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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Thoughts on the Therapeutic Style

January 31st, 2009 - 10:40 pm

Who is the “They” now in California?

How does one explain how California is broke, tens of billions of dollars in aggregate debt, despite having among the highest sales and income taxes in the nation?

We are naturally rich beyond belief—timber, oil, agriculture, a long sea-coast, wonderful weather, mountains, sea, and valleys—and inherited lucrative industries in tourism, computers and software, defense and great universities. Our grandparents left us a once wonderful freeway network, a tripartite higher education system, ports, airports, dams and canals.

So what went wrong, and why are tens of thousands of Californians leaving the state with bachelor degrees and above, while tens of thousands enter without high-school diplomas?

Many answers have been offered—incompetent governance, judicial intrusions, the ballot propositions, trial lawyers, unions, dysfunctional and politically-correct schools, or illegal immigration. But look at it in some sense as the long hoped-for end of the nebulous “them / they.”

For years the open borders lobby accused “them” (whites? The establishment? Conservatives? etc.) of racism in wanting the border with Mexico closed, an end to state entitlements to illegal aliens (remember the Satanic Prop 187?), and deportations of thousands of aliens in state prisons (a cost nearing $1 billion per annum). But now the state legislature is largely controlled by those who in the past argued for de facto open borders and an expansion, not a curtailment, of entitlements for those without legal residence. So whom to blame? There is no “they” anymore. The outsiders are insiders and own the state—and its contradictions they once helped to ensure.

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President Barack Obama is being praised for choosing an Arabic TV network for his first formal television interview on the Dubai-based, Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel. I think we can all appreciate the thinking behind such bold outreach, given that the media at home has chortled to the world that our new guy’s unusual background, in sort of Zen-fashion, has befuddled the radical Islamic movement.

The subtext of our satisfaction has been that Obama—African-American, son of a Muslim father, erstwhile resident of Muslim Indonesia, with Hussein as his middle name—makes it far harder for the Arab Islamic world to typecast America unfairly as the Great Satan than would be true in the case of an evangelical, Texas-drawling, hard-core conservative Chief Executive like good ‘ole boy George Bush.

True enough, no doubt.

But triangulation is a touchy art and it takes the genius of a Dick Morris cum soulless Bill Clinton to pull off such disingenuousness. In less experienced hands it can be explosive and turn on its user. And Obama will soon learn the dangerous game he is playing. Consider:

1) When abroad it is not wise to criticize your own country and praise the antithetical world view of another—especially if yours is a democratic republic and the alternative is a theocratic monarchy that has a less than liberal record on human rights, treatment of women and homosexuals, and tolerance for religious plurality.

But here’s what Obama said:

“… All too often the United States starts by dictating…in the past on some of these issues…and we don’t always know all the factors that are involved. So let’s listen…Well, here’s what I think is important. Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia…I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage…to put forward something that is as significant as that. I think that there are ideas across the region of how we might pursue peace.”

The end, if unintended, result is that the Saudi King comes across as courageous, while the U.S. President and State Department (e.g., “the United States”) are portrayed as dictatorial-like (“dictating”) in the region.

2) An unspoken rule of American statesmanship is not to be overtly partisan abroad. And in Obama’s case it is high time to arrest the campaign mode, cease the implied “Bush did it” (which ipso facto has a short shelf life), and begin dealing with the world as it is, rather than the world you feel was unfairly presented to you by someone more blameworthy in the past. But again consider:

“But if you look at the track record, as you say, America was not born as a colonial power, and that the same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that. And that I think is going to be an important task… And so what we want to do is to listen, set aside some of the preconceptions that have existed and have built up over the last several years. And I think if we do that, then there’s a possibility at least of achieving some breakthroughs… but I think that what you’ll see is somebody who is listening, who is respectful, and who is trying to promote the interests not just of the United States, but also ordinary people who right now are suffering from poverty and a lack of opportunity. I want to make sure that I’m speaking to them, as well.”

Perhaps. But once again, the impression comes across as ‘past America bad /present and future America good.’ (Even the senior George Bush learned that lesson at home with his serial “kinder, gentler nation” [e.g., kinder than what?]). And nothing is offered here (other than our lack of a colonial past) about the actual impressive record: amazing American good will in saving Kuwait, objecting to the Kuwaiti deportations of thousands of Palestinians, speaking out against Russia on behalf of the Chechens, trying to save the Somalis, bombing a Christian European Serbia to save the Kosovar and Bosnian Muslims, helping the Afghans against the Soviets, removing the Taliban and Saddam Hussein and trying to invest a $1 trillion in fostering democracy in their places, billions in disease relief for black (and often Muslim) Africa, timely help to the Muslim victims of the tsunami, and liberal immigration laws that welcome in millions of Arabs and/or Muslims. I could go on but you get the picture left out that America, far better than China, Russia, or Europe, has been quite friendly to the Muslim world.

Instead the supposition is that somehow the culpability is largely ours—and therefore ours to rectify. In fact, the widespread hatred in the Islamic world, manifested, and sometime applauded, on September 11, was largely a result of the failures of indigenous autocracy—whether in the past Pan-Arabist, Baathist, theocratic and Islamic, Nasserite, or pro-Soviet statism.

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It Isn’t Easy Being a Saint

January 25th, 2009 - 2:17 pm

All of you readers have had this odd experience. Just remember a bit. Someone you know, even know well, whom you thought was reasonably conservative, if perhaps at least a centrist, who would have welcomed a McCain “moderate” campaign, rather than a hard-core conservative candidacy, suddenly, without warning in a conversation, perhaps over the phone, confesses that he was voting for Obama!

And he was not just voting for Obama, but doing so in almost teen-aged hysterical fashion. I’m not talking of a Colin Powell phenomenon, but someone who had no political interests or career concerns, or need for psychological remissions of sins, someone whose entire political philosophy was seemingly antithetical to Obamism.

It made no sense, you thought, given that the apostate’s previous protestations about being conservative, but not a Bush conservative, would have led naturally to an affinity for McCain. After that you had the weird feeling, perhaps as you remember in the Invasion of the Body Snatchers, that anyone at anytime could wake up and almost zombie like not seem like he was before, but apparently docile, happy, and eager to join an entirely new centrally-guided paradigm that would prove for us new automatons to be in our best interests.

This occurred to me on at least ten occasions, with long-time friends, some familiar pundits, and a few in government no less. So I came to appreciate the power of the Obama rhetoric. And there was power too in the desire for change after eight years, and an understandable yearning for our first African-American President.

I was writing a TMS column today on Obama’s soaring rhetoric and the impossible expectations that he imprisoned himself in, and began thinking back on the last two years. What explains his near miraculous rise, when pros had almost coronated Hillary and assured us she would trounce Giuliani?

I suppose Barack Obama made the nation giddy when he proclaimed there were no red and blue states, just Americans. He promised to unite us across political, racial, and religious lines. And for the age of cynicism there was something admirable to returning to the age of belief. For some in one fell swoop they were given exemption for all racial sins and now could continue to live as before-but relieved of white guilt. So we overlooked the racialist sermonizing from Michelle Obama, Barack’s occasional promises for reparations in deed not mere word, and the odd things that a Joseph Lowery said on Inauguration Day that were acceptable for a Civil Rights veteran but would have sent a white professor, journalist, or politician into the Don Imus stocks for a week or two.

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An Uneasy Feeling

January 21st, 2009 - 12:39 pm

All Americans must appreciate the outpouring of good will, unity, and hope for a successful Obama administration. But I had a certain feeling of uncertainty yesterday at the coverage of the festivities.

Let me preface that worry: I did not think much of Bill Clinton our modern-day Alcibiades. But all through his administration, and of course before and after it, I thought a great deal of the United States, especially in comparison to the alternative.

Before Clinton bombed Milosevic in 1998 I believed that it would have been wiser to have gone to Congress and gotten an authorization to use force (as in the case of Bush in 2002). He might have also at least tried to convince the UN (as Bush attempted in fall 2002). But no matter: he began bombing he said to stop genocide, and I wrote an op-ed at the time for the Wall Street Journal calling for unity to ensure an American victory over Milosevic.

Whether Obama is President or McCain had won, no matter; it is still the US, and as a Jacksonian I pretty much pull for America—all the time. I am not a Socratic citizen of the world—given the thugs that rule most of Africa, the creepy places such as Iran or Russia or North Korea, the land of the Lotus-eaters in Europe, or the tribal dictatorships I’ve seen in the Middle East

I thought Jimmy Carter proved a self-righteous disaster and endangered the nation—remember the hostages in Iran, and the rise of radical Islam, the commies in Afghanistan and Central America, the holocaust in Cambodia, the oil mess, the sanctimonious preachy lectures, etc.—but I never thought that only with the ascension of Reagan could I really be again proud of the US.

The point? I distilled from the press coverage and the crowds and the punditry yesterday that for all too many suddenly a vote for Obama redeems America. Now, to paraphrase Michelle Obama, for the first time in their lives they are apparently proud of the United States. (Had we not had the financial meltdown in mid-September, and had Obama stayed three points back in the polls, would millions have stayed soured on America and now in sullen silence licked their wounds?).

So I am surprised that suddenly the election of a single individual means that we are united, patriotic, proud of America? Suddenly Okinawa or Antietam, or all those who died at the Argonne, are ours to claim again? (This reminds of elementary school, when our third-grade split up into two sides, as the teacher quizzed us on geography–and the losers of the contest cried and said unfair and how they didn’t like school or Mrs. Wilson, and then when they won the next day, how suddenly third grade became glorious, and Mrs. Wilson and her games were once again wonderful).

But America was always ours, the public, and the nation transcends the proposition of whether Obama gets elected or not—given that the United States, in its worst hour, was better than the alternatives at their best. So I think it would be wise to cool it on the “I am now proud of America” rhetoric. If getting your way means suddenly the dead at Iwo or those who were blown up in B-17s over Germany are at last your own and matter, then we are in deep trouble.

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Novus Ordo Seclorum

January 18th, 2009 - 9:54 am

Presidential oddities

Obama has been very good in lowering expectations by reminding us 24/7 that there are no easy solutions to the present fiscal meltdown. True enough. But why then a continuation of the megalomaniac sets—the retracing of the Lincoln Illinois trip to the inauguration in the spirit of vero possumus, the Victory Column, the Greek temple convention sets, etc?

The more he willingly takes on the Lincolnesque or Caesarian mantle, the more the media worries that we have put too many expectations on Obama. Well, surely one way to lower our expectations would be to take a night-flight on a 737 to DC from Chicago, rather than reenact train-bound Young Mr. Lincoln. (Remember, unlike Lincoln, Obama flew back to Chicago from DC to take the train back to DC again). It sort of reminds one of the lectures about the Obama family off limits / Obama family center stage for photo-ops and interviews.

One President at a Time

Obama was also insistent that there is only one President at a time—well, sort of at least. On the economy, however, he started issuing communiqués weeks ago; on Gaza, in contrast, it was silence and all Bush’s. Note the Israelis just stopped in Gaza. Odd timing? They are unsure of the reaction of the Obama administration, fearing an off-handed sympathetic remark about Hamas, or, more likely, eager not to leave him with an embarrassing situation on his first day in office that he might not forget.

Bush Considered

I wrote an essay about Bush’s successes for the Monday National Review Online. Here are some disappointments:

a. Cronyism: I don’t think Scott McClellan, Harriet Meyers, Michael Brown, etc. were employable outside the White House.
b. First-term spending: the gargantuan leap in the size of the federal government discredited the tax cuts (that brought in more revenue) and the entire notion that Republicans were financial watch-dogs.
c. The Iraq war was authorized on 23 Congressional counts—not just WMD. So why focus on that alone?
d. Why do administration figures conduct engaging and spirited interviews and defenses of policies in the last two weeks of their tenure, but not the last eight years?
e. Congressional Democrats were not bipartisan Texas Democrats: not vetoing their bills as the price for their support of the war meant endless red-ink.
f. Loudly with a small stick: Bellicose rhetoric like smoke ‘em out or dead or alive cannot be juxtaposed to pulling back from Fallujah in April 2004, or giving a reprieve to Sadr.
g. Katrina was mostly a state and local breakdown, coupled with a culture of dependence fostered by federal entitlement: Had Bush landed, sloshed around in the muck, had a photo-op wet and muddy, yelled at some bureaucrats, then the press would not have not so easily turned it into a racist genocidal plot.
h. The financial meltdown was in part due to letting Frank, Dodd, Rains, etc. ruin Fannie and Freddie, the result of hundreds of billions of additional debt, and naïve promotion of an ‘ownership society’, when about 30% of the population always has no business owning the responsibilities of a home.

All the above is set off against a corruption free, honest Bush governance (cf. the Blago/Obama nominees pre-office problems), lack of another 9/11 at home, constitutional governments in place of the Taliban and Saddam, a decimation of Al Qaeda, with negative polls in the Middle East for bin Laden and suicide bombing, no more nuclear processing in Libya, Dr. Khan shut down, Syrians out of Lebanon, pro-US governments in Europe, good relations with China and India, the Obama acceptance of the Bush anti-terror framework, crashing oil prices, an isolated Ahmadinejad and Chavez, two good Supreme Court Justices, etc.)

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From Gaza to Guantanamo

January 12th, 2009 - 9:51 pm

A Strange Contrast

If one can endure the creepy, multifarious Hamas recruiting videos of Gazan children with suicide belts, camouflage uniforms, and toy AK-47s shouting to “kill the Jews”, and then collates all that with the images of young Hamas males with hoods and masks, RPGs and rocket launchers, screaming about the death to come to Israel with the now boilerplate “Day of Death” and “Day of Punishment”—with all the bizarre use of the vocative (“O Israel, you will see your rivers of blood” or “O Olmert, we will cut your head off!”)—then it is hard to comprehend the switch to a sudden victimization mode, in which weeping Hamas operatives appeal to Europeans, the news agencies, and other Arabs for relief from the suddenly militarily competent and fierce Jews.

Tribal War

This is all very tribal—the radical turn-about from the praising the law of the jungle and fighting to the death to appealing to the guilt of the stronger power for exemption. It reminds me of Bernal Diaz Del Castillo’s description of the Spanish-Aztec confrontation. The Japanese, as I mentioned, never in extremis asked for quarter on Iwo or appealed to the League of Nations, whose laws they violated.

Fair and Balanced

It is also terribly depressing to see the coverage. Each time I watch the melodramatic dispatches of a CNN reporter or read a Reuters dispatch, I ask, “Where were you when the Russians blew apart 40,000 plus Muslims from the center of Grozny? Are you upset about the Turkish Muslim occupation of Cyprus now in its fourth decade? Didn’t Israel give more up of southern Lebanon and Gaza and the West Bank than China ever did in occupied Tibet? And were there more Palestinians lost in Gaza or recently in Zimbabwe, Congo —or fill in the blanks in Africa? Is Russia now occupying parts of Georgia?

What Was Israel Thinking?
For all the talk of Israeli failure, they are doing to Hamas what they did to Hezbollah in 2006 and Fatah in 2002. And in each of these respective cases there was a cessation in offensive attacks following an incredible degree of material damage. Israeli goals? Risks? (1) They are gambling that the IDF can show Hamas to be weak, isolated, and largely a costly puppet of Iran without a lot of sympathy from, or indeed covert support from, either the Arab capitals or Fatah/PA or both; (2) They are gambling that they can establish another quid-pro-quid protocol in which a Hamas or Hezbollah understands that every time they wish to start another round of killing and fighting, they will kill only a few Israelis at a cost of hundreds of their own and billions in material losses; (3) They are gambling that they can so discredit and humiliate Hamas that the Palestinian Authority gains in stature and shows a greater willingness to negotiate; (4) They are gambling that they can kill enough Hamas leadership and blow up enough caches to reduce the rocket attacks, or at least convince the Egyptians to shut down the tunnel accesses; (5) They are gambling that if the world and the UN and the EU all choose to side with a terrorist entity like Hamas, then they have lost all leverage with the Israelis, and, thereby, are shown to be bankrupt and impotent in their ability to change conditions on the ground.

Unconventional Wisdom

We were told for 7 years that Iran was in the driver’s seat and we had only empowered it by invading Iraq, but consider. Oil prices have crashed, depriving it of tens of billions of dollars. Iraq looks like it made it, and its free media will prove more destabilizing to a censored society in Iran than Iranian agents were to democratic Iraq. The tab to clean up for Hezbollah after 2006 was reported in the billions. Replacing the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza won’t be cheap. All of Iran’s surrogates “win” only by getting pounded and requiring billions in terrorist replacement subsidies. The Arab world is in near lockstep against Iran. So why the conventional wisdom that it is ascendant? (And why talk to a foul murderous regime when it is tottering?)

Advice to Obama:

If you do cut back on the Bush anti-terrorism policies (and, rhetoric aside, I doubt you will to any great degree [see below]), and we suffer any sort of 9/11 attack, in the national clamor afterwards, expect those aides who lobbied you the hardest for repeal, will be just those sure to court the press and explain why and how their insightful advice about keeping the Bush era statutes was ignored—by you.

The Other Foot

A year from now, say January 2010, will we read an AP headline like “Obama wrestles with Guantanamo”? It will be followed by a lede-in like, “In yet another pernicious legacy from the Bush administration, President Obama is perplexed by the problems of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention center, given that some deadly terrorists still reside there, and yet there is as no adequate solution in either trying them or releasing detainees to their parent countries.”

But wait, why imagine a year from now?—Obama has already done that! Cf. the latest in which we suddenly learn that Bush the Law Shredder was, well, facing tough choices. Here’s the most recent ABC interview transcript:

“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize,” the President-elect explained. “Part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true. And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.”

Was That Bush or Obama?

Yes, that was Barack Obama you just heard—not George Bush circa 2002.(Perhaps his only escape line will be that he has to keep Gitmo open since Bush “tortured” three terrorists by waterboarding, and ensured that they will get off on a technicality in a court trial. So they have to stay there for now. [But most others were not water-boarded, so why not just let the vast majority go?] And are we to believe that the campaign rhetoric of Bush “trampling over habeas corpus” is now inoperative given “people who are intent on blowing us up?”)

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Say They Aren’t So

January 9th, 2009 - 6:40 am

Ironies of 2008

Once one decides to unite the oppressed people of the universe and save the planet, a number of ironies arise in such megalomaniac responsibilities. Here are five that bothered me this past year.

1. Class

Sarah Palin perhaps flubbed the interview with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson, at least in the clips that were edited for TV. She also drops her g’s and says things like “you betcha” and “pal’in around”.

She surely didn’t give snap answers on foreign policy matters. In no short order, a woman who had five kids, a 16-year political career, and a successful governorship was reduced to a white-trash hack, the mother of a promiscuous teen, as awful rumors, trafficked in by liberal professionals, swirled about her own most recent pregnancy.

The mainstream media’s narrative was thus that glibness matters, 16 years of Alaskan politics don’t quite cut it for national office, and a candidate’s personal life is fair game, as the moose-hunting ex-mayor of Wasilla and her life-story attest.

Or is that entirely true? I could make the hypocritical contrast with the gaffe-o-matic Joe Biden, but instead read below.

These same egalitarians in the media, however, do not seem to have a problem with Caroline Kennedy, soon perhaps to be anointed Senator from New York.

But on the basis of what? Political experience—zero.

Past elections? Zilch.

Eloquence? Nope. Ms. Kennedy drones on with “you know” and “I mean” dozens of times per minute. In comparison, Sarah Palin sounds like Demosthenes or Cicero.

Full disclosure? Hardly. We know nothing about Caroline’s vast fortune—where it exactly came from and how it is used. We learned far more about poor Mr. Palin’s decrepit old prop airplane than Ms. Kennedy’s stock portfolio and past contributions.

Perhaps the difference is good citizenship? I doubt it. Palin ran for offices; Kennedy often passed on voting entirely.

Is it doctrinaire politics? Again, I doubt it. Palin has taken on Republicans in Alaska, entrenched males, and indeed, on matters of energy, her own running mate John McCain.

Kennedy? I don’t think there a liberal dogma or progressive politician she has ever questioned.

We laugh about Palin’s Idaho work-your-way-through-college sports journalism degree, especially perhaps in comparison to Kennedy’s Ivy League pedigree. But the latter is too often affirmative action for silk-stocking East Coast grandees. Take away money and nomenclature, and I doubt Kennedy would have gotten into such schools on her own merits. I offer such an unsupported generalization on the basis of her elocution: I turned out about 100 classics majors and MA students during 21 years at CSU Fresno, and without exception every single one (mostly poor or minority students without parents who went to college) in interviews sounded far more knowledgeable and grammatical than does Ms. Kennedy.

The irony in all this? Too obvious to state…

(Maybe a tiny bit is due to the fact that Ms. Kennedy affirms she is “pro-choice” while the Palins bring to full term an illegitimate teen-pregnancy and a Down-Syndrome child.)

2. Islam

I confess this war on terror business is coming down to fear or no fear. A film maker, a novelist, or a comedian dreams publicly of killing George Bush—and he wins a big book contract or an arts award. A cartoonist does a sketch of a Mohammed and he faces death threats. Liberal contrarians honor the former and abandon the latter.

We are told terrorism bad, democracy good. Really? Every terrorist Hamas rocket is aimed at a Democratic civilian; every Democratic IDF air -to -ground missile is aimed at a terrorist.

The common denominator in all this? George Bush or an IDF colonel is not going to show up at your editorial office in New York or Madrid or Paris with a suicide vest on. Write a novel about Bush deserving to die, as did Nicholson Baker, and you win a Knopf contract; write one about the Prophet as did Salman Rushdie and you go into hiding for a decade.

Fear is about all I can come up with. (And easy guilt as well.)

3. Bush Did It

George Bush, Ashcroft, Halliburton’s Cheney, Feith, et al, remember, shredded the Constitution.

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The World Supports Hamas? Of Course, They Do!

January 4th, 2009 - 7:04 pm

The Hamas lobby

I got more than the usual nasty letters this week over voicing support for Israel. Here are some of the critics’ counter-arguments.

1. You talk big time of supporting democracy in the Middle East, but then turn on democratically-elected Hamas when it is convenient!

Two points: (A) In summer 2007 Hamas eliminated the Palestinian Authority (i.e., erstwhile Fatah) opposition through intimidation, occasional summary execution and attacks on its party infrastructure. It then, following a Hitlerian 1930s paradigm, took over complete control of Gaza well beyond its parliamentary mandate, and began turning Gaza into an armed camp and veritable appendage of the Iranian terrorist apparatus. Then it soon began shelling Israel.

(B) Israel left Gaza. Hamas at that point could either have (a) done what terrorist organizations always do (e.g., kill their opponents, rob their own people to subsidize an idle thugocracy of young males [cf. al Qaeda in Anbar], and terrorize their opponents), and claim Israeli withdrawal was not a concession, but a fatal sign of weakness and thus an incentive to go after the Jewish state itself; OR (b) welcome in foreign investment by guaranteeing security; monitor the border with Egypt and ensure non-violent commercial transit; welcome in Gulf oil money and protect such investment; declare a permanent truce with Israel; concentrate on fostering its own economy now to prepare for diplomatic solutions later on; and utilize abandoned Israeli infrastructure to encourage economic growth.

Guess what path they followed.

2. But why does Israel kill so many, and Hamas so few if Israel is the defender, Hamas the aggressor?

No one likes to see anyone die, but no one likes either to see a nation blanketed with 6,000 rockets to the amusement or neglect of the world community

First, read military history on proportionality. Japan attacked the US in World War II and ended up losing 10 times as many soldiers—and over a million times more civilians—as did we: quite disproportionate; but that did not ipso facto make Japan a sympathetic player. Ditto Nazi Germany. Military incompetence or even impotence does not equate to either legitimacy or sympathy—nor mask evil intent.

Second, again, hundreds of thousands of Jews have been subject to over 6,000 rocket attacks. That such crude terrorist weapons kill few, given sophisticated Israeli counter-measures and Hamas’s military impotence, means little, if commerce, daily life and calm in Israel are impossible under constant barrages.

Third, Israel could not do so much damage to Hamas terrorists and so little to civilians unless (a), it was getting all sorts of help and intelligence from Palestinians, and tacit support from Arab governments, and (b), going to historical lengths not to kill civilians, even to the extent of text-messaging and cell-phoning anonymous families to vacate impending targets.

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