Sine Qua Non Pundit

And what is good, Phaedrus, And what is not good -- Need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ------ ------ ------ ------ E-mail: charlesaustin@earthlink.net

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Saturday, June 29, 2002
 

Retreat! Retreat!

According to Fox News:

Al Gore Holds Retreat for Financial Backers, Party Activists

Run Away!

Run Away!

DOWNDATE: Dear Al, Run Away, Not Run, Run Away! Or maybe all the Democrats are in full retreat:

Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) is holding his own retreat this weekend with donors and supporters, which features several former Clinton administration policy advisers, as he prepares for a possible 2004 campaign. House Minority Leader Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Democratic Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.) and John F. Kerry (Mass.) have also been energetically preparing for possible campaigns.

I suppose if I were a War Liberal, this would all be pretty damn depressing, knowing that all the DNC is bringing to the next gunfight are a couple of dull knives. Honestly, which of these men would you want running the War on Terrorism? What's that? You don't want a man at all, but Hillary! or Diane running it? My, oh my. Where's Sam Nunn when you really need him?




 

Sore Loser

Better put some ice on that, Earl:

The undoing of Alabama Rep. Earl Hilliard is the fault of Israeli extremists, say the candidate and his Muslim supporters, and the electoral assault is not likely to end with the defeat of the five-term black congressman in this week's primary run-off.

Remember, this is in Alabama, ancient ancestral home of Israeli extremists.

"I see a future with a great deal of conflict between African-Americans and Jews in this country," he said. "It's going to get worse before it gets better. I don't think African-Americans are going to sit back and let this continue. There will be retribution."

Also remember that this bitter racist had the strong support of the DNC and the CBC in his primary run-off with Artur Davis. Any chance Mr. Davis wants to join Senator Shelby and switch allegiances?




Friday, June 28, 2002
 

Laugh? I Thought I'd Die

Family of 'baby bomber' says photograph was 'just a joke':

A Palestinian journalist in the Hebron area said she did not believe the picture was a fake and expressed surprise at the furor it caused in Israel. "I can find you many, many photos like this," she told DPA. "Many kids imitate adults and wear toy masks and guns, especially during marches. It's not strange at all."

That's one precocious kid to get live ammunition and dress himself up like that. Wow, my 5 year-old still can't tie her shoes! This kid can not only tie his shoes, but wrap a bandana around his head, pack some heat and cop an attitude! Then again, he reminds me a lot of Ralphie's little brother all bundled up and unable to take a step without falling over.

Hopefully, Scott MIller has an extra $30,000 left over for this kid as well.




Thursday, June 27, 2002
 

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXVI

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Enough with the illiberal utopianism already. Richard just can’t let go of all the things he just knows that ain’t so when it comes to Yasser Arafat, Bill Clinton, and Camp David. Mr. Becker and Mr. Fagen nailed this one a long time ago:

I heard it was you, talking ‘bout a world where all is free. It just couldn’t be, and only a fool would say that.

Here’s a suggestion. Before reading any further go open a bottle of wine, or get your favorite adult beverage (preferably a good single malt, although the blogosphere drink of choice seems to be Vodka) and an appropriate sized glass. Every time Richard Cohen reads something on a blank page, take a drink. At the end of the Scourge, your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to be as drunk as Richard must have been when he wrote today’s column. This is not as easy as it might seem since Richard’s been imbibing a bit too much utopian whine with Answers on An Empty Page:

On Capitol Hill they tell the story of the senator who was in the habit of not bothering to read staff-written speeches before he delivered them. One day the senator grabbed a speech, dashed to his meeting and started reading. He got down to the bottom of the page where it said, "And now I'd like to outline my five principles of foreign policy." He turned the page and there, in large type, it said, "You're on your own, hotshot."

The long winter nights on Capitol Hill must just fly. Perhaps the A-list party guests need some new jokes.

I thought that story had to be apocryphal until I heard President Bush's speech on the Middle East. It started well, with some richly deserved denunciations of Palestinian terrorism, and it called for a Palestinian state sometime down the road, maybe even within three years. Then, in my mind, Bush turned the page and found . . . nothing.

Because he was … finished?

Bush wants Yasser Arafat gone, and he called for new elections. But what happens if Arafat, as is likely, is reelected?

The US stops funding the Palestinian Authority and the aspirations of the Palestinian people are held in abeyance until they wake up and smell the hookah.

We don't know.

Sure we do. Just because Richard doesn’t like the answer doesn’t mean we don’t know.

This is on the blank page. (DRINK!)

President Bush has created a virtual tabula rosa, wiping the slate clean. Or perhaps, washing our hands of Arafat is a better metaphor.

Israel now has much of the West Bank under military occupation.

Unhand that gun, be gone.

"Freedom of movement" is a contradiction in terms.

Oh, I don’t know. I think the people within the borders of Israel have substantially more freedom of movement without fear of being blown up than they had before the latest military action.

How do you campaign for election if you can't go from one town to the next?

Ask Jimmy Carter. He seemed to think he could run for President without leaving the Rose Garden. Naturally, he was wrong.

The answer, it seems, must be on the blank page. (DRINK!)

This, of course, is a classic utopian straw man that assumes there is an answer that provides security for Israel and a Palestinian State with all the current players.

Bush called for a "provisional state of Palestine." What is that?

Uh, a provisional state of Palestine?

What are its borders, provisional or otherwise -- the ones offered at Camp David or the far less generous ones offered by Ariel Sharon?

Ah yes, Camp David … Peace Process … Bill Clinton (a boy with a plan, an unnatural man) … land for peace … Nirvana – rejected outright by Arafat because he believed he could have it all. He rolled the dice. He lost. Big time. Ariel Sharon’s offer may not be on the table much longer either. If he’s holding it high, he’s telling a lie.

Will moderate Palestinians stand up to the terrorists among them and risk their lives in the cause of a "provisional state"?

Both of them?

All these questions are answered on the blank pages. (DRINK!)

Perhaps the answers are written with lemon juice.

The president also called for the Palestinians to create an independent parliament and judiciary.

Makes sense.

The third branch of government would be the Arafat-less executive.

Makes more sense.

Corruption would be banished and people would be guaranteed a fair trial.

Puhleeze. Corruption would be banished? Just like here in the good old USA? Richard’s straw men are coming apart at the seams.

All over the Arab world, this part of the speech was enthusiastically applauded -- but with one hand only.

It is exceedingly cruel of Richard to taunt the Arabs caught stealing bread in Riyadh.

No Arab state has all of these institutions.

How many have even one of them?

Once a leader gets into power, he stays in power until he dies, of either natural or ballistic causes. Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, for instance, must be the second-longest serving "elected" official in the world, bested only by Strom Thurmond.

With the mid-term election coming up and a Republican Governor likely to be elected in South Carolina, I guess the Strom Thurmond death watch is back on. Not exactly one of the prouder moments for the DNC.

This was all mentioned on Bush's blank page. (DRINK!)

Isn’t this getting a bit, hic, old?

Already, Bush's speech has been Middle Easternized. This is a process where a simple truth, an unambiguous fact, gets so twisted out of shape as to cause a stone-cold-sober person to think he was drunk.

See, it’s not that hard to make an association between Bush and drunk. I wonder who lost that bet with Richard? And who knew Richard was Middle Eastern?

Every newspaper in the world -- except those rightly concerned about Martha Stewart -- headlined something like "Arafat Must Go." Mubarak, though, must have been reading about Stewart: "I do not see any indication in the statement that calls for ousting Arafat." There, that clears everything up.

Richard’s sarcasm has doubled back on itself and left him confused. Leave it to the amateurs, Dick.

By temperament, Bush is an either/or sort of guy. "I've said in the past that nations are either with us or against us in the war on terror," he said in his speech. That sort of stuff resonates emotionally, and one is inclined to utter a hearty, "Hear, hear!"

Savor this morsel of moral calrity. It is probably the last one you see before you start seeing double.

But such statements fall on deaf ears in the Middle East, especially among militants. They do not consider themselves to be immoral. They have a cause, one for which they will gladly die.

Everybody on the (Arab) street has murder in his eyes.

What is needed -- in addition to Bushian rhetoric -- is a plan that holds out some hope for most Palestinians.

You’ll feel no pain. And you’re younger than you realize.

Then it would be in their self-interest to cooperate with Israeli security forces in putting an end to terrorism.

Only a fool would say that.

This is what happened when the United States was heavily engaged in the area and both sides were talking.

What? How many bottles of utopian whine has Richard consumed to imagine that the Palestinian population was cooperating with the IDF to put an end to terrorism – until US diplomacy waned? Unbelievable!

The more recent lack of American involvement allowed the situation to deteriorate.

See it’s all the US’s fault! How could I have missed this?

Palestinians who once had something of a state to protect now have almost nothing -- and nothing much to lose.

The Palestinian’s had something of a state? I think the DTs have set in. Richard is hallucinating now. And things can always get worse.

The prospect of some provisional entity somewhere down the road is a shriveled carrot indeed.

Absolutely, bloody typical. Richard must not have read the last Scourge or he would have known that there is no carrot here, shriveled or otherwise. This is the big stick (or big stone) approach. Diplomacy is over.

With Bush's plan, it's not clear how you get there and not clear what you get when you arrive.

Unlike, say, Bill Clinton’s Camp David Peace Plan -- which got us where again?

In Israel, Bush's speech was greeted by some with befuddlement.

Zeeble bop fickle fackle Bush. Bush! BUSH!

Shimon Peres, the dovish foreign minister, reportedly said that Bush had made a "fatal mistake" and that a bloodbath would follow. Leftist commentators wondered aloud what part of the world Bush was talking about, insisting on a Western-style democracy in the West Bank.

Richard’s research is exhaustive, exploring the full gamut of Israeli opinion, from Shimon Peres to leftist commentators.

Bush has adopted an admirable moral posture, and his contempt for the weasel, Arafat, is well justified.

Who likes a big but more, Richard or Sir Mix-A-Lot?

But rhetoric is not a plan and no plan was forthcoming.

Scourge boy: Do not try and bend the Peace Process. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth.
Cohen: What truth?
Scourge boy: There is no Peace Process.
Cohen: There is no Peace Process?
Scourge boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the Peace Process that is bent, it is only yourself.

"He can still make another speech," said Henry Siegman of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Dick the name dropper…

If he does, it ought to have no blank pages. (DRINK!)

Okay, maybe the last one was gratuitous, but admit it, by now you want another drink at least as much as I did by this point.

Not surprisingly, Richard has missed the point entirely. I’m frequently shocked by the lack of imagination by the big league illiberal utopian statists. They are so locked into their world views that when someone steps out of the proverbial box, they can’t even see it. The best blogger analysis is probably here by Steven Den Beste.

I think the President has been extremely shrewd, Yasser is done, and the times we live in are about to get a lot more interesting. This is not the President’s father’s New World Order. Special bonus points to whoever can guess which big league illiberal utopian statist first accuses Bush of trying to influence the midterm elections with the attack on Iraq (or Iran or Syria or Saudi Arabia)!




 

Schadenfreude

Oh my goodness!

NY Times: U.S. Businesses Dim as Models for Foreigners

The Independent: Dollar slides to brink of free fall

Financial Times: WorldCom woes push euro nearer to parity

One can almost sense the glee. No doubt, the usual suspects will jump in and remind us of the failures of capitalism without understanding the irony of the fact that its ability to tolerate failures is what makes capitalism so great. When businesses and government programs are not allowed to fail and resources are wasted to avoid facing a sometimes harsh reality is when the really bad things start to happen. I'm not excusing the bad things that may have been done and those responsible should be punished, but notice that we capitalists freely acknowledge that bad things have been done and that we never expected humans to all behave perfectly to begin with. Bottom line, our nanny culture has made people start to forget the basic relationship between risk and reward, or as it has been stated before,"A fool and his money are soon parted."

And let's not forget that the Euro was started around $1.25 if I remember correctly so as to be worth more than a dollar. So the great American crash has left them down only 20% from their initial value. Like all pendulum swings, this one too shall go too far. But like the shock to the auto companies 20 years ago, my guess is that as long as we can keep the government out of the loop, this will ultimately make American business even stronger. Yea, America is a bad place to invest alright.




Wednesday, June 26, 2002
 

GoogleQuacks

Will the dozen trolls Googling for some combination of:

Bernie Ebbers Jew

and hitting my site please just stop it!




 

Cowards Revisited

Well, the St. Louis Post Dispatch wasn't all that devastating in its lead editorial today, not that they really could be even if they tried. But, it wasn't especially kind to President Bush once he strayed from their utopian ideals and overall the editorial didn't make much sense either.

One interesting note. If you start at their home page and want to read the editorials, you have to click on the News icon first. Is that a Freudian slip? Or as Martin Devon wrote last night, "Strike that. Reverse It."




 

48 Years

It took some 48 bloody years for a highly educated, pretentious, self-righteous moron to suddenly decide that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional becaue it mentions God.

Glad there are no important issues on the docket in the 9th Circuit.

Personally, I take this as a positive sign. A country that can withstand this kind of silliness is not under a grave threat from someone like Usama bin Laden. Well, at least there's one less idiot who can complain about the impending police state because he has been silenced... at least until the appeal.

DOWNDATE: Stephen Green has a long post and some comments. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter all that much one way or the other except as an indicator of what's really important to people.




Tuesday, June 25, 2002
 

Cowards

The St. Louis Post Dispatch had no editorial today about President Bush's speech, even though it was the front page, above the fold story on page 1. I guess they didn't get the memo. Either that, or they had to wait and see how it was gonna play in the Washington Post and the New York Times first.

I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that they have a scathing editorial in Wednesday's edition.




 

The Scourge of Richard Cohen, Vol. XXXV

(Ed. -- The following is a bit of mean spiritedness that will be an on-going feature of this blog. Normally the author will endeavor to be reasonably fair, but this is an exception.)

Like the Indian sitting astride his horse on top of the mesa, gazing out over the vast expanse of the desert and seeing Clark Griswold wandering about madly in the heat, having abandoned his senses and family in a futile and stupid attempt to make up for his last mistake; I read Richard Cohen’s columns and all I can think of writing is, “what an asshole.” Yet again, Richard values the peace process over peace and freedom in Deadly Progress in the Middle East:

I gather Richard prefers deadly failures in the Middle East, at least as long as they can be blamed on President Bush.

To an observer in Chappaqua, N.Y.,…

Please God, no! He’s not going to do what I think he is, is he?

… it seems that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is approaching a "tipping point." The phrase comes from Malcolm Gladwell's book of that name and refers to the moment, the point, when an accumulation of little things suddenly turns into something momentous. To Bill Clinton, speaking to me by phone from his home, that tipping point is in the numbers.

Aaaarrrrrggggghhhhh! He is! Richard is stooping to kiss Bill Clinton’s ass for the third time in three months. Maybe Richard got confused and thought he was kissing Hank’s ass. This is Richard’s second attempt this quarter to try and get us to accept that Bill Clinton now has all the answers to the intractable problems of Middle East, now that he is no longer burdened with all the responsibilities of the job of coming up with the answer to the intractable problems of the Middle East. Of course, he’s got plenty of time on his hands, what with him not doing his TV show or getting down to the business of writing his memoirs. But this is starting to look like an obsessive compulsive problem for Richard. I would have thought that I had disabused Richard of this painfully puerile problem here and here, but apparently more serious therapy is more required. I will try harder.

And if anybody should be running, not walking, away from a concept like, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, I would think it would be Bill Clinton.

(An aside – my apologies, but Blogspot weirdly starting substituting “?” for various punctuation in the blog and the archives some time back. I think I fixed the current files by switching my MS Word font from Times New Roman to Arial, but I do not know how to fix the archives. Any advice is welcome)

Palestinian terrorists are showing that terrorism works.

Well, I suppose it depends on how we define “are.” Personally, I think President Bush just delivered a significant smackdown to the Palestinian terrorists. Sure, he wasn’t as hard as some people would like him to be, but in international diplomat-speak; these were some pretty harsh words. I don’t see that Palestinian terrorism is working at all. Let’s keep in mind that if there had been no terrorism at all, there would have been immense pressure on Israel to cede just about anything to the cause of a Palestinian State by now. Instead, we have Israel really occupying the West Bank and Gaza Strip, lots of weapons confiscated, lot’s more people dead, curfews, and what is effectively an “enough is enough” from President Bush. So, how exactly is this helping their cause again?

Last month, Richard Cohen was the one arguing in his column titled Arafat’s Alibi that Ariel Sharon was the one whose credibility was shredded by the genocide bombings, insisting that “he must know that there is no getting around Arafat. Sharon has made his enemy the essential man if there is to be a peace process, anointed him with his hatred and scorn as the unquestioned king of the Palestinians.” Wanna bet? Hey Yasser, as Nino Brown said as he let go of the man’s legs on the bridge, “See ya, wouldn’t want ta be ya.” Time to take your embezzled loot and baby wipes and get out while you can.

But, let's give credit where it is due. At least Richard did refer to them as Palestinian terrorists, which is more than Reuters(one man's news service is another Palestinian terrorist's apologist), CNN, or NPR can bring themselves to admit.

Not too long ago, Palestinians died in far greater numbers than Israelis. Recently, the gap has narrowed -- from about 8 to 1 to about 3 to 1.

The undiscovered genocide gap? Would Richard be happier if Israel held up its end of the bargain and kept the ratio at 8 to 1? I mean, is Richard trying to state that if Israel doesn’t start killing more Palestinians, then the terrorists will have won?

On June 18 and 19, for instance, two bombings in Jerusalem killed 26 Israelis and wounded 124. The two bombers themselves died, but it seems an inexhaustible supply of others is eager to take their place. (Since September 2000, 548 Israelis and 1,428 Palestinians have been killed.)

So Richard wants to argue that Palestinian terrorism is working because the ratio of Jews to Palestinians dying is going down? How obscene is that? Richard also makes the fallacious assumption that Israel would not change its actions as the bombings continued. I think there is ample evidence that it did not take an “inexhaustible supply” of bombers to get Israel to decide that it was through pussyfooting around. But even so, let’s not forget which nation mourns mistakes that result in the death of innocent children, apologizing and starting an investigation, and which wannabe nation celebrates the death of children – Israeli and Palestinian!

The harsh logic of the numbers is not lost on the terrorists and their sympathizers.

Like Richard Cohen? Some imam somewhere is quickly calculating that with only about 5,000,000 Jews in Israel, and a genocide bomber ratio of 3:1, they could kill of all the Jews in Israel by sacrificing about 3% of the 500,000,000 Arab population of the Middle East.

If it cannot be said that they are winning, at least it can be said that they are not losing as badly as they once did.

Is there some shred of morality hiding in here anywhere? If so, I cannot find it.

The effect may be to destroy both the standing and the logic of moderate Palestinians, just the sort of people who recently signed a manifesto calling for an end to suicide bombings. They argued that it hurt their cause.

These sort of people only noted that it wasn’t an effective tactic, not that there's anything wrong with that, right Dick?

The fatality figures, though, can be used to argue otherwise.

This is a stunning statement, seemingly predicated on a new final solution of eliminating the Jews in Israel. Has anyone else argued that “success” can be measured by a lower ratio of Palestinian deaths to Jew deaths, rather than fewer deaths -- period? My God!

Some time ago I wrote that the Israeli-Palestinian struggle had entered its Battle of Algiers phase.

April 2, 2002. It was a stupid, poor, insulting analogy then, and it’s a stupid, poor, insulting analogy now.

The war for Algerian independence that ended in 1962 cost the lives of 250,000 Algerians and 25,000 French soldiers. Ultimately, the French could not prevail over a population that simply wanted them out. The more repressive France was, the more it radicalized the Algerians. Finally, de Gaulle ended it.

Well, that’s about as simplisme a description of the Algerian War for Independence as you are likely to find anywhere.

Would that Israel had a de Gaulle.

Has Israel had no one to match de Gaulle the soldier or de Gaulle the politician?

The Jewish state desperately needs someone to say that the present policy of repeatedly attacking Yasser Arafat and punishing the Palestinians is not working.

Funny, I thought Israel was trying to round up suspects and eliminate weapon caches and bomb making factories. I have not yet noticed that Israel was the least bit interested in retaliatory actions aimed at attrition, whether at a 3 to 1 ratio, or even an 8 to 1 ratio. And how do we know it isn’t working? There are certainly fewer terrorists walking freely in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip than there were when Bill Clinton was busy pardoning Marc Rich and Carlos Vignali. The bombings certainly slowed down when Israel went into the West Bank after the Passover bombing. Time will tell, but success cannot be measured in this instance as a utopian absence of evil.

This is because Arafat is no longer capable of restraining the more militant elements in Palestinian society -- even his infrastructure has been destroyed -- and because every Israeli retaliation amounts to a recruitment drive for suicide bombers.

Oh yea, I forgot. Arafat had nothing to do with creating the environment where terrorism would flourish. It is all Sharon’s fault for inhibiting the Palestinian Authority police from imposing temporary house arrests on wanted killers. Those damn Israeli retaliators. If they would just pipe down and accept the genocide bombings, then everything would be fine. The current pool of genocide bombers would eventually exhaust itself, but every time Israel responds, it just generates more genocide bombers. See it's all Israel's fault for not just dying like their are supposed to.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Since the breakdown of the Camp David talks in 2000, Arafat has effectively negotiated via terrorism. It cost many lives. It cost him his credibility.

And the Palestinian Authority. Why, it has even cost him the friendship of Bill Clinton! How must Bill feel now that Yasser says he will accept Bill’s deal once Bill can no longer broker it – and get a Nobel Peace Prize. The shelves of Walgreen’s in Chappaqua must be devoid of Zantac now.

In an odd way, Ariel Sharon has lost credibility also -- and Israeli polls show it.

Where did I just read this? Oh yea, Arafat’s Alibi.

His formula is more of the same. He wants to be rid of Arafat, but Arafat is not the problem anymore -- it's rising Palestinian militancy. Repeatedly, Sharon has retaliated and repeatedly suicide bombers have come right back at Israel.

And the sun rose as well the day after each genocide bombing. Is it worth risking the sun not rising tomorrow just to stop these genocide bombings?

Now Israel has returned to the West Bank, once again penned in Arafat, and intends to stay until it has eliminated terrorism.

Works for me. I hope it works for them.

That will take time, an Israeli official close to Sharon told me,…

Someone needed to tell Richard this?

… noting that after many months the United States has yet to eliminate al Qaeda, whether in Afghanistan or elsewhere.

And the point here is what? That neither President Bush nor Prime Minister Sharon have a magic wand to eliminate terrorism overnight? Or that it is a long hard struggle to overcome the forces of evil bent on death and destruction?

The analogy is imperfect.

Well, duh.

The United States is not occupying Afghanistan. A more apt analogy is what the Soviet Union attempted there and why it failed.

Did I read that right? The IDF acting in Israel’s self defense is the moral equivalent of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan? And Richard thought his last analogy was imperfect? Listen Sparky, I was a senior in college in 1981 when Gunga Dan was starting the evening newscasts with “In Kabul today…” There is no parallel here.

So why does Richard think Israel is gonna fail like the Soviets? Because the Palestinian’s are going to get sophisticated weaponry like Stingers from the US to fight back? Because of the brutal West Bank winters? Because Osama’s on their side?

Israel will fail, too -- and it, unlike the Soviet Union, is morally restrained from waging all-out war against a civilian population, no matter how hostile.

Does it seem like Richard is actually rooting for Israel to lose? Too bad the Palestinians seem to suffer from no such moral restraint. After all, they’re only killing pigs and apes, right Dick?

Only the United States can break this impasse. This is not just because America is the world's lone superpower but also because -- in Clinton's words -- "we are the only big country who Israel believes cares if it lives or dies."

And, why again is this important because Bill Clinton said it?

Unfortunately for Richard, the US is not going to live up to his utopian ideal of what a “superpower” ought to do. Being a superpower means a lot of things. It doesn’t mean that everyone will act rationally and do what the US wants, even if Bill Clinton, with Richard’s lips attached, wills it.

The confidence Israel has in Washington's intentions should not be used solely for mere pats on the back. Sometimes a little tough love is in order.

But, only for Israel, right Dick?

But the Bush administration, while strongly pro-Israel, has been reluctant to engage persistently in a tough, protracted, diplomatic initiative.

I.e., they have not engaged in the farcical kabuki dance of a peace process as an end to itself, preferring to focus on a realistic approach based on some principles (even if not enough to satisfy the most ardent supporters of Israel). I believe the President’s speech made it rather clear that they are prepared to be tough and to make hard decision over protracted periods of time, but only when the Palestinian leadership starts acting in good faith, which has been in extremely short supply there for a long, long time.

You want to talk about tough love? The Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Yasser Arafat is the classic spoiled rich teenager who has never had to answer for his transgressions, who’s always had someone to bail him out and excuse his behavior, no matter how abhorrent. But, no more. An adult has finally, belatedly, stepped in and said enough. Yasser, Saddam, Bashir, and many, many others will be held accountable for their past, current and future actions.

And why shouldn't the US be pro-Israel? After the nations that make up the Commonwealth, who on earth do we have more in common with?

Colin Powell, who favors this approach, has been nowhere near as active as previous secretaries of state.

Could be that whole War on Terrorism thing. It has been a bit of a distraction for someone like Colin Powell, having to act on the President’s orders to help build the coalitions necessary to make something like “you are either with us or against us” stand up.

In Clinton's view -- and few people have his experience in the Middle East -- this is a mistake.

What experience is that again, exactly? Oh yea, the peace plan that he couldn’t get Yasser to accept because Yasser really believed the US would stand by and allow Israel to be destroyed. And if it weren’t for the XXII amendment to the US Constitution, he might have been right. It’s only as Israel has begun implementing the Bush doctrine and exposed Yasser for the evil fraud he is that Yasser now wants to get what he so wickedly dismissed before.

Bush's speech yesterday, however, offered the Palestinians nothing in the short run -- not even an immediate halt to building new Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

They don’t deserve to be offered anything so long as they are raising their children to finish what the Nazi’s started. When they want to join the human race, let’s talk.

And Bush's demand that the Palestinians dump Arafat can only bolster him in the near future.

Wanna bet? How much Dick? Arafat is dead or in exile within 6 months. How much? Come on, how much?

For the Palestinians it is a plan that could have been written in Tel Aviv, not Washington.

Or Chappaqua. Where it was written doesn’t matter any more than whether Bill Clinton said it.

Still, the hard work of persistent diplomacy has to be done -- even at a time, and this is one, when a breakthrough seems remote.

I think President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon have found a big enough rock. It is no longer necessary to say “nice doggie.”

"You have to ask yourself if the problem is getting better if you leave it alone," the former president said.

Hmmm, usually his advice in situations like this is to put some ice on it.

His answer -- apparent in newspaper headlines -- is no. "It's going to get worse if we don't get involved, that's for damn sure."

And maybe it will get worse if we get involved. Richard’s dysfunctional illiberal utopian statism has led him to believe that the last remaining superpower can apparently do anything, despite all the evidence to the contrary. Not even Bill Clinton, a man with “great experience in the Middle East” who never worked harder on anything in his life couldn’t get much done, except set the table for the denouement that left us where we are today.

As I started reading this, I couldn’t believe how stupid it seemed, as though it was written before the President’s speech on Monday. Then towards the end, Richard makes it clear that this was written after the President’s speech. How much more stupid does it seem now?

President Bush's speech announces (I hope) that the US has given up on the "Peace Process" in favor of a "Freedom Process". Freedom is not a necessary condition for peace. After all, all it takes to have peace is to give in to the biggest bully in the neighborhood. Ask all the Balkan states about that. Freedom does not guarantee peace, but it makes it more likely. On the other hand, peace guarantees nothing -- certainly not freedom. A necessary condition for a Palestinian State is Israel's freedom to be. Without this guarantee, there is no basis for the US to help establish a Palestinian State under any conditions.

Which of the following two statements is more correct:

A people whose highest value is freedom will live in peace.

A people whose highest value is peace will live in freedom.

Remember that anytime someone holds the "Peace Process" up as the magical talisman that will deliver us to utopia.




 

More GoogleQuacks

GoogleQuacks is a new term to refer to the weirdos out there hitting my site with queries such as:

ebbers jew
kozlowski jew dennis


...in addition to the queries I listed here. What's really sad is that these types of queries represent more than half the hits from Google queries other than "sine qua non".

But that last one is really weird. This site is the #1 site for that query, even though those words came directly from Richard Cohen in a previous Scourge. How is it possible that I can be a more popular Google result than Richard Cohen, given that the results of the latest Google Smackdown between me and Richard are:

Richard Cohen (16,700)
Scourge Richard Cohen (3)


I don't understand.

DOWNDATE: And we can add "Bernie Ebbers jew" to the list of GoogleQuacks tonight as well.




 

Grief All Around

This is a sad, sad story. No doubt, the worst part of it is the death of the child. But a 16 year-old boy (he was 15 years-old at the time) admits he was acting with intent to seriously hurt the child and this merits a sentence of between 1 /13 and 4 years in jail? And the mother may be brought up on charges for leaving her children in the charge of a 15 year-old? So much for daughter #1's budding career in babysitting!

There is so much about this that is so, so wrong.




 

Guilty, As Charged

Sunday night I felt guilty for not blogging enough lately. After dinner at 7:30 tonight, my youngest daughter said I was home early tonight. I said "early?" And my wife said, "yea, you were home before they went to bed."

Now the real guilt sets in.




Sunday, June 23, 2002
 

So Many Blogs, So Little Time

Just no time to post this weekend. Why do I feel guilty about it?

Things I would have liked to get to:

Star Wars Episode II movie review -- it sucked, but I really need to explain why.

Thoughts on the passing of Jack Buck and Darryl Kile.

US and the World Cup.

Quasi at the Quackadero.

Graham Parker and the Rumour.

A quote from NPR that they wanted to avoid deep links because "NPR is not an advocate of any position"!

More Guardian bollocks.

Zimbabwe.

The risk to the all the mentally handicapped given the latest Supreme Court ruling prohibiting the death penalty for them.

And of course, moving off Blogspot, adding comments and permalinks, etc.






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