Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Little Denmark Stands Tall Against Islamists!

Three cheers for tiny Denmark in its stand for freedom of speech!
This action sends a very effective message to the Islamists and their Politically Correct allies in the West from the defenders of Western Civilization that the days of appeasement of Islam are numbered.
I say let a thousand newspapers in America run these cartoons.
Protests Over Muhammad Cartoon Grow
Associated Press Writer
Mon Jan 30, 1:26 PM ET
The controversy over Danish caricatures of Prophet Muhammad escalated Monday as gunmen seized an EU office in Gaza and Muslims appealed for a trade boycott of Danish products. Denmark called for its citizens in the Middle East to exercise vigilance.
Denmark-based Arla Foods, which has been the target of a widespread boycott in the Middle East, reported that two of its employees in Saudi Arabia were beaten by angry customers. Aid groups, meanwhile, pulled workers out of Gaza, citing the threat of hostilities.
The 12 drawings — published in a Danish paper in September and in a Norwegian paper this month — included an image of the prophet wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Islamic tradition bars any depiction of the prophet, even respectful ones, out of concern that such images could lead to idolatry.
Danish government officials have expressed regret over the furor but have refused to get involved, citing freedom of expression. The Jyllands-Posten newspaper has refused to apologize for publishing the drawings and has said it did not mean to insult Islam.
Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen briefed European Union colleagues about the matter Monday. He has repeatedly rejected calls to intervene.
But Arla Food's executive director urged the Danish government to take action.
"Freedom of expression is an internal Danish issue but this has a totally different dimension," Peder Tuborgh said. "This is about Denmark having offended millions of Muslims."
Villy Soevndal, leader of the small opposition Socialist People's Party, said Denmark "cannot be a country where the prime minister goes into hiding while Denmark loses export money, Danish citizens are being threatened and Danish flags burned."
In Gaza, masked gunmen briefly took over an office used by the EU, demanding an apology from Denmark and Norway. The gunmen said citizens of the two countries would be prevented from entering the Gaza Strip. No one was hurt.
The Danish Red Cross said it was evacuating two employees from Gaza and one from Yemen.
"There have been concrete threats against our employees. The fact that they are Danish nationals has made the difference," Danish Red Cross spokesman Anders Ladekarl said.
The Norwegian People's Aid group also said it was withdrawing its two Norwegian representatives in Gaza but that operations would be maintained by local staff.
In a statement issued Sunday evening on its Web site, the Foreign Ministry called for Danes in the Middle East to be cautious.
In Iraq, a roadside bomb targeted a joint Danish-Iraqi patrol near the southern city of Basra on Monday, wounding one Iraqi policeman, military officials said. The attack was the first involving Danish troops since the protests flared.
Danish forces said the roadside bomb was targeting the Iraqi police rather than the Danes, though British Maj. Peter Cripps said coalition forces were investigating if there was any link between the attack and the drawings.
Arabs and Muslims also are calling for a boycott of Danish foods, including popular cream cheese, butter and cookie brands. Arla said the boycott of its products in the Middle East was almost total.
"Sales have come to a standstill in almost all markets," said Jens Refslund, the foods production division manager.
Arla Foods has $430 million in annual sales in the Middle East and about 1,000 employees in the region.
Saudi Arabia, which has recalled its ambassador to Denmark, was warned by the EU trade commissioner that the 25-nation bloc would take action with the World Trade Organization if the kingdom supported a Danish boycott, the European Commission said Monday.
Libya on Sunday said it was closing its embassy in Denmark.
Emirates' Minister of Justice and Islamic Affairs Mohammed Al Dhaheri said publishing the "blasphemous" cartoons was "disgusting and irresponsible," according to comments released Monday by the official WAM news agency.
"This is cultural terrorism, not freedom of expression. The repercussions of such irresponsible acts will have adverse impact on international relations."
The Egyptian parliament's Economic Committee refused to discuss a $72.5 million loan from Denmark to Egypt, with newspapers quoting lawmakers as saying they do not want to cooperate with a country that has insulted the prophet.
In Pakistan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said the government is "engaged with the Danish government" over the cartoon publication.
She said Pakistan hopes the Danish government would "try to resolve this issue because you cannot hurt the sentiments of billions of Muslims in the name of freedom of press."

The United Nations: First Stop On The Roadmap To War With Iran

The first act in the coming war with Iran was played out yesterday when Iran was referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Associated Press
Security Council to Review Iran Nuke Case
Jan 30 9:30 PM USA
The United States and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed Tuesday that Iran should be hauled before that powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.
China and Russia, longtime allies and trading partners of Iran, signed on to a statement that calls on the U.N. nuclear watchdog to transfer the Iran dossier to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions or take other harsh action.
Foreign ministers from those nations, plus the United States, Britain and France, also said the Security Council should wait until March to take up the Iran case, after a formal report on Tehran's activities from the watchdog agency.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other foreign ministers discussed Iran at a private dinner at the home of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. After the four-hour meeting, which spilled over into the early hours Tuesday, a joint statement called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to report the Iran case when it meets in Vienna on Thursday.
Foreign ministers from Germany and the European Union also attended the dinner and agreed to what amounted to a compromise _ take the case to the Security Council but allow a short breather before the council must undertake what could be a divisive debate.
The group agreed that the IAEA "should report to the Security Council its decision on the steps required of Iran, and should also report to the Security Council all IAEA reports as resolutions as adopted relating to this issue," a statement from the group said.
The IAEA has already found Iran in violation of nuclear obligations and issued a stern warning to Tehran in September. Thursday's vote would be the next step, one long sought by the United States.
Iran insists its nuclear program is intended only to produce electricity. The United States and some allies say Iran is hiding ambitions to build a nuclear bomb, but the Security Council members have been divided aout how strong a line to take.
It is still not clear how Russia and China would vote if the questions of sanctions came before the Security Council. It is also not clear that the United States will win the broad international consensus it seeks when the IAEA votes.

More war in the Middle East

It would appear that the recent elections in Palestine have done a great service for those who opposed the appeasement granted the PLO under Yasser Arafat, since HAMAS has stated a policy that calls for the destruction of Israel.
Hence, appeasement of the Heartland of Islamofascism is no longer a viable option for the Western leaders: A Rubicon has been crossed and a major conflict that may involve three Middle Eastern countries -- Palestine, Syria and Iran may break out at any time.
Hamas and 'peace'
January 30, 2006
In the wake of the Hamas victory in the Palestinian legislative elections, Washington is already under pressure to emulate the wrong-headed policies of the late 1980s and early 1990s, when American policy-makers labored to persuade Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization to say they recognized Israel's right to exist.
After the PLO collaborated in Saddam Hussein's brutal subjugation of Kuwait, and Saddam was defeated in the first Gulf war, the drumbeat of demands that the United States persuade Israel to negotiate with Mr. Arafat intensified. Israel eventually elected a government under Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin that was dovish enough to take the risk. The result was the 1993 Oslo Accords and the endless and naive "peace process" that followed: seven years of substantial Israeli political and territorial concessions to Mr. Arafat in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, in exchange for the PLO leader's empty promises to end the conflict with Israel and to prevent Palestinian terrorism.
The process, seriously flawed to begin with, collapsed in the summer and fall of 2000, when Mr. Arafat rejected the generous compromise offered him at Camp David by President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Then he went to war. Now, more than five years later, with Hamas having defeated Mr. Arafat's old Fatah organization, there is a new drumbeat of demands that Washington court Hamas -- in other words, that we repeat what failed.
President Bush's initial response to Hamas' victory was to urge Mr. Arafat's successor as leader of the Fatah movement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to stay in office to work with Hamas. That's the wrong way to go. In voting for Hamas candidates, the Palestinians made their decision and they must live with the consequences. There's nothing to be gained by papering over these differences by encouraging an emasculated Mr. Abbas to stay on in a fraudulent "continuity." Similarly, it makes no sense to go chasing after the likes of Hamas boss Mohammed Zohhar, to cajole him into making a meaningless statement laden with caveats about continuing "a ceasefire" with Israel -- even as Hamas and its terrorist allies fire Qassam rockets into Israel and prepare for a new round of terrorist strikes against the Jewish state. Washington should have contact of some kind with any government elected by the Palestinians -- even a government mismanaged by Hamas. But such contact should be severely limited, and, as was the case under Fatah, aid should go only to nongovernmental organizations that support human rights and democratic reform. Hamas has received substantial aid from Iran and wealthy Saudi sheikhs, enabling its terrorist network and social-service operations to flourish. Washington and the European Union should never, ever, subsidize Mr. Zohhar and his ilk.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Needed: A Counterrevolution In Military Affairs!

I post this rather long article from Weekly Standard because it points out the largely ignored supreme impotance of Psychological Warfare, Propaganda, Special Operations, HUMINT (Human Intelligence) and Faith in dealing with a ruthless enemy who has designed one of the best weapons systems in human history -- and one one of the most difficult to defend against -- the Islamist Suicide Bomber.

Fashionable thinking about defense ignores the great threats of our time.

by Ralph Peters 02/06/2006, Volume 011, Issue 20

REVOLUTIONS NOTORIOUSLY IMPRISON THEIR MOST committed supporters. Intellectually, influential elements within our military are locked inside the cells of the Revolution in Military Affairs--the doctrinal cult of the past decade that preaches that technological leaps will transcend millennia-old realities of warfare. Our current conflicts have freed the Pentagon from at least some of the nonsensical theories of techno-war, but too many of our military and civilian leaders remain captivated by the notion that machines can replace human beings on the battlefield. Chained to their 20th-century successes, they cannot face the new reality: Wars of flesh, faith, and cities. Meanwhile, our enemies, immediate and potential, appear to grasp the contours of future war far better than we do.

From Iraq's Sunni Triangle to China's military high command, the counterrevolution in military affairs is well underway. We are seduced by what we can do; our enemies focus on what they must do. We have fallen so deeply in love with the means we have devised for waging conceptual wars that we are blind to their marginal relevance in actual wars. Terrorists, for one lethal example, do not fear "network-centric warfare" because they have already mastered it for a tiny fraction of one cent on the dollar, achieving greater relative effects with the Internet, cell phones, and cheap airline tickets than all of our military technologies have delivered. Our prime weapon in our struggles with terrorists, insurgents, and warriors of every patchwork sort remains the soldier or Marine; yet, confronted with reality's bloody evidence, we simply pretend that other, future, hypothetical wars will justify the systems we adore--purchased at the expense of the assets we need.

Stubbornly, we continue to fantasize that a wondrous enemy will appear who will fight us on our own terms, as a masked knight might have materialized at a stately tournament in a novel by Sir Walter Scott. Yet, not even China--the threat beloved of major defense contractors and their advocates--would play by our rules if folly ignited war. Against terrorists, we have found technology alone incompetent to master men of soaring will--our own flesh and blood provide the only effective counter. At the other extreme, a war with China, which our war gamers blithely assume would be brief, would reveal the quantitative incompetence of our forces. An assault on a continent-spanning power would swiftly drain our stocks of precision weapons, ready pilots, and aircraft. Quality, no matter how great, is not a reliable substitute for a robust force in being and deep reserves that can be mobilized rapidly.

There is, in short, not a single enemy in existence or on the horizon willing to play the victim to the military we continue to build. Faced with men of iron belief wielding bombs built in sheds and basements, our revolution in military affairs appears more an indulgence than an investment. In the end, our enemies will not outfight us. We'll muster the will to do what must be done--after paying a needlessly high price in the lives of our troops and damage to our domestic infrastructure. We will not be beaten, but we may be shamed and embarrassed on a needlessly long road to victory.

Not a single item in our trillion-dollar arsenal can compare with the genius of the suicide bomber--the breakthrough weapon of our time. Our intelligence systems cannot locate him, our arsenal cannot deter him, and, all too often, our soldiers cannot stop him before it is too late. A man of invincible conviction--call it delusion, if you will--armed with explosives stolen or purchased for a handful of soiled bills can have a strategic impact that staggers governments. Abetted by the global media, the suicide bomber is the wonder weapon of the age.

The suicide bomber's willingness to discard civilization's cherished rules for warfare gives him enormous strength. In the Cain-and-Abel conflicts of the 21st century, ruthlessness trumps technology. We refuse to comprehend the suicide bomber's soul--even though today's wars are contests of souls, and belief is our enemy's ultimate order of battle. We write off the suicide bomber as a criminal, a wanton butcher, a terrorist. Yet, within his spiritual universe, he's more heroic than the American soldier who throws himself atop a grenade to spare his comrades: He isn't merely protecting other men, but defending his god. The suicide bomber can justify any level of carnage because he's doing his god's will. We agonize over a prisoner's slapped face, while our enemies are lauded as heroes for killing innocent masses (even of fellow believers). We continue to narrow our view of warfare's acceptable parameters even as our enemies amplify the concept of total war.

Islamist terrorists, to cite the immediate example, would do anything to win. Our enemies act on ecstatic revelations from their god. We act on the advice of lawyers. It is astonishing that we have managed to hold the line as well as we have.

The ultimate precision weapon, the suicide bomber simultaneously redefines the scope of "legitimate" targets. Delighted to kill our troops, this implacable enemy who regards death as a promotion is equally ready to slaughter men, women, and children of unknown identity who have done him no harm. His force of will towers over our own. He cannot win wars on the traditional battlefields we cherish, but his commitment and actions transcend such tidy limits. In the moment of his deed, the suicide bomber is truly larger than life. The world's a stage, and every suicide bomber is, at least briefly, a star.

We will develop the means to defeat the majority of, if not all, improvised explosive devices. But the suicide bomber--the living, thinking assassin determined to die--may prove impossible to stop. Even if we discover a means to identify him at a distance from our troops, he has only to turn to easier targets. Virtually anything the suicide bomber attacks brings value to his cause--destruction of any variety is a victory. The paradox is that his act of self-destruction is also an undeniable assertion that "I am," as he becomes the voice from below that the mighty cannot ignore. We are trained to think in terms of cause and effect--but the suicide bomber merges the two. The gesture and the result are inseparable from and integral to his message. Self-destruction and murder join to become the ultimate act of self-assertion.

And his deed is heralded, while even our most virtuous acts are condemned around the world. Even in the days before mass media, assassins terrorized civilizations. Today, their deeds are amplified by a toxic, breathtakingly irresponsible communications culture that spans the globe. Photogenic violence is no longer a local affair--if a terrorist gives the media picturesque devastation, he reaches the entire planet. We cannot measure the psychological magnification, although we grasp it vaguely. And the media's liturgical repetition of the suicide bomber's act creates an atmosphere of sacrament. On a primal level, the suicide bomber impresses even his enemies with his conviction. We hasten to dismiss his deed as a perversion, yet it resounds as a vivid act of faith. Within his own cultural context, people may hate what the suicide bomber does, yet revere his sacrifice (and, too often, they do not hate what he does).

We may refuse to accept it, but suicide bombing operates powerfully on practical, emotional, and spiritual levels--and it generates dirt-cheap propaganda. To the Muslim world, the suicide bomber's act is a proof of faith that ensnares the mind with a suspicion of his righteousness. He is a nearly irresistible champion of the powerless, the Middle East's longed-for superhero, the next best thing to the Mahdi or the Twelfth Imam.

We praise Nathan Hale's willingness to die for his cause. Now imagine thousands of men anxious to die for theirs. The suicide bomber may be savage, brutal, callous, heartless, naive, psychotic, and, to us, despicable, but within his milieu he is also heroic.

The hallmark of our age is the failure of belief systems and a subsequent flight back to primitive fundamentalism--and the phenomenon isn't limited to the Middle East. Faith revived is running roughshod over science and civilization. Secular societies appear increasingly fragmented, if not fragile. The angry gods are back. And they will not be defeated with cruise missiles or computer codes.

A paradox of our time is that the overwhelmingly secular global media--a collection of natural-born religion-haters--have become the crucial accomplices of the suicide bomber fueled by rabid faith. Mass murderers are lionized as freedom fighters, while our own troops are attacked by the press they protect for the least waywardness or error. One begins to wonder if the bomber's suicidal impulse isn't matched by a deep death wish affecting the West's cultural froth. (What if Darwin was right conceptually, but failed to grasp that homo sapiens' most powerful evolutionary strategy is faith?) Both the suicide bomber and the "world intellectual" with his reflexive hatred of America exist in emotional realms that our rational models of analysis cannot explain. The modern age's methods for interpreting humanity are played out.
We live in a new age of superstition and bloodthirsty gods, of collective madness. Its icons are the suicide bomber, the veil, and the video camera.

One of the most consistently disheartening experiences an adult can have today is to listen to the endless attempts by our intellectuals and intelligence professionals to explain religious terrorism in clinical terms, assigning rational motives to men who have moved irrevocably beyond reason. We suffer under layers of intellectual asymmetries that hinder us from an intuitive recognition of our enemies. Our rear-guard rationalists range from those convinced that every security problem has a technological solution, if only it can be found, to those who insist that members of al Qaeda and its affiliates are motivated by finite, comprehensible, and logical ambitions that, if satisfied, would make our problems disappear.

Living in unprecedented safety within our borders and lacking firsthand knowledge of the decay beyond, honorable men and women have convinced themselves that Osama bin Laden's professed goals of driving the United States from the Middle East and removing corrupt regional governments are what global terror is all about. They gloss over his ambition of reestablishing the caliphate and his calls for the destruction of Israel as rhetorical effects--when they address them at all. Yet, Islamist fanatics are more deeply committed to their maximalist goals than to their lesser ones--and their unspoken ambitions soar beyond logic's realm. Religious terrorists are committed to an apocalypse they sense within striking distance. Their longing for union with god is inseparable from their impulse toward annihilation. They seek their god in carnage, and will go on slaughtering until he appears to pat them on the back.

A dangerous asymmetry exists in the type of minds working the problem of Islamist terrorism in our government and society. On average, the "experts" to whom we are conditioned to listen have a secular mentality (even if they go to church or synagogue from habit). And it is a very rare secular mind that can comprehend religious passion--it's like asking a blind man to describe the colors of fire. One suspects that our own fiercest believers are best equipped to penetrate the mentality--the souls--of our Islamist enemies, although those believers may not be as articulate as the secular intellectuals who anxiously dismiss all possibilities that lie outside their theoretical constructs.

Those who feel no vital faith cannot comprehend faith's power. A man or woman who has never been intoxicated by belief will default to mirror-imaging when asked to describe terror's roots. He who has never experienced a soul-shaking glimpse of the divine inevitably explains religion-driven suicide bombers in terms of a lack of economic opportunity or social humiliation. But the enemies we face are burning with belief, on fire with their vision of an immanent, angry god. Our intelligentsia is less equipped to understand such men than our satellites are to find them.
All of our technologies and comforting theories are confounded by the strength of the soul ablaze with faith. Our struggle with Islamist terror (other religious terrors may haunt our descendants) has almost nothing to do with our actions in the Middle East. It's about a failing civilization's embrace of a furious god.

We are not (yet) at war with Islam, but the extreme believers within Islam are convinced that they are soldiers in a religious war against us. Despite their rhetoric, they are the crusaders. Even our conceptions of the struggle are asymmetrical. Despite the horrors we have witnessed, we have yet to take religious terrorists seriously on their own self-evident terms. We invaded a succession of their tormented countries, but haven't come close to penetrating their souls. The hermetic universe of the Islamist terrorist is immune to our reality (if not to our bullets), but our intellectuals appear equally incapable of accepting the religious extremist's reality.
We have no tools of persuasion effective against a millenarian belief. What logic can we wield against the soul fortified by faith and barricaded beyond argument? Even if we understood every nuance of our enemy's culture, the suicide bomber's intense faith and the terror chieftain's visions have burned through native cultural restraints. We are told, rather smugly, that the Koran forbids suicide. But our enemies are not concerned with how we read their faith. Religions are living things, and ultra-extremists are improvising a new and savage cult within Islam--even as they proclaim their return to a purified faith.

Security-wise, we have placed our faith in things, in bright (and expensive) material objects. But the counterrevolution in military affairs is based on the brilliant intuition that our military can be sidestepped often enough to challenge its potency. Certainly, we inflict casualties on our enemies--and gain real advantages from doing so--but we not only face an enemy who, as observed above, views death as a promotion, but also one who believes he has won even when he loses. If the suicide bomber completes his mission, he has won. But even if he is killed or dies short of his target, he has conquered a place in paradise. Which well-intentioned information operation of ours can compete with the conviction that a martyr's death leads to eternal joy?
Again, our intelligentsia falls woefully short. The most secularized element of our society--educated to avoid faith (or, at the very least, to shun enthusiastic, vigorous, proud, and public faith)--our professional thinkers have lost any sense of a literal paradise beyond the grave. But our enemies enjoy a faith as vivid as did our ancestors, for whom devils lurked in the undergrowth and paradise was an idealized representation of that which mortals knew. We are taught that we should never underestimate our enemies--yet, we underestimate the power of his faith, his most potent weapon.

Nor should we assume that Islamist extremists will remain the only god-haunted terrorists attacking established orders. This century may prove to be one of multi-sided struggles over the interpretation of god's will, between believers and unbelievers, between the varieties of the faithful, between monotheists and polytheists, between master faiths and secessionist movements, between the hollow worshippers of science and those swollen with the ecstasy of belief.

Naturally, we view the cardinal struggle as between the West and extremists within the Islamic world; yet, the bloodiest religious warfare of the coming decades may be between Sunni and Shia Muslims, or between African Muslims and the new, sub-Saharan Church Militant. Hindu extremists gnaw inward from the epidermis of Indian society, while even Buddhist monks have engaged in organized violence in favor of their ostensibly peaceable faith. In a bewildering world where every traditional society is under assault from the forces of global change, only religion seems to provide a reliable refuge. And each god seems increasingly a jealous god.

Faith is the great strategic factor that unbelieving faculties and bureaucracies ignore. It may be the crucial issue of this century. And we cannot even speak about it honestly. Give me a warrior drunk with faith, and I will show you a weapon beyond the dreams of any laboratory. Our guided bombs may kill individual terrorists, but the terrorist knows that our weapons can't kill his god.

Even in preparing for "big wars," we refuse to take the enemy into account. Increasingly, our military is designed for breathtaking sprints, yet a war with China--were one forced upon us by events--would be a miserable, long march. For all the rhetoric expended and the innumerable wargames played, the best metaphor for a serious struggle with Beijing--perhaps of Homeric length--comes from that inexhaustible little book, Joseph Conrad's novella Heart of Darkness, with its pathetic image of a Western gunboat lobbing shells uselessly into a continent.
Given the comprehensive commitment and devastation required to defeat strategically and structurally weaker enemies such as Japan and Germany, how dare we pretend that we could drive China to sue for peace by fighting a well-mannered war with a small military whose shallow stocks of ammunition would be drained swiftly and could not be replaced in meaningful quantities? Would we try Shock and Awe, Part II, over Beijing, hoping to convince China's leaders to surrender at the sight of our special effects? Or would our quantitative incompetence soon force us onto the defensive?

We must be realistic about the military requirements of a war with China, but we also need to grasp that, for such an enemy, the military sphere would be only one field of warfare--and not the decisive one. What would it take to create an atmosphere of defeat in a sprawling nation of over one billion people? A ruthless economic blockade, on the seas, in the air, and on land, would be an essential component of any serious war plan, but the Chinese capability for sheer endurance might surprise us. Could we win against China without inflicting extensive devastation on Chinese cities? Would even that be enough? Without mirror-imaging again, can we identify any incentive China's leaders would have to surrender?

The Chinese version of the counterrevolution in military affairs puts less stress on a head-to-head military confrontation (although that matters, of course) and more on defeating the nation behind our military. Despite the importance Beijing attaches to a strong military, China won't fall into the trap that snared the Soviets--the attempt to compete with our military expenditures. Why fight battles you'll lose, when you can wage war directly against the American population by attacking its digital and physical infrastructure, its confidence and morale? In a war of mutual suffering, which population would be better equipped, practically and psychologically, to endure massive power outages, food-chain disruptions, the obliteration of databases, and even epidemic disease?

Plenty of Americans are tougher than we're credited with being, but what about the now-decisive intelligentsia? What about those conditioned to levels of comfort unimaginable to the generation that fought World War II (or even Vietnam)? Would 21st-century suburban Americans accept rationing without protests? Whenever I encounter Chinese abroad I am astonished by their chauvinism. Their confidence is reminiscent of Americans' a half century ago. Should we pretend that Chinese opinion-makers, such as they are, would feel inclined to attack their government as our journalists attack Washington? A war with China would be a massive contest of wills, and China might need to break the will of only a tiny fraction of our population. It only takes a few hundred men and women in Washington to decide that a war is lost.

As for our military technologies, how, exactly, would an F/A-22 destroy the Chinese will to endure and prevail? How would it counteract a hostile media? If we should worry about any strategic differences with China, they are the greater simplicity and robustness of China's less developed (hence, less fragile) infrastructure, and a greater will to win in Beijing. No matter how well our military might perform, sufficient pain inflicted on the American people could lead a weak national leadership to a capitulation thinly disguised as a compromise. Addicted to trade with China, many in America's business community would push for a rapid end to any conflict, no matter the cost to our nation as a whole. (When Chinese fighters forced down a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft on Hainan Island several years ago, American-business lobbyists rushed to Capitol Hill to plead for patience with China--they had no interest in our aircrew or our national good.)

The Chinese know they cannot defeat our military. So they intend to circumvent it, as surely as Islamist terrorists seek to do, if in more complex ways. For example, China's navy cannot guarantee its merchant vessels access to sea lanes in the Indian Ocean--routes that carry the oil on which modern China runs. So Beijing is working to build a web of formal and informal client relationships in the region that would deny the U.S. Navy port facilities, challenge the United States in global and regional forums, and secure alternate routes and sources of supply. China's next great strategic initiative is going to be an attempt to woo India, the region's key power, away from a closer relationship with the United States. Beijing may fail, but its strategists are thinking in terms of the out-years, while our horizon barely reaches from one Quadrennial Defense Review to the next.

Even in Latin America, China labors to develop capabilities to frustrate American purposes, weaken hemispheric ties, and divert our strategic resources during a Sino-American crisis. We dream of knock-out blows, while Beijing prepares the death of a thousand cuts. The Chinese are the ultimate heirs of B.H. Liddell Hart and his indirect approach: They would have difficulty conquering Taiwan militarily, but believe they could push us into an asymmetrical defeat through economic, diplomatic, and media campaigns in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Latin America--while crippling the lifestyle of America's citizens.

It's become another cliché to observe how much of our manufacturing capability has moved to China while we tolerate, at our own business community's behest, Beijing's cynical undervaluation of its currency. If you don't think this matters, try to go a single week without buying or using a product made in China. A conflict with Beijing might be lost on the empty shelves of Wal-Mart. Indeed, Beijing's most effective international allies are American corporations. In the Second World War we famously converted our consumer industries into producers of wartime materiel. Will a future president find himself trapped by our defense industry's inability to produce consumer goods in wartime?

A war with China would be a total war, waged in spheres where our military is legally forbidden to engage, from data banks to shopping malls. How many readers of this magazine have participated in a wargame that addressed crippling consumer shortages as a conflict with China dragged on for years? Instead, we obsess about the fate of a pair of aircraft carriers. For that matter, how about a scenario that realistically portrayed the global media as siding overwhelmingly with China? The metastasizing power of the media is a true strategic revolution of our time--one to which our narrow revolution in military affairs has no reply.

Oh, by the way: Could we win a war with China without killing hundreds of millions of Chinese?
Many of us have struggled to grasp the unreasonable, even fanatical anti-Americanism in the global media--including the hostility in many news outlets and entertainment forums here at home. How can educated men and women, whether they speak Arabic, Spanish, French, or English, condemn America's every move, while glossing over the abuses of dictators and the savagery of terrorists? Why is America blamed even when American involvement is minimal or even nonexistent? How has the most beneficial great power in history been transformed by the international media into a villain of relentless malevolence?

There's a straightforward answer: In their secular way, the world's media elites are as unable to accept the reality confronting them as are Islamist fundamentalists. They hate the world in which they are forced to live, and America has shaped that world.

It isn't that the American-wrought world is so very bad for the global intelligentsia: The freedom they exploit to condemn the United States has been won, preserved, and expanded by American sacrifices and America's example. The problem is that they wanted a different world, the utopia promised by socialist and Marxist theorists, an impossible heaven on earth that captured their imagination as surely as visions of paradise enrapture suicide bombers.

The global media may skew secular, but that doesn't protect them against alternative forms of faith. Europeans, for example, have discarded a belief in God as beneath their sophistication--yet they still need a Satan to explain their own failures, just as their ancestors required devils to explain why the milk soured or the herd sickened. Today, America has replaced the horned, cloven-footed Lucifer of Europe's past; behind their smug assumption of superiority, contemporary Europeans are as superstitious and irrational as any of their ancestors: They simply believe in other demons.

One of the most perverse aspects of anti-Americanism in the global media and among the international intelligentsia is that it's presented as a progressive, liberal movement, when it's bitterly reactionary, a spiteful, elitist revolt against the empowerment of the common man and woman (the core ethos of the United States). Despite their outward differences, intellectuals are the logical allies of Islamist extremists--who are equally opposed to social progress and mass freedom. Of course, the terrorists have the comfort of religious faith, while the global intelligentsia, faced with the death of Marxism and the triumph of capitalism, has only its rage.

Human beings are hard-wired for faith. Deprived of a god, they seek an alternative creed. For a time, nationalism, socialism, Marxism, and a number of other-isms appeared to have a chance of working--as long as secular intellectuals rejected the evidence of Stalin's crimes or Mao's savagery (much as they overlook the brutalities of Islamist terrorists today). The intellectuals who staff the global media experienced the American-made destruction of their secular belief systems, slowly during the Cold War, then jarringly from 1989 to 1991. The experience has been as disorienting and infuriating to them as if we had proved to Muslim fanatics that their god does not exist.

America's triumph shames the Middle East and Europe alike, and has long dented the pride of Latin America. But the brotherhood of Islamist terrorists and the tribe of global intellectuals who dominate the media are the two groups who feel the most fury toward America. The terrorists dream of a paradise beyond the grave; intellectuals fantasized about utopias on earth. Neither can stomach the practical success of the American way of life, with its insistence on individual performance and its resistance to unearned privilege. For the Islamists, America's power threatens the promises of their faith. For world-intellectuals, America is the murderer of their most precious fantasies.

Is it any wonder that these two superficially different groups have drifted into collusion?
The suicide bomber may be the weapon of genius of our time, but the crucial new strategic factor is the rise of a global information culture that pretends to reflect reality, but in fact creates it. Iraq is only the most flagrant example of the disconnect between empirical reality and the redesigned, politically inflected alternative reality delivered by the media. This phenomenon matters far more than the profiteers of the revolution in military affairs can accept--the global information sphere is now a decisive battleground. Image and idea are as powerful as the finest military technologies.

We have reached the point (as evidenced by the first battle of Falluja) where the global media can overturn the verdict of the battlefield. We will not be defeated by suicide bombers in Iraq, but a chance remains that the international media may defeat us. Engaged with enemies to our front, we try to ignore the enemies at our back--enemies at whom we cannot return fire. Indeed, if anything must be profoundly reevaluated, it's our handling of the media in wartime. We have no obligation to open our accounts to proven enemies, yet we allow ourselves to be paralyzed by platitudes.

This doesn't mean that all of the media are evil or dishonest. It means we need to have the common sense and courage to discriminate between media outlets that attempt to report fairly (and don't compromise wartime secrets) and those whose track records demonstrate their hostility to our national purposes or their outright support for terrorists.

We got it right in World War II, but today we cannot count on patriotism among journalists, let alone their acceptance of censorship boards. Our own reporters pretend to be "citizens of the world" with "higher loyalties," and many view patriotism as decidedly down-market. Obsessed with defending their privileges, they refuse to accept that they also have responsibilities as citizens. But after journalistic irresponsibility kills a sufficient number of Americans, reality will force us to question the media's claim that "the public has a right to know" every secret our government holds in wartime.

The media may constitute the decisive element in the global counterrevolution in military affairs, and the video camera--that insatiable accomplice of the terrorist--the cheap negation of our military technology. (And beware the growing capability of digital technology to create American "atrocities" from scratch.) We are proud of our ability to put steel precisely on target anywhere in the world, but guided bombs don't work against faith or an unchallenged flood of lies. We have fallen in love with wind-up dolls and forgotten the preeminence of the soul.

We need to break the mental chains that bind us to a technology-über-alles dream of warfare--a fantasy as absurd and dated as the Marxist dreams of Europe's intellectuals. Certainly, military technologies have their place and can provide our troops with useful tools. But technologies are not paramount. In warfare, flesh and blood are still the supreme currency. And strength of will remains the ultimate weapon. Welcome to the counterrevolution.

Ralph Peters, a retired Army officer, is the author of 21 books, including New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy and the forthcoming Never Quit the Fight.

© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Carl Schrier Story: To Hell and Back

Carl Schrier has the look and voice that puts one in mind of Wallace Beery, the Hollywood actor of the 1930s who played in such movie classics as “Treasure Island” (1934) where he portrayed the lovable pirate “Long John Silver,” the father figure to the young Jackie Cooper who became a matinee favorite with his peg leg, parrot and eye patch.
This character of a pirate with a conscience is the persona of Carl Schrier who was born in 1957 in Salem, New Jersey, the son of a very competent skilled working man who had only one major flaw: alcoholism. Carl reports that he took his first drink at age 8 and continued to drink until 2001. He says that drinking was simply part of the family culture and it seemed to him normal. Carl relates that though a heavy drinker his father always took care of the family and never missed work, despite the occasional weekend when he indulged too much.
Like father, like son and Carl adopted both the negative and positive of his father’s character and became a highly skilled workman able to literally build by himself the average family home with an expert knowledge of carpentry, electrical installation, plumping, concrete work, carpet installation, dry wall installation, window installation, and so forth. In addition, Carl became a very competent welder, mason and diesel mechanic. If he had so desired, he could have become early in life a contractor and made a considerable fortune building private homes. Carl took these skills into the U.S. Army where he served for several years and given an Honorable Discharge and a Good Conduct Medal.Carl relates that he rewarded himself for a hard day’s good work by drinking that often started with a breakfast beer and continued all day long and into the night. He reports that he always has able to work and never had so much as a hangover, but the intense use of alcohol put his nerves on edge and destroyed his family life and marriage, and resulted in legal difficulties including the loss of his driving privilege.
However, despite the obvious warning signs of alcohol addiction and a life that was clearly becoming unmanageable, Carl continued his lifestyle of hard work and excessive drinking until one day on the city bus (He was forced to take public transportation to work because his Driver’s License was suspended) in Lakeland, Florida he happened to pass by “Mission Possible” for the first time. He said the bus route was such that the bus rounded the block and second time, and “Jesus spoke to me and told me to get off the bus and go into Mission Possible for salvation, which is what I did. I met a man named Brian who invited me to the Nazarene Church the next day where I was baptized. It was there that I met William Lowry and told him of my decision to accept Christ as my personal savior. After the church service, I traveled with William to Central Care Mission here in Orlando where I have lived since that time. This happened on June 2, 2001. I am now a staff member at CCM in addition to being in charge of maintenance at this facility, and I continue with a full time job as an electrician employed by Palmer Electric. In the near future I will return to Lakeland’s Mission Possible as the Director of that institution. My life before I met Christ was a living Hell, it was all about me and my wants, but now I see the outline of paradise, and it’s all about God and his needs, so I can rightly join Audie Murphy (World War II Medal of Honor winner) by saying that I too have been, To Hell and Back.”

The Paul Gaspard Story

Paul Gaspard was born in New York City, New York on November 17, 1959.
He grew up in an upwardly mobile African-American middle class family those point of origin was New Orleans, Louisiana who moved to “The Big Apple” to improve their living standards. This did happen and Paul’s father advanced from the ranks of a common laborer to the New York Public Service Commission professional position as a labor moderator. Gaspard senior then used the higher wages he had acquired to speculate in real estate finally ending up as the owner of 13 apartment buildings in the New York City area.
Paul relates that he had a happy childhood with a stay at home mother who was always an encouragement and interested in his well being. The family was Roman Catholic at this time and went to church often. Paul was educated the Catholic school system until Grade 8 and served as an altar boy at church. He attended public school until Grade 12 when he dropped out for business reasons, but quickly obtained his GED and attended “State University” on 42nd Street in New York City where he received an Associate of Science Degree in “Social Science Labor.” Paul next joined Union Local #3 as one of the few selected when the Union, “Open Books” program allowed new members. He said that Union membership translated into a job rate of $24.50 per hour.As a young man Paul had also developed an interest in music and says that by the time he was 12 years old his parents had encouraged his hobby by turning the basement of their home into a “D. J. Studio” full of expensive equipment. Later as a teenager and adult Paul learned the necessary skills to become a D.J a night clubs that provided him with drinks free of charge.
Thus by day Paul worked a good trade in Electrical Construction and by night combined recreation and work as a D.J. and the money came rolling into his bank account.At age 13 Paul fathered a child. This caused much concern in the family and he said that it was a factor in the divorce of his parents some years later. This affair was a turning point for Paul in that he began to drink at this early age. He relates that alcohol acted as a “Gateway Drug” and he begin to smoke Marijuana and take LSD as a teen. Later Paul began to use cocaine in the form of smoking “Crack” which he relates was a very expensive addiction to finance. At one point, for example, his savings of about $132,000 literally went up in smoke.
In the 1990s Paul began to travel to Florida to work as his addiction became more intense. In 2000 he received a terrible blow when both his beloved parents died within six months of one another. He said he “Went Crazy” for a period of time and did not smoke or drink. In 2003 Paul went to live with an Aunt in New Orleans in an attempt to end his drug addiction, but relapsed within a short period. Paul came back to Central Florida after this and continued the downward spiral of drug addiction. In 2005 he found himself living at the Coalition for the Homeless in downtown Orlando and sleeping on the concrete floor there for $1.00 a night even though he was earning upwards of $200 a day as a skilled worker with the rest going to support his cocaine addiction.
Paul’s spiritual turning point happened one night at the Coalition when he began to think about how ashamed his parents would have been if they could only see what he had become. He prayed to God to forgive his sin and felt a great peace and hope come over him. The next morning, which was a Sunday, February 14, 2005, he was told of the “Good News” Ministry in a church near the Coalition that served breakfast and the Gospel and began to walk towards the church. At first he thought of drinking the two last beers he had in his backpack but instead gave them away. At the “Good News” he made contact with Central Care Mission and Director William Lowry and was admitted.

The Keith Oldenberg Story: The Wanderer

The most striking characteristic of Keith Oldenberg is his honesty.

He tells his tale of a personal odyssey from homeless and Godless drug addicted wanderer to God fearing member of the Nazarene Church in a very matter of fact tone and in an almost third person narrative like a candid journalist who says in effect about a controversial contemporary news story, “I report. You decide.”
Keith reports that he was born in New Orleans, Louisiana on January 30, 1966 of German and French ancestry. He grew up in a family structure that many ominous parallels with the city of his birth, “The Big Easy” where drinking, parties, corruption and fine dining are the standards of behavior. Keith says that religion played little or no role in his middle class family who although both his parents were heavy drinkers always managed to maintain an outward appearance of respectability and did not abuse him or his other siblings in any emotional or physical way.
Keith felt loved and says that his parents provided all the support he needed to establish himself in life.Keith relates that he took his first drink at the age of 12 or 13, and by his 18th birthday was a daily drinker. It was not long into his drinking career that Keith quit school in approximately the 9th grade. He went to work in the career path of many residents of New Orleans and began working in the restaurant industry and became a short order cook. His career continued to develop in New Orleans and at last Keith landed a job with the Del Frisco chain of restaurants and became a manager and at the height of his career with this company had a staff of 15 people and charge of a multi-million dollar enterprise for his shift.
Unfortunately, Keith’s addiction to alcohol kept pace with his growing paycheck so that if he earned $2,000 a week then the $2,000 would be spent mostly on alcohol, parties and good times with only the bare minimum spent on the basics like housing, transportation and clothes. As can be imagined, management involved more stress and late hours, and further fueled Keith’s downward spiral. He reacted by attempting the “Geographical Cure” and went on the road. He reports living in at least four states after his 18th birthday: Texas, Washington, Missouri and finally Florida. But no matter where Keith ended up the outcome was always the same and he reports failure after failure as an increasing addiction led to social isolation and a endless cycle of working himself up to nice apartments and vehicles, only to lose nearly everything usually because of an arrest for being drunk and disorderly and then a seemingly endless repeat of the cycle.
By the year 2000 Keith had cycled to the bottom of the pit of despair and hopelessness. He had for years been psychologically addicted to alcohol but had progressed to the “Third Stage” of alcoholism which is physical addiction and needed to be constantly drinking lest he go into withdrawal. By this time Keith had washed up in Central Florida and had as usual in his cycle of personal destruction lost everything material, but this time had also lost his will and ability to keep full time employment and was working the day labor pools in Orlando. His income was quite low in this line of work, although he could have obtained temporary housing; instead he opted to live on the streets mainly because drinking was forbidden at the Salvation Army and other homeless shelters.
Then one Sunday morning Keith went to breakfast at the “Good News” service at the First Presbyterian Church recreation center which is largely staffed by Central Care Mission clients who are themselves drug addicts in recovery. This service made an impression on Keith and although he did not immediately ask for placement at Central Care Mission, the wheels in his head began to spin and he slowly but surely began to realize that the root of cause of his drinking problem was a spiritual one; that he had cut himself off from God and finally realized the only possible path to survival would be an unconditional surrender to the Absolute.This knowledge was the turning point in Keith’s life – Late one night alone and on the streets of Orlando he prayed for the Lord to come into his life and his prayer was answered, and in short order thru the aid of the Compassion Corner Ministry at the First Presbyterian Church in downtown Orlando, Keith asked for and received admission to Central Care Mission where he entered the rehabilitation program on October 3, 2002. After completion of the basic program requirements Keith stayed on as staff driver and delivered clients to job sites in the greater Orlando area in a timely and safe manner while at the same time completing a vocational program for Chef at Florida Technical College. After graduation he became a line cook at the Hyatt Hotel near Disney and in training to become a Chef. Keith at last became a Chef when hired by Center Pointe Church where he has since served with distinction.
Keith takes no credit for his resurrection: In his opinion the Lord did all the heavy lifting, so that getting his life back together was no great feat; in fact his life, which had before been so difficult, lonely, defeatist and filled with terror and shadows of demons had become bright, positive, and filled with hope, glory and companionship. “I’ll always need to keep my personal relationship with God strong thru service to others at Center Point Church and Central Care Mission. They are my life lines,” concluded Keith.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Accident at CCM on January 25, 2006

Al-Qaeda's American Brigade

The First American Traitor: Benedict Arnold
If anyone doesn’t believe that a De Facto alliance exists between the American Left and the Islamofascists would do well to read the article below.
In my never humble opinion William Blum and other Leftists like him are nothing more than latter day Benedict Arnolds and should be condemned as traitors to the American republic.
Jan. 24, 2006 / 24 Teves, 5766
Al-Qaeda's American brigade
By Daniel Pipes

William Blum, a Washington, D.C. writer, responded delightedly last Thursday on learning that Osama bin Laden had cited his book in an audiotape. Blum called the mention of Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower "almost as good as being an Oprah book," a reference to the popular American television host whose endorsement routinely makes a book a bestseller.
Asked if he was queasy about bin Laden's urging listeners to read his book, Blum replied: "I'm not repulsed, and I'm not going to pretend I am." Quite the contrary, he said: "I'm glad. … It's good publicity for my book." And, indeed, it was: Thanks to bin Laden's promotion, Rogue State ascended from 205,763 to 26 on Amazon.com's ranking of most-ordered books.
Blum explained his response by saying he found bin Laden no worse than the U.S. government: "I would not say that bin Laden has been any less moral than Washington has been." He even refused to distance himself from bin Laden's views: "If he shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views."
Blum describes his life mission as "slowing down the American Empire, … injuring the beast." Not surprisingly, Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal, and their ilk have lavished praise on his work.
What attracted bin Laden to Blum? This passage (which actually comes from another of Blum's books, titled Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire): "If I were the [U.S.] president, I could stop terrorist attacks against the United States in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize-very publicly and very sincerely-to all the widows and orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism."
Until his sudden catapult into the public eye, Blum, 72, had lived the quiet life of a second-string America-hater. The child of Polish Jewish immigrants, he grew up in Brooklyn, studied accounting in college, and, as an anti-communist with aspirations to become a foreign service officer, he went to work at a computer-related position in the U.S. Department of State in the mid-1960s. The Vietnam War radicalized him and he resigned from State in 1967 to pursue a career of far-left advocacy and sabotage (he claims to have revealed the names and addresses of over two hundred CIA operatives). For nearly forty years, Blum has written op-eds after articles after books pursuing his hobbyhorse to prove the alleged evil of the U.S. government officials, whom he has compared to "chainsaw baby killers."
He goes so far as to state the existence of an American-sponsored "holocaust" since 1945 that has caused the death of a few million people and condemned many more millions to "lives of misery and torture." David Horowitz, a foremost analyst of the left, sums up this line of thought in his excellent study, "Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left": for Blum, "America is worse than Nazi Germany." Horowitz also notes that "there is no discernible difference" between Blum's view of the U.S. role in the Cold War and the crudest Communist caricature manufactured in the Kremlin.
Although Blum was childishly delighted by his sudden celebrity and riches, his comrades on the far left reacted more warily to bin Laden's endorsement, aware how it reveals that, as Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media puts it, "bin Laden is counting on a [leftist] fifth column in the U.S. to undermine the war on terrorism and hand him a victory on the battlefield."
Such exposure so worries some on the far left that they have gone so far as to portray the bin Laden audiotape to be "an obvious fake" concocted by neo-conservatives in the U.S. government. But elaborate conspiracy theories cannot undo the fact that the Islamist-leftist alliance, burgeoning for years, has now reached the point that the far left constitutes Al-Qaeda's new mujahideen.
After having failed to mount a massive terrorist operation in the United States in over four years, bin Laden's early but very public Valentine to the far left suggests that he sees it as a critical ally. And he is entirely correct to do so.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Is America Even Worth Saving?

The Democratic Underground Thread Of The Day: Is America Even Worth Saving?

On the upside, apparently even the majority of the people at the DU aren't so far gone that they agree that the world would be a better place without America in it. On the other hand, there was a significant minority that...well, I think the posts speak for themselves.

Starting with the original post:

mikelewis: Is America even worth saving? The world economy is struggling back on its feet after a century of war both hot and cold and we are now drowning in debt. Our products are too expensive for world consumption and our people are too ignorant and divided to lead in the new world economy. The only thing we really have left to protect our place in the world is the reliance on the dollar and an indestructible army, both of which are becoming less reliable and less indestructible everyday.

Our Constitution is not only openly ignored by our own President but it has been usurped by millions of sub-laws and statutes. The average American person probably violates at least 1 law a day and We hardly have to leave our homes to do so. Our sense of morality is so twisted that even our spiritual leaders are nothing more than two-bit con-men.

Our addiction to oil has turned us into junkies. Our addiction to television has turned us into zombies. Our addiction to fear has turned us into slaves. So is America even worth saving? Wouldn't it be better to let her die than to continue to be some grotesque malignancy on the world? Is it even realistic to believe we can fix a country so broken and depraved?

PVK: We should start over. It obviously is a huge failure.

greyhound1966: Look out your window... see? There it is...the lifeless carcass covered in vultures...America 'died' in the 80's after suffering a long illness, resurrected as amerika by the ignorant, the short-sighted, the greedy, the evil.

Hardrada: What's one "superpower" more or less in the greater flow of human history. Who misses the Russian and Ottoman empires, for instance? Or The French or British? Maybe we have to devolve into smaller states like what might happen with Iraq. I think many of us in the UPPER Midwest would be glad to severe connections with Jesusland.

Ksec: These idiots voted the disaster in. They look past his torture, spying on us, saying outsourcing is good for Americans, cheating on everything he does, backroom deals with corporate powers , etc.

Are the people who say this is fine worth saving? I say no.

mike_c: you know mike, the more I learn about recent American history...and by that I mean post-WWII history, the more I find myself asking the same question. The moral bankruptcy of America did not begin on January 20, 2001. It got worse then, but America has been an imperial power since the 1960s, at least. It has been ruled by greed throughout that time-- its political history is largely the history of greedy exploitation of the rest of the world. Ordinary Americans are notably ignorant about the rest of the world, yet they depend on global exploitation of cheap labor, cheap food, cheap energy, cheap plastic crap, and the cheap lives of poor brown people to a remarkable degree, and even more remarkable, the rest of world has born them upon its bent backs for generations. There's not a whole lot to be proud of in American foreign policy since the end of WWII. At home the democratic republic has gradually been eroded by corporate greed, making America a rich nation with a high infant mortality rate, one of the most advanced medical technologies in the world, but one that many citizens do not have affordable access to, and so on. Our worship of the worst excesses of capitalism, just because they're "not socialist," makes the rich richer and the poor more destitute every year.

Anyone who thinks these problems originated during the last five years hasn't been paying attention. Every American administration since Roosevelt has contributed toward the demise of the Republic, IMO, regardless of political affiliation. The best that can be said about the democrats is that they haven't been as bad as the republicans, generally. That's not a ringing endorsement.

The more I learn about the America I've lived in for the last 50 years, the less pride I have in my country.

MN ChimpH8R: Well said, mike_c. America's imperial ambitions go all the way back to Teddy Roosevelt. The only countries in the world worth emulating are the Scandinavian countries - yes, there can be a successful welfare state - but Americans are, as a whole, so addicted to cheap oil, being told what to think, mindless consumerism and being oblivious to the world that they will tolerate any government policies that maintain the status quo. The American populace is, collecitvely, possessed of the mentality of a selfish 4-year-old.

Zech Marquis: this isn't America anymore same place, but the people are so much indifferent to what's realy going on--for me I think I'll probably say farewell to Jesusland and relocate to Europe or Japan.

chimpymustgo: It's not just the last 50 years - America has been f*cked up since Day 1. Sure, it was founded on some lofty principles and noble ideas, but we had to MURDER the indigenous people here so set up our little "democratic republic", then we built it on the backs of ENSLAVED human beings.

The 20th Century began our terrorization of the rest of the world. And here at home, the elites have the money, the power, the VOTING MACHINES. The Presidency, the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, the Media, the new Patriot Act.

What is left to save? And just exactly how do you do it?


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What prevents the USA from attacking Iran?

Target Iran: The Will

What prevents the US from attacking Iran? It is not that we lack the military means to do so; it is that our cultural and political leaders seem to lack the will for military action. The Bush administration in particular seems to have been so beaten down politically by criticism of the Iraq War that they will need bipartisan support--and even bipartisan
political pressure--before they regain the confidence to act.

That support may be on its way. Today's New York Times reproduces Niall Ferguson's column (which I linked to in the LA Times last week) describing a fictional future historian's account of a nuclear war started by Iran, which could have been prevented by pre-emptive military action. The Times also reports that Senators Lieberman and McCain are calling for military action.

"Lawmakers Push for More Action on Iranian Nuclear Standoff," Brian Knowlton, New York Times, January 22. 2006:

" 'There's only one thing worse than the United States exercising the military option,' Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said, 'and that is Iran having nuclear weapons.'… Senator McCain's call for an accelerated approach on Iran was echoed by a senior Democrat, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, who was the Democratic candidate for vice president in 2000. 'It's good that we're working with Britain, France, and Germany,' Senator Lieberman said, listing the European nations that have led American-backed negotiations with Iran, 'but their pace is too slow.'… Senator Lieberman, who is considered a hawk on military matters, said not only that the United States should keep the military option alive but that it also had the military capability…. After the enormous controversy over what critics said was the Bush administration's failure to secure adequate international backing before invading Iraq, some Republicans and Democrats now accuse it of relying too heavily on diplomacy."

Target Iran: The Way

When it comes to military action, Peter Brooks spells out the options in the New York Post. Brooks's review is both more thorough and more concise, but the overview below from the New York Times is more significant culturally. The tone of this article--especially its title--is an indication that the mainstream left may be open to military action against Iran.

The reporter's rehearsing of the negatives, however, is telling, because the "risks" of an attack on Iran are not military consequences but rather "political fallout," which the New York Times fears the US could not handle. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy--because newspapers like the New York Times are always at the forefront in delivering the
"political fallout" from any US military action.

"Why Not a Strike on Iran?" David E. Sanger, New York Times, January 22, 2006

"Diplomats around the world keep repeating the mantra: there is no military option when it comes to slowing, much less stopping, Iran's presumed ambitions to get the Bomb…. 'It's a kind of nonsense statement to say there is no military solution to this,' said W. Patrick Lang, the former head of Middle East intelligence at the Defense Intelligence Agency…. But…it would alienate allies and probably make firm enemies out of many Iranians who have come to dislike their theocratic government…. 'Could we do it?' one administration official who was deeply involved in planning the Iraq invasion said recently. 'Sure. Could we manage the aftermath? I doubt it.'… 'Elimination of the nuclear program is not possible, but with the right strikes you could decisively set them back,' said Ashton B. Carter…. Given the track record in Iraq, however, there is always the risk that those facilities will turn out to be a watch factory, or, worse, a schoolhouse."

Monday, January 23, 2006


The big news for today is that Canada may vote in a Conservative government. If this blessed event does happen then it can't come a moment too soon, because without a strong regime that stresses nationalism Canada is doomed to breaking up into perhaps as many as three countries that may in time join its southern neighbor, the United States.

If I were a Canadian I would be casting my vote for the Tories whose policies have the promise of bringing back to Canada the pride and glory that has been nearly destroyed since 1945 by a number of Liberal governments who have reduced a once proud nation of warriors with the fourth largest army in the world to the laughing stock of late night comedians.

Do it Canada!

January 19, 2006, 2:10 p.m.

“I’m a Lumberjack and I’m Okay”

By John Sullivan

Canadian politics is often said to be boring. Maybe this widespread American belief can be set down to the fact that Canada is America's least-threatening neighbor. When Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba are your other neighbors, then Canada is bound to seem like the nation-state equivalent of a maiden aunt — prissy and disapproving but no real trouble.

There is something in this, but it is not the whole story. In 1945 Canada was the world's fourth-largest military power. Its soldiers, sailors, and airmen had played a major part on D-Day and in finally defeating Nazi Germany. And its national image was that of a tough, self-reliant, stand-up guy whom you would like on your side in a barroom brawl.

From 1945 to the present, the history and changing national image of Canada were brilliantly summed up in the Monty Python song that begins "I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay" and gradually develops into "I put on women's clothing and hang around in bars." In other words, not necessarily someone you would like on your side in a barroom brawl.

Trudeaupian Candadians
This new Canada was the child of Pierre Trudeau and the Canadian Liberal party. As the sprawling octopus of the government in power for most of the postwar period, they remade Canada in their own image: left-liberal in politics, tightly regulated in economics, welfarist in social policy, officially bilingual and multicultural as regards national identity, allied to the United Nations and the third world in foreign policy, and therefore self-consciously different from (and sometimes even hostile to) the U.S.

In one significant respect, however, the new Trudeaupian Canadians imitated America: They ditched their British-style parliamentary constitution and introduced an American constitution with both a Charter of Rights and Freedoms, broader and more collectivist than America's Bill of Rights, and a U.S.-style Supreme Court to adjudicate and enforce it. By making the courts the all-but-final political authority, the Liberals were hoping to ensure that like-minded judges could continue to impose Trudeaupian liberal policies on Canada even during the brief intervals when they were out of office.

Such an interval may just be about to occur. Canada is holding a federal election next Monday, and most opinion polls show a lead of around 10-12 percent for the opposition Conservative party. In Canada's multiparty system, that might not ensure a majority for the Tories. The opinion scores for the three main national parties — 40 percent for the CPD, 30 percent for the ruling Liberals, and 16 percent for the left-wing National Democratic party — could produce a range of results. But there is a strong prospect of a minority Tory government, and a lesser but real chance of an outright majority one.

"I'm a Scary Conservative with a Hidden Agenda"

The Liberals are going into overdrive to prevent this — hurling a series of charges against the rising Tories. Their all-purpose portmanteau slander is that the Tories are a sinister force and are secretly planning a series of radical attacks on Canada's current multicultural-welfare state. My distinguished columnar colleague, Mark Steyn, parodies this critique by offering Canadian visitors to his website t-shirts that read: "I'm a Scary Conservative with a Hidden Agenda." But the Liberals have outdone even Mr. Steyn's satire. Their latest television ad warned that the Tories intended to deploy the Canadian armed forces in urban areas, implying that they would be used not to help in Katrina-style emergencies but to impose martial law. This invited a raucous response from, among others, the Canadian military: "Where would we get the soldiers? Where would we get the guns?" asked one officer, who asked not to be named [by Canada's National Post.] "Haven't these guys been reading their own policies?" The ad was quickly withdrawn amid Liberal embarrassment. A Liberal flunkey remarked that "some idiot" had approved it. The Liberals' embarrassment deepened when it became known that the "idiot" in question was the prime minister, Paul Martin.

The next Liberal tactic was to exploit Canada's rich vein of anti-Americanism. Martin picked up a favorable reference by the Tory leader, Stephen Harper, to American conservatives — and proceeded to embroider it darkly: "That's what Stephen Harper means when he says it's time for a change in Canada. Well, let me tell you something, Mr. Harper. That's not the kind of change that Canadians want. America is our neighbor. It is not our nation." Martin also picked a silly quarrel with the U.S. ambassador in order to be seen “standing up” to the U.S.

No Traction with Harper Horrors
Such posturing has left the voters unimpressed. They know Martin doesn’t really mean it since his and previous Liberal governments have happily cooperated with the U.S. on serious matters such as defense and cross-border trade. They also think it would be a bad thing if Martin did mean it since it might alienate Canada’s largest trading partner — especially since the first faint signs of American irritation at these pinpricks have been lately observed.

As defeat has loomed, Martin’s Liberal party has unleashed a third and more interesting attack — that Harper and the Tories might one day use the “notwithstanding” clause of the Canadian constitution that allows parliament in the last resort to overrule the Supreme Court by exempting a law from its constitutional review. Martin promises to abolish the clause in order to protect such recent judge-made law as same-sex marriage.

The issue is certainly important. Removing the notwithstanding clause would make the Supreme Court the sovereign political authority in Canada, outside the control of the voters. It would then be impossible for an elected government to repeal any Liberal policy of which the courts approved. Democracy would be replaced by judgeocracy.

It is usually hard to get the voters to pay regard to such apparently theoretical risks. On this occasion, however, a report commissioned by Ottawa has just pointed out, with exquisitely bad timing, that the courts might well interpret the Charter rules on marriage so as to legalize polygamy. Without a notwithstanding clause, no Canadian government could prevent such legalization. It is now the Liberals’ turn to look “scary.”

At any rate, whatever the reason, their campaign of scares is visibly failing today. The Liberals, still reeling from a massive financial scandal of influence-buying in Quebec, are simply not a credible source for scares — at least about other people. The voters — who last year were frightened away from voting Tory by a similar last-minute scare campaign — have had twelve months to become accustomed to the possibility of a Tory majority. It looks a good deal less “scary” than legalized polygamy.

Above all, the Tory leader, Stephen Harper, is not a very good candidate for demonization. He is a cerebral politician who has kept cool under the Liberal onslaught. He has fought a controlled campaign on a distinctly moderate conservative manifesto.

Too moderate, some would say, since the Tory manifesto concentrates on cleaning up government after the Liberal scandals, offers only modest tax cuts, is willing to offer the U.S. a “free vote” in parliament on joining a missile defense system (rather than supporting it outright), and proposes raft after raft of government assistance programs rather than a smaller state.

That said, the Tories also propose to rebuild Canada’s shrunken military, to retain the democratic safeguard of the notwithstanding clause, to strengthen border security against terrorists, to advance Canada’s interests by better relations with the U.S. rather than by pointless insults, and in general to revive the more vigorous Canada that existed before Trudeau.

Harper’s moderation is a recognition that the Canadians have become accustomed to the easy chair of subsidies and regulation. He knows that massive change would be rejected. So he is inviting modern Canada to take the first small steps back to economic independence, self-reliance, and national pride — perhaps with more to follow as the patient grows stronger.

But is there still a lumberjack under all that mascara?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Has Bush Crossed The Rubicon?

If this had been written by a liberal I would put it down to more anti-Bush nonsense, but the author is a conservative who makes some interesting points, and it is a historical fact that the American Republic was modeled on the Roman Republic.

Bush Has Crossed the Rubicon

by Paul Craig Roberts

Posted Jan 18, 2006

Dictatorships seldom appear full-fledged, but emerge piecemeal. When Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with one Roman legion, he broke the tradition that protected the civilian government from victorious generals and launched the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. Fearing that Caesar would become a king, the Senate assassinated him. From the civil wars that followed, Caesar's grandnephew, Octavian, emerged as the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus.

Two thousand years later in Germany, Adolf Hitler's rise to dictator from his appointment as chancellor was rapid. Hitler used the Reichstag fire to create an atmosphere of crisis. Both the judicial and legislative branches of government collapsed, and Hitler's decrees became law. The Decree for the Protection of People and State (Feb. 28, 1933) suspended guarantees of personal liberty and permitted arrest and incarceration without trial. The Enabling Act (March 23, 1933) transferred legislative power to Hitler, permitting him to decree laws -- laws, moreover, that "may deviate from the Constitution."

The dictatorship of the Roman emperors was not based on an ideology. The Nazis had an ideology of sorts, but Hitler's dictatorship was largely personal and agenda-based. The dictatorship that emerged from the Bolshevik Revolution was based in ideology. Lenin declared that the Communist Party's dictatorship over the Russian people rests "directly on force, not limited by anything, not restricted by any laws, nor any absolute rules." Stalin's dictatorship over the Communist Party was based on coercion alone, unrestrained by any limitations or inhibitions.

In this first decade of the 21st century, the United States regards itself as a land of democracy and civil liberty -- but, in fact, is an incipient dictatorship. Ideology plays only a limited role in the emerging dictatorship. The demise of American democracy is largely the result of historical developments.

Lincoln was the first American tyrant. Lincoln justified his tyranny in the name of preserving the Union. His extra-legal, extra-constitutional methods were tolerated in order to suppress Northern opposition to Lincoln's war against the Southern secession.

The first major, lasting assault on the U.S. Constitution's separation of powers, which is the basis for our political system, came with the response of the Roosevelt administration to the crisis of the Great Depression. The New Deal resulted in Congress delegating its legislative powers to the executive branch. Today, when Congress passes a statute, it is little more than an authorization for an executive agency to make the law by writing the regulations that implement it.

Prior to the New Deal, legislation was tightly written to minimize any executive branch interpretation. Only in this way can law be accountable to the people. If the executive branch that enforces the law also writes the law, "all legislative powers" are no longer vested in elected representatives in Congress. The Constitution is violated, and the separation of powers is breached.

The principle that power delegated to Congress by the people cannot be delegated by Congress to the executive branch is the mainstay of our political system. Until President Roosevelt overturned this principle by threatening to pack the Supreme Court, the executive branch had no role in interpreting the law. As Justice John Marshall Harlan wrote, "That Congress cannot delegate legislative power to the president is a principle universally recognized as vital to the integrity and maintenance of the system of government ordained by the Constitution."

Despite seven decades of an imperial presidency that has risen from the New Deal's breach of the separation of powers, Republican attorneys, who constitute the membership of the quarter-century-old Federalist Society, the candidate group for Republican nominees to federal judgeships, write tracts about the Imperial Congress and the Imperial Judiciary that are briefs for concentrating more power in the executive. Federalist Society members pretend that Congress and the judiciary have stolen all the power and run away with it.

The Republican interest in strengthening executive power has its origin in agenda frustration from the constraints placed on Republican administrations by Democratic congresses. The thrust to enlarge the president's powers predates the Bush administration, but is being furthered to a dangerous extent during Bush's second term. The confirmation of Bush's nominee, Samuel Alito, a member of the Federalist Society, to the Supreme Court will provide five votes in favor of enlarged presidential powers.

President Bush has used "signing statements" hundreds of times to vitiate the meaning of statutes passed by Congress. Bush effectively is vetoing the bills he signs into law by asserting unilateral authority as commander in chief to bypass or set aside the laws he signs. For example, Bush has asserted that he has the power to ignore the McCain amendment against torture, to ignore the law that requires a warrant to spy on Americans, to ignore the prohibition against indefinite detention without charges or trial and to ignore the Geneva Conventions to which the United States is signatory.

In effect, Bush is asserting the powers that accrued to Hitler in 1933. His Federalist Society apologists and Department of Justice appointees claim that President Bush has the same power to interpret the Constitution as the Supreme Court. An Alito Court is likely to agree with this false claim.

This is the great issue that is before the country. But it is pushed into the background by political battles over abortion and homosexual rights. Many people fighting to strengthen the executive think they are fighting against legitimizing sodomy and murder in the womb. They are unaware that the real issue is that America is on the verge of elevating its president above the law.

Bush Justice Department official and Berkeley law professor John Yoo argues that no law can restrict the president in his role as commander in chief. Thus, once the president is at war -- even a vague open-ended "war on terror" -- Bush's Justice Department says the president is free to undertake any action in pursuit of war, including the torture of children and indefinite detention of American citizens.

The commander in chief role is probably sufficiently elastic to expand to any crisis, whether real or fabricated. Thus has the United States arrived at the verge of dictatorship.

This development has little to do with Bush, who is unlikely to be aware that the Constitution is experiencing its final rending on his watch. America's descent into dictatorship is the result of historical developments and of old political battles dating back to President Nixon being driven from office by a Democratic Congress.

There is today no constitutional party. Both political parties, most constitutional lawyers and the bar associations are willing to set aside the Constitution whenever it interferes with their agendas. Americans have forgotten the prerequisites for freedom, and those pursuing power have forgotten what it means when it falls into other hands.

Americans are very close to losing their constitutional system and civil liberties. It is paradoxical that American democracy is the likely casualty of a "war on terror" that is being justified in the name of the expansion of democracy.

Response at Free Republic:

Roberts has traveled almost as far off the charts as Joe Sobran. His article is mostly an extended rant about the manner in which GWB and his administration have interpreted the the powers of Commander -in-Chief as given in Article 2 of the Constitution. His complaint is that Bush refuses to have these powers restricted by (IMHO) unconstitutional legislative restrictions on the C-in-C's freedom of action during wartime. In many ways the Bush administration has moved with greater circumspection in wielding the massive war making powers of the Executive than a number of his predecessors. There have been no mass arrests of suspected terrorists, no mass forcible deportation of aliens presumed guilty of seditious actions, and certainly no institution of internal exile and confinement for problematic ethnic/religious groups. The tub thumping about the actions of Lincoln and the Republicans during the WBTS/CW is just a standard red herring. GWB is certainly not contemplating suspending Habeas Corpus or suppressing the media or conducting warrentless arrests and imprisonment of domestic critics, defeatists, and suspected seditionists. Unfortunately PCR seems to have joined the ranks of those who wish to avoid the inconvenient reality that we are in a war, it is not a metaphor, it is real however unlike any conflict that we have fought before.

28 posted on 01/20/2006 9:11:29 AM PST by robowombat