Bulldoze a few more of them
Ooh, is the title too mean? Here's where it comes from: Members of the
same group that Rachel
Corrie died for were
caught hiding a terrorist from the IDF.
Soldiers of the Golani Brigade's counterguerrilla unit
Egoz raided the West Bank offices of the International
Solidarity Movement on Thursday and seized a senior Islamic Jihad
The army said Shadi Sukia, 20, was being sheltered
in the Jenin offices of the Palestinian-backed peace group whose members
often act as human shields, placing themselves between soldiers and
The group said it did not know Sukia was wanted for
planning a number of suicide bombings and shootings.
The army said troops found a pistol and Kalashnikov
rifles in the ISM premises during a search of the four-story building,
which also houses offices of the International Committee of the Red
Cross, international medical group Medicins Sans Frontieres, and the
Bank of Palestine.
Interesting. They didn't know he was a terrorist, and they didn't know
there were weapons in their building, either. Hm. Why is it, again, that
Israel doesn't deport all "peace" activists when it's obvious
their actions are not at all peaceful to the people of Israel? But then,
we already knew that. If they were truly for peace, they'd be protesting
the blowing up of busloads of schoolchildren. Not a peep. permalink
NZ Bear has an
answer to MSNBC's Steven Levy, who says that embedded reporters (and
why does that make me think of a rock in my shoe?) are sort of likebloggers.
Survey says: Close, but not quite. Which in this case,
is arguably worse than being just flat-out wrong.
At the risk of sounding like a bitter new-media tool
who just wants to be spiteful and insist that everybody else Just Doesn't
Get It: well, in this case, Levy just doesn't get it.
Yes, embedded journalists are providing first-person
accounts, and they share this characteristic with (some) bloggers. But
the key characteristic of weblogs is not that they are breathless accounts
of our own lives --- because, in fact, many of them aren't. (When was
the last time you heard about my life in any significant way? Ah yes,
that's right: never.)
Read the rest; it's well worth it.
By the way, Bear, I agree with you, but I think you're missing a really
funny point: Big Media is falling all over itself to say they're like
us, now. Quite a change in their opinion since the haughtier-than-thou
articles of only a few months ago. Dunno about you, but I'm smilin'.
Hoo-wee, steam is coming off my monitor. Why? Because I was over
at Diane's, and she's on several rampages at once. One is the
De Genova outrage (the asshole Columbia prof. who says he hopes for
a million Mogadishus and wants American troops to die. That's okay, Prof.
We want you to die, and you're not even on my honor roll
of anti-Semites, though I suspect a Google search would likely change
that. The most annoying quote from the
New York Post article:
While he did not retract his statements, he said he
hoped they do not lead to "death threats," like those he received
after a controversial speech at a pro-Palestinian rally last spring.
Let's see if we can get behind this logic. He just said he wishes American
soldiers will die, but he thinks it's wrong for people to say that they
wish he would die. Hm. So, what, in his world, it's okay to issue passive
death threats, but not active ones? Here's the best of both worlds, dude:
Diane's also got a
new meme she'd like to get going. I like it, so I'm passing it on:
S.H.I.T. Happens. S.H.I.T.=Saddam Hussen Is Toast. S.H.I.T. happens. It's
got a nice ring to it.
Bill Herbert's got a
lot of great new posts. There's a
very heartening one about China and North Korea. But as for the Henley
quoteBill, Henley references, links to, and publishes Raimondo's
email on a regular basis. I think that says more than enough about the
quality of his judgment. He's been off my reading list for months.
Aaron's Rantblog took a leaf from our International Eat an Animal for
PETA campaign, and has designated April 15th Buy
for to Spite Michael Moore Day. I don't know that I'll
be buying a gun that day, but I'm passing the word along. permalink
Letter from Captain Steve
The Eye of the Storm
One of the most stirring images of the Second World
War is that of our Marines raising the Stars and Stripes over Iwo Jima.
It evokes powerful emotions in us because it shows fragile humans made
great by struggle and sacrifice. It shows them wearied by war and the
loss of thousands of their brothers but still strong enough to endure
one more task, the honoring of the symbol of everything for which they
I'm afraid our current struggle will furnish no such
images. While we have far more photographers with our troops, and technology
much more suited to memorializing great moments, we are missing one
essential element. The thing we're missing is our flag.
In an earlier letter I mentioned that we are not allowed
to fly our flag at this base. It is thought it might "offend"
our hosts, although no one seems to know for sure if that's the case.
No one I have spoken to can say whether we were asked to make this concession,
or it was voluntary, like the unfortunate decision to require U.S. military
women to wear abayyas off base. (You may remember that one. It was finally
done away with through the offices of a brave female pilot who refused
to wear the symbol of a religion she did not practice.) Regardless of
its origin though, this decision has set a precedent that is being carried
forward from what used to be Operation Southern Watch and is now Operation
Iraqi Freedom. Our ground forces, who may well return home covered with
our flag, are not allowed to raise it above a battlefield.
Apparently people are worried about our being convicted
of imperialism in the court of world opinion. Given the monkey business
we've witnessed in the United Nations lately, world opinion should not
carry enough weight to sway our policy, but it seems we feel compelled
to address it anyway. Secretary of State Colin Powel is credited with
responding recently to a question about our imperialistic designs. He
said that for the great majority of our campaigns on foreign soil, the
only soil we kept was "enough to bury those that did not return."
But that is using good reason on people who have shown themselves logic-resistant.
At some point it just doesn't make sense to address such stupid questions.
Let us ask instead, What do we say by not flying our flag?
First of all, we accept the argument that our flag
is something to be ashamed of. I know there are people who consider
this to be the case. People who would rather discuss our history of
slavery than recognize that we did more to end it than any nation in
history. People who decry capitalism as a system based on greed, while
embracing systems that grind the best out of people and deprive them
of the fruits of their labors. People are entitled to these opinions,
but for the life of me I can't understand why if they hold them they
don't move to one of the many workers' paradises that put them into
practice. Similarly, if a host nation is offended by our flag - by its
flying over a part of their soil we are likely to bleed defending, then
perhaps we ought to be defending someone else.
Secondly, the nation that fails to fly its flag tells
those we expect to die for it that we are less dedicated to its defense
than they are. We require of our fighting men and women an unstinting
loyalty to the flag that may lead to their deaths, but we are unwilling
to sacrifice popularity or international goodwill for it.
And let's face it. Not flying our flag has bought us
no good will. Americans are not loved in this country we helped defend,
and no amount of symbolic sacrifices will change that. As a matter of
fact, acting ashamed of who we are is exactly what costs us the respect
of people here. All it gets us is a hole in our morale where the symbol
of our nation should be. Young Marines who fight and loose their friends
in Basra, or An Nasariyah or Baghdad should not be deprived of the comfort
of seeing Old Glory wave above the battlefield they have secured. And
Iraqis who have yearned for freedom these long years should not be deprived
of it either.
I don't know whose idea it was, or even whether it
was a conscious decision - sometimes bad policies develop lives of their
own - but whatever its origin, I hope this policy will change. I hope
our fighting men and women will be able once again, to take comfort
and show pride in the one symbol of our nation that is recognized around
the world. What meaning can victory have for us without it?
Okay, I lied
I read my email, and there are too many thingssome extremely good
thingsgoing on, so bedtime is postponed.
First, great news from Sari Stein: Concordia University, also known variously
as Hate Jew U. or Gaza U., has had a sea change in student government
administration. Radicals out, moderates
in. Go check out Sari's
blog for the details, and lift a glass of wine (and a one-finger salute)
in the direction of the ousted regime.
Ellen of amcgltd.com emailed me
cat video that horrified and amused is a fake. Well, that makes me
feel a bit better about laughing so hard.
Okay, so it's Lou Ferrigno, but this
is really funny, and yes, folks,
you definitely did the right thing by sending that link to me. Thanks
for the laugh.
Coming up: Tomorrow, a new letter from Captain Steve. Sunday, pot luck.
Monday, a letter from an old friend with a very liberal slant on Iraq.
Plus probably more reader mail and definitely more posts. Oh, and my very
own Hulk pictures. (He rode shotgun and played navigator.)
Now I'm going to watch Angel. permalink
Just a post before I go
To bed. You know, a two-day trip to New Jersey is tiring. Especially
when some kind of sinus infection is added to the trip. Well, it's not
like I deliberately picked out a sinus infection and put it in my luggage
to make sure I wouldn't forget it, but it was there, nonetheless. All
I can say is thank the inventors of Sudafed for relief from a two-day
headache. (Yeah, sometimes it takes me a while to realize it's a sinus
thing, not stress.)
Actually, I think I'll catch up on my two-week-old episode of Angel before
retiring. I'll catch up on everything else here tomorrow. permalink
A few things before coming home
Well, my quick trip to NJ is nearly over. Had a great dinner with my
family tonight, and got some really oustanding dessert at a home-made
custard and ice stand (real lemon ice! A milk shake so thick and sweet
it tasted like a melted chocolate bar!), picked up plenty of kosher meat
from my favorite butcher shop (plus fresh challah from the bakery next
store), had a conversation with the butcher about why some people don't
consider Hebrew National and Shofar hot dogs kosher (get over yourselves,
kosher snobs) and how Glatt kosher can only be applied to beef, and best
of all, got my hair cut by Rocco, the stylist I've been patronizing for
so long that I don't want to find a new stylist in Richmond.
Wow, that was some long sentence. Well, I have some short thoughts I
need to put down before going to bed.
All truck traffic over 5 tons GVW (and I still think it should
mean "Greenwich Vehicle Weight" and be similar to Greenwich
Mean Time) on I-95 was diverted outside Baltimore and inspected. Last
week, a friend told me her moving truck was stopped and inspected four
times between Richmond and New York City.
says that Al Jazeera shouldn't have been hacked. But Glenn, it was
hilarious. My brothers and I couldn't stop laughing while reading
the story this evening.
Michele has done an awesome
job with The Command Post.
In eight days, it went from 5,000
visitors a day to 120,000. I believe that's a weblogging record. Take
a bow, Michele. You bored
housewife, you. (She's my favoritest bored housewife ever.)
This is a funny,
funny, funny link. But it's also kinda cruel. But it's effing hilarious,
and I strongly urge that you put down your drink and do not
have anything in your mouth while watching it. I think this will appear
to both cat-lovers and cat-haters. My pal Dolly, who is a cat-lover, sent
it to me. Yeah, it's horrible, in a funny sort of way. Or is it funny
in a horrible sort of way? Ah, well. Only the email will tell. Ooh! Ooh!
Let's send it to PETA!
I'm rather far behind on email, but I'll catch up this weekend. I think.
If not, early next week. Oh, there weren't any nifty pictures to show
from the drive, because it rained in rather biblical proportions, and
I didn't dare lose a second's concentration during the drive. There were
some points where I could barely see the car in front of me. In fact,
I put my Jeep into 4WD at that point, remember my brother's advice about
that slick a road. Then I was wondering: Would my antilock brakes kick
in on 4WD? Does one supercede the other, or do they work as a team? I
started picturing little army guys inside my wheels, working to keep me
I told you, I get very strange thoughts on six-hour drives, and bad weather
makes them even worse. permalink
The Media War
Diane had an
excellent insight into the American perception of the war today:
Like Derb, I am not quite sure of the reactions of
my countrymen should things get really difficult in B'dad. My gut feeling
is that the average American (yes, there is such a thing, although he's
hard to picture because he comes in many shapes and sizes and colors)
would be willing and able to tough it out, but the so-called cultural
elites, who control the info sources, would not. Subjected to a barrage
of negative images, the resistance of Mr. Average American would eventually
I tend to agree: Tell enough people enough times that the war is failing,
and they will start responding to pollsters that the war is failing. However,
something happened today that made me think perhaps the cultural elites
aren't as effective as they think, and we fear. I use AOL when I'm away
from home, and here are two screen captures from my logon just moments
ago, about 9:15 p.m. First, the welcome screen.
Then what you get when you click on the above link.
Say what you will about AOLat least it's putting the news out there,
up front, where millions of AOL users can see it firstand without
the negative spin it's getting in so many other places, including major
TV and newspaper outlets. permalink
The latest from Captain Steve
Whenever possible I like to sit in the observer's seat
during takeoffs. Some people prefer to sit there during in-flight refueling,
but I have a natural disinclination toward seeing large aircraft so
close together so high above the ground. It's takeoffs for me. Yesterday
I had that privilege. We took off in that sandstorm you've been hearing
about. From our vantage point the pilot, copilot, flight engineer, and
I watched serpentine lines of sand twist out of the boiling brown clouds
and stream along the surface of the tarmac. We held at the edge of the
runway waiting for visibility to improve and watching our world expand
to a thousand yard circle and then contract to a radius of just a few
feet. As we were staring out the windows the flight engineer pointed
behind us. A cloud of dust swirled inside the jet, as well as outside.
While we waited, a host-nation C-130 appeared suddenly
out of the murk. He flew as low and as slowly as he could, waiting for
a sight of the runway, and settled onto it in front of us. Just as suddenly
he was gone, swallowed up in the haze. The rapidity with which he appeared
and disappeared gave me a start. I stared more intently out the windows
I enjoy takeoffs from the observer's seat because they
give a view of teamwork that few people ever see. The flight crew members
have so many details to be concerned with - checklists to be run, equipment
to be inspected, ground personnel to watch out for - that it is impossible
for any one person to do them all. It seems that without teamwork bordering
on choreography it would be impossible even for the three of them to
accomplish. Just starting our engines - clearing ground personnel fore
and aft, turning the engines over, timing the rise in oil pressure,
opening and closing valves, regulating throttles - requires the coordination
of everyone on the flight deck and members of the ground crew. Most
of it is beyond me, but what I can appreciate is the familiarity of
these men with their equipment, their procedures, and each other; how
they can accomplish so much in so little time with so few words. A lot
of training and a lot of dedication. Every time I sit up front I return
to my seat with greater respect for what those guys do, and a greater
confidence in their ability to keep us safe.
So there we sat, checklists run, equipment performing
within acceptable limits, calculations made based on weight, wind, and
who knows what else, until we had a large enough gap in the storm to
launch through. As we waited on the ramp, the storm buffeted the plane
so much it bumped the flight controls around in the copilot's hands.
Then we leaped off the runway and punched through the brown into a world
that was all varying shades of silver, blue, and white. Towering clouds
reflected brilliant sunlight. It was a sight made for a painter's eyes,
and not for the first time since I came here, I wished I had the skill
with a brush to get what I see down on paper.
It hardly means anything any more to say simply that
it was a long flight, but I don't want to be any more specific than
that. It was long enough that when we landed we felt days behind and
in spite of our having focused intently on certain aspects of the battles
below us, we had no idea what shape the war had taken while we were
Another reason I wouldn't want to dwell on how long
our flights are is that every time I do, I'm acutely aware that it might
sound like complaining. We all know that as long as we have brothers
and sisters sleeping on the ground and being fired on by the enemy we
have nothing to complain about. In fact, we may feel a little guilty
about that. I think we do, and I think maybe because of that, we were
almost relieved - we almost felt validated somehow - when we heard the
pilot say he was seeing tracers reaching skyward.
Any relief or feeling of validation disappeared pretty
Maybe the tracers contributed to what became a funny
story. The copilot had the jet. The tracers had put a little tingle
in everyone's spine, and added to all the responsibilities of flight
(aviate, navigate, communicate) was the extra weight of watching the
skies for anything that might come up after us. When he saw an orange
glow from the corner of his eye - a bright light that seemed to track
us, he took evasive action. That is how we avoided being shot down by
what he now calls a PHCO - Potentially Hostile Celestial Object, and
that is how he earned himself the nickname "Moon."
We hear that citizens of Basra have overthrown Saddam's
regime, forcing his remaining sympathizers to flee north. They have
taken the first step. Their Americanization has begun. We are happy
for them. Our ground forces are making progress and Saddam's remaining
forces, those with nothing to gain from surrender, will become more
desperate. We have heard that they fired rockets into a market full
of their own people, hoping to blame their deaths on us.
My friend Sideshow remarked to me today that Saddam's
forces will use civilians as protection and it occurred to me that this
is a perfect example of the differences between us and them. We believe
that governments (and by extension, soldiers) exist to protect citizens.
They believe that citizens are tools to be used in their defense. The
world could not ask for a clearer illustration.
I'll write again soon.
One for the road
be traveling to NJ today, so here's something fun to look at until I get
settled in. John M. scanned in this editorial cartoon from The Oregonian.
I think it quite neatly ties together both the events in the world outside,
and my problems with Woody Effing Woodpecker. Who knew my nemesis'
name was really Jacques the Jacqueshammer?
While I'm in transit, go check out Bigwig's place. He made
a soldier's wife very, very happy. Good for you, Bigwig. And Lair's
always interesting. Terry
is always funny. Then there's Fred Pruitt,
for news about the other war that people haven't been noticing, as well
as the goings-on in the rest of the world. (There's stuff happening outside
of Iraq? Who knew?)
Of course, you could also browse through the archives around here, especially
if you're new. Go ahead. I don't mind. Then you can email me about year-old
essays and ask me if I'm going to write a follow-up.
I'll think about it. (Honestly, I'm trying very hard to write a new Hulk
post, but it's not coming together yet.)
I'll be online around dinnertime or a bit after, depending on how much
time I've got. It's going to be a quick there-and-back-again trip, time
only for one set of friends and then family. And I'm bringing the digital
camera, so if I get stuck behind a
bus with a pair of giant boobs again, I can capture it on disk. Yes,
that's yourish.com's mottoI'm always
ready to give my readers something new and different. permalink
Marduk: Baiting the Jew-haters,
7 days a week
If you think my little missive
below was mean, go take a look at what Marduk is saying on Babylonian
Musings. Why, it's almost like Damian
Penny and Bill Herbert
can take a break from their Rivero Watch.
Say, you think we need a slogan? Hm, let's see. "We're Jews, we're
not you, thank God." (You being the anti-Semites, of course.)
Naaah. Needs work. permalink
It's always something
I was listening to three of the fifth graders chat today while getting
ready to leave after class was over. I wanted to bust Joseph's chops,
as he's a little wise guy and he (sigh) held a worm to my face on Sunday
to try to frighten me. When I told him that when I was his age, the boys
tried to scare me with bugs and it didn't work then, and doesn't work
now, he said, "Cool, so I can do it again?" I told him no, it
was flat-out rude to thrust a worm in someone's face.
So he was talking to two of the girls, and apparently they were discussing
a couple of kids they know who are dating. Might have been older kids,
might notI didn't hear the entire conversation. But the thing that
got me to nearly crack a rib was when one of the girls said, "And
he licks her." The three of them, in unison, "Ewwwwwww!"
"And she does it too!" "EWWWWW!"
I didn't laugh then, which is why I nearly cracked a rib. It was hard
work to keep it inside. But once I got home, and was remembering the conversation,
I had to stop cutting broccoli to laugh. These kids will be hitting puberty
in the next year or so. Ew, indeed. permalink
Why? Because I like her
hasn't gone to Diane's head, not yet. So I'm going to send her my
(comparatively speaking, now) piddly little Merylanche, because even though
she's leaped to the A-list, she swore to me she'd never forget the little
people (alas, it was via a phone conversation, not in email, so she can
deny she ever said it). Oh, and because she has some interesting things
to say. Interesting, the things that people find interesting. (That was
a fun sentence to write and read.)
By the way, I've had the television off nearly all morning, and may even
watch a tape of my soap. I know there's a war on. But I don't have to
obsess over it. Godspeed to our troops, and to the innocent Iraqis, and
rot in hell, Republican Guard and Fedayeen. permalink
Better than you
New York Sun, on Saturday's New York anti-war march:
Later that afternoon, when I went home, I took a more
careful look at a counterfeit dollar that was handed to me along the
march route. There were thousands of the dollars being handed out, with
lettering announcing that it was a "fraudulent event note"
from "The Untied States of Aggression." The note listed a
series of Web sites, among them one that trumpets: "Israel running
assassinations inside U.S," and has a link labeled "who owns
Congress" that links to a report of giving by pro-Israel political
action committees. This same Web site links approvingly to an editorial
in the Toledo Blade that itself quotes approvingly another Web site
that claims, "We owe it to Americans to tell them the whole truth,
that part of the war drive is being fueled by a wacko militarist clique
from Israel and its interlocking bands of American Jewish and Christian
The Toledo Blade editorial goes on: "For half
a century there has been a wrongheaded effort to label anti-Semitic
any criticism of anyone or anything Jewish, including Israel. Fear of
the hateful tag inhibits open discussion, minimizes honest criticism,
and blocks informed decisions."
Judging by what I saw and heard Saturday, this inhibition,
such as it was, wrongheaded or not, is no longer much in evidence.
This is in the city that is sometimes called "Jew York" as
a commentary on its high percentage of Jews. There are about two million
Jews in the New York metro area, which puts the Jewish population near
ten percentan amount higher than anywhere on earth except for Israel.
I'm so tired of the haters. I don't even have the strength to utter my
paean against anti-Semites. I'm tired of their stupidity and their
ignorance and their hatred and their constant calls for the death of my
people. I'm tired of their infantile conspiracy theories and their denial
of reality and their inability to shoulder responsibility for their own
failures. I'm tired of their constant harping on the only true democracy
in the Middle East. I'm tired of the phrase, "It's not anti-Semitism,
it's anti-Zionism." I'm tired of Jews whining about other
Jews not understanding the difference between criticism of Israel and
anti-Semitism. I'm tired of anti-Semites disguising their anti-Semitism
as anti-Zionism or criticism of Israel.
I am tired of the hatred. Don't they ever get tired of it?
Well, here's something else to get their blood pressure up to the boiling
point. One of the roots of anti-Semitism is quite plain to me. A common
refrain of the haters is how Jews think we're so much better than they.
We have this attitude, they think. It's because Jews excel in the arts
and sciences far out of proportion to their numbers in society. Just take
a look at the
rolls of Nobel Prize winners (17
more added since 1995). Interesting how when Jew-haters like Pat Buchanan
mention the low percentage of Jews in the Army, they never mention the
correspondingly high percentage of Jews in the sciences, doing things
a vaccine for polio or developing
Perhaps it isn't that Jews are superior. Perhaps what drives the anti-Semites
is the knowledge of their own inferiority and failure. Astonishing, isn't
it, that Jews make up less than .0025% of the world's population, and
yet have such an impact on the world. But you never know.
So. Do you hate us because you're jealous, or do you just hate us because
we're better than you?
Back in the pre-Internet days, during the BBS times, in fact, there was
a user on some of the systems I frequented, who had a signoff that I never
forgot, and always thought was a great way to piss off people who already
don't like you:
"Better than you."
So that's my new response to the anti-Semites. Yeah, we're better than
you. Sucks, doesn't it? Yep, we're better than you, and we have the achievements
in science and medicine and literature to prove it. That's right, we're
better than you. There's a tiny nation made of Jews in the middle of millions
of hostile Jew-haters, and they've managed to stay alive, win all the
wars, and improve their standard of living beyond the wildest dreams of
their oil-rich neighbors (who could not exploit the oil wealth without
outside aid). We're better than those Jew-haters, too.
Go ahead. Send the hate mail. I'm still better than you. permalink
Time out again: Review of The
The good news: It's nowhere near as dumb as the previews make it seem.
The bad news: It's still a dumb movie. The better news: It was a lot of
fun, even though it was a dumb movie.
A local radio station was giving away free preview tickets, and some
friends of mine got hold of a few and called me about it. (They run a
comic shop, so they got theirs from somewhere else, but the point is,
since I couldn't go to Starbucks yesterday morning and pick them up myself,
it was way cool that they had extras and thought of me.)
Anyway. Here's the plot of the movie: The earth's core stops spinning.
Chaos reigns, and Our Heroes have less than a year to invent something
to make the core start spinning again or Everyone On The Planet Will Die.
If you think you've seen this plot before, that's because, well, you have.
Substitute "a large meteor will strike the earth" or "creepy-looking
aliens are floating their spaceships above our cities," and you've
So we have Hillary Swank, who looks much prettier as a female astronaut
than as a girl playing a boy so she can date girls, as Our Heroine. Amazingly,
she made the role actually seem worthwhile. Boy, she's good. Then there's
Our Handsome Yet Vulnerable (But Witty) Hero, with a cleft in his chin
nearly as deep as Michael Douglas' (but Aaron's cuter and it's likely
his face won't melt the way Douglas' has). He's The Science Teacher Who
Realizes The Earth Is In Danger. There is also The Mad Scientist, and
The Vain Scientist Whose Vanity Probably Caused The Problem In The First
Place, The Gruff But Heroic Mission Commander (not nearly as gruff or
heroic as Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but then, this movie is the underground
Armageddon, so...), and The Computer Nerd Who Speaks In Bits And Eats
Junk Food. (Said nerd, of course, can do anything with a computer
or any electronic device.) Oh. I almost forgot The Devoted Scientist Friend
And Sidekick. This one's French, but don't hold it against him. He's a
Here's my advice on the movie: Catch a matinee. It's fun. Pay full price
if you need something, anything to get your mind off the war and
can't get out early enough to see the movie. The film is dumb and silly
and the science is laughable, but you'll have fun making bets on who is
going to die, what the next obstacle will be, and making fun of what the
writers of the film think the stuff underneath our feet is made of, and
what would happen if the core stopped spinning. I really got a kick out
of the birds scene (shades of Hitchcok!), the giant diamonds and the giant
geode, and that's all I'll say about it. You wouldn't want me to spoil
things by telling you that the earth doesn't get destroyed, would you?
Khalid didn't like my post below, but I don't think he read the
post that I wrote. I don't think he understands the meaning of the
word "literacy," either.
You are twisting my words and leaping to the wrong
I am not in any way condoning the attack on the innocent
Jewish man in Paris. If the man has been stabbed for wearing a yarmulke,
then the stabbers should be prosecuted and severely punished for their
hate crime. If you knew how to read properly, you would see that I condemn
all attacks on innocents.
To repeat: I suggested that Glenn's coverage, in general,
focuses more on the suffering (or jubilation) of some people more than
others. Violence he agrees with is downplayed and/or justified, while
violence he ***often rightly*** disagrees with is highlighted to bolster
his black-and-white view of the world.
So let's take a quick recap of my post below. Hell, let's quote it all,
why make you scroll down?
received email from a Khalid Yukub, which pointed to an article
on dead Iraqi civilians, ostensibly from from the U.S. bombing. Glenn
rightly denied that there were parallels.
It's Jew-hatred, plain and simple, Glenn. Don't let
him distract you with trying to get you into moral arguments. These
two young Jewish men did nothing. "Immigrants from North Africa"
stabbed one, tried to break into a Jewish building to stab more, and
instead beat the hell out of the next Jew to exit the building.
Jew-hatred. Not anti-Zionism. Nothing to do with Iraq,
and Khalid is reprehensible for even trying to tie the two together.
The "North Africans" (read: Arab Muslims) were cruising the
area, looking for Jews to harm. Why? Because their leaders lie to them
and tell them this war is a "Zionist" aggression. Looks like
Khalid has bought the lies in their entirety.
How unsurprised I am to hear yet another Arab blame
everything on the Jews.
I'm not twisting words. Find me a single word above that said Khalid
condoned the attack. Now, go look for one in which I say he established
parallels between the two attacks. I simply said that the attacks are
completely separate from Iraqi civilian casualties, and that to bring
up the latter is a distraction from the events.
I'm not the one who sent Glenn email with a link to Al-Jazeera's coverage
of civilian deaths in an email that dealt with the stabbing attack of
a French Jew by Muslims. That would be Khalid, who says he's not drawing
a parallel between the two. (The link is broken now, by the way.) It still
has absolutely nothing to do with the death of Iraqi civilians. Khalid
Finally, I am not Arab. I am a westerner. Not that
it should matter, but to you it apparently does.
Yeah, I have a problem with Arabs. Mostly because they keep on killing
and injuring Jews throughout the world, including right
here in America, but hey, I'm a little sensitive about things like
that. You're not an Arab? Goody for you. But that's some western name
you have, the one that's as western as, say, John Smith. No wonder I thought
you were Arab. But it's the only mistake I made in my original post.
Please attach this note to your weblog, and enroll
in a literacy class as soon as you conveniently can.
I think you mean "reading comprehension," as knowing how to
read and write is the main
definition of literacy. Feel free to enroll in the first class you
can find. Oh, and regarding the tone of your letter: Kiss my shapely Jew
New letter from Captain Steve
24 March: On this date in 1995, believing that the
American people had no stomach for casualties and would blame them for
the Battle of Mogadishu, the Clinton administration completed the withdrawal
of American troops from Somalia. Osama Bin Laden later stated that it
was this point in our history that convinced him America could be beaten.
Whether last night's atrocities were intended as a
twisted anniversary celebration may not be known, but what is clear
is that the results of these two battles will not be the same. This
administration is guided by the knowledge that what we are accomplishing
in Iraq is necessary and right, and that America will accept sacrifices
for a just cause. This is a hard truth for us, especially when we or
our friends could be those sacrifices. But it would be a harder thing
still if this country disgraced the contributions of its soldiers by
running away every time some of us are killed.
We are saddened by the loss of our comrades last night,
and angered by the mistreatment our brothers are receiving at the hands
of their captors. But unlike a few years before, we will not run away.
I can't tell you much about last night's mission. It
is too difficult to tell what information could be useful to our enemies,
or harmful to those being held captive. All I can tell you is that I
will never forget the voices of the men who called to us for close air
support. As weapons fired in the background, they spoke clearly, without
emotion; passing the locations of friendlies and the enemy and asking
us to send help from above. We sent them everything we could get our
hands on, and while we weren't doing that, we were praying for their
We could not know the details of the battle from our
perspective, and there are still details that are unknown to us, (We
landed, debriefed, ate, and slept to be ready for our next sortie, and
have had no time to see the news yet.) but a few things are clear. We
know that there was an ambush, that the enemy advanced under a flag
of truce for the purpose of attacking. We know that some of our people
have been captured and paraded through the streets of An Nasariyah.
We know that some have been killed, apparently after their capture,
and their bodies treated disgracefully.
We are required every year to receive training on the
Laws Of Armed Conflict, an international convention regarding the conduct
of war. We learn the principles of Humanity, Chivalry, and Military
Necessity, among others. We also learn that while we are among the very
few who practice these conventions, it is still to our advantage to
do so. It benefits us personally and as a nation.
Humanity is the principle that prevents us from inflicting
unnecessary suffering. We rule out the use of certain weapons and techniques
because we regard their purpose as inappropriate. We try to achieve
our objectives while harming as few people as possible. Chivalry requires
us to honor certain signs and traditions that have long been recognized
in war. The white flag as a sign of truce is not to be abused. Prisoners
are to be protected against hunger, the elements, and angry civilians.
The Red Cross or Red Crescent are to be recognized as signs of noncombatants.
Military Necessity demands that we attack only targets that help us
achieve military objectives. Our conduct of war is restrained on all
sides by these conventions to help us return home with honor, and to
protect the reputation of the United States as a land guided by justice.
But do these conventions apply when we face an enemy
who so openly flouts them? Last night we all wanted retribution. There
was talk of leveling An Nasariyah, of making them pay. We know though,
that now more than ever the principles that make our country so different
from (and so feared by) this part of the world must be adhered to. We
will not defile our cause with barbaric actions. We cannot forget that
our purpose here is to liberate, not to massacre, though we certainly
have the means at our disposal.
The perpetrators of the atrocities are very likely
the Saddam Fedayeen, the force selected by Saddam for their fanatical
loyalty, and subjected to a training program that reduces them to the
lowest form of humanity. (Before they graduate a live dog is thrown
into a pit with them and they tear it apart with their bare hands. They
cover themselves with its blood as they shout slogans of loyalty to
Saddam.) Saddam places them above the law and above the military, and
they move freely across Iraq murdering and raping and inflicting unspeakable
horror. They have nothing to gain from surrender. They will never be
welcome in an Iraq without Saddam so they will fight to the death and
they will use any means available. They are a minority.
The rest of the military has everything to gain from
honorable conduct. They know they have no chance of winning. They know
Americans are merciful and will treat them well. They know this because
the American conduct of war is characterized by restraint. It guides
everything we do. Even the attack designed to demonstrate overwhelming
force, shock, and awe is controlled so as to protect innocent Iraqis.
It was a terrible night for us. If any of us still
thought that war was pushing buttons and flying high above the fray,
they don't think it any longer. Hearing people die will change your
perspective. But it won't change our principles. We will continue to
fight with restraint and with honor because we know it's right, and
because we know you support us.
Pray for the families of those who died last night,
for those in combat now, and those about to go in. Pray for those in
captivity, that they will stay strong and return home soon. Pray for
their families to be comforted and for our leaders to be wise and strong.
Stay safe, Steven. permalink
The latest issue of my synagogue newsletter is off to the press. Okay,
the synagogue copy machine, but off to the Xerox doesn't sound nearly
Lots of things to talk about; email to get to. In fact, I feel a rant
coming on. Check in later this afternoon. (It's nearly 3 p.m.) permalink
A normal morning
Either I was so exhausted I didn't hear him, or Woody Effing Woodpecker
the hint yesterday morning and found another place to plant his pecker.
One can only hope. Although my dreams were slightly disturbing; Gracie
captured a lemur-like creature that rembled nothing so strongly as the
lemur on Zoboomafoo, only longer,
skinnier, and with more human-like eyes (that reproached me as I saw Gracie
dragging him away). I'm sure an Indymidiot could read all kinds of anti-war
propaganda into my dream, but I generally mark those up to "weird
dream" and move on.
The Command Post has moved, so
you need to go to its new address for up-to-the-minute links on the war.
It has turned into quite a clearinghouse of information. People seem to
be settling into beats. For instance, Lair
and Alisa are working
the Israeli beat, Ribbity
is translating Al Jazeera for us and keeping an eye on the Arabic newspapers,
and I seem to have gotten into the anti-war protester beat.
I think it's a very useful site for people who don't want to scour the
news services themselves, and especially for people who are at work and
don't have access to a television. permalink
Business as usual
70% of Palestinians polled support
Some 70% of the Palestinians living in the West Bank
and Gaza Strip support the continuation of suicide attacks against Israel,
and another 64% favor Hamas's use of mortars and rockets.
Good to know that we're not merely generalizing when we suggest the Pals
don't want peace with Israel. permalink
Reynolds links to and comments on this Ha'aretz
Two Jewish youths were hospitalized Saturday afternoon
after being stabbed in Paris by individuals who had taken part in an
anti-war demonstration. The separate incidents took place near the Hashomer
Hatzair youth group building in the city, in close proximity to Beaumarchais
Boulevar and Bastille Square.
One young man was stabbed and lightly wounded after
a group of men noticed his yarmulke. He was taken to the hospital for
treatment. The attackers are believed to have been immigrants from North
Africa. After stabbing the young man, they tried to break in to the
Hashomer Hatzair building, but members of the youth group managed to
block the entrance.
Fifteen minutes later, a 24-year-old youth group advisor
exited the building to address a television crew that had arrived to
interview him. After exiting the building, he was seriously wounded
when passers-by attacked him with metal rods and chains.
Jewish Agency Chairman Sallai Meridor called on the
French government to fulfil its responsibility to provide security for
its Jewish citizens and prevent the anti-war demonstrations from becoming
Glenn received email from a Khalid Yukub, which pointed to an article
on dead Iraqi civilians, ostensibly from from the U.S. bombing. Glenn
rightly denied that there were parallels.
It's Jew-hatred, plain and simple, Glenn. Don't let him distract you
with trying to get you into moral arguments. These two young Jewish men
did nothing. "Immigrants from North Africa" stabbed one, tried
to break into a Jewish building to stab more, and instead beat the hell
out of the next Jew to exit the building.
Jew-hatred. Not anti-Zionism. Nothing to do with Iraq, and Khalid is
reprehensible for even trying to tie the two together. The "North
Africans" (read: Arab Muslims) were cruising the area, looking for
Jews to harm. Why? Because their leaders lie to them and tell them this
war is a "Zionist" aggression. Looks like Khalid has bought
the lies in their entirety.
How unsurprised I am to hear yet another Arab blame everything on the
Regarding the real war
The Iraqis are mistreating
POWs, and may have executed
prisoners. Alliance troops have captured
illegal mines from Iraqi ships. Iraqi soldiers are said to be using
civilians as human shields.
Anyone out there who expected something different, raise your hand.
Yeah, same here. permalink
The Woodpecker War: Missive 4
Got up at 0615, went to the freezer for another round of ice cubes, and
took careful aim before flinging one.
If the woodpecker hadn't flown off as the cube arced towards him, I'd
have hit him. I was dead-on. Didn't hit the house like last
Time to buy a rubber snake and get maintenance to come put in on the
I switched on the television a few minutes after two a.m., having finished
most of the tasks I'd procrastinated on today. There is a firefight, live,
in Umm Qasr.
Live. It's on TV.
Those of you who take this for granted cannot comprehend the feeling
of unreality that is striking me. When I was a child, war came in the
movies, usually WWII movies, and it was practically bloodless. Then we
saw film of the Vietnam war on the evening news, and it was bloody and
shocking, and at the end of the six o'clock news, names in white block
letters would scroll across the screennames of the killed and missing
in action that day. It was about then that my teenaged brothers and I
became Star Trek fans. We couldn't handle the news.
Then we had the Gulf War in 1991, where we actually got very little video
after the initial bombing, and what video we did get was from gun cameras
on airplanes. Satellite views, silent flashes and puffs of smoke, and
big, gaping holes in the ground. We did not get pictures of the "Highway
of Death," for instance. Not that I would have wanted them. But they
wouldn't play well with the American public, and we never really knew
how many Iraqi soldiers had been killed.
And so I'm watching, as I type this, a group of soldiers lying on the
ground, occasionally firing toward a building with Iraqi soldiers inside,
and wondering what rabbit-hole I fell into, and frankly, how to get out.
I know there's a war going on. But it feels somehow wrong for
me to be watching it so intimatelywith millions of others watching,
and listening, across the world.
Something just doesn't feel right. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived.
Looking for the Buffy
Blogburst Index? Here's Israel
vs. the world. Here's the Blogathon.
Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try
solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser
Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin
Laden's diary and The
Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.