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Riyadh Delenda Est!
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:: Friday, July 26, 2002 ::
On New York Times - Russia to Build a Second Nuclear Reactor for IranThe Russian government voiced its right Friday to build a second nuclear power plant in Iran and engage in long-term nuclear cooperation with Tehran despite fierce US criticism of an existing project.I hope this is just a bargaining chip, otherwise, Dubya needs to have a chat with his ol' pal Vlad. More nuclear technology in Muslim hands is not a good thing.
On New York Times - Legislation to Arm Pilots Gains Support in the SenateWASHINGTON, July 25 — Senate opposition to arming airline pilots waned further today as two more lawmakers unexpectedly endorsed the idea and positions against it were all but absent at a hearing on aviation security. The only counterargument that the secretary of transportation could offer at the hearing was that the requisite training would cost money.Senator Gordon H. Smith, of Oregon paraphrased one airline pilot's argument for arming airline pilots this way:There are armed pilots already, but they're armed with F-15's and F-16's, and they have instructions to shoot us down if we can't keep control over our airplanes.I think cockpit doors should be armored and kept locked at all times, but having an armed pilot as a next-to-last-ditch defense makes sense to me. I'd rather run the risk of an armed pilot trying to shoot down a hijacker than have an F-16 pilot shoot down the whole plane.
WASHINGTON - President Bush sternly warned Congress on Friday against passing a bill that limits the powers of the head of a new Department of Homeland Security, giving the clearest indication yet that he would veto a Senate measure. Bush has indicated general support for the House version. "A time of war is the wrong time to weaken the president's ability to protect the American people," Bush told a White House audience that included governors, mayors, firefighters, police and lawmakers.
:: Thursday, July 25, 2002 ::
"A string of internal policy differences and defeats have set off speculation that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell might not last through President Bush's term."More good news in the War on Terrorism. It would be better if he didn't last through the week. Secretary Powell's willingness to defend State Department's bureaucratic turf, at the expense of our nation's security is (or should be) infamous.
:: Wednesday, July 24, 2002 ::"RIYADH, 25 July ? Saudi businessmen and tourists intending to visit Singapore should still secure a sponsor in the Southeast Asian country, the country?s embassy here said. Singapore introduced the measure last October."We have not canceled the sponsor condition for Saudi visitors," Younus Ashraf, first secretary at the embassy told Arab News."Does Singapore know something about the Saudis that State Department doesn't?
MEMRI has an interview with Salah Sh'hadeh, commander of the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, who was assassinated by Israel on July 23, 2002.:: Tuesday, July 23, 2002 ::Wanting to go out with a bang, as it were, is a sign of sanity? If so, let's hear it for lunacy. Seriously, this guy was some piece of work. The Israelis made the world a better place. Even at the cost of 14 "innocent" lives, this guy is someone the world can do without.
N.Z. Bear has posted a hilarious article, A Blogger's Guide to Surviving Worldcom. I'm just quoting the first six steps, so go to his site to get the rest.Step 1: Locate the nearest copy shop. KinkosTM preferable, but any with PC access will do. Step 2: Rent a PC and type your first post-Internet blog entry. Suggested topics include why it's all Bush's fault; why it's all the Democrats fault, and why it's all Robert Fisk's fault. Step 3: With your magic marker, draw the image of your (former) blog home page on your posterboard sheet. Step 4: Print out your first blog entry, and make about 100 photocopies. (Unless you're Glenn, in which case, make about 30,000). Step 5: Exit the copyshop, and select a well-trafficked nearby streetcorner. Step 6: Displaying your new home page posterboard prominently, begin handing out copies of your first blog entry to random passers-by. Shouting out your headline, town-crier style, is permissable but should be undertaken with caution. Headlines like this are OK, headlines like this are liable to draw unwelcome attention from the local constabulary. Do not be discouraged if few of your fellow citizens initially accept the gracious gift of your prose; remember, you are now on the cutting edge of the newest of new media, and pioneers must always face initial resistance. Endeavour to persevere!Seriously, Worldcom isn't going dark, and neither is the net, but it is a little scary, and N.Z. has given us a little humor to help us laugh at our fears. Thanks, N.Z.
Oubai Shahbandar, writing on WorldNetDaily, calls on Arab-Americans to reject the left.The fact of the matter is that America is the last hope for humanity; indeed, it is, I believe, the only hope. So naturally, whenever the standard we-are-victims-because-we-are-[insert your ethnicity here]-so-we-wear-Che Guevara-T-shirts campus political movement rears its ugly head in my university, I can but wonder how well many of those suburbanite socialists would thrive in the Stalinist jails of our family's mother country.We see so many Arabs trashing America, or at least whining about the mean old Justice Department picking on them, I thought you might enjoy an alternate Arab view of America.
Joel Mowbray on TownHall.com has this article on Secretary of Appeasement Head-up-his-Colon Powell's disinformation campaign to keep visa issuance under Department of Appeasement control:Powell's lobbying has badly distorted the truth, and in the rush to complete the Homeland Security bill in a matter of weeks, he has managed to pull the wool over the eyes of many very good Congressmen. About the only thing that might overcome Powell's deceptions is public pressure demanding that State lose its ability to hand out visas. Powell has been spreading a dangerous myth in his furious lobbying campaign: that the President's proposed structure would actually allow Homeland Security to have a real say-so in keeping terrorists from getting visas. The "compromise" that several Congressional committees have settled on would do little more than have Homeland Security issue memos from Washington, leaving "operational control" in the hands of State. Operational control is like possession: it's nine-tenths of the law. If State retains operational control, it would be able to implement--or not implement--regulations issued by Homeland Security in whatever fashion it chooses. The entrenched "courtesy culture" that continues to sacrifice border security at the altar of convenience for foreign visa applicants would thwart efforts by Homeland Security to keep out bad guys, just as it has done to such attempts by the Justice Department. To this day, 10 months after 9/11, State is still fighting proposals to deny visas to suspected terrorists.We have got to get visa issuance away from Appeasement Dept. These folks either don't care, or don't have a freakin' clue. Contact your congressman and senators and let them know that State Department can't be trusted to adequately screen visa applicants.
The Center for Defense Information has this peice on Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq:.:: Monday, July 22, 2002 ::On April 3, 1991, UN Security Council Resolution 687 (1991), Section C, declared that Iraq shall accept unconditionally, under international supervision, the "destruction, removal or rendering harmless" of its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missiles with a range over 150 kilometers. On June 9, 1991, UNSCOM, the United Nations Special Commission, conducted its first chemical weapons inspection in Iraq in accordance with the approved and accepted Resolution 687. Since UN inspectors were ousted in late 1998, most intelligence analysts feel that WMD research and development has continued in Iraq. Richard Butler, UNSCOM chairman from 1992 though 1997, stresses that the full nature and scope of Saddam's current WMD programs cannot be known precisely because of the absence of inspections and monitoring. He surmises that it would be "foolish in the extreme" not to assume that Iraq is: developing a long-range missile capability; at work again on building nuclear weapons; and adding to the chemical and biological warfare weapons that were concealed during the UNSCOM inspection period.The Bush Administration should demand immediate resmuption of inspections, with full and immediate access to any and all Iraqi facilities. If Iraq refuses (as it probably will), we should invade, occupy Iraq, and try Saddam Hussain for crimes against humanity. A secondary benefit of occupying Iraq is that the forces stationed there would be superbly placed to strike at any of our remaining enemies in the region. Iran to the northeast, Syria to the northwest, and Saudi Arabia to the southeast are all easy targets from bases in Iraq.
Joel Mobray has an interesting article on National Review Online about State Department's Visa Express program. State Department, in a desperate attempt to keep Congress from stripping them of their visa issuance authority, fired Undersecretary for Consular Affairs Mary Ryan, and shut down the program. Mobray argues that Congress should move visa issuance to the new Homeland Security Department.:: Sunday, July 21, 2002 ::But the discussion about the quantity and quality of interviews does not speak to the need for Homeland Security to take over visa issuance as much as State's reckless handling of Visa Express, a program that let in three of the Sept. 11 terrorists in the three months it was in operation before 9/11. Rather than shutting down Visa Express the moment State knew that 15 of the 19 terrorists came here from Saudi Arabia, State only closed this open-door policy after intense criticism. The delay is why State cannot be trusted with the job of safeguarding our border security. Unlike, State, Homeland Security would view visa issuance as a law-enforcement function. Though there's no guarantee, the new department would likely treat applicants from countries that pose known terrorist threats, such as Saudi Arabia, with the scrutiny those applicants warrant. It's also a good bet that Homeland Security agents would be given the freedom by their superiors to ascertain more than someone's name during an interview.Contact your congressman and senators and let them know that State Department can't be trusted to adequately screen visa applicants.
Irfan Hussein, writing in Dawn, a major Pakistani Englisn-language paper has this to say about the state of the Muslim world:Whenever Muslims look at their economic, political and cultural decline, they are prone to see the hidden hand of western imperialists and Zionist expansionists. This is easier than looking at our own failings when seeking answers. But recently, a group of Arab intellectuals have put their own world under an unsparing microscope and have raised some deeply troubling issues to explain why the Arab world is where it is. Many of the answers to these questions apply equally to Pakistan, so their findings contained in "Arab Human Development Report 2002", published recently by the United Nations Development Programme, deserves serious study by all those who would like to do something to change the status quo, rather than just whinge about it. Consider, for instance, the fact that the combined exports of the entire Arab world minus oil revenues are less than tiny Finland's. The combined GDP of the countries comprising the Arab League is 531 billion dollars or less than Spain's. Despite their oil wealth, Arab countries have not fared well economically: over the last two decades, income per capita has grown at 0.5 per cent per year. 12 million people, or 15 per cent of the working population, are unemployed.This column illustrates one of my basic themes on this blog: that it is giga-petrodollors which make the Arab states dangerous. Separate them from their oil fields, and they can't afford to bankroll major terrorist groups.
Steven Den Beste has an excellent post about the International Criminal Court.It is the legal equivalent of what Feynman referred to as "Cargo Cult Science". The process takes the form of a law-making effort, and the resulting code will look like laws. There's even a court to enforce it. But on a deep and fundamental level, there's something radically important missing: consent of the governed. Which means it is no more law than Astrology is Science.
Dr. Weevil just posted an interesting call for Iran as next domino. I'd love to see the mad mullahs get their comeuppance from the people they've oppressed for the last 20-odd years, but I'd prefer to keep our efforts focused on Iraq short-term, and Saudi Arabia long-term. Consider that once you finish with Iraq, you have 300,000-400,000 troops poised to go east into Syria, west into Iran, or southeast into Saudi Arabia. Could you ask for a better example of what B. H. Liddell Hart called the indirect approach in warfare?
Glen Reynolds at InstaPundit put up this post. the following excerpt is just what Cato has in mind.The solution to the terrorism issue is to cut off the snake's head -- which I think is in Saudi Arabia, not America. Everything else is just windowdressing and bureaucratic empire-building.
The Middle East Media Research Institute has this transcript of an interview with Sheikh Dr. Safar Al-Hawali. Here's an interesting excerpt:The Saudis believe that the glory of the [Islamic] nation appeared when our Prophet taught us the industry of death – when he taught us how to create death. Then life became cheap in our eyes… When one of the sons of our nation is killed, he says: 'I won,' and the master of the Ka'aba swears that he had won. This we see as the industry of death. We in Saudi society and in other Islamic societies have finally realized that this is the right path to tread in order to deal with today's deadly strategic weapons. If America has intercontinental missiles and bombs, then our bombs are the Jihad fighters, whom America has called 'suicide attackers' and we call 'martyrs.' We will develop them because we see them as a strategic weapon…
Fox News had the following story about Shaykh Muhammad Hisham Kabbani's call for Muslims to condemn terrorism and work with authorities."Those who are under the name of Islam and do an action of terror, they are not Muslim anymore," he said. "They are apostate in our religion. They went out of Islam when they killed innocent people."Could it be that some Muslims are beginning to get it? If this view catches on among Muslims, it could save a lot of lives on all sides.