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A Strange War By Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

July 21, 2006, 6:40 a.m.

A Strange War
Israel is at last being given an opportunity to unload on jihadists.

By Victor Davis Hanson

Sum up the declarations of Hezbollah’s leaders, Syrian diplomats, Iranian nuts, West Bank terrorists, and Arab commentators — and this latest Middle East war seems one of the strangest in a long history of strange conflicts. For example, have we ever witnessed a conflict in which one of the belligerents — Iran — that shipped thousands of rockets into Lebanon, and promises that it will soon destroy Israel, vehemently denies that its own missile technicians are on the ground in the Bekka Valley. Wouldn’t it wish to brag of such solidarity?

Hostage to Hezbollah By Fouad Ajami

The Wall Street Journal

Hostage to Hezbollah
July 21, 2006; Page A14

Pity Lebanon: In a world of states, it has not had a state of its own. A garden without fences, was the way Beirut, its capital city, was once described.

A cleric by the name of Hassan Nasrallah, at the helm of the Hezbollah movement, handed Lebanon a calamity right as the summer tourist season had begun. Beirut had dug its way out of the rubble of a long war: Nasrallah plunged it into a new season of loss and ruin. He presented the country with a fait accompli: the "gift" of two Israeli soldiers kidnapped across an international frontier. Nasrallah never let the Lebanese government in on his venture. He was giddy with triumphalism and defiance when this crisis began. And men and women cooped up in the destitution of the Shiite districts of Beirut were sent out into the streets to celebrate Hezbollah's latest deed.

The First War, All Over Again By Daniel Gordis

From: Daniel Gordis
Subject: The First War, All Over Again
Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2006 11:14:31 +0000

*** To join this list, send a BLANK email to: Or see for more information.

*** Now available: COMING TOGETHER, COMING APART: A MEMOIR OF HEARTBREAK AND PROMISE IN ISRAEL, covering the years 2003 through last summer, from the depths of the Intifada through the disengagement.

The Amazon link is

This is a different kind of war, and an old kind of war. In the last
war, when they blew up buses and restaurants and sidewalks and cafes,
Israelis were enraged, apoplectic with anger. This time, it's
different. Rage has given way to sadness. Disbelief has given way to
recognition. Because we've been here before. Because we'd once
believed we wouldn't be back here again. And because we know why this
war is happening.

Arithmetic of Pain By Alan M. Dershowitz

The Wall Street Journal

Arithmetic of Pain

July 19, 2006; Page A12

There is no democracy in the world that should tolerate missiles being fired at its cities without taking every reasonable step to stop the attacks. The big question raised by Israel's military actions in Lebanon is what is "reasonable." The answer, according to the laws of war, is that it is reasonable to attack military targets, so long as every effort is made to reduce civilian casualties. If the objectives cannot be achieved without some civilian casualties, these must be "proportional" to the civilian casualties that would be prevented by the military action.

This is all well and good for democratic nations that deliberately locate their military bases away from civilian population centers. Israel has its air force, nuclear facilities and large army bases in locations as remote as anything can be in that country. It is possible for an enemy to attack Israeli military targets without inflicting "collateral damage" on its civilian population. Hezbollah and Hamas, by contrast, deliberately operate military wings out of densely populated areas.

Think Twice About That Trip To Spain!

Two items from the press of July 20, 2006:

In Spain, anti-Semitism is new leftist trend

Spanish Jews knew there were hard times ahead. Prime Minister Zapatero
has not disappointed them

By Ignacio Russell Cano

Madrid: Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Prime Minister of Spain and
Secretary General of the Socialist Party, arrived to power at a time
nobody expected, not even inside the Party.

Keen on populist tirades against the United States "Dickhead Bush" and
"Ketchup Queen Kerry", his whole campaign did not bring much attention
until the moment Al-Qaeda decided to blow up Madrid trains, killing
almost 200 people and bringing to an end Spain's membership of the

From that moment on, everybody knew nothing would be the same, and
Spanish Jews knew there were hard times ahead. Prime Minister Zapatero
has not disappointed them.

Disproportionate News By Daniel Johnson

Disproportionate News

July 20, 2006

Israel is winning the war on the ground. When the theocrats of Iran let slip their dogs of war in Lebanon, they did not anticipate the speed and precision with which the IDF would strike back. Israel has done to Hezbollah in a matter of days what the rest of the world had failed to do in as many years. As well as defending itself against an existential threat, Israel has also struck a powerful blow for the West in the global war on Islamist terror.

The war of the airwaves, however, is not going Israel's way. According to the global media, Israel is the aggressor against Lebanon, just as it is against Gaza. No matter that the U.N. and the international community did nothing to force Iran and Syria to halt their build-up of an offensive arsenal on Israel's northern border, no matter how many missiles Hezbollah fires at Israeli cities, the story doesn't change.

Darwin Meets His Match By Tom Wolfe

Darwin Meets His Match
Tom Wolfe and 'Homo Loquax'

May 12, 2006

On Wednesday, the novelist and essayist Tom Wolfe delivered the 35th Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, at the Warner Theater in Washington, D.C. The following is his speech, titled "The Human Beast":

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, this evening it is my modest intention to tell you in the short time we have together . . . everything you will ever need to know about the human beast.

Joseph Wilson's Revenge By Christopher Hitchens

Fighting Words

Joseph Wilson's Revenge
Why no special prosecutor for the latest CIA leak case?
By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, April 24, 2006, at 1:31 PM ET

If Mary O. McCarthy should ever be so desperate as to need a character witness, or to require one so badly that she must stoop to my level, I declare in advance that I shall step forward pro bono. I am quite willing to accept that whatever she did or did not do or say about the surreptitious incarceration of al-Qaida suspects overseas (and let's not prejudge this), she did it from the most exalted motives.

I accept this because, however much of her hard-earned money she threw away on making a donation to the John Kerry presidential campaign, she is obviously more than a mere partisan. Back in 1998, she wrote a formal memo to President Clinton about his decision to bomb the Al-Shifa factory outside Sudan's capital of Khartoum. I wrote a slew of articles at the time to prove that this wild Clintonian action was wag-the-doggery, pure and simple. (You can look it up if you like in my book No One Left To Lie To.) At that time, I interviewed a number of CIA people, both on and off the record, and came to the conclusion that it was the wrong factory in the wrong place and had been blitzed mainly because of Clinton's difficulties with Monica Lewinsky. The clincher was the direct plagiarism of his own hysterical speech of justification from the glib speech delivered by Michael Douglas, trying to de-knicker Annette Bening in the mediocre film The American President. If George Bush had even tried to pull anything like this, he would have been impeached by now, or so I hope.

Clueless Joe Wilson By Christopher Hitchens

Fighting Words
Clueless Joe Wilson
How did the CIA's special envoy miss Zahawie's trip to Niger?
By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, April 17, 2006, at 3:14 PM ET

Nobody appears to dispute what I wrote in last week's Slate to the effect that in February 1999, Saddam Hussein dispatched his former envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and former delegate to non-proliferation conferences at the United Nations, to Niger. Wissam al-Zahawie was, at the time of his visit, the accredited ambassador of Iraq to the Vatican: a more senior post than it may sound, given that the Vatican was almost the only full European embassy that Iraq then possessed. And nobody has proposed an answer to my question: Given the fact that Niger is synonymous with uranium (and was Iraq's source of "yellowcake" in 1981), and given that Zahawie had been Iraq's main man in nuclear diplomacy, what innocent explanation can be found for his trip?

Wowie Zahawie By Christopher Hitchens

Fighting Words
Wowie Zahawie
Sorry everyone, but Iraq did go uranium shopping in Niger.
By Christopher Hitchens

Posted Monday, April 10, 2006, at 4:43 PM ET

In the late 1980s, the Iraqi representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency—Iraq's senior public envoy for nuclear matters, in effect—was a man named Wissam al-Zahawie. After the Kuwait war in 1991, when Rolf Ekeus arrived in Baghdad to begin the inspection and disarmament work of UNSCOM, he was greeted by Zahawie, who told him in a bitter manner that "now that you have come to take away our assets," the two men could no longer be friends. (They had known each other in earlier incarnations at the United Nations in New York.)

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