Thursday, December 12, 2002

How many times do I have to say it? Cyprus should become a US state and Turkey should join an expanded NAFTA. The EU is the wave of the past. Turkey deserves better.
Iron Curtain - not
This article will be used, I predict, to equate the Israel Defense Forces to the East German Stasi shooting people going over the Berlin Wall or through the Iron Curtain borders separating West Germany from East Germany during the Cold War. There's one big difference, though. The Palestinians killed were trying to get INTO a country which offered them opportunity, perhaps even survival, when they were killed by agents of the country they were trying to enter. The only similarity is that East Germans who went over the Wall, like these Palestinians, were trying to escape a collectivist hellhole. But why are the Palestinian areas so economically wretched that men would risk their lives to get out? Arafat has billions in Switzerland. The Israeli Government just gave the Palestinian Authority $35 million. As with Iraq, there's plenty of money to keep all the Palestinians quite comfortable, even if their idiot government keeps them in wretchedness by refusing to enter into real peace negotiations indefinitely.

And the reason the intruders were killed is clear. Hundreds of Jews have been killed by terrorists coming over and through borders into Israel stealthily by night. I don't blame the IDF, in this situation, for shooting first and confirming later that the intruders were not carrying weapons or wearing explosive belts. They really don't have any choice. The Stasi were in no such dilemma.

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Negotiating terror
I've been reading Herb Cohen's book, "You Can Negotiate Anything" and it struck me that this war on terror is essentially a negotiation. One of Cohen's principles of negotiation is that if you know the other guy has a deadline and he doesn't know yours, you have an advantage. So maybe W's declaration of an open-ended war on terror, with no deadlines, just goals to be accomplished, is quite intelligent. Because Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein do not know our deadlines. They don't know when we have to capture bin Laden or overthrow SH. Do we have a deadline? Well, in a way. It would be good to make major progress in the war by the next election, November 2004. But even that is squishy. We don't have to capture bin Laden ever. We can keep saying he's dead. Who knows? Maybe he is. He has a deadline (so to speak!) If he doesn't show up and do something heinous in a couple of years, he's lost his power. We don't have to overthrow Saddam before the election, if we can keep him pinned down, using something like, oh, for instance, interminable UN inspection regimes.
And maybe with each day that goes by we get stronger and Saddam and Al Qaeda get weaker. Look at the latest document dump Saddam did. What did it show? They have and have had a nuclear program. Duh. But they've admitted it. They're dealing with European firms to get weapons. Double duh. But it's on the record. Major Euro-weenie embarrassment. So OK. Are we weaker or stronger than last week, in terms of negotiating position? Triple duh!

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Middle East Arms Conundrum

The Washington Post reports that a ship has been intercepted off Yemen carrying a dozen North Korean Scud missiles. So now the guessing begins. The location was interesting - "600 miles off the Horn of Africa". The ship was nominally bound for Yemen, but was it really going there? That's awfully far out into the Indian Ocean. It could well have headed into the Red Sea, like the Karine-A, or even into the Persian Gulf. Which leads to some interesting possibilities. After all, what would Yemen do with Scuds? Or even Al-Qaeda in Yemen? Fire them at US ships offshore, or at an oil tanker? From what I understand, the Scuds are so inaccurate this would be like throwing a rock at a mosquito. But it would cause a bit of terror. More likely, though, is that the Scuds were headed to Palestine, to the PLO or Hamas or Hezbollah, for use against Israel from close up. But why Scuds? They're much longer range. OK, then Iraq? In the middle of UN inspections? Would Hussein be that stupid, and that desperate for missiles? I think not.

Iran seems a much more likely destination. I can see the Iranians being very concerned about the prospect of a last-ditch Hussein spasm of destruction. Maybe they thought they could get the first lick in.

They're not telling the nationality of the patrol boat that first intercepted the ship. How about Omani? Sultan Qaboos would love to make some points with the Americans and discomfit his traditional Yemeni foes. Developing, as they say on Drudge.

Hmm. Looking back, I see that this is not the first shipment of Scud stuff to Yemen. Maybe the real story is that the shipment was stopped. Why now? Is Rumsfeld getting ticked off at the Yemenis? About time. Seventeen dead sailors testify to the incompetence of the Sa'naa government at fighting terrorists.

Update - Curiouser and curiouser

The ship that stopped the missile ship was a Spanish frigate. Spanish? Huh? Que pasa? In the Arabian Sea or Indian Ocean? And a CNN article (via Instapundit) says there's every indication it was headed for the Horn of Africa, which makes no sense. The ship bore no flag, which is weird to say the least. It went through the straits of Malacca, across heavily patrolled seas bearing ballistic missiles, with no flag, for thousands of miles without being stopped? I don't believe it.
Lott and justification

I don't like Trent Lott. Oh, not just because he's from Mississippi or because he's in favor of the drug war - what politician will say he isn't? I just think he's stupid and he's got a tin ear and he lets the Democrats get away with too much. And that makes me less free. This latest hassle about Lott's comments at the birthday bash for Strom Thurmond makes me crazy, though. It's all over the blogosphere, but Instapundit is the ringleader, as always. The basic idea is that Lott said, "We'd all be better off if Thurmond and the Dixiecrats had won in 1948." And gasps of horror arise, because the Dixiecrats were segregationists and anti-anti-lynching and all sorts of horrible things. But hey, in those days, most of the Democratic Party was too. And it changed. This seems to be what people are missing. Lott may not be saying, "Yeah, it would be better if the Dixiecrats had got in and had ruthlessly suppressed the civil rights movement and kept those otherly-colored Americans in their places."

I know a lot about 1948. I was born that year. You know what the main characteristic of 1948 is? It was one hell of a long time ago. And a lot of things have changed since then. Why, even the Democratic Party of George Wallace and Orval Faubus has become the champion of the oppressed otherly-colored. So what WOULD have happened if Thurmond and the Dixiecrats had been elected instead of the party of George Wallace and Orval Faubus - and Bull Connor? They would have changed, too. And all Lott may have been saying is that they would have managed the transition to a freer society better than the Democrats or Republicans did. And specifically I think he was saying that the government wouldn't have grown as large and out of control as it did if Thurmond had been in charge for a while. Or maybe he was saying we wouldn't have got involved in Korea or would have won the Cold War sooner or any number of other things. Everybody just jumped on the race thing.

I may be giving Lott too much credit. I am certainly not saying it wasn't politically stupid for Lott to say what he said, because it left him vulnerable to attack as a racist. But maybe, just maybe he was speaking from the heart and saying, you know, we thought some wrong things back then, but we would have handled the changes better than the establishment parties did. And God knows a lot of people would agree with him today about the competence of the Democrats and Republicans.

Sunday, December 08, 2002

Make my point for me, Mary
Mary Robinson, the UN's chief whiner on human rights, is crowing in the Boston Globe, that, now that AIDS is a "pandemic", the rich countries will "have to do something". But Mary. The West has fought its "AIDS epidemic" to a standstill. There's no risk of reinfection from the Third World to the West, especially since the HIV virus never hurt anyone. So why should the West do anything about the problems of the Third World? Oh, to avoid revolutions and chaos? But those already exist. The lack of sanitation, food and civil peace that typify the Third World are the cause of the diseases that the AIDS mafia call "AIDS". But they are nothing new. Places like South Korea, Japan, Israel and large parts of Eastern Europe have successfully climbed out of the gutter without killing their people with AZT. Robinson's article, though, is a perfect example of how AIDS hysteria is used by leftists to assert a right on the part of hopeless, helpless, tyrannized and brutalized populations to the wealth of productive democracies like the US.

This brings up a weird objection that was brought up to Peter Duesberg to stop him from pointing out the truth of the HIV virus's innocence.
"But, Peter," the establishment would say,"You may be right, but if this point is publicized, vulnerable populations will stop using condoms, will stop being sanitary and sexually restrained. You wouldn't want to be responsible for that, would you? Let's just sell them - or sell the US government to give them free - some AZT instead." OK, so I added that last part myself. Duesberg's sensible response is, (my interpretation) "If they've got TB, treat them for TB. If they've got Kaposi's sarcoma from using "poppers", treat them for that. But for God's sake don't make up a whole new scary disease. It's like the drug war all over again. When, eventually, it comes out that there is no such disease as AIDS caused by the HIV virus, no one will ever believe the medical establishment about anything again."
Hey, wait a minute. Is that really such a bad thing?