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Free Hot Water: The New Civil Rights Movement

July 23, 2014 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Columns, Racism

20100722raceSince Democrats seem to think everything is racist except their own party’s history and the screwball schemes they’ve inflicted on us since then to atone for it, I thought I’d post a primer on interpreting a recent spate of racially-tinged events, a sort of Racism for Dummies. How many can you get right?

Event: Detroit’s Water and Sewerage Department recently shut off water to 7,200 mostly black customers who haven’t paid their bills in months.

According to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, which filed a lawsuit against the city, the shutoffs were racist, because there are white-led corporations with large unpaid water bills that haven’t had their water shut off. However, the difference is that said corporations have good credit, a history of reliable transactions with the city, and a public reputation to uphold. Not so for individual deadbeats, many of whom have been caught paying rogue operators cut-rate fees to get their water illegally turned back on.

Verdict: Not racism.

Event: The University of Wisconsin-Madison is considering “diversity-based grading.”

The University, which has publicly announced its goal of ensuring that its high-level and honors courses are filled with a racially diverse mix of students, recently announced that it may go a step further and work to guarantee that different racial groups are proportionately distributed across grade bands in such courses. UW economics professor W. Lee Hansen protested that such a policy could lead to non-white students getting higher grades than they deserve, and will likely accelerate grade inflation due to professors giving everyone high grades to avoid complaints.

Verdict: Racism.

(Were you fooled? Here’s a hint: There are other forms of racism besides anti-black. Try again!)

Event: Israel endures daily rocket attacks by Hamas, defends itself by destroying Hamas’s weapons and tunnels, and suffers accusations of war crimes.

Every democratic nation is unquestioningly allowed to defend itself against outside attack, except Israel. If Canada started lobbing missiles over the border and killing U.S. civilians, its army would be gone by the morning. But because the world has been brainwashed into believing that Islam is a peaceful religion and that its adherents would never use human shields by storing their weapons in schools, hospitals, and mosques, Israelis are called vile racist names and told that the conflict is their fault. And the verbal attacks don’t just emanate from the Arab League—they come from British MPs, Canadian citizens, and hot-miked U.S. Cabinet members.

Why are the Israelis treated differently?

Verdict: Racism.

Event: A police chief and two officers in Fruitland Park, Florida recently resigned after an under-cover reporter revealed their ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Running interference for the left, the Associated Press downplayed the KKK’s exclusive roots in the Democratic Party—“[T]he Klan used to be politically powerful in the 1920s, when governors and U.S. senators were among its 4 million members” [emphasis added]—then stupidly compared this dying breed of troglodytes to Republicans: “[N]owadays it is much less active than other sectors of the radical right.” Oh really? Why not compare the Klan to other sectors of the radical left? The KKK did not emerge from the Republican Party, whose members fought it in the South in order to protect the rights of freed blacks. As the article notes, even up through the 1960s, the Klan was active in some parts of the country, and it wasn’t Republicans donning those white sheets.

The “radical right” has never had any ideological affinity with the Klan. Racist police officers in Fruitland Park reflect only their own racism.

Verdict: Racism. (That was an easy one. Consider it a free space on your bingo card.)

Event: Americans protest a black President’s policies, a pattern of behavior that Attorney General Eric Holder claims is driven by “racial animus.”

According to Holder, no U.S. President has ever been treated as harshly as Obama—not Reagan, whom liberals called demented while he was in office; not Clinton, who was impeached for lying about a couple of blow jobs; not George W. Bush, whom liberals burned and hung and crucified in effigy when they weren’t drawing Satanic horns on his head or Hitler mustaches on his face.

According to the left, referencing Obama’s exacerbation of welfare dependency, food stamps usage, and inner-city dysfunction is evidence of racism, because everyone knows that Republicans don’t expect white people to get jobs and raise their children, only blacks.

Verdict: Not racism.

And finally…

Event: A black teen films a montage of himself in a store while a racist clerk supposedly follows him around.

In one of the most pathetic attempts at race-baiting ever, a precocious kid named Rashid Polo cavorts around a convenience store, flamboyantly filming and talking to himself in several different aisles, while a female employee always seems to be stocking shelves or cleaning machinery behind him. The montage of Vine clips went viral and provoked a chorus of charges of racism. Curiously, we never glimpse the employee actually following Polo—we see only the two of them standing in place. In fact, the one time the employee emerges into the frame from off-camera, she seems surprised to see Polo—then smiles and politely backs away to avoid interrupting his photo shoot.

Verdict: Even the publicity-seeking, aspiring documentarian Rashid Polo doesn’t believe this is racism.

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Newt Is Right: The Palestinians Are an Invented People

December 14, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Frontrunner-of-the-month GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich caused a stir at Saturday night’s Iowa debate when he affirmed his previous characterization of “an invented Palestinian people, who are in fact Arabs and were historically part of the Arab community.”

For once, Gingrich is correct.

The label “Palestine” was used historically to refer to the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River (and beyond); the term had no political import.  During the first half of the 20th century, “Palestinian” referred largely to Jews living in Palestine.  The Palestine Post, for example, was printed in Hebrew and English, and in 1950 was renamed The Jerusalem Post.

The British, who controlled Palestine after WWI, divided it in two in 1923, giving 75% of the land—the area that is now Jordan—to Palestinian Arabs, and the remaining 25% to Palestinian Jews.  But that wasn’t good enough to satisfy regional Arabic despots.

In 1947, the United Nations proposed a partition plan to create side-by-side Jewish and Arab states out of the 25% that was left of the original Palestine, west of the Jordan River.  The Arab regimes surrounding Palestine rejected the deal; this resulted in the 1947-1948 Civil War and the creation of the Jewish state.

During the subsequent 1948 Arab-Israeli War, started against Israel one day after it declared statehood, Arab governments encouraged hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs to flee their homes in order to facilitate the onslaught of the invading armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen against Israelis.  These regimes promised to return to Palestinian Arabs the property they had left once Israel was defeated; however, Israel won, and refugees were forced to relocate outside of Palestine.

As Gingrich noted, plenty of Muslim countries could have given Palestinian Arab refugees a state, but none did.  The countries to which refugees scattered—chiefly Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan—suppressed any burgeoning sense of Palestinian identity to a far greater degree than Israel ever did.

Strangely, Palestinian Arab refugees did not protest after the Arab-Israeli war when Egypt and Jordan grabbed the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem—the same territories that the United Nations had set aside to serve as their home state.  To this day, Palestinian Arabs insist on being granted, not the territory set aside for them in 1923 in present-day Jordan, not the territory taken over in 1948 by Egypt and Jordan, but one tiny sliver of land in the Middle East that has served as a refuge for Jewish Holocaust survivors and a base for Jews to call their home state.

The “Palestinian people” was a fiction created post-WWII to facilitate the insertion of a fifth column inside Israel to demand endless, untenable land concessions and eventually encroach upon the entire Jewish state.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw in 1977, former Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Zuheir Mohsen admitted, “The Palestinian people does not exist.  The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity.  In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese.  Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism.”

How much clearer can it get?  How much more nakedly could the founders of the Palestinian strategy reveal their modus operandi?

That the Palestinian people are invented is not in question.  The only question is whether they should be awarded their own state.  Anyone who cares about the security of Israel, the only free nation in the region, should answer with a resounding no.

Back to Saturday’s debate: Moderator George Stephanopoulos asked Gingrich if he thought his comments were dangerous.  Gingrich replied, “Is what I said factually correct?  Yes.  Is it historically true?  Yes…  [E]very day, rockets are fired into Israel…  Hamas does not admit the right of Israel to exist, and says publicly, ‘Not a single Jew will remain.’ The Palestinian Authority ambassador to India said last month… ‘Israel has no right to exist.’”

He continued: “The Palestinian claim to a right of return is based on a historically false story.  Somebody ought to have the courage to go all the way back to… the context in which Israel came into existence…  ‘Palestinian’ did not become a common term until after 1977.  This is a propaganda war in which our side refuses to engage.”

In response to Gingrich’s defense, hapless Mitt Romney floundered all over the place, claiming that, although he mostly agreed with Gingrich, it was a “mistake” to call the Palestinians an invented people (though they are), Gingrich had made it “more difficult for [Israelis] to sit down with the Palestinians” (though it’s already impossible), and Gingrich had decided to “throw incendiary words into a place which is a boiling pot” (though the situation is already hopeless).

Despite his ideological missteps, character flaws, and general unsuitability to be our nominee, I’m happy to give credit where credit is due, and in this case it goes squarely to Gingrich.  As he summed up, “It is helpful to have a president of the United States with the courage to tell the truth, [like] Ronald Reagan, who went around his entire national security apparatus to call the Soviet Union an evil empire and who overruled his entire State Department in order to say, ‘Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’  Reagan believed the power of truth restated the world and reframed the world…  I will tell the truth, even if it’s at the risk of causing some confusion… with the timid.”

If Gingrich doesn’t get the nomination—and he doesn’t especially deserve to—he may at least serve the same function that other unlikely nominees have served on various issues from Santorum (Iran) to Cain (taxes) to Bachmann (ObamaCare) to Perry (Social Security): namely, to push Mitt Romney to the right.  Based on his comments on the Palestinians, Gingrich may even serve as a model for pressuring our nominee to speak the truth.

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Why Are We Still Diddling Around With Iran?

November 09, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

nuclear

Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Iran’s leadership is working feverishly to develop nuclear weapons, and has been doing so for the past two decades.  President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei have repeatedly pledged to use whatever means they have at their disposal to wipe Israel off the map.

Just about everyone except Israel’s right-wing politicians and John McCain has been denying, distorting, or downplaying these hard truths for years.  Even though the U.S. State Department has listed Iran as the biggest state sponsor of terror for decades, and even though evidence has been piling up that Iran is working to acquire weapons, President George W. Bush did nothing to encourage military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities during his eight years in office, even after the attacks on 9/11.  President Barack Obama is not likely to deviate from this course.

Israel has been undermining Iran’s progress via indirect channels, including deploying the sophisticated Stuxnet worm, which sabotaged Iran’s uranium enrichment centrifuges and set their capabilities back a year or two; and authorizing a covert assassination program to take out top Iranian nuclear scientists.  These strategies have been helpful, but they only buy so much time.  They are not enough to prevent Iran from succeeding at its ultimate goal.  Economic sanctions are also not enough to halt Iran’s work.

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is about to release its most detailed report yet documenting Iran’s secret nuclear weapon development at a site near Tehran called Parchin, its uranium enrichment at a facility in Natanz, and its installation of centrifuges at Qom.  All of this activity has been going on, despite Iran’s lies that its technology will be used only to generate electricity.

The IAEA’s report includes evidence that Iran is in the final stages of assembling and deploying nuclear weapons, including developing an atomic bomb trigger device, altering long-range missile warheads to fit nuclear payloads, setting off test explosions, and running computer simulations of nuclear explosions.  All of these experiments are, of course, just essential for the benign task of keeping Tehran’s hairdryers operating.

The IAEA’s unequivocal evidence incorporates satellite photographs and detailed plans obtained by U.S. spy services revealing technological expertise offered by nuclear states hostile to the U.S., including Russia, Pakistan, and North Korea.  Iran has repeatedly denied UN requests to inspect Parchin to verify Iran’s putatively peaceful intentions and to interview Iran’s top nuclear scientists.

Despite the impending release of the IAEA’s report, the otherwise useless and softheaded agency is not expected to condemn Iran for its activities or directly accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons.  China and Russia, as permanent members of the UN’s Security Council, are likely to oppose new sanctions against Iran, never mind military strikes.

Recently Israel has been hinting at its intention to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.  Any sane person who doesn’t want the craziest, most dangerous regime on the planet to have the most powerful, destructive weapons in the world in its arsenal should be cheering Israel’s attempt to prevent this Armageddon from arriving.  Instead, most of the free nations of the world—to say nothing of its dictatorships, quasi-dictatorships, and communist states who loathe Israel and the U.S.—will likely scream hysterically if Israel launches so much as a spitball into Iran.

Liberals at home and abroad will cry that Iran is another Iraq, that Iran’s nuclear program is as apocryphal as Saddam Hussein’s stockpiles of WMDs.  Regardless of the fact that there were legitimate reasons to go to war with Iraq besides weapons of mass destruction, the evidence of weapons development is much stronger for Iran than it was for Iraq.  In addition, Iraq is a small fry compared to Iran, which has been channeling millions of dollars to terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza for decades.

Obama is not likely to do anything to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.  Certain Republican presidential candidates—i.e. Ron Paul—seem positively giddy over the possibility of Iran acquiring the means of defending itself against big, bad bullies like Israel.  The U.S. must elect a candidate in 2012 who understands the threat Iran poses and is willing to say so repeatedly, unprompted, in interviews and debates.

In the meantime, Israel remains the U.S.’s front line in the war on terror.  This means that Israel may fight some of our common enemies before these foes advance to our terrain—and that if we support Israel, we may spare ourselves American casualties.

But the longer this charade goes on of pretending Iran means what it says when it’s convenient—that they seek only peaceful uses for nuclear power—and doesn’t mean what it says when it’s inconvenient—that it doesn’t really want to destroy Israel—the more difficult it will be to destroy its nuclear facilities, and the more collateral damage will be racked up when the task is finally accomplished.  Iran’s position strengthens the longer we wait.  Iran’s mullahs are hoping to run out the clock.

The U.S., if it doesn’t have the will to take out Iran’s nuclear facilities, should at least provide any help it can—military, monetary, and moral—to Israel in its attempt to do so.  This is an existential crisis that affects Israel’s ability to remain a viable state in the short-term—and the U.S.’s ability to remain a credible world power in the long-term.

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They’re Giving Out Statehood Like Lollipops These Days!

September 21, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Palestine

History has taught us that the farcical “peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority breaks down every single time it is forcibly initiated by the West.  The routine disintegrates because it always unpeacefully proceeds in the following manner: Palestinians make demands, and Israel agrees to them; Palestinians smell blood in the water and up the stakes, and Israel necessarily balks; Palestinians attack Israel, and Israel counterattacks; the world condemns Israel for its “disproportionate” response, and Palestinians secretly celebrate Israel’s global denigration without shedding a tear over the deaths of its own civilians; and then the whole sordid cycle starts again.

The Palestinians’ latest gambit for feigning legitimacy in the eyes of free nations is for PA President Mahmoud Abbas to request a platform for better infiltrating, isolating, and attacking Israel—I mean, “statehood”—at the United Nations’ Security Council meeting this Friday.  This entreaty would require fulfilling President Obama’s outrageous demand earlier this year that Israel return to its undefendable, pre-1967 borders and cede east Jerusalem to the Palestinians.  A usefully idiotic coalition of Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox, and Lutheran priests in Jerusalem have boosted the PA’s bid.

The PA’s move on Friday will almost certainly be blocked by the United States, which, as a core member of the Security Council, has veto power over any such bid.  If its statehood attempt fails, Abbas has implied that the PA will present its case to the U.N. General Assembly, whose peanut gallery of Third World dictatorships will likely approve an upgrade for the PA from “entity” to non-voting, non-member observer state.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the PA’s bid for statehood as unhelpful posturing and insisted Palestinians earn concessions by returning to the peace process, not trying to circumvent it and gain statehood so they can strong-arm Israel via the U.N.

Palestinian leaders have threatened that if they don’t succeed at gaining statehood, there may be unpleasant consequences, i.e. more protests, violence, and attacks on Israel.

History has also taught us that—in addition to the peace process always failing—whenever Israel capitulates to the PA, Palestinians’ demands only escalate to unreasonable levels, and mayhem ensues over Israel’s failure to meet their impossible conditions.  In contrast, whenever Israel firmly rejects the PA’s ultimatums and warns that military force will be used against reprisal attacks, Palestinians back down.

In other words, people respond to threats.  Groups, organizations, and nations respond to threats.  Even animals are smart enough to respond to threats.  The Palestinians are no different.  If Israel resolutely rebuffs their ridiculous demands and issues threats against retaliation, the PA will surely back down as well.

Why is the PA’s bid for statehood, and the whole peace process, ridiculous?  Because only good-faith parties respond in a reasonable manner to the give-and-take process of negotiations, in which each party’s ongoing actions build up its reputation as either a credible partner or a backstabber.  The Palestinians always fail to live up to their end of the deal, yet keep getting a free pass to continue as an equal partner in the process.

Two parties cannot negotiate if one refuses to recognize the other’s right to exist, existence being an obvious precondition for negotiation.  How can the PA credibly claim to be negotiating with an entity it refuses to acknowledge as legitimate and has repeatedly stated it wishes to wipe off the map?  How can the PA purport to be acting in good faith when it maintains close ties with anti-Semitic terrorist group Hamas—whose charter calls for the expulsion of all Jews from Palestine—and refuses to denounce this organization’s tactics or even label it a terrorist group?

As Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted, Israel has previously “shown great generosity towards the Palestinians, but it did not bring us peace…  It’s been 18 years since the Oslo Accords and we’ve tried everything…  [Ehud] Barak, in Camp David, agreed to all [Palestinian] demands.  What did we get in return?  Another intifada and more bloodshed.”

The U.S. should forcefully reject the PA’s bid, vigorously protest its request for an upgrade to non-member status, and permanently withdraw the half a billion dollars in annual aid it gives to the Palestinians.  The latter measure, in addition to preventing funds from being diverted to a political entity with a history of sponsoring terror, will signal to the PA that it has no business trying to morph into a state of semi-authenticity under the cover of the scores of reprehensible prison states unconscionably given legitimacy at the despicable U.N.

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Lessons We’ve Learned Since 9/11

September 07, 2011 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

towers

What have we learned in the 10 years since Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon?  Several lessons spring to mind:

1. There is nothing President George W. Bush could have done to prevent terrorist acts in his first eight months in office, of which his post-9/11 critics would have approved.  Even after 9/11, liberals have loudly disapproved of profiling at airports, surreptitiously monitoring terrorist communications, and fighting al-Qaeda militarily abroad.  Imagine how they would have reacted if Bush had attempted any of these strategies pre-9/11.

2. Poverty does not cause terrorism; it is both unnecessary and insufficient to the task.  Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up Northwest Flight 253, was the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker.  American Taliban John Walker Lindh went to high school at a “California Distinguished School” in SoCal.  In contrast, poor people the world over—rice farmers in China, untouchables in India—do not rise up en masse to wreak havoc in suicide bombings.  Modern-day terrorism is caused by individuals’ adherence to an ideology that encourages terrorist acts against innocent civilians—an ideology that usually happens to be Islamist.  Not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all modern-day terrorists are Muslims.

3. Liberals have amassed a formidable glossary of imprecations they invoke whenever commentators scrutinize the radical nature of Islam: alienating Muslims, being at war with Islam, being Islamophobic, demonizing the other, engaging in inflammatory rhetoric, hijacking a peaceful religion, singling out people because of their religion.  None of these terms is objective enough to mean anything.

4. The criticism that the U.S. shouldn’t be vocal in our support of Israel is specious.  In supporting Israel, our anti-terror stance gains consistency and moral credence to reformists in hostile regimes who are potentially open to our ideas.  Israel is also the U.S.’s front line in the war on terror, and, if supported, may have the guts to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities if we don’t get around to doing it.

5. Announcing that we are at war with Islam does not constitute recruitment propaganda for the enemy.  Minnesota’s Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to the U.S. House, declared, “I don’t want [al-Qaeda] to be able to stand up and claim… ‘America is at war with Islam.’  That’s one of their main recruiting arguments.”  Actually, one of al-Qaeda’s main recruiting arguments is, “The infidel is wicked, and his weakness and inability to stand up to us prove that our cause is just.”  An argument that would hurt recruiting would be, “America is at war with Islam, and you are going to get blown to smithereens if you fight for us.”

6. Waterboarding isn’t torture—it’s a resistance training technique routinely carried out on U.S. special operations forces, and leaves no permanent physical or psychological damage.  Waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques have been spectacularly successful in uncovering imminent terrorist plots and killing 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.

7. Troop surges are a winning strategy, as demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, and even Libya.  As John McCain noted in his support for the second Afghanistan surge, half-measures in war “lead to failure over time and an erosion of American public support.”  We should never again fail to send an adequate number of troops to get the job done, as soon as they are needed.

8. Bush had to withhold from the public reams of documents about chilling terrorist threats we faced; when newly sworn-in President Obama was briefed on this intelligence, he suddenly did an about-face on almost every campaign promise he had made to reverse his predecessor’s policies.  In just his first 100 days in office, Obama implemented a surge in Afghanistan (followed by a larger surge later that year), asked Congress for $83 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan without funding benchmarks, stepped up Predator drone attacks in Afghanistan, supported renewal of the Patriot Act, invoked the state secrets doctrine, reversed his opposition to rendition, rejected Democrats’ call for a Truth Commission, filed a brief claiming the U.S. can indefinitely hold anyone who supports Al-Qaeda or the Taliban, supported denial of habeas corpus to Bagram prisoners, revived military tribunals at Gitmo, opposed release of Abu Ghraib photos, and failed to do anything to close Gitmo.  It seems as though Commander-in-Chief Bush knew better than Alinskyite community organizer Obama did after all.

9. War is less expensive than Democrats’ wasteful domestic social programs.  Eight years of the Iraq War—including training and preparation for the 2003 invasion—cost less ($709 billion) than Obama’s useless stimulus bill ($787 billion).  U.S. involvement in the Libyan conflict cost the same ($1 billion) as the first 48 hours of Obama’s failed Cash-for-Clunkers program.  Defense spending constitutes 20% of the federal budget, and foreign aid just 1%, whereas entitlement spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid make up 43%.

10. Liberals have learned absolutely nothing since 9/11, except that Islam is much more peaceful, tolerant, and pro-U.S. than they’d ever dreamed; KSM should be tried in the same court as people who eat trans fats while drinking Four Loko and smoking in bars; and Muslims were the real victims of 9/11.

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Easy But Impossible

August 25, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Benjamin Netanyahu
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently characterized the likelihood of a resolution from upcoming U.S.-force-fed peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as “difficult but possible.”

He has it exactly backwards—it is easy but impossible.

“Possible” implies that both parties are on the same terrain, respect the others’ interests, and are acting in good faith.  “Difficult” implies that the two parties are far apart, but that with creativity and temerity they may be able to trade off competing interests and find win-win solutions.

“Impossible” implies that one party is inherently opposed to the interests of the other, and therefore would not negotiate in the conventional sense even if it left both parties satisfied, because the first party by definition is not satisfied if the second party is.  “Easy” implies that the first party’s demands could yield an instant solution if given up, if that party were thinking and acting rationally—or if the second party were willing and able to use overwhelming force to obviate the first party’s demands.

I think it’s safe to say that the Israeli and Palestinian leaderships are not on the same terrain, inasmuch as the preferred outcome of the conflict as expressed by Palestinians is for Jews to literally be driven off of that terrain into the sea.  Given that Israel does not wish to voluntarily self-destruct, that’s where “impossible” comes in.

If they haven’t already done so after a half-century of murderous genocidal rhetoric and blood-spattered conflict, I also doubt the Palestinians will charitably give up their demands tomorrow, which rules out “easy.”  That leaves only the overwhelming force option.

Fortunately, the Palestinians actually seem to respond rather well to that option.

The number of Palestinian deaths in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 1987 is on the order of 7,500; Israeli deaths number approximately 1,500.  This disproportionate figure reflects, not the bloodthirsty, excessive use of force on Israel’s part, but their use of more sophisticated and deadly weaponry.

Israeli deaths ranged from 0 to 34 per year from 1987 to 1992.

After Israel agreed to the Oslo Accords in 1993, the number of Israeli deaths did not decline, but rather spiked at 74 in 1994 and 75 in 1996.

Following the Camp David Summit in 2000, Israeli deaths did not decrease, but skyrocketed from 43 in 2000 to 192 in 2001.

This was the same year in which the Taba Summit was held.  The next year, Israeli deaths shot up to 419.

Under George W. Bush, who subsequently ignored the futile “peace process” for the rest of his administration, since it had obviously yielded no results, Israel fought back against acts of aggression from Palestinians and their terrorists allies, thus inducing some of the highest yearly Palestinian casualty rates since the start of the conflict.

In response, the Palestinian leadership—which has proven it responds only to force, not reason—eased up on Israel: the number of Israeli casualties dropped from 419 in 2002 to 185 in 2003, and to 108 in 2004, and has been in double digits every year since 2005.

So Hillary Clinton may loftily announce, “There have been difficulties in the past; there will be difficulties ahead.  Without a doubt, we will hit more obstacles.  The enemies of peace will keep trying to defeat us and to derail these talks.  But I ask the parties to persevere.”

Barack Obama can pragmatically declare, “For any agreement to endure, peace cannot be imposed from the outside; it must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history.”

Benjamin Netanyahu can tell us, “We come to the talks with a genuine desire to reach a peace agreement between the two peoples, while protecting Israel’s national interests, chiefly security.  Achieving a peace agreement between us and the Palestinian Authority is difficult but possible.”

But anyone with a sense, not just of history but of the rigid, irrational thought system underlying Palestinian and Islamist ideology, knows exactly what a load of rhetorical crap all this is.

The Palestinians’ negotiating position recalls that of Ground Zero Mosque promoters Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife Daisy Khan, who claim they want to “build bridges” with those wary of Islam.  Sure, they want to build bridges—as long as the other side sketches the designs, supplies the materials, excavates the banks, pours the concrete, lays the deck, paves the roads, and then tosses itself off and plunges to its death.

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Israel to U.S.: “You Are the Weakest Link!”

June 15, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

Middle_east_graphic_2003
Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

The list of countries that have provided tacit support to Israel for its imminent launch of preemptive missile attacks on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities now includes: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, Egypt, and… not-the-United-States.

The Saudi government recently conducted drills to ensure that their missile defense system does not shoot down Israeli jets that might fly over their airspace in the near future.  This is crucial for any bombing raids Israel may conduct on Iranian nuclear facilities, because the only feasible route to Iran’s nuclear plants is over a wide swath of Saudi Arabia.  Israel might also need to fly over Jordan and Kuwait, which have not objected to this arrangement.

A much quicker, as-the-crow-flies route to Iran’s cluster of nuclear facilities at Natanz, Qom, Isfahan, and Arak would be directly over Iraq.  However, use of this flight plan has one sticking point: the U.S. commander-in-chief’s stubborn refusal to allow Israel to fly jets through Iraq’s airspace.

In arriving at this position, President Obama may have been following the advice of Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, who infamously offered the charming advice last year that if Israel tried to use Iraqi airspace to attack Iran, the U.S. should shoot Israeli jets down.

Saudi Arabia has never exactly considered Israel an ally, as the U.S. does.  Yet the Saudi government recognizes the danger a nuclear Iran poses to their country and the region, and is willing to clear a corridor of airspace for Israel over their country.  Why is Obama unwilling to do the same over Iraq, which isn’t even his country?

In 2007 Turkey allowed Israel use of its airspace in a sneak attack on a developing nuclear plant in Syria, Iran’s primary ally in the region.  At the time, the Syria attack was seen as a test run for an upcoming Israeli attack against Iran’s facilities, which means that Turkey was essentially helping Israel prepare for such an attack.

Egypt has also recently looked the other way as Israel sent warships and a nuclear-capable submarine down the Suez Canal toward the Arabian Sea in preparation for a conflict with Iran.

But due to Obama’s creepy, subtly anti-Semitic foreign policy, Israel must instead hurl its jets in a wide, boomerang-shaped flight path all the way around the southern tip of Iraq, across the Persian Gulf, and back up to central-northern Iran to get to the country’s primary nuclear facilities.

George W. Bush was certainly no hawk regarding the prospect of the U.S. attacking Iran under his watch.  However, it’s safe to assume, given the precipitous progress of Iran’s nuclear program over the past two years, Iran’s alarming self-declaration as a nuclear state this spring, and Israel’s brave willingness to confront Iran alone, that Bush would not have denied Israel the right to fly over Iraq if he were still President.

To put all of this in perspective: our current president is refusing to allow the only stable democracy in the Middle East (Israel) to serve as the U.S.’s front line of attack against the greatest state sponsor of terrorism in the world (Iran), by letting them fly over a country we recently liberated (Iraq) in order that they might serve as a model for neighboring dictatorships on the brink of regime change (such as Iran).

Ah, you say, but surely Obama has some other diplomatic maneuver up his sleeve, some nonmilitary means of pressuring Iran to abandon its nuclear program and allow weapons inspectors into the country.

Actually, no—the Obama administration has been working to weaken Congress’s proposed U.S. sanctions against Iran.  Obama fears that these injunctions may go too far and anger our allies.

These are not the sanctions imposed by the UN last week—the ones which we waited forever to be implemented, which two of the largest nations in the world (Brazil and Turkey) rejected, and which are watered down to the point of futility.  These are additional sanctions that would apply only to U.S. companies and not be legally binding on other countries.

The EU has already agreed to oil and gas sanctions of their own that go beyond the mild-mannered penalties imposed by the UN.  So even the likes of France and Germany are going further than the U.S. in isolating Iran, yet Obama still sees the need to appease our allies.

Americans ought to be deeply troubled by a U.S. foreign policy that fails to be as supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself as the doctrines of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Egypt.

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How About a Relief Vessel Called the Yasser Arafat?

June 09, 2010 By: Scott Spiegel Category: Israel

800px-Mavi_Marmara_leaving_port
Image by Scott Spiegel via Flickr

Perhaps the heartrending lament that the Turkish aid flotilla Mavi Marmara—headed for Gaza and stopped by the Israeli Navy last week—contained a bevy of innocent Nobel Peace laureates would be more compelling if recent Nobel Peace laureates didn’t include the father of modern terrorism, Yasser Arafat.

Perhaps the fact that nine passengers were accidentally killed in the struggle would carry more emotional punch if the excursion hadn’t been funded by an Islamist, anti-Israeli, Hamas-allied, Turkish front group whose dream is to unaccidentally kill six million Jews.

Perhaps the claim that helpless crew members were unarmed and sought no confrontation with Israeli soldiers would ring truer if the Mavi Marmara hadn’t been stocked with butcher knives and heavy baton-shaped pipes and sticks.

Notwithstanding Pat Buchanan’s idiotic comparison of the ship’s passengers to civil rights protestors, and Israel’s stopping the flotilla to a garden-variety carjacking, Israel is not indiscriminately lobbing cannonballs into Gaza-bound aid ships and sinking them, or raiding them for loot and hostages, Somali pirate-style.

Firing on these “aid” ships that pro-Palestinian groups keep using to try to break Israel’s blockade would actually be justifiable, given that such groups are forever trying to sneak steel, concrete, and other weapons supplies to Gaza for the purpose of constructing more rockets to fire into neighboring Israeli cities.

Instead of reacting as, say, the United States would have if Germany or Japan had tried to break its naval blockade during World War II, the Israeli Navy patiently sends multiple radio warnings to ships entering the blockade zone and gently escorts them to a nearby port, where they inspect the ships, separate any items constituting genuine aid from those that could be used to build weapons, and offer to truck the permitted goods to Gaza at Israel’s cost.

The delivery of confiscated aid to Gaza is invariably turned away.

For example, Israel allowed the Rachel Corrie, a ship named after a dumb American from the hippie Northwest who was crushed to death after she stood in the way of IDF bulldozers clearing the way for Israeli settlements, to dock in the port Ashdod last Saturday, and offered to inspect its cargo after the passengers did not engage in murderous resistance.  The Rachel Corrie held only 11 passengers and, for once, was sponsored by a group that renounces violence.  Gaza’s refusal to accept the aid confiscated by Israel disproves pro-Hamas activists’ lie that Israel is a ruthless, bloodthirsty military state out to slaughter human rights activists and prevent vital aid from getting to starving Gazans.

The United States supports the blockade, which Israel instituted after years of suicidally tolerating aid ships delivering contraband to Gaza and Hamas’s ongoing offensive in which they have fired thousands of rockets into Israel’s most populous cities.

As with all too many international affairs, it looks as though the United States and Israel will have to go this one alone.  Even in the U.S., Israel has its detractors, such as the editorial board at the New York Times, which planted the following anti-Israeli zingers in a pseudo-balanced editorial last weekend: “Turkey is understandably furious about Israel’s disastrous attack on the Turkish-flagged aid ship that tried to run the Gaza blockade…  Israel deserves to be criticized for the flotilla disaster…  [Israel] has a strong interest in repairing relations with Turkey [but] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still doesn’t get this.”

Imagine for a second if Staten Island were populated by trigger-happy terrorists who repeatedly stated as their goal the destruction of Manhattan and the tossing of all Manhattanites into the Hudson River.  Imagine if Staten Islanders had a history of smuggling in weapons-building materials from ships sent from: Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Long Island, Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, New Jersey, Connecticut, and upstate New York.  Imagine if Staten Islanders periodically launched thousands of rockets into the center of Manhattan.  Imagine if Mayor Bloomberg shipped thousands of tons of aid to Staten Island every day, to appease the New York Times, but instituted a naval blockade around Staten Island to prevent weapons from being sent there.

Now imagine if pro-Staten Islander phony aid ships repeatedly violated the blockade, filling its passenger lists with homicidal jihadists, deadly weapons, and a few token peace activists, and refused all offers for genuine humanitarian aid to be trucked to Staten Island and distributed at Manhattan’s expense.

I think there would be just a bit more sympathy toward Manhattan’s taking steps to defend itself—even at The Times.

Here’s a suggestion to pro-Hamas groups: how about calling the next phony relief vessel to Gaza the Yasser Arafat?  How do you think that would go over on the world stage?  After all, Arafat was a humanitarian Nobel Prize laureate!

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U.S. Invents Diabolical “Twitter” to Bring Down Iranian Regime

June 24, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

President Obama said last week that he doesn’t want the U.S. to be seen as “meddling” in the recent Iranian presidential election.  In his view, vocally supporting the protesters is comparable to the CIA’s coup against Mossadeq in 1953.

That old bald eagle Zbigniew Brzezinski believes Obama has struck the “perfect tone”: Zbig thinks we should refrain from antagonizing the Iranian leadership and avoid a showdown.

Joe Klein’s thoughtful message for John McCain, who has been requesting that Obama take a tougher stance on Iran: “Be quiet.”  According to Klein, supporting the protesters is mere “self-indulgence.”

Joe Scarborough thinks it’s ridiculous that we know what’s best for women’s rights in Iran.  Peggy Noonan writes, “America so often gets Iran wrong…  So modesty and humility seem appropriate stances from which to observe and comment.”

What planet are these people from?  The would-be appeasers’ argument seems to be thus: We should not offer clear, unwavering, forceful encouragement to the Iranian protesters.  If we do, Iran’s leaders will accuse the U.S. of being behind the demonstrations—you know, the ones that no one in the West predicted, the ones that happened after the election results no one foresaw, the ones that few Western journalists are close enough to eyeball, let alone instigate.

My question for the ersatz pacifiers: So what?  Who believes the mullahs?  Nations of the free world don’t.  The protesters who spontaneously organized don’t.  The mullahs don’t—they were already making their misstatements long before our Equivocator-in-Chief changed his mind this week and raised an eyebrow over the carnage.

Memories of the 1979 Revolution, including citizens’ taking to the streets and rooftops to chant, are having a greater impact on present-day protesters’ behavior than anything any American has said.  Iran’s leaders are paying more attention to circumstances in the U.S. than are protesters—as in their specious comparison of Iran’s election to the 2004 Bush-Kerry contest.  (It was Ahmadinejad who co-opted Obama’s “Yes, We Can” slogan for his reelection campaign.)

So if the mullahs blame us no matter what we do, why is it mandatory that we shut up?  Are we afraid that if we support the protesters, the mullahs might despise us even more viciously and biliously than they do now?

The “Let’s stay out of this” argument also seems to be based on the premise that a first-world country’s expression of support for the protesters is condescending and makes the Iranians look backwards and childlike.

I’ll tell you what’s condescending: believing that Iranians aren’t smart enough to figure out that (1) 39 million votes cannot be counted in two hours, (2) Ahmadinejad did not crush Mousavi by the exact same percentage in every demographic group in all 30 provinces, (3) Mousavi-leaning urban centers did not have enough ballots sent to them on purpose, and (4) Iranian elections have been rigged to within an inch of their lives for the past 30 years.  All of that I think the Iranian citizenry is capable of figuring out on its own.  Thousands of Iranians were savvy enough to bring pens to the voting booth out of fear that the ones supplied by the government would be filled with disappearing ink.

The Iranian protest movement has been brewing underground for decades, mostly among college students and graduates, and women’s groups.  I don’t recall any accusations of our having meddled in Iranian universities’ gender studies curricula recently.

The “Mind your own business” line of reasoning is reminiscent of the old charge that we shouldn’t go to war against Iraq (in 2003) or Afghanistan (in 2001), because we’ll only stir up anti-American sentiment; or the notion that we shouldn’t help Israel, because jihadists’ real hatred of America stems from our support for that country.

In fact, we should vocally support the protesters in Iran, because that stance gives us credibility when we fight our own battles.  When fools like Ahmadinejad (and Obama) declare that we have no right to decide which countries get nukes and which don’t, we must be able to respond confidently, “Yes, actually, we do—it should be free nations that support individual rights and aren’t run by lunatic dictators, which includes the U.S., Britain, Israel, and our allies; and not Iran, North Korea, Syria, or any other place of our choosing.”  If we support movements for freedom where they occur, rather than ignoring them, then our stance gains consistency and credibility to reformists in hostile regimes who are potentially open to our ideas.  Those are the only people we should even dream of catering to.

Critics of supporting the protesters are right about one thing: one does not “impose” democracy on a nation.  Consequently, I think if protesters in Iran actually objected to American ideals more than theocratic values, we would have heard more people chanting “Death to America” than “Death to the Dictator” these past two weeks.  Protesters would presumably not have embraced Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube with the same gusto if they had felt that the country that invented these tools were hampering them with “cultural imperialism” or some other made-up crime.  (Undoubtedly there is a minority crackpot fringe arguing that YouTube’s relaxing of its restrictions on videos with graphic content is “inciting” the Basij to commit more acts of violence.)

Certainly it is helpful that this is a homegrown revolution, and yes, statements against the Iranian government carry more weight when they come from Iranian citizens who could be jailed or killed than from Americans safely speaking half a world away.

Here’s how we actually did encourage the protesters in Iran—by turning their next-door neighbor, Iraq, into a democracy.  Our transformation of Iraq has given Iranians hope that a government that protects liberty can work in an Islamic country in the Middle East.  So yes, we did influence the protesters—in a phenomenally helpful, productive, and material way, at great cost to ourselves.  Why shouldn’t we underline our message by supporting the protesters?

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Red Franco Sarto High Heels Trounce Hawaiian Print Rubber Slippas

June 03, 2009 By: Scott Spiegel Category: War on Terror

Around the time President Obama was delivering his speech “A New Beginning with Muslims” in Cairo, Governor Sarah Palin was making introductory remarks for main speaker Michael Reagan to an audience in Anchorage.  Though Obama’s oration was approximately 17 times longer than Palin’s and focused on Middle East foreign policy, Palin’s informal comments embodied more understanding of the nature of Islamic extremism and the forces that motivate it than Obama’s entire homily.

In one speech, Obama managed to apologize for:

•    The Cold War, “in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations”—as opposed to the aspirations they fruitfully pursued under a leader such as Saddam Hussein

•    Western “colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims”—as opposed to the rights they have under a leader like former colony Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad

•    Not having enough “mutual respect”—as opposed to the fawning respect Islamists shower on women, Jews, Christians, gays, and Westerners

•    Not letting women wear hajibs—as opposed to Islamists’ insistence that gays always be allowed to wear nooses

•    Not saying “openly the things we hold in our hearts, and that too often are said only behind closed doors”—as opposed to the constant warmongering that glides so effortlessly off Obama’s tongue

•    Believing in “any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another”—rather than viewing those who uphold liberty the same as those who stone women for being gang raped

•    Having nuclear weapons and putting other countries at great risk—like when the Soviets whupped our butts in the Cold War and turned the rest of the world Communist

•    Defining our relationships with terrorist-sponsoring regimes by our “differences”—we say tomato, they say tomahto; we say Israel has a right to exist, they say dropkick Israel into the sea

•    Having the gall to use our military—Obama quotes Thomas Jefferson: “The less we use our power the greater it will be”; note to Obama: not using it at all does not mean we are therefore infinitely powerful

In the meantime, Palin said, “Those of us so proud to be Americans acknowledge that no, we’re not a perfect nation, but never, never do we have to apologize for being proud of our country.  When [Reagan] fought socialism and any sort of tyranny that he knew would ruin us, he stood strong on his knowing that the framework for positive change was freedom.  America is the greatest nation on earth, because our foundation is freedom.”  Sometimes simpler is better—ya know?

Obama scolded us for:

•    Viewing Islamic countries as hostile to American ideals—he added that the dancing in the streets after 9/11 was actually their version of Cinqo de Mayo; “Once de Septiembre,” I think we’d call it here

•    Citing verses in the Koran that incite violence against nonbelievers—as opposed to the ones that talk about Bambi and blue jays

•    Seeing Iraq as a “patron” rather than a “partner”—because Iraq was on the brink of ousting Hussein and establishing parliamentary elections just as we sent our foot soldiers into Baghdad and got in the way!

•    Believing that some forms of government are superior to others—though admittedly, I haven’t noticed too many ethnocracies or kleptocracies flourishing lately

•    Believing we should have a say in “which nations hold nuclear weapons”—because Nicolas Sarkozy could turn out to be as crazy as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; who knows?

Meanwhile Palin snapped, “Screw political correctness.  Be loud and strong.  [Don't] shy away from the tough issues.  Reagan’s ideas were the right ideas, and all we have to do is look back at his national security record to know that.  Remember how refreshing it was with his outrageous directness that Americans loved and praised and deserved?  His vision for the Cold War?  We win, they lose.  Why, today, do we feel we have to pussyfoot around our troublesome foes, the terrorists who still seek to kill Americans and destroy our allies?  Terrorists are still dead set against us and are set on destroying Israel.  It is war over there so it will not be war over here, and it had better still be our mission that we win, they lose!  Some in the press want to put anybody who dares speak up back in their place.  Those are the folks that want to tell me, want to tell you, to siddown and shuddup.  We will not do so.”  Drill, baby, drill!

Over on camel terrain, Obama lectured us with a straight face that America and Islam share principles of “tolerance and the dignity of all human beings”; that “throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality”; and that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance”; all of which is kinder than what Al-Jazeera regularly has to say about the religion in their nightly broadcast.

Up in moose country, Palin mused, “What we’re being fed today, it seems, is a steady diet of select, misrepresented news.  Why is it, considering how fast the world is spinning, and world-changing events that go on all over the globe, that it’s the same, big three, supposedly competing networks that have the same news content every night, and virtually the same exact viewpoint being spewed night after night after night?”  Go Aces!

Given the choice between (1) off-the-cuff remarks in an Anchorage auditorium by a hockey mom and former VP candidate who understands that rejection of liberty precludes our enemies’ being on the same moral plane as us; that courage in recognizing and labeling evil is needed to fight it; and that tossing around flowery language won’t reform an opposition who refuses to change; and (2) a scrupulously photographed, eloquently written (by someone else) bag of what could generously be called bromides, clichés, and chestnuts if they weren’t so blatantly wrongheaded—I know which I’d choose.

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