What? Obama couldn’t cancel one golf game to help save Israel from being destroyed? *UPDATED*

The situation between Israel and Iran is heating up dramatically.  Yesterday, Iran boasted it has a missile that can reach any Israeli city.  For years, Iran has been loud and clear about it’s intense desire to incinerate Israel.  The IAEA has conceded that Iran is on the verge of having nuclear weapons.  With all this, Israel is rightfully nervous.  So, naturally, Netanyahu wants to talk to the country that is, ostensibly at least, Israel’s greatest ally.  And keep in mind that, even if we’re not Israel’s greatest ally (I think Canada probably is right now), we’ve technically been at war with Iran since 1979.

So what does Obama do?  He says “No, I will not talk to you PM Netanyahu.”  And why won’t Obama talk?  Because he is too busy:

Yup, it’s right there on Drudge (in the upper left hand corner): Obama’s “schedule full.” This is a guy who spent more hours on the golf course than he did either spending time at his national security briefing or meeting with his job’s council. So one has to ask: Does Obama think that a potential Armageddon is not a good reason to cancel just one round of golf?

Obama, is a very, very bad man:

UPDATE: How could I have been so wrong? The President didn’t snub Netanyahu, a friendly nation facing an existential threat, because the President wanted to play golf. Really! What was I thinking? I don’t appreciate our President at all. The reason he’s got a full schedule is so that he has to go on the Letterman show. That explains it, of course.  My bad.

I guess he also needed time to spend on September 11, a sacred day of mourning to many Americans, campaigning (although he promised not to do so) and apologizing for Americans’ exercise of Free Speech. What a guy! What an American president. Really, it makes me all teary eyed to think that he’s ours.

Barack Obama is a warrior in chief, but is he fighting for or against America?

A few days ago, the New York Times ran an article assuring everyone that Barack Obama isn’t a wuss, he’s a warrior.  I have only a couple of points.

First, considering that Obama has been and is such an aggressive President, one who has seen more troops die on his watch in Afghanistan than Bush did during the years he was Commander in Chief, one does have to ask Where are the protests?  Don’t worry, I don’t expect an answer to this purely rhetorical question, aimed at showing the incredible hypocrisy that powers politics on the Left.

Second, there is a difference between being aggressive and being smart.  Obama sat back while Iran was in a useful state of turmoil (during the Green revolution), thereby forfeiting a perfect opportunity to destabilize one of the most dangerous states in the world.  His current “soft” diplomacy has done nothing to calm Iranian aggression.

The other night, on Leno, an MSM correspondent said that Iraq is now an Iranian satellite.  I’m sure the families of those who died in Iraq appreciate hearing that.

Obama squandered American resources in Libya, which has become an anarchic Islamic state, and will surely become an anarchic Islamist terrorist state soon.  Obama abandoned our allies in Central Europe, leaving them to Putin’s tender (and, I’m sure, flexible) mercies.  Egypt, which was ugly but stable in a vaguely secular way, is now more ugly, dangerously unstable, broke, and heading towards radical Islamism.  Syria is becoming a slaughterhouse under the tender loving care of its Vogue-ish first couple, but Obama, who raced into Libya (which was a nominal ally, or at least a passive party, in the Middle East), sits on his hands as people die.

So, sure, Obama’s not afraid to use military might (which is no surprise to those who understand the Left’s obsession with brute force), but a big question mark remains as to whether he is using that might for America’s benefit.

 

 

Of course Obama will take the low road; he has no high road

Karl Rove has written a WSJ op-ed, the title of which is “Obama’s Campaign Will Take the Low Road.”  I haven’t even read Rove’s piece — which I’m sure is good — but I already know he’s right.  Obama’s campaign will take the low road because there is no high road.  After almost three and a half years in office, he doesn’t have a record on which to run.  Wait.  That’s untrue.  He does have a record on which to run.  It’s a record pitched to a narrow demographic that would take pleasure if Obama gave the following speech:

My fellow Americans, I’m proud to come here before you and to tell you what I’ve done so far as President and what I plan to do if you elect me again.  On the economic front, I’ve increased America’s debt more than any other president in history.  I’m proud of that, and I hope to beat my own record in my second term. Working with a compliant Congress, I’ve also put into place policies, including ObamaCare, that ensure frightened employers who will not hire, a stagnant economy, and a shrinking labor force.

If the Supreme Court upholds ObamaCare, you can be sure that I will continue to attack religious institutions, to drive private doctors and hospital out of business, and to work hard to make sure that Americans enjoy the same glorious health care that our Cuban friends now rejoice in.  If the Supreme Court strikes down ObamaCare, I promise two things:  court packing and renewed efforts to socialize America’s health care system in a way that will pass muster from my new 14-justice Supreme Court (10 of whom are guaranteed to be bona fide Progressives).  I have been assured that a properly constituted Court will be able to reconcile ObamaCare with the “accommodations” that religious organizations must necessarily make to ensure free health care for all Americans, including free and full contraception, abortion, and euthanasia.

On the energy front, I’ve worked hard to ensure that ordinary Americans will pay $5.00 per gallon of gas, and I promise to double that amount if you reelect me.  I’ll also ensure that more and more taxpayer funds are diverted to subsidize cars and solar panels that only rich people can afford, to provide loans to windmill and solar companies that I guarantee will stay in business for at least three months after spending these monies, and to help countries such as Brazil engage in massive oil drilling activities, creating a reserve that Americans can import at great expense at some later date.  I also promise that America will never be tainted by cost-effective Canadian oil.  I’m sure that the Chinese, when they purchase that oil, will not use it in a way deleterious to American interests.  In my second term I will also continue my current policy of barring any drilling and exploration whatsoever on federal lands.  I also will work to make fracking illegal.

I’m especially proud of my record on race relations.  During my presidency, I’m happy to report that I’ve finally corrected the pendulum swing that started in the Jim Crow south, with the government persecuting blacks; that then hovered in a meaningless middle where the government tried to treat races equally; and that is now heading to its correct position, one that sees African Americans as a permanently protected government class, with a secondary protected class of some Hispanics (not Cuban-Americans), and a tertiary class of remaining non-white people who are not conservatives.  I promise you that, in my second term, with my new 14-justice Progressive Supreme Court, the Constitution will be correctly interpreted to mean, as the Founders undoubtedly intended, that all Americans are equal, but some Americans of color are more equal than others.  The current hostility between races is merely a necessary by-product of this constitutional correction.

We’ll also see even more foreign policy successes in my second term.  I will not flag in my efforts to realign American foreign policy around a Turkish-American alliance.  The Arab Spring is currently progressing as I had hoped, with the Muslim Brotherhood making significant political strikes throughout the Muslim world, especially in Egypt.  I optimistically predict that, in my second term, Israel, should she still exist, will be prevailed upon to return to her 1947 borders and to hand Jerusalem over to combined UN-Egyptian control.  This move should effectively neutralize the nuclear threat that Iran poses to Israel (should she still exist).  I have assured European leaders that this realignment, along with Israel’s retrenchment within her original borders, will placate Iran, making any concerns about Iran’s long-range nuclear weapons unnecessary.

I’m happy to report that European leaders are fully supportive of my efforts regarding Israel (should she still exist).  Iran has also assured me that, with Israel disabled or gone, and with the world increasingly independent on Middle Eastern oil, Iran and other Muslim countries will subsidize the European economy in exchange for some small religious and civil concessions.  My dear friend Vladimir Putin has also promised that, in return for America’s agreeing to give him a free hand when it comes to the Eastern European countries, he will not attempt to repeat the Soviet takeovers of Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, or other Eastern Bloc, er, democratic nations.

I also promise that, in my second term, I will keep America’s southern borders open.  I know, and you know, that there is no such thing as an illegal immigrant.  There are only future Progressive voters, and we’ll work hard to make America an inviting place for these new non-legal, voting citizens.  To that end, I will continue to send hand guns over our Southern borders to the drug cartels and to ignore the rising tide of Communism in certain Latin American countries.  Doing so will ensure that Latin America continues to be an impoverished, unstable continent that, rather than keeping its citizens at home, provides America with a steady supply of exploitable cheap labor and assured Democrat votes.

To those of you who have been disappointed with my performance during my first term, I can promise you that, if you give me a second term, you ain’t seen nothing yet.  Thank you, and Allah, er, Marx, er God Bless America.

 

A new addition to the book of heroic failures — Gunter Grass

One of my favorite books is a tattered paperback tucked safely into my bookshelf, called The Book of Heroic Failures: The Official Handbook of the Not Terribly Good Club of Great Britain. It’s a humorous compilation of things that just didn’t go right.

Two of the more charming chapters introduce us to the worst British and the worst American poets.  The worst British poet is William Topas McGonagall:

He was so giftedly bad that he backed unwittingly into genius.  Combining a minimal feel for the English language with a total lack of self-awareness and nil powers of observation, he became a poet.

Sitting in his back room in Paton’s Lane, Dundee, wishing he was on holiday, he was seized with a desire to write poetry.  He paced the room, saying, ‘But I know nothing about poetry.’  Thus qualified he sat down and penned his first great work:

An Address to the Rev George Gilfillan

All hail to the Rev George Gilfillan of Dundee,
He is the greatest preacher I did ever hear or see.
He is a man of genius bright,
And in him his congregation does delight,
Because they find him to be honest and plain,
Affable in temper, and seldom known to complaint.

It goes on, but I won’t torture you.  In any event, McGonagall was a piker when compared to America’s entry into the poetic fray, Julia Moore, “The Sweet Singer of Michigan.”  Mark Twain, with his appreciation for the ridiculous, was a great fan.

Her verse is mainly concerned with violent death — the great fire of Chicago and the yellow fever epidemic proved natural subjects for her pen.

Whether the death was by drowning, by fits or by runaway sleigh, the formula was the same:

Have you heard of the dreadful fate
Of Mr. P. P. Bliss and wife?
Of their death I will relate,
And also others lost their life
(in the) Ashbula Bridge disaster,
Where so many people died.

Even if you started out reasonably healthy in one of Julia’s poems, the chances are that after a few stanzas you would be at the bottom of a river or struck by lightening.  A critic of the said she was ‘worse than a Gatlin gun’ and in one slim volume counted 21 killed and 9 wounded.

Incredibly some newspapers were critical of her work, even suggesting that the sweet singer was ‘semi-literate.’  Her reply was forthright:  ‘The Editors that has spoken in this scandalous manner, have went beyond reason.’  She added that ‘literary work is very difficult to do.’

The above examples of heroically bad verse have a certain antiquated charm and strive for moral uplift.  The same cannot be said for the newest entrant into the lists, Gunter Grass — former Nazi, current Leftist, fulminating antisemite, and terrible poet.  Owing to his past fame, Gunter managed to get published a poem that simultaneously castigates Israel as a tyrannical, genocidal cesspool, while celebrating Iran’s wonderfulness:

That is the claimed right to the formal preventive aggression
which could erase the Iranian people
dominated by a bouncer and moved to an organized jubilation,
because in the area of his competence there is
the construction of the atomic bomb.

[snip]

Now, since my country,
from time to time touched by unique and exclusive crimes,
obliged to justify itself,
again for pure business aims – even if
with fast tongue we call it “reparation” -
should deliver another submarine to Israel,
with the specialty of addressing
annihilating warheads where the
existence of one atomic bomb is not proved
but it wants evidence as a scarecrow,
I say what must be said.

[snip]

And I admit: I won’t be silent
because I had enough of the Western hypocrisy;
Because I wish that many will want
to get rid of the silence,
exhorting the cause of a recognizable
risk to the abdication, asking that a free and permanent control
of the Israel atomic power
and the Iran nuclear bases
will be made by both the governments
with an international supervision.

The poem is not more melodious in its original German:

Es ist das behauptete Recht auf den Erstschlag,
der das von einem Maulhelden unterjochte
und zum organisierten Jubel gelenkte
iranische Volk auslöschen könnte,
weil in dessen Machtbereich der Bau
einer Atombombe vermutet wird.

[snip]

Jetzt aber, weil aus meinem Land,
das von ureigenen Verbrechen,
die ohne Vergleich sind,
Mal um Mal eingeholt und zur Rede gestellt wird,
wiederum und rein geschäftsmäßig, wenn auch
mit flinker Lippe als Wiedergutmachung deklariert,
ein weiteres U-Boot nach Israel
geliefert werden soll, dessen Spezialität
darin besteht, allesvernichtende Sprengköpfe
dorthin lenken zu können, wo die Existenz
einer einzigen Atombombe unbewiesen ist,
doch als Befürchtung von Beweiskraft sein will,
sage ich, was gesagt werden muß.

[snip]

Und zugegeben: ich schweige nicht mehr,
weil ich der Heuchelei des Westens
überdrüssig bin; zudem ist zu hoffen,
es mögen sich viele vom Schweigen befreien,
den Verursacher der erkennbaren Gefahr
zum Verzicht auf Gewalt auffordern und
gleichfalls darauf bestehen,
daß eine unbehinderte und permanente Kontrolle
des israelischen atomaren Potentials
und der iranischen Atomanlagen
durch eine internationale Instanz
von den Regierungen beider Länder zugelassen wird.

John Hinderaker, who was the first person I saw, not just to report on the story, but actually to look at little Gunter’s verse, provides the perfect epitaph for writing that has as it’s only virtue the fact that it perfectly exposes the Left’s creative and moral vacuity:

Other news sources have quoted somewhat different translations, but you get the picture. That isn’t poetry, it is mindless left-wing noodling with occasional line breaks.

I don’t think there was ever actually a time when patriotism was the last refuge of a scoundrel, but isn’t it obvious that leftism is the last refuge not only of scoundrels, but of the untalented, the over the hill, the too scared to be anything but conventional, and the depraved?

Just as a palette cleanser, because I feel pretty dirty right about now:

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o’er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek and o’er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent;
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.

All the good stuff that’s fit to publish on the internet *UPDATED*

For the last two days, I haven’t been blogging much, but I’ve been collecting stuff to read and share with you.  In no particular order, my collection:

Are you an old fart?  I certainly am, and proud of it.

There are several expressions that cover the need to make a decision in the face of uncertainty (e.g.,  “Fish or cut bait.”  “S*** or get off the pot.”)  Bruce Kesler explains that, in the face of Obama’s panicked inertia, Israel had better fish or . . . do other stuff.

Ben Shapiro has, bar none, the best post I’ve seen explaining what Critical Race Theory is and why it should matter to those who, this year, will be given the opportunity to examine candidate Obama once again.

Even in these unhappy times (and the world is struggling), Dennis Prager reminds us that happiness is a possibility and, morally, an imperative.

I am not a birther.  Really.  But this one surprised me.  Is Adams for real, or is he a conspiracy theorist who conveniently presented himself when the opportunity arose?

Finally.  A clear, logical, comprehensive explanation for our current very high gas prices, prices that are higher in real dollars than they were during the Carter years.  I’m not sure Obama has enough speechifying in him to explain this away.

The disturbing racial/eugenicist implications of unlimited abortion.

Spengler (i.e., David Goldman) has been writing for some time about the problems inherent in Muslim population decline.  And no, I didn’t make a typo.  Despite the proud boasts and misleading data about the way the Palestinian population explosion will inevitably overrun Israel, the fact is that the Muslim world is in decline.  The MSM has finally noticed, but they’re getting the wrong message from the facts.

Here, we talk about impeachment.  In Iran, they do something about it.

Please add anything you think is interesting.

UPDATE:  I wasn’t planning on updating this post, but Victor Davis Hanson hit one out of the park, right into must-read territory.

The Passover story writ large in the elites’ approach to the Tea Party and the OWS movement

Over the years, I’ve written more than 10,000 posts.  (Yeah, that’s a scary thought, isn’t it.)  They do tend to run together in my mind, but there are a few standouts.  These are the posts in which I felt that I offered an insight or analysis that is genuinely helpful to considering a serious issue of the day.  One of my all-time favorite posts in this vein is Pharaoh, the Ten Plagues, and Iran.  In it, I tackled Mr. Bookworm’s complaint that Passover is a barbaric holiday, because it celebrates the massacre of the First Born Egyptians.  Certainly, the Pharaoh’s intransigence, despite the many plagues sent to bedevil his people (plagues that surely brought death in their wake) culminates with a mass die-off in Egypt.

The death of the innocent Egyptian first born is certainly tragic, but the Bible story, I said, has a much larger and more important point:

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might worry about a populace starving and frightened, but that was irrelevant as long as that same populace continued to fear and worship him.  The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his goals.  It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

From that point, I drew analogies to Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and current day Iran.

Today, Duane Lester found proof that, when it comes to the current crop of Leftist elites, in government and in the media, the same thinking holds true:  they do not care if the people suffer; they only care if the elites suffer.

So next time you hear some Progressive speaker go on and on and on about “the people,” ask him which worries him more:  massive mob violence on the street aimed at bringing down the capitalist system, or a single conservative loon who might get too close to someone in D.C.

Israel and a nuclear Iran

The choice before the Cambridge Debating Society was whether one should choose war to stop Iran from going nuclear, or simply accept a nuclear Iran.  Douglas Murray offers a devastating rebuttal to those who say, “Who cares if Iran goes nuclear?”  The 11 minute video starts out good and, halfway through, gets great:

Hat tip:  Seraphic Secret

As a companion piece, please watch a different video that Robert Avrech posted about challenging Muslim ideology vis a vis the Jews and Israel.

 

Is Ron Paul correct that the U.S. is at fault when it comes to Iran’s intransigent hatred for our country?

According to Barry Rubin, who has forgotten more about the Middle East than most people (including State Department employees) will know in a lifetime, Ron Paul is Wrong Paul when it comes to Iran.  First, what’s happened in the last decade is irrelevant, since Iran hatred long preceded that.  The real issue is whether the U.S. decision in 1953 to put the Shah in power was the trigger that deserved the animus that now comes our way.  Rubin, with access to key contemporary documents, says it is not.  Not only was it a rational and reasonable decision at the time, the mullahs wanted it:

What is especially interesting in retrospect is that one of the main supporters of the move were the Iranian Muslim clerics, including Ayatollah Kashani, the man who would be a role model for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. I saw how he and his colleagues met with U.S. officials and urged a coup, since they also feared a Communist regime. It is ironic for Islamists to complain about a U.S. policy that they actively backed at the time.

Read the whole thing, which succinctly summarizes decades of Iran policy. It’s fascinating.

And while you’re at it, you might want to check out Barry Rubin’s new book, which got a great review in the latest edition of Commentary Magazine:

While the cowboy’s away, the scary mice will play

Yes, that’s a wildly mixed, virtually unintelligible metaphor in my post title, but I can actually explain it.  Iran is pranking the U.S.  Considering the way in which we were assured that an Obama in the White House would inaugurate a new era of foreign policy, what the Iranians are doing is funny, but it’s also terribly frightening.  One of the good things about George Bush’s presidency was that, even though he wasn’t really a cowboy, the bad guys thought he was, and that kept them in line.  Now they know that America is under the control, not of a paper tiger, but of a paper cat, so these wacky, nuclear-armed mice are out to play.  No good will come of this.

All harassment is not created equal

Would anyone care to explain to Mr. Bookworm the difference between an extremist sect breaking its country’s laws by discriminating against women, and a country that has as an integral part of its law and culture murderous attacks on women, “witches,” children and gays?

He professes to be bewildered.

The view from the Gulf

One of the things we frequently bemoan here is the fact that American foreign policy tends to be naive.  Perhaps because our culture is a fluid melting pot in which citizens, until quite recently, willingly changed themselves to assimilate into the broader culture, we’re very poor at understanding that other cultures not only have different behaviors, which is a superficial thing, but different mores and values, many of which run almost intractably deep.

The Obama administration has added to that already dangerous naiveté a definitely anti-American bent.  First, Obama seems to care very little for foreign policies that, no matter how misguided, are at least intended to advance American interests abroad.  Second, Obama has abandoned an American foreign policy goal that goes back almost one hundred years, which is to advance individual freedom abroad.  Advancing individual freedom rests upon two prongs, the first of which has an airy-fairy, elementary school sweetness, and the second of which is grounded in hard common sense.  On the sweet side, valuing our own freedom, we like to share it with others.  More pragmatically, nations that rank high on the individual liberty scale seldom go to war with other, similarly situated nations.

The Bush administration perfectly exemplified both America’s traditional goal of pushing freedom and her naiveté.  The Bush crowd understood that free nations are stable nations, and they truly wanted to see the Iraqi and Afghani people freed from tyranny.  As history shows, however, the Bushies had absolutely no idea how very different Middle Eastern culture and values are from those in the West.  They assumed that, if we gave Middle Eastern Muslims freedom, they’d act like free people.  Boy were they wrong.  It turns out that, while people may value freedom, older, more firmly entrenched behaviors (tribalism, misogyny, religious fervor) will trump nascent democracies just about every time.  Change, if it comes, is gradual, often at a glacial pace.  Nor did the Bushies seem to understand that we were able to rush the freedom process in Germany and Japan only because we reduced them to rubble, rebuilt them from the ground up, and then stuck around for 60 years to keep an eye on things.

All of which gets me to a fascinating article from Bahrain’s Gulf Daily News, which a friend sent me.  Although most decided a Muslim country, Bahrain is also moderate by Muslim standards, and it prides itself on that fact.  I doubt I’d be comfortable living there, but it’s no Saudi Arabia or Iran.  Iran, however, would like it to be an Iran.  The article focuses on Bahraini fears that Iran is attempting to control it, and to bringing it in line with Iran’s fanatic, medieval Shia practice of Islam:

BAHRAIN is a victim of Iran’s expansionist policies, which will not be allowed to succeed, it was declared last night. It has been the ideology of Iran over the last many centuries to interfere in the affairs of its neighbours and pursue its policies of suppression, said Akhbar Al Khaleej Editor-in-Chief Anwar Abdulrahman.

He said 65 per cent of the people in Bahrain were the “moderate silent majority” who did not speak while 35pc were the “vocal anti-government” people who shouted and their voices were heard.

“We are one people and we are moderates. There is no way we can be violent and there is no way we can be like Iran,” said Mr Abdulrahman.

The article goes on to complaint in greater length about the risk an expansionist Iran poses for the Gulf states, and I urge you to read it.  Two things in the article really jumped out at me, one about the nature of Iran, and the other about the nature of America:

“These policies have been with the Iranians since 600BC, even though the regimes and rulers have changed,” said Mr Abdulrahman.

“There were all kinds of rulers, but they have always been dictators who have repeatedly suppressed their own people.

[snip]

He also spoke about the US role in the region and about its double standards.

“They have a policy to play a role in every part of the world, regardless of how disastrous it might be,” said Mr Abdulrahman.

“Whether it was Vietnam in the 60s or in the modern-day Iraq and Afghanistan, they have never won. It is only a matter of time they will withdraw from Afghanistan as well.

“Wherever they go, it turns into a disaster. Their policies are like fast food – they change every day.”

Mr. Abdulrahman is right on both counts.  Unlike America, which is a new nation, old nations have deeply entrenched behaviors.  Iran, whenever it’s had strength, has sought regional domination, whether the ruler was Darius, Xerxes or the Mullahs.  (In the same way, Russia, the Soviet Union and now Russia again, have always sought warm water ports.  It’s just what the rulers of that land do.)

As for Abdulrahman’s complaints about America, he’s right on that too.  America has always had a tug of war between isolationists and those who seek to advance freedom and democracy.  World War II put us firmly on a democracy seeking path right through 1968.  It was then that the McGovern/Obama wing of the Democratic party denounced America as a country too evil to offer salvation to other nations.  Since then, we’ve see-sawed back and forth between government powers that have viewed America alternately as a Lightbringer and as Satan incarnate — all with a good deal of naiveté thrown in to keep things interesting.

Obama administration responds with muted ferocity to Iranian actions on American soil

Yesterday, I asked what Valerie Jarrett would tell Obama to do now that the administration, in an effort to save Holder’s delicate derriere from the Fast & Furious fallout, has gone public with a nefarious Iranian plot, one that is tantamount to a declaration of war, that Obama already knew about in June.  (Wag the Dog, anyone?)

Today, we have the answer.  The Obama administration, in language that would befit an irate, but still proper, Victorian maiden, has announced loud and clear that it’s going to scold Iran.  There may be some finger shaking involved too, but I gather that the administration doesn’t want to escalate the matter too quickly.

I don’t like flying.  Truth to tell, I hate it, but I’m still a fairly placid passenger.  During a bumpy flight, the white knuckles and the occasional gasping breaths are the only sign that I’m agitated.  One memorable trip, though, when we hit turbulence over the Midwest, the women in the row behind me spent over an hour screaming “We’re gonna die!  We’re all gonna die!”  I’m not going to do imitate that woman as our airplane of State bounces around, but my knuckles are white as I type, and the occasional gasping breath echoes over my keyboard.

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.

 

 

More than one of these statements in this Guardian article must be a lie

Following Book’s trendy new tradition of “spot the lie”, I had to include this article from that renown bastion of conservatism (you know, those people wedded to their confirmation biases), the U.K. Guardian, reports on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard gleefully anticipating the explosion of Iran’s first nuclear bomb:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2011/jun/08/iran-blogging

 

Ok, here’s where we play “spot the lie”.

 

You know it’s not true, right? Well of course it’s not. We know this because one of our very own contributors has mentioned that none other than (badda boom!) Seymour Hersh has confirmed that there is zero….I mean zero, nichts, nada, nichevo, rien evidence that Iran is working on a nuclear bomb.And because it is so written by an acceptable source, it must be so. It’s….science!

 

OK, false alarm. You can all go back to sleep now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aside from trendiness, there’s something wrong here

I’m with Sadie, that there’s something deeply off-putting about Obama casually applying the ancient Passover story to the uprisings in the Middle East:

Passover recalls the bondage and suffering of Jews in Egypt and the miracle of the Exodus, but U.S. President Barack Obama says its message is reflected in Muslim uprisings.

In his annual message, prior to his third straight participation in the Passover Seder, President Obama stated, “The story of Passover…instructs each generation to remember its past, while appreciating the beauty of freedom and the responsibility it entails. This year that ancient instruction is reflected in the daily headlines as we see modern stories of social transformation and liberation unfolding in the Middle East and North Africa.”

Aside from the superficiality of Obama’s message, it has two other problems.  First, typically for a Progressive, he fails to understand revolts that are keyed to a people’s freedom versus revolts that simply raise up a new oppressor.

In America, because of the American Revolution, our template is that revolutions bring about greater freedom.  However, as France, Russia, China, Cuba, etc., show, our revolution was not typical.  As often as not, a “revolution” simply brings about an equal or greater tyranny.  It remains to be seen, for example, whether Egypt results in greater freedom for the people (since Mubarak was very oppressive) or lesser freedom (since there is nothing more repressive than an Islamic regime).  At least Mubarak was dormant when it came to waging war against Israel and America.

Libya sees exactly the same problem. Gaddafi is a monster but, vis a vis America, he has been a benign monster since 2003.  Now, though, we’re cheerfully spending millions of dollars a day (dollars we don’t have) to overthrow Gaddafi so that al Qaeda can take his place.  Al Qaeda, which is killing our troops in Afghanistan, will not improve the Libyan people’s lot (because radical Islam is always oppressive government), but it will put America at greater risk.

In Iran, I supported the Green Revolution because it was good for America:  anything that rocked the current Islamic government had to improve the status quo as far as Americans were concerned.  It was, frankly, questionable whether the Iranian people would simply be trading the frying pan for the fire.  While I applauded their courage, I had my doubts about their freedom quota.

Not all uprisings are created equal.  That’s problem number one with Obama’s facile little analysis.

Problem number two is that there’s something horrible about quoting one of the greatest stories in Jewish history, a story that has been retold annually in Jewish homes for thousands of years, to justify revolutions that will put into power people who have as their primary goal . . . killing Jews.  That’s just wrong.  Deeply, deeply, classlessly, tactlessly wrong.

It’s no fun being Cassandra….

Poor Cassandra was cursed by the Gods with the gift of making accurate prophecies that no one would believe.  The disasters she foresaw always came true, but she was helpless to stop people (and nations) from racing towards their doom.  The endings were always so terrible — and Cassandra was herself swept up in them — that she never even got the consolation of a good “I told you so.”

Ever since Obimbo appeared on the scene, we at Bookworm Room have been Cassandras.  We’ve vacillated between trying to decide whether Obama acts as he does through incompetence or malevolence, but we’ve always been clear in our own minds that his approach to the Presidency would be disastrous, both at home and abroad.  One of the things we (and by “we,” I mean my readers and I) predicted was that the Obamessiah, by creating a leadership vacuum in the space America used to fill, would release dangerous forces — just as the Soviet Union’s collapse unleashed long simmering, and quite deadly, regional rivalries in the Balkans.

The headlines now seem to bear out our worst predictions.  Just today, Danny Lemieux forwarded to me a Gateway Pundit post relaying the news that, because Saudi Arabia acted in Bahrain (yes, filling the American leadership vacuum), Iran is now rattling its sabers:

A senior Iranian legislator called on the foreign ministry to show firm reaction against deployment of Saudi military forces in Bahrain and take strong stances and measures in defense of the rights and independence of the Bahraini people.

“The foreign ministry should take a strong position against the dispatch of the Saudi forces to Bahrain” and defend the people’s move and rule over the country, Mostafa Kavakebian said in an open session of the parliament on Tuesday.

God forbid this comes to something, the regional line-up is going to be Israel and Saudi Arabia versus Iran.  What’s impossible for me to know — I simply don’t have the sechel (Yiddish:  smarts) about Middle Eastern allegiances and alliances — is where the other countries, aside from Syria and Lebanon, both already Iranian proxies, will fall when the whole thing blows.  They all hate Israel, but their degrees of loathing for Saudi Arabia and Iran are going to determine which colors they wear in this fight.

I could say “I told you so” but, Cassandra-like, I don’t have the heart to utter those words.

Cross-posted at Right Wing News

When the policeman goes away — or what happens when a big nation retreats

In 1989, when it became clear that the former Soviet Union could no longer stop the spread of Democracy in the Eastern Bloc countries, many of us naively assumed that a new dawn of peace and harmony was about to arrive.  We envisioned lions and lambs frolicking together, all bedecked in dewy flowers.  What actually happened, of course, was that Central Europe exploded.  It turned out that one of the benefits of Soviet dominance was that the Soviets squashed traditional tribal rivalries that used to send those nations into periodic convulsions.  Without the strong arm of the Soviets, ethnic and religious warfare broke out with nice historic ferocity.

Although we didn’t like the former Soviet Union, which was a brutal totalitarian dictatorship, its fall did remind us that a superpower is often times useful to keep the peace.   You and I learned that lesson.  The Ivory Tower Obamites clearly did not.

Obama’s first act upon moving in to the White House was to retreat.  He retreated everywhere he could.  In the former Eastern Bloc, when he abandoned allies; in the Middle East, when he abandoned allies; and in Latin America, when he abandoned allies.  As if the years 1989 through 1994 had never happened, he blithely assumed that, with the withdrawal of a bullying superpower (because that, quite obviously, is how Obama views the nation he leads), the lion and lamb would frolic together, bedecked in dewy flowers.

What’s happening, of course, is precisely what happened when the Soviet Union retreated:  long simmering discords, held in check only by a super power’s presence, are coming to the fore.  Putin is bullying and killing left and right, both within his borders and in countries that were formerly part of the Russian republic, while Chavez is bullying and killing left and right within his own borders, and is working hard to destabilize democratic regimes within Latin America and to ally himself with Islamists and Communists outside of Latin America.

And then there’s Iran.  It got the green light from Obama to savage its own citizens and to build a bomb that it manifestly intends to use for two reasons:  (a) to destroy Israel; and (b) to become the Super Power in the Middle East.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia are aware of what Iran’s goals are in the absence of the U.S.’s strong hand.  And as I long ago predicted, they are joining forces, according to the old dictum that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”  They may hate and fear each other, but they hate and fear Iran more.  It remains to be seen whether Israel really is setting up a functional military base in Saudi Arabia, capable of strikes against Iran, or if this is just an elaborate feint, intended to scare Iran into retreat.  Either way, it’s interesting to see how nations are struggling to fill the vacuum America behind left when Obama unilaterally retreated.

The illogical behavior and beliefs of the American Statist

“Logic! Why don’t they teach logic at these schools?” — C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

Neither Data nor Mr. Spock, two relentlessly logical creations, could ever be liberals or Democrats or Progressives, or whatever the Hell else they’re calling themselves nowadays.  (For convenience, I’ll just lump them all together under the “Statist” title).  As I realized over the 20 plus years of my political journey from knee-jerk Statist to thinking Individualist, the single greatest difference between the two ideologies is that the former lives in a logic-free world.

Sure, as Statists will always shrilly point out, more Individualists than Statists subscribe to traditional religion — and the belief in God definitely requires a leap of faith — but that’s just about the only leap of faith in their lives.  Their political positions are almost always driven by a solid understanding, not only of human nature, but also of the realities of cause and effect.  Liberals, on the other hand, even as they pride themselves on the logic of their abandoning God (never mind that they cannot satisfactorily prove God’s nonexistence), apply magical thinking to just about everything else.

Here, in no particular order, is a laundry list of illogical policies espoused by Statists (with the understanding that modern statism is driven by identity politics and self-loathing):

Statists believe that America’s out-of-control illegal immigration has nothing to do with the fact that, when illegal immigrants sneak across the border, we provide them with education, health care, welfare, food stamps, and the promise that they will be allowed to remain in the country regardless of their unlawful status.  These same Statists, blind to the laws of cause and effect, are always shocked when temporary crackdowns result in a corollary (and, equally temporary) diminution in the number of illegal aliens.

Statists are wedded to the idea that government creates wealth.  To this end, they are bound and determined to use taxes to consolidate as much money as possible in government hands so that the government can go about its magical wealth creation business.  The fact that those countries that have all or most of their wealth concentrated in government hands have collapsed economically (Eastern Europe, Cuba) or are in the process of collapsing (Western Europe) doesn’t impinge on this belief.  As even my 10 year old and 12 year old understand, the government’s ability to print money is not the same as an ability to create wealth.  The best way for a government to create wealth is to ensure a level playing field with honestly enforced rules — and then to get out of the way.

Statists believe that no-strings-attached welfare has nothing to do with the creation of a welfare culture.  My father, the ex-Communist, figured this one out:  “If you’re going to pay women to have babies (meaning constantly increasing welfare benefits), they’re going to have babies.”  In 1994, a Republican Congress forced Clinton to change “welfare as we know it.”  To the Statists’ chagrin, all their dire predictions about weening Americans off the government teat proved false.  Poor people are not stupid people.  If they’re getting paid to do nothing, they’ll do nothing.  If that money vanishes, they’ll work.  By the way, I’m not arguing here against charity for those who cannot care for themselves.  I’m only railing against a political system that encourages whole classes of people to abandon employment.  This subject is relevant now, in 2010, because there is no doubt but that, Rahm-like, Democrats are using the current economic situation as a backdoor to increase welfare benefits to pre-1994 standards.

During the run-up to the ObamaCare vote, Statists adamantly contended that, even if employers would find it far cheaper to pay fines than to provide insurance coverage for their employees, they would still provide coverage.  Likewise, they refused to acknowledge that, if insurers could no longer refuse coverage for preexisting conditions, and if individual fines were cheaper than insurance, savvy consumers would jettison insurance and wait until they were actively ill before knocking on the insurer’s door.  In both cases, the Statists’ illogical beliefs about human nature and economics were proven absolutely and conclusively wrong.  (Info and examples are here, here and here.)

For decades, Statists have contended that if we can just get guns out of citizens’ hands crime will go away.  To the Statists, the problem isn’t one of culture and policing, it’s that the guns themselves cause crime.  What’s fascinating is that they continue in this belief despite manifest evidence that it is untrue.  The NRA was right all along:  If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

Statists firmly believe that Individualists (a group that includes Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, and other “bitter” Americans), are an angry mob, primed and ready to explode against all non-white, non-straight, non-Christians.  They do so despite hard evidence that angry mobs, as opposed to scattered angry individuals, reside solely on the Left, anti-American side of the political spectrum.

Statist gays, who feel obligated to be Leftists because of identity politics, throw their wholehearted support behind Palestinians, whom they see as the beleaguered victims of evil Israeli imperialism.  They hold to this view despite the fact that Palestinians kills gays, and Palestinian gays regularly try to immigrate to the safe haven of Israel.  In the same way, Statist gays, hewing to their solid Leftist credentials, side with Iran against America, despite the fact that Iran is able to boast about the absence of homosexuals only because it routinely kills them.

Statist blacks, who feel obligated to be Leftists  because of identity politics, are deeply hostile to the police.  While there is absolutely no doubt that, in the past, police routinely harassed, arrested, and killed black people just for being black, we’re not living in the past anymore.  In modern America, the person most likely to kill a black person is another black person.  Blacks need police more than I do, sitting in my comfortable safe, suburbia — yet it’s here, in white suburbia, that our police force, which is largely decorative, is appreciated and admired.

American Statists believe that, if you placate a bully, he will see the error of his ways and become nice.  It didn’t work for Chamberlain in 1938, and I’m pretty damned sure it won’t work for us, whether the bully is Iran, Venezuela, China, Russia or any other totalitarian government intent upon expanding its power beyond its own borders.  I’m not advocating unbridled aggression our part.  That would mean we’re no better than the bullies arrayed against us.  I’m more of a Teddy Roosevelt, in that I’ll allow us to speak softly, as long as we carry a big stick.  Self-defense is not aggression — and sometimes you have to fight to defend a principle, a person, or a nation.

Statist women are silent, absolutely silent, about the condition of women across most of the Muslim world.  I think I’ll rename them “sadist” women, not “statist” women.

Statists tout as a quality Supreme Court justice Elena Kagan, who violated American law to bar the military from her campus because of Clinton’s don’t ask/don’t tell policy, but who cheerfully accepted millions of dollars and a chair from the same Saudis who murder homosexuals and treat women like 32nd class citizens.  There’s logic for you.

I opened this post with a quotation from C.S. Lewis regarding the absence of logic in education.  We can see the profoundly dangerous effect that lack of logic has on real world policies.  I’ll end with Tweedledee and Tweedledum opining on logic in a way that only a Statist could appreciate and understand:

“I know what you’re thinking about,” said Tweedledum: “but it isn’t so, nohow.”

“Contrariwise,” continued Tweedledee, “if it was so, it might be; and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn’t, it ain’t. That’s logic.”

The new Iranian world player — and the president who denies there’s a game afoot

From James Lewis’ must-read article today about the effect of Iran’s ICBM’s (which it has spread throughout the Middle East) and its future nuclear arsenal:

Mahmoud Ahmadijenad is the aggressive chess player behind all these missiles surrounding Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Iranian strategy has been to move its missile assets closer and closer to its enemies, including Israel, the American military in the Gulf and Iraq, and the Sunni Arab Gulf states. By 2015, Iran is predicted to have ICBMs that can reach Europe and the United States in less than a half-hour. On automatic standby, those missiles reduce the warning period to such short durations that no human being can make a rational decision. Automatic missiles require automatic defenses, but that also raises the danger of automatic escalation.

Israel is only the most obvious domino. The Tehran regime has had its eyes on Saudi oil and the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina for thirty years. There is no limit to their ambitions for conquest. That’s what they say in so many words.

The Europeans are getting really scared, as they should be. Sunni Arab nations have been anxious about Iranian imperialism for years. The Russians are playing it both ways, but they just put down a massive Islamist revolt in Chechnya with extreme violence, they recently suffered a major terror attack in Moscow, and they have fought Muslim invaders for more than five hundred years. The Russian Orthodox Church (of which Putin is supposed to be member), has been shaped by 1,300 years of struggle with Islam, ever since the Byzantine Empire. Moscow was historically the successor capital to Byzantium after the latter was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Russians have the fear of Muslim jihad in their genes.

Only Obama’s America isn’t worried. In fact, Obama has mentally flipped the source of danger, as Leftists always do, by blaming the victim. Israel has been told, in effect, that the United States will not help defend it unless it surrenders its defensive buffer area on the West Bank and the Golan Heights. That means that Israel’s civilian population will be within reach, not only of IRBMs and cruise missiles, but of more primitive rockets and mortars. Hamas and Hezb’allah, not to mention Iran and Syria, have never left any doubt of their intentions once they have the Israelis at their mercy.

Israel is only the first in line. As you can see, Iran is poised against everything and everybody. But because Israel is first in line, the Left controlling each of Iran’s targets (other than Saudi Arabia), is pretending that Israel is the only target.  This joke perfectly describes the Obama/Europe/Russia view:

Two men, while out hiking, are surprised by a very angry bear.  As they instinctively take off running, one man says, “Hey, we can’t outrun a bear!”  To which the other man replies, “I don’t need to outrun the bear.  I just need to outrun you.”

Outrunning the other victim is a sound strategy, I guess, if you know you won’t be seeing that bear anymore.  It’s a fool’s game, however, when the bear isn’t going to go away, and it’s starting to look awfully hungry again.

The difference between the Soviet Union and Iran

In his excellent post about the myriad flaws in the administration’s probable (and inchoate) containment plan for Iran, Max Boot makes a very important point, one I’ve somehow missed when reading others on the same subject.  He argues that Leftist nostalgic for the realpolitik of the Cold War, which saw us learning to live uneasily alongside a nuclear Soviet Union, can be replicated here:

Those policies worked against the Soviet Union, but no one should have any illusions that they provide a painless fix to the threat posed by Iran. In the first place, even with the Soviets, there were a few moments when nuclear war was a serious possibility. Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? There is no guarantee that a replay with Iran — say a Lebanese Missile Crisis — would be resolved so peaceably. Moreover, even if we avoided World War III, containing the Soviets was hardly bloodless — it cost the lives of nearly a 100,000 American soldiers in Korea and Vietnam.

Well, there is that, but there’s also a more abstract problem, and that is the nature of the nuclear opponent.  The Soviet Union was made up of political ideologues who dearly wanted power in this world.  Power, after all, is a thing of the real world.  This meant that a certain pragmatism infused all of the Soviet efforts.  They were willing to play nuclear chicken with us, but the Soviets were not personally inclined to be the ones driving off the cliff.

How different are the Iranians.  They are not ideologues, they are zealots.  They’re orientation isn’t this world, it’s the next.  They are aiming for Armageddon.  Their particular world view demands a man-made conflagration as a prerequisite for the coming of the 12th Iman.  As far as they’re concerned, the game of chicken is won if everyone drives off the cliff.

This profound ideological difference between the Soviets and the Iranians is why containment is foolish at best and suicidal at worst.  The mutual deterrence strategy that characterized the Cold War worked because each side, ultimately, wanted to live.  The Soviets may not have cared about the bodies strewn in their paths, but they cared a great deal about their own power and about having a base over which to lord it.  Personal nuclear immolation didn’t factor into their plans.

How different are the Mullahs, who see their job on this earth as destructive — of others and of themselves.  So what if they start a nuclear war?  When everything is dead and gone, the truth faith will still hover over the dust.

Pharaoh, the Ten Plagues, and Iran

An antisemitic Jew I know, rather than seeing the Passover ceremony as the celebration of freedom (the world’s first and for a long time only successful slave revolt), and of justice and morality (the Ten Commandments), derides the whole ceremony as the unconscionable and immoral celebration of the genocide of the Egyptian people.  What troubles him so much is the fact that, after each plague, when Pharaoh seems about to soften and let the Jews go, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart, leading to the necessity of yet another plague, culminating in the death of the first born.

I know that some people have tried to explain away this part of the story by saying that it is simply dramatic license, meant to increase the tension and danger of the Jew’s escape from Egypt.  After all, if it had been easy, it wouldn’t have been much of a story.  You know, Moses asks, “Hey, Pharaoh, can we go?” and Pharaoh answers “Sure.”  That’s not a narrative with much punch or heroism, and God’s involvement is minimal or, at least, unexciting.  It’s much more exciting to have an escalating series of plagues, with the audience on tenterhooks as to whether those pesky Jewish slaves will actually be able to make a break for it.

This reasoning is silly.  There’s a much more profound purpose behind the ten plagues, and that is to remind us of the tyrant’s capacity for tolerating others’ suffering, as long as his power remains in place.

What Pharaoh discovered with the first nine plagues is that life can go on, at least for the ruler, despite an increase in the burdens placed upon his people.  A blood filled Nile River may, at first, have seemed appalling, but the red receded and life went on.  Pharaoh still held together his government.  The same held true for each subsequent plague, whether lice or boils or wild animals or frogs, or whatever:  As long as Pharaoh could maintain his power base, he was okay with the incremental decimation visited upon those he ruled.

Sheltered in his lavish palace, Pharaoh might worry about a populace starving and frightened, but that was irrelevant as long as that same populace continued to fear and worship him.  The people’s suffering, ultimately, was irrelevant to his goals.  It was only when the price became too high — when Pharaoh’s power base was destroyed because his citizens were destroyed — that Pharaoh was convinced, even temporarily, to alter his evil ways.

Human nature hasn’t changed much in 3,000 years.  Think, for example, of both the Nazis and the Japanese at the end of WWII.  For the Nazis, it was apparent by December 1944 (the Battle of the Bulge) that the war was over.  Hitler, however, was a megalomaniac in the pharaonic mold, and his high command, either from fear or insanity, would not gainsay him.  Rather than surrendering, the Nazi high command was willing to see its country overrun and its citizens killed.  Only when the death toll became too high, and it was apparent that nothing could be salvaged from the ashes, did the war on the continent finally end.

The same held true for the Japanese.  Truman did not decide to drop the bomb just for the hell of it.  Even the fact that it would impress the Soviets was an insufficient reason for doing so.  What swayed Truman was the fact that his advisers told him (credibly as it turned out) that the Japanese Bushido culture would not allow Japan to surrender even when surrender had become the only reasonable option.  Instead, the military warned Truman that, although the Americans would inevitably win the war, if Truman didn’t take drastic action, victory would take another year, and cost up to 100,000 American lives and at least that many Japanese lives (including Japanese civilians).

Truman therefore had two choices:  another year of war, with the lost of 100,000 Americans and many more than 100,000 Japanese; or an immediate stop to the war, with no more American casualties and at least 100,000 Japanese casualties.  Put that way, the choice was a no-brainer.  The outcome would be the same for the Japanese, but Truman would save the lives of more than 100,000 Americans, British, Australians and Dutch.  (One of those Dutch, incidentally, was my Mom, who was on the verge of starving to death in a Japanese concentration camp.)  The Japanese high command was Pharaoh.  No amount of smaller plagues could stop the command from its chosen path.  Only a large plague would swiftly lead to the inevitable conclusion.

But what about the innocent lives lost as a result of Pharaoh’s, the Nazi’s, and the Japanese high command’s intransigence?  As the Japanese tale shows only too well, the innocents were always going to die, with the only question being whether they would die quickly or slowly.  The same holds true for the Germans, whom the Nazis had long ago designated as cannon fodder to support their intensely evil regime.  That’s the problem with an evil regime.  If you’re unlucky enough to live under that regime, whether or not you support it, you’re going to be cannon fodder.  Pharaoh will let you die of plagues, and the Nazi and Japanese leadership will let you be bombed and burned — as long as they can retain their power.

Iran is no different.  Although the people bleed and cry under the brutish regime, no plague, including rioting in the streets, has come along that is bad enough to break the back of that tyranny.  The people continue to die by inches, and the regime threatens everyone within bombing distance.

Liberals believe that it is immoral to impose serious consequences against the Iranian regime because there are innocents who will suffer from those consequences.  What these liberals fail to understand is that, when power doesn’t reside in the people, but resides, instead, in a single group that is insulated from all but the most terrible strikes, imposing small plagues against the country (freezing a few bank accounts, public reprimands, vague threats) is utterly useless.  These small plagues, no matter how much they affect the ordinary citizen, do not affect the decision-making process in which a tyrant engages.  The only thing that will move the tyrant is to destroy his power base.  Everything else is theater.

With that, I’d like to wish all of you a Happy Passover.  Whether Jewish or not, I hope that the Pesach celebration serves as an occasion for all of us to remember that, though the price may sometimes be high, both for slave and master, our ultimate goal as just and moral human beings must be freedom. So please join with me in saying, as all Jews do at this time of year, “Next Year in Jerusalem.”

The common bonds between Iraniah Mullahs and the Democrats *UPDATED*

Several years ago, when Bush Derangement Syndrome was at its peak, I tackled the “he’s got his finger on the button and he’s going to blow up the world” meme that anti-war activists were so shrilly screaming.  I pointed out that there was no evidence whatsoever to indicate that George Bush was an apocalyptic person.  Indeed, every indication was that he was someone who fought reluctantly and defensively only — that is, he wanted to protect America from destruction at the hands of another.  That his information was wrong, that the threat from Iraq was something of a Potemkin threat, with Hussein blustering about his capabilities to elevate his profile, doesn’t take away from the fact that Bush engaged with Iraq, not to destroy Iraq, but because he believed America was at imminent risk from Iraq’s destructive capabilities.  (Incidentally, I believe that much of Iraq’s arsenal, whether it rose to the level of WMDs or not, is currently sitting comfortably in Syria, except for the bit that Israel destroyed in 2007.)

How different are the Mullahs.  Western pragmatists (including Leftists in deep denial about the nature of Apocalyptic Shia Islam) believe that Iran is merely bloviating for effect when it constantly insists that Israel will be reduced to ashes.  They believe that Iran is merely trying to gain regional stature by creating functional nuclear weapons.  After all, they say, Iran knows that, if it launches a nuclear bomb at Israel, two things will happen:  First, Israel’s last act before its own destruction will be to destroy Iran (assuming Israel has that long-range nuclear capability itself).  Second, Iran will become a pariah among nations for committing this genocidal act, which will lead to the downfall of the Mullahs and the end of their dreams.  As for this last, considering the rampant antisemitism on the rise around the world, considering the region in which Iran is located, and, right now, considering the man in the White House, I don’t believe that for a minute.  Iran will get her hand politely slapped at the UN, and the world will continue as usual, minus a few million Jews.

The last argument in the pragmatists’ quiver is that, even if Israel can’t destroy Iran, and even if Iran doesn’t become a pariah nation, Iran will not drop the bomb because, if she does, as many Muslims will die as will Jews.  After all, not only does Israel have a huge Arab population, it is surrounded by Muslims — in the West Bank, in Gaza, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Lebanon.  Nuclear bombs have fallout, and many millions of Muslims will die along with the hated Jews.

And that’s where the pragmatists show themselves to be ignoramuses.  They actually believe that the Mullahs care whether Muslims, Iranian or otherwise, die.  The Mullahs don’t.  Their Shia religion is an apocalyptic one, and one that doesn’t care whether man or God ignites the maelstrom that brings about the returning of the missing imam and the end of days.  In that, their apocalyptic fervor is quite different from the Christian belief in an apocalypse.  As I understand it, the latter predicts the Apocalypse’s ultimate arrival, but does not believe that man is the instrument that will bring it about.  God will, when he wills.

For the Mullahs, then, there’s a distinct virtue in simultaneously wiping God’s enemies (Jews and the hated State of Israel) off the earth and in simultaneously bringing about the end of days.  That the latter might involve the deaths of millions, including Iran’s own citizens, is completely irrelevant.  The goal matters, and the collateral damage just has to be accepted as part of that greater good.

I promised in the title of this post that I would compare Mullahs and Democrats.  I will or, rather, Andy McCarthy will explain that the Democrats, too, do not care about self-immolation if it will lead to their own apocalyptic vision, which is the destruction of America’s evil capitalist, individualist system, and the emergence, like a phoenix from the ashes, of a socialist promised land.  Any pragmatist Republican fantasies that Democrats will retreat in the face of failing poll numbers are just that — fantasies:

I think our side is analyzing this all wrong: Today’s Democrats are controlled by the radical Left, and it is more important to them to execute the permanent transformation of American society than it is to win the upcoming election cycles. They have already factored in losing in November — even losing big. For them, winning big now outweighs that. I think they’re right.

I hear Republicans getting giddy over the fact that “reconciliation,” if it comes to that, is a huge political loser. That’s the wrong way to look at it. The Democratic leadership has already internalized the inevitablility of taking its political lumps. That makes reconciliation truly scary. Since the Dems know they will have to ram this monstrosity through, they figure it might as well be as monstrous as they can get wavering Democrats to go along with. Clipping the leadership’s statist ambitions in order to peel off a few Republicans is not going to work. I’m glad Republicans have held firm, but let’s not be under any illusions about what that means. In the Democrat leadership, we are not dealing with conventional politicians for whom the goal of being reelected is paramount and will rein in their radicalism. They want socialized medicine and all it entails about government control even more than they want to win elections. After all, if the party of government transforms the relationship between the citizen and the state, its power over our lives will be vast even in those cycles when it is not in the majority. This is about power, and there is more to power than winning elections, especially if you’ve calculated that your opposition does not have the gumption to dismantle your ballooning welfare state.

Nor is there any consolation to be had in a Republican sweep in November.  Even if the Republicans grab the majority in both houses, they will not be able to pass veto-proof bills undoing the reconciliation damage heading down the political path.  Obama, after all, is every bit as interested in transformation as the rest of the current crop of Democrats and will willingly sacrifice himself by vetoing bills aimed at undoing a government takeover of 1/6 of the American economy.

Democrats are political martyrs, willing to die for the cause.  This willingness explains Obama’s silly double-talk, where he urges compromise on the one hand and, on the other hand, says his way or the reconciliation highway.

And really, when you think about it, the martyrdom here is minimal.  No actual crucifixion, no arrows, no flayings, no nuclear annihilation.  Instead, you pack your bags, board a plane, and head off into the sunset of six figure speaking gigs, corporate jobs, and endless media adulation.  That is, until the whole system implodes and the true anarchy begins.

Cross-p0sted at Right Wing News

UPDATE:  From Andy McCarthy’s savvy predictions to Nancy Pelosi’s small brain and loud mouth:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged her colleagues to back a major overhaul of U.S. health care even if it threatens their political careers, a call to arms that underscores the issue’s massive role in this election year.

Lawmakers sometimes must enact policies that, even if unpopular at the moment, will help the public, Pelosi said in an interview being broadcast Sunday the ABC News program “This Week.”
“We’re not here just to self-perpetuate our service in Congress,” she said. “We’re here to do the job for the American people.”

[snip]

Her comments to ABC, in the interview released Sunday, seemed to acknowledge the widely held view that Democrats will lose House seats this fall — maybe a lot. They now control the chamber 255 to 178, with two vacancies. Pelosi stopped well short of suggesting Democrats could lose their majority, but she called on members of her party to make a bold move on health care with no prospects of GOP help.

“Time is up,” she said. “We really have to go forth.”

Her comments somewhat echoed those of President Obama, who said at the end of last week’s bipartisan health care summit that Congress should act on the issue and let voters render their verdicts. “That’s what elections are for,” he said.

The new deal in the Middle East

I have predicted several times that, in a choice between Iran and Israel, Middle Eastern nations will back Israel, not because they have developed any fondness for her, but because they recognize that, while Israel makes a great rhetorical scapegoat, Iran is the real threat.  I’ve also said that America’s weakness regarding Iran will hasten this process.  So far, my predictions are proving accurate.  I feel smug.

This is what oppression looks like

Through the Bush years, those in the grips of BDS likened him to Hitler based upon their contention that he was running the most oppressive administration ever in American history.  They made this claim despite the fact that, insofar as I know, no protestor was ever imprisoned merely for having protested.  (This is separate from protesters who might have been charged with vandalism, assault, etc.)

Two stories in today’s paper serve to remind us exactly what it looks like when you have a truly oppressive government.  In Uganda, a movement is afoot to make some homosexuality and homosexual acts a capital crime, with family and friends risking imprisonment if they don’t turn their loved one over to the government:

Proposed legislation would impose the death penalty for some gay Ugandans, and their family and friends could face up to seven years in jail if they fail to report them to authorities. Even landlords could be imprisoned for renting to homosexuals.

[snip]

The Ugandan legislation in its current form would mandate a death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. “Serial offenders” also could face capital punishment, but the legislation does not define the term. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act faces life imprisonment.

Anyone who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality” faces seven years in prison if convicted. Landlords who rent rooms or homes to homosexuals also could get seven years and anyone with “religious, political, economic or social authority” who fails to report anyone violating the act faces three years.

(Incidentally, if you read the whole AP story, you’ll see that it’s all the fault of American Christians that this legislation is on the table.)

And in Iran, of course, we see exactly what happens in a place that actually has a repressive administration, as opposed to a gentleman-like administration that people can safely attack:

Iran will “show no mercy” toward opposition protesters seen as threatening national security, a judiciary official said on Tuesday, a day after thousands of students staged anti-government rallies.

[snip]

“From now on, we will show no mercy toward anyone who acts against national security. They will be confronted firmly,” said prosecutor Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, according to the official IRNA news agency.

“Confronted firmly.” Translated, I assume that means beatings, electrical shocks to the genitals, starvation, and other forms of torture a bit more extreme than waterboarding, all of which is followed by either a kangaroo trial or just a swift gunshot to the back of the head.  That last, of course, assumes that you’re lucky enough to make it alive off the streets:

Iran trying to use Canada as a conduit for nuclear materials

I’m not sure why Canada, except for maybe the large Muslim population, the porous border, and the country’s politically correct inertia:

Iran is attempting to acquire clandestine shipments via Canada for its nuclear program, a senior customs official said Thursday.

Canadian customs officers have seized everything from centrifuge parts to programmable logic controllers being shipped to Iran through third countries, George Webb, head of the Canada Border Services Agency’s Counter Proliferation Section, told the National Post.

The increasing number of cases involves entrepreneurs and state-sponsored cells, Webb told the daily, in comments that were confirmed to AFP by a spokeswoman for CBSA.

Microchips identified as possible “navigational chips” from the United States, Denmark and Japan were marked as headed for the United Arab Emirates, but officials suspect the end destination was Iran, said the Canadian daily.

“With all of the UN sanctions, of course, now no one declares that the goods are going to Iran. They actually declare UAE, Dubai,” he said.

The last seizure occurred just last week.

In April, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police charged a Toronto man with attempting to export pressure transducers, which can be used in nuclear power plants but are also required to produce nuclear weapons, to Iran.

Read the rest here.

Hat tip:  Sadie