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February 3, 2011

Egypt and the Acceptance of Limits

By Joe Katzman at 09:14

Back in 2004, I wrote "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Mubarak?." It was about 2 things, and one of them was acceptance of reality's limits on our options. Within which, I believe American could have done some good in shaping what would eventually come. It ended as follows:

"The bottom line is simple: Egypt has to change. We have to promote effective pathways to liberty, using pressure and/or confrontation on our own timetable, all the while strengthening the real champions of liberty and weakening the poseurs and the malevolent.

It's a tall order. It won't always be satisfying. And it may take time. Fortunately, time is an option we can afford in Egypt. The only thing we can't afford, is failure."

Time was an option we could afford in Egypt. But here's the thing... eventually, it runs out. And like all seemingly stable systems with major foundational cracks (vid. also, and still, global financial system, and debt supportability above key levels like 90% of GDP), it may not take a very big shock to set the endgame in motion.

We're in motion, now, in Egypt. And if America faced limits before, those limits are sharper. The Muslim Brotherhood is still the evil organization it has always been, complete with Nazi origins, and retaining its jihadist core. But Mubarak is toast, and America must now make clear choices... if its President can manage that.

I have nothing to add to Ralph Peters' current advice. I hope my country takes it.

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  • alchemist: Well Glenn, we'll see. If there as powerful an influence read more
  • Glen Wishard: IanC - No, I do not say that the MB read more
  • IanC: Glen - I am guessing that you are saying that read more

November 10, 2010

Canadian PM Stephen Harper on Modern Anti-Semitism, ICCA 2010

By Joe Katzman at 00:52

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made a speech yesterday at the Ottawa Conference on Combating Anti-Semitism, sponsored by the Inter-parliamentary Coalition for Combating Antisemitism (ICCA). I'm reproducing the full text after the jump, which deals with domestic as well as international Judenhasse, but here's its moral core:

"Let us not forget that even in the darkest hours of the Holocaust, men were free to choose good. And some did. That is the eternal witness of the Righteous Among the Nations. And let us not forget that even now, there are those who would choose evil and would launch another Holocaust, if left unchecked. That is the challenge before us today.... We must be relentless in exposing this new anti-Semitism for what it is. Of course, like any country, Israel may be subjected to fair criticism. And like any free country, Israel subjects itself to such criticism - healthy, necessary, democratic debate. But when Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack - is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand. Demonization, double standards, delegitimization, the three D's, it is the responsibility of us all to stand up to them.... As the spectre of anti-Semitism spreads, our responsibility becomes increasingly clear. We are citizens of free countries. We have the right, and therefore the obligation, to speak out and to act. We are free citizens, but also the elected representatives of free peoples.... we do know there are those today who would choose to do evil, if they are so permitted. Thus, we must use our freedom now, and confront them and their anti-Semitism at every turn."

The National Post published some excerpts, but read the full text below...

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  • Roland Nikles: Thank you, Phil. Much better, and much preferred. :) R read more
  • Phil Smith: Roland, I apologize for my tone. Instead, let me be read more
  • Roland Nikles: Oh Boy, what we don't do for fun on a read more

June 4, 2010

Israel's Real Strategic Failure

By Porphyrogenitus at 00:56
My cold-blooded and deranged response to Walter Russell Meade's post on the subject.
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  • Barry Meislin: More Gaza Misery. read more
  • Glen Wishard: And there is absolutely no way that Israel will not read more
  • Barry Meislin: On part 2: Again, Hamas has a stranglehold on the read more

Shooting at Ft Hood SRP Site

By Porphyrogenitus at 20:54
I'm here working at Casey Library on post, and we're on lock down as there was a shooting rampage (that's what people are calling it) at the SRP site at the former Sports USA down the street from us. Apparently 7 are dead and 15 injured. They're still trying to catch all the perpetrators. Pray for the victims and their families, please. Story here.

Update: One thing about being on lockdown is I probably know less than people can get from the news. Lots of sirens throughout the day, but we're told to stay inside. More here, including increasing casualty numbers as information gets updated.

I posted this here rather than at my own site because it seemed to make more sense, but no rational reason.

Update II Local newsreader mentioned "chaos" on Fort Hood. I think just a throw-word used regardless of its meaning. Suffice to say there's no chaos: It's like the news people who speak about "people panicing in New York during 9/11". There wasn't really panic - natural fear and people were understandably upset and moving rapidly, but without panic.

There is no chaos here that is detectible, everything is very orderly and people are doing what they need to. The use of the word "chaos" just set me off. There will probably be a lot of bogus descriptions used by the ignorati we rely upon for information.

Now 12 dead, 31 wounded reportedly.

Live Feed here.

Moronic: Drudge currently has this photo up on his front page:

Note that's not an image related to the current event at all; it's a stock photo of the urban warfare training site. I have no idea why he would use that except for pseudo-dramatic effect. That site is nowhere near where the shooting took place and its use gives a misimpression of what's going on.

I don't have any special information, but I can tell something of what isn't accurate.

Update III: 1740 local time (CST) MPs were out with weapons drawn searching all vehicles in the parking lots nearby.
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  • Tim Oren: Some sources ID'ing him as a psychiatrist, perhaps this listing read more
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  • mark buehner: Facebook Too young to be a major? Sergeant Major? Sounds read more

September 11, 2009

Breaking The Tyranny of Evil Men; 9/11/09

By Armed Liberal at 07:31

I sat down to write about 9/11 and this is what happened.

It's the eighth anniversary of 9/11, and it's my fervent wish that when I open my laptop tomorrow I'm spared the rhetoric of it as "the tragedy of 9/11".

To be sure, our stories about 9/11 are tragedies, in the Aristotelian sense:
Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions.

(Poetics, Part 6)

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  • Alchemist: My initial reaction to 9/11 is best epitomized by Jon read more
  • David Blue: It's always a pleasure to hear from you, Grim. I read more
  • Grim: The interesting thing about the Grizzly Man is precisely that read more

September 11, 2008


By Armed Liberal at 23:59


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  • GK: "Both these occupations were strategic blunders which have been extremely read more
  • atheist: Islamic supremacists belatedly realized how counterproductive 9/11 itself turned out read more

May 11, 2008

Invading Burma

By Donald Sensing at 02:51

I asked last Friday, theoretically more than practically, whether it was time to invade Burma, inviting readers to have their say on whether coercive relief operations could be realistically considered in the wake of the Burmese junta's refusal to allow foreign aid or relief workers into the country.

Today asks the same question.

Like my piece, the Time piece does not actually propose invading Burma (though it could be read as coming close to it), but points out that "the world has yet to reach a consensus about when, and under what circumstances, coercive interventions in the name of averting humanitarian disasters are permissible." I would also point out that Time seems to think that parachute drops of supplies, without prior permission of the junta, constitutes "invading," which is silly. But let that pass for discussion's sake.

Of course there is a sort of cognitive dissonance in thinking about shooting your way in to deliver food and medicine. But not really - exactly how is the plight of the Burmese of the disaster area different than that of a concentration camp? As I said Friday, "This catastrophe may not fall under the legal umbrella of genocide, but it is a distinction without a difference."

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  • Denni: The problem with life is that it tends to be read more
  • gus: No need to invade. Just bomb the hell out of read more
  • TOC: This would be an invasion whose purpose would be nation read more

Someone Give Me Newt's Address, And I'll Send Him A Copy of 'Devil In A White City'

By Armed Liberal at 05:05

Look, Newt's position on the cause of this tragedy is just silly (skip ahead to 3:38). The rate of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in the US was 5.1/100,000 in 1960 (surely the idyll of the Country Club Republican). In 2004 it was 5.5. We're hardly Sodom, Newt.

I'm someone who thinks there are interesting intersections between anomic young men and modern philosophical thought that may lower the barriers to bad behavior, and provide a kind of ideological armature for the nihilistic acts of rage they choose to commit. But to blame the kind of acts the VT murders represent on any philosophical position - be it postmodernism, liberalism, or Rotary membership - is just stupid and foolish and skirts being disgusting. The killer was an insane young man who could and should have been identified and helped (or at least stopped) long before last week, and no philosophy, political position, or educational fad made him crazy and evil.

We have had evil people who have done horrible things since there have been people. Newt's a Christian, he ought to get that.

('The Devil In A White City' is the violence-porn bestseller about a charming mass murderer active in Chicago during the World Fair of 1893. I'd also suggest 'Everything Bad Is Good For You' as a followup.)

(h/t The Moderate Voice)

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  • chew2: Mark, I find crime stats and studies linked to the read more
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Possibly Diabolical

By 'Cicero' at 11:28

Just passing this along for the Pessimism Department:

Google 'planning total storage'

Web giant Google is planning a massive online storage facility to encompass all users' files, it is reported.

The plans were allegedly revealed accidentally after a blogger spotted notes in a slideshow presentation wrongly published on Google's site.

The GDrive, previously the subject of chatroom rumour, would offer a mirror of users' hard drives, Reuters said.

Google declined to comment on the reports but said the slide notes had now been deleted.

In the notes, chief executive Eric Schmidt reportedly said Google's aim was to "store 100%" of users' information.

The notes said: "With infinite storage, we can house all user files, including e-mails, web history, pictures, bookmarks, etc; and make it accessible from anywhere (any device, any platform, etc)."

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  • Dusty: Lehrer News Hour did a story on Vista yesterday. During read more
  • Molon Labe: Time to turn on file encryption on my hard drive. read more

US Troops Land in Indochina.

By Demosophist at 04:35

When I saw that intro trumpeted in the 1950s on our black and white Hoffman TV as a "special report" I knew, with the certainty of gravity, that the headline would somehow grab me up in the sweep of history. This happened some time before I reached puberty, and I can't recall the exact year, but I knew those events would profoundly affect my life. That's the way I now feel about The Recent N. Korea Nuke Test.

I sincerely hope I'm just a dumb ignorant human who can't see around corners, but my guts are giving me the same message now that they did then. This is ugly. We've passed a point of no return.

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  • GeneThug: POWER GROWS OUT OF A BARREL OF A GUN. First read more
  • Demosophist: But Jim, don't you know the real issue is pederasty read more
  • David Blue: #8 from Jim Rockford: "Japan WILL get nukes, so will read more

"Either Way, The Jews Lose..."

By Joe Katzman at 05:38

Ex-leftist Colin Meade reproduces a translated version of a letter from Dr Mounir Herzallah that appeared July 30th in the Berlin daily newspaper Die Tagesspeigel:

"Until 2002 I lived in a small village in southern Lebanon near Marjayoun, the majority of whose inhabitants were, like me, Shiites. After the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon, it was not long before Hezbollah were in control in our village as they were everywhere else. Hailed as victorious resistance fighters, they seemed to be armed to the teeth, storing missiles in bunkers in our village. The social work of the Party of God consisted in building a school and some housing on top of the bunkers! A local sheikh laughingly told me that whatever happened the Jews would lose out, because either the rockets would be fired at them or, if they attacked the camp, international public opinion would condemn them for the civilian deaths. These people have not the slightest interest in the Lebanese civilian population; they use them as shields and, when dead, as propaganda. As long as Hezbollah are there, there will be no peace."

Emphasis mine. The question isn't why would Hezbollah do this - they're the Condor Legion of Iran's Islamofascist movement, with all of the murderous death-wish behaviour such allegiances to fascism always entail. The question is why so many in the West, mostly but not exclusively on the Left, would work so hard to make this evil so profitable for them.

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July 26, 2006

Home Towns in the Age of the Terror War

By Demosophist at 21:03

The image below is from Google Earth, of the south Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil (Bint Jubayl).

Bint Jbeil.jpg

I've included the snapshot because this is currently the site of intense "close quarter" fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah, covered by Stratfor in this podcast. Stratfor presents the conflict as a trigger for a critical debate beginning in Israel. The "internal debate" concerns whether Israel has the fortitude to continue fighting under conditions where its forces sustain heavy casualties. It's ironic, in some ways, that Bint Jbeil is the locus of such a "bloody angle", because the town has prospered during peace, rapidly developing into a small city and commercial/administrative center. It even has its own website here. The text is in Arabic, but there's an English version here. The large red iconic letters introducing the town to the world send the message: "Resisting!"

This is how small towns in the age of the Terror War are likely to present themselves, if their culture is what the philosopher and sociologist, Ernest Gellner, called "charismatic." These places have the promise of economic growth and prosperity that could create a middle class, and a substrate for civil society and democracy, but they've "resisted" that fate in favor of another.

Where Israel stuggles with the hot dilemma that a legal/rational society endures when faced with horrible sacrifice in a war it would prefer never to fight, Bint Jbeil (a city whose name literally means "daughter of byblos") has a self-image, lodged in its deepest heart, of a miniature Stalingrad.

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  • Demosophist: chew2 #10: I don't believe the word "Resisting" were on read more
  • chew2: I don't believe the word "Resisting" were on the Jbeil read more
  • Colt: Because of their humanitarian tactics there is the wrong impression read more
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