Lt. Col. (ret.) Karen Kwiatkowski on farm policy in Iraq:
Orchard bulldozing is part of “a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking U.S. troops.” Is it really a U.S. policy? I might credit this designation as “U.S. policy” to the reporting style of the Independent, but other punishments doled out by U.S. troops in Iraq are on theme and indicate a policy of sorts. These include humiliation of Iraqis and crushing antique cars. Not long ago, I saw on television American soldiers repeatedly running a tank over a Baghdad resident’s vehicle, crushing it flat. The Iraqi had taken wood from somewhere in the city, to burn, and now that the United States was cracking down on looting, the punishment was swift and sincere. The car was the Iraqi’s taxicab, and the “punishment” represented the total destruction of the only legitimate source of income for him and his extended family. Our soldiers said that punishment like this would send a message to others.
An Alternet columnist evinces a bit of skepticism about the American welfare empire! Tell it, sister:
What can we, in America, know of how it feels to be a citizen of any other country in the world?
We do not have brigades of well-meaning volunteers from, say, the Netherlands arriving in our neighborhoods with bold promises of teaching us how to run our schools. We do not have representatives from Singapore engaging in optimistic efforts to reform our legislature, or teams from France trying to develop our media. Scruffy Swedish twenty-somethings, fresh from college, do not take up residence in our midst and teach us about the importance of government-sponsored healthcare.
Though we pride ourselves on traveling the world to help solve its problems – charity or bust – we do not know how it feels to be always on the worse end of the expression, “It is better to give than to receive.”
Actually, dear, we have a homegrown army of social workers and other buttinskis who pester the ever-lovin’ hell out of U.S. citizens, but I’ll save that story for another occasion. You’re on the right track.
Peters and Dershowitz, that is, and all the other credulous souls whose historical knowledge of Palestine comes entirely from The Innocents Abroad. It’s a Beirut photo exhibit called “Palestine Avant 1948”:
It was a land of bourgeoisie who loved racing from Jerusalem to Beirut in their Morris cars, dipping their feet in the waters of the Dead Sea and photographing tourists in outlandish costumes.
The carefree life captured through the photographers’ eyes is not only astonishing to outsiders, Zaatari explained.
“I once showed these pictures to some Palestinian children in the Beirut refugee camp of Sabra and they dismissed them as pictures of Jews,” said Zaatari. “They couldn’t believe that Palestinians were leading such an aristocratic life. For these children, this is not the image of Palestine they know.”
I sense some nostalgia and romance here, but also glimmers of a past that Israel’s PR machine has done its best to airbrush.
Iraq War Swells Al Qaeda’s Ranks, Report Says
Can’t say I’m surprised…in fact, I and many other critics of the war on Iraq used just this very scenario as an argument against intervention. I suspected that those who supported the march to war understood that this was an inevitable effect of invading an Arab nation. The question remains: did those same war-advocates believe the supposed “gains” from invading Iraq outweigh these and other costs? Or, perhaps their reason was blinded by a desire for revenge. I admit, I may be presenting a false dichotomy, but it still seems reasonable to me.
The report cited above claims that their was a “plus” to the invasion of Iraq:
“On the plus side, war in Iraq has denied al Qaeda a potential supplier of weapons of mass destruction and discouraged state sponsors of terrorism from continuing to support it,” the report said.
Um, what WMD? In fact, as Paul Sperry reported, the Bush administration was told by its intelligence services that an invasion of Iraq would be one of the only ways that bin Laden et al could receive such weapons. Sperry quotes the report:
“Saddam, if sufficiently desperate, might decide that only an organization such as al-Qaida could perpetrate the type of terrorist attack that he would hope to conduct.”
Sufficiently desperate? If he “feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime,” the report explained.
“In such circumstances,” it added, “he might decide that the extreme step of assisting the Islamist terrorists in conducting a CBW [chemical and biological weapons] attack against the United States would be his last chance to exact vengeance by taking a large number of victims with him.”
In other words, only if Saddam were provoked by U.S. attack would he even consider taking the “extreme step” of reaching out to al-Qaida, an organization with which he had no natural or preexisting relationship. He wasn’t about to strike the U.S. or share his alleged weapons with al-Qaida – unless the U.S. struck him first and threatened the collapse of his regime.
A blog I missed, from the random and kind Jeff Trigg.
Attention, bloggers: We love to be linked! Give us a permanent link on your site, and I’ll put you on the Honor Roll, which currently includes the antiheroic Joanne McNeil, the collegial University blog, the erudite Liberty & Power, the dyspeptic Libertarian Jackass, the francophone Melodius Thunk, the controversial Polemics, the irregular Micah Holmquist, the apocalyptic Bill Connolly, the self-effacing Franklin Harris, and the observant Marcus Tullius Cicero.
Good old cross-promotion– this is how the wildly overrated Instapundit has gotten nine zillion permanent links, right?
If I missed anyone, let me know.