Category Archives: Israel

Dead Men Walking

Israel, Justice, Terrorism

The Shin Bet security service already knows the names of the terrorists who kidnapped and killed three Israeli teenagers. They are said to be Marwan Qwasmeh and Amar Abu Aisha from Hebron. DEBKAFile reports that Qwasmeh and Abu Aisha have “both done time in Israeli and Palestinian jails for terrorist actions.”

The IDF has blown up the houses of Qawasmeh and Abu-Eisha. Their victims, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frenkel, can rest in peace. Although the “two terrorists remain at large,” it is safe to say that their days on earth are numbered.

Also to be dispatched, in a manner, “are The Israel Police’s Judea and Samaria District Operations Department Commander … as a result of the police’s mishandling of a call from the abducted yeshiva boys that was mistakenly classified as a prank call, as will the Commander of the District’s Control Outpost (Mashlat) and Operations Branch Commander, IDF Radio reported Monday. Also to be dismissed are the policeman who was in charge of the shift at the police’s ’100′ hotline and the senior policewoman who received the information about the call and classified it as a prank.” (Via Arutz Sheva.)

If only the IDF could do something about our domestic terrorists (Lois Lerner and her bandits, Holder, etc).

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Is Israel Weak For Negotiating To Free Prisoners Of War?

Family, Israel, Military, Pop-Culture, Terrorism, War

While the specter of the parents of returning POW Bowe Bergdahl babbling, sobbing and conveying encoded, incoherent messages to their son on national TV was inappropriate and undignified (although not atypical of the pornography of public grief in this country)—the fact that the soldier’s government has worked to get him released from Taliban captivity is entirely appropriate. It’s a good thing that, as Reuters reports, “Army Sergeant Bergdahl, held for nearly five years in Afghanistan, was freed in a deal with the Taliban brokered by the Qatari government. Five Taliban militants, described by Senator John McCain as the ‘hardest of the hard core,’ were released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and flown to Qatar.”

But not if you ask the usual suspects.

Nothing much has changed since, in 2004, the neoconservatives at National Review had “grumbled about Israel’s ‘lopsided prisoner exchanges’ over the years. One ‘sofa samurai,’ … noted the startling disparity of exchanging 5,500 Egyptian soldiers, following the Sinai campaign of 1956, ‘for the lives of the four Israeli soldiers captured in the fighting,’ and over 8,000 Egyptians, after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, in exchange for 240 Israeli soldiers.”

When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon released 430 Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners in exchange for three dead Israelis and one live one, people worried, and for good reason. Many of the prisoners were said to be very dangerous men. The late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin would probably have supported the Sharon swap. According to Dr. Ganor, Rabin said categorically that when military action to free hostages is not possible, ‘real negotiations should be held.’…

… President Bush sat bone idle, never lifting a bloodstained finger to haggle for his countrymen beheaded … Abandoning hostages as the Bush administration did as a matter of ‘principle’ is … not an option, at least not an ethical one. President Bush bears the mark of Cain for looking on as Americans continue to be butchered. …” (“AFTER THEIR HEADS ROLL, AMERICA’S DEAD REMAIN FACELESS”)

“Bergdahl was flown to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for medical treatment,” reports Reuters. “After receiving care he would be transferred to another facility in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. defense officials said, without giving a date for his return to the United States.”


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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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