Diary and Commentary
I am convinced that foreigners will never understand America. Americans are different, a true revolutionary force in history. What she is doing cannot be done---could never be done---by any other people.
America is on a Crusade, and not for the first time. The world is again witness to her sending out her armies around the world to destroy her foes. The theaters of operation are remarkable for their variety: Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Philippines, Djibouti, Somalia, Pakistan. Many more nations have seen the CIA and FBI snooping around and asking questions and taking names. Spec-ops are now engaged in killing missions openly or clandestinely in a surprising number of countries.
Simply put, the Americans "are mad as Hell and not going to take it anymore." They were tired of decades of terrorism against their people and cities, against their military, against their allies. They were tired of the astoundingly crude anti-Semitism that spewed forth from the Arab world. They were tired of seeing on their TV screens scenes of ragged, illiterate mobs chanting on cue "Death to America!" They were tired of turban-clad barbarians blasting their AK-47s into the sky and daring America to come get them.
She came and got them. She destroyed nations and is now rebuilding them. She has a talent for that.
Americans are remarkable for their patience, but enough was enough. America has made her enemies' silly jihad look sophomoric and ramshackle. They wanted jihad? Fine. America brought them one. Americans have the finest military machine in history, the most lethal ever assembled, a revolutionary force of teenagers and grim professionals who go into combat chewing gum, wearing Ray-Bans and listening to pop music.
The Americans are on the march. They will continue to march until it is "over over there." And it has only begun.
The world can never understand us. We neither ask nor need its understanding. All we ask is that it stay out of our way.
An early American flag.
Well, some foreigners get it.
Andrew Sullivan does. It is long but worth the time. It was written October 15, 2001. Follow the link for the whole article.
A British View of the US Post-September 11
eloquence can match the impact of their evil. Americans' critical
weakness in the past two decades has been their reluctance to shed blood
for their goals. They believed they could construct a huge military and
never have it fight real wars and suffer real casualties.
struck again and again throughout the 1990s, Bill Clinton responded without
real credibility, struck back without real endurance, enraged
the terrorists without truly hurting them.
We are now living with the consequences of his appeasement, and of his
refusal to challenge Americans beyond what the polls said they already
wanted to do. Whoever launched this war on Americans has now accomplished
the task Clinton didn't dare embark on. America has been
bloodied as it has never been bloodied before.
I would be a fool to predict what happens next. But it is clear that
Bush will not do a Clinton. This will not be a surgical strike. It will
not be a gesture. It may not even begin in earnest soon. But it will be
deadly serious...It is also quite clear that the U.S.
military presence in the Middle East must be ramped up exponentially, its
intelligence overhauled, its vigilance heightened exponentially. In some
ways, Bush has already assembled the ideal team for such a task:
Powell for the diplomatic dance, Rumsfeld for the deep reforms he will
now have the opportunity to enact, Cheney as his most trusted aide in
what has become to all intents and purposes a war cabinet.
The terrorists have done the rest. The middle part of the country - the
great red zone that voted for Bush - is clearly ready for war. The
decadent Left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead - and may well
mount what amounts to a fifth column. But by striking at the heart of
New York City, the terrorists ensured that at least one deep segment of
the country ill-disposed toward a new president is now the most passionate
in his defense. Anyone who has ever tried to get one over on
a New Yorker knows what I mean.
The demons who
started this have no idea
about the kind of people they have taken on...
We cannot foresee the future. But we know the past. And that past tells
us that these people who destroyed the heart of New York City have made
a terrible mistake. This country is at its heart a peaceful one. It has
done more to help the world than any other
actor in world history. It saved the world from the two greatest evils
of the last century in Nazism and Soviet Communism. It responded to
its victories in the last war by pouring aid into Europe and Japan. In
the Middle East, America alone has ensured that the last hope of the
Jewish people is not extinguished and has given more aid to Egypt
than to any other country. It risked its own people to save the Middle
East from the pseudo-Hitler in Baghdad.
America need not
have done any of
this. Its world hegemony has been less violent and less imperial than
any other comparable power in history. In the depths of its soul, it
wants its dream to itself, to be left alone, to prosper among others, and to
welcome them to the freedom America has helped secure.
But whenever Americans have been challenged,
they have risen to the task. In some awful way, these evil thugs may
have done us a favor. America may have woken up for ever. The rage
that will follow from this grief and shock may be deeper and greater
than anyone now can imagine. Think of what the United States ultimately
did to the enemy that bombed Pearl Harbor. Now recall that American power in
the world is all but unchallenged by any other state.
Recall that America has never been wealthier, and is at the end of one
of the biggest booms in its history. And now consider the extent of this
wound - the greatest civilian casualties since the Civil War, an assault
not just on Americans but on the meaning of America itself. When you
take a step back, it is hard not to believe that we are now in the quiet
moment before the whirlwind. Americans will recover their dead, and they
will mourn them, and then they will get down to business. Their sadness
will be mingled with an anger that will make the hatred of these evil
fanatics seem mild..."
Which nation has killed the most Moslems?
Answer: Iraq---in Iran, in Kuwait, in Iraq itself.
Which nation has saved the most Moslems?
Answer: The US---in Kuwait, Kosovo, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq.
How much of Saddam's weaponry was imported?
From where was most of it imported?
Answer: France and Russia.
Which nation promised clandestine help to Saddam to stop the US invasion?
Which nation supplied Saddam with poison gas?
Which nation has killed the most Jews:
How were most of them killed:
Which nation recently compared Bush to Hitler?
Which nation has killed the most Americans?
Answer: Japan, then Germany.
Which nation has killed the most French?
Which nation has killed the most Russians?
What nation has killed the most British?
Which non-European nation has killed the most Christians?
Answer: Turkey---Armenians and Greeks.&nb sp;
What nation is the only Moslem democracy in the Middle East?
What nation is the second greatest killer of Moslems?
Answer: Turkey---the Kurds.
Which nation is the third greatest killer of Moslems?
Answer: France---the Algerian war.
Which nation is the fourth greatest killer of Moslems?
Answer: Russia---the war in Chechnya.
Which nation is the greatest killer of Buddhists?
Which nation executes the most number of criminals a year?
Which nation is the greatest killer of Hindus?
How many Moslem nations have nuclear weapons?
What nation is the greatest killer of Baha'is?
What is the population of the Arab world?
What is the population of Israel?
What is the area of Israel as a percentage of Arab lands?
How many Arab-Israeli wars have their been?
How many Arab-Israeli wars have been won by Arabs?
How many democracies in the Arab world?
Which Middle Eastern nation guarantees its Arab citizens voting and civil rights?
Which Arab nation guarantees its citizens voting and civil rights?
What is the life expectancy in Iraq?
What is the life expectancy in Israel?
How many times is Jerusalem mentioned in the Old Testament?
Answer: More than 600.
How many times is Jerusalem mentioned in the New Testament?
Answer: More than 100.
How many times is Jerusalem mentioned in the Koran?
How many years of peace have there been in over 5600 years of history?
Answer: Less than 400.
Here are the three stooges---Chirac, Putin and Schroeder---one week ago in St. Petersburg.
They look tired, and no wonder! All their pro-Saddam work gone to naught!
(Cheer up guys, there is always Bashir.)
Meanwhile, in the real-world of Iraq, this still happens (courtesy of George W. Bush).
Now that Saddam's dozens of palaces have been opened to the public, Iraqis for the first time get are getting a look at the stupefying decadence of the Hussein family and its acolytes in Tikrit. (One is reminded of Nero, but at least he had some talent and a tincture of class.) While their subjects went hungry, Saddam, Qusay, Uday and their sycophants enjoyed a lifestyle opulent, rapacious and completely unhinged from law and morality.
Remember all those years (1991-2003) when folks were cursing the US because of sanctions against Iraq and how they said that these had caused the deaths of '500,000 children'? Well now, these sanctions did not stop the construction of Saddam's palaces---now numbering 30, give or take the odd secret hideaway or two.
Along with the palaces being revealed comes story after gut-wrenching story of life in Iraq under Hussein. The tales of bizarre tortures, mutilations, gang-rapes, eye gouging and being entombed alive seem to come from the annals of the Assyrian kings. Not even Hitler had such a fantastic imagination on the subjects of pain and terror. All that is over now, the 'Republic of Fear' is no more.
It is over not due to anything done by the anti-war crowd who bleated and demonstrated in their noisome millions. It is over not due to the Hollywood crowd that poured out puerile analysis while preening for the camera. It is over not due to any action taken by the UN crowd, the self-anointed 'Congress of the World.' No. It is over because George Bush ended it. Because of Mr. Bush there will be no more ears lopped off, no more need of secret graves, no more fathers having to watch the rape of their daughters, no more humans chopped into fish food in recycling machines, no more lowering men into baths of acid, no more kidnapped women kept in underground cells for the pleasures of Uday, no more gold-encrusted toilet-bowl brushes---all gone with the wind.
The Russians are being their usual crude selves. From 1991 until now Iraq has labored under sanctions and the UN-sponsored 'oil for food' program. This was a neat deal whereby the UN would sell a certain allotment of Iraqi oil in exchange for things such as medicine and food. Of course, there was a great deal of swag to be had for some members of the Security Council---ah, that would be Russia and France---and for the UN itself. (The hands of Kofi Annan are all over this sordid scheme.) This program was to deny to Saddam the hard cash he needed to rebuild his army but at the same time allow the Iraqis to buy food.
What about all those sumptuous palaces and 'love nests' built by the Hussein clan during this time? Where did all that cash come from? Well, it seems some members of the UN---ah, that would be Russia and France---colluded with Hussein is a whole host of shady deals in exchange for certain favors: favors such as oil concessions. France profited, Russia profited, the UN profited, Saddam profited and Kofi got some new suits. Germany also shimmied up to the bar, and got in on the grab for loot. The Iraqi people took it on the chin, but there is no pleasing everybody!
Not for nothing did generalissimo Tommy Franks call this sleazy scam an 'oil for palace' program.
All this came crashing down as Saddam's statues came crashing down. The French and Russians and Germans are left holding a bag full of Iraqi promises and IOUs. Tough break.
George Bush, conqueror of Iraq---and of Al Gore, Afghanistan and the (formerly) Democrat-controlled Senate---now wants these sanctions against Iraq lifted. No point to them now, as Saddam is gone (perhaps to somewhere hot and sulfurous) and any new Iraqi government should be free to sell as much oil as it can. Everyone benefits when a free people sells its oil on the world market, as economic 101 textbooks say.
Well now, the Russians are saying 'nyet.' Their position is that no sanctions can be lifted until the UN declares Iraq free of weapons of mass destruction. Russia wants UN inspectors to drive around Iraq in their air-conditioned SUVs for an unspecified time searching for the illusive WMDs. Until that time, no end of sanctions.
Odd that Russia insisted on nothing of the sort until the US military swarmed over Iraq and eliminated the Hussein regime. She was perfectly content with both sanctions and absent UN inspectors. Since Saddam is no more, what is the point of sanctions? Why deny the Iraqi people the ability to sell oil?
The answer is money, lots of it---and dollars, not rubles. Russia wants the US to guarantee its pre-Gulf War II oil concessions with Saddam. Unless Bush acquiesces, Russia intends to hold the Iraqi people hostage. Its chosen tool of blackmail is---drum roll please---the mighty UN. Russia and its poodle France are at it again, using their hand puppet Kofi Annan and the UN in yet another Kabuki play to squeeze the US and Iraq.
This will cause yet another crisis in the UN---that is, if Bush goes there. He might just sell the oil without asking the UN so much as a 'by your leave.' If so, expect the reputation of that hallowed (and hollowed) body to fall further. And also expect political and economic crises in Russia and France and Germany. And expect Kofi to begin handing out his resume. Too bad, no?
Eight down. Forty-seven to go.
One former prisoner...Anwar Abdul Razak, remembers when a surgeon kissed him on each cheek,
said he was sorry and cut his ears off. Razak, then 21 years old, had been swept up
during one of Saddam Hussein’s periodic crackdowns on deserters from the Army.
Razak says he was innocently on leave at the time, but no matter; he had been seized
by some Baath Party members who earned bounties for catching Army deserters.
At Basra Hospital, Razak’s ears were sliced off without painkillers.
He said he was thrown into jail with 750 men,
all with bloody stumps where their ears had been.
If your asinine caterwauling had been effective, this brutality would still be going on.
Anwar Abdul Razak has no ears, but you have no brains.
Burger King has opened in Basra, and Pizza Hut is on the way. This is a sure sign of American victory. No word yet on Dunkin Donuts or McDonalds.
A Kuwaiti daily newspaper had this headline: "If Syria Follows Iraq 's Example, It Will Share Iraq's Fate." This paper reflects official opinion. It says that if the US leaves Syria unconquered it will have made the same error that it made in the first Gulf War when Saddam was left in power. Leaving al-Assad in charge of Syria, this article goes on to say, would be an error of that magnitude. It would guarantee another war. Another article compares the (late) Baathist regime in Iraq and the one in Syria. The writer finds little to choose between them. Both provide lives to their subjects that are 'poor, nasty and brutish.' Both have proved to be troublesome neighbors.
Kuwait, you shall recall, was the recipient of unwelcome attention from Iraqi Baathists in 1991. She wishes to avoid something similar from the Syrian version.
Syria delenda est.
Mr. Aziz was the public face of Iraq, both during this Gulf War and the last.
He had no independent power base, and so never presented any threat to Saddam.
He therefore survived while others in the regime were killed.
I am sure that the thousands of deaths of his countrymen for which he was responsible
now wonderfully concentrate his mind.
Who Stands Alone
Chirac said every war means loss, perhaps for France that’s true,
Cemetery in Normandy, eternal home to the 11,000 Americans killed on D-Day,
whose eyes forever gaze up at the blue skies of France.
Saddam did not permit the free exercise of the Shiite version of Islam.
I claim no understanding of it. The red stuff is not ketchup.
How old do you think the little boy is?
Both the US and the UK are in a French-bashing mood. The Gauls will be denied any substantial part in the reconstruction of Iraq. Neither will their IOUs with Saddam be honored by the new Iraqi government.
"We have to look at all aspects of our relationship with France in light of this,"
said Mr. Powell, according to a State Department transcript of the interview.
Asked whether there would be concrete actions against France,
Mr. Powell said "yes" but gave no details.
Chirac's foreign policy has been a disaster for France. Dishonor has a price.
Powell in no mood for french fries.
Truth is a rare bird. It seldom reveals its pretty face. Sometimes when it does, it really did not mean to.
Paul Krugman---closet socialist, friend of Clinton, Enron wheeler-dealer and water boy for the Democrat Party---certainly did not mean to reveal a founding doctrine of socialism today in the New York Times. Must have been a tiring day. Writing of government health care, Krugman wrote
If American families knew what was good for them, then most of them--all but a small, affluent minority--
would cheerfully give up their tax cuts in return for a guarantee that health care would be there when needed...
Ah...I get it now! If only 'American families knew what was good for them.' Yes, they are too stupid to figure this out on their own, so they need a Krugman to guide them. (We do not call a socialist government a 'nanny state' for nothing.)
Socialism has always been thus. Its basic belief is that a citizenry is too stupid to decide for itself on any matter of importance, and so the all-knowing government should make these decisions for them. Whether it be health care, retirement, guns, smoking, public education or what-have-you, it is always 'government knows best.' And what if the citizens revolt at such taxpayer-funded condescension? Well, in the words of a founding father of socialism, Saint-Simon, these rebels would be "treated as cattle." Which is why Hayek always said that once a country goes socialist, its people become little more than chattel. I add that, over time, they become well-adjusted serfs. They grow used to, and fond of, their fetters: they become the perfect slaves.
One-hundred and twenty dead in Iraq. Jew, Christian, black, white, Indian, Latino, Asian: all their American blood the same color as it spilled onto the sand of Iraq. This blood was used to insure that no Iraqi would ever again fear the knock at the door. The fallen now inhabit a 'perfect democracy,' or in Rabbi Gittelsohn's words sixty years ago for the fallen at Iwo Jima: "Here no man prefers another because of his faith or despises him because of his color. Here there are no quotas of how many from each group are admitted or allowed. Among these men there is no discrimination. No prejudices. No hatred. Theirs is the highest and purest democracy."
Requiescat in pace. What the Iraqi people owe you and your band of brothers is incalculable.
Father, husband, lover, best friend: his family awaits his return from war.
It has always been so.
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