Unfortunately, Ramesh's phone connection was poor, and thus Jon got the majority of air-time. I don't know anything about this man, by the way -- I have no axe to grind, here -- but his comments were some of the most asanine I have heard on the subject of American foreign policy. He tried to draw equivalencies between Christian and Islamic fundamentalists, tried to blame the crisis in Lebanon on Israel's West Bank settlements, and tried to say we have to "reach out" to the Islamic world rather than alienate them. I'm not one to call into talk shows, generally speaking, but were a cell phone handy at that moment, I would have done so.
I firmly believe that "conservatives" such as Jon and others in the vein of Buchanan, represent an even greater threat to this nation than liberals. I can respect liberals, at least, for standing for their principles and for their (albeit misplaced) faith in government. These Buchananites are simply dangerous fools, many willing to believe what amounts to crackpot conspiracy theories -- not just a few of which are thoroughly anti-semitic. Jon's website, for example, champions the move to get the play "My Name is Rachel Corrie" on Broadway (if you aren't familiar with the story, check out Mark Steyn's take on this moral vaccuum of a play).
For me, and I think for the people in the administration who are prosecuting this war, the War on Terror, as poorly-named as it is, transcends politics. Or rather, it ought to. This is not a "conservative's" or a "neo-conservative's" war: this is a war between the forces of western civilization and people who want to destroy it.
There is an axiom that has held true in the Middle East since 1948, and it is echoed in our own national psyche and demonstrated in our strategies for this war. The axiom is that the difference between the goals of the Israeli people and their enemies is that Israel simply wants to survive, while its enemies want to see it destroyed. Israel has no desire to grab land belonging to other nations -- they have given back more land than they currently occupy -- nor do they wish to see every Arab and Persian on the planet pushed into the sea. That is the fundamental difference, but it makes all the difference, morally, to anyone with eyes to see. The same is true for the United States and its enemies, who are (surprise, surprise!) the same people.
Note: I'm going to try and include as many of these as I can on my blog, because they are not getting the kind of dissemination they deserve. Also, some people seem to be able to access the Soldier Stories website where I get these, and others have written to tell me they can't get them to appear in their browser. In any case, here is the first one ...
July 28, 2006
TIKRIT, Iraq – Army Capt. Demechel Robinson likes helping people. From her job as the assistant logistics officer of 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, to her involvement in many charitable organizations, she spends most of her time giving something back -- to her community, her country, and her fellow Soldiers.
Robinson helps re-supply and sustain 3rd Brigade Combat Team Soldiers by providing them an accurate and continuous picture of the brigade's combat power.
One of the biggest challenges she has encountered during her tour in Iraq is communication. The 3rd BCT covers a wide area of operation spanning an area roughly the shape and size of Vermont. Sometimes unit logistics specialists are not able to get supplies to the troops as fast as they would like, but they always get them there.
Robinson’s father, now retired, and her sister and two cousins have served or are serving in the Air Force, but she joined the Army, entering active service in 1991 as a private and eventually rising to staff sergeant in the Army Reserve before earning a degree in community health and accepting a commission.
"I hope to one day provide medical assistance to low-income people," she said. "That's one of the biggest things I see. Medicine has come so far, but so few can afford it."
Outside the Army, Robinson is active in the charitable sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
When asked what she would like to tell the people back home, Robinson quickly replied "I would like to let the American people know that we are over here doing what we need to do. I really feel good about what I'm doing over here."
(Editor’s note: Written by Staff Sgt. Nikki Prodromos of the 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.)
Photo Caption: Army Capt. Demechel Robinson (shown here as a first lieutenant), of Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, provides security for other Soldiers from a Humvee turret in Tikrit, Iraq. Photo by Staff Sgt. Nikki Prodromos, USA
According to this STRATFOR map (link here), it looks like there are at least four brigade-sized IDF infantry units already within Lebanese borders, with at least another three battalions of tanks, along with various artillery support.
This is the real deal, finally. It appears Israel is done screwing around and they are getting serious. Good thing, too - Condi Rice can run interference for only so long ...
Okay, so this might be starting to annoy some of you, but bear with me. When you get into the world of blogging this late in the game, you're going to discover that very few of the ideas you have are original. Thus was the case both with "sheepdog" and "red pill." That said, I think the new name, "Restitution," is generic enough not to upset anyone. I wanted to call the site "The Restitution of Man," but that's both too long as well as the title of a very good book and thus would be a copyright infringement. Therefore, Restitution it is, and Restitution it will stay.
This Week with George Stephanopolis was entertaining. His guests included Fareed Zacharia, George Will, and two liberals I don't think I've ever seen before. The topic was, of course, The Mess George W. Bush Has Gotten Us All Into And From Which Only The Democrats Can Save Us.
I nearly threw the remote at the TV when I heard one of the participants suggest that we need to "find out what Hezbollah wants." George Will has gone completely round the bend now, and actually suggested the Maliki government was "the interior ministry for the terrorists."
George S. and his guests were all in agreement, it seems -- the Republicans are in sad, sad shape and don't really have a prayer; we can't resolve the crisis in Lebanon until we open up "dialogue" with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah; and Iraq is a complete failure and we should either just leave completely or send our troops up to Kurdish north.
Fareed Zacharia had the nerve to suggest that Don Rumsfeld "lives in a parallel universe." Although, actually, he may have a point. From Fareed's perspective, that is probably true.
And yet, these people wonder why they keep losing elections ... it boggles the mind.
I must respectfully disagree with Hugh, although I understand where he's coming from. He is right that the media will try to gloss over this event or excuse it as an aberration, but I think it's very important that we use the term "terrorist" very, very carefully. Used too broadly, and it can quickly become meaningless in this age of the 30-second soundbite.
In a sense, what the man did was an act of terrorism -- he deliberately attacked Jewish people in order to create a sense of fear in the community (and other similar communities all over the country), but this man was pretty clearly acting alone.
I think we need to draw a distinction between people acting alone like this, who head for the nearest target of opportunity in a rush and act out of irrational anger -- and the planned, organized, funded, and calculated operations of terrorist organizations.
Frankly, I don't know how to make that distinction. Maybe someone will suggest something? In any case, Hugh is right insofar as we shouldn't allow the media to simply dismiss this as the act of a madman. However, let's not committ the opposite error of equating it with the acts of Al Queda, Hizbollah or Hamas.
I'd like to offer a comparison for you. These are two young people, roughly the same age, who made the papers recently. Let's look at them.
The first one is Cecelia Lucas, a Berkeley graduate student who penned an ode to Hezbollah recently, which can be found here. Her poem has such memorable lines as these:
I am learning to have hope in you I am learning to see you as so much more Than those actions I would never want to commit You amaze me Born out of death to life in a cage Raised by Colonialism
Great stuff, huh?
No, this isn't a joke. It's really an American college kid writing a love poem to Hezbollah, while claiming to be a supporter of non-violence. The cognitive dissonance here is nothing short of alarming.
The second one is a 19-year old kid from Phoenix. Specialist Vilhelm Heerup is an Army Reservist who clerked for his engineer dad while growing up. Now he's evaluating six-digit civil and structural engineering projects in Iraq. It's up to this young man to ensure the contractors are meeting deadlines and aren't cutting corners as the Army builds water-treatment plants in the Iraqi north. They don't get paid until he gives the thumbs-up.
If you could have one of these young people as your son or daughter, which would you pick?