getting through to the right people—before it is too late.