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Joshua Sharf

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August 30, 2006

Note to Management

When you're reviewing a report for factual inaccuracies, don't try to deny the presence of risks inherent in the business that you're in. There's a reason people write Risk sections in reports, and when you try to pretend that, say, the price of oil won't affect your margins, and you happen to be an airline, you just make yourself suspect.

I know it's your job to try to present your company in the most favorable light. But it's my job to make sure that investors get a balanced picture of the company. And if the high rollers ask you tough questions in a meeting because of a note in the Risk section, and force you to address these risks on a daily basis in running the company, well, good.

San Francisco Attacks - Map

UPDATE: Fromt he map, it's hard to conclude anything about his targeting. Most of the Jewish targets are to the west or south of the attack zone, and Federation is down by the waterfront, far out of the way. If he was heading west when he was stopped, then that might point to a little more intent. At the same time, two things to bear in mind: 1) most - though not all - of the targets to the west are synagogues, which are unlikely to have lots of people hanging around mid-day during the week, and 2) the JCC, but not nearby Shearith Israel and Temple Emanu-El would likely have had people hanging around during the day. The question is how much of this, if any, Popal knew.

Here's a map of the San Francisco SUV attacks from yesterday.

If someone with better knowledge of the area can send me a list of nearby Jewish sites, I'll overlay them on the map.

At the same time, Wizbang Blog has more, and a commenter suggests possible family connection between the driver and the 1999 murder of a 24-year-old honors student from Queens.

August 28, 2006

Snakes on a Panel

Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni led a panel discussion Sunday evening on "The Abrahamic Path to Peace & Justice," talking about the ethics of war as seen by Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

A couple of weeks ago, the Imam helped organize a "peace" rally here in Denver. Dr. Susan Heitler took pictures, and was kind enough to send them along. Here they are. You won't see them in the Denver Post.

These signs aren't too bad. Of course, it's interesting to see what the Muslim Society of America considers to be evil. Take note of the counter-protestor in the background. We'll see more of him in a bit.



Ahhh, here we go. Notice how she's holding the sign so daintily, as though she doesn't want to be soiled by the message. Obviously the star pupil in the sign-holding class. If Israll did miss this poor child, it's almost certainly because he was out of earshot when Hezbollah rang the dinner bell for the chow house launching pad.



And Official Villification of Israel Rally would be complete without the obligatory Rachel Corrie sign. Now, this protest took place within a few blocks of several fine construction zones. If he really wanted to protest what happened...



I wonder why they use this picture instead of this one. Apparently, they're more subtle in Berkeley than they used to be. Perhaps that doesn't fit in with the proper image of a "peace activist."



Well, carrying around pictures of Nasrallah does. What a cute little hyphen that "Anti-Semetic" has in it, too.



And, hey! It can get you a ticket! No, not really. This is probably a reporter in search of even-handedness.



A Useful Idiot, looking every inch the part.



Forget the guy with the bullhorn for a minute. If you passed this kid on a street, with his Nuggets jersey and his rakishly-tilted hat, along with what looks like maybe a little bling, would you think he identified with a genocidal maniac?



Same with his little red-haired friend. You know, there's a chance that this kid in the Nuggets jersey is just handing out pictures of the newly-hidden-Imam. Next time, he'll have one of those life-size cut-outs where people can get their picture taken shaking hands with the guy.



"Mommy, can I get a semtex belt this year?" "No, not until you're old enough to understand what a virgin is. Now help me match the ball-bearing size for the warhead."




Want to know what Hezbollah's a problem. As they say in Quebec, "Je Me Souviens." And he's even got some constructive suggestions.



How certain, how self-confident, how self-righteous. Kind of makes the whole spelling thing really, really satisfying.



Naturally, we wouldn't want to politicize the kids. Remember this photo the next time someone brings up the little girls writing clever messages to Nasrallah on those smart bombs.



Oh, no, this doesn't have anything to do with Jews at all. In another instance of accusing the enemy of what you do yourself, this guy is clearly asking us to consider what Israel - the Jews, dontcha know - would do if they had WMDs. Don't tempt me.



And this leads to this. Such bravery, such courage. Hey, if you're a real man, why are you wearing a burkha?



And so it goes. And people wonder why I worry about self-defense.

New Houses

New stops on the Parade of Homes here.


Yesterday, before the show, I finally went to go take the Official NRA Basic Pistol course, to qualify for the dreaded Concealed Carry Permit. Now, it's not like I'm going to be packing heat on the way into work or into the studio, although after the last few segments we've done on Islam that might not be a bad idea. Yes, it was the shootings in Seattle that prompted it.

The course was taught by a part-time police officer from Morrison. Naturally, I asked him what a police officer was doing promoting gun ownership and a publicly, if secretly, armed society. Every time one of the states relaxes gun laws, the chief of police and the union president make dire pronouncement about how YouTube will be filled with live re-enactments of My Darling Clementine. That is, if there are any bloggers left who haven't been plugged in the back while they were uploading the video. (Hint: always blog with your back to a wall.) The fact that vendors in DC, where you have to be dead - as in you're a Civil War veteran - to legally own a gun, were selling t-shirts featuring the foreshortened barrel of a revolver with the caption, "Welcome to DC, Sorry We Missed You," somehow escapes their attention.

In fact, he said, most policemen favor responsible concealed carry, for the same reason you do. By the time they get there, most of the time all they can do is take the report, quite possibly from bystanders.

In any event, it went well. I qualified on the gentleman's .22 revolver (small beer compared to my .357), and his Colt .45, 1911, which is responsible for the casts on my forearms. I'm typing this with a pencel held in my mouth.

So on Wedneday, it's downtown to Cop Central to run the background checks and get the permit. Assuming I haven't committed any felonies I don't know about, and now that I've paid off the dog warrants, I'll be cleared to carry.

Wednesday Evening Sunrise

One of the (very) few fringe benefits of getting to work before the donuts...

You'll notice the windowframe on the right-hand side of the picture. Which means that soon, I'll have to ask building management if there are any vacant east-facing offices on one of the higher floors...

Faculty Agenda Journalism

Last night, Krista and I interviewed Mike Petrelli of the Fordham Foundation concerning a New York Times report on the alleged ineffectiveness of charter schools. He pointed out that while there had been numerous state-level studies indicating the superiority of charter schools vs. standard cookie-cutter public schools, the Times continued to repackage the same three-year-old study, with each subsequent headline screeching more hysterically than the last. Today's Journal brings up a number of the same points:

"You compare students year to year in certain subjects to find out whether they're learning and how much of it can be attributed to the school," says Jeanne Allen of the Center for Education Reform. "This national study doesn't do that." This federal picture is incomplete, in part, because the feds only began including charter schools in NAEP data three years ago. But states have been measuring performance trends for much longer. And the value-added effects of charter schools are clear.

Studies in California, New York, Massachusetts, Florida and elsewhere have repeatedly shown charter school students outperforming their counterparts in traditional public schools -- sometimes dramatically. In Michigan in 2004, 46% of black eighth-graders in charter schools passed the state math assessment test, compared with just 21% of black eighth-graders statewide.

We might also add Colorado to the list. Using 2003-2004 CSAP data, Caroline Hoxby of Harvard's Econ department found that:

Compared to students in the nearest regular public school and the nearest public school with a similar racial composition, charter students are more likely to be proficient in reading and math on their state test. Students in charter schools that have been in operation longer are more likely to have a proficiency advantage over their peers in the matched regular public school. In Colorado, charter school students were between 12.3 and 13.5 percent more likely to be proficient in reading and math than students attending the nearest regular public school. (emphasis added -ed.)

You can read the whole report here.

Remember, charter schools don't have the luxury of refusing students based on performace - these are public schools, that have to fit student demand to seat supply through a lottery, or some other neutral mechanism. The only student selection is self- or parent-selection, and while it's more likely that motivated parents or students will cast about for an escape, the experience in Cleveland and Florida suggest that that proportion is higher than just a few percent. In any case, charters can hardly be accused of skimming.

We did have one caller, Robin, a middle-school principal, who argued that charters need to upgrade their teacher certification standards, a typical claim from a union that would like to extend the close shop to beyond the shop. If charters are outperforming (or even matching) public schools using less restrictive teacher certification, that just says that at least some of the standards the unions have helped impose are either irrelevant or outright damaging.

Coffman for Secretary of State

Outgoing State Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon has vocally supported an attempt to repeal the Electoral College by circumventing the amendment process. In this morning's Wall Street Journal, former Delaware governor Pete DuPont explains why this is a terrible idea:

Might not "one person, one vote" allow a national vote to amend the Constitution instead of requiring approval by three-quarters of the states? To restrict freedom of speech, or expand searches and seizures, or modify any of the Bill of Rights?

One wonders if the direct election of presidents is really the beginning of an effort to bring national government under the control of large and liberal states. Common Cause, a Washington-based lobbying group that describes itself as "promoting open, honest and accountable government," argues "how neatly it fits with American tradition." But it doesn't. It contradicts our constitutional republic's state and federal government sharing of powers. Choosing presidents is one of our states' powers, and we should not remove it to begin a centralized national American government.

Ken Gordon appreciates neither the traditions of the country, nor the proper role of the office he seeks. Help Mike Coffman keep this critical office in Republican hands.

August 23, 2006

Trip Photos

Finally. There's no design to criticize.

Putting Autism to Work

The Blotter reports that TSA workers stink at detecting bombs:

The test, called TIPS, Threat Image Protection System, is performed while officers are on the job. While screening passenger bags, a TIPS test image is randomly displayed on the baggage checking screen amongst images of the bags that are being checked. The test image is usually of a bag with what may be a bomb, bomb-making materials or a weapon. The screener is meant to hit a button in order to determine whether the image is of a real bag or if it is a TIPS image.

Many officers are missing the test images all together. Another problem is that many of the officers are trying to "game" the system, meaning they often indicate a threat image when none are present. This may mean TSA officers are being overly cautious in identifying a potential bomb. This becomes a problem because it slows down the line as bags are pulled off to be opened and searched.

(Hat tip: Hot Air)

Temple Grandin, in Animals is Translation, suggests using autistic adults for this job. Many people with autism are able to separate unusual patterns from the noise extremely well, in part because they don't filter out as much information to start with. Normal people (her term) don't do this, so they tend to find out too much signal, as well, especially signal that they're not looking for. Since it's hard to concentrate on this work for very long, screeners get tired easily, and stop being able to look for things that are out of place in the baggage x-rays.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Beauprez & Business

The Beauprez camp sent out a press release that includes the following:

"Will Bill Ritter veto legislation that weakens Colorado's tort environment, making it easier for lawsuit abuse to hurt Colorado business?

"Will Bill Bitter veto legislation that mandates large (or small) business to spend a stipulated percentage of their revenue on providing healthcare to employees?

"Will Bill Ritter veto legislation that makes it easier for an All-Union Agreement to be forced upon an employer?

"Will Bill Ritter veto legislation that liberalizes Colorado's Workers Comp laws?"

I sure as hell hope this is an attempt to court small business at the wholesale level, because if I'm one of those Chamber of Commerce Republicans who's been hanging around with Blair Richardson, I look at that list and think, "hmmm...barriers to entry...EX-cellent. Smithers, get me Ritter."

UPDATE: And upon further reflection, if I'm Beauprez, I'm thinking that Marc Holtzman's rolodex looks pretty good right about now.

Janet Rowland

We interviewed Janet Rowland, Bob Beauprez's Lt. Gov. choice, on the show Sunday night, and I have to say, she came off extremely well. Naturally, she had the right demographics: woman, blonde, middle-aged, Western slope. But she also got all the talking points right, never stumbled, hit the post twice when she knew we were short on time.

One of the problems with late-in-life politicians is the lack of "seasoning," not having trained themselves to self-censor a little bit. Usually this happens either early on, robbing the candidate of credibility, or the third week in October, so the candidate catches his foot on the chalk at the finish line. Mrs. Rowland still has plenty of time to let fly with one of those candid comments the press loves so much, but the preliminary tests are encouraging, as the pharmas say.

She took the chance to point out differences between Barbara O'Brien and herself, and put the "barnyard" comment in context. Lest anyone think she isn't right about this, the Weekly Standard just this week wrote about the polygamy-to-polyamory lobby. Liberals and leftists (and their fellow travellers, this means you, Mr. Duffy) will sneer at the thought that this is the agenda, but their either being naive or disingenuous. And Jim Spencer (hat tip: To The Right) can talk about state law all he wants. When the Supreme Court decides to change it at its will, he'll be the loudest one cheering.

All the more reason to make sure that it's a Republican appointing the next set of justices.

August 22, 2006

Moral Equivalence

Imam Kazerooni authored a Speakout op-ed piece in yesterday's Rocky ("Reverse the Logic of War, Terrorism"). While he doesn't mention the upcoming panel, sponsored by MILA, it serves to frame the expected discussion there. To wit - Israel is guilty, too. Maybe not even, "too."

The problem isn't that there's anything controversial with what he wrote - the problem is that there's nothing controversial in what he wrote. The US and Israel come in for relentless criticism because they have higher standards for conduct, and largely live up to them. Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda seek to benefit from the low expectations people have of them.

It would appear that Imam Kazerooni wants not only a pathetically low bar for victory, but also for behavior.

August 21, 2006

Midwestern Approach to Finance?

Supposedly a conservative approach to finance at a national level.

Has she ever seen what the national debt was, as a percent of GDP, at the end of WWII? My problem with Iraq isn't that we're doing too much, it's that we're probably not doing enough. In any event, she could probably fund the whole war effort from this list.

UPDATE: Link fixed.


This pretty much sums up my thinking about August 22.

If the Western Way of War involves quick, decisive battles, then the way to beat it is to encourage muddled, inconclusive confrontations. Iran seems to be very good at that.


Another planned weekend. There may be a chance to do a little more Jeeping between now and Rosh Hashanah (which leads into an entire month of planned weekends), but for the moment, it's obligations and time to catch up on a lot of deferred maintenance.

So of course, Saturday night, we went to see World Trade Center. Stone tried on this one, he really did. But a lot of the scenes involve two guys trapped under tons of rubble talking to each other. At one point I thought the movie had gone all avant garde break-down-the-fourth-wall on us, because when the two cops kept imploring each other not to sleep, it sounded like advice to the audience. Keeping dramatic tension is difficult when you know the outcome, but that's why Oliver's making the big bucks. For his homework, he should go see Miracle.

The religious aspects were interesting, though. The steely-eyed marine who bluffs his way onto the pile to look for survivors feels as commanded to do that as the murderers felt commanded to create the pile in the first place. Kearnes is tough, and ironically, the only guy to try to talk some sense into him is his pastor. Well, if you've been following the course of mainline establishment Protestantism for the last few years, maybe that's not so surprising.

Then to sleep. Sort of. There's no air conditioning, so the attic fan has to suck in the cool night air. Except that the local Pepe Le Pew has been perfuming that for the last few weeks on an occasional basis. Usually at 3:30 AM, he sees the local fox, smells the dog, takes offense at some passing traffic, and lets one fly. Which means getting up and closing the window. And then trying to get back to sleep.

Sunday was Work Day. After the bike-riding. I'm up to 55 minutes on the new bike (the old one having ground itself to bits), and hoping to be up to full speed, hour-a-day riding by this evening. As usual, I'm working on some Teaching Company CDs. The prof is up to Thoreau, and while he's clearly an admirer, he does ttake time to point out that spending your life single, out in the woods, taking little responsibility, and in contempt of the people who buy your books, is perhaps not the most mature philosophy of life, and that we've run into it before, in "Rip Van Winkle." How ironic does that make this, then?

The time spent cleaning the gutters may be solid, honest, character-building work, but it's also three hours of my life I'll never get back. Then to hacking up some wood we've had lying around curing into a fire hazard for a few months, and why not weed a little and mow the lawn while you're already covered in mud?

The good news is that whatever browning disease that has attacked the Bishop Weed at least seems to have been arrested, so there's hope that more BW is the right answer. At least it doesn't need much light. The bad news is that the plants I put down on that strip have been absorbed and overrun by the co-stars of Weeds on a Plane, harsh, mean-looking toughs from a neighborhood I don't want to live in. They need eviction.

The show this week was different - expansion into the Colorado Springs market. Maybe with Beauprez's Lt. Gov. pick, we can get into Grand Junction next. It would certainly make those weekend trips around the state easier to manager, with a remote studio to come into.

The most disappointing part of the show was the Muslims for American founder we had on, one Muhammed Ali Hassan. I really wanted this to be The Guy, the Moderate Muslim we've all been searching for, and truth be told, neither Mr. Hassan nor anyone welcome in his organization is going to use 9/11 as a role model. But when you try to tell me that people are making semtex a part of their morning commute because of a couple of basis points on a mortgage, you've lost me.

And then, back home and back to sleep. Fortunately, no skunks last night.

August 16, 2006

The Iranian Cartoons Unveiled

Much like the Danish cartoons, everyone's writing about them, some people are condemning them, but nobody's showing them. I put the Danish cartoons here because too many people were happy chatting away without a clue what they were talking about. And not just Democrats.

Likewise, it's all well and good to remind everyone what the mullahs are with words, but there's a reason that people still watch Triumph of the Will. The Caricature House hasn't posted the actual cartoons yet - probably worried about selling limited-edition prints, and wouldn't want to give the milk away for free - but they and some other outlets have posted photo galleries.

So let's get started, shall we? We need to be back in time for the afternoon beheadings.

You gotta admire their attention to detail. I mean really, you spend, what, thousands of dollars promoting the contest, inviting the press, buying figs and dates for kiddush for the opening, and then you screw up the poster. Half the cartoons are in English, which tells you a little something about the target audience, but also tells you that apparently their proofreaders are Reuters rejects. Someone's getting a stern reprimand over this.

Note, by the way, the theme of the contest. Take a close look at the right-hand edge of that top helmet. Others have noticed, but it bears repeating: these guys want to deny the Holocaust happened, while portraying the Israelis Jews as latter-day Nazis. The genius of good propaganda is doublethink.

Lost in thought. Probably unfamiliar territory. But look at the cartoon over the guy's shoulder. Sharon in a Nazi uniform! The caption hardly matters. There's a lot of stuff with this idea. In fact, pretty much anything with an actual Holocaust theme has this one. Ah well, dictatorship'll do that to creativity.

Bonus points if you noticed the name of the wire service on the microphone.

See what I mean? This guy, who looks kind of normal, so we can't call him, "Green Helmet Guy," or anything like that, seems to be the head of Caricature House. Maybe we'll call him "Houseboy."

Houseboy's the center of their attention, but focus on the cartoon to the right. Yes, that's Lady Liberty giving a Nazi Hezbollah salute. My guess is that Bernard Goldberg is right - you could probably find a half-dozen of these in Leftist US publications protesting the Patriot Act.

One long staircase just for the women,
And one even longer for the men.
And one more leading nowhere just for dhimmis.

Well, you know, once you're retired, you've got all this extra time. I mean, sure, you've got your 10,000-hour pin from the Men's Club down at the dungeon, but really, after a while, who needs it?

There's another one of those, "The Palestinians are the New Jews" cartoons again. The guy's in a concentration-camp uniform but he's wearing a kaffiyah, and look closely. Yes! It's a little yellow crescent. How clever! Especially given the Law of Dhimmitude, Clothing Chapter.

Like so much else, this is called, "projection," where you accuse the other guy of doing what you're a specialist at. Then you count on the moral laziness of the enemy to nod thoughtfully, sorrowfully, and ask if it's really come to that.

The one on the left looks like a little wind-up toy with a rifle going through his nose. There's red, white, and blue, and my guess is that there's a Magen David on there somewhere. Somehow, I don't think they'd get the Pinnochio reference.

On the right, it looks like a little girl asking a soldier, "Are you a Holocaust?"

No cute, little girl, I'm probably here to hand out candy and schoolbooks. Only these ones will have maps that actually show Israel, and won't refer to Jews as monkeys and pigs.

Here's Houseboy making an important point of some kind.

The last word on the cartoon over his shoulder is, "DEAD," and there's a little red-and-white swastika on top of Uncle Sam's head, although Uncle Sam, upon further reflection, looks a lot like Uncle Adolf. If anyone can make out the words in white, I'm sure that would help us all get the joke.

Here's another common theme - that Israel only exists because of the Holocaust. See, the hook-nosed Shylock uses the Holocaust to plant himself and his menorah on Palestine. Of course, Zionism began long before WWII. There would have been a state even without the Holocaust, because the Jews who founded it did the spadework necessary to create one.

Something symbolic in this picture, isn't there?

The first one doesn't have any Holocaust imagery that I can find, so really, the judges ought to be fined for misapplying the rules. The second cartoon seems to be saying that the Holocaust was a Christian activity, although the Nazis were pagans. Again, the idea is that whatever happened, the Muslims weren't involved, even though they seem to be trying to make up for lost time.

This one's unusual, in that it beats up on the British. I can't quite make out what the eggs are, though.

Here's another idea, ripped from today's Air America - the idea that little angels get baptised by fire through the flame of Israel, and are forged into Hamas-niks. Whatever you do to defend yourself, you just make more of them. Again, though, nothing to do with the Holocaust. Really, are these judges French ice dancing judges or something?

"You have to be carefully taught." Apparently, these people haven't heard that Hate Isn't a Family Value. Despite all the putridness oozing from the other cartoons and their admirers, this is probably the most chilling picture of them all. I remember when I was about fifteen, we took a family vacation to Montreal, and the site of the World's Fair. The Humour Pavilion was still there, and included a whole roomful of cartoons. L'havdil.

She's laughing! She's actually enjoys this stuff. And the kid is pointing at the cartoon in the corner (look carefully at his left arm). The only one with the decency to look the other way is the stuffed animal.

This is a case study in propaganda. The Iranians really believe that the main reason the West supports Israel is guilt over the Holocaust, so they try to 1) deny its existence, 2) tie Israel's existence to it, and 3) equate the Jews with their murderers. No, it's not intellectually coherent, but there's something there for everyone post-modern.

Truly a Jewish State

Too little time today - finishing up another compny report. So I'm leeching off of Mr. Steyn.

From MacLeans:

This isn't about who's right and who's wrong: there are regional flare-ups all over the map -- Ivory Coast, Congo, Bosnia -- and, regardless of the rights and wrongs, for the most part the world just sits back and lets them get on with it. There are big population displacements -- as there were, contemporaneous to the founding of Israel, in Europe and the Indian subcontinent -- but one side wins and the dust settles. The energy expended by the world in denying this particular regional crisis the traditional settlement is unique and perverse, except insofar as by ensuring that the "Palestinian question" is never resolved one is also ensuring that Israel's sovereignty is also never really settled: it, too, is conditional -- and, to judge from recent columns in the Washington Post and the Times of London, it's increasingly seen that way in influential circles -- tolerated as a current leaseholder but, like Anthony Hope's Jew, it can never truly own the land. The Jews are once again rootless transients, though, in one of history's blacker jests, they're now bemoaned in the salons of London and Paris as an outrageous imposition of an alien European population on the Middle East. Which would have given Aaron Lazarus a laugh. The Jews spent millennia on the Continent without ever being accepted as European. But no sooner are the Continent's Jewry all but extinct than suddenly every Jew left on the planet is a European.

August 14, 2006


Downtown Denver experienced an anti-Israel rally this past Saturday - out of respect for the Jewish Sabbath, no doubt. We'll get into the more bizarre aspects of the rally - and the Post's coverage of it - in another post, but for the moment, consider this, from the Denver Post's coverage:

Religious leaders helped organize the march. Mixed messages ranging from steadfast nonviolence to support for Hezbollah "show the diversity" of a new organization called the Front Range Coalition for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, said Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni, a leader of interfaith efforts at St. John's Cathedral.

If I were capable any longer of being astonished at what gets said at these things, I'd be astonished. This is so jaw-droppingly incoherent and dishonest that one wonder just what on earth the church fathers have been smoking, that they allow this man to stay on the payroll as leader of an office dedicated to "interfaith understanding."

Diversity? Yes, the crowd ran the gamut all the way from the genocidal to the merely anti-Semitic. Evidently he's been reading the CU student handbook as a dictionary. I hadn't realized that tolerance for, indeed applause for, Ahmedinejad's willing executioners was included in the definition of "interfaith efforts."

I've thoroughly chronicled the antics of this mild-mannered mullah on this blog, and while I've been pretty hard on some pretty bad behavior, I've resisted characterizing the man's beliefs. One measures the content of one's words carefully, and I would never want to give someone an excuse to give up and go over to the dark side, or say something that I'd be embarassed by years later.

No more. There are ways of handling this sort of miscreancy. A well-organized rally would have had marshals controlling the message a little bit. The quote to the paper would have been about how his "movement" had no place for the sort of hatred that Nasrallah represents, blah blah blah. But Kazerooni couldn't even bring himself to say that.

Kazerooni knows what Hezbollah and Nasrallah are. He knows perfectly well that Nasrallh, too, has said he's looking forward to the ingathering of the Jewish exiles, all the easier to kill them. He's also a professional at PR, so he knows how to stay on message when he wants to. And in this case, the message was, "we'll take all comers, even if they're experimenting with Zyklon B in their back yards."

He's not anti-war, he's just on the other side.

Practical Suggestions on Iraq

When I knew Michael Eisenstadt, I always got the impression that he was a pragmatic, center-left guy. Unlike most center-left guys, though, he's actually interested in seeing the Iraq project succeed, and has offered practical advice both before and after the invasion. This may come in part from his experience in the reserves, and his participation in the First Gulf War.

I hope that someone in the administration is reading today's Daily Standard, where Michael's offering of good, sound advice on avoiding a sectarian civil war can be found. Here's his conclusion, but read the whole thing.

As the sectarian violence in Iraq increases, the United States cannot afford to be seen standing by while Iraqis slaughter each other; this would further undermine its credibility in Iraq and the region and encourage neighboring states to actively support one side or another, making a bad situation worse. The United States has both a moral obligation to act, and an interest in doing so, when U.S. forces can save innocent lives, and when it has a reasonable chance of limiting or containing the violence. The recent U.S. decision to send thousands of extra troops to Baghdad--the site of most of the sectarian bloodletting of the past few months--is thus a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, there is a significant danger that U.S. intervention will further undermine domestic support for an increasingly unpopular war; further stress an already overstretched force; and jeopardize the tacit U.S. alliance with the Shiites, which has underpinned U.S. policy in post-Saddam Iraq. Finding a way to contain the sectarian violence and to balance these latent tensions in U.S. Iraq policy may prove as difficult for Washington as containing the insurgency has been. But it is essential if the United States is yet to achieve an acceptable outcome in Iraq--and if Iraq is to have a future as a viable state.

August 10, 2006

Setting Back the Middle East 15 Years

Andrew Stuttaford over at The Corner quotes an article in the Financial Times (the voice of the European establishment) by one Mamoun Fandy:

The US and the rest of the world should take into account the concerns of moderate states and moderate elements within Muslim societies – or else Washington’s desire to create a “new” Middle East may bring to the fore a very old one. To avoid this, the US and Europe have no option but to tip the balance in favour of moderate governments. One way would be to convene an international conference similar to the one in Madrid in 1991 after the first Gulf war to address the root of the problem, namely to solve the issue of Palestine and get the world behind the idea of the two-state solution. Only then can the world deny the Islamists their ultimate rallying cry, take the Middle East from the hands of the Islamist movements and put it back in the world of nation states.

Mamoun Fandy is either irretrievably naïve or cynically manipulative. I don’t know anything about him, so I can’t say which.

But by all means, yes, let’s repeat Madrid, which led to Oslo, which has been such a resounding success.

How on God’s green earth is “Palestine” the root problem related to Hezbollah? This is a group that teamed up with Syria to manufacture the Shebaa Farms issue so they had an excuse to keep killing Jews.

Israel keeps offering a two-state solution. The Palestinians keep choosing war. They have now voted in a government who are Islamists. Why would Hamas willingly deny themselves their rallying cry? And why is Holocaust denial radical and dangerous from Iran, but acceptable and “moderate” from Abbas? (That was his PhD thesis – that only a few hundred thousand Jews were killed.)

We can debate drawing the line here or there or the sanctity of the pre-1967-borders-but-not-the-pre-1948-borders from now until Doomsday (or August 22, whichever comes first), but none of that is the point. The conference could decide that the permanent, defensible borders of Israel were the city limits of Tel Aviv and it wouldn’t make any difference.

Israel Is Winning This War

From Lee Smith on the Daily Standard site ("Invincible?"):

It's useful to keep in mind that the experts who keep telling us that Hezbollah is such an integral part of Lebanon and Lebanese politics have a vested ideological interest in saying so. Never mind the fact that in the last month somewhere between 150,000 to 250,000 Shiites have found refuge in Syria; or that many of the Shiite regions in the South and the Bekaa valley and parts of the Daheyh from which they came have been demolished; or that hundreds of Hezbollah fighters and political officials have been killed.

Or that the group's charismatic leader will likely be bunkered for the rest of his life. The group's capacity to provide its much-vaunted social services is also greatly diminished and many other local political actors will be looking to take revenge for the destruction of Lebanon not just on Hezbollah, but the Shia community itself. And so the possibility that Hezbollah might very well be on its last legs does not seem to register with the Hezbollah experts who insist that the party of God is a permanent part of Lebanon's social fabric.

Israel can do this job; in fact, only Israel can do this job. It was true four weeks ago, and it's true now.

Primary Cliffhangers

Spencer Swalm has been declared the winner in the House 37 race. This can only be a good thing. After all, Betty Ann voted against the tax increase before she voted for it.

And Dan Kopelman has pulled to within 33 votes out of 24,800 cast for Arapahoe County Treasurer. There will have to be a recount there, but it's still excruciating.

August 9, 2006

Imam Kazerooni: Medical Expert

In an appearance of such magnitude that it rated coverage by the Workers World, Imam Ibrahim Kazerooni has revealed his credentials as a medical expert. At a showing of portions of Poison DUst, a film purporting to demonstrate the dangers of depleted uranium (other than the obvious ones of being shot at with it), Kazerooni noted:

Sheik Ibrahim Kazerooni was quick to point out, when the question was asked about other factors that might be responsible for the rise in cancer rates, such as burning oil, that during the first U.S. war against Iraq, the burning pipe lines were in Kuwait, not Iraq, and that there had been a jump in cancer rates only in Iraq. Incidence of cancer there has since increased over 300 percent.

Kazerooni isn't a doctor or an epidemiologist. His appearance here is completely political, an effort to undermine the moral standing of his adopted country, the United States.

You want to know about depleted uranium? Start here and here.

Three Down, Eight To Go

The FBI has located three of the 11 Egyptian "exchange students" who went missing yesterday, leaving eight on the lam. One was found in Minneapolis, and two others in New Jersey.

Two were found in New Jersey, according to two law enforcement officials, one of whom said they turned themselves in to authorities. No further information was available.

Eslam Ibrahim Mohamed El-Dessouki, 21, was arrested without incident about 11 a.m. (noon ET) in Minneapolis, Minnesota, according to a statement from FBI Special Agent Richard Kolko.

"El-Dessouki was taken into custody on an administrative immigration violation as an out-of-status student," Kolko said.

El-Dessouki "was located through source information," a federal law enforcement official said.

There was no indication what El-Dessouki was doing in Minnesota, but he was not visiting relatives, the official said.

Below is a list of the 10 non-Minnesotans. I couldn't even find these names or the press release surrounding the El Alamein Eleven on the FBI or ICE websites, much less pictures. I'm sure glad there's no terrorist threat.

  • El Sayed Ahmed Elsayed Ibrahim, 20
  • Alaa Abd El Fattah Ali El Bahnasawi, 20
  • Mohamed Ragab Mohamed Abd Alla, 22
  • Ahmed Refaat Saad El Moghazi El Laket, 19
  • Ahmed Mohamed Mohamed Abou El Ela, 21
  • Mohamed Ibrahim Elsayed El Moghazy, 20
  • Ebrahim Mabrouk Moustafa Abdou, 22
  • Moustafa Wagdy Moustafa El Gafary, 18
  • Mohamed Saleh Ahmed Maray, 20
  • Mohamed Ibrahim Fouaad El Shenawy, 17

Senate Independents

Don't look now, but in January, there could well be three independents in the US Senate, all of them caucusing with the Democrats.

We all know about Jumpin' Jim Jeffords, but two more are set to get in honestly. Vermont's Socialist (yes, really) Bernie Sanders is making the jump from the House to the Senate, and now Joe Lieberman is likely to be re-elected as an Independent, having been drummed out of his party. That would make three nominal independents, even though all three would effectively be liberal Democratic votes on social and tax policy.

Such a situation isn't unprecedented, although it is unusual, especially since 1900. (Searchable Senate database here.) In the mid 70s, Harry Byrd, Jr. of Virginia was an independent, and James Buckley of New York was elected on the Conservative line, but both caucused with the Republican minority. Further back, under FDR, there were four (or three) Senators who weren't official Democrats, but two of these were from Minnesota, whose Farm-Labor Party (later the DFL) was essentially part of the Democratic Party.

The DFL anomaly aside, independents seem most likely when one party seems firmly in control for a length of time, and party discipline on each side seems less important.

Post-War Occupation

Honestly, I don't see any good options here aside from depopulating the place. (No, that's not really an option.)

The Lebanese Army has almost certainly been compromised by Hezbollah infiltration. Even assuming that's a minor inconvenience, this isn't exactly the Third ID we're talking about (from today's WSJ):

But Lebanese commanders such as Maj. Gen. Achraf Rifi, who leads the nation's police force, believe the task could prove difficult. Lebanon's military is poorly equipped and fragmented along ethnic and religious lines. Its police force has 20,000 members, but fewer than half have guns or ammunition. Some of the weapons they use are World War II-era rifles.

An international force would seem to be the worst alternative of all, as it would almost inevitably morph into a Hezbollah Protection Force. It will be composed of countries with virtually no stake in Israel's safety, but a great investment and sense of mission in a continued "cease-fire." It will become a coalition, hostage to its slowest, least-aggressive members.

Since it will derive its legitimacy from its broadness, countries that are less interested in diarming Hezbollah than in sticking their fingers into the pie will be able to prevent any effective action merely by threatening to pull out. (There is no symmetry here. One could see Australia, for instance, getting disgusted with inaction and withdrawing, only to be condemned and ignored because it didn't know how to play well with others.)

At this point, the force becomes passive, and assumes a defensive posture. The goal of its individual soldiers becomes to survive, and the most immediate threat to its survival comes not from Israel, but from Hezbollah. ("Nice little tent you got there; shame if anything happened to it.") Count on Hezbollah to establish that fact quickly and decisively by breaking whatever cease-fire agreement gets passed.

In fact, military necessity dictates that this is true. Expecting troops speaking different languages, with no history of joint operations, to conduct offensive operations on foreign and hostile ground is expecting too much. Expecting them to be willing to take the casualties necessary to learn how to do this under fire leads back to the same political conclusion.

Israel would be left with no real options to reverse such a failure. If the Lebanese Army were to fail to control and disarm the Hezbos, Israel could hold it responsible for its failure, militarily if necessary. Such an option doesn't exist with a UN-sponsored force.

Israel itself really doesn't want a repeat of its 1982-2000 occupation of the place. That occupation was justifiable for the same reason this one would be, which earned Israel not one bit of sympathy or support. Eventually, the will to continue in Lebanon collapsed from within.

In this case, Israel is already noisily looking for a way out of Lebanon, and it hasn't even occupied the place yet. It's going to be a long, hard, slog to persuade the world that it's willing to stay there as long as is necessary to be able to leave on its own terms.

Primary Morning After

It's Wednesday morning, and we're still waiting for the smoke to clear in some of these races. The absentee and early voters appear to have given Doug Lamborn the edge in the 5th. The race was always going to be close, and Hugh's efforts may have been too little, too late. I actually have never been a big fan of excessive absentee and early voting, mostly for potential fraud reasons, although there's nothing like that going on here.

The other reason I don't like early voting is that it allows voters to deprive themselves of seeing how candidates behave in the crunch. Most early voters probably wouldn't change their minds, anyway, but the Christian Coalition flyers, and how the respective campaigns handled the matter, might have been instructive.

My friend Dan Kopelman is down by 56 votes (out of about 24,000 cast) for Arapahoe County Treasurer. I'm sure there will be a recount, but these things rarely reverse, as Al Gore found out. That's just heartbreakingly close.

Mike Kopp seems to have pulled out State Senate District 22. When I found out that Owens had endorsed Traylor, that was enough to put me on Kopp's side.

Spencer Swalm also seems to have eked out a win in the House 37th. Not sure what remains to be counted, if anything. The Arapahoe County Precincts Reporting number was off all last night, updating without changing the vote totals, sitting at "0" even as thousands of votes rolled in.

August 8, 2006

Primary Night

UPDATE 3: WIth about 3/5 of the vote in, Spencer is edging ahead of Betty Ann. With who knows how much of Arapahoe counted, Dan is within 83 votes of the lead. And with just over 1/3 of his precincts counted, Matt is starting to open a little daylight between himself and Candy Figa.

UPDATE 2: One other race where I've got a sporting interest is the Arapahoe County Treasurer, where my friend Dan Kopelman is running. So far, with almost none of the vote counted, he's down by 129 votes.

UPDATE: Clay reminds me that I'm an idiot. Of course, it's Spencer Swalm.

In four races in which I can't vote, I'm currently running 4-for-5. Hank Johnson took Cynthia McKinney to the woodshed, so to speak, with the voters in my parents' Congressional district apparently deciding that she was too much of an embarassment for them. Again.

Jeff Crank is leading in Colorado's 5th. I can't say I know a ton about the race, but a lot of the right people are supporting Crank, including the local Club for Growth.

Last year's LPR graduate Steve Swalm is beating this year's graduate Betty Ann Habig, with two precincts reporting.

Matt Dunn, another LPR grad and former holder of my seat on Sunday nights, is ahead of Candy Figa (which the Rocky spelled as "Fig") with one precinct reporting.

The only loser is Joe Lieberman. I met Joe personally at the shul we both attended in DC, although he wouldn't remember me. He was a nice guy, who show up at shul to pray, not to gladhand for political support. The world changed there a little bit when he got the VP nomination in 2000, but from all reports, Lieberman didn't big-time anyone during the run.

Sean Hannity's assertion that this is good for conservatives notwithstanding, I think this is a terrible outcome. Perhaps it helps out in the Hosue races in Connecticut. But it energizes a lunatic fringe of the Democratic party, and such movements have a way of being emboldened by this sort of momentum.

Hannity takes it for granted that people will be able to distinguish between the Tom Hayden clones, and the more responsible doubters of the war's conduct. I'm not sure, especially with a media disinclined to draw such distinctions. I'm afraid it will scare even more Republicans into going wobbly on the war effort, at a time when we need to stand together to deal with Iran.

The Democrats have shown exactly zero inclination to take national defense seriously. This sort of a win telegraphs to them that they don't need to.

August 7, 2006

The UN Negotiations

Israel is winning this war. If it weren't the Arab League wouldn't be pressing for the UN to require Israel to hand southern Lebanon back to the rocket launchers. Syria - which has ben spoiling for a fight with Israel for days now - wouldn't be stalking out Arab League meetings. The Israeli cabinet wouldn't be confident enough to formalize occupation up to the Litani. (Their failure to attack Bekaa decisively is another matter.)

Even if one accepts that Israel has largely implemented Resolution 1559, and even if one accepts that the Lebanese army is capable of patrolling the southern half of its country, post-war actions that don't thoroughly humiliate Hezbollah will only leave it around to rebuild.

It is critical that any Israeli withdrawal occur after the Lebanese government has evicted Hezbollah from its premises in the cabinet, just as Israel has evicted it from its base of operations.


Driving through northern Colorado and Utah yesterday, we had the radio - and thus the hourly news - on the whole time. Not a single word about the Reuters photoshopping scandal. Not on ABC, CNN, or CBS.

Imagine that.

In spite of Rathergate, Jason Blair, and countless other fiskings of the MSM by the blogosphere, the MSM continue to believe that if they don't report it, it isn't news. And that whatever they do, whatever they do isn't news.


Yesterday was the Big Driving Day. We went from Glenwood, up to Rangely and then across on US-40 to Vernal. Coming into SLC from Duchesne, we took Utah 35 rather than US-40, which I had done before. Cows, cows, cows, in mountains that are sharp, but which live below the treeline.

Stayed last night at the fabulously appointed Hotel Sabin. Come for the bed, stay for the vegetables!

Pictures and more details eventually.

August 6, 2006

Glenwood Springs's Coolest Coffee Shop

So we're out walking yesterday, when we see a guy coming towards us on a Segway. I thought they had all been recalled, but it turns out that, at $5K a pop, they're available. Now, they're available for tours.

The proprietor is Joel Karr, who turns out to be the brother of Eric, a friend of ours back in Denver. So if you're in Glenwood Springs, stop by, get a cup of coffee, check your email, and take a Segway tour of town. Bring the dog, too.

Changing the Narrative

I've been given an assignment by a friend of mine in Israel. She's near Jerusalem, out of the line of fire - so far. She sent me the following email:

I'm finished being depressed (though that may well return periodically--ten killed today in one Katyusha strike)--now I'm mad.

It looks like we are losing the PR war even though we are doing good work on the ground. I'm not talking about the pictures of Lebanese dead and refugees ad nauseum; I'm talking about the fact that Nasrallah is weaving a narrative of victory, even as he is taking it on the chin. Being a democracy, we criticize ourselves endlessly and keep wondering whether we're doing the right thing, etc. etc.

In a war against terror, the narrative is important, because this is not going to be a knock-down, cry-uncle situation even if we win. Hizbullah is not a sovereign state (although it functions as a state-within-a-state and a powerful military organization in Lebanon) so it will never have to concede defeat and/or sign any formal declaration of defeat. They can *always* claim to have won, even if we manage to assassinate Nasrallah (halevai...). So we have to change the narrative--*not* because we're losing, but because we're winning and to defeat terrorists we have to be seen by the world--particularly the Arab world--to be winning.

So your assignment is to change the narrative in your corner of the blog world (blogosphere?), and ask others who think as you do to do the same. Believe me, this is almost as important as what the soldiers are doing in the field. It may be even *more* important in the long run.

Honestly, I don't think I can do much better than this. We're winning this war on the ground. We need to let the world know that fact.

August 4, 2006

Jews a Race?

UPDATE: In response to one reader who seems to have taken broad offense, I would suggest that perhaps Rosen's impressions come from the preponderance of New Yorkers in the Jewish population of the US. Had he grown up in the South, for instance, he might have come to a different conclusion. In any event, nobody's claiming that Jews are genetically abrasive. I leave it to the rest of the readership to determine whether that reader's comment is evidence for or against Rosen's proposition.

Colorado Media Matters continues to provide jobs for those who could be better employed building an extra lane onto I-70 West. Now, they've put Mike Rosen's comments about the stereotypical Jewish personality being "abrasive" under their "Race Issues" category.

After fasting all day yesterday, I was in a mood to send them an abrasive email myself, since truth is a complete defense against slander. Rosen's comments are 1) substantively true, 2) proportionately trivial, and 3) not a matter of race. As David Harsanyi has pointed out, a trip to Israel will reveal Jews of all complexions. You tell me that Ethiopian Jews are the same race as Natan Scharansky.

In the past, I have been guilty of claiming that there was a racial component to Judaism. In effect, there's a genetic component to the people we call "Jews," because the number of converts and descendents of converts is so tiny compared to the total number of Jews.

However, it would be more accurate to claim that, aside from conversion, one's Jewishness is inhereted. Judaism is a religion, and the Jews are a people or a nation, but not a race.

While I've managed to clarify my thinking on this matter over time, apparently such sutbleties are too much for Media Matters.

Chavez Moves Into Iranian Orbit

Pulling his charge d'affairs from Israel is only the latest indication of Hugo Chavez's growing aspirations for full Senior Partner Status in the Axis of evil.

Venezuelan blogger Daniel Duquenal reports on a Venezuelan governor who's state seems to have its own foreign policy.

Governor of Anzoategui, Tarek William Saab, a son of Libyan immigrants, has used state funds to take out this newspaper ad. Go take a look.

The Spanish is fairly simple, mostly cognate words with English, so even I can translate the salient passages. It refers to Israel as a terrorist state, and one of terrorism's "diverse forms of oppression," and its invasion of southern Lebanon as "genocide." It refers to the 1978 and 1982 invasions, and no anti-Israel screed would be complete without a cameo by the Butcher Sharon and his appearance at Sabra and Shatilla. There's also the traditional, "I know you are, but what am I?" taunts of neo-fascism and "holocaust" against the Arab peoples.

This isn't some rural governor run amok. Anzoategui is a major province, including Puertoa La Cruz, and running right up to the banks of the major river, the Orinoco. Here's a map.

Saab is known as part of Chavez's inner circle, apparently acting as his lawyer at one point. As usual with the Left, violence isn't far behind.

Groups of demonstrators from three anti-Iraq war rallies that took place in Caracas in the first months of 2003 (noted above) made a detour in order to pass the Tiferet Israel Synagogue. Several with masked faces drew graffiti on the walls and door against Israel, against the Jews (for example, the words “Cursed Jews,” surrounded by swastikas and the swastika equated with the Star of David), against Sharon, against the US and against George Bush, and in favor of the Palestinian cause. The last rally, which took place on 25 March, was the most violent: the group threw bottles and stones at the wall of the synagogue and tried to break in the door. The rally itself was attended by several officials and public figures, including Minister of Communications and Information Nora Uribe, Congressman Tarek William Saab and Governor of the Municipality of Libertador Fredy Bernal.

Saab has also intervened to protect Hezbollah terrorists involved in the bombings in Buenos Aires of Jewish targets, and has run interference for Islamist elements operating on Margarita Island.

Whether Chavez is being used by the Islamists, or thinks he's using them, or both, we've seen this story before, and it doesn't end well.

Another Reason to Like the Aussies

By former Liberal Party minister Michael Costello, in today's Australian:

On October 22, 2002, Hezbollah's present leader Hassan Nasrallah, said: "If they (the Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

This is the true heart of the problem. The Palestinian issue cannot be resolved because a significant part of the Arab and Muslim world still do not accept Israel's right to exist. They will not accept the two-state solution beloved of analysts because they do not accept the existence of one of those two states, Israel. This is just not a matter of politics to them; it is a matter of religion. It is non-negotiable.

In Australia, the Liberals are the conservatives, Labor are the liberals. Costello used to be the Foreign Affairs Minister for PM John Howard, but apparently lost out in some sort of intra-party succession battle. Any enlightenment on that would be welcome.

August 2, 2006

Is "Convergence" the Price of Support?

For a while, I've noticed that Britain has abandoned its usual Arabist line during this war. It even joined an effort by Poland, the Czechs, Germany, and Denmark, to water down an EU cease-fire call.

Now, with Olmert again pushing post-bellum "convergence," I wonder if maybe the cost of that support has been the West Bank. It wouldn't be the first time. Blair supported the Iraw War, but there was a tacit understanding that afterwards, the "Palestinian Problem" would be dealt with.

We all know what rational people believe the long-term map should look like, give or take a few cities here and there. But the Palestinians, having repeatedly rejected that map in favor of war, are clearly not rational, and clearly not defeated. Rewarding this behavior is only going to produce more of it, and if we're not learning that lesson now, we'll never learn it.

Olmert Politicizes the War

Israeli PM Ehud Olmert is in the process of blowing every major advantage that Israel had going into this war.

It started the war with a sense of urgency, thinking it had less time than it did. Now, it runs the risk of running out of time, having lately assumed it had more time than it did. Despite diplomatic successes by the Bush administration - the latest being the decision by the UK, Denmark, the Czechs, Poland, and Germany(!) to water down an EU call for a cease-fire to near-meaninglessnes. Nevertheless,

It started the war with an overhwelming advantage in men and materiel. Having used them in dribs and drabs, it has allowed Hezbollah to engage piecemeal, rather than face an irresistable onslaught. Even while keeping a strategic reserve, Israel could have put 70,000 men on the ground, while sealing off Hezbollah's retreat and confronting them from all sides. Instead, Olmert has confined himself primarily to probing frontal assaults, allowing the enemy to redirect its men to the threat of the moment.

It started the war with almost unparallelled unanimity, now it risks destructive political infighting. An generally gloomy email from a friend of mine in Israel cited the unity, or "achdut," as the one bright spot worth mentioning. Olmert has now shattered that by attaching an unpopular and divisive (not to mention strategically suicidal) "convergence" plan as a war aim for a popular and necessary war. Some reservists from the territories are now threatening not to fight, if the purpose of the war is to make politifcal room for Olmert to declare victory and give away their homes.

All of these failures of leadership - and it is a massive failure of leadership - are magnified by Israel's need for at least tacit support from parts of the rest of the world for its efforts. If the US (for instance) concludes that Israel's war aims are muddy, tha Israel isn't seriously pursuing victory, or that it's falling prey to internal battles, it may well change the cost-benefit calculus of the war.

Syrian Brinksmanship

Syria reportedly put its forces on high alert last night, on the pretext that Israel was going to attack Syria. At the time, my first thought was that Assad was going to manufacture an incident, claim he was attacked, and then move into the Bekaa. It's also possible that he thought the Israeli operation in Bekaa was more extensive than it was, and was planning to respond.


Perhaps he was put up to it by Iran, as an act of brinksmanship. Syria must know that it's no match for Israel. Its surface-to-air batteries could be taken out quickly, and in any event, wouldn't help over Lebanon. The last time the Syrian Air Force took on the Israelis, they lost 82-0. Really. 82-0. Their tanks are old, have to stop to fire, have limited range, poor armor, and lousy instrumentation. This isn't 1973, and it's not his father's armored cavalry.

The Syrian military would be truly humiliated, and Assad's regime would probably not survive the failure. Surely Syria wouldn't just sacrifice itself?

Probably not, but Iran might be willing to sacrifice them. And they might be willing to pretend to sacrifice Syria, if it played on European fears of a wider war. The UN Security Council meets tomorrow, and I'm sure at least some of the members will bring this up.


Power, Faith, and Fantasy

Six Days of War

An Army of Davids

Learning to Read Midrash

Size Matters

Deals From Hell

A War Like No Other


A Civil War

Supreme Command

The (Mis)Behavior of Markets

The Wisdom of Crowds

Inventing Money

When Genius Failed

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?

Good to Great

Built to Last

Financial Fine Print

The Day the Universe Changed


The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East

The Case for Democracy

A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam

The Italians

Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory

Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures

Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud