Archive for January, 2008

Brilliant

Genius. A solution to the Mideast conflict.

A Modest Proposal for Middle East Peace
The U.N. need only take five simple steps.

By Victor Davis Hanson

There seems to be a growing renewed animus against Israel lately. Arun Gandhi, grandson of the purported humanist Mahatma Gandhi, thinks Israel and Jews in general are prone to, and singularly responsible for, most of the world’s violence. The Oxford Union is taking up the question of whether Israel even has a right to continue to exist. Our generation no longer speaks of a “Palestinian problem,” but rather of an “Israeli problem.” So perhaps it is time for a new global approach to deal with Israel and its occupation.

Perhaps we ought to broaden our multinational and multicultural horizons by transcending the old comprehensive settlements, roadmaps, and Quartet when dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, a dispute which originated with the creation of Israel.

Why not simply hold an international conference on all of these issues — albeit in a far more global context, outside the Middle East?

The ensuing general accords and principles could be applied to Israel and the West Bank, where the number of people involved, the casualties incurred, and the number of refugees affected are far smaller and far more manageable.

Perhaps there could be five U.N. sessions: disputed capitals; the right of return for refugees; land under occupation; the creation of artificial post-World War II states; and the use of inordinate force against suspected Islamic terrorists.

In the first session, we should try to solve the status of Nicosia, which is currently divided into Greek and Turkish sectors by a U.N. Greek Line. Perhaps European Union investigators could adjudicate Turkish claims that the division originated from unwarranted threats to the Turkish Muslim population on Cyprus. Some sort of big power or U.N. roadmap then might be imposed on the two parties, in hopes that the Nicosia solution would work for Jerusalem as well.

In the second discussion, diplomats might find common ground about displaced populations, many from the post-war, late 1940s. Perhaps it would be best to start with the millions of Germans who were expelled from East Prussia in 1945, or Indians who were uprooted from ancestral homes in what is now Pakistan, or over half-a-million Jews that were ethnically cleansed from Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria following the 1967 war. Where are these refugees now? Were they ever adequately compensated for lost property and damages? Can they be given promises of the right to return to their ancestral homes under protection of their host countries? The ensuring solutions might shed light on the Palestinian aspirations to return to land lost sixty years ago to Israel.

A third panel would take up the delicate issue of returning territory lost by defeat in war. Ten percent of historic Germany is now part of Poland. The Russians still occupy many of the Kurile Islands, and Greek Cyprus lost sizable territory in 1974 after the invasion by Turkey. The Western Sahara is still annexed by Morocco, while over 15 percent of disputed Azerbaijan has been controlled by Armenia since 1994. Additionally, all of independent Tibet has been under Chinese occupation since 1950-1. Surely if some general framework concerning these occupations could first be worked out comprehensively, the results might then be applied to the much smaller West Bank and Golan Heights.

In a fourth panel, the international conference should take up the thorny issue of recently artificially created states. Given the tension over Kashmir, was Pakistan a mistake — particularly the notion of a homeland for Indian Muslims? North Korea was only created after the stalemate of 1950-3; so should we debate whether this rogue nation still needs to exist, given its violent history and threats to world peace?

Fifth, and finally, is there a global propensity to use inordinate force against Muslim terrorists that results in indiscriminate collateral damage? The Russians during the second Chechnyan War of 1999-2000 reportedly sent tactical missiles into the very core of Grozny, and may have killed tens of thousands of civilians in their hunt for Chechnyan terrorists — explaining why the United Nations later called that city the most destroyed city on earth. Syria has never admitted to the complete destruction of Hama, once home to Muslim Brotherhood terrorists. The city suffered the fate of Carthage and was completely obliterated in 1982 by the al-Assad government, with over 30,000 missing or killed. Did the Indian government look the other way in 2002 when hundreds of Muslim civilians in Gujarat were killed in reprisal for Islamic violence against Hindus? The lessons learned in this final session might reassure a world still furious over the 52 Palestinians lost in Jenin.

In other words, after a half-century of failed attempts to solve the Middle East crisis in isolation, isn’t it time we look for guidance in a far more global fashion, and in contexts where more lives have been lost, more territory annexed, and more people made refugees in places as diverse as China, Russia, and the broader Middle East?

The solutions that these countries have worked out to deal with similar problems apparently have proven successful — at least if the inattention of the world, the apparent inaction of the United Nations, and the relative silence of European governments are any indication.

So let the international community begin its humanitarian work!

Greek Cypriots can advise Israel about concessions necessary to Muslims involving a divided Jerusalem. Russians and Syrians can advise the IDF on how to deal properly and humanely with Islamic terrorists. Poland, Russia, China, and Armenia might offer the proper blueprint for giving back land to the defeated that they once gained by force. A North Korea or Pakistan can offer Israel humanitarian lessons that might blunt criticisms that such a recently created country has no right to exist. Iraq and Egypt would lend insight about proper reparation and the rights of return, given its own successful solutions to the problems of their own fleeing Jewish communities.

But why limit the agenda to such a small array of issues? The world has much to teach Israel about humility and concessions, on issues ranging from how other countries in the past have dealt with missiles sent into their homeland, to cross-border incursions by bellicose neighbors.

No doubt, Middle East humanitarians such as Jimmy Carter, Arun Gandhi, and Tariq Ramadan could preside, drawing on and offering their collective past wisdom in solving such global problems to those of a lesser magnitude along the West Bank.

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and author, most recently, of A War Like No Other: How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.

Why didn’t I think of this?

- Aggie

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Watch Bill Clinton Explain Reality To A Troofer

He’s a weird guy, but he’s absolutely right.

Have you ever seen those assholes standing outside of the WTC with their signs blaming the U.S or Israel or Martians for 9/11? He told one of them to put it where the sun don’t shine.

- Aggie

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Carne-val Updated

An update on the story we covered this morning:

A judge issued an order Thursday prohibiting a Rio samba group from parading during carnival with a float depicting naked bodies of Holocaust victims.

Judge Juliana Kalichszteim issued the injunction in response to a lawsuit by the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro, which asked for the float be removed from this city’s famed carnival parade next week, said Lara Voges, a spokeswoman for the judge.

The judge said the float could be used in the parade, but that organizers of the Viradouro samba group must remove mannequins meant to represent dead bodies from the Holocaust.

We were okay with this, with some reservations. But there are a few details that are less than appetizing:

Reports in the media have said that Viradouro had planned to feature at least one dancer dressed as Adolf Hitler in the parade, using the theme: “It Gives you Goose Bumps.”

In her decision, Kalichszteim said carnival “should not be used as a tool for the cult of hate, any form of racism, beside the clear banalization of barbaric events.”

I don’t know about the choice of the word “banalization”, but I take the point.

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Libbi’s Pureed Vegetable

He sure is:

A senior al Qaeda terrorist active in operational planning and training has been killed, a Western official said Thursday.

He identified the terrorist as Abu Laith al-Libbi.

The official said al-Libbi is “not far below the importance of the top two al Qaeda leaders” — Osama bin Laden and Ayman al -Zawahiri.

He is of Libyan descent and has been in the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.

Where he completed his descent to his present position six feet under.

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Nothing a Recession Won’t Cure [UPDATE]

From Mary Katharine Ham, Bill Clinton’s solution to global warming:

In a long, and interesting speech, he characterized what the U.S. and other industrialized nations need to do to combat global warming this way: “We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions ’cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren.”

I heard this clip on the radio, so I can confirm he said it.

And people were just noticing how quiet he’d become since his Jesse Jackson comments of last week. Can’t you see Hillary elbowing him in the ribs, with a “Stifle yourself!” thrown in?

UPDATE
Allahpundit:

I’d say this officially makes it his best month since, oh, January 1998, and that’s not counting this curious yet delicious morsel served up by the Times this morning. You owe it to yourself to read it all. Multimillion-dollar influence peddling, willful blindness to human rights abuses, the principals caught by reporters in not one but two major lies — and the Clenis right in the middle of it all. It’s conservative catnip….

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Annals of the Former Warmer World XI

Al Gore could not be reached for comment.

Arctic air roared into New York before dawn, sending Tuesday’s springlike temperatures plummeting. Buffalo went from 53 degrees at 3 a.m. Wednesday to 15 degrees by noon. Classes were canceled at most area schools.

In Washington state, an avalanche trapped two cars and forced the closure of the westbound lane of snowy Interstate 90, the state’s main east-west thoroughfare, at Snoqualmie Pass. No one was injured in the avalanche, which occurred just hours after the road was reopened following its longest weather closure since 2002.

In Chicago, rush-hour commuters scurried to work through the bitter cold.

“I’m actually looking forward to work,” said Tom Gilmartin.

A 74-year-old man whose truck ran into a ditch was found frozen on a neighbor’s porch Wednesday, just short of the doorbell, said police in Kankakee County, Illinois.

Two major highways in southern Minnesota reopened early Wednesday as wind died down and snow stopped falling, but the state remained in a deep freeze, with the temperature dipping to minus 27 in the northeast.

Maybe the threatened polar bears should just move from the North Pole to Bemidji.

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Stop Terrorizing Illegal Immigrants!

This kind of behavior is not worthy of the country, and has to stop!

[P]olice raided a … church early Thursday and took away large numbers of … refugees who had taken shelter there, according to witnesses and video footage.

“They ran in terror.” …

“(The police) then entered the building. They have kicked down doors, they’ve broken a window, they assaulted people. They manhandled me. I mean, they just treated us as if we’re animals.”

Can you imagine such brutality in this country?

Neither can I.

South African police raided a Johannesburg church early Thursday and took away large numbers of Zimbabwean refugees who had taken shelter there, according to witnesses and video footage.

“They ran in terror,” said Bishop Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist Church.

“(The police) then entered the building. They have kicked down doors, they’ve broken a window, they assaulted people. They manhandled me. I mean, they just treated us as if we’re animals.”

Central Methodist Church is known to be a haven for refugees fleeing neighboring Zimbabwe, where food shortages and the world’s highest rate of inflation have forced many residents to leave.

They’re just doing jobs Africans won’t do.

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“That’s Quite a Trinity, Young Man”

How many people need to die?

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A fitness club ad running in Boston magazine that depicts nuns sketching a naked man has triggered protests among some members of the Bay State’s Catholic community.

The ad for the Equinox Fitness Club is running in this month’s issue and some Catholic organizations blasted the photo saying it was offensive.

C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts said the ad shows contempt for the Catholic religion.

Of course it does. And it is offensive. (I’m not Catholic, but stupidity offends me.) In a part of the country as Catholic as Boston, you’d expect a fatwa, or an inquisition, or at least a torched BMW or two. But other than this, nothing:

“It is crass, but there are a lot of crass things that I don’t pay attention to. I don’t need to,” said Sister Martha Moss.

“We work in the media all the time and we know that these things come and go and the best thing is to let them go,” said Sister Kathryn Hermes.

Oh, come on, Sister. Don’t tell me you haven’t prayed for a Jayson Blair or Stephen Glass case to be visited upon the media elites of BM.

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Love, Osama

I wonder if the envelopes were marked SWAK?

Pakistani sources have said that Western elements have obtained five letters sent by Osama bin Laden from Pakistan’s northwest tribal region.

The letters, in Arabic, are in bin Laden’s handwriting, and are directed at his supporters.

Two of the letters are directed at Taliban leader in Pakistan Mullah Mansour Dadallah, instructing him to increase the attacks on NATO forces at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

I’ll bet Mullah Dadullah II answered “Yeah, I’ll get right on it.”

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Can I Have a Push?

snapshot-2008-01-31-09-48-26.jpg

This is not a human-induced pose; she does this all by herself. Maybe she thinks it flattens her stomach.

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Massive Internet Failure

That’s kind of interesting

Large swathes of Asia, the Middle East and north Africa had their high-technology services crippled Thursday following a widespread Internet failure which brought many businesses to a standstill and left others struggling to cope.

Hi-tech Dubai has been hit hard by an Internet outage apparently caused by a cut undersea cable.

One major telecommunications provider blamed the outage, which started Wednesday, on a major undersea cable failure in the Mediterranean.

India’s Internet bandwidth has been sliced in half, The Associated Press reported, leaving its lucrative outsourcing industry trying to reroute traffic to satellites and other cables through Asia.

Reports say that Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain are also experiencing severe problems.

Nations that have been spared the chaos include Israel — whose traffic uses a different route — and Lebanon and Iraq. Many Middle East governments have backup satellite systems in case of cable failure.

Huh. I wonder if Al Qaeda is having trouble communicating with cells in Europe today? I bet they’re frustrated.

Aggie

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Carne-val

I don’t know what to think of this. On the one hand, it’s a little out of place among the legs and boobs; on the other, it is meant (I think) to shock and educate.

Jewish groups in Brazil have expressed disgust over a controversial float to appear in Brazil’s upcoming carnival parade that depicts dead victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

The display, by the Unidos da Viradouro school, will be sandwiched among 11 others that are to parade along the city’s carnival avenue on Sunday.

In dramatic contrast to the floats carrying sequined, scantily clad dancers smiling and gyrating, and followed by drum bands, the Holocaust entry will show only motionless, skeletal figures piled on top of each other.

Its creator defended the float, which will move along under the theme “It’s Horrifying.”

“It’s a very respectful float. It’s going to depict it (the Holocaust) as a sort of alarm, so that it never be repeated,” the creator, Paulo Barros, told AFP.

Be warned: there’s a picture with the story. You’ll see that it’s not exploitative, by which I mean it’s not intended to sell beer or sex. It is what it is (to coin a phrase), a physical representation of the savagery of the Holocaust.

I would expect non-Jews to be more offended. Jews are all too familiar with these images; partying Brazilians may be less so, and may not appreciated the introduction.

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