June 30, 2004
NATO’s original mission has been completed without the massive bloodshed of a world war. Western Europe was saved from Soviet Communism by the brawn behind NATO, America’s military strength. Since the fall of the Berlin wall NATO has been dragged into purely European conflicts in the Balkans and some NATO partners have been involved in the liberation of Iraq. But France and Germany, the largest beneficiaries of NATO protection, have signaled their unwillingness to contribute to NATO in any meaningful way, whether in Afghanistan or in Iraq. The US is finding that its truest allies are the Anglosphere, the Eastern European nations freed from Soviet dominion, and Asian nations still shielded by American power from the threat of Communist China.
NATO seems peculiarly unsuited to the fight against radical Islam because it is a house divided. France, Germany and Spain show no willingness to attack the enemy in its home base. They pretend that standing apart from the fray will protect them from radical Islam, even though each has a large immigrant Muslim population more likely to radicalize than assimilate. Great Britain has been a staunch supporter, although one suspects that stems more from Tony Blair’s conviction that America’s cause is just, than from any underlying support in the population.
Part of the problem is that NATO is an alliance in name only. America provides the military brawn and pays most of the bills. France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and the rest contribute little but interfere much. If America reduced its commitment to NATO it would free resources for working with more willing partners. The Europeans would be forced to pick up some of the slack and start rebuilding their military strength. An American withdrawal from the Balkans would be a good way to start the process.
Mark Steyn seems to agree with me:
How can this be? Short answer: Europe, Japan, South Korea. A little light colonial policing is bound to overstretch you if the bulk of your assets have been assigned to garrison your wealthiest allies in perpetuity. More importantly, the prolongation of the American security guarantee has been disastrous for those allies, transforming them into ersatz postmodern allies who require you to engage in months of elaborate diplomatic tap-dancing in order to get them to contribute a couple of hundred poorly equipped troops. There’s a line conservatives are fond of when they’re discussing welfare: What’s better for a man? To give him a fish? Or to teach him to fish for himself? That goes double for defence welfare. The continued US presence in Europe is bad for Europe and bad for the US. Ending it would be a basic recognition of the new circumstances: the wars of the future are going to look a lot like Iraq — swift, decisive interventions in failed states in dysfunctional corners of the world. That being so, the United States army should not be living in Germany.
June 29, 2004
The headlines have been warning us that global warming will cause more extreme weather. Maybe so, but the historical record suggests that global cooling involves extreme weather condtions. This site describes the impact of the little ice age on Europe. The weather could turn quite nasty:
During the LIA [litle ice age], there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP [medieval warm period] which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions.
It always struck me that the climatic conditions that deposited sheets of ice a mile thick across Canada, the northern United States, and northern Europe would be extreme. The little ice age provides an indication of the weather conditions that would accompany the onset of the next real ice age.
The Earth has experienced slight warming as it has emerged from the LIA. If the global warming alarmists are to be believed, even that warming should have increased the frequency of extreme weather events. Yet an analysis of hurricanes over the period 1899-1996 showed no such trend.
Over the period 1944-1996, decreasing trends were found for (1) the total number of hurricanes, (2) the number of intense hurricanes, (3) the annual number of hurricane days, (4) the maximum attained wind speed of all hurricane storms averaged over the course of a year, and (5) the highest wind speed associated with the strongest hurricane recorded in each year.
So, slight global warming has resulted in a decrease in hurricane activity. Not quite what the alarmists would have you believe.
June 28, 2004
This ruling is suicidally insane. In these sorts of issues, I like to refer back to what happened in Word War II. During that War, AXIS prisoners where put in POW camps for the duration of the war. They were treated humanely according to the Geneva conventions but they sure weren’t able to use American courts to challenge their captivity and treatment. The terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay are not even covered by the Geneva convention – they are unlawful combatants – yet SCOTUS is giving them the right to access the U.S. court system.
Mark Levin over at the Corner is not happy with the decision. He notes that:
The Majority believes the lower courts will use their new power in an appropriate manner
If you believe that, then you’ll believe that OJ was innocent, that every million awarded in medical malpractice and product liability cases is fair and just, that courts never use junk science, that trial lawyers never try to stack juries in their client’s favor, and that Islamic terrorists will treat the US court system with all due respect.
One can make two predictions about the consequences of this decision. Firstly, the terrorists and their U.S. supporters will take full advantage of the decision to hamstring the war against radical Islam. Secondly, the U.S. military and intelligence will become loathe to take prisoners; they will be handed over to allies with less regard for legal niceties or shot on the spot.
LGF isn’t too impressed, either.
And here’s a thought; perhaps the rush to sovereignty in Iraq was to stop Saddam challenging his captivity and treatment in a U.S. Court. Now the Iraqis own him and they won’t be as nice as SCOTUS.
June 27, 2004
We lived in England in the late 1980s. I do not recall all the details, and Google comes up a blank, but we saw a newspaper survey that showed global concerns by religion. Most religions came up with issues like the environment, world peace, and poverty, but to Muslims the most pressing issue was killing Salman Rushdie.
This is the Fatwa issued on Salman Rushdie:
The author of The Satanic Verses, a text written, edited, and published against Islam, against the Prophet of Islam, and against the Koran, along with all the editors and publishers aware of its contents, are condemned to capital punishment. I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to execute this sentence without delay, so that no one henceforth will dare insult the sacred beliefs of the Muslims.
Free speech, anybody?
This is the Fatwa issued on ALL Americans by Osama Bin Ladin:
On that basis, and in compliance with God’s order, we issue the following fatwa to all Muslims
The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies–civilians and military–is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, “and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,” and “fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.”
From thence came 9/11. Any Muslim who fails to repudiate both Fatwas should be regarded as a mortal enemy. Thanks to S.R. for the insight.
June 27, 2004
Julie Geiser of Canton wrote an impassioned letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer asking how this generation compares to the one that won WW2:
If those of us age 50 and younger had to endure something like World War II, how would we fare? Would we unite behind a president who takes us into a war that spans continents, lasts more than four years, requires the military draft, results in more than 300,000 dead American soldiers and keeps our occupation forces overseas for decades afterward? Would we willingly ration our own resources? Would we rise to the occasion so that history would label us the “greatest generation”? Not likely.
It gets better so go read it before the archive gets archived.
June 25, 2004
But this one really annoys me:
“It was when Moore went into a rant about how the passengers on the planes on 11 September were scaredy-cats because they were mostly white. If the passengers had included black men, he claimed, those killers, with their puny bodies and unimpressive small knives, would have been crushed by the dudes, who as we all know take no disrespect from anybody.”
United Airlines Flight 93 Mr. Moore? Ever heard of it? Know where it crashed? Know where it was headed? Know why it crashed? I would think someone as smart as Moore would know those things. As a student of modern American life, Mr. Moore must have known that ordinary Americans, black, white, straight and gay fought back once they learned that Flight 93 was no ordinary hijacking.
Of course Moore knew about the heroes of Flight 93, but some of them were “Stupid White Men”, and that spoiled the moral of his lttle diatribe.
June 24, 2004
Let’s tie a few thoughts together. The current craze for beheading has become de rigueur amongst terrorist groups. It quickly spread to Afghanistan where the Taliban tried it out against an Afghan militia man and translator. The Afghan militia responded in kind by lopping off the heads of four captured Taliban terrorists. Apart from some bleating from Human Rights Watch, the incident has barely made it to the major media. Imagine the outrage if US forces had done that. Ted Kennedy would be demanding Rumsfeld’s head on a platter and the NYT would want Bush impeached. Be that as it may, this incident tells us when the people we freed encounter the enemies of their freedom, they do not observe US military rules of engagement 100%.
Now to Iraq. The ever-perceptive Wretchard of Belmont Club linked to an Iraqi blogger who gives us the names and country of origin of the terrorists killed by a JDAM in Fallujah. They are Jihadists from all over the Muslim world, and not an Iraqi among them. Scroll through the comments and we find Sam, the blogger, responding with this outburst:
Wait until 30/6/2004 [June 30th, 2004] then the Iraqis will do the job. This is what the Zarqawi group fear of. Though US got heavy power but this is not a conventional war and the Iraqis know on which side their bread is buttered! We will f**k them!
Fallujah is where the foreign terrorists are concentrated. By pulling out of Fallujah the Marines made it a safe haven for the Zarqawi group. The haven is becoming rather less safe, witness the Marines recent willingness to drop JDAMs on safe houses. Come hand over day, even the local Iraqis will know which side their bread is buttered on. The foreigners will be treated with rather less respect than the Marines have accorded them. They won’t have to worry about panties on their heads; they won’t even have heads after the locals are done with them.
The US strategy has been to build a critical mass of Iraqis on their side sufficient to overwhelm the terrorists and Saddamites. Once that point is reached then the US forces can step back and let the Iraqis deal with the bad guys. If the Iraqis need fire power, the US has it in abundance. But the Iraqis have local intelligience in abundance and will use it.
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