Thanks to the men and women around the world who are hard at work combating the ever-present threat of terrorism by Islamic fundamentalists, a significant plot was uncovered and thwarted.

Much will be said and written about this latest attempt by the terrorist thugs to strike at the West, but there are a few things I’m pondering:

  • Some liberals say that we should be putting all our efforts into catching or killing Osama bin Laden, but I think he’s mostly irrelevant now. If Osama had been captured, would this attempt not have happened? I don’t think so.
  • The British papers are writing about “Asian” men being arrested, but no one appears to be willing to utter the dreaded word “Muslim” for fear of offending. Time to call a spade a spade, folks! President Bush reiterates what should be obvious that the U.S. is “at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.” And just as obviously, CAIR goes bonkers over President Bush identifying the terrorists.
  • Given the success at stopping this attack, I must say a hearty “Thank you!” to the men and women of the CIA, FBI, Senate, House, and other government personel who didn’t leak any of this to the press. And I wish you would collectively shut the hell up on any other investigations or anti-terrorist activities.

UPDATE (8/10/2006 4:58:29 PM): Cox and Forkum do a good job of summing up the results of this bust.

Direct Intercept

Cox and Forkum sum up the current troubles in Lebanon with their latest political cartoon.

Giving Shelter

As criticism of Israel rises with the Lebanese death toll, it is paramount to remember: Hezbollah initiated this war by crossing the Lebanese border into Israel to kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two more. Hezbollah then returned to take refuge in Lebanon, where the terrorist group enjoys a safe haven behind Lebanese human shields. The civilian casualties in Lebanon will continue to rise, as long as Lebanon continues to harbor Hezbollah. The responsibility for the death of every single Lebanese victim should be laid at the feet of Hezbollah, and any Lebanese who have supported Hezbollah’s base of operations in Lebanon.

Israel didn’t start this. But I hope that Israel will finish it. For those people who think it is a terrible thing that innocents are dying at the hands of Israeli forces, I remind them of Niven’s Laws, especially 1b:

1a – Never throw s*** at an armed man.
1b – Never stand next to someone who is throwing s*** at an armed man.

Much has been said and written about the current fighting between Israel and Iran-backed terrorist organization of Hezbollah based in southern Lebanon. I’ve heard many liberals at work and on the radio say that Israel should not be attacking Hezbollah in Lebanon. After all, why is Israel waging war in another sovereign nation? It’s funny that none of them seem to notice that Hezbollah was waging war in another sovereign nation, namely Israel, and that Hezbollah and other Arab terrorists organizations and nations have the goal of a Middle East without an Israel. But they are not the only people to envision a world without the nation of Israel.

Here is how CNN sums up the current struggle in one paragraph:

Israel launched an extensive bombing campaign against the militant Islamist group after it abducted two Israeli soldiers and killed three others in a raid into northern Israel last Wednesday. Since Thursday, Hezbollah has fired 750 rockets into Israel, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Israel is doing its best to avoid civilian deaths in their bombing runs, but even with accurate guided munitions, civilians will die, and part of the blame lies not with the Israelis dropping the bombs on military and strategic targets, but on Hezbollah which is blocking civilians from fleeing the combat zone. And notice that while Israel is targeting the Hezbollah fighters while Hezbollah is indiscriminately tossing rockets into Israel. They obviously don’t care whether their rockets kill soldiers or civilians.

There is a world of difference between these two. It’s a shame that more people can’t recognize that Israel is fighting for their lives. Cox and Forkum points out the disproportion response going on.

disproportionate response

The criticism that Israel is using a “disproportionate response” to the kidnappings of its soldiers is an attempt to morally disarm Israel and make Israel out to be a bully. This notion is ludicrous when considered in the full context: Hezbollah and Hamas initiated the current crisis in an ongoing war against Israel’s right to exist. Notice that no one cried “disproportionate response” when Hamas demanded 1,200 prisoners in exchange for one Israeli hostage. Hamas and Hezbollah aren’t playing a game of proportions, why should Israel?

I’m all for Israel to be victorious over the terrorist thugs who wish to see Israel gone.

There is some truth in the political cartoon posted today by Cox and Forkum.

Stars Barred

I like immigrants. But I think there should be a little order in the way they are admitted into the United States. So I propose that we allow immigrants access to the U.S. in the same way students are accepted into universities. Universities cannot, of necessity, admit every student who applies. If they did, they would soon be overwhelmed by mobs of students and would be unable to teach any of them properly. When wants are unbounded but resources are limited, someone has to say, “This is enough, and more is too many.”

Should the U.S. allow into the country everyone who wants to enter? Really? Then what happens when mobs of people try to enter a small area with limited resources? When there are unbounded numbers of people desiring to enter the country, but physical resources like living space and water are limited, then someone has to stand at the border and say, “Sorry, we’ve filled our immigrant quota. Try next year.”

Do we limit the numbers of legal immigrants because we hate them? No more than universities turn away students because they hate them. The reality is that we cannot accommodate everyone, even if we really want to. That means that we have a say in how many people get to come into the country, just as universities do. And just as universities do, we ought to select the very best of the applicants.

Once again, the duo of Cox and Forkum take up their art supplies to create a great political cartoon.

Palestinian Body Armor

You might think that is pretty harsh, but when you take a look at some of the photos posted on Little Green Footballs about children and civilians being used by the Palestinian militants as human shields, you should realize that the cartoon is only slightly exaggerated.

Palestinian Human Shield

Palestinian Human Shield

Palestinian Human Shield

Palestinian Human Shield

I have to wonder why Palestinian parents allow their children to run around so close to militants. Don’t they love them? Don’t they want to watch their kids grow up? Charles of LGF points to a Reuters report that shows the Palestinian youths yearn for martyrdom, too. In his article on Real Clear Politics, Robert Tracinski points to “Umm Nidal, the ‘mother of martyrs,’ who has sent three of her sons to kill themselves in terrorist attacks on Israel, proclaiming that their ‘sacrifice…makes me happy.’” Judging by her standard, I’d have to say that she doesn’t love her kids enough to want to watch them become adults. Tracinski also points to an interesting difference between the culture of martyrdom and sacrifice of the Palestinians and the culture of their Israeli neighbors:

For the great mass of Palestinians this worship of sacrifice is sincere. By rejecting every chance at peace and coexistence with Israel–breaking every truce and turning down every peace offer–they have lost everything and gained nothing. Taking the suicide bomber as their moral model, the Palestinians seek to emulate his fate: in their lust to destroy Israel, they are willing to accept the utter destruction and collapse of their own society.

Look to the other side of the security barrier and you see a very different society. While the Palestinians raise their children on visions of blood and murder, the Israelis are largely preoccupied by the business of producing, creating, making a living. Consider, for example, the vast Gaza greenhouses handed over from the departing Israelis to the Palestinians. In the hands of the society that “made the desert bloom,” these greenhouses produced millions of dollars worth of produce. Under Palestinian control, they were looted and their products have literally been left to rot. As with the Cold War examples of East and West Berlin, Gaza and Israel offer side-by-side laboratories for opposing moralities.

Regardless of which side of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict you might champion, you have to acknowledge that the majority of Palestinians are breaking the first two of Niven’s Laws:

1a – Never throw s*** at an armed man.
1b – Never stand next to someone who is throwing s*** at an armed man.

The talented duo Cox and Forkum have done another good job with their latest political cartoon.

A Soldier's Burden

On the soldier’s back, in full whine mode, are Cindy Sheehan, Rep. John Murtha, the mainstream media, and Muslims who are more concerned about someone mistreating the Koran than the mutilation of American infidel servicemen.

Forgive me if I don’t have much respect for these voices of negativity.

In the light of the recent murder and mutilation of three soldiers in Iraq, why should we show any concern for the sensibilities of the Islamic nutjobs we kill? If you understand that the aggressor sets the rules, you will recognize that the enemy has given permission for our troops to mutilate and desecrate the bodies of those whom they kill. No more whining from the liberals about soldiers burning bodies. The opposition did it first.

Oh, and I meant it when I called the death of our three solders murder. It would be a battlefield death only if the people who killed them had been soldiers. But the Islamist nutjobs who perpetrated these acts do not conform to the rules of war to be classified as soldiers and be accorded the rights of soldiers in wartime. Thus they are unlawful combatants, and when they kill our soldiers, it is murder.

Unless I feel the need to list milestones or count successes, I think I’ll forget al-Zarqawi in a few days. But before he is tossed off onto the ash-heap of history, there are a few things worth looking at.

First, the media just can’t wait to report anything bad about the military. Here’s a bit from an NBC story:

An Iraqi man who was one of the first people on the scene after an air strike that led to the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi told Associated Press Television News that he saw American troops beating a man who had a beard like the al-Qaida leader.

The witness said he saw the man lying on the ground, badly wounded but still alive. He said U.S. troops arriving on the scene wrapped the man’s head in an Arab robe and began beating him. His account cannot be independently verified.

There’s a bit more detail in this Yahoo report of the story.

U.S. officials have altered their account of the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, saying he was alive and partly conscious after bombs destroyed his hideout, and an Iraqi man raised fresh questions about the events surrounding the end of Iraq’s most-wanted militant….

The Iraqi, identified only as Mohammed, said residents put a bearded man in an ambulance before U.S. forces arrived. He said the man was found lying next to an irrigation canal.

“He was still alive. We put him in the ambulance, but when the Americans arrived they took him out of the ambulance, they beat him on his stomach and wrapped his head with his dishdasha, then they stomped on his stomach and his chest until he died and blood came out of his nose,” Mohammed said, without saying how he knew the man was dead.

Notice the “cannot be independently verified” caveat on the story, but they have no problem running with it. Feel free to call up the Associated Press and tell them that you saw some Democrat Senator buggering sheep. I’m sure they’ll have no problem running with that news story even though it “cannot be independently verified.” *eye-roll* But let me go on the record that even if this is true, I don’t care. I just think it would have been more fitting if the first people on the scene had pulled out a dull blade and spent a few minutes cutting off his head to the accompanying chants of “Aloha Snackbar.”

And finally, from the pen of Cox and Forkum comes this great cartoon.

Message for al-Zarqawi

Memorial Day 2006

For this Memorial Day, the talent of Cox and Forkum gave us the above image, and Victor Davis Hanson wrote the following:

Looking Back at Iraq

A war to be proud of.

There may be a lot to regret about the past policy of the United States in the Middle East, but the removal of Saddam Hussein and the effort to birth democracy in his place is surely not one of them. And we should remember that this Memorial Day.

Whatever our righteous anger at Khomeinist Iran, it was wrong, well aside from the arms-for-hostages scandal, to provide even a modicum of aid to Saddam Hussein, the great butcher of his own, during the Iran-Iraq war.

Inviting the fascist Baathist government of Syria into the allied coalition of the first Gulf War meant that we more or less legitimized the Assad regime’s take-over of Lebanon, with disastrous results for its people.

It may have been strategically in error not to have taken out Saddam in 1991, but it was morally wrong to have then encouraged Shiites and Kurds to rise up — while watching idly as Saddam’s reprieved planes and helicopters slaughtered them in the thousands.

A decade of appeasement of Islamic terrorism, with retaliations after the serial attacks — from the first World Trade Center bombing to Khobar Towers and the USS Cole — never exceeding the occasional cruise missile or stern televised lecture, made September 11 inevitable.

A decade was wasted in subsidizing Yasser Arafat on the pretense that he was something other than a mendacious thug.

I cite these few examples of the now nostalgic past, because it is common to see Iraq written off by the architects of these past failures as the “worst” policy decision in our history, a “quagmire” and a “disaster.” Realists, more worried about Iran and the ongoing cost in our blood and treasure in Iraq, insist that toppling Saddam was a terrible waste of resources. Leftists see the Iraq war as part of an amoral imperialism; often their talking points weirdly end up rehashed in bin Laden’s communiqués and Dr. Zawahiri’s rants.

But what did 2,400 brave and now deceased Americans really sacrifice for in Iraq, along with thousands more who were wounded? And what were billions in treasure spent on? And what about the hundreds of collective years of service offered by our soldiers? What exactly did intrepid officers in the news like a Gen. Petreus, or Col. McMaster, or Lt. Col Kurilla fight for?

First, there is no longer a mass murderer atop one of the oil-richest states in the world. Imagine what Iraq would now look like with $70 a barrel oil, a $50 billion unchecked and ongoing Oil-for-Food U.N. scandal, the 15th year of no-fly zones, a punitative U.N. embargo on the Iraqi people — all perverted by Russian arms sales, European oil concessions, and frenzied Chinese efforts to get energy contracts from Saddam.

The Kurds would remain in perpetual danger. The Shiites would simply be harvested yearly, in quiet, by Saddam’s police state. The Marsh Arabs would by now have been forgotten in their toxic dust-blown desert. Perhaps Saddam would have upped his cash pay-outs for homicide bombers on the West Bank.

Mohammar Khaddafi would be starting up his centrifuges and adding to his chemical weapons depots. Syria would still be in Lebanon. Washington would probably have ceased pressuring Egypt and the Gulf States to enact reform. Dr. Khan’s nuclear mail-order house would be in high gear. We would still be hearing of a “militant wing” of Hamas, rather than watching a democratically elected terrorist clique reveal its true creed to the world.

But just as importantly, what did these rare Americans not fight for? Oil, for one thing. The price skyrocketed after they went in. The secret deals with Russia and France ended. The U.N. petroleum perfidy stopped. The Iraqis, and the Iraqis alone — not Saddam, the French, the Russians, or the U.N. — now adjudicate how much of their natural resources they will sell, and to whom.

Our soldiers fought for the chance of a democracy; that fact is uncontestable. Before they came to Iraq, there was a fascist dictatorship. Now, after three elections, there is an indigenous democratic government for the first time in the history of the Middle East. True, thousands of Iraqis have died publicly in the resulting sectarian mess; but thousands were dying silently each year under Saddam — with no hope that their sacrifice would ever result in the first steps that we have already long passed.

Our soldiers also removed a great threat to the United States. Again, the crisis brewing over Iran reminds us of what Iraq would have reemerged as. Like Iran, Saddam reaped petroprofits, sponsored terror, and sought weapons of mass destruction. But unlike Iran, he had already attacked four of his neighbors, gassed thousands of his own, and violated every agreement he had ever signed. There would have been no nascent new democracy in Iran that might some day have undermined Saddam, and, again unlike Iran, no internal dissident movement that might have come to power through a revolution or peaceful evolution.

No, Saddam’s police state was wounded, but would have recovered, given high oil prices, Chinese and Russian perfidy, and Western exhaustion with enforcement of U.N. sanctions. Moreover, the American military took the war against radical Islam right to its heart in the ancient caliphate. It has not only killed thousands of jihadists, but dismantled the hierarchy of al Qaeda and its networks, both in Afghanistan and Iraq. Critics say that we “took our eye off the ball” by going to Iraq and purportedly leaving bin Laden alone in the Hindu Kush. But more likely, al Qaeda took its eye off the American homeland as the promised theater of operations once American ground troops began dealing with Islamic terrorists in Iraq. As we near five years after September 11, note how less common becomes the expression “not if, but when” concerning the next anticipated terror attack in the U.S.

Some believe that the odyssey of jihadists to Iraq means we created terrorists, but again, it is far more likely, as al Qaeda communiqués attest, that we drew those with such propensities into Iraq. Once there, they have finally shown the world that they hate democracy, but love to kill and behead — and that has brought a great deal of moral clarity to the struggle. After Iraq, the reputation of bin Laden and radical Islam has not been enhanced as alleged, but has plummeted. For all the propaganda on al Jazeera, the chattering classes in the Arab coffeehouses still watch Americans fighting to give Arabs the vote, and radical Islamists in turn beheading men and women to stop it.

If many in the Middle East once thought it was cute that 19 killers could burn a 20-acre hole in Manhattan, I am not sure what they think of Americans now in their backyard not living to die, but willing to die so that other Arabs might live freely.

All of our achievements are hard to see right now. The Iraqis are torn by sectarianism, and are not yet willing to show gratitude to America for saving them from Saddam and pledging its youth and billions to give them something better. We are nearing the third national election of the war, and Iraq has become so politicized that our efforts are now beyond caricature. An archivist is needed to remind the American people of the record of all the loud politicians and the national pundits who once were on record in support of the war.

Europeans have demonized our efforts — but not so much lately, as pacifist Europe sits on its simmering volcano of Islamic fundamentalism and unassimilated Muslim immigrants. Our own Left has tossed out “no blood for oil” — that is, until the sky-rocketing prices, the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal, and a new autonomous Iraqi oil ministry cooled that rhetoric. Halliburton is also now not so commonly alleged as the real casus belli, when few contractors of any sort wish to rush into Iraq to profit.

“Bush lied, thousands died” grows stale when the WMD threat was reiterated by Arabs, the U.N., and the Europeans. The “too few troops” debate is not the sort that characterizes imperialism, especially when no American proconsul argues that we must permanently stay in large numbers in Iraq. The new Iraqi-elected president, not Donald Rumsfeld, is more likely to be seen on television, insisting that Americans remain longer.

A geography more uninviting for our soldiers than Iraq cannot be imagined — 7,000 miles away, surrounded by Baathist Syria, Wahhabist Saudi Arabia, and theocratic Iran. The harsh landscape rivals the worst of past battlefields — blazing temperatures, wind, and dust. The host culture that our soldiers faced was Orwellian — a society terrorized by a mass murderer for 30 years, who ruled by alternately promising Sunni, Shiite, and Kurdish collaborationists that cooperation meant only that fewer of their own would die.

The timing was equally awful — in an era of easy anti-Americanism in Europe, and endemic ingratitude in the Muslim world that asks nothing of itself, everything of us, and blissfully forgets the thousands of Muslims saved by Americans in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Somalia, and the billions more lavished on Jordanians, Palestinians, and Egyptians.

And here at home? There are few Ernie Pyles in Iraq to record the heroism of our soldiers; no John Fords to film their valor — but legions to write ad nauseam of Abu Ghraib, and to make up stories of flushed Korans and Americans terrorizing Iraqi women and children.

Yet here we are with an elected government in place, an Iraqi security force growing, and an autocratic Middle East dealing with the aftershocks of the democratic concussion unleashed by American soldiers in Iraq.

Reading about Gettysburg, Okinawa, Choisun, Hue, and Mogadishu is often to wonder how such soldiers did what they did. Yet never has America asked its youth to fight under such a cultural, political, and tactical paradox as in Iraq, as bizarre a mission as it is lethal. And never has the American military — especially the U.S. Army and Marines — in this, the supposedly most cynical and affluent age of our nation, performed so well.

We should remember the achievement this Memorial Day of those in the field who alone crushed the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, stayed on to offer a new alternative other than autocracy and theocracy, and kept a targeted United States safe from attack for over four years.

So convicted terrorist dickweed Zacarias Moussaoui said he lied about taking part in the September 11th plot, and he thinks it would be a nifty-neat idea if he could take a mulligan on his guilty plea. This is the same man who very recently was shouting, “America, you lost! I won!” after Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced Moussaoui to life in prison without parole.

I was thinking the right sentence for Moussaoui would be being hosed down with liquid lard, wrapped in a pig skin, dropped out of a 110 storey window, cremated, and then ashes mixed in the concrete of the new Twin Towers foundations. But maybe that’s a bit too excessive.

But I think I can live with Moussaoui going out with a whimper.

... with a whimper

The political cartoon duo Cox and Forkum have taken on the current gas woes.

Gas Fumes

They also link to a piece from the Ayn Rand Institute written by Alex Epstein called The Myth of “Price-Gouging”.

The term “price gouging” implies that gas stations have an ability to forcibly inflict harm on us–but they do not. Any price we pay for a gallon of gasoline–whether $1 or $3–we pay voluntarily, based on the value of the gasoline to us. If we think we are spending too much on gasoline, we are free to drive less, to buy more fuel-efficient cars, to use carpools or busses, or to travel by bicycle or on foot. Gas station owners cannot force us to buy gasoline; they can only offer us a trade, which we are free to accept or reject.

But, one might ask, without anti-”price gouging” laws won’t owners of gasoline charge the absolute highest prices they can? Absolutely, and they have every moral right to do so–just as consumers of gasoline have every right to pay the lowest prices they can find. Gas station owners are not our servants. They are producers who spend money, exert effort, and assume risk to bring a product to market. They own the gasoline they sell, and like any property owner they should be free to set the terms of sale.

Since we pay the lowest price that we can find for gasoline (and never more than it is worth to us), and gas stations sell gasoline for the highest price they can get (and never less than it is worth to them), the price of gasoline is a reflection of mutually beneficial trade–the essence of proper interaction under capitalism. For a gas station owner to charge what the market will bear is no more “gouging” than it is for a computer programmer–or a cashier–to negotiate for the highest salary he can get.