LARRY ELLISON: "LIKE A RICH VERSION OF A NORTH KOREAN DICTATOR" -- That's Larry Lessig's description from this must-read article on the high-tech community and homeland security by Jeffrey Rosen.

"OXFORD POET WANTS U.S. JEWS SHOT:" Oxford poet Tom Paulin is supposedly a "respected" poet and critic. An interview with Al Ahram makes me wonder why:

The interviewer wrote that Paulin, a consistent critic of Israeli conduct towards the Palestinians, clearly abhorred "Brooklyn-born" Jewish settlers. Paulin, a lecturer at Hertford College, Oxford, was then quoted as saying: "They should be shot dead.

"I think they are Nazis, racists, I feel nothing but hatred for them." Earlier in the interview, he was quoted as saying: "I never believed that Israel had the right to exist at all."

I suspect a lot of people feel the same about you, Tom.


BRINK LINDSEY takes on antiwar libertarians again, and in another post quotes Ludwig von Mises on national defense.

DIANA HSIEH has some thoughts on a compromise solution for dealing with suicide bombers.

STEVEN DEN BESTE says Powell has just done a triple-axel rope-a-dope on Arafat. I sure hope he's right.


We just returned from Friday night services, where I was reminded of Golda Meir's remarks probably 40 years ago. Asked when there would be peace between Israel and the Palestinians, she replied, "When the Palestinians learn to love their children more than they hate the Jews."

I guess we're not there yet.

WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY says that Ariel Sharon is simultaneously too brutal and not brutal enough. Instead of rummaging through Palestinian villages, he should have sent in a hundred soldiers, dragged out Arafat and his lieutenants, and shot them.

Being more twisted than the straight-arrow WFB, I think Sharon should have arrested Arafat, tried him for war crimes using an indictment made as near as possible to word-for-word identical with the one Slobodan Milosevic is being tried under, and then shot him.

And explained to the EU, the Red Cross, and the UN that (1) heads of state aren't immune anymore (see Pinochet and Milosevic); (2) Arafat isn't a head of state anyway; (3) Arafat is genuinely guilty of war crimes. All these statements are indisputably true. This won't quiet them, of course. But that's not the point.

MICKEY KAUS has an even better conspiracy theory. He blames Hillary Clinton!

EDWARD BOYD has an all-purpose conspiracy theory to explain the overthrow of Hugo Chavez. He seems to wish he believed it himself.

Yes, that's the thing about conspiracy theories: in a comforting sort of way, they give rise to the feeling that someone, somewhere, knows what's going on.

THE CONSTITUTION IS A "LUXURY" WE CAN'T AFFORD, says a guy who should never hold higher office.

GEEKPAC, an idea whose time has come.

THE HEROIC AFGHAN PHYSICISTS who hid nuclear material from Al Qaeda deserve a Nobel Peace Prize, a lot of people agree. Now there's a petition in support of just that.

AN OBSERVATION ALMOST TWAIN-LIKE in its obvious truthfulness, yet humorous absurdity, from Natalie Krinsky:

By society's general standards, men are supposed to have body hair. Leg hair is manly, chest hair is manly, but manliness can apparently only be expressed on one side of the body, because according to my sources, ass hair and back hair are unacceptable.
From this observation, she turns to the promise of genetic engineering.

WRITING FROM PARIS, Nelson Ascher doesn't think that the synagogue attacks are mere coincidence, despite the suggestion of reader Tom Maguire below:

I would like to know how can we explain away the beating of Jewish boys by a masked gang as "electrical fires and routine accidents", as anything indeed but anti-semitism. If it had happened to Muslim boys all the bien-pensants here would be screaming about massacres. Imagine if it happened to Muslim boys in the US after 9/11. But it is not the increasing frequency and the growing intensity of the attacks that is really worrying now, but the silence or the lame excuses provided by the authorities. Remember the Weimar republic? The official explanations are the worst of all. One French official will say that what's happening is a sorry echo of Middle-Eastern tensions. Then, the same or another official will lay the blame for tensions in the Middle East squarely on Israel. Add up the two explanations and, through a not too subtle detour, the result is that the Jews are to blame for being under attack in France. It is important to observe that there is nothing similar happening in Britain, where there is a tradition of racial riots, and where the Muslim community is, if anything, more openly militant than in France. Strange, isn't it?
Well, I agree. But I wanted to post Maguire's comments because I do think that it's worth considering whether we are getting carried away. But in fact, as I mentioned there, these synagogue burnings do all appear deliberate. And the response of the French authorities, while sometimes good, has overall been disappointing.

SOME THOUGHTS on the political strategy behind Bush's cloning position, from Alex Rubalcava.

READER LYNN KIESLING sends these observations about Venezuela and the oil markets:

This past week has been an interesting one for world oil markets. First, crude oil prices actually fell after Iraq announced a 30-day embargo, both because traders had priced in the expectation of this move in the previous week, and because Saudi Arabia and Kuwait signaled that they would not follow suit. Then, early Friday morning in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez resigned in the face of protests and strikes related to his handling of management issues at Venezuela's state-owned oil monopoly. Public protests intensified after Chavez's soldiers fired on unarmed protesters, killing fourteen people.

Over the past three years, Venezuela had become one of the most diligent OPEC members under Chavez's lead. Venezuela used to cheat on the cartel agreement by exporting beyond what they said they would; thus by 1998 Venezuela was the second largest source of U.S. oil imports. Then Chavez shifted the country to more cooperation with OPEC export controls, leading to global oil price increases in 1999.

In recent months Chavez aggravated the U.S. with strong rhetoric in favor of using oil as a political too. He also irritated executives at the state oil monopoly in February, when he appointed a new board of directors full of members whom the executives saw as unqualified political appointees. Last week, labor and management joined forces to form a general strike. The strike halted oil shipments, leaving full oil tankers with no exit to world markets. Not surprisingly, this turn of events contributed to the oil price increases we saw two weeks ago. Today, after Chavez's removal, crude oil prices in New York and London fell to their lowest levels in six weeks, encouraged by statements from Venezuelan oil executives that they will tailor their production to market conditions, not to OPEC controls.

One interesting, and increasingly important, economic driver underlying these moves toward better economic management, even in state-owned monopolies, is the need to attract investment capital. Some countries with state-owned oil companies are starting to use contracting and foreign joint ventures to improve domestic oil infrastructure. The poster child for this transition has been Russia, which has increasingly privatized its state oil industry' management and ownership over the past five years to attract capital. President Putin has also moved to firm up Russia's judicial neutrality, legal transparency, and rule of law to encourage future foreign investment in the industry; if this evolution is successful Russia will attract substantial foreign investment and see positive economic growth and opportunities for its citizens. Venezuela faces many of the same legal challenges and opportunities as Russia has over the past decade.

Venezuela's interim leader is Pedro Carmona, president of Venezuela's primary business association. Carmona was instrumental in coordinating oil workers and management to implement their successful strike and opposition to Chavez. He has pledged to establish civilian membership on the interim junta, and to plan democratic elections for the fall.

Chavez turned his democratic election into an exercise of autocratic power in an increasingly global industry. The market dynamics of this ever-evolving industry shaped the incentives of Venezuelan oil executives to marshal widespread opposition. At this point it remains unclear what will happen with the oil industry in Venezuela, but Chavez's removal opens new opportunities for freedom and markets in Venezuela, in the oil industry and beyond.

One hopes.

JONAH GOLDBERG, in a fit of inspiration, takes on Cynthia McKinney's conspiracy theory:

When confronted, McKinney backpedaled a few millimeters. In a statement she explained: "I am not aware of any evidence showing that President Bush or members of his administration have personally profited from the attacks of 9-11. A complete investigation might reveal that to be the case."

I see. Well, just let me just say that I am not aware of any evidence that Ms. McKinney has murdered several children or that she personally profited from sleeping with the entire defensive squad of the Atlanta Falcons. However, a complete investigation might reveal that to be the case. . . .

McKinney's hypocrisy is so concentrated it could eat through metal. The only politician I know of who actively tried to profit from Sept. 11, was Cynthia McKinney herself. She's the one who went whoring after Saudi Arabia's blood money after the attacks.

Yes, now that McKinney has established herself as a willing-to-be-paid mouthpiece for Saudi interests, her conspiracy theories carry even less weight than they would otherwise.

RAMESH PONNURU savages the Bush administration over steel and lumber tariffs.

ARMAGEDDON? It's hard for me to take this red-heifer stuff seriously. But my opinion isn't the one that matters.

WILLIAM SULIK picks up on a change that I noticed today while watching CNN at the gym. I promptly forgot about it, but Sulik didn't, and he has a thorough and interesting post on the change in White House language from "suicide bombings" to "homicide bombings." The blogging community, of course, has been pushing for just such a change in phraseology for a while. Interesting.

MATTHEW HOY is unimpressed with Paul Krugman's latest column. And it shows.

CORNEL WEST UPDATE: Cornel West, no doubt tired of InstaPundit's nonstop taunts, is leaving Harvard for Princeton.

I think this proves just how smart Larry Summers is. West is leaving. His (huge) salary and benefits line can be used to hire two, or perhaps three, real scholars of promise. Anthony Appiah has already left for Princeton, and Henry Louis Gates may go, too. They, unlike West, are scholars of some substance -- but their best years are behind them, and their salaries will also support several more junior people. What's more, their departure will give Summers a comparatively free hand in reorganizing the African-American Studies program toward serious scholarship. The price he pays? Some faculty members will be mad at him, and he'll get a bad article or two in papers like The New York Times.

TIM BLAIR has some excerpts from his forthcoming book about 9/11 and the Australian Left, entitled Blaming Ourselves: September 11 and the Agony of the Left.

NOW IT'S AUSTRALIA experiencing a wave of antisemitic attacks.

THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT has been ordered to pay war crimes reparations for its role in deporting Jews to extermination camps, Fredrik Norman reports.

THE FRENCH BOOK "DEBUNKING" THE PENTAGON ATTACK does not exist reports a new book. Read this post. It's the most enjoyable thing I've seen today.

I JUST NOTICED that Boston Globe technology reporter Hiawatha Bray has a weblog. Check it out. You gotta (well, I gotta) love a guy who calls PowerPoint the "focus of evil in the modern world."

SHIMON PERES says that antisemitism isn't a problem in France; the Simon Wiesenthal Center disagrees. There's an SWC report on this here, though you have to sign up and once I did, I couldn't get the page to open. Maybe you'll have better luck.

ORRIN JUDD weighs in on Venezuela.

PATRICK RUFFINI has some news from the redistricting front in NRO. He also has some thoughts on the Chavez ouster on his website.

FREDRIK NORMAN has an English translation of a Norwegian newspaper article about angry email the Embassy is receiving.

LYNNE KIESLING WRITES: "Freedom and global markets bring down another dictator!"

RICHARD JAHNKE has a survey of "what next?" stories about Chavez and Venezuela. Also interesting is background on why Chavez's military colleagues rejected him -- basically, his anti-Americanism and friendly relations with Castro.

EURO SYNAGOGUE-BURNING UPDATE: Reader Tom Maguire offers this perspective:

OK, I am against anti-semitism. And is there anyone more boring than a man with perspective? Dull or not, I am remembering the "epidemic" of church bombings and fires here in America in 1995-1996, signifying rising racial tension and general ill-will towards men. My recollection is that much of the epidemic was, in fact, electical fires and routine accidents getting reported as suspicious church fires because the church fire story was so hot (as it were). The same phenomenon has been described with shark attacks - if reporters go looking for shark attack stories, they will find them.

Clearly, Arab-Jewish tensions seem to be high and anti-Jewish violence may be rising. But without any baseline for gauging normal, everyday racial and ethnic tension and violence in the different parts of Europe, it is possible that this spate of stories coming out of France reflects our desire to finally look at something that has always (shamefully) been there, rather than something new.

So I'm boring. Wordy, too. But someone who speaks French could check local newspapers and crime statistics going back a few years and see what they find.

Yeah, I've thought about this too. However, most of the reports I've seen involve molotov cocktails and antisemitic graffiti. But any statistical information would be welcome.

A READER WRITES that the Norwegian Embassy appears to have taken its contact page down. Sure enough, I couldn't get it to open. Or maybe their server has crashed under the strain. Anyway, here are the addresses: [email protected], [email protected] Also, the e-mail address for the Norwegian Parliament is [email protected] You can write directly to the Secretary-General of the Storinget (Norwegian Parliament), Hans Brattestĺ.

NICK SCHULZ has this dissection of Bush's anti-cloning speech. Schulz's basic point is that Bush is taking a pro-life position against cloning, but isn't willing to admit it because he knows that's a political loser:

So if the pro-life argument against cloning is the strongest one available, why didn't Bush, an avowed pro-lifer, make it in his speech? There are two likely explanations. The first would be that the President doesn't really agree with the traditional pro-life position. That would be unfortunate for the public debate, if for no other reason than any serious opposition to cloning must surely rest on some iteration of this view.

The other explanation, and the more likely one, is that the President understands the political and legal problem he faces by pushing a ban. How so? For better or worse, the laws of the United States flout the traditional pro-life position explicitly. Our abortion laws and our laws regulating reproductive procedures such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) all minimize the relative moral status of embryos and thus allow for the destruction of embryos. Now, if it's true that the only persuasive case for banning therapeutic cloning rests on some variation of the traditional pro-life position, then a total ban on cloning would -- implicitly if not explicitly -- elevate the moral and legal status of embryos beyond their current position.

I think that Schulz is right. He also describes the influence of Leon Kass, which turns out to be exactly what many observers feared it would be.

CORNEL WEST UPDATE: Okay, West is really a peripheral figure here. This Washington Post story tells the rather sad tale of the Michael Lerner / Cornel West anti-Israel protest:

Usually when peace demonstrators get arrested, it's to oppose U.S. military adventures abroad. Now, for perhaps the first time in the history of Washington protest, the symbolic act of submitting to white plastic handcuffs would be to encourage American military intervention. That's the Middle East for you. Complicated, complicated.

"What's our message?" someone asked.

"We've done the message," Lerner said a tad testily. "We've been doing the message" for nearly an hour. . . .

Someone suggested getting arrested at the Israeli Embassy instead.

"Too far," Lerner said. "We'd have to take cabs." . . .

After nearly an hour, the police gave the first warning to clear the street. The second warning.

Suddenly Lerner and West jumped up and started walking away very fast. A sudden change of heart?

They ducked into the nearby National Academy of Sciences building and entered the second room on the right. The men's room.

"I feel so much better," said West as he returned to the circle.

If this is the peace movement, then there is no peace movement to speak of.

BIZARRO CONSPIRACY THEORIES II: Cynthia McKinney has her own wacky claims. I love the response: "Did she say these things while standing on a grassy knoll in Roswell, New Mexico?"

BIZARRO CONSPIRACY THEORIES I: SpinSanity debunks Ted Rall's oily claims.

TAKE A FRIEND TARGET SHOOTING: Prof. Eugene Volokh tells of his own efforts, and his brother Sasha reports on an upcoming joint shooting trip involving the Harvard Law School shooting club and the Mt. Holyoke chapter of the Second Amendment Sisters. Sasha reports that his club is mentioned in the current issue of The Economist, and Eugene reflects on the relationship between gay rights and gun rights.

IT TOOK THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT exactly one day to descend into exactly the sort of Mary Robinsonesque parody its opponents expected. The "international community" lacks the moral stature and responsibility to administer a criminal court. It was obvious a year ago. It's inescapably obvious now.

CLONING UPDATE: Virginia Postrel says of Bush's cloning speech: "The president's speech in support of making cell cloning a crime was a carefully crafted piece of rhetoric, calculated to appeal to those who believe a fertilized egg is a person and to confuse the rest of the public." She has a detailed critique, so click through if you're interested. It hasn't confused everyone: Rand Simberg says that this is the first issue on which he would have preferred Al Gore as President.

UNBELIEVABLY, Canada is still admitting Saudis without visas, even though 11 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis. Nor is this an oversight -- the Canadian immigration services deems Saudis "low risk."

FREDRIK NORMAN REPORTS that the Norwegian Embassy has been hit by a "storm" of critical letters because of the anti-Jewish attitudes shown by prominent Norwegians. Keep those cards and letters (well, email mostly), er, going folks.


CHAVEZ HAS FLED, Jorge Schmidt reports:

You heard it here first. Tommorrow Venezuela will have a provisional government. The only question is whether Chavez will be allowed to fly out of the country. His family left from the metropolitan airport of La Carlota, in Caracas' east side. The Air Force Colonel in charge of the airport -- which is also a military base -- ordered the runways blocked after Chavez' wife and children flew off.
I don't have any independent confirmation on this, but Schmidt has been reliable in the past.

UPDATE: Reuters is reporting that Chavez is out, though the story doesn't include the part about his family.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Just noticed that Richard Jahnke has this topic covered.

ZACHARY BARBERA has praise for the Canadians and also asks: "To the people who think that Arafat is a more legitimate and representative leader than Sharon . . . . How is it that Israel's leaders have elections and approval ratings while Arafat has a pistol on his hip?"

SNOPES IS GREAT, but reader Erin Blockley scores by finding a particularly tasty debunking piece that I hadn't seen before.

I FOUND OUT ABOUT THESE HEROIC AFGHAN PHYSICISTS via Rand Simberg. He found it via Kathy Kinsley, who thinks they deserve the Nobel Peace Prize. And she's right.

FOXNEWS has a story on the comments submitted by citizens to the Senate Judiciary Committee website on the incredibly dumb and dangerous Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act sponsored by Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-Disney). The comments are, unsurprisingly, overwhelmingly negative:

"The tech community and Internet users have really used this singularly as a forum for their objections to the Hollings bill," said Judiciary Committee Spokeswoman Mimi Devlin, who added that her office is getting at least 100 e-mails a day — all of them against the proposal.
It's going to be hard to pretend that this is anything other than a screw-the-public-for-the-lobbyists bill.

Having the comments on a website where any citizen, journalist, or legislator can see them seems to give them additional force, doesn't it?

HERE'S AN ANALYSIS of what's going on with the mideast "peace process" that seems pretty accurate to me.

SCROLL DOWN on this page to see some blunt wisdom from Eric Norlin about the difference between weblogs and discussion boards.

BRIAN CARNELL notes that Hugo Chavez has to be a big disappointment to certain AntiWar types.

UH-OH. BLOGGING HAS REACHED BORING MIDDLE AGE. How do I know? Someone's already proposing a blogging code of ethics. The article, by John Hiler, isn't bad, but I tend to agree with Ken Layne:

Priests need ethics. Writers just need to write. Readers can figure out which writers are worth their time.

And John, yer "professional journalist" pal is a fraud if he thinks his work is more important than your work. That's just the professional journalist's tired snobbery -- if they could, they'd get a law passed to require reporters to pass government tests. They hate the idea of a free press, always have.

Peer review, eh? You get peer-reviewed every time you post an article.

Bear in mind, I've got nothing against ethics. But I never saw a Code of Ethics that did more good than harm. I should write a book about that. Oh, wait. . . .

READER STEVE CARROLL sends this observation about violence against European Jews:

It's worth pointing out that after September 11, simplistic Americans all over the country formed human shields to prevent anti-Muslim violence and there were very few attacks. I'd like to see some ordinary Frenchmen out there protecting the synagogues instead of just condemning the effects after the fact. There are reports that police have increased security, but wouldn't it send a nice message if just plain folks were out there? Stopping racial violence wouldn't make them pro-Israel.
We may actually see something like this. Let's hope.

THE VENEZUELAN MILITARY is telling Hugo Chavez that it's time to quit.

"As of this moment, the government must call it quits," General Camacho said at a news conference in which he also announced he was resigning from his ministerial post.

Troops have surrounded the presidential palace

He urged commanders of all four wings of the armed forces to join the rebellion describing the situation in the country as "extremely serious".

Hours earlier, the head of the Venezuelan Navy, Hector Ramirez Perez, said a group of 10 high-ranking generals were setting up a parallel high command because of what he described as Mr Chavez's anti-democratic actions.

"We have decided to speak to the Venezuelan people to tell them we do not recognise the current government regime and the authority of Hugo Chavez Frias or the military high command," said the group from the Army, Navy, National Guard and Air Force.

The "fog of civil war" is even worse than the "fog of war," so it's hard to be sure, but this looks like curtains for Chavez.

Here's another link to a similar story from El Nacional. Thanks to everyone who's sending updates.

CARACAS COUP? Reader Jorge Schmidt just sent this:

Just received email from relatives in Caracas. They report (from a fourteenth floor penthouse):

The government has ordered all private TV stations (channels 2, 4 and 10) off the air. A crowd estimated at one million people marched towards the presidential palace early afternoon. They were received by the national guard and supporters of the president, who attacked them.

There is sound of firearms everywhere. The national guard is out in the streets, and tanks have left their base near Caracas from the Tiuna Fort. There is great smoke rising from downtown. So far, reports of nine dead and 43 injured.

As Drudge would say, developing....

Here's the latest news I could find, which doesn't make it sound quite as bad, but isn' t actually inconsistent with that report. Stay tuned.

PEJMAN YOUSEFZADEH is disappointed with the antiwarbloggers.

MALCOLM GLADWELL observes the idiocy of airport security.

It's a good piece, and you should read it. But really, everybody knows this. I mean, everybody knows this. And yet it stays idiotic. That's not giving me much faith in the whole "homeland security" effort. After all, if the part that everyone can see is idiotic, what does that say about the parts we can't see?

THE PIECE I WROTE FOR LEGAL AFFAIRS on the Second Amendment is now available on their website. Check it out if you're interested in such things.

THE SPINSANITY STORY ON PLAGIARISM ALLEGATIONS directed at Michael Moore is now up and available for free. Check it out and see what you think.

UPDATE: Two Moores for the price of one, as Tim Blair catches Moore in a lie. But was it an original lie?

NOW IT'S A JEWISH SOCCER TEAM being attacked in France: "Around 15 hooded attackers wielding sticks and metal bars assaulted the team of teenagers from the Maccabi Bondy association, a Jewish group, late Wednesday after making anti-Semitic remarks."

HOLLINGS UPDATE: Here's an article with more background on the dumb Hollings bill, and why it's a bad idea.

RAND SIMBERG DISCUSSES the "Yuri's Night" parties coming up. Named for Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, they'll be happening around the world (at least 100 are planned).

SUMAN PALIT has some useful observations on the Oxfam free-trade campaign.

THE HORRORS OF an Israeli interrogation from this firsthand account:

Then all the prisoners were taken to a large tent, where someone sat behind a desk and wrote down their names. Only at this stage were their ID cards taken from them. There was also a doctor behind the desk. "He wanted to know if anything hurt, if I had a chronic disease. He prescribed some medicine, but it didn't help the problem I have, but at least he took an interest in how I was. When he was told there were no major medical problems, the doctor would say `thank God.' He asked if I smoke, I answered `a lot,' and he said, `it's not good for you.'"
Yeah, sounds like a regular Second Holocaust to me. Here's the conclusion:
Among those listening to Abu Farid's story was A., an older man who spent years moving from Arab country to Arab country, a "graduate" of the Lebanon war on the Palestinian-civilian side. "There, every person had a job to do. The newspapers came out, the ambulances reached the wounded and evacuated them. They didn't lie in the streets like in Jenin and Nablus. There wasn't paralysis throughout the entire civil society, like here. But when Abu Farid finished telling his tale, A. suddenly said, "It's still not like being in jail in an Arab country."
No, not hardly.

UPDATE: Letter from Gotham has some background information on why the author of this report can't be called an Israeli propagandist. (Hint: Robert Fisk loves her!)

LETTERS TO NORWAY: John Weidner emails that I should encourage people to be polite if they write. I figured that was a given, and every letter people have sent me copies of has been civil. Here's an example that I posted. But I suppose you can't encourage politeness too often.

MATT WELCH has another item on the dumb Pentagon-attack-conspiracy theories.

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN UPDATE: Dorothy Rabinowitz has something of a defense of Goodwin today. I think she has it wrong when she says that Stephen Ambrose has gotten off lighter because he didn't respond to the charges or try to defend himself. I think Ambrose has gotten off lighter because he fessed up and didn't try to defend himself. She doesn't mention the developing Michael Moore story.

Perhaps taking Rabinowitz's advice, Michael Moore doesn't seem to be trying to defend himself. There's nothing I can find on his web page about the SpinSanity plagiarism accusations.

WHY BLOGGING IS BETTER THAN NEWSGROUPS: This Reuters story gives some of the reasons. Note the interview with blogger Charles Murtaugh.

RICHARD BENNETT SAYS Ted Rall is a war profiteer. Well, Rall has certainly made more money off his stance on the war than I've made off of mine, reports to the contrary notwithstanding.

FREDRIK NORMAN has dug up some interesting information on who's pushing the Norwegian boycott of Israel. He also calls Bush's anti-cloning stance immoral.

BLOGGER RADLEY BALKO will be on FoxNews at 1:30 today, talking about his FoxNews column from yesterday.

BRUCE HILL is now convinced that it's rope-a-dope with Arafat. He has an amusing illustration of Arafat's own tactic being turned against him.

MORE ON THE "FAILED ISRAELI OFFENSIVE:" Reader Byron Scott forwards this story. Excerpt:

A senior member of the militant Islamic Jihad movement, Sheikh Ali Sfouri, surrended Thursday morning to IDF troops in the Jenin refugee camp, the location of some of the fiercest fighting in "Operation Defensive Shield," launched almost two weeks ago by Israel in an attempt to eradicate the terrorist infrastructure in the territories.

According to the defense establishment, Sfouri was involved in the planning of numerous terror attacks on Israelis. Palestinians reported Wednesday, however . . .

The IDF had received conflicting reports regarding the fate of Sfouri and Mohammed Tualba - another senior Islamic Jihad activist in Jenin. Some Palestinian sources reported the death of at least one of them and Tualba was even formally eulogized by activists from the organization.

Tualba is one of the most wanted men in the West Bank and is believed to be responsible for sending at least 10 suicide bombers on missions against Israeli targets. Among the terror attacks he initiated were the two suicide bombings in Wadi Ara that left 10 Israelis dead.

Palestinian sources reported Thursday that the last holdouts of gunmen in the Jenin refugee camp had surrendered to IDF forces.

The group, including two local militia leaders, laid down their weapons at dawn and walked out of two buildings, said an activist in Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement.

It won't take many more such "failures" before Arafat is undone.

MICHAEL BARONE has a good column on Europe and the United States. Excerpt:

So Europe is not monolithically anti-United States on foreign policy nor monolithically committed to the French centralized big-government paradigm. Berlusconi's government in Italy, José María Aznar's similar-minded government in Spain, and Blair's government in Britain all have solid parliamentary majorities and strong job approval ratings in the polls–unlike the governments in France and Germany that may well lose in elections scheduled in the next few months. Europe is more with us, and wants to be more like us, than many American journalists would have you think.
Several readers have emailed to ask why I didn't link to this, and I thought at first that I had -- but it was a different Michael Barone column. He writes so many good ones he's practically a blogger himself.

I think that the blogosphere's critics of Europe (among whom I place myself) know this, of course. The criticisms are usually levelled at the EU officials like Chris Patten whose chief function seems to be irritating Americans, and at the French government (er, and this week the Norwegians, but they've certainly asked for it). In fact, quite a few bloggers have made the point that Bush should consider bypassing Euro leaders and taking his case directly to the populace, which is far more in agreement with American positions than the Eurocrats.

MUSLIM SKINHEADS: YOU BETCHA! At least that's what reader Eli Forester writes:

You bet there are. There is also a big Hari Krishna movement, started by the Cro-Mags (a new york hardcore band). There is also RASH (Red Anarchist SkinHeads), there is Samurai Skinhead Spirit (Japanese right-wingers), Jewish skins, and just about any other group you can think of. In my old town (Kansas City), anti-racist skinheads (including one with Nation of Islam ties) were the only ones keeping the Nazis in line. Now I live in New York and you can find skinheads here of every color/ideology-- Nazis aren't very prevalent. FYI, I also know a number of skinheads who live in Knoxville, and they are all very nice people. Just thought you'd be interested.
Well, this is using the term "skinhead" more broadly than I usually do, to encompass Rude Boys and the like.

Some real Nazi skinheads tried to set up in Knoxville (they came from Georgia, I think). They visited a bar called the "SnakeSnatch" (moment of silence, please -- it's a Knoxville icon now departed, and inspired a song of that name by the Rude Street Peters) and tried to beat up its inhabitants under the impression that it was a gay bar. I think a fair number of the patrons may have been gay, but they weren't especially nonviolent, as the skinheads discovered to their dismay.

UPDATE: How can I mention that song without linking to it? you may ask. ("I am asking!" one reader might reply). And well you may. You can hear it here.

PEOPLE KEEP WONDERING HOW MANY READERS I HAVE. I don't really know. But Eric Olsen asked people to report how much traffic they got as a result of links from InstaPundit. The results at least indicate that my readership isn't just a few dozen guys hitting "refresh" a thousand times each.

HERE'S A GREAT LETTER sent to the Norwegian Embassy and elsewhere:

Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 08:15:17 -0400
To: [email protected]
From: "Barry S. Strauss"
Subject: Stortinget Bias
Cc: [email protected]no

Mr. Jon-Ĺge Řyslebř
Counselor for Press and Culture
Royal Norwegian Embassy
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Řyslebř,
Below is a copy of a letter that I have sent to Hans Brattestĺ. I do not envy you the task of polishing Norway's public image at the moment.
Barry Strauss

Hans Brattestĺ

Dear Mr. Brattestĺ,
I am writing to protest your decision to ban Ingvar Tveitt from the Stortinget. The report and photo in Dagbladet make clear that Tveitt was not engaging in a demonstration, contrary to your ruling. I hope that you merely made a mistake in judgment because the alternative, unfortunately, is to conclude that you engaged in an act of political bias. In either case, you have struck a blow at Norway’s reputation abroad.

Frankly, the only member of the Norwegian Parliament whom an American is likely to have heard of is V. Quisling. In fact, Quisling may be the only Norwegian of any kind whom an American can name. The banning of the Star of David now adds to the already low opinion of Norwegian politics that Americans have. As a friend of Norway, I am appalled. I will do my best to see that Americans remember Tveitt’s courage rather than your action.

Sincerely yours,
Barry Strauss

Barry S. Strauss
Professor of History and Classics
Director, Peace Studies Program
130 Uris Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7601

Strauss adds in his email to me: "Note that the e-mail address for the Norwegian Parliament is [email protected] Your readers can write directly to the Secretary-General of the Storinget (Norwegian Parliament), Hans Brattestĺ."

I GOT AN EMAIL saying that Norwegian politician, Peres Peace Prize critic, and convicted war criminal Hanna Kvanmo shouldn't be blamed for her Nazi associations in her youth. Well, I blame her more for her positions on Israel now. But another reader sends this link, which seems to show that current-day Nazis still regard her as one of their own. I suppose it's not really her fault that they do, but it does suggest that actions in the past live on in the present, and that Nazis are still taking aid and comfort from what she did back then.

LILEKS addresses the anti-warblogging crowd. He's cruel, since he actually reprints some of the things they say.

CORNEL WEST UPDATE: John McWhorter has an article reviewing the whole flap in City Journal. Basic point: if Cornel West is worried about his "dignity" being impaired, he should quit complaining about Larry Summers and look at his own, rather undignified, actions. Having seen the man speak, I have to agree.

OXFAM says the EU is the most protectionist among the major economic powers and that it's hurting poor countries.

VIRGINIA POSTREL has more about cloning. Here's a key excerpt:

One quick note about the unpleasant intersection of science and politics: No one can promise that any line of basic research will lead to any particular treatments—a point that the anti-research side makes repeatedly. That's true of all basic research. And it's definitely true of the alternatives touted to excuse a ban. No one knows those alternatives will work either. People who want to make cell cloning a crime are asking to pick a winner by putting the loser in jail. They're trying to criminalize the path of discovery itself.

What this battle about is the right to try to figure things out, to ask questions, to do experiments, in the belief that knowledge will lead to "the relief of man's estate." There is good reason to think this research is promising. But there is also good reason to preserve the freedom to do research even when it's speculative. The proponents of the ban keep saying that the research isn't necessary, so outlawing it is justified. They are in effect demanding that science, an open-ended process of exploring the unknown, have answers in advance—and practical ones at that.

MICHAEL BELLESILES UPDATE: Now, in a turn properly described as "desperate," he's denying that he ever wrote some contradictory emails about his research. Both Melissa Seckora of NRO, and historian James Lindgren have copies, though.

I'll bet the server logs still exist, and show that he did write 'em. And I'll bet he blames hackers, or space aliens, when they do.

MICKEY KAUS uncovers Robert Reich's lies, and a dark neoliberal conspiracy so vast ... well, anyway, he finds some rather deliberately misleading statistics and an email.

EMILY JONES instructs Michael Moore on what real oppression looks like.

ISRAEL'S MILITARY STRATEGY HAS SUCCEEDED, writes Seth Gitell in The New Republic. Excerpt:

Understand the significance of this. A Hamas official is conceding that a large number of his warriors surrendered their weapons. When these fearsome fighters ran out of ammunition, they stopped fighting. And they were unwilling (or unable) to give their own lives. This would seem to undermine the conventional wisdom about Hamas and other terrorist organizations--namely, that military victory over them is not possible, and that combat only leads to "desperation" and more violence.
Yes, and as Arafat, trapped, begs for U.S. assistance in the hopes of salvaging his position, it's obvious who is running the show. And the U.S. response -- essentially playing Arafat's game of talking peace while doing nothing -- sends a message, too.

THE FALWELL AWARD PIECE just below got me email from a couple of people saying I misunderstood the Cardinal's remarks. If you say so. I read him as saying that tolerance of abortion, genetics experiments, and euthanasia produced a "culture of death" that made suicide-bombing thinkable. I read the piece again and I still think that's what he's saying.

Another emailer said, essentially, that the Church does a lot of things right and I shouldn't get so exercised about recent events. I don't agree with that, either. It reminds me of my childhood, when cheap calculators were new. The first thing most people did when they got one was try a few simple problems of the two-plus-two variety.

Of course, they weren't going to use the calculator for math that simple. But if the calculator had returned a wrong answer on those simple problems, they wouldn't have trusted it for the harder ones.

Now I see the Church dropping the ball with absurd statements on Israel, with the covering up of sex crimes, and with this comparison of abortion and 9/11. And so I don't trust it for the more difficult problems, as it's obviously not capable of addressing the easy ones.

UPDATE: Oh, and it should go without saying that I feel the same way about the Norwegian Nobel Committee.


I MISSED JAMES LILEKS' Newhouse column on European antisemitism, but fortunately I found it on Terry Oglesby's site.

THE FALWELL AWARD for shameless religious capitalization on 9/11 goes to Cardinal Francis Arinze, who blamed the 9/11 attacks on "abortion, euthanasia and genetic experiments on human life itself," in which he says "the most innocent, defenseless, and critically ill human lives are threatened." No mention of pederasty, though.

In other news, Rod Dreher reports in The Corner that one priest says that he was molested by an unnamed higher-up who has to be either Cardinal Cushing or Cardinal Spellman, some time before 1960. So I guess the Church had its own problem about threatening the innocent and defenseless long before genetic experiments, euthanasia or abortion entered the public stage.

Of course, I don't listen to those guys anymore anyway. After the Pope's recent pronouncements on Israel, it would be like taking moral advice from the Norwegian Parliament.

A BUNCH OF PEOPLE have sent me copies of their letters to the Norwegian Embassy protesting the absurd and nasty action of expelling a man from the Norwegian Parliament building for wearing a Star of David, even as many people were wearing Palestinian emblems.

The issue was also picked up in Best of the Web today, which also ran a link to the Norwegian Embassy "contacts" page with its item. I think they probably got a fair amount of email on this. Good.

HOWARD FIENBERG attended Benjamin Netanyahu's speech today and files this first-hand report (who says bloggers don't do original reporting?). My favorite line:

When asked, 'what should the Europeans do,' Bibi replies, "Be ashamed."
It's a long and detailed report, and well worth reading.

MOORE PLAGIARISM UPDATE: Reader T.C. Stentz sends this link to the list of Bush naughties that Michael Moore is supposed to have ripped off. Not having seen either Moore's book or the Salon PremiumTM piece that it's based on, I can't judge.

KEN LAYNE reports on how the Los Angeles Times buried a story about an anti-semitic attack on three teenagers. Of course, it was skinheads, not muslims. Er, unless there are muslim skinheads. Are there?

RATHER THAN FACING UP TO DUTCH WAR CRIMES, the EU Parliament wants sanctions on Israel. Some members wanted to call on Arafat to stop the suicide bombings, but that language wasn't included.

MATT WELCH has the scoop on the Eric Alterman / Cathy Young controversy.

A SCHOOLBUS FULL OF JEWISH CHILDREN was stoned in Paris today.

BILL HERBERT steered me to this Washington Post profile of accused lawyer/terrorist conspirator Lynne Stewart. Excerpt:

She spoke of her personal politics in an interview seven years ago with the New York Times. "I don't believe in anarchistic violence but in directed violence," she said. "That would be violence directed at the institutions which perpetuate capitalism, racism and sexism, and at the people who are the appointed guardians of those institutions, and accompanied by popular support."
Parse this, and she should be in favor of violence directed at Saddam Hussein, or Osama bin Laden. But I doubt she would see it that way.

Spouting dumb 1960s slogans, of course, doesn't make you a terrorist -- just dumb.

MICHAEL MOORE A PLAGIARIST? Andrew Sullivan has an excerpt from a Spinsanity piece that says so. The Spinsanity piece is a Salon PremiumTM item, but it'll be on the Spinsanity website for free in a couple of days.

EUGENE VOLOKH has finally responded to my numerous emails saying "Eugene, you really should get a blog," by getting a blog. Watch out Eugene. To coin a phrase, it's worse than Internet addiction.

CLAY WATERS has posted the "warblog watch" enemies' list for all to see. Visit all those sites, and keep your eyes open for crimes against humanity. Or join the Warblog Watch email list and keep your eyes open crimes against reason. Your choice, but you'll get what you came for a lot quicker with the latter than with the former.

DADDY WARBLOGS isn't too happy with Germany. Or Norway. Or the warblogwatch folks.

READER TRENT TELENKO sends links to this oped by Tony Blankley and this story originally from the Boston Globe that strongly suggest that rope-a-dope is the name of the game.

It does look more and more as if Bush is playing Arafat's own game back at him -- talking about peace while war continues. And, as is often the case in shoe-on-the-other-foot scenarios, the Arabs don't like it:

This became abruptly clear yesterday in Morocco, Powell's first of three planned stops before arriving in Jerusalem. King Mohammed, part of of the new generation of Arab leaders, greeted Powell during a photo session attended by several U.S. journalists but wasted no time in speaking his mind.

"Don't you think it would be more important to go to Jerusalem first?" the king asked Powell. . . .

Among Palestinians and their Arab allies, there is great frustration over a perceived U.S.-Israeli charade.

"They are playing a game," said Azmi Bishara, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament. "The Americans are not really pressuring the Israelis. They are saying things to the media to absorb Arab anger and frustration."

If American leaders said to Israeli leaders that the operation should stop immediately, "the Israelis would stop. What they are doing is very ambiguous," Bishara said. "Why is Colin Powell five days late? Is it so urgent in Morocco that he should go there first? I think it is a message to Israel that it can continue."

Hmm. Now where have we seen that sort of thing before?

AN OHIO WEAPONS BAN has been held unconstitutional by an appeals court for infringing the right of self-defense.

STUPID WHITE MEN: The Idler dissects New York Times editorials on the Middle East, and finds them wanting.

STILL ANOTHER BERKELEY BLOG, the unfortunately-named Angry Clam, has still more news on the protests there. And pics are promised.

HERE'S A LINK, courtesy of reader Philippe Richard, to the terrorism indictment I mentioned yesterday.

I'VE BEEN ON SICK-KID duty all day. It hasn't been too bad, as the antibiotics are working. But now my wife is home and I'm decamping with the laptop to get a little work done. Regular blogging will resume later. Don't miss the cloning petition item, below.

CALSTUFF has interesting stuff on the Berkeley pro/anti Israel protests, with firsthand accounts and links to streaming video. There's another roundup at CalAnon.

CLONING UPDATE: The petition that I note below is about therapeutic cloning, not baby-cloning. Just so you know. If you're confused about the difference, read this post by Charles Murtaugh, who supports therapeutic cloning but opposes the cloning of whole humans.

UPDATE: Rand Simberg says that listening to Bush speak against cloning has convinced him to sign the petition. His post is entitled "Luddism at the top."

BLOGGERS MAY WISH TO TAKE SPECIAL NOTE of this cautionary item from Eugene Volokh.

Damian Penny reports on another synagogue bombing in France.

MORE ON DUTCH WAR CRIMES: Reader Tim Callahan writes:

I read the BBC article on Srebrenica with mounting fury. A few points jumped out at me, most importantly --

Many Europeans I meet sum up their distaste for Israel in two words: Ariel Sharon. They tell me he's "just as bad as Arafat" and always point to the Sabra and Shatila massacres as proof, and always note that Sharon was indicted as a war criminal by that silly Belgian court. Of course, this is simply a lazy excuse and I then proceed to flay them for their historical ignorance. But let's compare Sabra/Shatila to Srebrenica, shall we?

In the former case, 800-900 Palestinian refugees were massacred by Christian Lebanese militias under the command of a Christian Lebanese whom Sharon had put in charge of the camp. When Sharon heard about what was happening, he sent the IDF in to stop it. He was then investigated by the Knesset and forced to resign as Minister of Defense. The Knesset came to the conclusion that although he did not specifically authorize the massacre and in fact had no personal role in it, he *should have known it was a possibility.* For this he is now reviled in Europe and often compared to Hitler (as sick as that is).

Now in Srebrenica, the Dutch peacekeepers declare the town a safe haven and then let Serb militias walk in and slaughter 7,000 Muslims. They may have been abetted by the French, who some claim called off airstrikes against the Serbs in exchange for the return of Frence peacekeepers who were being held as POWs.

But is anybody calling for the commanders of the Dutch or French peackeeping units -- who are at least as responsible as Sharon is for the massacre of *ten times as many people* as Sabra/Shatila -- to be brought up on war crimes charges? Of course not.

(And don't get me started on the virtual liquidation -- personally ordered and supervised by the Syrian President, Hafiz al-Assad -- the Syrian town of Hama in 1982, which by Amnesty International's tally killed between 10,000 and 25,000 people. Assad was subsequently elected to his *fifth consecutive* seven-year term as president, garnerering 99.95% of the vote (+/- 3%). Or of course Saddam's gassing of the Kurds. None of these people have yet to be indicted by the Belgians. Or the Norwegains.)

Here's another BBC article that discusses the Dutch "soul searching." The Dutch feel a lot of shame but they're pinning 100% of the legal blame on the Serbs.

And then there's Kofi Annan:

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has blamed the international community for its failure to protect the enclave, but insisted that it was impossible "to say whether a more decisive action by the Dutch would have saved lives."
A waffle within a blame so vague it implcates virtually everyone. I'm beginning to think Jesse Helms was right....
I think that the events in Europe and Israel are waking up a lot of people in the American media to just exactly what is going on.

GAY PALESTINIANS, are working to gain recognition.

THIS INTERESTING PIECE from the New York Observer talks about the origins of resurgent European anti-Semitism:

The memory of the Holocaust is precisely what explains the one-sided anti-Israel stance of the European press, the European politicians, European culture. The complacency about synagogue burnings, the preference for focusing on the Israeli response to suicide bombers blowing up families at prayer, rather than on the mass murderers (as the suicide bombers should more properly be called) and those who subsidize them and throw parties for their families ….

There is a horrid but obvious dynamic going on here: At some deep level, Europeans, European politicians, European culture is aware that almost without exception every European nation was deeply complicit in Hitler’s genocide. Some manned the death camps, others stamped the orders for the transport of the Jews to the death camps, everyone knew what was going on—and yet the Nazis didn’t have to use much if any force to make them accomplices. For the most part, Europeans volunteered. That is why "European civilization" will always be a kind of oxymoron for anyone who looks too closely at things, beginning with the foolish and unnecessary slaughters of World War I, Holocaust-scale slaughter that paved the way for Hitler’s more focused effort.

And so, at some deep level, there is a need to blame someone else for the shame of "European civilization." To blame the victim. To blame the Jews. And the more European nations can focus one-sidedly on the Israeli response to terror and not to the terror itself, the more they can portray the Jews as the real villains, as Nazis, the more salve to their collective conscience for their complicity in collective mass murder in the past. Hitler may have gone too far, and perhaps we shouldn’t have been so cowardly and slavish in assisting him, but look at what the Jews are doing.

But it's not over with that. Check out this bit:
Someone remarked recently at the astonishing hypocrisy of European diplomats and politicians in supporting the Palestinian "right of return" when so many Europeans are still living in homes stolen from Jews they helped murder.
Yes, where are the Norwegian Nobel folks on this question?

THE POWER OF THE BLOGOSPHERE? Yesterday a reader pointed out here that Israeli helicopters were designated "U.S. -supplied" in the Washington Post, and I wondered why the Post didn't identify the sources of Palestinian weapons. Now reader John Beckwith reports that this story in today's post refers to "Iranian-supplied mobile Fajr-5 rockets."

Coincidence? Well, yes, probably. Though fairness in such reporting is so rare that it's natural to look for external causes.

U.N. PEACEKEEPERS GUILTY OF COMPLICITY IN "WORST ATROCITY SINCE WORLD WAR II" -- Yes, while they're criticizing Israel, we find this story from the BBC:

The official Dutch report into the Srebrenica massacre says the Dutch Government and the United Nations must share responsibility for Europe's worst atrocity since World War II. . . .
Gosh, imagine what people would say if the Israeli army had done the same thing. But that's different, because, well, you know why . . .

THE FUTURE OF EUROPE: I've been having an interesting email conversation with British solicitor (and frequent InstaPundit critic) Martin Pratt. It's too long for InstaPundit, so I've put it up over at InstaPundit EXTRA! for your reading pleasure.

MORE ON BLOGS: Here's a back-and-forth between John Scalzi (author of the piece I mentioned yesterday, which Jim Romenesko headlined, somewhat unfairly, as indicating that bloggers' numbers are "b.s.") and Eric Olsen. And Jeff Jarvis weighs in with some thoughts, too.

I'VE SIGNED A petition against the proposed cloning ban. You can read a lot more about it at Virginia Postrel's site. There's also another petition (described as "progressive," though it's not what I'd call a Nation-type crowd) taking a similar stance.

There's a link to email, or you can call your Senators' and Representative's local offices, or call 1-202-224-3121 and simply ask to speak with the legislative assistant dealing with cloning legislation. That's the most trouble, of course, which is why it's probably also the most effective.

BRINK LINDSEY has more to say against libertarian isolationism.

ONLY POLICE OFFICERS SHOULD HAVE GUNS, because they won't do anything crazy. No civilian permit-holder has ever done anything like this.

MY TECHCENTRALSTATION COLUMN today is about the future of weblogs (with a bit of a slap-in-passing at Alex Beam). Unbeknownst to me when I wrote it, it meshes nicely with another column on blogging by an economist that's also there today. I agree that some sort of aggregation / reputation function is likely to be useful in the future. I'm not quite as sure as he is that it has to come top-down from established media, as opposed to bottom-up from people who integrate weblogs into a new network.

NAZIS IN NORWAY? Looks like my "Quisling" comparison wasn't so far from the mark. Norwegian blogger Fredrik Norman reports:

Hanna Kvanmo, recently famous in the blog world for her asinine comment that she wished the Nobel committee could recall the Peace prize it gave to Shimon Peres of Israel (but not the one they gave to Arafat, a terrorist!), joined the German Red Cross at the eastern front during World War II, and stayed there until the end of the war. For this, she was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment. Then she joined the Socialist Left party, and became a major political figure in Norway, consistently serving "gems" such as the one mentioned above...
As Brian Carnell puts it: "Leave it to a woman who aided the Nazi war effort to lecture the rest of the world about peace."

I hope this gets some attention.

UPDATE: There's an excellent piece on the islamo-fascist/nazi connection in The New Republic by Yehuda Mirsky, who was a year behind me in law school and who worked in the State Department's Human Rights office from 94-97.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I just got an email from an angry Norwegian who writes that "Mrs Kvanmo may have done something stupid in her youth, but she have earned the respect of most Norwegian through a long political life. In fact, when she resigned from political life she was arguably the most respected politician in Norway." The sad thing is, I believe this. "Something stupid in her youth?"

SOME opinions on Arafat, from informed citizens and leaders.


What's up with the journalistic convention of noting, whenever the Israelis use military force, that they're pounding the Palestinians with "U.S.-supplied" weapons. Here's a regular, recurring example from today's Washington Post: "U.S.-supplied AH-64 Apache helicopter gunships have
pounded the refugee camp with missiles and troops have waged house-to-house searches." How come no one ever writes, "A Palestinian suicide bomber blew up 10 civilians today with Iranian-supplied plastic explosives purchased with Saudi-supplied dollars"?
Yeah, what is up with that?

Like we don't know.

CAN YOU SAY "QUISLING?" Andrew Sullivan reports on a man expelled from the Norwegian Parliament building for wearing a Star of David. Contemptible. Perhaps their embassy should hear about it.

MICKEY KAUS picks up on the Franklin Foer textile-tariff piece (no, really, it's important!) that I mentioned a while back. Mickey thinks it's important, too.

Why should we be imperilling the war on terrorism just to get a few votes or contributions into Fritz Hollings' pocket?

ELECTROLITE quotes a Palestinian statement about the "remarkable achievements" of September 11, and notes:

Murdering thousands of my neighbors: "a remarkable achievement."
Funny, the sympathy I had for the Palestinian cause--and there was some, as recently as five minutes ago--just came to an abrupt end.
I know how you feel.

MORE ON EUROPE: Reader Michael Cowell writes from Finland, echoing Nelson Ascher's comments from yesterday:

I am an American expat living in Finland. I read the comments from Nelson Ascher with great interest. He eloquently expressed my own impressions and growing apprehension about the position of the EU in the looming conflict. I would add one more observation which is even more deeply disturbing. This is an article which I read in the Thursday (4/4/2002) edition of the International Herald Tribune. I do not have it in front of me, but the essence was this:

The European Union has declared American mediation in the Middle East a failure and demanded that the US step down as primary mediator. The EU representative goes on to demand that an international committee step in to negotiate a fair agreement leading to the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state. The suggested members of this committee would include the EU (of course), Russia (traditional Arab supporter), neighboring Arab states (Jew hating dictators), the UN (Nations United in condemning Israel in Every Resolution), and the US (a bone thrown in to salve our wounded pride). The story then goes on to make quite clear that the EU executive (whoever they may be) believes that the major blame for the current situation in the West Bank falls on the Americans for being too pro-Israeli in the negotiations.

This is a huge development. In one fell swoop, the EU has officially - 1) Blamed the Americans for the failure of Oslo and the Intifada. Remember all of the 'perhaps you should re-examine American foreign policy to prevent further attacks' sentiment we heard after 9/11? The European elites have come down squarely on the side of 'Fanatical suicide bombers don't kill innocents, American policy kills innocents'. 2) Outlined their vision of a peaceful Middle East. One without Jews. The composition of their negotiation committee would make the result a foregone conclusion. The only peace they offer Israel is the peace of the dead. 3) Placed themselves firmly in opposition to United States foreign policy.

Combine the above article with a threat the following day to impose economic sanctions on Israel (no action yet, apparently the Brits and a few others are resisting) if they do not accept an immediate ceasefire (as if the Israelis are the obstacle here), the strident opposition to an Iraqi invasion, the unofficial embargo of military equipment to Israel, and the universal insistence that the US not act anywhere without "international approval" (that is, a Euro veto on our foreign policy). Mix well, let simmer and, Voila, you have full blown appeasement.

It is obvious that the EU, outside of Britain, will do nothing to help us and will actively impede us in many instances. It may, in fact, be the death knell of NATO. There is precious little to justify its existence already. There will be none whatsoever if the leading European nations oppose the US in a matter so important to us. Especially considering that Russia, opposition to which was its reason for existing, has been far more supportive than has been NATO (excluding Britain). We may be on the verge of a major realignment. Europe has no need of American defenses against Russia, and are blind to the threat from the south. America no longer has any need for European solidarity, they are, in fact, a burden. Russia, on the other hand, roughly agrees with the US on it's single most important foreign policy objective. You do the math.

However, there is a silver lining to this depressingly gray cloud. The European intelligentsia who run the EU (don't think for a minute that this is a democracy) are as far to the left of the European masses as the American intelligentsia are to the left of Joe Sixpack. As the situation develops and worsens, I expect European voters to start taking a hard look at what their national governments are doing in their name via the EU. Note that individual governments are fully supportive, yet collectively act in opposition. Thereby preserving the convenient fiction that they have no choice but to follow the wishes of the majority of Europeans. This is their usual modus operandi when inflicting absurd regulations on their people. The only question is whether the resulting voter swings will be enough to endanger the elites, forcing a change in policy. It will be interesting to watch, they do not have a good track record here. European democracies are surprisingly immune to the wishes of the voters.

Unbelievably, I have, as yet, seen absolutely NO reaction to this story. I cannot provide a link to the article, but it may be worth your while to dig it up. The International Herald Tribune is published jointly by the New York Times and (I believe) the Washington Post, so their articles usually come from those sources.

Well, there's a cheerful note to start my day.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the story he describes, courtesy of reader Andrew Millard.


KEN LAYNE finds a famous antiwar leftie who writes:

One possibility is to balkanize Saudi Arabia and give the franchise to the holy cities [Mecca and Medina] to the King of Jordan’s family – who technically should have them because they’re the direct descendants of Mohammed – and give the oil wells to someone else.
As Layne says, this is proof that you don't have to be a conservative to think this way, even though what Layne calls the "fringe academic left" would disagree.

MICHAEL BELLESILES UPDATE: Historian Jerome Sternstein explores the various contradictory stories Bellesiles has told about the loss of his notes and the inconsistencies in his data. The gist of Sternstein's piece: Bellesiles is guilty of fraud, but most historians are too polite to say so, even though they think so. Bellesiles responds, calling Sternstein's piece a "relentless polemical attack" and "politically driven." Sternstein responds to Bellesiles with more details.

GEORGE MCGOVERN has some questions about the war. Jay Caruso has some answers.

I have a question of my own: George, do you feel bad about destroying the Democratic Party?

I worked for his 1972 campaign, at a tender young age, because I didn't like Nixon. But even then I knew that McGovern was hopelessly out-of-touch with reality and destined to lose big. What I didn't realize was that McGovernism was going to outlast him and set the tone for the Party pretty much from then on. If I had, I would've stayed home. Not, of course, that it mattered.

WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL ALERT! Reader Edwin Evans writes about the Post story I link to below. Fixated on the map issue, I missed something that he gleefully points out:

Its a good thing the Washington Post employs editors, otherwise sentences like the following might slip through:

U.S.-supplied Israeli helicopter gunships have pounded the refugee camp with missiles from the air and have waged house-to-house searches on the ground.

If I had photoshop skills, I would make an image to go with this sentence. Caption: US-supplied helicopter searches house. I think it would be very funny.

That is pretty funny. And I'm sorry to say I missed it entirely.

MORE ON WEB STATISTICS: Rebecca Blood (long-time bigshot blogger and author of a forthcoming book on weblogs) writes with these observations:

I just read the jarvis piece on weblog traffic, and I have to say I disagree with his proposal that "page views" be the standard measure. it will cause confusion due to the fact that some webloggers engage in more-or-less continuous publishing, while others tend to update once or maybe twice a day. the former will likely generate more page views a day than the latter, even with the same number of readers. (keep in mind that I have numerous regular readers who have told me that they check my site once or twice a week. since I *never* update on the weekends I feel certain that all of those people are there just once a week. so it gets complicated, but viewing habits are different for sites with different posting patterns.)

It comes down to: what do you want to measure? I'm not interested in how many times a day people look at my site. I'm interested in how many readers I have. cookies would be the most accurate way oftracking that, but without using cookies the standard measure that most closely correlates to that metric is unique IPs (as distinct from the complicated measure described by jarvis to calculate visits.) even considering the inaccuracies involved (as noted by scalzi), I feel this is the most reliable measure available (at least comparable to the circulation figures used by print publications).

I am surprised that no one has mentioned the search engine factor. 10-20% of all visits to my site are the result of a hit from a search engine. now, sometimes they find what they are looking for (money origami, stain removal, or gothic clothing), though not necessarily on my weblog. just as often they are disappointed (laura bush naked). in either case, these visitors look at my site, find or don't find what they are looking for, and move on. a few of them have become regular visitors, but the vast majority are visitors but not *readers*. I think the distinction is important.

That's true. People reload my site multiply (I don't know how multiply, but multiply for sure) because they expect new content several times a day. If I posted less often, I'd no doubt get fewer pageviews without necessarily losing a proportional number of readers. On the other hand, it means something that people come back that often. (There was a buzzword for that trait back in '98 or '99 -- "stickiness?" no, something else). Websites vary more than print publications, and trying to force them into print-like molds is bound to generate distortions and confusion.

I don't get that many search-engine visits. I doubt it's more than 1-2% of my traffic, which is (I think) also a function of frequent updates and regular archiving. This underscores that sites are really different, and their traffic is really different. I think that accounting for traffic is hard when (1) you don't agree what you want to measure; and (2) you can't measure what you want to measure very well anyway. Both apply to websites, and especially to weblogs, which can't afford the latest and greatest in user-tracking technology even if bloggers wanted it, which I doubt many do.

I don't. I like to have some vague idea of how many are coming (especially relative to other days or weeks) and where they're coming from, but that's about it. I just don't have any uses for more specfic information.

I sure get a lot of email, though. That must mean something.

JEFF JARVIS writes about blogger traffic numbers. And, unlike some who do that, he actually knows something about the subject.

AT LAST, a hero we can all look up to. He's a big hero around my house, anyway.

But PowerPuff girls still rule.

THE SECRET Ayn Rand / Matt Welch connection. Who'da thought it?

Protein Wisdom takes on the anti-warbloggers. Note the comments, too.

THE TRUTH THAT NOBODY CARES ABOUT: From today's "Best of the Web:"

But if the Arab world makes good on its threat to go completely insane, no one will suffer more than the Arabs.
This is exactly right. Those who are telling Israel to engage in "restraint," or who -- like the EU -- are subsidizing Arafat, are engaging in policies that drastically increase the likelihood of huge numbers of people being killed, by encouraging the insanity of the Arabs. Yet they call themselves "peace" supporters.

But then again, it was the "peace" crowd that urged the United States to stop bombing in Afghanistan last fall. Had they been listened to, tens of thousands of Afghans would have starved as the Taliban stole or blocked food shipments. But I haven't noticed any admissions of error, or any soul-searching. Shouldn't they be held responsible for the likely consequences of their views? Or do they get off the hook because no one listens to them?

UPDATE: And I'm still waiting for Chomsky -- or somebody -- to denounce Saddam Hussein as a baby-killer for stopping oil shipments. After all, we were savaged for supposedly starving Iraqi children simply by limiting the amount of oil being shipped. He's stopped it entirely. And all we hear from the oil-embargo critics is the sound of silence.

MARK STEYN says the key to peace is getting rid of Saddam. This doesn't answer the Saudi problem, but I suppose the Hashemites can wait a little longer.


Four people, including an American attorney who represents a convicted terrorist, were indicted and charged with providing material support and resources to an Islamic terrorist group, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Tuesday.

Ashcroft said the four helped Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman "direct" terrorist activity from his prison cell.

What's most appalling (if it's proved) is that the attorney, Lynne Stewart, is charged with actively assisting in the enterprise, passing information and helping to frustrate surveillance. Such behavior, of course, only helps Ashcroft justify his restrictions on detainees' righ to counsel. If Ashcroft can prove this, they should throw the book at Stewart, including a charge of treason. If he can't, well, Ashcroft probably won't have enough credibility left to make it as Attorney General.

KEN LAYNE reports on an alarming shortage of space aliens recently. He's right, and I hadn't noticed. Which proves his point.

CARTOONIST PAT OLIPHANT is being charged with racial insensitivity for this cartoon. I guess I've been desensitized by Ted Rall, but I don't have much sympathy for this. I mean, he's not mocking recently bereaved widows or anything. No doubt Rall's defenders will leap to Oliphant's support in the name of free speech.

RAMESH PONNURU picks up on Brink Lindsey's criticism of antiwar Libertarians. But Ponnuru criticizes Dave Kopel for an antiwar program featuring Gore Vidal put on by the Independent Institute. Kopel is with the similarly-named but very different Independence Institute.

OKAY, ONE MORE: I'm at the office now, and have to go teach Constitutional Law in a bit less than an hour, so I have to get ready. But courtesy of reader Christopher Cross here's a story at the Washington Post on Israeli soldiers being ambushed that's most notable for the graphic accompanying it -- which draws no distinction between the "occupied territories" and Israel proper. Is this a mistake? Or what?

UPDATE: Reader Melissa K. Fox points out that the graphic is now gone:

The map does (or did -- it's gone now, which may be your next post) draw a slight, possibly provocative, distinction. :-) The highlighted area is
labeled "Israel," obviously, and the borders with Gaza and the West Bank are drawn in - but Gaza and the West Bank are rendered in the same color as the "mainland," or whatever the rest of Israel is.

But technically, isn't that appropriate? I mean, they have some autonomy, but these areas are still a part of Israel -- they are not sovereign states, nor do they belong to any other sovereign state. I mean -- on a map of Great Britain, there's a border drawn in between England and Wales, but Wales is still pink. You know?

Yes, but traditionally the "occupied areas" are drawn in red, or diagonal stripes, or something precisely to indicate that they're not related to Israel as Wales is to Great Britain. That's what made it interesting. It's also interesting that it's gone now, especially as a couple of other readers wrote in to note that the same map appeared on a couple of other stories in the past few days.

BRINK LINDSEY takes on anti-war libertarians again. (This item links to his earlier post). I haven't spent much time on that because -- no matter what people say about how little influence The Nation has -- the antiwar Left actually affects the debate, while the antiwar libertarians really don't. But read Lindsey's post, and the earlier one he links to, for a pretty good debunking. Virginia Postrel has a long post on the subject too (scroll down).

Personally, I would very much prefer a Swiss-style citizen military and a foreign policy of nonengagement except on commercial grounds. But even if you believe (as I kind of do) that such an approach might be viable in the abstract, it's certainly not viable now. And if you can't face that, then your connection with reality is rather weak.

UPDATE: Here's a direct link for Virginia's post. She has anchor tags on her site, but you have to view source to see them. Hidden gems amid the code. . . . Or something like that.

WHY THE ARABS ARE FOOLS -- and the Euros perhaps something worse. Several readers have sent me links to this oped, whose conclusion looks at the consequences of attempting genocide on a nuclear-armed country.

Of course, the death-cult being spouted by the Islamofascists appears to welcome the annihilation of millions of Muslims so long as it means the end of Israel. (Rafsanjani said just that a few weeks ago). But I don't think they've really thought this through. Assume (reasonably) that the Israelis have 400 nuclear weapons. How much will be left of the Arab world (and Iran) if they use them there? And how likely is it that they're all clean nukes rather than, say, wicked cobalt- or sodium-jacketed ones designed to produce nasty fallout?

Hmm. Maybe the Euros have figured this out, and are spurring along Arafat, et al., in order to rid the world of troublesome Arabs without having any visible blood on their hands. And they clearly already regard the Jews as expendable. I rather doubt that this is the plan; I don't think they have a plan other than posturing and trying to get in some digs at the United States. But if their behavior leads to the same consequences as if it were part of such a plan, and if those consequences are obvious to anyone who thinks about it, is their moral position any better?

BLOGGER OSAMA BIN LADEN explains why democracy is un-Islamic. This is not really Osama, of course. Or is it?

HERE'S A short history of weblogs, with quite a few quotes and links.

MICKEY KAUS weighs in on the Bush-polling mini-flap. I think that Kaus has it right, here.

WE'RE STILL on the reduced-posting rate. Alvin and the Chipmunks are babysitting for me in the next room, where my daughter is propped up with some juice waiting for the antibiotics to take effect. (Nasty sinus infection. It's not contagious, the pediatrician says, but there's a lot of it going around. Uh, okay.) Sorry about that.

BLOGGER JIM ROMENESKO links to an item that says "Bloggers Numbers: Probably b.s." That's Romenesko's headline, and it's rather misleading; the actual piece is far more cautious than that.

For the record, though, I don't count "hits." My counter records pageviews. When I report 43,000 visits, that means my page was loaded 43,000 times by some number of people. It's fewer than 43,000 because people reload. I can't tell how many because I don't track "unique visitors." Counters can do that, though it's not really that reliable since ordinary privacy software like Norton, AdSubtract, Cookie Cruncher, etc., can fool them. My best guess is that I have around 10-15,000 actual people read the page on a typical day, but it's just that -- a guess. (The column Romenesko links to actually guesses higher than that, and may be right. I don't know.)

Traffic doesn't mean that much to me; I don't even check the counter every day any more. It's not like I'm selling ads or anything. But apparently it's important to some other people. I haven't kept it secret -- I logged in and showed my counter figures to Mickey Kaus and a bunch of journalism students at UCLA. That's more than a lot of "establishment" media pages do, but apparently it's not enough. Maybe I should put a public counter on my page.

Maybe Romenesko should, too.

UPDATE: There's a pretty good response to the piece on Romenesko's letters page, from Luke Seeman. I especially like his point that columnists for big newspapers always act as if their readership numbers are equal to their newspapers' circulation figures, when in fact most readers don't read most columns.

DR. MANHATTAN doesn't think much of The New York Times' lead editorial on Israel today. But while he doesn't think much of it, he's thought a lot about it. That's how it usually works with New York Times editorials these days, though: the more you think about them, the less you think of them.

NELSON ASCHER sends so many thoughtful emails that I'm tempted to call him InstaPundit's Paris Correspondent. Here's a disturbing one:

I live in Paris and write about culture and foreign affairs for Brazil’s main newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo . . .. My own perception of what’s happening in Europe nowadays is not much different from yours, but for the fact that it is somewhat grimmer.

Believe me: I now think that since 9/11, like the proverbial old generals, we have been fighting the last culture war. It is high time to admit we are in a new one.

The problem is not cultural relativism, moral equivalence, nostalgic leftism, third-worldism, knee-jerk anti-Americanism, residual anti-semitism and so on. Not anymore.

For the last half year or so I have been reading voraciously The Guardian, The Independent, Le Monde, Libération, El País, La Reppublica etc. European Schadenfreude in September amazed me as much as it did most Americans who took notice of it. It seemed pretty stupid, didn’t it? Well, now it is beginning to make sense.

What happened last week, though it did not get a fraction of the attention it deserved, will be considered a central event and will be discussed by historians for many years to come. Some of the highest ranking eurocrats went to Israel, not in search of a truce or a peace agreement, not to talk to the country’s elected government, but expressly to take sides in a war, and to try and save their protegé, Yasser Arafat. And they were immediately sent home.

Now, this is not the way “normal” diplomatic transactions take place: it amounts to a mutual diplomatic declaration of war, with high stakes involved on both sides. But all this was downplayed. Think about what the European press would usually be making of the whole affair. (It is funny, on the other hand, as a kind of sideshow, to see all those journalists and commentators who two weeks ago were absolutely against America’s Iraqi policy telling Bush and Blair they’d better stop Israel’s military campaign for the sake... of a successful war against Saddam!) As I see it, Bush’s Thursday intervention was indeed a diplomatic counter-offensive the objective of which was to prevent further similar European steps.

In other words, we are not talking any longer of different opinions on how to achieve the same goals, nor are we talking about disagreement inside the Western Civilization. We are talking about great-power politics. Nato or Shmato aside, it seems quite realistic to say that we are seeing the first open shots in the new clash of civilizations, and the opposing sides in it are the US and Europe. The European Union is clearly taking a Gaullist turn. Equally clearly, the goals of each side in the Middle East (I mean the US and Europe) are divergent. And in a collision route. I would not be absolutely sure by now that Europe is at all commited to the existence of a Jewish state in the region, not if it harms its interests (its growing and developing anti-American alliance with the Arab world) and advances America’s. Britain, obviously, up to the moment, is split in the middle.

Whatever has been said during the American-European Kulturkampf has to be revisited in light of recent events. I think we have been interpreting the European intelligentsia’s standpoints as sorry little differences of opinion within a shared worldview. Now, maybe that’s what is really simplistic. When, for instance, I see the BBC, Le Monde and so on behaving exactly like Pravda, I cannot avoid the strong impression that we are facing a new, coherent and, for all purposes, official ideology, an ideology that came to fill the vacuum left since the end of the Soviet Union. It may be far-fetched to say it, but a kind of Second Cold War does not sound to me absurd at all.

This is very well put, and does a better job than I have done of encapsulating my fears about where Europe, and the European/US relationship, is headed. It also puts the blooming U.S. / Russian relationship in a whole new light, doesn't it? If you buy this analysis, the Europeans are playing balance-of-power politics by trying to use the Arabs as a counterweight to U.S. power. The U.S. is playing balance-of-power politics by using the Russians as a counterweight to European power (and, in reverse, the Russians are doing the same thing). The obvious big losers in this deal are the Arabs, of course.

I'm not sure that the situation Ascher describes has jelled yet, but that does seem to be the way things are heading. I don't like it, because I think that the U.S. and Europe have far more in common than the relationship indicates. But people will often shortchange their own tangible interests in favor of status and respect, and I think the Eurocrats -- and particularly the French -- have such an overpowering desire to feel important that they will take absurd steps to maintain that sense. That has certainly been the case in the past.

BOOKSTORE SNOOPS get a setback, and Gary Farber thinks it's a good thing.


SECRET EU TRANSCRIPTS are revealed on Samizdata.

READER BORIS KUPERSCHMIDT forwards a morally dubious suggestion for the Israelis. Scroll up one item for an even more horrifying approach, which -- if deployed in large numbers in Nablus or Ramallah -- would surely shock the conscience of the world.

MAX POWER has some thoughts on the plethora of Enron lawsuits. And blogger Pejman Yousefzadeh has a piece on tort reform in TechCentralStation.

NICK DENTON reports on a pro-free-trade enterprise by Oxfam. (Here's the link, but all I got was what looked like a broken Flash intro. I hate those even when they work, but I couldn't get past it to see the page). As Nick notes, several of the points are just sops to the anti-globo crowd, but when you get beyond that there is some actual substance. This would be an encouraging trend. I posted a link some time ago to Franklin Foer's TNR piece on textile tariffs, and of course there's the infamous steel-tarriff issue that so occupied the blogosphere a while back. Unfortunately, free trade -- which has enough trouble in time of piece -- is often bargained away in exchange for political support in wartime. But, you know, we could buy some very useful friends by opening our markets, too.

I usually rely on Brink Lindsey to make these points, but he's been busy chasing white whales lately.

THE BOYS FROM BAHRAIN: MedPundit has a link to this story in The New Scientist about the Antinori cloning claims:

Antinori's office continues to refuse to confirm or deny the reports of a pregnancy. But Giancarlo Calzolari, a science reporter on Il Tempo in Rome, claims Antinori told him on Friday it is real and that it was carried out in a Muslim country.

"He told me it was a clone of an important, wealthy personality," Calzolari said. "The doctor added: 'I have at my disposal whatever amount of money is needed to reach the result. Imagine, it has been possible to carry out in a Muslim country a kind of research that was impossible to do in the West.'"

But will any of them look like Osama?

HERE'S A New York Times story on Bush's speech in Knoxville. Note at the end the line about a "racist war." To a certain class of people, "racist" has become a synonym for anything they don't like. Thus, a war that they don't like must be racist. The lameness and desperation of these protesters is kind of sad. No wonder they seem so frustrated. It must be like working for Ford when the Fairmont came out: "They used to buy our stuff, and it's still the same. So why don't they like it anymore?"

I'VE GOTTEN VARIOUS EMAILS about my "dumbest blog article yet" item. Interestingly, they're from bogus addresses. I also got an email directing me to a supposed Palestinian blog with no identifying information. That email was bogus, too. I think it's one guy. I can guess who.

The "dumbest-blog" post probably was a bit on the snide side. But I'm sick, and he called me a "war profiteer." I suppose I should listen to President Bush and spread the love, but it's hard under those circumstances.

Say, I notice all this stuff started with my Saudi post. Who's funding these anonymous guys?

UPDATE: Well, ask for conspiracy theories, get conspiracy theories. I just got this email from reader Dylan Morris:

There is no way this guy is serious. I think that this is another one of those right-wing plants, designed to make the anti-war left look incomparably stupid. Not only is there not an email-back address on the site, it is so full of non-clever personal slurs and unsubstantiated (linkless) assertions that it has to be the work of a plant. I wish that this person were coherent or clever so that I could have that "alternate point of view", for nothing if not to reinforce or challenge my own views. Too bad, I guess Denton will have to do for now.
Yeah, that's it: InstaPundit: Victim of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy!

ANOTHER UPDATE: Ken Layne has a few comments. My favorite: "And anonymous group e-mails? Jesus, what is this, 1995?"

WHY CAN'T THE AMERICAN PRESS TELL A PRO-PALESTINIAN DEMONSTRATOR FROM A PEACENIK? asks Slate. "Peace protester" doesn't mean much, the article says, when you look at what these people really are: pro-palestinian. Thus, this suggestion: "So, besides abolishing the term, the only other solution is to extend it. Let's call the Israelis who put their lives on the line by visiting Netanya hotels and Tel Aviv discos, in the interest of living normal lives, peace activists, too."

There's this nugget, too:

What did these demonstrators do to deserve the peace imprimatur? And where, exactly, did they come from?

For starters, from the anti-globalization movement, which, post-9/11, has increasingly focused on the Palestinian cause to rally its troops. In fact, among those leading the demonstration was José Bové, the head of the French Farmer's Confederation, who became the darling of anti-globalists after smashing a McDonald's storefront in southern France in 1999. The links between anti-globalization and anti-Zionism might not be immediately clear, especially since anti-globalists' suspicions of supra-national institutions have not prevented them from insisting on international monitors in the Occupied Territories.

Last June, when Bové led his first nonviolent protest against Israeli aggression—a march on a Bethlehem checkpoint—he claimed he was motivated by agrarian solidarity. "I'm a farmer, and these [Palestinian] people are farmers too. So I am fighting with them to help them protect their land," he told reporters. But his isn't an especially convincing explanation. After all, Bové didn't visit beleaguered Israeli farmers in the Golan. The answer probably has much more to do with anti-Americanism, a reflexive sympathy for indigenous underdogs, and the historical ties between anti-Semitism and the desire to protect locals from the impositions of the cosmopolitan elite.

Yep. The link between the kids in black, and the Blackshirts, is looking closer all the time.

Write that down and circulate it, Indymedia kids.

UPDATE: Kevin Anderson has a post that's worth reading along these lines.

READER NANCY ROGERS wants to know what I think about Saddam Hussein's suspension of oil exports. Well, I'm waiting for Noam Chomsky to call him a baby-killer. After all, just a few weeks ago we were supposed to be killing Iraqi children by not letting Iraq export enough oil. Now Saddam isn't letting them export any.

JOANNE JACOBS writes about "Warblogger Watch," an anonymously-moderated email list dedicated to documenting the "crimes" of bloggers like her, me, and Andrew Sullivan. As I should have guessed from its self-important, half-assed -- and, of course, anonymous -- nature, it's an IndyMedia project . Feel free to sign up for their list and share your views about blogging. They're all for openness and debate, aren't they? So they shouldn't mind.

Oh, and see if they'll tell you their real names, the way Andrew, Joanne, and I do.

UPDATE: OOH, that one hit a nerve, to judge by my email. But no real name. The "moderator" fears persecution, as he compiles dossiers.

The more I think about this, the more revelatory it seems. To me, the way to respond to the "warblogs" if I didn't agree would be to set up my own blog. It's easy, it's free, and everyone can read it. I highly recommend that, and would be happy to help if you need any. I'll even link to it if you set it up, and if it's not obviously obscene or defamatory.

But I kind of doubt that'll happen. Instead, we have an email list. Closed. Controlled. Anonymous. In other words, in keeping with what I write above about the blackshirts among the "peace" movement.

Prove me wrong.

ANOTHER UPDATE: In response to my challenge, the site's up; here it is. Though I rather think the overwhelming volume of warblog-friendly mail from those who joined the Warbloggerwatch list may have made blogging seem a more attractive alternative; many bloggers used the list as an opportunity to plug their sites. (In fact, there don't seem to have been many people on the list who weren't warbloggers). But now we have a new warblog, or antiwarblog, or prointifadablog, or whatever it is. See for yourself, if you like. I'm called "Horowitz," there, which I choose not to treat as an antisemitic crack. Though if it's the latter it's wide of the mark; as J.R.R. Tolkien once put it in a letter to a Nazi, I have not the honor of being a member of that distinguished race.

"THE BEST WAY TO FIGHT TERRORISM AT HOME IS WITH LOVE," Bush is saying (I'm listening on the radio). The best way to fight it overseas, he adds, "is by unleashing the military." Lots of applause to both lines. He's going out of his way to be positive about American muslims, too.

INTERNET VS. OLD MEDIA: Give this round to the Internet.

STILL A FEW BUGS IN THE SYSTEM: Google has a new "news search" feature that's supposed to return results only from "bona fide news" reports. So I went to the "Advanced" search page, scrolled down to the "news search" beta, and entered InstaPundit. Did I get the Los Angeles Times piece by Norah Vincent, or the Financial Times piece from Friday? Nope. I got this April Fool's story from The Register.

Oops. Hey, at least it didn't turn up Alex Beam's gullible comments on Bjorn Staerk's April Fool's page. Maybe Google doesn't consider The Globe a "bona fide" news source?

WOBBLY WATCH UPDATE: Bush is here in Knoxville, and since my daughter is napping I caught his remarks on the radio. Interesting emphasis: he used the word "immediate" together with the phrase "without delay" to refer to Israeli withdrawal, but he spent more time talking about the responsibility of "the Arab world" and "Arab leaders" to renounce terrorism, and making clear that these are a package deal.

J'ACCUSE: The Moose accuses William Raspberry of antisemitism.

UPDATE: Jay Caruso emails that he thinks William Raspberry is guilty of moral equivalence, but not antisemitism, and says The Moose is over the top. Caruso's own take on Raspberry is here.

THE DUMBEST BLOG ARTICLE YET! Well, even worse, it's a blog post itself from someone who doesn't quite get blogging, accusing war-bloggers of being war profiteers! Er, excuse me, the Brink's truck is rolling up with today's delivery. Back in a minute. . . .

Okay, where was I? ("No, don't stack the bullion there -- it'll overstress the floor joists!") Oh, right. Here's my favorite part: "I challenge either Reynolds or Sullivan to put to their readers some truly alternative views to their readership."

Uh, buddy -- your problem is you can't write! That's why no one is listening to you. As for "alternative views," well, we do that (look at yesterday's exchange on Saudi Arabia). But that's not what blogging is about. Blogs are a personal vehicle. If you disagree, get your own. You've obviously done it. Now you can use your inimitable style and unique ideas to build the audience you deserve. That's how it works.

UPDATE: J. Bowen writes: "He calls you 'war profiteer' but sells t-shirts. . . . So who's profiteering?" Chortle. Say, I think I'll start selling t-shirts, now that it's obviously PC.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Stephen Green does the math on "profiteering" as a warblogger. Uncle Scrooge, watch out!

HERE'S AN ARTICLE on InstaPundit from my local paper, by Larisa Brass. It's a pretty good article, with the requisite dorky-looking photo. (It was taken during a class; my thoughtful expression is because I was listening to a student).

JIM TREACHER writes about free speech vs. incitement in the case of the WTC leafleteer. It's not incitement. Incitement requires that your speech be calculated to produce, and likely to produce, imminent unlawful conduct. Violent reactions to the speaker by those who dislike his speech don't count. (Allowing that would permit a "heckler's veto," in which people could silence speakers by threatening to respond violently).

The guy's a jerk. He shouldn't be punished for his speech. He shouldn't be made into a free-speech hero, either.

HERE'S THE MOST CYNICAL war-ending plan yet.

CATHY YOUNG RESPONDS TO ERIC ALTERMAN who called her reflexively pro-Israel. Trouble is, she points out, she's never written about Israel before. I believe Alterman had her confused with a different Young, but that's just speculation -- he hasn't written about this error, and Cathy Young says he never replied to her email pointing it out. (Obligatory point: a blogger would've posted a correction within hours).

UPDATE: Alterman replies to Young in the MediaNews letters section here. What I love is that he uses Young's column as an after-the-fact justication for including her on his list, saying that his error was "prophetic." Now that's chutzpah.

SUSANNA CORNETT looks at the uses of "the Arab street" as a tool of threats, incitement, and deniability.

I'VE BEEN SORTA SICK, but now I have a sick kid. I didn't get much sleep last night, and I'm not going to be doing much posting this morning. So go read James Lileks, or scroll down to my list of bloggers who say they were inspired by InstaPundit. I'll be back.

MICKEY KAUS excavates deeply buried truths today!

THIS COLUMN BY BERNARD LEWIS says we'd better start toppling Arab regimes, beginning with Iraq. The dominoes are going to tumble regardless, he says. If we don't start the process, they'll just tumble in the wrong direction.

REAPING THE WHIRLWIND: Like Yasser Arafat, many Arab regimes have used hatred of Israel as a way of diverting their populace from hating them -- but now it's spilling out of control.

The United States should be making clear that we hold no particular brief for these corrupt, unelected leaders, and should be thinking about cutting deals with the less objectionable of their opponents. Unfortunately, the opponents aren't very impressive either, as this passage makes clear:

Hanna says that the region's lack of democracy, its economic disparities – the growing gap between the rich and the poor in the Arab world – and mounting political strife, were bound to force a change soon enough. "That is why all the Sheikhdoms will eventually crumble," he says, even though the forces that would replace them "have no brains or strategy."
The ideal solution in some ways would be to let the idiots run things for a generation, until (as with Iran) the populace gets sick of this stuff and starts growing pro-American on its own. The question is whether we can tolerate such a period, given the trouble that such regimes will try to stir up. One generation of imbeciles may be more than enough.


ARGENTINES are unhappy with their leaders. This is understandable, and probably a good thing, so long as it doesn't lead to a new outbreak of Peronism. I think they're beyond that now. Hope I'm right. My usually-optimistic view of humanity hasn't gotten a lot of reinforcement these last several months.

DAVID WARREN is going on vacation for four weeks and leaves behind a column that is intended to cover everything that may happen in the interim.

ANDREW CUOMO has written the Norwegian Nobel Committee to ask that Yasser Arafat's peace prize be revoked. Excerpt:

"Instead of peace, Mr. Arafat has taken the side of the terrorists who kill innocent civilians in the pursuit of their cause," Cuomo, the former federal housing secretary, wrote Chairman Gunnar Berge in a letter dated Sunday.

"Instead of reconciliation, Mr. Arafat has chosen to embrace the purveyors of hatred, those who would deny Israel's very right to exist," Cuomo continued. "The world witnessed as he continuously refused to call off, contain or condemn in Arabic the terrorists."

Maybe Hillary Clinton will send a letter now.

ANOTHER STORY ON WEBLOGS, this one in the Financial Times. It's pretty good -- though perhaps because of professional courtesy it fails to mention Alex Beam's April Fool's gaffe, though it does quote his column. That seems a bit, well, iffy in a piece that has a paragraph saying that the trustworthiness of bloggers has yet to be established. Beam's trustworthiness was established by that embarrassing mistake -- and the trustworthiness of the Financial Times isn't impeached, but it isn't enhanced, by that omission.

OKAY, AT LONG LAST! I keep hearing from people that they started a weblog because of InstaPundit. About a month ago, I asked everyone who did so to email me. I got so many that it took me a while to find the time -- and energy -- to compile them into a list. It's below, and I have to say that my mind is blown. Not just by the numbers (though there are a lot on the list) but also by the quality. There are lots of people on this list that I look up to, and it's quite amazing to me to see them here as having started because of me. And the trend continues -- several people wrote to say that I had "grandblogs," weblogs created by people who started them because they were inspired by weblogs inspired by InstaPundit. I didn't count those, but I did feel a certain filial (grandfilial?) swell of pride. Here's the list, in the order I got 'em. I didn't do these as hyperlinks because (1) it took long enough as it is; and (2) there were too many chances for a screwup that would ruin the whole page. Besides, if it's good enough for The Note to omit hyperlinks, it's good enough for me, just this once. . . .

Lex Gibson,
Matthew Yglesias,
Diane E.,
Ray McAdam,
Jim Gibson,
Andrew Hofer,
Shiloh Bucher,
James Morrow,
Alex del Castillo,
Matt Connolly,
Ric Wege,
Thomas James,
Peter Briffa,
Amy Wellborn,
The Daily Dose
Moira Breen,
Rand Simberg,
John Strycker,
Doug Turnbull,
Eric Brott,
Peter Banos,
Charles Murtaugh,
Mac Thomason,
Paul MacDonald,
Dave Tepper,
Lyceum Press,
James Rummel,
Dan Rector,
Christopher Cross,
Ming the Mirthless,
Juan Gato,
Ed Driscoll,
Ross Nordeen,
John Cole,
Adragna & Vehrs,
Dan Simon,
Rob Dittmar,
Sean Kirby,
Stan Lutz,
Susanna Cornett,
Pejman Yousefzadeh,
Roger Abramson,
Joshua Trevino,
Bill Allison,
Steve Gigl,
Edward Boyd,
Chris Puzak,
Civil Servant,
Kathy Kinsley,
Jeff Wolfe,
Daniel Wiener,
Will Warren,
Ted Barlow,
Stephen Green,
Jay Manifold,
Sharon McGovern,
Dan Dressel,
Justin Adams,
Chris Daley,
Andrew Olmsted,
Dr. Frank,
Lane McFadden,
Eve Kayden,
Peter Fritz,
Matthew Edgar,
The Cranky Hermit,
Rich Hailey,
Paul Orwin,
Bob Owen,
Ranting Troika,
A Dog's Life,
Suman Palit,
Bill Peschel,
John Tabin,
Michael Walters,
Gene Hoffman,
Daniel Taylor,
John Hawkins,
Chris Bertram,
Brian Tiemann,
Matt Haws,
Rafael Noboa,
Jeff Evans,
David VanderMoelen,
Max Power,
Andrea Harris,
Eve Tushnet,
Joshua Fielek, http:\\
Media Minded,
Jason Anderson,
Justin Slotman,
Dick Winzer,
Travis Nelson,
Howard Fienberg,
Tim Koruna,
Michael Costello,
Andrew Millard,
TJ Buttrick,
Paxety Pages,
Duffy Robert,
Alex Knapp,
Daily Steve,
Pundit 21,
Scott Farley,
Jan Yarnot,
Brian Silverman,
Matthew Sheren,
Warren Cheney,
Dr. Weevil,
Quana Jones,
William P. Sulik,
Pat Berry,
John Dunshee,
Martin Devon,
Hugh Davis,
Standard Theory,
Jim Henley,
Bryan Preston,
Nick Marsala,
Jesse Reeves,
Chris Kerstiens,
Alexander & Beetle,
Phil Murphy,
Jumping to Conclusions,
Dr. Manhattan,
Bo Cowgill,
Jeremy Lott,
Gut Rumbles,
Chris Cotner,
Cogent Provocateur,
Blue Derkin,

UPDATE: Jeff Wolfe has turned the list into hyperlinks and posted that version here.

BECAUSE HE POSTS IRREGULARLY, I don't check out Adil Farooq's Muslimpundit page nearly often enough. There's a bunch of new (to me, anyway -- it's mostly from 4/3) that's well worth reading if you haven't been by in a while.


Why occupy Saudi Arabia? Just kick the Saud family out and install the fairly westernized Hashemites who would be more than happy to go back home. Then you can finally set up the state of Palestine in the Transjordan part of it, make Jerusalem an international city and live happily ever after.
Why, yes. Where have I heard this idea before?

JAY MANIFOLD has some examples from U.S. history that explain why it's probably a bad idea for Palestinian apologists to argue that whatever you do is okay so long as you're feeling "desperate."

UH-OH: This survey from the New York Post says that 43% of New Yorkers are feeling "hopelessness and fear" about the future. Hmm. What sort of actions would those feelings justify, Yasser?

SUMAN PALIT shares his letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Excerpt:

I am astonished, rendered speechless and ashamed after reading a recent interview granted by your committee to a Norwegian newspaper. In this interview members showed their blatant and chilling disregard for the reality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict by calling for the revoking of the peace prize from Shimon Peres without *a single word* about the terrorist activities clearly spearheaded by Mr Yassir Arafat, his PLO and their subsidiaries. By not condemning Mr. Arafat and his activities in the same breath, you have, in effect, endorsed naked, brutal and unconscionable terrorism against civilian targets as being irrelevant to the Peace Prize selection or granting process.

By demonstrating such a cavalier lack of judgement, a clear demonstration of what I can only characterize at worst a poorly-disguised anti-Semitism, and at best a cynical ploy to appease a disaffected underclass in your nations at the expense of a beleaguered and persecuted community, you have brought the credibility of the Nobel Peace Prize down to a historical low.

You know, they could've given the prize to Arthur C. Clarke that year. I nominated him. It would have been a better choice. But I think they had issues with the fact that he's gay.

WILL ALLEN SENDS THIS EMAIL, which nicely sums up some of my worries:

Glenn, Islamacist militarists, from Egypt, to Lebanon, to the West Bank, to Iran, and most importantly, Saudi Arabia, among other places, have bought into the logic of Total War, in which the deliberate slaughter of massive numbers of civilians is not only tolerated, but actively sought, in pursuit of political goals. The result of this logic was seen on Sept. 11, and is seen daily in Israel. Is there any doubt that Israeli civilians will be slaughtered by the tens of thousands if the Islamacists gain access to sufficient technology? Or that U.S. citizens will suffer a fate far worse than Sept. 11, when that access is gained? The Islamacists have pursued this logic partially out of calculation that the U.S. will not pursue a similar logic. This is a terrible miscalculation. When and if the day comes that the tipping point of Horror is arrived at, when a sufficient number of American citizens are aroused by the Islamacist's pursuit of the logic of Total War, the application of 21st century technology to that logic will make the slaughters of Hamburg, Dresden, Tokyo, and yes, even Hiroshima and Nagasaki, seem mild in comparison. The Japanese militarists did not appreciate what they were sowing at Pearl Harbor, or perhaps more significantly, through the atrocities at Bataan. If the ferocious beast that is American fury is unchained by the Islamacist's misunderstanding of America and modern technology, then the world is on the verge of experiencing Horror on a scale never before seen. I hope that there are elements within the Arab and larger Muslim world that can chart a change of course, for the U.S. is limited in how much it can change another culture's internal dynamics.
Yes, and this is what troubles me. I don't like what it would do to this country to have to wage that sort of war (I don't think World War Two, or the Cold War, did us much good), but we certainly would do so if forced to, just as we did before. And I'm afraid that half-measures and temporizing now make horror later more, not less, likely.

GOOD NEWS FROM THE FRENCH: This story tells of pro-Israel marches:

Waving Israeli flags and draped in the blue and white colors of the national banner, protesters marched from the Place de la Republique to the Place de la Bastille in Paris, chanting in French and Hebrew and carrying signs that read "Yesterday New York, today Jerusalem, tomorrow Paris."

Police put their numbers at 53,000 although the organizers estimated them at 150,000. Police said another 8,000 pro-Israel protesters had marched in Lyon, 4,000 in Marseille, 2,500 in Strasbourg and 3,000 in Toulouse.

Thanks to Damian Penny for emailing me the link, which I probably would have missed otherwise. Having just about reached the cough-syrup-under-the-desk state Jim Treacher describes (actually, with the cold I've been fighting for most of a week, it's only the desk part I'm missing), I took the afternoon off.

UPDATE: Did I mention that my car is washed, waxed and vacuumed, and that I have a new cell phone? No. And you don't care, because you don't come here for day-in-the-life updates. But there's a nice letter from France over at Letter from Gotham that's worth reading.

MORE EMAIL ON THE SAUDI INVASION: I'm getting lots of thoughtful email; the tide seems to have turned in the "it's a bad idea" direction. Here's a good one from Sergeant Stryker:

"1. Once we control Saudi Arabia, we have a clear path to Iraq and Syria.

2. Once we control Saudi oil, we can cut off the money flow to terrorists.

3. Once we control Saudi oil, the Europeans will start sucking up to us, instead of the Arabs.

4.Once we control Saudi Arabia, we can use control over the Hajj, and oil money, to reshape Islam in ways that are more to our liking. Just as the Saudis have."

I would have to disagree with you on most of these points. I favor gutting the House of Saud and smashing Wahabbism, but physically conquering Arabia with our forces is not the way to do it. We could use the British model (used successfully so far in Afghanland) of using opposition leaders to depose the Saudis and letting them control Arabia, but going in with guns blazing using our guys would be madness.

Contrary to popular blog belief, not all Arabs and muslims hate us. The worst elements make the most noise and therefore receive most of the attention, but there are moderate muslims to be found and my experience shows that they are in the majority. I have never, in all my travels in that region, ever felt fearful for my life. I've always been warmly welcomed as a guest and have received far better treatment from Middle Eastern muslims than from anyone else, including the Japanese.

If we were to occupy Arabia, the consequences would be disastrous. It would be an event on a level similar to Sept. 11th for them. Any moderates left would most likely be radicalized and they would have a legitimate reason to declare jihad on us since we would be the unarguable aggressor in that instance.

And what of the non-Arab muslims? Occupying Arabia may cut off the funding for the fundamentalists, but that benefit would be offset by the radicalization of all Islam against us. We will have made enemies with a good portion of the world, and no amount of "reshaping Islam" on our part will negate the basic fact that we will be occupying the Holy Places. No matter who we place as a mouthpiece, the rest of the Islamic world will not listen to them. The British found this out the hard way post-WWI, and their experiences should be instructional to us.

On the military side of things, where will we get the manpower to occupy the Middle East as well as maintaining our commitments in other parts of the world? We can perform great feats with our small force, but we're not built to be occupiers. Occupying several countries requires a manpower commitment that we've not seen since WWII. These people will have to come from somewhere, which most likely means a reinstitution of the draft. Once that happens, watch as American support for the
war dwindles.

My gut instinct tells me that an occupation of the Middle East would be analogous to the Southern Reconstruction and would most likely be a failure just as before. There would be so many political maneuverings that even I can't imagine after an Occupation, that the chances of failure would be too high, and we could not afford failure in that endeavor. The aftermath of that failure would leave us with a situation even more perilous than that which faces us now.

Lastly, I believe with every fiber of my being that such a scenario would fundamentally change who and what we are as a nation. We are an empire to be sure, but it is an empire of ideas propagated through free trade, not an Empire that occupies others to secure it's borders to ensure peace and security. I'm not a fan of Roman comparisons to America, but in this case, your scenario would lead us on the same road the Romans trod down. I'm not willing to sacrifice the freedom and liberty of my descendants to secure some oil fields.

His last point is the strongest, and it's why I've disliked this whole war. Like Jerry Pournelle, I worry that it's going to be hard to survive the next couple of decades without Imperialist changes. And I don't like empires. But I do like survival.

Here's another critical email on a related topic, from Ibero-bloggers John and Antonio, proof that my sarcasm is getting taken too seriously. My comment about "aid" to "Basque Activists" didn't go over too well:

We're rather offended by that crack. We reckon you wrote it as a throwaway line, but the idea of America giving aid to the ETA terrorist gang is repulsive. ETA has murdered more than 800 people in its bloody career, including a small-town city councilman, Juan Priede, just a few days ago. And the US has absolutely no reason to wish any ill at all upon Spain, as the center-right Spanish government is a strong ally of the US and has backed the American government all the way since 9-11. They've just renegotiated the military base agreement that will allow the US to stay in the bases at Rota and Morón with no strings attached, and they volunteered to send combat troops to Afghanistan (they were turned down, probably because they'd have gotten in the way, but it was a nice gesture nevertheless). Their security forces busted an Al Qaeda cell, and the law of their land says they can't extradite someone who might face the death penalty to any country. They'll ship the US those guys as soon as they get the no-death-penalty assurance.
Well, I wasn't serious, of course,. But the EU is giving official aid to the Palestinians -- and that, to me, is comparable to the United States giving the Basques official aid.

And the IRA money that flows from idiots of Irish descent in America isn't comparable to the EU money that goes to the Palestinian Authority. For a true analogy, you'd need the United States Government to be funding the IRA during the worst of its civilian bombing campaigns in Britain.

UPDATE: I catch more grief from Barry Briggs, who offers a plan of his own.


I've purposely avoided talking much about the Middle East in this online vanity press, not only because I'd just embarrass myself even more than I already do, but because the whole thing makes me want to hide under my desk with a bottle of cough syrup.
But don't worry: he's still got observations on dancing robots, chirpy news "anchors," and, oh, yeah, a Middle East peace plan that, well, is as likely to work as anything Colin Powell is likely to float next week.


SAUDI INVASION UPDATE: My post below on Saudi Arabia has generated a lot of email, more or less split between suggestions that I'm crazy because it will "just make them hate us more," and enthusiastic agreement, sometimes with notes to the effect that all we really need to sieze are the oilfields anyway and that's a lot easier.

As for the first: I'm not sure they can hate us more, or that it matters. Saudi fingerprints are all over the 9/11 attacks, and much of what's happening now. They're not helping us chase Al Qaeda; they're obstructing. They're not helping solve the Arafat problem; they're giving money to suicide bombers.

Remember: you're either for us or against us. They seem to be against us. It seems to me that we don't gain anything by pretending not to notice.

UPDATE: Tony Adragna, on the other hand, argues against writing off the whole Arab world in a well-thought-through post. My concern, though, is that they're writing us off.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Rand Simberg, I just noticed, says something similar to my post below. He says we've been at war with the Saudis for decades, but they've been waging low-intensity unconventional war, mostly financial and propaganda in nature, and that now they're ready to take it to a higher level.

THESE PROBLEMS IN VENEZUELA could hurt the US war effort as much as anything happening in the Middle East. Hmm. Problems in the West Bank. Now problems in Venezuela. You'd almost think that someone was trying to keep the United States distracted and off-balance.

THE SAUDI FULCRUM: It's all about Saudi Arabia. Israel, Iraq, Syria, Iran -- they're all sideshows. The Saudis are even funding suicide bombers now. Listening to This Week on my Walkman at the gym, I had a thought.

Everyone says we can't invade Iraq without Saudi support. And we won't get Saudi support. We can't fight terrorism without Saudi support, either -- and without the help of Europe, at least in terms of intelligence, etc. And the Europeans don't want to make the Saudis mad.

So, if this is true, then it follows that we must invade and conquer Saudi Arabia. Too extreme? Consider:

1. Once we control Saudi Arabia, we have a clear path to Iraq and Syria.

2. Once we control Saudi oil, we can cut off the money flow to terrorists.

3. Once we control Saudi oil, the Europeans will start sucking up to us, instead of the Arabs.

4. Once we control Saudi Arabia, we can use control over the Haj, and oil money, to reshape Islam in ways that are more to our liking. Just as the Saudis have.

If without doing this we beat Iraq, neutralize Syria, and help Iran's coming democratic secularist revolution succeed, on the other hand, the Saudis will still be there, plotting and financing terrorists. And Saudi Arabia is much less formidable, militarily, than Iraq.

To kill the monster you cut off its head.

UPDATE: Here are a couple of interesting emails this has generated. Reader David Elzemeyer writes:

With perfect hindsight, I came to the conclusion that GHW Bush's mistake was not that he didn't take out Saddam, but he didn't let him go to Saudi Arabia after Kuwait before taking him out. Perhaps W. Bush can give Saddam a green light for that now.
As a result of April Glaspie's ineptitude, it's possible that Saddam thought that. I don't think he's a reliable tool, however.

Reader Francis Porretto has a more disturbing thought:

With regard to the horror of our nominal allies sending encouragement and money to Yasser Arafat at this time, I've just had a genuinely ugly thought. Could Europe, which has chafed under its economic and military subordination to the United States for more than half a century, think of the terrorist phenomenon the way it once thought of the Soviet Union -- as a stick to beat the United States with, and to divide our attention so that they might have more latitude and influence in those spheres that interest them?

Christopher Layne and others wrote analyses to this effect about France in particular. Layne felt that France was unlikely ever to make an unambiguous stand with the Anglo-American West, both because of residual historical antagonisms and because she feared marginalization in our shadow. But the Soviet Union, as malignant a thing as it was, didn't dispatch suicide bombers to ram airliners into office towers or blow discos, pizzerias and Seders to kingdom come.

I wish this idea hadn't occurred to me.
I think it's unlikely, though it's not entirely unimaginable. Perhaps, though, the United States should offer to send "aid" to some of the "Basque activists" who have become desperate and hopeless. . . . That such suspicions occur to you says bad things about European diplomacy, however.

ANTISEMITISM IN CANADA: Damian Penny emails:

In the aftermath of 9/11, you didn't see Arab community centers getting firebombed like this. For that matter, no one demonstrated in the streets and burned the flags of Arab nations, as happened in Toronto (with the Israeli flag) last week. It's getting frightening. One (Jewish) blogger even asked me to remove her name from my blog, lest some of the Arab-Canadians at her university find out who she is.

You know what I've really noticed? Many Palestinian sympathizers maintain that they're not anti-Semitic, they simply oppose "Zionism" or the "occupation". If that's the case, why are so many of them bombing synagogues halfway around the world from Israel? Because they really don't draw any distinction, that's why.

Yes, but they're quick to demand evenhandedness from us.

UPDATE: Note this quote:

“It’s a religious war,” says Hani, a bearded 23-year-old Hamas disciple in Gaza who neighbors say is destined for martyrdom. “This is not about land.”

WHO ARE THE BIGGEST ENTHUSIASTS FOR THE EU? The French. Who break EU rules the most? The French!

Commission figures show that between 1997 and 2000, Brussels brought 474 legal actions against France for breaching regulations, compared with 436 against Italy, 407 against Spain and 289 against Britain. Denmark was the best behaved country with 204 infringements.

The report has fuelled growing resentment at French behaviour. The commission has recently found itself at loggerheads with Paris on a series of issues, ranging from a continuing French ban on British beef to the future of the Mont Blanc tunnel.

"Every breach of community law is one too many," said a commission official, "but the UK's score shows that it is quite possible for a major state to keep the number of infringement cases down.

It's easier, I suppose, to be enthusiastic about a legal regime when you don't see it as constraining your actions in any important way.

This is like some people I know who think it's immoral to complain about the income tax, because it helps the less fortunate. Then, without batting an eye, they'll explain that they bought all new living room furniture and charged it as an office expense because "who'll know where it's going?" This infuriates my wife -- but I note that it allows its practitioners to enjoy the warm glow of altruism while not having to pay the price. I think something similar is going on at the EU.


I found out the root of Arafat's anger and frustration. He gave the game away when he souted at Christiane Amanpour on CNN that she should be more precise, or something like that, when talking to "General Arafat". The man's not looking for a country, he wants an army to command. He is an Idi Amin. He may even become a martyr, but never a general, while his arch-enemy whatever his shortcomings is a real general, in one of the best armies of the world, a general who has managed to win, and win brilliantly, the decisive battle of an important war. I think this is the thing Arafathead cannot live with.

Nelson Ascher

PS. Yesterday the anti-Israeli "manif" passed in front of my Parisian window. Their main slogan was "Busharon, murderer". They also made a rather poor pun on carnage: "busherie". The Palestinians won't be grateful for having been saved (again) by you people: they will hate you even more.

Yeah, nobody appreciated our efforts on behalf of the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo, either.

Being a poet (yeah, this is the poet Nelson Ascher, as I think I mentioned in an earlier post) Ascher proves the second part of Dupin's statement with every thoughtful and insightful email he sends me.

JUST BECAUSE ALL FOOLS ARE POETS, Inspector Dupin cautioned, it is a mistake to believe that all poets are fools. Read Osama's poetry and decide for yourself how that applies here. The good news: he seems kinda depressed. (Thanks to Gary Farber, who sent this link).

MATTHEW YGLESIAS makes the excellent point that if you want to influence Congress -- say to oppose the horrible Hollings bill -- it's far more effective if you do it in a way that requires actual effort (like calling or sending real mail). That's because voting, too, requires that you get out from behind your computer.

THINK OF IT AS EVOLUTION IN ACTION. A guy goes out at night, shooting people with a paintball gun. Ha, ha! It looks real, and the red splotches make them think they've really been shot! Ha, ha, ha. Only one of them has a real gun, and returns the fire. Nominate this merry prankster for a Darwin Award -- though it looks as if he'll live. Best commentary is from the story:

"It's a shame people like that have to go and do this. That's straight-up wrong," Murphy said. "I'm really sorry for this kid who got shot, but what goes around comes around."

TONY ADRAGNA RESPONDS to the whole "wobbly watch" thing. And, hey, Bush's whole approach can't be all that bad if it's inspiring this much venom in the Arab News. Save the author's name, so that the occupation troops can keep an eye on her, in a few months.

EU SUPPORT FOR TERRORISM: Meanwhile, as synagogues burn in Europe, the EU is showing its solidarity by sending another $44 million to Arafat, providing what is -- in effect and arguably in intention -- a reward for terrorism.

BAD NEWS FROM UP NORTH: Attacks on synagogues are causing people to ask if anti-semitism is on the upswing in Canada:

The fire in Saskatoon is just the latest in a string of what seems to be anti-Semitic incidents in Canada.

On March 11, someone broke into a synagogue in downtown Toronto and set it on fire. Then on April 3, people spray-painted anti-Israeli and pro-Palestinian graffiti on a synagogue in Ottawa.

Gee, where would they get ideas like that? Maybe from the Canadian MPs who are trying to join Arafat in his bunker as a show of "solidarity?"

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