So I believe, compulsorily and satirically, in the existence of this absurd world; but as to the existence of a better world, or of hidden reason in this one, I am incredulous, or rather, I am critically sceptical; because it is not difficult to see the familiar motives that lead men to invent such myths. George Santayana

Hezbollah Didn't Win By Amir Taheri

The Wall Street Journal


Hezbollah Didn't Win
August 25, 2006; Page A14

The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hezbollah won a great victory against Israel and the U.S., healed the Sunni-Shiite rift, and boosted the Iranian mullahs' claim to leadership of the Muslim world. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the West, hammering in the message that this child of the Khomeinist revolution is the new hero of the mythical "Arab Street."

Seduce And Betray By Nidra Poller

The Wall Street Journal


Seduce and Betray
August 24, 2006

Jacques Chirac, like Hassan Nasrallah, is always victorious. France is always first and foremost: first to promise to send troops, first to back down on the promise. Triumphant newscasters announce: Fifty French combat engineers have been dispatched on an urgent mission to Lebanon! One hundred fifty more are on the way! While the rest of the world dithers, France springs into action!

The French, who were supposed to be the backbone of the beefed-up United Nations contingent, announced from the get-go that their troops wouldn't step in until Hezbollah was disarmed. At the same time, France mustered all its diplomatic power to stop the only army, the Israeli Defense Forces, that could actually achieve this. Paris knew that the Lebanese government couldn't disarm Hezbollah, and that Hezbollah wouldn't do so voluntarily. In a smashing non sequitur, France reduced its promise from 3,000 battle-ready soldiers to 200 engineers. Some backbone! Now, probably embarrassed by the waves of ridicule this deflation provoked, they are denying they ever promised thousands, while pledging to do better than 200, surely emboldened by the U.N. promise that these troops will not, heaven forbid, be asked to disarm Hezbullah.

An Open Letter to Günter Grass By Daniel Johnson (Parts I & II)

An Open Letter to Günter Grass

August 17, 2006

Dear Günter Grass,

First: why an open letter? I have never written one before, whereas you have written dozens. You are, so to speak, Europe's leading man of open letters. I admit that the idea of turning the tables on you did appeal to me.

But there is another, more personal reason for my decision to address you in this way. In a newspaper interview about your autobiography, "Peeling the Onion," you have admitted after 60 years, that you belonged to the Waffen SS. I want to make you aware of my feeling of betrayal — a feeling I believe I share with most of your countrymen. And I want to show solidarity with the victims, living and dead, of the regime you tried so hard to prolong.

President Taylor ~ Editorial

The Wall Street Journal


President Taylor
August 18, 2006; Page A14

In our current era of polarized politics, it was probably inevitable that some judge somewhere would strike down the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretaps as unconstitutional. The temptations to be hailed as Civil Libertarian of the Year are just too great.

So we suppose a kind of congratulations are due to federal Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, who won her 10 minutes of fame yesterday for declaring that President Bush had taken upon himself "the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself." Oh, and by the way, the Jimmy Carter appointee also avers that "there are no hereditary Kings in America." In case you hadn't heard.

Hezbollah 3, Israel 0 By Ralph Peters

New York Post



August 17, 2006 -- ISRAEL'S rep for toughness in tatters. Hezbollah triumphant. Iran cockier than ever. Syria untouched. Lebanon's government crippled. An orgy of anti-Semitism in the global media. Anti-Americanism exploding among Iraqi Shi'as inspired by Hezbollah.

Thanks, Prime Minister Olmert. Great job, guy.

The debacle in Lebanon wasn't even a war. It was only round one of a war. And Israel's back in its corner, dazed and punch-drunk.

The Olmert government must go by Caroline Glick

The Jerusalem Post Internet Edition

Our World: The Olmert government must go
Caroline Glick, THE JERUSALEM POST Aug. 14, 2006

From all sides of the political spectrum calls are being raised for the establishment of an official commission of inquiry to investigate the Olmert government's incompetent management of the war in Lebanon. These calls are misguided.

We do not need a commission to know what happened or what has to happen. The Olmert government has failed on every level. The Olmert government must go.

The Knesset must vote no confidence in this government and new elections must be carried out as soon as the law permits. If the Knesset hesitates in taking this required step, then the people of Israel must take to the streets in mass demonstrations and demand that our representatives send Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Amir Peretz and their comrades out to pasture.

"Red State Jews" ~ A Whine, and My Reply

Here's the whine:

The Wall Street Journal

August 9, 2006


Red State Jews
August 9, 2006; Page A10

This is a soul-searching moment for the Jewish left. Actually, for many Jewish liberals, navigating the gloomy politics of the Middle East is like walking with two left feet.

I would know. For six years I was the literary editor of Tikkun magazine, a leading voice for progressive Jewish politics that never avoided subjecting Israel to moral scrutiny. I also teach human rights at a Jesuit university, imparting the lessons of reciprocal grievances and the moral necessity to regard all people with dignity and mutual respect. And I am deeply sensitive to Palestinian pain, and mortified when innocent civilians are used as human shields and then cynically martyred as casualties of war.

Apocalypse Now? Is Iran planning a cataclysmic strike for August 22? By Joel C. Rosenberg

National Review Online

August 10, 2006, 3:14 a.m.

Apocalypse Now?
Is Iran planning a cataclysmic strike for August 22?

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Is Iran planning an apocalyptic strike against Israel and/or the United States for August 22? If so, what should the U.S. do to protect Americans and our ally? Such questions are worrying a growing number of officials in the White House, at the CIA, and at the Pentagon, and for good reason.

As a devout Shiite Muslim, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is telling colleagues in Tehran that he believes the end of the world is rapidly approaching. He also believes that the way to hasten the coming of the Islamic Messiah known as the “Hidden Imam” or the “Mahdi” is to launch a catastrophic global jihad, first against Israel (the “little Satan”) and then against the U.S. (the “Great Satan”). What’s more, Ahmadinejad is widely believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons that would give him the ability to carry out his apocalyptic religious views. Some experts even speculate that Iran may already have several atomic bombs and the means to deliver them.

Radical Ideas for Iraq By Max Boot

Radical Ideas for Iraq
The current strategy isn't working. We either need more troops or a lot fewer.
by Max Boot
08/10/2006 12:00:00 AM

PRESIDENT BUSH admitted in late July that the security situation in Baghdad was "terrible" and announced that he was sending more troops to quell the violence. Because this is what I advocated in a May 24 column, I should be happy with the president's decision. But, alas, as with so many American initiatives in Iraq, it's too little, too late.

August 22 By Bernard Lewis

The Wall Street Journal


August 22
August 8, 2006; Page A10

During the Cold War, both sides possessed weapons of mass destruction, but neither side used them, deterred by what was known as MAD, mutual assured destruction. Similar constraints have no doubt prevented their use in the confrontation between India and Pakistan. In our own day a new such confrontation seems to be looming between a nuclear-armed Iran and its favorite enemies, named by the late Ayatollah Khomeini as the Great Satan and the Little Satan, i.e., the United States and Israel. Against the U.S. the bombs might be delivered by terrorists, a method having the advantage of bearing no return address. Against Israel, the target is small enough to attempt obliteration by direct bombardment.

It seems increasingly likely that the Iranians either have or very soon will have nuclear weapons at their disposal, thanks to their own researches (which began some 15 years ago), to some of their obliging neighbors, and to the ever-helpful rulers of North Korea. The language used by Iranian President Ahmadinejad would seem to indicate the reality and indeed the imminence of this threat.

Would the same constraints, the same fear of mutual assured destruction, restrain a nuclear-armed Iran from using such weapons against the U.S. or against Israel?

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