Faster, Harder, Bigger

Great God almighty, what the hell is wrong with Michael Ledeen? For some time now, he’s been ending almost every essay at National Review with the phrase “Faster, please.” It’s like a porn spammer’s version of “Carthago Delenda Est,” and from a guy whose e-mail address is Benito12, that’s a bit disturbing. Ten bucks says there’s a copy of Ilsa, She-Wolf of the SS somewhere in Ledeen’s home.

Farm Aid

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.

Hot Damn!

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.

An Exhibit for Joan and Alan

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.