Enter your keyword

Sunday, October 31, 2010

When Bias Has Its Own Media

By On October 31, 2010
Bias is a normal part of human thought. It is not a good thing, but it exists because we are only human. Our viewpoints influence how we see things. And that in turn influences how we describe them. But just because bias is normal, does not mean that it is acceptable.

A doctor may like one patient better than another. That does not mean that he has the right to provide an inferior level of medical care to one patient. He may not be able to help being nicer to one patient than the other, but he may not actively mistreat a less favored patient. That is medical malpractice. Similarly a reporter who does not simply favor liberal politicians, but actively biases stories against their opponents is guilty of journalistic malpractice. He can no longer claim to be providing a public service, only serving as the mouthpiece for his ideology of choice.

Bias always exists, but journalistic bias has a tipping point at which instead of a free press, we have a propaganda press. When does that tipping point occur? Henry David Thoreau wrote that there is a certain amount of injustice in government, just as there is a certain amount of friction in operating a machine. But when "friction has its own machine", then the injustice is no longer an unfortunate byproduct, it is now the purpose of the machine. That is the case with tyrannical regimes who exist to oppress people, rather than the oppression being an unfortunate by product of the exercise of authority, as was formerly the case in the United States.

When it comes to the media, there is also a point at which "friction has its own machine". That happens when bias is no longer just injected into the reporting of a story, but when bias is the reason for the existence of a story.

It's easy to spot the difference between the two. For example, a reporter who covers a possible teacher's strike might favor the teacher's union and give more time to their grievances than to the plight of the municipal budget and the overburdened taxpayer. This is bias. On the other hand, when that same reporter begins running a series of stories about juvenile delinquency and rising crime connected to school dropout rates in order to warn taxpayers against voting down a proposed school budget-- then "bias has its own media."

The difference is that our hypothetical reporter is no longer only biasing legitimate stories, his stories are part of a narrative that exists for no other purpose than to convince readers to follow his agenda. That is acceptable on the Op Ed page, but not when it is disguised as news. And when entire newspapers, TV stations, magazines and news sites are run in this way, then there is a word for it-- propaganda.

When "Bias has its Own Media", then bias is no longer just the byproduct of journalism, or a symptom of bad reporting. It is the actual product. It is no longer a flaw in the process by which stories are reported. That process has been replaced by a new process in which positive material about liberals and negative material about conservatives is fast-tracked for a purely political agenda. In which news stories exist not to provide information about events, but to manufacture narratives in order to directly or indirectly achieve policy goals.

This is the literal definition of propaganda. The hypocritical mainstream media pretends that it's both independent and patriotic because it bashes the government when it's conservative and then boasts about its crusading independence, and then licks the government boot when it's liberal and boasts about its patriotism. This is a repulsive perversion of both words. The media is not independent, it is dependent. It is dependent on ideology and independent of the truth.

Today when the media pretends to report stories, when it's actually repeating White House talking points, then it is no longer engaged in filing stories, only in manipulating the minds of its readers. It is serving as the conduit for the narrative and agenda of a political party. This alone is not particularly groundbreaking, except for its comprehensiveness. There have always been political newspapers in American history, but they generally tended to self-identify as existing for the purposes of political agitation. And they were balanced out by other rival competitors, and by newspapers which were determined to try their hand at objective reporting, which made for a print landscape that resembled the present day blogsphere more than anything else.

However the corporate centralization of media ownership combined with the transformation of reporting into a field whose training is provided by radical academics looking to radicalize their students has created a structured left wing bias in reporting, that has since thoroughly tipped over into propaganda. And so we no longer have a free press, we have a propaganda press. We no longer have a biased media. Instead bias has its own media.

A single doctor who decided to stop treating Republicans would be a crank. And it would be easy enough to avoid him. However if the entire medical profession were taken over. If the majority of hospitals were owned by a handful of liberal corporations and doctors were trained in Med School that the public good requires letting Republicans die, rather than treating them-- you would have the same mindset in medicine that we suffer from today in journalism.

Media bias is the product of the politicization of a field to such a degree, that this politicization itself becomes the culture of the most influential segment of an entire profession. Rather than fighting for an armed overthrow, the American left sought to work from "within the system". And what that meant was infiltrating, influencing and subsequently radicalizing a country's fundamental institutions so that they would serve their agenda, rather than that of the people.

The left does not follow rules because it does not believe that democracy or a system of checks and balances or any form of rules that allows different political views to have expression is what is in the public interest. They believe that their way and only their way alone, is what is in the public interest. To see what a country run that way looks like, you could go to North Korea and try to sneak across the border. Or you could just make a much shorter trip to Washington D.C. where another Beloved Leader dictates his wishes and the mechanisms of government comply, without regard for what the people want. And if you want to see what a media run by people who think that the public good rests in convincing them to do what they are told looks like, well it's all around you right now.

I was riding in a cab to LAX when a local left wing talk radio station's message blared its motto. "Listen like you mean it." That is the motto not just of that station, but of the entire liberal media. And of their attached politicians as well. Listen like you mean it. That is exactly what they expect. A population of listeners that they will pretend to listen to, but mostly just ignore. Not people who are involved. Not owners. But listeners. Passive. Compliant. Willing to do what they are told for the greater good.

People who think that way do not believe in democracy. They do not believe in plurality. They do not believe in choice, because then people might not choose to do the right thing. Modern liberalism is inherently totalitarian. It is tied up with the belief in Government as God, in central planners and cooperative bodies (under community organizers) replacing individuals and elected officials as the key relationship in American government.

And the media's understanding of its role in such a system is to ensure that the people voluntarily participate in the cooperative bodies, and understand and comply with the instructions of the central planners to insure a positive outcome for everyone. Sure it didn't work under the USSR or China or Cuba or anywhere as a matter of fact, but as they say, "29th Time's The Charm". The future's so bright, you have to wear recycled burlap. And the Collective Compost toilet only overflows on Wednesdays.

But it is inevitable that every ideology whose goal is a political system that attempts to control people "for their own benefit" also believes that the goal of the press is to communicate the intentions of the authorities to the people so that everything flows harmoniously and smoothly with a minimum of gulags. Every time the media began launching into another explanation of why Obamacare was so great, and the only reason anyone thought otherwise was because they were ignorant brainwashed guntoting racists, you could see that same exact dynamic at work. The progressive propaganda machine ranting about reactionaries and blaming them for the lack of progress.

It could have been a newsflash from Moscow in 1929. Unfortunately it was actually a story being run in newspapers, magazines, newscasts and news sites all across America just now. And that shows the tragic degradation of the media, not simply into an organ of political advocacy, but into the lowest sewers of government propaganda.

And when journalists become whores, their government patrons treat them that way. What the media has yet to understand is that no one on the Right has as much contempt for them as their own Obama Administration, which has dispensed with such outmoded relics of journalism Presidential press conferences, access to the press or allowing reporters to interview a Supreme Court nominee. Those were reserved for the days of yore when the media at least tried to pretend that they were independent of the White House. By giving up their independence, the media also gave up the only reason why they should be taken seriously. And so instead the Obama Administration treats the press corps likely badly behaved employees who still haven't learned their place.

The paradox is that neither the Clinton or George W. Bush administrations which were at times authentically under siege by the press, showed this kind of contempt and hostility toward the press. But in 2008, the media gave up any pretense of being anything but carnival barkers for the Barry Hussein Show. And when that happened, they also gave up any credibility they might have had, not just with the Right, but with the White House. They stopped being the Fifth Estate, and became PR people who don't always know how to take orders from Rahm and Dave Axelrod.

The Obama Administration feels free to smack the press around, because by giving up their independence, the press also gave up any of the leverage they used to have. Once the media sold out everything, they have nothing left to offer anymore. As long as they are wedded to promoting socialism at any cost, the White House is the only game in town, and as long as they create the news out of White House talking points, the Obama Administration has the media right where it wants it.

By selling their birthright of objectivity for the pottage of ideology, the media gave up its power, and is now discovering that they man they gave it all up for sees them as nothing more than errand boys to carry his message to the people. By acting like the PR men for Obama, the media were reduced to just that. Bias now has its own media. And so does the White House.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

All the Trains Run Through Washington D.C.

By On October 30, 2010
As the day of decision draws near, euphoria is sweeping across the ranks of those who have fought so hard to get to this day. There was a time when in the shadow of Obama's victory such a day seemed impossible. When it felt like the left had irreversibly placed its brand on America and that we had been force marched on a road leading down into Socialism. Now it seems as if there might be a way out, but that way out may also be deceptive.

It is important to remember that while the Democrats are a major source of the problem, they are only taking advantage of a broken system. They are hyenas sniffing around a dying animal , vultures circling above a struggling figure trying to reach the next dune over. The left's takeover of the Democratic party has accelerated the process, but it did not begin the process.

The story of the breakdown of America is not that of one party of evil malefactors smirking and rubbing their hands, while their saintly opposite numbers stand in their path and cry, "Please, have you no shame". That is the narrative that both parties are comfortable with, but it is not the one that tells the story. The Democrats do have the worst of it, because their enthusiastic embrace of machine politics, of character assassination and even treason has made them by far the worst of the two parties. Their fusion of greed and ideology has helped lead to everything from a giant welfare state, to social instability, street riots and socialism. But they could not have done it alone.

And in the next two years, that is an ugly fact that we will begin to rediscover all over again, around the same time Republicans rediscover the joys of bipartisanship, particularly when there's fine pork to be had on the table. An administration without a strong congressional majority tends to be spend more, not less, that is because pork is the price of bipartisanship. When the Democrats took Congress in 2006, the Bush Administration's spending plans rose up. Because the price of bipartisanship is everyone getting a slice of the pie. And a party on the way up, is a party whose politicians are more enthusiastic about getting their share of the pie.

And that's the core of the problem. Not the pork alone, or the nanny state ideology of socialism or any of it. It's all of it together and it's the system that makes it happen.

After each crisis, we rebuilt America as a country with a stronger central government and more power and money running through it. The Soviet Union designed its rail system so that all the trains had to run through Moscow. No matter where the trains were meant to go, they had to go to Moscow first. We've built the same kind of government, where everything from education to finance to workplace safety to the brand of car you drive has to go through Washington D.C.

America has become a country with a million laws, a billion regulations and a trillion standards all of which define how we live. We have become puppets dangling on strings held in federal buildings, dancing to the tune of the latest study, the next survey, the best proposal from some think tank or agency or assorted collection of busybodies with six figure salaries dedicated to telling everyone what to do all the time. But this isn't just about the loss of freedom. It's about the loss of agency.

Countless Americans have become puppets, transformed into problems for some collection of mangy bureaucrats to solve. And some of them have embraced that role. We can see the disaster that has spawned in the black community, but it goes well beyond that. It's present among every demographic, every race, every gender and creed. It defines what life under socialism is really like. That sense of waiting in an endless line to be told what to do. And knowing that it's all futile, but going through the process anyway. It is what crafts the numbing sense of failure that rapidly explodes into violence when an entitlement is withdrawn. It leads to neighborhoods of dirty streets, easy stabbings and a general sense of neglect. Because everyone is waiting for nothing at all. Everyone is waiting for the trains to finish running through Washington D.C.

It didn't have to be this way, but it is. Because that is the real danger of government. Corporate monopolies come and go. A tyrant can choke on a lettuce leaf. A fanatical religion can sputter out. But a system keeps right on chugging along. Because systems are virtually unkillable, so long as there's money and power for everyone. A political elite that becomes entrenched can take down the entire system with it, because the system itself has become infected by their own ambitions and interests. The system becomes a tool of those ambitions and interests, so that anyone who takes power, becomes corrupted by it. And that is the greatest danger that we face today.

The political elite has rewritten the rules so that all the trains, all the money and power runs through their system, and in their way. It has devalued local rights, in favor of national powers. It has devalued individual rights, in favor of government rights. At every turn it has empowered government, while disempowering the people. And it has gone mostly unchecked, because even the few ideological battles that have been fought, have rarely been over whether there should be government powers over individual rights, but rather over who should be in control of deciding what rights there still are.

Most of what we have in the way of civil rights has meant the transfer of power from one branch of government to another. And typically that transfer has been one way. Some have benefited from that transfer in the short term, but in the long term, it has meant more power for fewer people. And the transfer has continued. Today unelected judges have more power to decide what rights people will have, than the people themselves. It has become an article of faith among the political elite, that the general public cannot be trusted with self-government. Instead that they must be taken care of, looked after like troublesome children to see that they don't fall and cut themselves every time they step outdoors.

Of course it behooves those who want unlimited power to treat the general public that way, to baby them and gaslight them, to dangle shiny objects and angry words, and then chuckle because they know that no matter how an election turns out, the trains will still keep going to the same place. And the trains are more than just power. They are filled with money. Virtually unlimited amounts of money. Not only a cut from commercial transactions, individual incomes and other forms of taxation, but the ability to borrow money in the name of the country. Money isn't just money, it's power. Often power at its most naked.

The ability to spend unlimited amounts of money translates easily into unlimited power. It becomes childishly easy to use that money to build power structures, NGO's, think tanks, unions, grass roots organizations, and all the rest, that turn democracy into a sham. To boil it down into one hand washing the other, passing money back and forth, between government and its support structures. And then anyone outside the system stops mattering at all. Becomes an annoying buzz that you beat down with union thugs, smear in the press, persecute and hound, fine and intimidate, until they go away. Because it isn't their country anymore, it's yours. And they're the ones driving, while you're sitting in the back.

Democratic elections do not create a better brand of leader necessarily, they are meant only to prevent them from becoming entrenched. That is why Washington D.C. has become a vile parody of the man it is named after, a man who represented a brand of leadership that was willing to abandon power, in order to prevent exactly that kind of entrenchment. To free America of kings and tyrants, of a small circle of ministers and appointees hoarding power endlessly for their own ends. But while America has no king, it has princes. The latest prince who flies around the world and around the country, to prance self-righteously in front of audiences is the worst, but not the last or the least of them.

The system is broken, because it has become a tool for corruption, and a tool of corruption. It is difficult and almost pointless to try and function within the system without becoming part of that corruption. Because once the system exists to spend money, anyone who tries to get into the system in order to not spend money, is not just fighting for reform, but to turn the whole thing completely around and put everyone out of a job. Imagine someone joining the army in order not to fight wars, or joining a company in order to lose money-- that's the task lying before someone trying to get elected to congress in order to not spend money.

That is how bad things have gotten. But they didn't get this bad overnight. It got there because we were overconfident, we thought that American greatness meant that we deserved a great government. It got there because monopolies frightened people badly enough that expanding government seemed like a necessary defense. It got there because every time we had a crisis, every time we went through a war, and every time we felt afraid, we turned to government. From wars through depressions through turbulent change, we turned to government. And government got big and powerful enough to turn on us. Instead of men riding government... governments began to ride men instead.

The ideology of the left has turned all that to its own purposes, merging political corruption into ideology, spending in order to bankrupt and regulating in order to control-- but it began to work with the existing corruption and the existing mechanisms of power. Some of the old time Democratic party machinery is baffled by the Obama Administration because they understand government as a vehicle for political corruption, while the Obama Administration is endangered their profits, in order to pursue ideological ends. These are the people who actually think that Hillary Clinton represented a non-ideological alternative. But while Obama represents a political extreme, it's only an extension of what already existed.

And that brings us to a Republican victory. The end of the road isn't here yet. We're a long way from it. Public dissatisfaction and worries over the economy have made it possible to seriously raise questions and elect candidates that would have been inconceivable several years back. It's an important first step, but not the last step by any stretch of the imagination. When the economy recovers, people will quickly forget. Politicians will quickly rediscover how much fun pork can be. Some will grumble, but go along. Because the sun is shining and that means everything must be all-right.

Since Wilson, the Republicans have tried to play the voice of reason, the moderates who accept and try to repackage the legislative radicalism of the Democrats, into a more reasonable package. They water it down, often they expand on it, but they don't really change it. If the Republicans actually repeal ObamaCare, then it will be an important moment when the tide turned. But I suspect they will not, because it's easier to rise to power on criticism of a Democratic program, than to dare to dispose of the program itself. It's easier to criticize, than to court controversy by bringing change. But it needs to change. Because the system is broken. Because we have routed all our trains through one place, and the trains go there, but they often don't come back.

Our challenge is to be more than a vehicle for one party's political return to power. To be more than tools, but to be changers. This is about more than tax cuts or even ObamaCare. It is about turning back the clock on government and restoring power to the people again. If we can do that, then we can start fixing a system that has been hijacked by an entrenched political elite for its own benefit. If we can't, then we will only be overseeing another phase of its collapse. By all means, go out and vote, but remember that voting is only the first step. The real work is just beginning.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Afternoon Roundup - A Storm is Coming

By On October 29, 2010

If you've ever seen a movie in which a boat is caught in a storm. At first the waves are distant and the crew ignores them. Then suddenly the storm has swept in and everyone is running for cover, doing anything they can to prepare for a storm that's already here. And that's the left wing of the Democratic party right now, too slow to recognize the storm because of its media cocoon and now rushing to throw anything they can at it, from voter fraud to scandals and smears.

As it emerges, the nation's "first black President", William Jefferson Clinton was instrumental in trying to get Meek to step down in favor of Crist. Meek is black, Clinton as it turned out, was not. As Jim Hoft points out, this is also the third time that the Democratic party (hurrah for multiculturalism) have tried to get a black candidate to step out of the way of a white candidate.

But it's not just the perverse racial politics at work here. Meek wasn't told to step down in favor of another Democrat, like Greene was, but in favor of Charlie Crist, who until recently was a Republican. In Rhode Island, the Obama Administration tried to nudge out Frank T. Caprio, the Democratic candidate, who then told Obama to shove it... in favor of Lincoln Chaffee, also formerly a Republican.

Complicating matters further still, both Meek and Caprio were Hillary Clinton supporters. Which means the Obama Administration is sabotaging the Democratic party by choosing to back liberal Republicans over Clinton supporting Democrats. Why Bill Clinton chose to go along with it in the Meek case, when he's actually been out there championing Democrats who supported Hillary, is a little more confusing.

But not that confusing, because while Bill Clinton may play the loyalist returning favors to his old pals, the Clintons are actually in bed with Crist. Hillary Clinton's senior adviser Mark Penn is helping Crist. So why would the Clintons sell out Meek? Because Meek has no real shot at winning, and the Clintons need to show that they can pick and shepherd along winners, if they're to regain their stature in the party. And Florida remains a key state in any Presidential election. Hillary Clinton has not given up on her Presidential ambitions.

It's a gamble, but it's not a dumb gamble. Bill Clinton is playing the long game. He's preparing the ground for 2016.

But that takes us over to the voter fraud. There are too many incidents to list altogether, though the situation in Arizona is right up there. It's safe to say that there will be extensive voter fraud, but that means Republicans need to win by a higher margin. Close races are much easier to swing with some last minute "missing ballots" delivered straight from the animal shelter or the Bahamas. But the bigger the margin of victory, the harder it is to just waltz up with some new numbers, unless you're Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The Democrats however are preparing the ground with accusations of fraud and intimidation. A major target has been Bill Randall, a black conservative, who is has been smeared by Brad Miller's campaign. Bill Randall has come a long way, and like most black conservatives, is seen as a particular threat. The resurgence of the smear campaign against Clarence Thomas is a sad reminder of just how much that's so.

The Randall-Miller debate held echoes of the O'Donnell-Coons debate, with Miller following the elitist liberal playbook by sneering that he doesn't understand what Randall is saying.

The big difference of course is in the money.
U.S. Rep. Brad Miller, a Raleigh Democrat, has a huge money advantage over his Republican challenger Bill Randall, according to the latest campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission.

Miller had $441,393 in his campaign kitty as of Sept. 30, compared to $23,084 for Randall. Randall also reported $43,822 in campaign debts, while Miller reported $14,007 in campaign debts.

Overall, Miller has reported raising $805,072 for his campaign, while Randall reported raising $165,548 for his campaign, including money he raised in his hard-fought primary. Randall was a tea party candidate, but there is little evidence that he has received any help from the national tea party, which apparently does not see the 13th House District as a winnable target.

But the Democrats and their pet media lapdogs are still threatened by Randall enough to begin smearing him with accusations of poll intimidation. This during a week where it finally emerged that the New Black Panther party thugs got a deliberate pass from the Obama Administration. A decision that says it's not about race, as much as it is about liberalism.

If we are ever going to get out of this mess, electing leaders like Bill Randall will be crucial in that regard.

Moving on to Mr. Aqua Buddha himself, the Rand Paul mess is predictably just that. The Paul campaigns have always drawn their share of assorted thugs, truthers, anti-war activists and the like.

The media has tried to cynically paint Mike Pezzano, one of the attackers, as a conservative, but he's nothing of the sort-- as Lisa Graas has exposed.

Pezzano's Meetup interests include legalizing pot, bashing Bush, Democratic Underground, opposition to globalization-- in other words, Pezzano has more in common with the MoveOn.org protester he attacked, than with normal Republicans. He's part of a libertarian fringe whose only overlap with Republicans is an endorsement of smaller government. But if that's all it takes to be considered a conservative Republican, then Lyndon LaRocuhe's followers would qualify too. And that's clearly wrong.

By carrying water for the likes of Pezzano, conservative bloggers are playing into the hands of liberals, who want to use him to define the Tea Party and conservatives. Lisa has pointed out that is not a Tea Party issue. Considering George Soros just dumped a million on Pezzano's favorite cause, they're not all that far apart.

The Pauls are not conservative. They have more in common with LaRouche and their campaign attracts lunatics and thugs. Which is natural when you're pandering to people who think that the United States is controlled by a secret conspiracy of bankers and that Bin Laden is a CIA agent. But instead of treating them the way both parties have treated LaRouche, Rand Paul got the welcome mat from the Republican party. He might win, but what his victory will cost the Republican party is a whole other story. This latest incident is a small taste of what's to come.

Finally the media is desperately touting Jon Stewart as a national figure, talking up his influence and his rally.

It's hard to find a more pathetic act of desperation than turning your party leadership over to a comedian. Early on, the Democrats began spreading the meme that Rush Limbaugh is the real head of the Republican party. Now the Democrats have decided to go one better by making Jon Stewart the head of the Democratic party.

And that completes the transition of the Democratic party to a joke. An unfunny joke, but a joke nonetheless.

Stewart's heavily hyped Daily Show interview with Obama barely managed to pick up 3 million viewers.

About 2.8 million people tuned in for President Obama’s interview on “The Daily Show” Wednesday night.

It was the first visit by a sitting president to the news satire show, and it was worth almost an extra million viewers for the program, which normally averages about 1.9 million viewers for its 11 p.m. airing.

Wow. A whole 3 million. And despite the big man with the big ears from the White House coming on down, Stewart couldn't even beat Bill O'Reilly. Now that's influence, gang.

Going international now, Elder of Ziyon has a rather disturbing idea supposedly being floated out of Washington D.C.
According to the sources, the agreement that the US is pushing involves recognition of a Palestinian Arab state exactly along the 1949 armistice lines in return for Palestinian Arab agreement to lease parts of "Arab" eastern Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to Israel for somewhere between 40 and 99 years.

This is an American proposal, coming in response to Israeli insistence that the US adhere to the letter that George W. Bush sent to Ariel Sharon that large settlement blocs would remain under Israeli control.

The wickedly clever part of this is that it would mean a complete abandonment of Israel's territorial rights, without the need for an immediate expulsion and ethnic cleansing of the Jewish population. But from a legal standpoint, such territory would be part of the PA.

I don't imagine that Netanyahu would ever sign on to this, as it would essentially strip Israel of much of its territory and create the potential for some ugly havoc to be played at the international level. Yet I suspect that a Barak or a Livni would find such a proposal politically seductive. The real roadblock here might come from the Arab-Muslim side.

And what would this mean for Jews? It would mean a return to Dhimmi status, living as an oppressed second-class minority among Muslims. The Point of Return blog has some reminders of just what that was like. (Hat tip Solomonia)

In the Farhud, the anti-Jewish riots in Iraq in 1941, 180 Jews were murdered and 700 were injured. In the course of violent demonstrations that flared in Egypt in November 1945, 400 Jews were hurt, and much Jewish-owned property was looted and damaged. Rioting in Libya, also in November 1945, was much more costly: 130 Jews were murdered and 266 were injured. The December 1947 riots in Syria left 13 Jews dead (eight of them children ) in Damascus, and 26 wounded. In Aleppo, 150 houses were damaged, five schools and 10 synagogues were torched, and there were dozens of Jewish casualties. At the same time in Aden, Yemen, 97 Jews were murdered and 120 were injured; some Jews who experienced these events deem them "the holocaust of Yemenite Jewry."

These are a few of several dozen anti-Jewish attacks and massacres perpetrated in Arab states during the course of the 20th century. What do most teachers and pupils in Israel know about these events? Nothing.

And things have not gotten better since then. They have only gotten worse. As David Horrowitz aptly reminds us...

The Islamic terrorist organization Hamas makes no secret of this agenda. Its Egyptian founders and Palestinian inspirers were active followers of Adolf Hitler and enthusiasts of the Nazi Holocaust. The founding charter of Hamas, which promises that “Islam will obliterate Israel,” memorializes the Egyptian admirer of Hitler, Hassan al-Banna, as “the martyr…of blessed memory.” The same document contains the genocidal incitement of the Prophet Mohammed to “kill the Jews,” to hunt them down “until they hide behind the rocks and the trees, and the rocks and trees cry out ‘O Muslim, there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him.’”

In 2006, these Islamic Nazis took possession of the Gaza Strip, which is unoccupied except by Hamas and is Jew-less (because the Palestinians would kill any Jews that moved in their state). Hamas has turned Gaza into a terrorist fortress, launching rockets into Israeli schoolyards, hospitals, and townships, and launching them from Palestinian schoolyards, hospitals, and townships to ensure that the maximum number of civilians – both Jews and Muslims – would die for their cause. They will win the Armageddon they are planning, they boast, because “the Jews love life and we love death.”

Why not just give up Jerusalem to the KKK or Charles Manson. If anything it would be safer.

To that end let me conclude with Herbert Zweibon's A History Lesson for Friends in the new Outpost

Do they know that Jordan is an Arab Palestinian state carved out of 82% of the land promised to the Jews for their state in all of Palestine? Are they even aware that Jordan illegally annexed Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) and East Jerusalem after Israel’s war of Independence in 1948, and this was recognized only by two states, Pakistan and England? Any bets?

Have they looked at a map? Do they see Israel’s narrow waist in the old Green Line (to which the peace processors would have her return) and how easily her population centers could be overrun?

Would these legislators dream of giving up strategically valuable portions of our southern states to accommodate enemies whose stated intention was to destroy America? Well, that answers itself.

These are patriots and decent people who have been misled by a biased media and academy and Jewish organizations and yes, the bludgeoned-by-Obama Israeli Prime Minister, all peddling the perverse illusion that this tiny territory would satisfy the blood lust of Israel’s enemies.

It is not only Ahmadinejad that threatens Israel with genocidal jihad. Shmuel Katz put it best: the conflict indeed has a root cause and it is “the determination of the entire Arab nation, under the inspiration of Islam, to rule over the whole area from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean and the southern border of Turkey to the southern border of the Sudan.” The Arabs’ liquidationist designs are rooted in Arab history and woven into the very fabric of the Islamic faith.

And that's all there is to it. Except the ultimate mission goes well beyond that and to the world itself.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

National Survival for America and Israel in the Age of Bureaucracy and Terror

By On October 28, 2010
(The following is based on a talk and Q&A session that I gave this week in Encino, California at the home of Tammy. Thanks to her and to all the guests who helped make this a great event.)

Today we live in the age of terror. And we're reminded of that every time we turn on the news or go through the airport, as I did on the way here. And for millions of Jews and Non-Jews around the world, Israel has come to be seen as the canary in the coal mine, whose status testifies to our status, and whose health testifies to our own.

If Israel, small and isolated, populated by a widely hated and persecuted people, can survive the age of terror, so can America and Europe. If they can make it, so can we.

Israel's placement on the front line of terror has been a double edged sword. On the one hand, as the age of terror has moved across America and Europe, Israeli techniques and technologies, consultants and tactics have shown up here too. From using drones against insurgents to profiling potential terrorists in airports, Israeli techniques have become the gold standard in anti-terrorism.

But on the other hand, Israel has also taken much of the blame for the age of terror. As irrational as that may be. As much as blaming Israel for the spread of Islamic terrorism is as absurd as blaming the lead swimmer caught in the tsunami, for the tsunami itself. People in authority have a habit of shooting messengers who bring bad news. Because it's easier to shoot a messenger, than to cope with his message.

After September 11, the United States was forced to adapt to a different kind of war. A war without conventional armies clashing on the battlefield, deploying tanks, infantry and aircraft to overrun and crush each other. A war in which the terrorists use the freedom and infrastructure of a target country against it. But Israel has been fighting that war for some time already.

Terrorism in Israel originally existed as part of a conventional war fought by Egypt and Syria against Israel. Terrorists crossed the border from Egyptian Gaza before 1967, and murdered Israelis, and then retreated back across the border. Israeli forces sometimes covertly crossed the border and went after them. One such famous mission was led by Ariel Sharon who destroyed an entire village in Egypt that the terrorists were using as a base. This was part of life in a war zone.

Once Israel signed a treaty with Egypt though, terrorism was isolated from conventional warfare. Israel had to learn to focus on fighting terrorists, rather than entire armies.

In 2001, America was also forced to shift to fighting terrorists rather than armies. Weapons systems designed for large scale conventional wars, such as the Crusader Artillery System, had to be scrapped. The role of the special forces went up. Drones were ordered. The game changed. And we still haven't learned how to play it yet.

The problem is that the armed forces of first world countries are not designed for fighting terrorists.

Armies exist to fight other armies. When there is another army to fight, they can perform brilliantly and efficiently. But when there no army... they are out of their element.

The United States and the rest of the coalition neatly destroyed Saddam Hussein's armies twice, yet the actual occupation of Iraq took far longer and cost far more American lives.

When one army fights another, there are laws of war. Soldiers and commanders know what they can and can't do. Mutual agreements protect any prisoners on both sides. But what happens when an army has to fight terrorists. Do they get the benefit of an agreement such as the Geneva Convention that they don't abide by, or is everything on the table. The debate over that has been raging for nine years and it still hasn't been settled. And it won't be any time soon.

It's the Goldilocks problem. Goldilocks had to deal with three bowls. One that was too big. One that was too small. And one that was just right. We have the army, which is too big to deal with terrorists. We have the police, who are too small to deal with terrorists. And we still haven't found the bowl that's just right.

There's a reason for that. Terrorists exploit the weak spots and vulnerabilities in our armor. They know what we can and can't do. Sometimes they underestimate us. But they know the places they can slip through.

Throughout the 20th century, the United States Army has only lost when it had to deal with armed bands and guerrillas, whether it was Pancho Villa or the Viet Cong. Israel used to know how to deal with armed bands and terrorists, but as the generation that had founded the country died, it began to forget. The Israeli army's roots go back to small groups of volunteers, who watched over fruit orchards and waited for bandits to come. Even today many Israeli soldiers come from rural towns and villages, places that the media sometimes calls settlements. But the Israeli worldview has become too urban and detached from the life of the Kibbutz and the settlement.

That sense of being on the frontier, of standing watch at the edge of civilization, of looking beyond the campfires into the darkness and waiting to see what comes from there, not just during a period of army service, but as a way of life, has grown absent.

It's not that we have gotten too big. It's that we think big. We think in terms of gigantic solutions and global problems. Rather than seeing, than looking across the fence of that one fruit orchard at night, and waiting to see if raiders cross that fence.

The idea that we should be thinking of that orchard, rather than the world, seems silly. But America and Israel were both founded by men who saw that orchard, who worked and farmed, and knew that at any moment, they could find themselves under attack.

Why is this so important?

First of all, we are fighting men who live that way. The terrorists we see are mainly middle and upper class and Western educated, but once we set foot in a Muslim country, past that thin wedge of the terrorists who infiltrate our own countries, then we are dealing with raiders and bandits.

Al Queda in Iraq was built out of bandits and smugglers. In Afghanistan, we are fighting tribesmen paid with Iranian money. In other words once we bring out the troops, we find that we're fighting the same kind of enemies that those orchard watchmen who gave birth to the IDF were fighting.

Second of all, it's a matter of scale. The terrorists aren't launching another Pearl Harbor with hundreds of planes in the air. They operate on a small scale. Even 9/11 was carried out by a small group of men using box cutters. Since then terrorists have continued to slip through into the United States in order to stage new attacks. We've stopped most of them. But in many cases, such as the Times Square Bomber, it was because the terrorists were incompetent. Not because our security is tight.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, we're bogged down fighting small unpredictable groups of attackers, who can come and go unexpectedly. In Israel, it's the same thing. A small group affiliated with Hamas or some subgroup of Fatah, can slip across and kill or kidnap Israelis, and then escape back. Unlike America, Israel is still better at tracking down and killing those responsible. But it's not nearly as good as it used to be.

It's a question of scale. When General Wingate was training many of the Israelis who would eventually become the core of the IDF, he taught them to know each square centimeter of the ground, and every village in between. To know everything about the territory they are going to be fighting on. To take the lead and be unpredictable. A great deal of the IDF's success can be credited to that culture in which officers lead and men fight on their own soil. In which the IDF acts confrontationally and unpredictably.

On the other hand when the IDF becomes predictable and entrenched, then it loses. The difference between the two is as great as the difference between the Six Day War, in which Israel struck first and unpredictably, and the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel allowed itself to become entrenched in a defensive position in the Bar Lev Line, in response to a war of attrition. We are seeing the same thing now as Israel takes the defensive position in response to attacks, or takes the bait by responding to a terrorist attack.

Today the IDF is expected to think globally. An exchange of fire with terrorists quickly becomes front page headlines. An Israeli soldier has to think about the media consequences of firing in self-defense. And so he freezes. And the IDF freezes. And we can see the consequences of that attitude over and over again. The flotilla disaster happened because Israel had become predictable and reluctant to use force. And it's a subset of the entire blockade of Gaza, in which Israel waits for Gazan Arabs to come to their senses, while Hamas makes propaganda and terror, and waits for Israel to give in.

That same attitude has come to the United States. American soldiers are dying in Afghanistan because of tight rules of engagement. Rules similar to those that Israeli soldiers operate under. And that's where the scale problem comes in. Armies are naturally big. They act in an organized fashion. They have a large support structure. Terrorists look small, because they stay out of sight, and pose as civilians. When armies feel obligated to play nice so that they don't look like bullies, they become vulnerable and predictable. And they can be defeated.

That is what happened to the United States. It's what happened to Israel.

Third, and most importantly, people will fight for their orchard, more than they will fight for the foreign policy of a government. Human beings are motivated to fight for their homes and families, more than for something abstract. As long as the government represents the orchard and everyone's orchards, then it will have motivated soldiers. When it stops representing that, then the soldiers are now just doing a job. And waiting to go home.

American troops in Afghanistan are fighting for someone else's orchards. The orchards of people who grow opium in them. People who will sometimes invite them in for coffee and sometimes tip off their location to the terrorists. How much motivation can they have fighting to protect someone's else opium harvest. How much motivation can they have fighting to protect people who will betray them in the blink of an eye?

The situation is even worse in Israel. The left wing denounces anyone who fights for land, as worshipping land. Peace Now files petitions to evict the widows of murdered heroes, such as Major Klein, from their homes. But if the soldiers aren't fighting for homes and land, than what are they fighting for? The institutions of the state? The flag? The chain of command?

The terrorists know what they are fighting for. They are fighting to seize the land. All of the land. Palestine, from the river to the sea, is their motto. Meanwhile the Israeli motto has become, creating Palestine, but not all the way from the river to the sea. How motivated will soldiers fighting for such a slogan be?

This is not just the situation in Israel or America. It is the situation throughout the free world. We have lost sight of that orchard. The enemy has not. The terrorists want the orchard. They want all the land around it. They want Israel. They want America. They want Europe. And if things keep going as they are, then they will have them.

And that is the ugly truth. So long as we keep retreating and accommodating, facilitating and appeasing-- then time is on their side.

The battle is easiest for those who know what they want and are prepared to do anything to get it. It is hardest for those who do not know what they want and will only act in self-defense. We thought that our best defense was the disparity in power between ourselves and the enemy, but that disparity is being used by the enemy to their advantage.

We have lost sight of the orchard. And we are paying the price for that.

But all this is only a small part of the picture. Terrorists are not small isolated groups with grievances, they are well funded and armed proxies of enemy countries. These countries use them to make war, without putting their own soldiers in harm's way.

We are not fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan. We are fighting Iran in Afghanistan. We are fighting Iranian money and Iranian bombs. But we are not killing Iranians, because they never have to point a gun at an American soldier to kill an American soldier. All they have to do is provide the weapons and the money.

In the same way, Israel is fighting Iran and Saudi Arabia. And Europe is fighting Saudi Arabia at home. And America is fighting Pakistan and Saudi Arabia at home too.

Terrorism is not about a solution. It's about terrorist groups being used to sow chaos, fear and doubt. It's about using those groups to destroy their enemies economically and politically, bankrupting them, breaking their morale and isolating them internationally. That is what is being done to Israel. It is what is being done to America.

Every boycott, every protest and every ugly word of hate directed at Israel, will eventually be directed at America. It will be directed at every European country and at every European who stands up to terrorism. This is not an accident, it is a deliberate campaign.

Why did Guantanamo Bay become synonymous with evil? It became synonymous with evil because the Kuwaiti government hired a top American law firm to sell the idea that detaining terrorists there was horrible and cruel. They put up a website, developed media contacts and told the terrorist's stories. They sold the narrative, sold out their country and they got paid.

But that is only one example. Well-funded campaigns are being waged against America and Israel from all directions. Their goal is not just to prevent those countries from defending themselves, but to break them down, destroy their sense of rightness and isolate them.

It's easy to get lost in that narrative. To see only a few men in masks firing machine guns or throwing grenades. But they are only the tip of a spear that is being held hundreds and thousands of miles away.

The narrative exploits one of our greatest weaknesses. We want to be liked. We want to be well thought of. We want applause. We want to be loved.

Our enemies don't want to loved, they want to be feared. Because they know that in international affairs, only those who are feared, are loved.

Since 9/11, Islam has become surprisingly popular in America. The number of Americans converting to Islam has dramatically increased. The government is constantly worried about the threat of Islamophobia. NASA has jettisoned the space shuttle. Its new purpose is to make Muslims feel good about themselves. Is all this because America now loves Muslims, or because it fears them?

Is it really violence against Muslims that the authorities are worried about, or violence by Muslims?

When Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer justified a ban on burning the Koran by suggesting that it could incite violence, whose violence was he really worried about? That of the Koran burners or the same Muslims who had terrorized a cartoonist who proposed Draw Mohammed Day?

In Israel, a woman was sentenced to jail for drawing a cartoon of Mohammed as a pig. But cartoonists who draw Jews as pigs don't go to jail. Because even in Israel, there is fear over what the Muslims will think, but no fear over what the Jews will think.

Countries generally do not love each other. But they certainly do appease each other. And the free world is appeasing the Muslim world like mad. Is it doing so out of love, or out of fear? Or out of a poisonous blend of something in between?

This is about more than whether we still have free speech when it comes to the Koran, or whether there will be a mosque near Ground Zero. It is about what unites and divides us in the Age of Terror.

The Muslim world is united by a sense of manifest destiny, by a vision of Islam spreading across the world and ruling over it through Islamic law. They may and do differ on the details. Whether it will be Sunnis or Shiites, doctrine and interpretation, primacy and tactics. But they agree on the end result.

We have no such sense of destiny. We did once, but we no longer do. Once we regarded our nations as gifts from a merciful G-d, today we regard them as the products of colonization and conquest. We tear down the myths and write hostile and hateful history books. It is no wonder that we have lost not only that sense of destiny, but even the sense of justification for our presence here. We have lost that pride in a destiny realized, and in its place has come a creeping sense of guilt. Why are we here? Why do we have land and money? Why are we safe and secure? Why do we have clean drinking water?

You can see that guilt embodied in commercials and editorials. Millions of people being taught to say, "We are not worthy." And if we are not worthy, then our enemies must be. The worse they treat us, the worse we must be. If they kill us, then we must be even worse murderers. If they blow themselves up, then clearly we have made them feel so awful, that they have no choice but to kill both themselves and us at the same time.

We have become self-absorbed. Unable to see past ourselves. We think that it is all about us. We ignore the motives and beliefs of the terrorists themselves. Instead we assume that everything they do is only because of us.

Liberalism fosters this manner of grandiosity, the belief that a man is homeless because I earn a paycheck, that children in Africa don't have enough to eat because I stole all their food, that terrorists want to kill me because I have oppressed them. All this is unforgivably arrogant. It treats us as the center of the universe, around which everyone and everything revolves.

And so we ignore Islam, as a religion that has been doing this sort of thing for over a thousand years. Instead we point to our foreign policy. We point to Israel. As if Muslim violence was born 60 years ago, when it wasn't even born 600 years ago.

We take the blame for everything. And that allows us to feel good about our sense of responsibility. While they practice the martyrdom of murder. We practice the martyrdom of taking responsibility for their murders. The relationship is similar to that of the abusive husband, who feels upset because he has to beat his wife all the time, and the wife who feels upset because she thinks she can't get anything right, and that causes her husband to beat her. That sort of thinking is sick and it is victim thinking. But this kind of thinking has become commonplace in the free world.

Once again, does the free world really love Muslims or does it love them because it fears them, like the battered wife, or the victim of Stockholm Syndrome who feels empowered by siding with the hostage takers, so that she can pretend she isn't really a hostage anymore.

Muslims do not feel a need to be loved, respected and feared yes, but loved no. But we do. We want them to love America. To love Israel. To join hands and sing about how much we all have in common. And even though we know that is never going to happen, we want it anyway.

Why do we need to be loved? Because as countries we do not love ourselves anymore. America used to love itself. Israel used to love itself. The nations of Europe used to love themselves. Today they go around looking for someone else to love them. And if they find themselves in an abusive international relationship instead, then they are sure that they deserve it, because they are no good anyway.

And when terrorists kill us, we are afraid to fight back, because we might look like bullies. And then we wouldn't be lovable anymore. Sometimes when the offense is terrible enough, when the streets are covered in the blood of our dead, then we get angry. Really angry. We get so angry that we strike back and lash out. But our enemies know that with enough law firms and PR firms in their corner, we will go back to blaming ourselves. Because retaliation alone is not enough. Fighting back out of pain is not enough. That is how a cornered animal acts. That is how an abuse victim who has taken too much acts. But it's not long term. And that rush of moral adrenaline can't be sustained.

That's what happened in America after 9/11 and in Israel after the Passover Bombing. Some wonder if a big enough terrorist attack happens, if an entire city vanishes in atomic fire, whether we will wake up. The sad answer is that we will wake up, we will fight back, but unless we change the way the free world thinks, we will go back to sleep again.

We need to do more than lash out because we have been hurt. We need to regain that sense of destiny. That knowledge of exceptionalism, which says that, in Reagan's words, G-d is not indifferent to America, or to Israel or to any country we live in. We need to believe that we have a right to exist and a duty to exist. Without that, we will always wind up in the path of creeds and nations who believe in their own sense of manifest destiny. That happened with Nazism and Communism. It is happening again with Islam now.

The world is not a place of peace. There is a constant struggle between different cultures, religions and ideologies. When the Soviet Union fell, a power vacuum opened up. Islam stepped into that vacuum. If we defeat the Islamists, something or someone else will come along to take their place. There is no avoiding that. And there is no surviving that, unless we learn to believe in ourselves again. Not just in institutions, but in the land, the people and the culture.

A strong foe believes that they have something special to offer to the world. Our own academics and popular entertainment say that we have nothing to offer to the world. It says that we are the problem. That is the case all across the free world. And if we believe that we are the problem, how are we ever going to stand up to people who claim to be the solution?

During World War 2, Germans and Russians both believed that they had a special destiny to save the world. Back then we believed that we had a special destiny too. That was then. This is now.

Today Muslims claim to be the solution, and those who claim that America, Israel and Europe are the problem, are tripping over their own feet to roll over and roll out the red carpet for them.

And how can it be otherwise? If you think that you represent a worthless country, a worthless culture and a worthless people-- then why would you not surrender to Islam?

To stand up for something, you must believe in its worth. To stand up to something, you must believe that it is less worthy. If you don't believe that, then it is easier to sit down, to give in and let them do whatever they want.

And what happens to the rest of the world? The United States is selling out Israel for Saudi oil. The UK shipped the Lockerbie bomber home in exchange for Libyan oil. And that's not surprising. Anyone who will sell out their own country, will even more eagerly sell out their allies. And this makes it all too easy for the Muslim world to play divide and conquer, to promise, for example, that terrorism will end when Israel does.

When you throw history and culture overboard, you are left with no unifying bonds between nations. Nations that once shared a common history and culture. And then self-interest rules. The old game of feed your allies to the crocodile, so that you're the one last one it eats. Divide and conquer. We betray each other, and then one by one we fall.

The political leadership of the free world believes in a world without nations. And if we are all meant to live in a global community without borders or nations anyway, then why quibble over whether a Czechoslovakia or an Israel survive. Those are minor points. Irrelevant in the bigger picture of the EU and the UN. What matters are not nations, but institutions. And so the nations fall apart, the institutions degenerate into tyranny, and those who do believe in something other than an undifferentiated world overseen by bureaucrats... take over.

And that brings us back to the orchard. It's the orchard that people go out and fight for. Not for institutions. When a country represents that orchard, then people will willingly fight and die for it. When it only represents a bureaucracy, then they will not.

The orchard is ownership. It says this land is my land. It says that if you will it, it is no dream. It gives each and every person a stake in the country, rather than a chance to be managed by a vast bureaucracy, told what to eat and how much of it. The orchard is America. The orchard is Israel. As they should be. But increasingly not as they are.

All nations and creeds can in the end be reduced to a plot of land, a space that people can call their own. That sense of ownership is the orchard. America and Israel were both created by men and women, who left where they were in order to be free, to find their orchard, cultivate it and watch over it. And that orchard grew. It drew millions who wanted a space of their own, an orchard of their own. Take away that orchard and what is left cannot stand on its own.

I began by speaking about the threat of terrorism to Israel and America. For many though, the Iranian nuclear threat overshadows that of terrorism. And it is a serious threat, but also an inescapable one.

Israel can take out Iran's nuclear program if it makes the decision to. But that is only a matter of delaying the inevitable. It is possible to destroy Iran's nuclear program. But sooner or later, all those Muslim countries that want nuclear weapons, will have them.

We might have been able to break the chain of proliferation, but when the Clinton Administration failed to halt North Korea's nuclear program, resorting instead to appeasement and bribery, the writing was on the wall. North Korean nuclear technicians have shown up in Syria. Libya abandoned its nuclear program, or supposedly abandoned it, only because Khaddafi was briefly afraid of America. Egypt and Saudi Arabia, among others are already pursuing their own nuclear programs. In other words, even by the most conservative estimates, it's inevitable that much of the Muslim Middle East will have nuclear capability within a generation. Probably less.

There is a great deal of focus now on not allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons. As a result we're going through the same circus that we did in the 90's with North Korea. Despite all the aid and proposals and a signed basketball presented to Kim Jong Il, none of it worked. Diplomacy will not stop Iran from getting the bomb. A massive series of strikes might, but only temporarily. As long as Iran wants nuclear weapons and as long as there are countries willing to help them build a nuclear program, then they will have them sooner or later.

There's nothing wrong with making that later, rather than sooner. Later is a wise policy, particularly since Iran's nuclear program, has triggered an arms race among Sunni countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who are advancing their own nuclear programs. But later is not never. And it's very important to understand that.

Only one thing will prevent a nuclear weapon from being used on Tel Aviv or Haifa. And it's not diplomacy or viruses released into nuclear facilities. Those too delay the inevitable. The one thing that will stop it, is the same thing that stopped nuclear weapons from being used on New York, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Deterrence. Mutually Assured Destruction.

The only way to check the threat of force by an opponent with no regard for your life, is by demonstrating equal or superior force. When it comes to nuclear weapons, that means an awareness that any nuclear attack will be met by nuclear attack.

Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD was denounced during the Cold War, but it may have well saved a billion lives. The motto of the Strategic Air Command was Peace is our Profession. And their profession did indeed insure peace. World War 3 was averted not because of peace rallies or people of goodwill meeting around tables and shaking hands, but because the Strategic Air Command was ready and able to put an end to the USSR in retaliation for any attack.

Let us turn back to Israel now. Why did the Camp David Accords really happen? Because Israelis and Egyptians reached out and took a courageous step for peace, as popular history would have it? The Camp David Accords happened because the Yom Kippur War demonstrated the futility of further egyptian attacks on Israel. That demonstration carried with it a heartbreaking cost, but it is what brought peace. Sadat was not a better man than Nasser, but unlike Nasser he was able to see a dead end when it was staring him in the face. And that dead end was the Israeli army.

If Israel is to prevent a nuclear attack, then it will only be able to do so by demonstrating that a nuclear attack will be suicide for the attacker. That doesn't just mean revealing its own nuclear capabilities. Capabilities are meaningless without the will to use them. Capability alone is not deterrence. Only capability and determination together equal deterrence.

For 17 years, Israel has negotiated with terrorists, appeased them and allowed them to operate inside its borders and kill its citizens. If Israel cannot even credibly deter Hamas, how much credibility does its deterrence have toward Hamas' Iranian masters? The answer is very little.

Slightly more than Mutually Assured Destruction does for the United States under Obama.

To protect itself from nuclear attack, Israel must reestablish its determination. Bombing Iran might help, but cleaning house and clearing out terrorist groups at home, would help far more. Right now Israel has demonstrated that it can be led around the nose by international opinion. And if it is afraid to kill terrorists inside its own borders, that gives Muslim countries reason to believe that it has become a paper tiger. If IDF soldiers are afraid to pull the trigger when under fire by terrorists only a few miles from Jerusalem, will Iran believe that Israel will push the button to launch nuclear missiles?

Even if Iran never launches a single nuclear missile at Tel Aviv, the chain of proliferation will not end there. Iran has become the world's most enthusiastic sponsor of terrorists, from Israel to Lebanon to Afghanistan.

Israel needs to demonstrate more than that it will respond to a nuclear missile with a nuclear missile, it needs to demonstrate that it will respond to a nuclear attack with a widescale nuclear response. It needs to create an environment in which Iran will not turn over nuclear materials to terrorist groups. These terrorist groups could then detonate suitcase nukes inside Israel. A scenario which would allow Iran to claim plausible deniability.

If Iran and the rest of the Muslim world are not made actively afraid of doing something like that, then Israel is doomed. And the clock is ticking. Israel has to reclaim its deterrence, or the clock will reach zero, and it will be all over. If Israel acts with its hands tied behind its back, then it shows that it is vulnerable, that it can be manipulated and destroyed through that vulnerability. If Israel allows its hands to be tied when it's only a family being murdered here or there, then its enemies will assume that it will act the same way when the lives of all its families are on the line.

That is the challenge which Israel has to overcome to truly avert a nuclear attack. That is what it has to do to protect the orchard. To protect the orchard, you have to claim the orchard and then demonstrate that you will shoot to defend your claim. Otherwise you'll be run off the land by anyone who has a gun and is willing to shoot in order to take it from you.

It's the same challenge that America has to overcome. 9/11 happened because we gave Muslim terrorists the impression that their terrorist attacks against us would be tolerated. That you could bomb US embassies in Africa or US ships in Yemen, and that we would just sit back and take it. That you could bomb the World Trade Center, and we would write some news stories about it, and then go on about our business. We made ourselves a target, because we didn't stand up for ourselves.

The left likes to say that we act like bullies. On the contrary, we attract bullies. We attract bullies by letting ourselves be bullied.

We let terrorist attack after terrorist attack happen, and we didn't do much about it. Then we wondered how could 9/11 happen? It happened because we treated those terrorist attacks like a criminal problem, no different than any other. Buildings were blown up, bombs were planted and an American vessel bombed. And the United States Government went on with business as usual. Until 9/11 when business as usual was suspended.

Had we demonstrated from the first that we would respond ruthlessly to any attack, the probability of 9/11 would have been significantly decreased. It might have happened anyway, but the odds against the Taliban or Bin Laden's backers in the Gulf funding or tolerating such an action would have been far less. And had we hit him hard from the first, Al Queda's network would be a mess, the way it is today, and much less capable of launching an organized attack.

The situation is not so different in Europe, where appeasement leads to greater aggression and uglier demands. This is how the game is played. If you tolerate intimidation, the intimidation increases. If you respond to violent threats over a cartoon with appeasement, the threats will be acted on. The more you retreat, the more they advance. You cannot be polite in the face of terror, unless you want to be terrorized. You cannot compromise with violent threats, unless you want to turn over power to those who are making them. And then violent threats, not the ballot box or the rule of law, become the new form of power.

I said before that you can only check the use of force through superior or equal force. But whether you need to use that force and how much of it you need to use, depends on timing. If you check the use of force early, then you can do it with minimal harm. Mutually Assured Destruction is one example. On the other hand if you allow yourself to be slapped around, then the amount of force you will need to use goes up by a whole lot.

England found that out the hard way during World War 2. Hitler tentatively sent German troops into the Rhineland. ready to retreat if France took a stand. France did not take a stand. By the time it took a stand, German troops were in Poland. Soon afterward they were in France. And so it goes. If you won't take a stand when it's easy, you'll have to do it when it's hard. If you won't rattle sabers when the enemy is still afraid of you, you'll have to use them when they're not afraid of you anymore.

Of course that's not easy to do. It's much easier to compromise. To give away Czechoslovakia and Israel. To pretend that if you get rid of the victims, you'll also eliminate the motive for the violence against them.

Bill Clinton visited Egypt and announced that terrorism all over the world will go away, if Israel makes enough concessions to create a Palestinian state. Let's put aside the fact that it would be easier to create a Palestinian state made of cards, than an actual working one. Let's put aside the fact that half the proposed state is run by Hamas which refuses to sign any permanent peace accords, and which actually won the election. Let's also ignore the fact that Israel is negotiating with terrorists who are continuing to kill Israelis, have already said that they will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and refuse to hold elections, because they know they'll lose.

Let's ignore all that, and instead point out the absurdity of believing that Islamic violence will go away, if some sort of deal is struck.

First of all, any such deal would not be recognized by Hamas and numerous other terrorist groups backed by Iran. It would certainly not be recognized by Al Queda. In short it would never be recognized by the actual active terrorist groups who are carrying out the attacks. Those groups would call the deal a sellout and a betrayal, and carry out another round of terrorist attacks. This has already happened before. Indeed Hamas ramped up its terrorist attacks in time for the latest negotiations.

So why would a final status agreement change anything? The Palestinian Authority has its own flag and observer status at the UN. If they get full membership at the UN, will Hamas and Al Queda decide to call it a day? It's utter nonsense.

Israeli attempts to negotiate with terrorists have caused far more terrorism, than anything else. Fatah and Hamas killed more Israelis competing to prove who was more dedicated to terrorism, than they did before the Oslo Accords.

And there's plenty of precedent for that. The Camp David Accords helped cause Sadat's death. In the days of the Mandate, Arab leaders who were willing to come to terms with the Jews, were routinely assassinated.

So not only would a Final Status Agreement not end terrorism around the world, it wouldn't even end terrorism in Israel.

Secondly, Clinton is pretending that Islamic terrorism worldwide is caused by Israel. This is an obscene lie. Are Buddhist teachers being beheaded in Thailand because of Israel? Are there bombings in Kashmir because of Israel? Did 9/11 happen because of Israel? Did 7/7? What about Somalia or the Al Queda presence in Yemen? Do any of those have anything to do with Israel.

To answer this, all we need to do is look at the motivations of Islamic terrorists. That motivation is to impose Islamic rule and Islamic law. That is the reason for the terrorism against Israel, India, America and Thailand and everywhere else.

If you believe that the only moral government is a Communist government, then you will naturally work to impose Communist governments on the rest of the world. If you believe that Islamic law is the only moral law in the world, then you will impose Islamic law on the rest of the world. Particularly on countries with Muslim majorities or sizable minorities. That is what is at work here.

But that is a scary idea, because it requires admitting that we are under siege, not just by a few acts of terrorism, but by a war of ideas. That this is not just about foreign policy differences, but by huge numbers of people around the world and in our own countries who sincerely believe that there is only one right way to live, and that they have the right to impose that way on others by any means necessary.

It's easier to reduce the problem, to say that it's not about Islam, but about us. It's not about Islam, it's about Israel. It's not about Islam, it's about Islamophobia. But those are all coping mechanisms for people who want to deny the truth.

If you're a politician, you naturally want to minimize and manage the problem. If the problem is Islam, then you have a huge unmanageable problem. On the other hand if the problem is Israel, then all you need to do is pull the foreign aid strings, send a few diplomats, have a few angry phone conversations and browbeat those damn Jews into giving those crazy Muslims whatever they want, so the violence stops.

If the problem is Islam, then what do you do? But if the problem is us, then we can change. We'll tour some mosques, talk about how much all the major religions have in common and praise the Koran. We'll also promise to crack down on anyone who offends Muslims. And boycott Israel. There, problem solved.

And so our leaders pretend that the problem is manageable, by making it into something that we can control. By promising that if we just make Israel give up some land and create a Palestinian state, terrorism all over the world will magically vanish down the drain. The terrorists will throw away their weapons into the sea and open up organic bakeries. And everyone will be happy again.

It's easier to think that way. It's certainly a lot more cheerful and a lot less depressing. At least until the truth becomes impossible to deny.

But the victim of this behavior isn't just Israel. Like the canary in the coal mine, Israel is only the first victim. But certainly not the last.

When you ignore the real problem, it doesn't go away. It gets worse. If you agree to play divide and conquer, then not only will there be fewer allies to stand with you when the day comes, but you will have become an accomplice to the worst crimes of your enemies.

In Bethlehem the graffiti already reads, "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people." In the West it could easily be rephrased as, "First they came for the Saturday people and we said nothing. Then they came for the Sunday people, and who was left to speak up for them?"

The answer is no one. No one will be left.

It is easier to look away. It is easier to say nothing. Even easier still, to join with the attackers. To wave the Palestinian flag and scream, Boycott Israel. End the War. Open Immigration. It is always easier to join the mob, than run from their stones. Always easier to try and be the hammer, rather than the anvil. And if not, then at least to stand on the sidelines.

And if you're hit, then you take it. You absorb it. Because if you fight back, then you're only feeding the cycle of violence.

Obama has said that America can absorb another 9/11. It can. Just as most people can absorb numerous beatings. If the beatings are far enough apart, then you can heal from them and recover in time for the next beating.

As the canary in the coal mine, Israel shows what happens when you absorb beatings. Israel has been absorbing beatings for a long time now. Once it was famous for hitting back, and hitting harder than it was hit. But for the last 17 years of the peace process, Israel has been absorbing the beatings. Or rather its citizens have been absorbing them. Not just soldiers on patrol, but couples sitting down for a meal in a cafe, families driving home from Jerusalem, children sitting in school and waiting for the siren to go off.

What absorbing terrorist attacks does is it allows the terrorists to set the terms of the battle. Then it allows the mediators to discuss the terms of the peace. And since the terrorists have already set the terms of the battle, they go on to set the terms of the peace.

Once you negotiate with terrorists, then you reward terrorism. And when you do, there is no end to it.

Absorbing terrorism is not the same as defeating terrorism. Absorbing terrorism changes you. In Israel, living with terrorism has dramatically changed the country and its people. Parents give children cellphones so they can check in after the next suicide bombing. Families who travel in dangerous areas split up into different cars so if there is a drive by attack, the entire family won't be wiped out. And there will be someone left to care for the children.

We have seen the first beginnings of that here already. We see it when we are told to throw out liquids and walk through scanners. We're told to get used to a lack of privacy and autonomy. To have an escape plan in the event of a terrorist attack. As terrorism continues to be a threat, we will also change. Just as Israel changed. We will come to terms with a life in which we, or any member of our families, could be killed at any moment by terrorists. And that will change us. It will change who we are. It will change how we approach life.

That is what absorbing terrorism does to you. And why are we absorbing terrorism, in order to avert a full scale war. To avoid, what the media charges, was an overreaction to the attacks of September 11. We absorb terrorism, for the same reason that Israel does, in the name of peace.

Peace is indeed a beautiful thing. The Sages of Judaism teach that when G-d wished to bless Israel, he found no better vessel for blessing, than the blessing of peace. That is why the blessing of the priests in the Temple of Jerusalem was the blessing of peace. But while you can be blessed with peace, you cannot buy peace. You certainly cannot buy it from those who claim that there will no peace unless you pay them for it first. Peace that has to be paid for is never worth the price. It is surrender by another name, without the dignity of fighting a war first.

Peace is priceless unless you pay for it, and then there is a price, and that price is everything you have.

The free world has been trying to buy peace for a long time now. It tried to buy peace from Hitler. Now it is trying to buy peace from Islam. Those who once said, "We created Czechoslovakia in 1918, so why not give it to Hitler in order to bring peace", now say, "We created Israel in 1948, why not give some or all of it to the Muslims in order to bring peace." A little compromise here. A little compromise there. And soon there will be peace. The peace of the slave and the silence of the grave.

During the second World War, the song on the lips of every British sailor was, "There'll Always Be an England". But now many are asking, whether there will indeed always be an England. And the answer is often skeptical.

The second to last paragraph of Israel's Declaration of Independence concludes with the words, LeGeulat Yisrael, proclaiming that the founding of the modern State of Israel represents the realization of the age-old dream - the redemption of Israel. But has Israel really been redeemed at last? Or is it only another exile. Have the Jews come home, or are they still strangers in someone else's land.

Questions like these are being asked by the concerned citizens of every nation, about their own nations, their own covenants and their own laws. Europe is in the thick of that fight, as it drifts toward the dark shores of Eurabia. The EU celebrated the breakdown of nation states, but now Europe needs those nation states more than ever. But instead of nations, it has bureaucracies that cheer on not merely the end of nation states, but the end of Europe itself.

The orchards are burning now. Others have grown wild and tangled. The rest are touched by the winter frost.

Today East Jerusalem is on the table. Before the 1967 war liberated Jerusalem, Jordanian snipers from illegally annexed East Jerusalem used nearby Jewish buildings for target practice. Residents had to keep their curtains closed and the lights dim in rooms with a view of East Jerusalem, because if they didn't, they might be killed in their own living rooms.

Only when Israel liberated East Jerusalem, only then could the shades be pulled back and the lights be lit brightly again. But with missiles raining down today, if East Jerusalem is turned over to the terrorists, then those shades will have to be drawn shut again, and the light will die out.

That light will die out not only in Jerusalem, but all around the world. Everywhere that terrorists are and everywhere that they dream of being. Everywhere. If we don't keep the light lit, then the darkness will grow and the light will be lost.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When Jewish Windows Break

By On October 26, 2010
Several years ago a small group of notable British Jews, such as Anglican Atheist comedian Stephen Fry, Quaker writer Stevie Krayer and Claire Rayner, who once visited Israel and said she didn't like it because the people were rude to her which probably justified all those suicide bombings, put out a statement announcing that they were refusing to celebrate Israel's Independence Day. Rather they said, "We will celebrate when Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East."

That the likes of Ivor Dembina or Selma James refuse to celebrate Israel's Independence Day is about as newsworthy as the revelation that David Duke will not be attending a Black Power rally. Considering that there is a neck and neck race between the far left and the far right over who hates Israel more and is readiest to blame any and all world events on a vast Jewish conspiracy, no one expects Mike Marqusee to wave the blue and white, anymore than we expect to find an undiscovered poem by T.S. Eliot in which he describes how much he enjoyed celebrating Chanukah.

What is interesting however, is that the likes of Harold Pinter make their ultimatum conditional on achieving a state of affairs that has never existed in the history of the Middle East for thousands of years.

If we take their demand, that "Arab and Jew live as equals in a peaceful Middle East" literally, then Israel can never have legitimacy until Saudi Arabia opens up Mecca to the Jews it slaughtered and expelled from there. Only when Yemen and Syria extend equality to Jews, and everyone tosses away their weapons, instead settling their disputes with nice and orderly chess matches or humus cooking contests, then Hilda Meers or Arthur Neslen of Al Jazeera, with his countless peace proposals that involve legitimizing Hamas, will stop by for a fireworks display and shed a tear for the dead.

Since then Harold Pinter has since gone to the great wastepaper basket in the sky, but the small petty malice of notable British Anglicans, Marxists and Quakers, who all turn out to be Jewish when there's a petition slamming Israel to be signed, a boycott to be arranged, or a flotilla carrying vital supplies of aging anti-war activists to Hamas to be sailed, goes on.

Israel stole the land, they declare. Whose land did they steal? The land of the people who stole it from them. This reduces Arab grievances to a farce in which an angry burglar phones the police to report that the owner of the looted property he stole had broken into his house and took it back. (The only possible reply is that time legitimizes theft, in which case the only difference between a racist occupying colonialist entity and a native inhabitant is a few generations.) Common sense renders such outrage ridiculous, but to the moralizer, the man who takes back what is his, is just as bad as the man who took it from him. Even worse. To the moralizer, the original thief was deprived, while the homeowner is depraved. The thief only took what he needed, but the homeowner is the oppressor who took away a deprived man's necessities, he should have just kept his mouth shut.

For over a thousand years, Jews in the Middle East were deprived of their land, their property and their lives. They were legal and social inferiors of the colonizers who had occupied their country. From the Arab mercenaries who fought for Rome, to the Bedouin bandits who raided the outposts of a decrepit Byzantium, to the Caliphs dreaming of glory and gold, they had lived under an occupation that makes the wailing of the Nakba into something laughable. And the moment they managed to gain their independence, they went from deprived to depraved. In an unprecedented turn of events, they became the occupiers of their own country. The settlers of towns and villages built over the ruins and remains of the old towns and villages where they had lived.

Suddenly the nation that had gained its freedom against the will and armed force of its British colonial occupiers, was deemed the colonizer and occupier. The state that curiously extended political and religious freedoms to minorities, in a region where such minorities are usually stamped out or herded into ghettos, became a racist entity. And one of the world's oldest peoples were denounced as foreign interlopers, on behalf of a mythical Palestinian nation that had never existed at any point in history, as anything but a Greco-Roman designation for a portion of the territory on their maps.

And who are these racist Israeli Zionists anyway? Is it the Israeli Druze, Circassian or the Samaritan? The Israeli Armenian or the Israeli Arab? Of course not, it is the Jew. Of course it always the Jew. Was it the Jews who had lived there since the last massacre that wiped out their kind? Is it the Moroccan, Ethiopian and Yemenite Jews who fled oppression and tyranny to find refuge in a land where they were not required to bow to Muslim Arabs and accept them as their superiors? Was it the European Jews who fled the Holocaust to return to the land from which Arab mercenaries had expelled them to Rome, and were forced to fight the armies of General Sir John Bagot Glubb?

They, the occupiers of their occupiers. The colonialists of their colonizers. The slaves who had become masters of their masters, yet treated them with far more decency than they themselves had been treated. A crime which can never be settled, until the balance is restored, and the slaves again become slaves, and Arab and Jew are once again equal. As they are today in Saudi Arabia. Then finally Harold Pinter and the rest of the heavenly choir of West End immortals will wave the white and the blue. Because there will be peace. The peace of the slave. The peace of the dead. The butcher's bill served to Israel for daring to be free.

The Jews have been served with such bills before. After Kristallnacht, when the Nazi thugs had gotten through looting and smashing Jewish shops and synagogues throughout Germany, the Nazi regime presented the Jews with a bill of 1 billion Reich marks. For the damage that the Jews themselves had suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Today when there is broken glass and charred walls to be found in Sderot or in a family car overturned on the road to Hebron, it is still the Jews who must pay for it in the form of territorial concessions. Some 72 years later, when Jewish windows are smashed, it is still the Jews who must pay.

But this is not about the facts. Facts are cold, dead things that stir no souls. It is emotions that do this. Hate is one of the strongest of these.

I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the "fun".

So wrote the Daily Telegraph of Kristallnacht. There are occasionally similar articles in the Daily Telegraph today, but the paper and its articles are denounced those same "otherwise decent people" who don't want their fun of breaking Jewish windows spoiled. Because once you look past the veneer of respectability, they aren't decent people at all. They never were. And once the windows start breaking, once they are given permission to clap and join in the fun, then the masks begin to come off. All it takes is an excuse. A whistle that starts it all.

Excuses are often rational facades for irrational emotions. But where reasoned principles are absolute, emotional principles are selective. And that selectivity is rationally unjustifiable. When it is challenged on rational grounds, it replies on emotional ones. Ask about the Kurds of Turkey, the Copts of Egypt or the countless other minorities in the region deprived of civil rights on an elementary level that is unimaginable in Israel, and you will get photos of smiling or mutilated children in Gaza thrust at you. Because there is nothing like using children as a primal emotional lever to bypass the minor question of principles.

Goebbels formulated the question neatly enough. It was not about whether Jews had rights, but whether good Germans were willing to stop Jews from preying on the children of Germany. Substitute in the children of Palestine and the same question is being asked of Europeans by smiling decent people who can't wait for a chance to clap their hands and join in the fun. The boycotts are already here. There are Jewish cosmetics and Jewish vegetables to ban and burn. Next it will be Jewish books. Some British authors have already declared that they refuse to be translated into Hebrew. Damaging stores or factories has already been deemed legal by courts, so long as the target is one particular Hebrew speaking country. For the children of Gaza of course, never for the pleasure of clapping their hands while stones fly through windows. Never that.

The only difference, is that the far left has always understood that the people who are most enthusiastic about leading assaults on Jews, are other Jews. In the Soviet Union, Jewish Communists were given the chance to purge Jewish religion, culture and Zionist-- before being put up against a wall themselves and shot. Being a minority does interesting things to the psyche of a nation. Some are ennobled by it and learn to stand tall. Others grow misshapen, with poison lurking in their hearts and a snarl forever creeping up into their teeth. Yet slavery was no less racist, despite the complicity of Africans in it. Nor was the Holocaust any less racist, though there were Jewish Kapos and Jews who had secretly managed to insert themselves into the machinery of the Third Reich, including one George Soros. The "hatred and hysteria" that is directed at Jews and their land today is no less racist, no matter if the oppressors line their ranks with select members of the oppressed.

There will of course be no new dawn of peace and equality through the Middle East. The best testament to that can be found in the status of minorities through the Middle East and the Muslim world. When even the most moderate Arab Muslim countries cannot respect the rights of Arab Christians, let alone the rights of Zoroastrians or Kurds, when even among Muslims, Shiite and Sunni bar their teeth at each other, there will naturally be no peace. There may be the occasional treaty or handshake, but these are things that governments do to and with each other. It has to do with the basic attitudes of the man on the street, his culture and religion. His need to believe that however few rights he has, his way of life is still best.

And the best testament to Israel's own status is this. After its founding, the vast majority of Jews in the Muslim world fled there. Today there are millions of Jews in Israel. And millions of Arabs. Because the Arabs for the most part stayed in a Jewish country, despite plenty of Arab countries they could have fled to. While the Jews fled the Arab Muslim lands as soon there was another option. Today Sudanese refugees from genocide in a Muslim war, cross through Egypt to get to Israel. It is almost as if Israel is actually not the worst place in the Middle East. Almost.

But it is not about the facts. Hate is not factual, it is an emotion. It is not a creature of reason that strides out of the gray matter with a top hat and a cane, but a creature of nightmare and id, a lurking thing that slithers out of the dark side of the human mind. One can psychoanalyze hatred and read psychoanalytic texts to it night. One can try to soothe or shame it, but it will always rise up again. In "otherwise decent people" who cheer and clap when windows are broken, it tugs always toward the id. The madness of the mob. The scent of violence let loose upon the air. Then the chant was Heil Hitler. Today it is Allah Akbar. The details do not matter much. Words fall away when the drumbeat begins. When the mob stirs. When the windows break.


Blog Archive