Putin’s PR Quagmire

Europe, Foreign Policy, Russia, Terrorism

Opines Tom Piatak of Chronicles magazine:

Most Ukrainians do not want to be part of Russia’s “near abroad.” In this they resemble most Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Finns, Czechs, Slovaks, and Hungarians. Those who experienced Russian rule, either under the tsars or the commissars, generally do not harbor any nostalgia for it. Instead, they fear its return. A post-Communist Russia does not pose any threat to us, and the United States should stay out of Russia’s dispute with Ukraine for that reason. But Russia does pose a potential threat to its neighbors, and giving support to rebels who shoot down airliners will do nothing to reassure those worried by a revival of Russian power. Putin’s task should be to allay the fears of Russia’s neighbors, not to stoke them.

MORE.


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‘Murder In The Skies’

Asia, Technology, Terrorism

Sadly, it would seem as though the Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai spends his days explaining why the national carrier is so careless. He offered this non sequitur, about the downing of Malaysian Airlines Boeing Co. (BA) 777 over a war zone (Ukraine): “The carrier had followed the same journey plan many times. I think since it’s an approved route it is safe and that’s the reason why we have been using this route.” The many AIDS researchers killed on Malaysian Airlines Boeing Co. (BA) 777, shot down over Ukraine, must have been trusting souls to board a Malaysian plane.

According to The Atlantic, “Nearly three months ago, on the ‘Special Rules’ section of its site, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration put out an order prohibiting American pilots, airlines, charter carriers, and everyone else over whom the FAA has direct jurisdiction, from flying over southern parts of Ukraine. … the FAA ‘Special Rules’ section tells U.S. pilots and aircraft not to fly over trouble spots ranging from North Korea to Yemen to Syria to Iraq. And since last April it has told them not to fly over certain parts of Ukraine.”

Garry Moore: “Murder In The Skies”:


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Palestinian Civilians Props In Public Relation’s War

Israel, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Middle East

As I pointed out on November 23, 2012, “Hamas hides among unwitting civilians, who have no way of controlling its activities. This fact does not give Israel the right to kill innocent non-combatants, not even unintentionally. Besides, murder is not ‘unintentional’ when you know it is inevitable.”

Still, from the fact that the Palestinian side sustains more casualties—it does not necessarily follow that they are the innocent party in the dispute. It’s not Israel’s fault, moreover, that its population is well-protected by rocket-repelling technology, mandatory bomb shelters and that Israelis benefit from an all-round, well-organized emergency response. Who among us would tolerate living with a constant barrage of bombs from our neighbors? If Gaza, which was ceded by Israel to the dogs of war (Hamas), has nothing by way of safety infrastructure, it is because its leaders invest in terrorism instead of in trade.

Ultimately, and as National Post’s Lorne Gunter astutely observed many years ago, “If Palestinians stopped their attacks today, tomorrow there would be no Israeli attacks.” But if Israel stopped unilaterally, Palestinians would be at it again in no time.

The latest developments, via DEBKAfile: “Israel air, sea and artillery pounded the Gaza Strip Thursday night, July 17, as IDF ground forces embarked on a ground attack, just announced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Debkafile reports a softening-up operation to prepare for the entry of armored and infantry units. The IDF calls on the half million Gazans of southern towns of Khan Younes and Rafah to leave their homes for their own safety. Israelis living close to the Gaza border were advised to stay in bomb shelters.”

By the Telegraph’s telling, “Israel’s leaders are grimly aware of the risks they are taking by sending troops to fight in the crowded alleys of Gaza. Now that their forces are embroiled in this urban maze, they will lose much of their technological advantage against Hamas gunmen. One Israeli soldier was duly killed within hours of the invasion starting.”

Yet Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, believes that a ground operation is the only way to stop the rocket attacks. Meanwhile, Mr Masri made clear that the Hamas viewed it as a chance to inflict casualties on its enemy. “The Zionist army is very surprised by what the resistance possesses,” he said. “The resistance attacked tanks and Humvees with missiles and went behind enemy lines to conduct intelligence operations.”
But Israel is now fighting Hamas by land, sea and air. Two jet fighters soared overhead like silver arrowheads yesterday, scattering decoy flares across a cloudless summer sky.
Sa’ar Class missile boats from the Israeli navy have grown bold enough to pound their targets from close to the shore, although Hamas struck back with a missile that fell just short of its target, sending up a plume of white water.
Israeli commanders are trying to strangle Hamas from all directions. But the only certainty is that Gaza’s hospitals become more crowded by the day.

I tend to agree with Hamas that “Israel’s ground offensive is ‘foolish’ and will have ‘dreadful consequences.’” Since the Hamasniks consider their population no more than props in a public relation’s war, Palestinian casualties affect them not at all.


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GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train

Foreign Policy, Iraq, Left-Liberalism, Military, Neoconservatism, Old Right, Republicans, War

“GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train” is the current column, now on WND. An excerpt:

… Texas Gov. Rick Perry was not the only Republican warbot to pile on Sen. Rand Paul. “In the past three days alone, recapitulated Politico, Perry used a Washington Post op-ed to warn about the dangers of ‘isolationism’ and describe Paul as ‘curiously blind’ to growing threats in Iraq. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) accused the Kentucky senator on CNN of wanting a ‘withdrawal to fortress America.’ And former Vice President Dick Cheney declared … that ‘isolationism is crazy,’ while his daughter, Liz Cheney, said Paul ‘leaves something to be desired, in terms of national security policy.’

Like McMussolini, the vampiric father and daughter duo are a spent force, easily dismissed by a young turk. But can Rand stand up to the Joint Chiefs? Military movers and shakers are heavily vested in the sunk-cost fallacy—the irrational notion that more resources must be committed forthwith in Iraq (and elsewhere), so as to “redeem” the original misguided commitment of men, money and materiel to the mission. To that end, repeated ad nauseam is the refrain about our “brave men and women of the military,” whose sacrifice for Iraqi “freedoms” will be squandered unless more such sacrifices are made. The Skeptic’s Dictionary dispels this illogic: “To continue to invest in a hopeless project is irrational. Such behavior may be a pathetic attempt to delay having to face the consequences of one’s poor judgment. The irrationality is a way to save face, to appear to be knowledgeable, when in fact one is acting like an idiot.” Besides, it’s time the military heed its paymasters, The American People, a majority of whom “don’t want to send U.S. soldiers back into Iraq.”

Read the complete column. “GOP Should Grow A Brain, Join The Peace Train” is now on WND.

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Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com. Or, ilana@ilanamercer.com


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Ghostbuster Of Yankie Propaganda

America, Federalism, History, States' Rights

It’s 4:17 AM. Sleep has never come easily. I reach for one of the books I delve into for relaxation—non-fiction always. Facts, nothing but facts are my preference; well-reasoned opinions I have in abundance. I get to “Civil War America, 1850-1870,” in Paul Johnson’s A History of the American People. Facts? Perhaps in the strictest sense of the word: timeline, dates, etc. Otherwise, the section is simplistic and biased. To wit, Lincoln was as pure as the driven snow (his wife thought otherwise, describing him as a good-for-nothing lay about around the home). Southern secession was undemocratic and nonsensical. Jefferson Davis was an imbecile. The dispute between North and South was purely about slavery, no more; the South being steeped in that Original Sin, but not the North.

“If there’s something strange in your neighborhood, who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!” The Ghostbuster of this dross is my friend, historian Clyde Wilson. In “Derailment of Civil War History,” Prof. Wilson muses about the rigidity of “fixed and eternal dogmas in the interpretation of the past”:

… the Civil War sesquicentennial has received slight public interest and produced little in the way of new knowledge and perspective. This is true despite the fact that the great war of 1861—1865, with its prelude and sequel, arguably remains the most significant (as well as the most interesting) part of American history. Is it possible that this lack has something to do with the now official and pervasive dogma that the Civil War was “about slavery” and “caused by slavery”? Any challenge to this understanding is, in the Marxist language now prevalent in American academic discourse, condemned as “revisionism,” no longer a good thing but defined as the conniving of evilly-motivated people to challenge the party line established by the all-wise experts. There has even been created a whole literature dismissing dissidents as deluded victims of a “Lost Cause Myth.” Gary Gallagher, one of the celebrity historians of present Civil War historianship, describes such people as suffering from a mental “syndrome.” [1]

But, in fact, it is impossible to find any qualified historian of the first half of the 20th century who accepted the current party line of “slavery and nothing but slavery” in regard to the Civil War. This current dogma is nothing more than a replay of the early partisan presentation of the war as a morality play about the suppression of slavery and treason by the forces of righteousness. A little Marxist class conflict and racial vengeance has been mixed in to update the tale. Responsible historians before the present era realized that no large human event can be understood in such a trivial way, and that “about” and “caused by” are deceptive terms when applied to great happenings. Historians of the not-too-distant past realized that their proper task was to go beyond the claims of partisans. In pursuit of such a mission, a large literature was created treating the Civil War as a thing of great complexity and moral ambiguity. This great scholarly achievement has been washed down the Memory Hole. Thus the study of history is no longer a matter of cumulative knowledge. To control understanding of the past has always been an objective of power-seekers. We live in a time when such control flourishes.

MORE of Prof. Wilson’s intellectual sanity.


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Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBI) Liberals For Illegal Aliens

Democrats, IMMIGRATION

The very definition of a Not-In-My-Back-Yard (NIMBI) liberal is Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who said a resounding no to housing central American illegal desperadoes in his state.

At the same time, sleazemeister O’Malley scolded the White House for a belated proposal, made only due to public pressure, “to give new legal authorities to the Department of Homeland Security to expedite the deportation of the unaccompanied minors and their families.”

Migrants from Central America and other non-contiguous nations are granted special legal protections that allow them to plead their case to an immigration court, under a 2008 law designed to prevent human trafficking. (CNN)

“’We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death,’ O’Malley said last week at a National Governors Association meeting in Nashville.”

A scum bag and a liar. “No proof has been advanced for the claim that, all of a sudden, things in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have worsened. The fact that Central American minors are arriving, hat-in-hand,” is [advanced as the only] proof that their homes have become uninhabitable. (“Desperately Seeking Desperadoes in Diapers”)


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