Category Archives: Israel

Memorial-Day Message (2014)

Foreign Policy, Government, History, Homeland Security, Israel, Liberty, Military

Robert Glisson, a veteran and a longtime reader, was once asked to write an op-ed for Barely A Blog about the “Patriot Guard Riders.” The op-ed, entitled “For The Love of A Brother-In-Arms, And ‘Big Brother’ Be Damned,” was prefaced with this comment: “I do not identify with the military mission, but who can fault the humanity of the effort?”

It is the habit on the Memorial Day weekend to thank uniformed men for their sacrifice. And it is the annual custom on Barely A Blog to extend sympathies to the Americans who fight phantoms in far-flung destinations. I’m sorry they’ve been snookered into living, dying and killing for a lie. But I cannot honor that lie, or those who give their lives for it and take the lives of others in America’s many recreational wars. I mourn for them, as I have from day one, but I can’t honor them.

I am sorry for those who’ve enlisted thinking they’d fight for their countrymen and were subjected to one backdoor draft after another in the cause of illegal, unjust wars and assorted informal attacks. My heart hurts for you, but my worshipping at Moloch’s feet will not make you feel better, deep down.

I honor those sad, sad draftees to Vietnam and to WW II. The first valiant batch had no option; the same goes for the last, which fought a just war. I grew up in Israel, so I honor those men who stopped Arab armies from overrunning our homes. In 1973, we came especially close to annihilation.

I can legitimately claim to know of flesh-and-blood heroes who fought so that I could emerge from the bomb shelter (in the wars of 67 and 73) and proceed with my kid life. I always stood in their honor and wept when the sirens wailed once a year. Wherever he is, every Israeli stops on that day and stands still in remembrance. We would have been overrun by Arabs if not for those brave men who defended the homeland, and not some far-away imperial project.

But can we Americans, in 2014, make such a claim? Can we truly claim that someone killed an Iraqi, Afghani, Yemeni or Libyan so that we can … do what? Remind me?

What I learned growing up in a war-torn region is that a brave nation fights because it must; a cowardly one fights because it can.”

How fast the so-called small government types forget that the military is government. As explained in “Your Government’s Jihadi Protection Program”:

“When Republicans and conservatives cavil about the gargantuan growth of government, they target the state’s welfare apparatus and spare its war machine. Unbeknown to these factions, the military is government. The military works like government; is financed like government, and sports many of the same inherent malignancies of government. Like government, it must be kept small. Conservative can’t coherently preach against the evils of big government, while excluding the military mammoth.”

“Classical Liberalism And State Schemes” further suggests how the military, as an arm of the state, can become antithetical to the liberty of its own citizens and the world’s citizens:

We have a solemn [negative] duty not to violate the rights of foreigners everywhere to life, liberty, and property. But we have no duty to uphold their rights. Why? Because (supposedly) upholding the negative rights of the world’s citizens involves compromising the negative liberties of Americans—their lives, liberties, and livelihoods. The classical liberal government’s duty is to its own citizens, first.
“philanthropic” wars are transfer programs—the quintessential big-government projects, if you will. The warfare state, like the welfare state, is thus inimical to the classical liberal creed. Therefore, government’s duties in the classical liberal tradition are negative, not positive; to protect freedoms, not to plan projects. As I’ve written, “In a free society, the ‘vision thing’ is left to private individuals; civil servants are kept on a tight leash, because free people understand that a ‘visionary’ bureaucrat is a voracious one and that the grander the government (‘great purposes’ in Bush Babble), the poorer and less free the people.”

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One State: Is It The Solution Or The Final Solution To The Jewish State?

English, Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian Authority

For at least a decade now, Ambassador Yoram Ettinger has been sending me his newsletter. The Ettinger Report is devoted to debunking the myth of Palestinian demographic superiority. Thus the idea that the fertility rates of Israeli Jews are gaining on and even greater than those of the Palestinians is hardly new.

Cut to the Mark Levin Show. The other day I heard a whiny woman talking Israel with the host. It tuns out the woman was the neoconservative writer Caroline Glick, whom I had never heard before. She was promoting her Levin-endorsed book, The Israeli Solution, in which the fertility and immigration rates on which Ettinger had been reporting for years serve as the basis for Glick’s support for a “One-State Plan for Peace in the Middle East,” namely a one-state solution.

The Jewish fertility rate has increased as the Palestinian rates have collapsed along with those of the Muslim world as a whole. Israeli Jews now have higher fertility rates than the Arabs of Judea and Samaria, (3.04 vs. 2.91 children per woman). Israel’s immigration rate is high and rising. Palestinian emigration rates have skyrocketed over the past decade.

Why does the one-state solution follow from “the demographic good news,” as the writer puts it? (Doesn’t “the good demographic news” make for a better-ordered sentence?)

I read Glick’s FrontPage article hoping to find a decisive argument as to why the author has concluded that, in the absence of the threat of death by demographics–a one-state solution would be in Israel’s best interests.

I found nothing of the sort in Glick’s rather weak (and not terribly well written) article.

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UPDATE II: Cutting And Clever Comments About John Kerry

Critique, Foreign Policy, Intelligence, Israel

What I love about Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s remarks about John Kerry is their intelligence. The guy is sharp. Witty too.

Ya’alon lambasted Kerry “as ‘inexplicably obsessive’ and ‘messianic’ in his efforts to coax” Israel and the Palestinians into a peace agreement.

“All that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace,’ Ya’alon was quoted saying to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.

I’m not sure if this last hilarity qualifies as a syllogism, but the allusion to the trajectory of Obama’s peace-making efforts works magnificently.

Defense Minister Ya’alon is also passionately vested in his analysis of the Kerry character.

I can’t imagine one of our feeble-minded morons in public office coming up with a cutting or clever comment on any topic.

Ditto our columnists. Other than yours truly, Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn—I can’t think of a columnist who is in possession of a funny bone. And I don’t mean potty humor; I mean stringing concepts together to come up with some absurdly funny reductio.

UPDATE I: Greg Gutfeld is really really funny, although he is not someone I read. He’s a riot. Clever too.

UPDATE II (2/16): Fred Reed rocks.

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A Soldier In The Style Of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson

Barack Obama, Bush, Foreign Policy, Israel, Military, Nationhood, War

“A Soldier In The Style Of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

“Barack Hussein Obama at war and George W. Bush at war: How does the 44th president of the United States differ from the 43rd?

If nothing else, former Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has settled that question. Bush sent troops to fight futile battles without flinching; Obama did the same with some reservation.

Hardly a peacemaker, Obama questioned the mission in Afghanistan and was skeptical of the military brass’s motivation in securing for itself—to the detriment of the grunts on the ground—a long-term commitment to the theatre of war in that country.

Like Obama, 82 percent of Americans oppose the war the president is being panned for having embraced publicly, but agonized over privately. On Afghanistan, Obama is more aligned with the American people—and the truth—than the former defense secretary and his Republican champions.

This I say with reluctance. I awarded Barack Obama brownie points thrice in his tenure: for doing not a thing about the 2011–2012 protests in Iran, for ceasing the criminalization of cancer and AIDS patients for their medicinal use of illegal substances, and for breaking with Bush and his neocons in refusing to step on the Russian Bear’s claws. Obama scrapped the missile-defense shield in Russia’s backyard.

Yet this revelation in Gates’ ‘Duty,’ a book that hangs on one hook, has Republicans gurgling with pleasure. Limitless is the GOP’s zest and zeal for ignoring the negative right of the American people to be free of the Sisyphean (and Jacobean) struggle to save the world.

If anything, it sounds as though Gates might have had misgivings of his own about the missions in which his “soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines” were dying for nothing.

A bereft Gates tells of ‘evening sessions’ during which he’d write condolence letters ‘to the families of service members killed in action.’ There ‘probably wasn’t a single evening in nearly 4 1/2 years when I didn’t — when I didn’t weep,’ he confessed. Gates relates how focused he became ‘on the strain on our troops and on their families.’ After all, ‘they’d been at war for 10 years.’ ‘My highest priority,’ he averred in an interview with NPR, was ‘trying to avoid new conflict … in terms of recommending against intervention in Libya,’ and expressing ‘concerns about going to war in Syria, much less in Iran.’

It just seemed to me that some of the areas where we were looking at potential conflict were more in the category of wars of choice. And it was those that I was trying to protect the troops from.

Having fought for the survival of his people—and never to democratize or ‘save’ another—Ariel Sharon was far less of a study in contradictions than poor Mr. Gates. …

Read the complete column. “A Soldier In The Style Of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson” is on WND.


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Ariel Sharon, Soldier In The Style Of ‘Stonewall’ Jackson

Homeland Security, Israel, Judaism & Jews, libertarianism, Middle East, Military

As a child growing up in Israel, this 1973 image of the late Ariel Sharon was seared in my mind. Had Sharon himself not performed military miracles, who knows if Israelis, myself included, would have survived. How many Americans can point to a leader who had actually saved their lives, rather than send other men to die in foreign countries and then propagandized his countrymen about having fought for their freedoms?

Seen in the image above, former Israeli Prime Minister Sharon led his men into battle and won the 1973 Yom Kippur War in which the Israeli government and the intelligence failed. Here Sharon is seen during that war “on the western bank of the Suez Canal in Egypt. Sharon said his greatest military success came during that war. He surrounded Egypt’s Third Army and, defying orders, led 200 tanks and 5,000 men over the Suez Canal, a turning point.”

Sharon died, Jan 11, after languishing in a vegetative state for 8 years.

During the Bush years, “libertarian who loathe Israel” would often compare Emperor Bush with Sharon, whom they detested too.

Hated though he was abroad, Sharon was a soldier in the style of “Stonewall” Jackson, not Dubya the Deserter. As a Special Forces commander, he personally led his troops into battle, performing daring assaults that saved Israel in the 1967 and 1973 wars.

Agree or disagree with his methods, it is unarguable that Sharon’s overriding concern was with the security of his citizens. He saw himself as bearing a “historic responsibility” for “the fate of the Jewish people.” By contrast, Bush’s Wilsonian, global missionary movement related not even tangentially to the future and safety of the American people.

Unlike George Bush the internationalist, Arik Sharon was a fierce nationalist who cared first and foremost about his country. Under pressure from the U.S. for his treatment of terrorists, he was expected to make concessions to murderers who kill civilians, while Bush and the international community made no such allowances for al-Qaida.

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UPDATED: The TAO Of Tyranny (The Israeli Difference)

Government, Homeland Security, Israel, Technology, Terrorism, The State

The TAO of tyranny was devised in 1997. In the USA.

The German weekly Der Spiegel has performed the service the British Guardian performed before it. Once again it falls to the serious foreign press to expose the machinations of the U.S. state apparatus; in this case, the works of The Office of Tailored Access Operations, or Tao.

“… TAO … is the National Security Agency’s top operative unit — something like a squad of plumbers that can be called in when normal access to a target is blocked.” So writes Der Spiegel.

According to internal NSA documents viewed by SPIEGEL, these on-call digital plumbers are involved in many sensitive operations conducted by American intelligence agencies. TAO’s area of operations ranges from counterterrorism to cyber attacks to traditional espionage. The documents reveal just how diversified the tools at TAO’s disposal have become — and also how it exploits the technical weaknesses of the IT industry, from Microsoft to Cisco and Huawei, to carry out its discreet and efficient attacks. …

… one former TAO chief wrote … that TAO “needs to continue to grow and must lay the foundation for integrated Computer Network Operations,” and that it must “support Computer Network Attacks as an integrated part of military operations.” To succeed in this, she wrote, TAO would have to acquire “pervasive, persistent access on the global network.” An internal description of TAO’s responsibilities makes clear that aggressive attacks are an explicit part of the unit’s tasks. In other words, the NSA’s hackers have been given a government mandate for their work. During the middle part of the last decade, the special unit succeeded in gaining access to 258 targets in 89 countries — nearly everywhere in the world. In 2010, it conducted 279 operations worldwide.

Indeed, TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks of democratically elected leaders of countries. They infiltrated networks of European telecommunications companies and gained access to and read mails sent over Blackberry’s BES email servers, which until then were believed to be securely encrypted. Achieving this last goal required a “sustained TAO operation,” one document states.

This TAO unit is born of the Internet — created in 1997, a time when not even 2 percent of the world’s population had Internet access and no one had yet thought of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. From the time the first TAO employees moved into offices at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the unit was housed in a separate wing, set apart from the rest of the agency. Their task was clear from the beginning — to work around the clock to find ways to hack into global communications traffic.

… The TAO workers authorized to access the special, secure floor on which the unit is located are for the most part considerably younger than the average NSA staff member. Their job is breaking into, manipulating and exploiting computer networks, making them hackers and civil servants in one. Many resemble geeks — and act the part, too.

Their leader: the dangerous NSA Director, Keith Alexander.

Read on about “‘Computer Network Exploitation’ (CNE), the goal [of which] is to “subvert endpoint devices,” according to an internal NSA presentation that SPIEGEL has viewed. The presentation goes on to list nearly all the types of devices that run our digital lives — ‘servers, workstations, firewalls, routers, handsets, phone switches, SCADA systems, etc.’ SCADAs are industrial control systems used in factories, as well as in power plants. Anyone who can bring these systems under their control has the potential to knock out parts of a country’s critical infrastructure.”

The most well-known and notorious use of this type of attack was the development of Stuxnet, the computer worm whose existence was discovered in June 2010. The virus was developed jointly by American and Israeli intelligence agencies to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, and successfully so.

AND READ HOW TAO techies are “Having Fun at Microsoft’s Expense”—and at ours, since so many of us use Microsoft’s Windows.

UPDATED (12/31): The Israeli Difference, in reply to the Facebook Thread:

Israel possesses this capability, Don Darkes. But Israel seems far more prone to using these “tools” to do what they believe, and most of Israelis believe, is in the interest of national survival. The US state, however, turns on its own people, seldom acting in their interest. I mean, if Uncle Sam is so smart, and is spying on Mexico, why give drug dealers weapons to kill Americans and innocent Mexicans? A lot of people hate Israel. But a lot of what the state does (and I do not necessarily support these intrusions) is executed by a leadership that perceives its interest to be one with the people it represents. In other words, when Israelis release a cyber-virus on Iran, it is b/c Mosad members are not emigrating (they can’t; no one will have them). They want to secure the future of their own kind.

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