Saturday, April 12, 2003
Palestinian Stock Drops
I used to sympathize with the plight of the Palestinians. I still do, insofar as they are my fellow human beings who are having a rough go of it. But the intifada has coalesced into a storm of genocidal malevolence, and it seems the majority of Palestinians have succumbed to a totalitarian death cult.
Liberal Iraqis agree, according to Douglas Davis at the Jerusalem Post. (Via Josh Lawless.)
There will be strong ties with Israel but no place for Palestinians in the new Iraq, [Nabeel Musawi] a leading member of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) told me late Wednesday night.
Musawi reminds me that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were expelled from the Gulf states after the 1991 war in retribution for their complicity with Saddam, particularly in Kuwait, where they collaborated with his enforcers in identifying key personnel after the Iraqi invasion. All were arrested, many were never seen again.
Today, the large Palestinian community is regarded by INC leaders as a loathsome fifth column, among the most faithful followers of Saddam Hussein.
Will the Palestinians be welcome to remain in a new, post-Saddam Iraq?
"Absolutely not," Musawi snapped.
Nor, for that matter, will Arabs who had opposed the US-led war to deliver freedom to the Iraqi people.
And the UN? "They did not play a very honorable role when it came to dealing with Saddam," he said. "We believe the UN needs to put its own house in order before it can play a credible role here."
Musawi is equally unequivocal when talking enthusiastically of his hopes for the closest possible ties with Israel.
We had spoken before of the INC vision of an "arc of peace" that would run from Turkey, through Iraq and Jordan to Israel, creating a new fulcrum in the Middle East. Does that concept still stand?
"You know we have always wanted that," he said.
This is yet one more justification for the liberation of Iraq. No more payments to suicide bombers. And another pro-peace democratic state in a rough neighborhood.
Peaceniks Agree with Osama
Steven Den Beste quotes Stephanie Shaudel.
Many Iraqi citizens have taken to the streets in recent days to celebrate their freedom from dictator Saddam Hussein. But that joy could turn to sorrow, anti-war protesters warn, when the Iraqis begin to see their country adopt western cultural values.
The ghost of Osama bin Laden will say the same thing on the next exciting episode of Tapes from Beyond.
Anti-war and Anti-democracy
The anti-war movement, which includes right-wingers and left-wingers, will split into two distinct camps.
The first will feel chagrined. These folks will be embarassed by their stance and will be pleased that the war went well and that Iraqis are cheering and grateful. Their reason for opposition was based on a genuine concern for the well-being of Iraq's innocent people. If Iraqis are happy, they are happy. These people are, for the most part, liberals.
The other camp is the far-left and the far-right. They will not be embarassed. They never cared a whit for Iraqis, and they don't care now. What motivates them is anti-Americanism. "The Iraqi people" were just a prop for them.
When the democracy-building project begins in earnest, they will seize on every piece of bad news. They will see failure even where failure does not exist. In their hearts they will want democracy and Iraq to fail, because their anti-American worldview requires it. Even if these people support democracy (in the abstract) now, events on the ground in Iraq will turn them against it.
Let me tell you a story.
There was once a country named France. It had a democratic socialist government. Next to France was Germany ruled by Hitler. War was in the air.
The government was divided. One faction wanted war with Hitler to neutralize the threat before it could grow. The other faction was pacifist and wanted appeasement. It was traumatized by the carnage of World War I, and saw war as an evil to be avoided no matter what.
The only way the anti-war left could rationalize its position was by rationalizing Hitler. Hitler had a point, they said. Versailles was a terrible humiliation for Germany. Hitler's anti-Semitism was over-the-top, but he had some fair points about Jews. That's what they said.
They imagined Hitler as a rational victim whom they could reason and cut deals with. They had to believe that in order to remain pacifist. If they saw Hitler for what he really was, their pacifism would have collapsed. The threat had to be minimized, and so did Hitler's crimes.
Then the Nazis invaded France.
The right-wing Marshall Henri Pétain negotiated a deal with Hitler to set up a collaborationist regime at Vichy. And what did the French left do?
The pro-war left that saw Hitler clearly vowed to fight on. The pacifist left did not. They had already excused and rationalized Hitler. Their next logical step was an obvious one. The pacifist left became Nazis and joined with Pétain.
As the war against terror progresses, more and more people will take this ideological journey. Some of them have already made it.
North Korea Caves
It looks like Kim Jong Il has been watching the news lately.
North Korea hinted Saturday it could accept U.S. demands for multilateral talks to discuss the communist country's suspected nuclear weapons program.
The announcement might herald a dramatic change in North Korean policy. Until now, the North has insisted on only direct talks with Washington to negotiate a nonaggression treaty.
"If the U.S. is ready to make a bold switchover in its Korea policy for a settlement of the nuclear issue, the DPRK will not stick to any particular dialogue format," the North's KCNA news agency quoted a North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.
What's the matter, Kim? Don't want to be next?
This is why Christopher Hitchens is my favorite columnist.
Soon it will become evident to the naked eye that the city is substantially undamaged. It will also become obvious that its inhabitants waited patiently through what must have been very stressful days and nights, trusting and being able to tell that the targeting was careful and the intentions honorable.
One wishes the same could be said for half the newspaper columnists in England. Only on Tuesday I was being told that the single shell on the Palestine Meridien Hotel, which hit some reporters, was a deliberate targeting of the press by American tanks.
Obviously, they wanted to prevent one per cent of the media from transmitting Wednesday’s triumphant images.
I hope I never piss him off.
Friday, April 11, 2003
Goodbye to All That
I'm pleased as punch to see Saddam's filthy regime pitched into history's trashcan.
What's more, I'm happy to see the planet's IQ jump about five or six points. Never before have I seen such a parade of breathtaking hysterical bullshit. Whole swaths of Europe and the American left are beginning to snap out of a dangerous anti-American derangement.
Count on this, though: Those who don't snap out of it will become more unhinged in the future. Some will simply swoon at the totalitarian cult of death in the Middle East. Just watch.
This is the dumbest quote I can find about the liberation of Iraq, from Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel. (Via Steven Den Beste.)
I remain firmly convinced that we could have reached this result through diplomatic means.
Right. Hans Blix eventually
could have persuaded Saddam Hussein to kill himself and rip his totalitarian apparatus to pieces. Uh huh. Ask Blix where statue-demolishing fit into his inspection schedule, would you please?
The Right-Wing Fifth Column
Andrew Sullivan links to this right-wing Catholic screed by Dr. John C. Rao.
"We have sustained an unmitigated defeat." This statement, made by Winston Churchill with reference to the effects on Britain of the Munich Conference of 1938, applies equally well to the situation of Catholics with respect to the current conflict in Iraq. For we, too, have sustained an unmitigated defeat through the application of the principles responsible for this "war of liberation," the full consequences of which the very near future will reveal to us. To make matters worse, this unmitigated defeat was a thoroughly predictable one, whose evils might have been attenuated if eyes had only remained opened and ears had heard what was clearly being stated by the proponents of conflict over the course of the last decade.
How does the fallout from the latest of the modern world's innumerable "wars of liberation" make itself felt? One would be better advised to ask the question how it does not show its effects. With the most recent carnage of Catholic Christendom lying all around us, let me limit myself here to a ten-point Syllabus of Collateral Damage. This, admittedly, will need further elaboration to put the full horror of the present debacle into proper focus. I have no doubt that occasions for doing so will offer themselves unceasingly in the years to come. Nevertheless, an initially rather spartan statement of the perimeters of the problem serves a useful purpose as an introduction to a nightmare which is really just beginning.
There is a lot to admire in Catholicism; the intellectual rigor of the Jesuits, the tolerance toward those of other faiths, the beauty and awe-inspiring spiritual grandeur of its churches. I have a soft spot for left-wing Latin American Liberation Theology, which should solidly endorse the Liberation of Iraq.
But the Catholic Church has its dark side. And I don't just mean the child rapist protection racket. The excerpt above reminds me of nothing more than General Franco's clerical fascist regime in Spain, armed and supplied by Adolf Hitler himself. The rest of Rao's article could easily be written by a neo-fascist, and for all I can tell, it was.
There is more.
American Pluralism is a pseudo-religion, disguised as a practical plan for stability and prosperity, which divides the world into the good (those who accept it) and the bad (those who do not). All actions of the good are virtuous; all those of the bad are wicked. In the past, American Pluralists were generally happy to protect the good by isolating the United States from the rest of the world. Now they overwhelmingly believe that the good can only be defended by transforming all the peoples of the globe into virtuous American Pluralists. The central doctrine of this pseudo-religion is "tolerance". It has no room for a real religion, like Catholicism, which is "divisive", will not "integrate itself" with all others in a universal creed of tolerance, and insists upon a substantive, transforming impact on political and social questions forbidden it by Pluralism.
Domestic support for the "war of liberation" has confirmed the fact that many believers in this country prefer to be part of a national Catholic sect rather than members of an international Church which may have to criticize even the American Regime. The idea that the One True System and Way of Life of the only nation allowed to defend itself has actually come under attack by Rome is inconceivable to them. Apparently, Satan himself is thought to be impotent against the power for good of the American Pluralist Regime and its Constitution. All other nations and peoples are subject to error. The Regime, by definition, is not. A system of checks and balances and Pluralism is thereby shown to be much more sacramentally effective than grace in fighting evil, and its defense becomes an infallible theology of liberation. One wonders whether western dating should not begin with 1776 instead of with the birth of Christ, since true salvation came into the world only with the benefits offered through the national pseudo-religion.
This drips with contempt for liberalism and pluralism. It is anti-American in the extreme. Liberation of the oppressed is described as a "horror" and a "nightmare." Even the Chomskyite anti-Saddam thoat-clearing is absent.
The far-left and the far-right are joined at the waist once again. They are ideologically opposite, and yet they aren't. The prospects are disturbing. A tactical alliance with Islamofascism is in the cards.
Thursday, April 10, 2003
Fun with Defacement
British historian Andrew Apostolou shows us nine different ways to deface Saddam's image. (Permalinks are broken, but you'll enjoy the scroll anyway.)
A Catastrophe for Bigotry and Fascism
Paul Berman doesn't like George Bush very much. He likes Saddam Hussein a lot less. Suzy Hansen at Salon interviewed him today.
How have you felt watching TV?
I've been ecstatic. It's a revolutionary moment. It's a catastrophe for tyranny, obscurantism, bigotry and fascism. It's a great day.
Certainly, today, at least, is a victory for the Bush administration.
I guess that's right. I don't give a damn about that. What's important about today is the overthrow of this horrible tyrant. People on the American left should get over their obsessions with the horrible Bush in order to be able to recognize the grandeur of the moment. Just because the horrible Bush's father was president in 1989 did not mean that the revolutions of 1989 were horrible. They were great. The overthrow of Saddam is a great accomplishment.
Paul Berman's new book is called Terror and Liberalism
. Those who think pacifism defines liberalism might want to read this.
I complained about Paul Berman in this article
. I'd like to take that criticism back now.
Quote of the Day
The quote of the day goes to James Lileks, one of the best writers we have.
Men never seem taller than when they stand next to the prone remainders of a toppled tyrant. Someone someday will do a study of the statues the West pulled down. How they all showed a hard face to the dawn. How they all fell face first.
When I grow up I hope I can write like that.
Wednesday, April 09, 2003
Game Over, Man. Game Over.
War is not a game, but okay.
UNITED NATIONS - Iraq's U.N. ambassador said Wednesday "the game is over" — and that means the war is over. Mohammed Al-Douri expressed hope that the Iraqi people will now be able to live in peace. His comments were the first admission by an Iraqi official that U.S.-led forces had overwhelmed Iraqi forces after a three-week campaign.
"My work now is peace," he told reporters outside his New York residence. "The game is over, and I hope the peace will prevail. I hope the Iraqi people will have a happy life."
Al-Douri was asked what he meant when he said "the game is over."
"The war," he responded.
This might be the first time in his career that he didn't lie. Actually, scratch that, his career ended first.
Jim Treacher suggests new slogans for the anti-everything movement. (Via Ken Layne.)
Ha Ha Ha to the Pacifists
Christopher Hitchens is a genius.
So it turns out that all the slogans of the anti-war movement were right after all. And their demands were just. "No War on Iraq," they said—and there wasn't a war on Iraq. Indeed, there was barely a "war" at all. "No Blood for Oil," they cried, and the oil wealth of Iraq has been duly rescued from attempted sabotage with scarcely a drop spilled. Of the nine oil wells set ablaze by the few desperadoes who obeyed the order, only one is still burning and the rest have been capped and doused without casualties. "Stop the War" was the call. And the "war" is indeed stopping. That's not such a bad record. An earlier anti-war demand—"Give the Inspectors More Time"—was also very prescient and is also about to be fulfilled in exquisite detail.
So I'm glad to extend the hand of friendship to my former antagonists and to begin the long healing process. Perhaps one might start by meeting another of their demands and lifting the sanctions? Now the inspectors are well and truly in, there's no further need for an embargo. I noticed that Kofi Annan this week announced that the Iraqi people should be the ones to decide their own government and future. I don't mind that he never said this before: It's enough that he says it now.
What else? Oh yes, the Arab street did finally detonate, just as the peace movement said it would. You can see the Baghdad and Basra and Karbala streets filling up like anything, just by snapping on your television. And the confrontation with Saddam Hussein did lead to a surge in terrorism, with suicide bombers and a black-shirted youth movement answering his call. As could also have been predicted, those determined to die are now dead. We were told that Baghdad would become another Stalingrad—which it has. Just as in Stalingrad in 1953, all the statues and portraits of the heroic leader have been torn down.
Hitchens says this war was fought in his name. It was fought in my name, too, and for that I am proud.
The Arab media decide to pull a rerun of the 1967 Six Day War coverage. Predictably, the Arab response is the same.
Arabs clustered at TV sets in shop windows, coffee shops, kitchens and offices to watch the astounding pictures of U.S. troops overwhelming an Arab capital for the first time ever.
Feeling betrayed and misled, some turned off their sets in disgust when jubilant crowds in Baghdad celebrated the arrival of U.S. troops.
"We discovered that all what the [Iraqi] information minister was saying was all lies," said Ali Hassan, a government employee in Cairo, Egypt. "Now no one believes Al-Jazeera anymore."
The Middle East is getting a valuable lesson today. As are anti-Americans everywhere.
Take That, France
What does the Paris Street think of this?
Copyright 2003 Michael J. Totten
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Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect
The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer
Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly
In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic
Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly
The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine
Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review
The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly
England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn