Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Hope of Joy

The President spoke Tuesday night. I only was able to hear the last half - it was earlier than usual - but what I heard, I liked.

The President argued that by taking the war to the terrorists, we keep America safe. That by engaging the enemy on their home turf, which includes Iraq, we keep them off ours. And the plan is to stay there until they get the hint that the United States can and will outlast them.

Basically, President Bush argued that Iraq is part of the War on Terror, and for good reason. I agree, but I know not everyone else did. Because as I watched CNN last night, the usual suspects, such as John Kerry (why anyone listens to him, I don't know), said the usual complaints. No plan. No deadline. No timetable. B**** b**** b****.

Of course, the Dems have no plan either. Unless you count this one. [Courtesy Argghhh!!!]

And they complained about Bush referring to 9/11.

Well, 9/11 is why we are there, but not how they think. 9/11 shocked some of us out of the apathetic 90's and into the big scary world that we always knew was there but refused to acknowledge. It never intruded upon our lives in any significant way; why worry about it?

Iraq had been a major problem for us all through the 1990s. Even the Clinton Administration came to the conclusion that the only way to deal with Iraq was to eliminate Hussein. He sponsored terror groups, offered them safe haven, and provided them aid. That alone should have been enough to encourage his removal. His dabbling with WMDs was icing on the cake. That was a job we should have handled years ago. But it is done.

So what now? If we just pull chocks and run, we will be abandoning the Iraqis, and we will re-experience the aftermath of Vietnam. We will prove to the world that we are too soft to stand for anything.

If we stay? More soldiers will die, more politicians will try to score points off their deaths. America will continue to be lambasted by the chattering elites of the world; our simplisme and directness mocked.

But maybe - just maybe - the world will change for the better. A little less tyranny, a little more light.

There's no guarantee, just a hope. But we have gotten by on less before.

NR Editors:
"If we fail in Iraq, it will be a blow to America's prestige. One reason the terrorists struck on 9/11 is that they thought America was weak and making it bleed would prompt it to abandon its allies in the Middle East. The signal of weakness sent by a loss in Iraq wouldn't placate our enemies, but invite more attacks."

Andy McCarthy:
"On September 12, 2001, no one in America cared about whether there would be enough Sunni participation in a fledgling Iraqi democracy if Saddam were ever toppled. No one in lower Manhattan cared whether the electricity would work in Baghdad, or whether Muqtada al-Sadr’s Shiite militia could be coaxed into a political process. They cared about smashing terrorists and the states that supported them for the purpose of promoting American national security.

"Saddam Hussein’s regime was a crucial part of that response because it was a safety net for al Qaeda. A place where terror attacks against the United States and the West were planned. A place where Saddam’s intelligence service aided and abetted al Qaeda terrorists planning operations. A place where terrorists could hide safely between attacks. A place where terrorists could lick their wounds. A place where committed terrorists could receive vital training in weapons construction and paramilitary tactics. In short, a platform of precisely the type without which an international terror network cannot succeed."

"...we didn't build a functioning government in a year after we won the Revolution, gee, surprise, neither have the Iraqis. But there is progress..."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Shelby Foote, R.I.P.

Noted Civil War historian Shelby Foote has died.

If you ever watched an episode of Ken Burn's documentary, The Civil War, then you probably saw Shelby Foote.

Actually a novelist, Foote was asked to write a single-volume history of the Civil War. Twenty years later, he produced a three-volume work that is generally considered to be the best single-author history of America's greatest trial. And Mr. Foote had enough of a sense of humor to admit it had taken five times as long to write as it did to fight the war - "but there were thousands of them and only one of me," he explained.

Thanks for that, Mr. Foote. Rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A War Without Polkas

I have been wanting to comment on a most curious phenomenon in the current American culture - the inability or unwillingness to reflect culturally on the attacks of September 11th, 2001, and the resultant War on Terror. Aside from conspiracy-mongering movies, some "special episodes" of favorite pre-existing TV series, a moving but strange Springsteen album, and a few country songs, there really has been little cultural acknowledgement over a world-changing event now 42 months old. No Casablanca. No "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," or "American Patrol." Not even a "Where Have All The Flowers Gone."

September 11th seems to be headed for America's attic, where we keep our memories of Reconstruction, Korea, and World War One.

I have decided to post a column by Mark Steyn, a prolific conservative columnist featured in newspapers on both sides of the Atlantic and in National Review.

I wanted to comment on it, but after serious consideration, the column in its entirety speaks far better than I can.

So with all due apologies to Mr. Steyn, here is that column.


A week and a half after the VE Day anniversary, here’s a date that will get a lot less attention: May 19th 2005. On that day, the war on terror will have outlasted America’s participation in the Second World War. In other words, the period since 9/11 will be longer than the period of time between Pearl Harbor in December 1941 and the Japanese surrender in August 1945.
Does it seem that long? For the most part, no. The war on terror has involved no major mobilization of the population at large. In contrast to Casablanca, Mrs Miniver, “I’ll Be Seeing You”, “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree With Anyone Else But Me”, “The Last Time I Saw Paris”, “Victory Polka”, “Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition” and “There’ll Be A Hot Time In The Town Of Berlin”, American popular culture has preferred to sit this one out, aside from Michael Moore’s crockumentaries and incoherent soundbites from every Hollywood airhead who gets invited to European film festivals. And the response of US government agencies hasn’t been much better: In his testimony to the 9/11 commission, George Tenet said blithely that it would take another half-decade to rebuild the CIA’s joke of a clandestine service. In other words, three years after 9/11, he was saying he needed another five years. Imagine if FDR had turned to Tenet to start up the OSS. In 1942, he’d have told the President not to worry, we’ll have it up and running by 1950.

So, while this war may have started with the first direct assault on American territory since Pearl Harbor, it’s clearly evolved into a different kind of conflict, one in which after three and a half years it’s hard for many Americans to maintain the sense that it’s a “war” at all. By now, National Review’s British, Commonwealth and European readers will be huffing that the Second World War wasn’t three and a half years long, you idiots; it was six years, except for certain latecomers who turned up halfway through. Fair point. But if the Americans were late getting into World War II they were also late getting into the war on terror: Al-Qaeda’s bombers, Saudi moneymen and Wahhabi clerics had been trying to catch Washington’s eye for years only to be dismissed, as then Defense Secretary Bill Cohen said of the attack on the USS Cole, as “not sufficiently provocative”. You’ll have to do better than that, Osama!

So he did. And you have to wonder whether, despite the increased T-shirt sales among the impressionable young men in the Egyptian and Pakistani bazaars, that was such a smart move. When bin Laden started yakking on about his “war aims” - taking back Spain, the restoration of the Caliphate - it was easy to scoff, yeah, dream on, loser. But a cursory glance at demographics quickly made it clear that, insofar as Europe has a future, it’s likely to be an Islamic one. That being so, why louse things up by flying planes into buildings? Why not just lie low and in the fullness of time everything you want will come your way? The Wahhabists have successfully radicalized hitherto moderate Muslim communities from Albania to Indonesia; they’ve planted their most radical clerics as in-house padres throughout US prisons and even the armed forces. Why screw things up by doing something so provocative it meets even Bill Cohen’s criteria for a response?

Here’s why. It’s always useful to test the limits of your adversaries, and, though it cost them their camps in Afghanistan and much of their leadership, the 9/11 attacks exposed many useful tidbits about the decadence of the west – the worthlessness of the post-modern NATO “alliance” and the active hostility of many of its key members to the United States, the immense deference accorded not just to Islam but to the most radical Islamic groups, especially when it comes to immigration and other aspects of national security. Many Islamists might have suspected all this but it’s heartening to have it confirmed: if the “sleeping giant” is hard to wake up, his European pals aren’t sleeping so much as in irreversible comas.

Thus, if this war is, as existential struggles go, much closer to the Cold War, there’s one key difference. The Cold War was mostly fought by proxies and clients out on the periphery: Vietnam, Yemen, Chile, Afghanistan, Grenada… This time round the periphery’s falling into place very easily: Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, moves in the right direction throughout the Middle East, swathes of Central Asia falling under US influence… But the real battleground is the west itself, the heart of Europe, where bombs in Spain, murders in the Netherland, honor killings in Germany prompt only shrugs or pre-emptive capitulation from the political class. Perhaps in the end the comparison isn’t World War Two or the Cold War, but the one that created the modern Middle East in the first place – the First World War, which began with one specific act of violence and unraveled all the great European empires before it was done. Nearly four years after 9/11, a war that started with a bang seems to have fizzled to a whimper – whiney Dems, bureaucratic Homeland Security, nothing much on the horizon. Not so. There’s plenty ahead.

Mark Steyn, National Review, May 12th 2005

Monday, June 27, 2005

The War On The War On Terror Continues

Andrew McCarthy in National Review Online:

The ACLU, HRW, and the Times are upset because dozens of people — they put the number at 70 predominantly Muslim men, but it's not a certain figure — were detained after the 9/11 attacks as "material witnesses," and thus "thrust into a Kafkaesque world of indefinite detention without charges, secret evidence, and baseless accusations." Some were held for weeks, and even months, and the majority were never even charged with a crime. Thus, the Times seethes, did "the Bush administration ... twist[] the American system of due process 'beyond recognition.'" Mind you, only the last two words quote from the ACLU/HRW study; the rest is what passes for "reporting" from the Gray Lady's Eric Lichtblau.

The studious hyperbole here signals the emptiness of this latest broadside.

In point of fact, material-witness detentions have been with us for decades, pursuant to a duly enacted law (Section 3144 of Title 18, U.S. Code). They were used countless times prior to 9/11. Hysteria aside, it should come as no surprise that these detentions are "without charges" since, by definition, the person is being detained as a witness, not being charged with a crime. What would require "baseless accusations" would be to hold such a person as a defendant — which is precisely what the government refrains from doing in detaining under the material-witness law. The proceedings, moreover, involve "secret evidence" only in the sense that all proceedings before the grand jury — whether they involve terrorism, unlawful gambling, or anything in between — are secret under federal law (specifically, Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure). The Left, of course, well knows this since when investigative information about its champions seeps into the public domain, it routinely complains about the reprehensible violation of grand-jury secrecy rules — a useful diversion from dealing with the substance of any suspicions.

I'll say it again - our enemies understand us better than we understand ourselves. To defeat the United States, you don't have to defeat American forces in the field - you just need to undermine the American people's will to fight. Do that, and you'll have 10-20 years to do whatever you want as America plants its head in the sand.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Baa, Baa, Baa

We're poor little lambs
Far from home
Baa, baa, baa

Baa Baa Black Sheep, now out on DVD... I'm gonna have to get this.

And here is a piece on the
genuine article.

I Leave When The Pub Closes

At the end of the war, before the election that he lost in 1945, The Times of London prepared an editorial suggesting that he campaign as a nonpartisan world leader and retire gracefully rather soon afterward. The editor first informed Churchill that he was going to make these two points. "Mr. Editor," Churchill said to the first point, "I fight for my corner." And, to the second: "Mr. Editor, I leave when the pub closes."

From The Churchill Centre

Thursday, June 23, 2005


Another news story you haven't heard.

A Philadelphia police officer died as a result of a melee that occurred Tuesday.

Four men and a woman were charged yesterday in the melee between demonstrators and police Tuesday in Center City that left a veteran Philadelphia police officer dead of a heart attack.
District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham said the most serious offenses were lodged against Guillaume Beaulieu, 23, of Canada, who was charged with aggravated assault against Officer Paris Williams, 52, the Civil Affairs Unit member who died at Hahnemann University Hospital Tuesday afternoon.

An autopsy yesterday revealed that Williams suffered from heart disease. Jeff Moran, a city Health Department spokesman, said the cause of death was listed as hypertensive cardiomyopathy. Beaulieu also was charged with aggravated assault on another officer, Edward Braceland, 45, and resisting arrest, conspiracy and disorderly conduct.

At a late-afternoon news conference at Police Headquarters, Abraham said the melee in the 1200 block of Arch Street early Tuesday afternoon began when Beaulieu threw water on Braceland. She said Braceland chased Beaulieu and a scuffle broke out between police and protesters. Williams was one of the officers involved. Williams, a 17-year veteran, was trying with other officers to prevent protesters from nearing the entrance of the Convention Center where the BIO 2005 conference was under way.

Abraham said four others were charged with resisting arrest, conspiracy and disorderly conduct. She identified them as Caroline Colesworthy, 25, of Newport Beach, Calif.; Brenton Hall, 21, of Bangor, Maine; Mark Garcia, 19, of San Antonio, Texas; and Charles M. Sherrouse, 46, of the 1400 block of Elbridge Street in Northeast Philadelphia.

...Abraham said investigators believe that Williams was struck - either kicked or hit with a fist - during the struggle. She added, however, that the autopsy showed no evidence of physical injury. Abraham said investigators did not have evidence at this point to justify a murder charge.
What were they protesting? BIO 2005 is a national biotechnology conference. The protestors? Well, look here. Basically - they were protesting biotechnology itself. Nothing specific - all of it.

Luddites would be an appropriate term to use here.

So a policeman loses his life, all because it wasn't enough to march up and down the street waving their signs. No, they needed to make a bigger statement.

The 1960s are over, people. You missed it. Move on.

Quick question: if a protestor had died instead of a policeman, do you think you would have heard about this story before now?

Hat tip: Glenn Beck.

Pass The No-Doze

'Any Organization Will, In the End, Be Run By Those Who Stay Awake in Committee'

The most important part of the argument to me is this:

Ultimately, bringing the round to a successful conclusion and ensuring the WTO's longer-term relevance depend on tackling its systemic problems. A much expanded post-Uruguay-Round agenda has broadened sectoral coverage and gone much deeper into politically-sensitive domestic regulation. This has resulted in a loss of focus and a drift towards multiple and contradictory objectives. Hyperinflation of the membership has almost crippled decision making. The WTO has become much more politicised, buffeted by external criticism and with deep internal fissures. These are all symptoms of the "UN-isation" of the WTO.

Now quite obviously there are those who would welcome the "UN-isation" of anything, from the methods we use to play with kittens to world governance. You may not be all that surprised to find out that I don't agree. Such -isation really seems to mean that the structure is run by those who stay awake in committee meetings.

I would, and do, argue that this is, in fact, the inevitable fate of all and any organizations, so much so that we might call it Worstall's Law of Organizations, perhaps a minor corollary to Parkinson's Laws...

...The mission creep that is the effect of those not slumbering in meetings and thus adding another bright idea to the tasks the organization attempts is not restricted to the public sector.

Private companies are just as vulnerable. However in that private sector we have a mechanism by which the seemingly inevitable bureaucratization is dealt with. Once it happens, the organization goes bankrupt and is removed from the scene. What we need is a similar system to deal with this process in the public sphere.

In other words, screwed-up companies eventually go bankrupt. But screwed-up bureaucracies live forever - or until enough political will is gathered to put a stake in their hearts.

So there is a reason to stay awake in those meetings.

Hat Tip to Instapundit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"9/11 Is Being Buried"

American culture's curious reaction to 9/11 continues.

In case you missed it, the initial plans for the Ground Zero museum have been released - and there's not much room for remembering.

Debra Burlingame on the WTC plans in the Wall Street Journal:
"The public will be confused at first, and then feel hoodwinked and betrayed. Where, they will ask, do we go to see the September 11 Memorial? The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation will have erected a building whose only connection to September 11 is a strained, intellectual one. While the IFC is getting 300,000 square feet of space to teach us how to think about liberty, the actual Memorial Center on the opposite corner of the site will get a meager 50,000 square feet to exhibit its 9/11 artifacts, all out of sight and underground. Most of the cherished objects which were salvaged from Ground Zero in those first traumatic months will never return to the site. There is simply no room. But the International Freedom Center will have ample space to present us with exhibits about Chinese dissidents and Chilean refugees."

Only a seventh of the available space will be given for a museum for 9/11; the rest is given over to a "International Freedom Center," spearheaded by a group funded by our old friend, Mr. George Soros. Jeff Jarvis, of the blog Buzz Machine, details the whole sordid story.

Strangely enough, people aren't happy with devoting most of the museum space to parties which opposed going after Afghanistan and claim "America had it coming." They are speaking out, and they are organizing.

A "Take Back The Memorial" movement is starting to take shape and gather steam. More power to Ms. Burlingame and her efforts. You can sign the "Take Back The Memorial" Petition here.

Crossposted to The Wasatch Front.

Monday, June 20, 2005

How To Promote Employee Morale


The Relative Quiet

Hopefully, it's just the summer doldrums. Hopefully, I'm just being paranoid.

But the news seems quiet. America has dozed off again. The news networks focus on Michael Jackson's trial, and now its aftermath, and trying to pretend nothing much is happening. Congress is its usual tempest in a teapot, with Democrats trying to play gotcha games, Republicans trying to do nothing, and both succeeding. The Administration is quiet.

Out of the public eye, American and allied soldiers go about their duties in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some die in the line of duty; many more fight and win, but their actions go unreported. They are only news when they die, reduced to pawns in the great political game of deceptions, lies, and half-truths. Their victories are ignored, their survival unremarked.

Somehow, it feels like the summer of 2001. An unrestful quiet; an uneasy peace.

But I'm just being paranoid. Right?

Friday, June 17, 2005

Their Finest Hour

The Battle of France was over, and the Allies had lost.

The evacuation of the British Army from Europe had been more successful than anyone had dared hope - the entire British Expeditionary Force and an additional 120,000 French troops were rescued - but at the cost of their equipment. The most advanced British divisions had travelled to Europe to stop Hitler - and now their tanks, trucks, and artillery sat in the Dunkirk sand.

With the British regulars so weakened, the resources of the British Empire were harnessed to defend the home island. The Royal Navy still maintained enough control of the sea to allow convoys of men and materiel to slip into Britain from Canada, India, and Australia.

But was it enough? For the first time since Napoleon's rule of France, Britain lay under threat of invasion. Britain scrambled to find such basic equipment such as rifles for its soldiers. France was on the brink of surrender; the rest of Europe was under Nazi occupation. Even now, Hitler was collecting barges to carry out his
Operation Sea Lion. The next step: neutralize the outnumbered Royal Air Force. With the Luftwaffe controlling the skies, the Royal Navy coould be driven off and the invasion could proceed.

Outgunned, outnumbered, underquipped, and alone, Britain faced its darkest hour. But there was still hope. The Royal Air Force was making ready, and they had the advantage of fighting over home territory. As long as they shot down Germans at a greater rate than they sustained losses, they had a chance. As long as Britons kept faith, they had a chance.

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, to the House of Commons, June 18, 1940

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Laying Corporal French To Rest

This sad news occurred while I was up in Boise two weeks ago. Corporal Carrie French of the Idaho National Guard was killed by an IED in Kirkuk, Iraq, serving her country. Cpl. French was laid to rest yesterday in her hometown of Caldwell, Idaho.

Unfortunately, her funeral was not without incident. This gentleman (and I use that term quite loosely, as what I would like to call him involves several words I try not to use), "Reverend" Phelps, decided to picket the funeral to explain that Cpl. French was killed because his anti-gay church was bombed. Strange position for a supposed man of God to take, but there you have him.

Here is a report of what happened at the funeral, as reported by Bubblehead. (Thanks for going, Bubblehead. And for the report.)

Judging from his description and pictures, hats off to the Caldwell police and fire departments. Thanks to their efforts, the moron's rights were preserved, but despite the morons' efforts Cpl. French was laid to rest with the respect she deserved. Nice work, gentlemen.

As for the rest of us - take a minute today. Pray, ponder, meditate, burn incense, or whatever. But remember. There are people out there taking these risks and paying the price.

And Corporal Carrie French was one of them. Thank you, Carrie. May angels speed thee to your well-deserved rest.

Hat tip to Argghhh!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Thinking Through Gitmo - Jonah Goldberg's Take

Jonah Goldberg, on Gitmo:
"There are good guys and bad guys in this story, and as much as it pains some to hear it, we are the good guys. We are not talking about confused teenagers caught up in events larger than themselves. We aren’t talking about mistaken identities. We’re talking about the cream of our enemy’s crop in the war on terror."

My own take is below. But his is better.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Thinking Through Gitmo

There has been much fuss and bother of what have so far been unsubsatiated rumors of abuse at the US terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I've beaten up on Amnesty International over its allegations and ill-considered comparisons to the Soviet gulag system.

Time now has a cover article in its latest issue, detailing the steps taken to make the "20th hijacker" talk. The "extreme measures" taken include
being shown pictures of 9/11 victims, light pushing and being placed in close physical presence of a female. Oh, the horror.

(An aside - close physical presence of a female, torture? Half the single males in America have by now already thought - "So, does Gitmo have guest suites, or something? And do they take Mastercard?" Heck, I'm thinking it. If this is torture, chain me to the wall.)

Now I have covered this ground briefly before, but more has happened, as the Democrats have decided this is a great way to beat up Bush. But this has already been covered, better than I can:
Argghhh!!! on Guantanamo, Part I.
Argghhh!!! on Guantanamo, Part II.
Rich Lowry in National Review
James Lileks - (MUST READ)

I understand the concerns, when they're well-considered, that this somehow demeans us. I disagree - we show the detainees greater respect for their religion than their Middle East co-religionists show their guests. And making someone uncomfortable does not equal torture. People need to think their words through.

We could be a lot harsher. Pirates, the earliest examples of illegal combatants, upon capture received a quick tribunal and a prompt hanging from the yardarm. The people captured today fit the description of an unlawful combatant, at least as I read the
Geneva Convention (Convention I, Article 13). They were not members of a regular militia unit, nor were they local affected citizens, nor did they abide by the rules of war. Most of the detainees are Arabs, not Afghans, who decided to join bin Laden on his crusade to make his version of a true pure Islamic state. They decided to play at war. They chose poorly.

Apparently we have forgotten that we are, indeed, at war. The fact that there have been no more major terror attacks on US soil owes far more to the US response than a sudden change of heart of the adversaries. Bin Laden & Friends will hit again, unless we continue to press the initiative and kill them faster than they can kill us. This hand-wringing is embarrassing. If there are real problems, let's fix them. But this keening is proof that there are too many in this country who did not learn the lesson of 9/11 and have yet to learn the truth about our enemies - our enemies know us better than we know ourselves.

The one vulnerable point in the US war effort is the American will to fight, and there are politicans and activists aplenty who are willing to do the terrorists' work for them. So they open the cracks and spread their poison, these useful idiots, convinced that they are right and the rest of us are blind, deaf, and dumb.

I think we have forgotten. God help us if we have to once again be forced to remember.

Flag Day

Friday, June 10, 2005

Churchill on Democracy

A two-fer!

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute talk with the average voter."
WSC (attributed)

"Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
WSC, From a speech in the House of Commons on November 11, 1947.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Plowing Zimbabwe Under

Surfing the web, and thanks to Kim Du Toit's weblog (good, but occasionally profane, and featuring enough firearms pictures to send the entire California State Legislature into a collective psychotic episode), I discover that Zimbabwe is getting even worse.

In typical dictator fashion, Zimbabwe President-in-Perpetuity Mugabe keeps threats to his power in check by rewarding his loyalists and controlling the supply of firearms,
disarming the populace early in his term. No citizen militia can rise to defeat this dictator; for Zimbabwe, the battle of Concord has already been lost. Quoting from The Volokh Conspiracy,

As with many previous democides, the democide in Zimbabwe is being perpetrated with a government-induced famine, in which food aid is directed only to government loyalists, and the "black market" in food is suppressed.

StrategyPage explains why the Mugabe tyranny is able to perpetrate democide: "There hasn’t been any revolution so far because the potential rebels cannot get guns. No one is willing to arm the dissatisfied majority....The government seems determined to starve its enemies to death, secure in the knowledge that the victims are unarmed, and the government forces have lots of guns."

Back in 2001, Paul Gallant, Joanne Eisen, and I warned that Zimbabwe was "ripe for genocide." We also detailed how the Mugabe tyranny has used gun licensing and registration laws, inherited from British colonial times, to disarm the people of Zimbabwe, leaving them helpless against government-controlled gangs of young thugs.

Reminds me of the saying, "The second amendment is there in case the government ignores all the others."

Now, as I have mentioned before, Zimbabwe has managed to screw up its farm economy so badly that it can no longer feed itself. One of the biggest problems is with equipment pillaged and most of the skilled white labor, there is a high demand for manpower. The chaos and near-civil war of the last few years has pulled most of the population into the cities.

So now Mr. Mugabe has apparently chosen to borrow a page from the Khmer Rouge
. They have begun bulldozing urban areas, in particular white-owned factories and homes, in order to "to depopulate urban areas and force people back to the 'rural home'." From the London Telegraph:

Chris Viljoen and his wife, Elsie, were still inside their five-bedroom house when a bulldozer began reducing it to rubble. The white couple live in the industrial zone of the capital, Harare.

Next door was a 70-acre site filled with 24 factories and workshops. Bulldozers spent last week razing this area, destroying all but nine businesses that employed about 1,000 people in a country suffering mass unemployment and economic crisis.
Not really surprising are the areas targeted: the homes, industries, and neighborhoods with whites or large numbers of members of the Movement for Democratic Change political party, the only groups which present any threat to Mugabe's hold on power.

Last Tuesday, police told Mr Viljoen, a mechanic, that his family's home would be demolished and gave him 24 hours to move out. They claimed that the property on Seke Road was "illegal".

In fact, the home is 30 years old and the owner, from whom Mr Viljoen rents the house, holds legal title deeds. None of this appeared to matter...

They were still trying to dislodge fitted wardrobes and kitchen surfaces when police arrived and their bulldozer started work at 6.30am last Wednesday. Mrs Viljoen, 38, was in the kitchen as the building began collapsing around her. She ran outside as her home was systematically demolished and then flattened.
Like all good little socialist dicators, Mugabe is wishing his ideal society into existance. If a few thousand die, so what? As Stalin said, "The death of one is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic." And like all good little socialist dictators, Mugabe will keep wishing. And wishing. And wishing. But he will never succeed. So he'll keep killing and destroying.

Ever notice how good little socialist dictators only succeed in destroying and killing while claiming they're building something better, but they never really build anything?

All right, we are now months, maybe weeks, from The Killing Fields: Genocide Does Zimbabwe. So do we mean it when we say, "Never again"?

The odds of things happening are not very good right now. Diplomacy so far has been worthless. ("You really shouldn't be doing that." "Oh really? Well, here's what I think of your opinion.") Direct intervention is out, at least by the United States. The United States is still cleaning up from its last four goes at intervention (Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq) and will not commit large numbers of forces or resources on its own to Africa for anything short of a humanitarian crisis on par with the 2004 Tsunami. Plus, the US is still taking lumps both internally and externally for deposing Saddam, and there is little political will in either party to care about Africa in anything other than abstract terms. (i.e., "Boy, we really should do something about debt relief/AIDS/women's rights/celebrity cause of the week.")

If anything is going to happen, it is up to Britain and the Commonwealth States. This would be an ideal opportunity for India to step up, for Canada to do something, and for Blair to show his own commitment to human rights and democracy. The US could get involved in such a coalition, but only as a minor player. But that doesn't look likely, either. Too few care.

When have you last heard of Zimbabwe? The international press, the UN, the International Red Cross, and Amnesty International don't care. They're all looking for the next Abu Grahib to embarrass Bush with.

A note to Dean, Kerry, Hillary, Teddy, Byrd, and all your fellow travelers - here's your human rights abuses. Here is your totalitarianism. Here is your dictatorship.

But they will do nothing. Bush = Hitler, after all, and Iraq and Afghanistan were all about oil. Besides, everybody knows that blacks discriminating against whites isn't racism.

For Further Reading:
Belmont Club

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Fair Warning

Blogging will be light this week - travelling again, but for a wedding this time.

Friday, June 03, 2005

We Shall Never Surrender

The position of the British Expeditionary Force had now become critical. As a result of a most skillfully conducted retreat and German errors, the bulk of the British Forces reached the Dunkirk bridgehead. The peril facing the British nation was now suddenly and universally perceived. On May 26, "Operation Dynamo "--the evacuation from Dunkirk began. The seas remained absolutely calm. The Royal Air Force--bitterly maligned at the time by the Army--fought vehemently to deny the enemy the total air supremacy which would have wrecked the operation. At the outset, it was hoped that 45,000 men might be evacuated; in the event, over 338,000 Allied troops reached England, including 26,000 French soldiers. On June 4, Churchill reported to the House of Commons, seeking to check the mood of national euphoria and relief at the unexpected deliverance, and to make a clear appeal to the United States.

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."
Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Speech to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940.

The Battle of France was over. The Battle of Britain was about to begin.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Dark Days

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
Edmund Burke (1729 - 1797)
As death marched across Europe in the late May of 1940, betrayal sundered the Allies.

"When, a week ago today, I asked the House to fix this afternoon as the occasion for a statement, I feared it would be my hard lot to announce the greatest military disaster in our long history. I thought-and some good judges agreed with me-that perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 men might be re-embarked. But it certainly seemed that the whole of the French First Army and the whole of the British Expeditionary Force north of the Amiens-Abbeville gap would be broken up in the open field or else would have to capitulate for lack of food and ammunition. These were the hard and heavy tidings for which I called upon the House and the nation to prepare themselves a week ago. The whole root and core and brain of the British Army, on which and around which we were to build, and are to build, the great British Armies in the later years of the war, seemed about to perish upon the field or to be led into an ignominious and starving captivity.

"That was the prospect a week ago. But another blow which might well have proved final was yet to fall upon us. The King of the Belgians had called upon us to come to his aid. Had not this Ruler and his Government severed themselves from the Allies, who rescued their country from extinction in the late war, and had they not sought refuge in what was proved to be a fatal neutrality, the French and British Armies might well at the outset have saved not only Belgium but perhaps even Poland. Yet at the last moment, when Belgium was already invaded, King Leopold called upon us to come to his aid, and even at the last moment we came. He and his brave, efficient Army, nearly half a million strong, guarded our left flank and thus kept open our only line of retreat to the sea. Suddenly, without prior consultation, with the least possible notice, without the advice of his Ministers and upon his own personal act, he sent a plenipotentiary to the German Command, surrendered his Army, and exposed our whole flank and means of retreat.

"I asked the House a week ago to suspend its judgment because the facts were not clear, but I do not feel that any reason now exists why we should not form our own opinions upon this pitiful episode. The surrender of the Belgian Army compelled the British at the shortest notice to cover a flank to the sea more than 30 miles in length. Otherwise all would have been cut off, and all would have shared the fate to which King Leopold had condemned the finest Army his country had ever formed. So in doing this and in exposing this flank, as anyone who followed the operations on the map will see, contact was lost between the British and two out of the three corps forming the First French Army, who were still farther from the coast than we were, and it seemed impossible that any large number of Allied troops could reach the coast."

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves, Part II

Thanks a lot, Gray Lady.

Yes, once again, that insufferable defender of twisting licence into liberty, the New York Times, has struck again.

This time, they have exposed a company operated by the CIA for the air transportation of important captured terrorists. But that's not all. Not only did they name the company, they named the types of planes flown, descriptions of the planes flown, how they operate, and where the company is headquartered.

In short they have completely exposed a covert operation of the CIA, as the United States is engaged in a war. And for what?

I can see it all now: February, 1945. "Sure, I'll take the call from New Mexico. Hi, Hank. Wadda ya got? Um-hmm. Secret weapon. Months away from being ready, but it could stop the Nazis and Japs in their tracks. Um-hmm. I see. Los Alamos. Oppenheimer. Called the Manhattan Project. Nice work, Hank. Mick! Stop the presses! We gotta go page one with this!"

In the middle of the war, an American newspaper has just uncovered a potentially vital and definitely valuable covert asset, which allowed the CIA to quietly move people and equipment anywhere in the world. And for what?

Our enemies understand us much better than we understand ourselves.

They Know Us Better Than We Know Ourselves

As I mentioned in last Friday's Furo Questus at the Wasatch Front, Amnesty International issued a report last week comparing our facilities at Guantanamo to the Soviet Gulag system.

The reaction was sadly, rather predictable (aside from the Washington Post, which still wrote a rather short-sighted and condemnatory piece); as left-leaning pundits and columnists called for the abolition of Guantanamo to be replaced by... what, they didn't say.

Aside from the infantile insipidity of that comparison, let's look at the people being held. These were men captured in a combat zone, carrying weapons but wearing no uniform, and supposedly fighting for an unrecognized government.

On top of all that, there is this news: an Al-Qaeda instruction book has been found, advising prisoners on how to behave if they are captured - incuding advice to claim they are being tortured and mistreated. To do so weakens American resolve and stirs Muslim resentment - as the fake Koran-flushing story Newsweek printed a couple of weeks ago amply demonstrated.

The irony of a terror group seeking to install a Muslim facist state using American human rights groups to their purpose defies my poor power to describe.

When organizations like Amnesty International take these claims and amplify them, they are doing the enemy's work for him. I am not advocating AI or any other organization stop their work or look the other way - I am asking that they use their judgement. There is precious little evidence of the mistreatments they claim.

There is also little alternative. We can release them, which would help satisfy some of Al-Qaeda's manpower needs; we can continue to hold them, humanely; or we can execute them as outlaws (see: pirates). The first is foolish; the third bloodthirsty.

So use your judgement. Be wary of mistreatment, but also be ware that the inmates are looking to use you for their own ends, and those ends have nothing to do with human rights.

Excellent column by Austin Bay on Amnesty International:
"The collective leadership of Amnesty International –in pursuit of a public relations coup – has demonstrated an inexcusable historical blindness. The false frame of moral equivalency compounds their mistake."