As a Jew, why am I not more exercised about the use of poison gas in Syria?

As you’ve gathered, I do not support President Obama’s promised “show” strike against Syria to protest the Assad regime’s alleged use of toxic nerve gas against a community that presumably supported the al Qaeda rebels. To justify my position, I’ve pointed to the fact that there is no benefit to the U.S. in getting involved in Syria.  That still leaves the question, though, of why I, a Jew, wouldn’t want to see every country of good will make its utmost efforts to protest the use of poison gas against civilians.

It’s not that I think a Syrian civilian’s life is less valuable than a Jewish civilian’s life (or an American’s life, for that matter).  Based on the available news, I assume that those who died were just ordinary people, trying to live in a nation torn apart by an internecine tribal, Muslim battle.  If that assumption is correct, those who died are innocent victims, no less than those who lost their lives in Nazi gas camps and mass graves throughout the Pale.  So why don’t I want to help?

Well, there are several reasons.  My first response relates to my family history.  What’s happening in Syria is not genocide, a la Hitler, who wanted to remove an entire race from the earth.  There was no military objective underlying Hitler’s decision to round up 6 million people and killing them. Indeed, it was militarily stupid, because it diverted resources that were desperately needed for a two-front war.

In this regard, I know my views about “ordinary war” versus genocide are informed by my Mother’s experiences.  While she’ll go to the grave hating the Japanese guards who so brutally controlled the concentration camps in Indonesia where she spent almost four years of her life, she’s never been that hostile to the Japanese people.  “They were fighting a war,” she says.  “In this, they differed from the Germans, who were destroying a people.”

What’s happening in Syria is a civil war.  In the hierarchy of wars, civil wars are always the most bloody and least humane, in much the same way that, in the area of law, the most vicious cases are divorces.  Your opponent is close enough for you to hate wholeheartedly.

In Syria, we are witnessing a fight between two closely-related, rabid dogs.  These war dogs can be put down entirely or they can be ignored.  They cannot be trifled with in an inconsequential way, or they will turn the full fury of their wrath on the trifler, even as they escalate actions against each other.  If America goes in, she must go in to destroy one side or the other.  Doing less than that is futile and tremendously dangerous, especially because these are Arabs….

And that gets me to the main reason I’m opposed to intervening despite gas attack that Assad’s troops launched.  Perhaps to your surprise, I’m not going to argue that “Let the Muslims kill each other there, because it’s good riddance to bad rubbish.”  I certainly don’t mind Syria being so busy internally that she has no time to harass Israel.  However, that pragmatic response is most definitely not the same as delighting in the destruction of her innocent civilian population.

Instead, my sense of futility in getting involved in Syria is that what we’re seeing is simply how Muslim Arabs fight.  They don’t do polite warfare, with rules.  They do balls-to-the-wall warfare, with women and children as primary targets.  Their cultural preference when fighting war is rape, mutilation, torture, mass-murder, civilian massacres, and soaking-their-hands-in-their-victims’ blood.

When we oppose gas warfare, it’s because it is so wildly outside the rules by which Western warfare has so long abided:  we fire things at the enemy, whether guns, or cannon, or missiles.  Our culture accepts projectile warfare, but has been for at least a century extremely hostile to non-projectile warfare, whether it’s gas attacks, civilian slaughters, or concentration camps.

Within the context of the Muslim world, when it comes to warfare, anything goes.  If we stop one type of atrocity, they’ll come up with another one, because they have no parameters.

Also, to the extent all Muslim/Arab wars are both tribal and religious, they have no concept of civilians.  Whether you’re a newborn infant, a teenage girl, a mentally handicapped man, or a doddering old lady, if you belong to “the other” tribe or religion (and everyone does) then you are automatically an enemy and a target.  Today’s baby becomes tomorrow’s adolescent rock throwers.  That young teenage girl might give birth to another member of that tribe.  The mentally handicapped man is proof that the other religion or tribe is corrupt.  As for the doddering old lady, she almost certainly raised someone among your enemy.

I’m not saying anything surprising, here.  It’s why the Palestinians so enthusiastically target Jewish schools.

Incidentally, it’s worth noting that we did not go to war against Germany at the end of 1941 because it was harassing and killing German Jews.  We tend to leave countries alone, even when they slaughter their own people.  We went after them because they were trying to take over Europe.  To the extent the Roosevelt administration knew about the genocide, it kept it under wraps.  There was no way Roosevelt was going to take America to war over a bunch of Jews.  It was only after the war that everyone was shocked — shocked! — to learn about the scope of Nazi atrocities.

My daughter rather inadvertently pointed out how ridiculous this “mass slaughter of civilians” yardstick is.  For one of her classes, she is required to read three newspaper stories a day.  I suggested the report about Kim Jong-un’s order that his former lover and her entire band get machine-gunned to death.  I also told her that the regime forced the family’s of those executed to watch their loved ones die, and then shipped all the families, lock, stock, and baby off to the concentration camp system.  “They’ll be lucky if they die there quickly,” I added.  “The camps are that bad.”

When she heard this, my daughter, bless her heart, came back with a question that gets to the heart of Obama’s flirtation with bombing Syria:  “Then why aren’t we planning to attack North Korea, instead of Syria?”

Excellent question, my dear, especially considering North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.  We have shown for decades our willingness to stand aside when tyrannical regimes kill their own people — provided that those murders do not implicate American interests.  Even during the Cold War, our incursions into other countries were to protect non-communists from communists.  Since we couldn’t attack the Soviet Union directly, we engaged in containment by proxy.  In other words, our national interests were at stake, because the Cold War was a direct threat to American interests.

In Syria, however, both sides embrace Islam and hate America.  There are no parties there that need to be protected to further America’s security interests.  We should certainly decry the deaths of the civilians, but the average American on the street seems to understand better than the pettish, petulant Obama that this is one where we should stand aside.  This is their culture and they will defeat it only when they want to, not because of half-hearted, ineffectual, silly efforts on our part.

Obama is sort of beginning to grasp this fact, and he’s trying to save face by approaching Congress.  He assumes that the Senate will support his war cry, because Democrats are slavishly echoing him and there are a few Hawkish Republicans (like McCain) who support him.  He fully expects, however, that the House will vote him down, thereby saying him from the consequences of his own threats and posturing.  It’s quite obvious that he also expects that there will be a pitched battle on the House floor, exposing Republican callousness to a disgusted America.

Obama’s hope that Republicans display each other to their worst advantage in their own form of internecine warfare is misplaced.  Considering that only 9% of the American people believe intervention in Syria is a good thing, if the Republicans display even minimal good sense in opposing a strike, they will get the full support of the American people.

Re North Korea, the PowerLine guys think we’re being taken to the cleaners, but we won’t end up dead

I’ve been wondering whether North Korea’s unusually heightened war rhetoric means that the missiles will really start to fly.  Over at PowerLine, Steven Hayward has a different theory, which is depressing, but less worrisome.  He thinks that Kim Jong-Un is no fool, and that he recognizes that the troika of Obama, Kerry, and Hagel is the negotiating equivalent of the Three Stooges.  He will push them around until their little spines flop over completely, and then come back with unusually excessive demands, to which they will gratefully acquiesce:

Skip past Barack Obama for a moment, and just take in the secretary of defense, and the secretary of state.  Chuck Hagel.  John Kerry.  Take a deep breath here. Put yourself in the shoes of the Norks.  These guys make the British appeasers of the 1930s look like Chuck Norris.  Think the Norks haven’t paid attention to these guys?  Add in Obama’s obvious liberal guilt and what conclusion would you reach?  Even a 28-year old Kim, educated in private schools in Switzerland but moreover schooled in the Nork blackmail drill, will draw the obvious conclusion: time to go for broke and take the U.S. to the cleaners, because its leadership right now is ripe for the plucking.  Far from being crazy, Kim Jong Un may be the most rational person around right now.

That actually makes sense.

To which Paul Mirengoff adds that the Swiss-educated Jong-Un might be trying to make reforms to the country’s economy.  This is best done if he appeases the hard-liners while getting some hard cash from the United States.

Both those scenarios make more sense than North Korea willingly destroying itself, and they make sense in terms of the team that Obama has assembled over in the Foggy Bottom, and foggy brain, neighborhood.

Only time will tell, of course.  We little people can’t influence events; we can just watch them unfold.

Asking again the same question I asked the other day — Are we worried about North Korea

Kim Jong-Un has now established himself as a madman on steroids. He’s not doing the usual North Korean war games dance followed by demands for food and money.  Instead, he’s declared that the Korean War, which was merely in abeyance, is reinstated and that North Korea is standing ready to rain havoc on America.  He seems to believe his own mythology.  I’d be willing to bet that he’s had the country’s best minds figure out how he can put his pants on both legs at a time, thereby raising himself above even the former Russian Tsar (whose peasants said of him that he was still a man who put his pants on one leg at a time).

Will Kim Jong-Un’s military follow him?  Are they so brainwashed that they will be incapable of a coup that will stop him as he embarks upon a path that will witness his country’s complete destruction?

I have no doubt, incidentally, that if Kim did start a war against the US, we would quickly destroy him.  I also have no doubt that his attacks and strategy would be primitive and of limited effectiveness, even if he did launch nuclear missiles.  But knowing those two things doesn’t mean that any war he starts won’t be a bloody disaster for the Korean mainland and, possibly, for parts of America too.  There might be a nuclear mess to clean up, and thousands, or tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people — South Korean, North Korean, and American could die or suffer radiation poisoning.  In addition, there’s the very real possibility that China will feel compelled to defend its satellite, reasoning that it’s better to have a crazy satellite than no satellite at all.

Fall out shelter from the 1950s

We think we’re too sophisticated for 1950s fall-out panic, but are we really? In any event, without the 1950s civilian defense infrastructure, what the heck can we do? We’ve felt impregnable for decades behind our “best military in the world.” But how much will it help us against a lunatic totalitarian state led by a man who thinks he’s not just a demi-God, but a God, armed with nuclear warheads?

And again, one ask to ask if this is just a feint, with the real business of war taking place in Iran?

I’m not panicking, I assure you, but I’d be lying if I said I felt happy and comfortable about this.

Incidentally, if you’d like to read a stellar North Korean analysis, you can’t do better than reading Thomas Lifson, since he is deeply conversant with the Far East.

What does North Korea want? And should we be scared?

I haven’t yet decided whether I’m unnerved by North Korea’s saber rattling.  We’ve seen this before, starting in the 1990s, when the North Koreans figured out that, if they made the West sufficiently nervous, the West would bring offerings of food and money to the destitute totalitarian prison state, in hopes that feeding the beast would render it docile.  Things seem a little different this time, though, so maybe I’m getting more nervous.

First, North Korea has never been so open in its aggression.  If I remember past situations correctly, the North Koreans shot missiles here and there, made the usual threats against South Korea, and had the propaganda news station heighten the rhetoric a little bit, but that was it.  This time, however, North Korea has made public carefully posed photographs showing Kim Jong-un clustering with his generals as they blot nuclear missile attacks, not just at Seoul, but at specifically named American cities — Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Austin, Texas.  Specific threats tend to be more worrisome than generic Communist hate-speech.  (And I don’t mean to imply that the past threats against Seoul were meaningless.  Regardless of meaning, they were also part of North Korean ritual.)

North Korea plan to attack US mainland revealed in photographs - Telegraph - Mozilla Firefox 3292013 71051 AM.bmp North Korea plan to attack US mainland revealed in photographs - Telegraph - Mozilla Firefox 3292013 71003 AM.bmp

Second, North Korea is under new management.  Kim Jong-un is a totally unknown quantity.  Maybe he’s just using his youthful zeal to bring new optics into the stale ritual blackmail . . . but maybe not.  As ancient Rome showed, the tyrants tend to get crazier as time goes by. (Think:  Caligula.)  Maybe Jong-un, who has never known anything but the insane hot house of North Korean politics, actually thinks attacking South Korea and the United States will work to his country’s benefit.  Megalomania doesn’t breed rational thought.

Third, North Korea has the nuclear weapons this time, and they’ve given every indication that they’re crazy enough to use them.  No mutually assured destruction doctrine will hold them back.

Fourth, it’s peculiar that North Korea hasn’t made any demands yet, despite a month of threats.  And not just threats, but escalating threats.

Fifth — and this is the really scary one — this may all be a red herring as they ship nuclear arms to Iran.  I read today (and for the life of me I can’t remember where) that this may all be a shell game, with Iran keeping our focus on its ability to build nuclear weapons, while North Korea keeps our focus on its ability to use nuclear weapons.  In fact, Iran may not be building, and North Korea may not be using.  Instead, it’s quite possible that North Korea is building the weapons for Iran’s use.  And that’s a very scary thought indeed.

That’s my brain spill about North Korea and its escalating threats.  What do you guys think?

 

When it comes to North Korea,it’s good to know that our military has its priorities straight

The headlines have been deeply disturbing:  North Korea, led by an unstable 20-something, has reinstated war against the United States and South Korea after a fifty-plus year hiatus in active hostilities.  Admittedly, North Korea hasn’t fired any shots yet, but its rhetorical volleys have been incendiary.  Just yesterday, it cut the single communication line that ran between North and South Korea.

Although the full scope of North Korea’s nuclear capability is a mystery (indeed, the full scope of its entire military is a mystery), we know that it’s spent the last fifty-plus years building weapons aimed at Seoul.  Even if 90% of them are duds (entirely possible given North Korea’s fizzled rocket exercises living standards), the 10% remaining could wreak havoc on the densely populated South Korean peninsula.  Japan would also be in North Korea’s cross hairs.

With the war drums beating, the United States Navy is hard at work keeping a sharp eye on the most significant threat to the United States — climate change.

No, that’s not one of my typos.  That’s really what Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III said.  Even the très liberal Boston Globe seemed taken aback:

America’s top military officer in charge of monitoring hostile actions by North Korea, escalating tensions between China and Japan, and a spike in computer attacks traced to China provides an unexpected answer when asked what is the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region: climate change.

Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III, in an interview at a Cambridge hotel Friday after he met with scholars at Harvard and Tufts universities, said significant upheaval related to the warming planet “is probably the most likely thing that is going to happen . . . that will cripple the security environment, probably more likely than the other scenarios we all often talk about.’’

“People are surprised sometimes,” he added, describing the reaction to his assessment. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level. Certainly weather patterns are more severe than they have been in the past. We are on super typhoon 27 or 28 this year in the Western Pacific. The average is about 17.”

Put aside the fact that huge bodies of new, verifiable evidence show that all the hysterical climate models were grossly exaggerated.  Nature is just doing what nature has always done.  But even if you too believe that climate change is imminent and apocalyptic, right now you  need to stay focused on the fact that, with North Korea threatening imminent nuclear hellfire, our Navy is concerned focusing its efforts on hypothetical threats twenty or more years down the line.

Since I’m a big fan of the Navy, I absolutely refuse to believe that Admiral Locklear has drunk that deeply of the Kool-Aid.  This must be some elaborate double-blind technique.  I can think of two sneaky reasons to explain this idiocy:  The first is that the Navy is deliberately ignoring North Korea in order to show that the U.S. is a strong big dog, disinterested in a little dog’s inane yapping.  In other words, Locklear is engaged in an elaborate power play.  The second is that this is a ruse to hide the fact that the U.S. is planning a major and immediate response if North Korea sends so much as a toy dart over the Demilitarized Zone.  Even as the North Koreans think that we’re dumb as rocks, we’re planning a big defense or assault.

I hope I’m right.  Otherwise, our nation is in deep doo-doo.

Hat tip:  Ace of Spades

Statism not only controls and, ultimately, kills people, it destroys their humanity

A few months ago, I read a wonderfully written, totally depressing book called, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. In it, author Timothy Snyder graphically described the way in which, during the 1930s and 1940s, the lands to the East of Berlin and West of Moscow were turned into killing fields the likes of which had never been seen.  Although Hitler is remembered for the bloodbath he made of these lands, it was Stalin who started these state-sp0nsored killing sprees when he decided to get rid of the independent farmers in the Ukraine, as their very existence was an affront to Stalin’s plan for a Marxist takeover of the farming economy.

Ukranian children

The book goes into dreadful, tragic detail about the mass starvation that resulted from Stalin’s policies — and please understand that starvation was a goal, not a byproduct, of the policies.  When Stalin talked about getting rid of these farmers, he meant it.  With this kind of famine occurring, cannibalism became inevitable.  Thus, Stalin not only stripped these Ukrainians of life, he stripped them of their basic humanity.  Once prosperous, moral, farming communities became feral.  The phrase that stayed with me after reading Bloodlands was (and I’m quoting from memory here) that “an orphan was a child whose parents hadn’t eaten it.”

The ugliest parts of history have a dreadful habit of repeating themselves, and that is the case with North Korea, a state that is the true heir to Stalin and Mao.  Reports are surfacing of a terrible famine in North and South Hwanghae.  The famine originated with a drought, which is terrible enough for people living in a government-run economy that keeps their farming to a medieval, subsistence level.

North Korean child

North Korea’s Marxist government, though, dramatically increased the drought’s effects.  Rather than behaving as a civilized capital city governed by Judeo-Christian values, which would have meant sending relief to these suffering people, Pyongyang worsened the famine by confiscating what little food remained in Hwanghae in order to feed the military and government class in Pyongyang itself.

In addition, rather than sending some form of financial relief to the drought-stricken region, Kim Jong Un’s government has been investing its small capital heavily in nuclear tests, presumably to shore up its reputation as a true nation among nations.  The result, of course, is mass starvation and, yes, cannibalism.

At the risk of getting redundant, let me remind everyone that a state unconstrained by religious morality does not love its people.  The people exist to serve the state, and not vice versa.  The Founders, of course, understood that the only healthy relationship between individuals and the state occurs when the state is the servant, not the master:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Leftist thinking out of England

Two stories at the British Guardian caught my eye.  The first is the Guardian’s announcement that its readers think Private Bradley Manning deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.   You’re not imagining things.  Britain’s Left — at least that portion that answers unscientific online newspaper polls — thinks that the man who stole thousands of classified U.S. government documents and gave them to a man hostile to America, who in turn published them, leading to lots of boredom and, unfortunately, many deaths, is deserving of a “peace” prize.  The only thing that makes this logical is that you and I understand that “peace prize” is a misnomer.  What it really should be called is the “Nobel Hate America, Individual Freedom, and Capitalism Prize.”  Called by its true name, Manning is a perfect recipient.

The other story is one that’s both unbelievably tragic and that highlights the Left’s moral blindness.  The story is about a terrible famine affecting North Korea.  Here’s the Guardian’s take on the famine:

Footage of malnourished North Korean orphans and official warnings over failed harvests have given a rare glimpse at the scale of devastating food shortages in the country following a harsh winter and widespread flooding.

[snip]

North Korea has struggled with its food supply since the crippling famine of the 90s, and its biggest donors – South Korea and the US – have yet to decide whether to resume aid suspended in 2008, while rising global commodity prices have exacerbated its problems.

[snip]

The Reuters AlertNet humanitarian news service, which shot the new video, was allowed to make a tightly controlled trip to South Hwanghae, a farming province in the country’s arable heartland. The team reported signs of severe malnutrition in children and medical staff said they lacked the drugs they needed.

“The natural disasters of last year and this year have forced the people to live on potatoes and corn. Because people aren’t taking in proper nutrition, the number of in-patients has increased. While in May the number of inpatients was about 200, we have had around 350 inpatients each month from July to September,” said Jang Kum-son, a doctor.

Kim Chol-jun, paediatrician at a school for orphans, said heavy rainfall and flooding had also contaminated water supplies, leading to digestive diseases.

The governing People’s Committee said a bitter winter destroyed 65% of South Hwanghae’s barley, wheat and potato crops, and that rains, flooding and typhoons had destroyed 80% of the maize harvest. Officials added that they expected less than half the usual rice crop this month.

What’s missing from this story, with its focus on rainfall and flooding (some of which I assume affected neighboring South Korea) is that North Korea has had a perpetual famine problem.  This is not a weather related famine problem, although you wouldn’t guess it from the Guardian’s coverage.  Instead, it’s the same famine problem that affected the Ukraine in the 1930s and China during the Great Leap Forward:  It’s called a Communist-caused famine, and it occurs when a tyrannical centralized government destroys markets, designates food and farmland for favored citizens, diverts most of its resources to the military that props it up, and generally uses its citizens as servants of and tools for a small cadre of privileged people.

Did you notice, too, that the South Koreans are feeding their starving neighbors?  On the one hand, I totally understand it.  They don’t want hordes of hungry, nuclearized North Koreans swarming over the border.  On the other hand, it’s a shame that they’re propping up a dictatorship that’s systematically starving its own citizens.  I’m not exaggerating with the systematic starvation comment.  When I quoted from the Guardian, I left out a paragraph that provides the Guardian’s single nod to the fact that nature isn’t the only one at fault as North Korea’s children die:

Some suspect that Pyongyang may be hoarding crops to ensure there is plenty of food next year. The North has pledged that 2012 – the centenary of founder Kim Il-sung’s birth – will be the year it becomes a major power.

Snapshots of insanity

North Korea assumes presidency of U.N. arms control conference

http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/29/north-korea-assumes-presidency-of-u-n-arms-control-conference/#ixzz1Ql1gXN44

“Bare months after the U.N. finally suspended Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi from its Human Rights Council, North Korea wins the propaganda coup of heading the world’s disarmament agency,” the executive director of UN Watch Hillel Neuer said in a statement protesting the move. “It’s asking the fox to guard the chickens, and damages the U.N.’s credibility.”

Damages the U.N.’s credibility? What credibility is there left to damage?

(h/t Weaselzippers.net)

Britain: Iran Testing missiles with nuclear capability

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=227120
Iran has been carrying out covert ballistic missile tests and rocket launches including testing missiles capable of delivering a nuclear payload, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Wednesday.
He told parliament the tests were in clear contravention of UN resolution 1929.

Again, the credibility of the U.N.? But then, after the attack on Libya by (largely) the U.S. and Europe, it’s doubtful that any country would ever give up its nuclear weapons programs.

(h/t Weaselzippers.net)

To think that once it was once only lunatic fringe groups like the John Birchers who were claimed to be crazy for advocating that the U.S. get out of the U.N. Can anyone provide cogent reasons for the U.S. to keep subsidizing this vile organization’s budget today?

 

The nuclear cat is out of the bag and, unfortunately, it appears to be leading to its inevitable conclusion. It feels like mid-1930s deja-vu all over again, with the inevitability of world war looming and significant parts of the world either enables it or remain powerless to stop it.

 

 

N. Korea tests Obama — and the world *UPDATED*

Clearly, predator nations smell blood in the water — and that blood is Obama’s manifest inability to cope with predator nations.  At least, that’s how I read this, from BNO News at 9:30 ish p.m. PST:

N. Korea says it is no longer bound to the armistice which ended the war and says the peninsula will soon be returned to the state of war.

Not quite 3 a.m. in the White House, but close enough, right?  The only thing I know with pretty perfect certainty right now is that BHO has absolutely no idea what to do.  Let’s hope (a) his advisers have some plans and (b) he picks a good plan from the options presented to him.

UPDATELorie Byrd reminds us that, while there’s every reason for us to continue to hope that Obama is unable to carry out his domestic agenda, we should all be at his back right now, praying for a good outcome.

UPDATE II:  This news story started running over the wire at about 9:00 pm PST last night (and I picked it up about a half hour later).   Shortly before 10:00, I told Mr. Bookworm that North Korea had announced that it was no longer bound by the armistice but was, instead, at war (which I think accurate represents the wire information).  Mr. Bookworm was flabbergasted and instantly turned on the news:  which didn’t mention this story at all.  Every single local station was obsessed with the gay marriage story and nothing short of Amageddon was going to dislodge it!  Mr. Bookworm concluded I was hallucinating, although I suspect today’s Drudge headlines might change his point of view.

As it is, someone who has a very good read on these situations thinks it’s still sabre rattling — and will continue to be so until China has a good read on Obama and, if Obama fails to impress China, moves in on Taiwan.

Again, let us join with Lorie Byrd in hoping that Obama passes this test.

North Korea launches rocket

Didn’t Biden say Obama would be tested within months of taking office?

The State Department says that North Korea has launched a rocket, following through on its promise of a launch despite international criticism.

State Department spokesman Fred Lash confirmed the launch, saying it occurred at 10:30 p.m. EDT Saturday.

“We look on this as a provocative act,” said Lash.

North Korea had informed international authorities that it planned to launch a rocket sometime between Saturday and Wednesday in order to put a satellite into orbit.

But the U.S., South Korea, Japan and others suspect it is a cover for testing a long-range missile for the North, which has nuclear weapons. Leaders from those countries had warned Pyongyang not to proceed with the planned rocket launch.

They fear such a test could be a first step toward putting a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of reaching Alaska and beyond.

Let’s hope he passes this test.

Given Obama’s manifest belief that the US (the country he leads) needs to be taken down a few pegs, I suspect that his idea of passing the test is going to be different from our idea of passing the test.

Syria is up to its neck in dirt

I have increasingly less doubt that Israel’s raid into Syria was intended to knock out some sort of three way nuclear transaction involving Syria, North Korea and Iran.  This is especially true given the absence of huffing and puffing from anyone, including Syria, about what Israel did.  Syria wants to keep the event low profile, because it was violating every international law known to man.  And heads of state around the world are once again breathing a sigh of relief that Israel stepped in and did the world’s dirty work for them (just as Israel did in 1981 in Iraq).

But if you had any doubt about Syria’s complicity in the worst type of WMDs, get a load of this story about a little industrial accident in Syria during the summer:

Additional proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction was revealed Monday in a Jane’s Magazine report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.

According to the report, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas and VX gas.

The factory was created for the purpose of adapting ballistic missiles to carry chemical payloads, Jane’s claimed.

Although reports of the accident were circulated at the time, no details were released by the Syrian government, nor was the Iranian connection revealed.

SANA – Syrian news agency — at the time cited an official information source which stated that “an explosion ripped through an explosives depot in Aleppo, northern Syria, due to the high temperature that … set off the high explosives materials. 15 soldiers were martyred and 50 were wounded. Most of the wounded were treated from their minor wounds caused by the shattered glass and left the hospital.” The source The source added that ” the explosion was not the result of sabotage.”

In a startling non-sequitur, the very next paragraph in the above quoted story, which comes from IsraelInsider, reveals that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is insane:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had only praise Monday for Syrian President Bashar Assad Monday. “I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and for Syrian policy. They have internal problems, but we have no reason to rule out dialogue with Syria.”

What’s Hebrew for “impeachment”?