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Dollars & Crosses 2

Individual Rights and the Tea Party Movement

On Friday, September 11, 2009 the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights and the Competitive Enterprise Institute held a briefing at the National Press Club for Tea Party Organizers. Perhaps 300 people listened to four talks on the historical, economic, and moral bases of the tea party protests.

My own talk–15 minutes plus Q&A–focused on the need for a moral principle to integrate tea party activities: the principle of Individual Rights. This is America’s Founding Principle–the idea that guided the American Founders, more than any other, to establish this nation, and to create its limited government. About two dozen crowded around me afterwards, wanting more information and asking questions about the meaning of rights.

Here is an audio of the talk:     Press Club 9-11-2009 Rights

The audience response confirms one of my key selling points: when speaking about rights, don’t water down the principle. Speak in clear, unambiguous terms about each person’s right to his own life and liberty, and his right to pursue his own happiness. People today are surrounded with mealy-mouthed slogans, with arguments based on costs, and with claims that success can come only through compromise. People are hungry for a clear statement of a moral principle–because they need guidance on how to understand the many issues with which they are confronted every day.

Don’t argue about incremental steps toward statism–about a 7.5% versus 8% sales tax, about health care co-ops versus a government option, about a carbon tax imposed by legislation versus EPA diktat–for each of these is the same thing in principle. Don’t allow a tea party to be reduced to a series of disconnected issues, approached willy-nilly and without a guiding thought. A tea party without individual rights is not for anything, and cannot have any lasting influence.

The next day, September 12, I had the distinct pleasure of standing near the speakers’ platform at the foot of the capitol steps. I saw a sea of individuals that reached from behind my left shoulder, across my entire field of view, to over my right shoulder–and stretched from the steps of the capitol to beyond the Washington monument. I cannot offer an accurate count of people–where are the overhead images?–but it must have been close to a half a million or more. The signs I saw were almost all hand-written; very few were manufactured, and many decried socialism. I met people who had driven from Detroit, and had come from Nebraska, California, New Mexico and Georgia.

The speakers did not, by and large, offer much intellectual content. This was a rally, and given that most speakers were given only 3 minutes, the overall effect was to boost people’s awareness that they are not alone in their concern for the growth of government power and the increasing attacks on our freedom. There was a rap music group that performed conservative themes, a couple of politicians (Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina for instance), and a young black woman who argued passionately against an obsessive focus on race. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights was cut-off at two minutes, but managed to make the point that your life is yours, that to be the best person you can be is the truly American way to live, and that you are not your brothers’ keeper.

All in all, this was the most amazing public gathering I have ever seen. I do not agree with everything said. I do not agree that religion, which values humility and sacrifice before a divine being, can provide the basis for individual rights. I do not agree that there is any difference between “Give unto the poor” and “To each according to his need.” History shows that the most religious periods–Rome under Christian emperors, the dark ages, Calvin’s Geneva, the Religious Wars of the Reformation, Holy Mother Russia–were defined by stagnation, oppression and warfare. This history was broken only when the American Founders elevated the individual’s self-interested right to his own life into a founding principle, and established a government limited to that purpose.

But the protesters of 9-12-2009 stood by their own energy against the power of the state, and expressed a healthy sense of self-esteem. They demanded that American politicians cease attacking the freedoms of American citizens, and cease adding to the tide of government power that threatens us all with moral, political, and financial catastrophe.

A Revolution in the Science of Education

From the Van Damme Academy’s new blog Pedagogically Correct:

Many people understand that education is in desperate need of reform, but few recognize how radical the reform must be. What is needed is not a bigger education budget, a stronger teacher’s union, smaller class sizes, or more rigorous testing procedures. But neither is the solution simply a return to Classical Education. What is needed is a basic, pedagogical revolution—a revolution in the science of education—a revolution in the selection of content taught to students, and the method by which that content is presented. VanDamme Academy is the leader of that revolution. Pedagogically Correct is our newsletter.

Iran Calls for Temporarty Cease Fire to Give Islamic Terrorists Time To Destroy Israel in the Long Term

From Cox and Forum:

From FoxNews: Ahmadinejad’s Mideast Solution: Destroy Israel.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday the solution to the Middle East crisis was to destroy Israel, state-media reported.

In a speech during an emergency meeting of Muslim leaders in Malaysia, Ahmadinejad also called for an immediate cease-fire to end the fighting between Israel and the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah.

“Although the main solution is for the elimination of the Zionist regime, at this stage an immediate cease-fire must be implemented,” Ahmadinejad said, according to state-run television in a report posted on its Web site Thursday.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev accused Ahmadinejad of trying to rally the region to support Iranian-backed Hezbollah.

“Our operation in Lebanon is designed to neutralize one of the long arms of Iran, Hezbollah,” Regev said. “Hezbollah is their proxy, being used as an instrument of Teheran to advance their extremist agenda and the blow to Hezbollah is a blow to Iranian interests and a blow to all extremist Jihadist forces in the region.

From CNN: Hezbollah threatens to strike Tel Aviv.

On the diplomatic front, France circulated a revised draft resolution for the United Nations Security Council on Thursday calling for an immediate halt to Israeli-Hezbollah fighting and spelling out conditions for a permanent cease-fire in Lebanon.

The U.S. State Department said it hoped for a cease-fire resolution by Friday, but U.S. diplomats were prepared to work into the weekend to achieve a deal.

A sticking point has been the timing of a cease-fire. France and other European countries support Lebanon’s call for an immediate cease-fire. The United States and Britain have said an immediate cease-fire would not eliminate the long-term threat that Hezbollah imposes on Israel.

In TIA Daily, Robert Tracinski has been providing excellent coverage and analysis of the big picture in the Hezbollah vs. Israel war. These are a couple of his must-read articles:

From RealClearPolitics: Iran’s Strategy Is Crudely Obvious–So Why Can’t We Fight It?.

The new Lebanon War, like much of the War on Terrorism, has a strange character. It is a war in which everyone knows the enemy’s strategy, in which it is child’s play to see through all of his ruses and propaganda tricks–and yet our leaders, rather than devising their own counter-strategy, fall for every ruse and play along with the enemy’s game. …

Everyone knows that Iran is using Hezbollah’s war in Lebanon to distract attention from its nuclear weapons program. …

The Iranian strategy to buy time is utterly transparent and not especially clever. It is simple to defeat: declare that Hezbollah’s aggression against Israel is proof of Iran’s evil intentions and that we don’t require any further diplomatic justification to bomb Iran’s nuclear sites and bring down its regime.

Instead, Western leaders fell for the Iranian strategy, and the Iranians have pretty much gotten what they wanted. …

Secretary Rice has a reputation as an intelligent, hard-charging woman who doesn’t scare easily. Over the past few months, she has blown that reputation, caving in to Iran and its European sympathizers–and now allowing herself to be panicked into appeasement by predictable images of Lebanese civilian casualties. The Iranians have not been playing a sophisticated diplomatic game–yet they have consistently outplayed Secretary Rice.

Just as obvious as the strategy of the Iranian Axis are the destructive consequences of America’s diplomatic retreat in the face of Hezbollah’s war.

Also by Tracinski at RealClearPolitics: What Part of ‘War’ Don’t We Understand?.

Part of the reason America hesitates to act is because generations of Pragmatists have tried to turn our brains into bags full of knots–making it harder for us to see the big picture and the bold strokes that are actually necessary to defeat our enemies.

Just as powerful is the warped logic of the “suicide bomb morality” of altruism, which identifies self-sacrifice as the essence of virtue. In any conflict, the good guys are expected to prove that they are good by backing down and sacrificing their interests–while nothing is expected of the bad guys, precisely because they are evil. That’s why a Los Angeles Times op-ed demanded that Israel “has to be the most responsible party” by declaring an immediate ceasefire. Why should Israel be the first to back down from the fight? The author answers: “What, after all, can we expect from Hamas or Hezbollah?”

Notice the warped psychology this fosters: the onus is always on the good guys to turn the other check and submit to evil. This is a moral outlook that empowers the evil because they are evil and restrains the good because they are good. Should we then be surprised to see the evil emboldened to greater acts of destruction?

There is no longer any doubt what is driving the conflict in the Middle East: it is the Syrian-Iranian strategy of using proxies to strike at the US and extend Iran’s fanatical influence over the region. The only question is whether we can stop tying our brains into knots and stop turning the other cheek long enough to strike back and topple these two regimes.

“Changement de Rythme” (or “Broken Time”) is a fencing term meaning “a sudden change in the tempo of one fencer’s actions, used to fool the opponent into responding at the wrong time.” Or perhaps in the wrong way, as in the case of the cartoon.

From the Jerusalem Post: As Ahmadinejad watches by Caroline Glick. (via Regime Change Iran)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the man to watch these days. And yet it would seem that those in positions of power are paying him little heed. …

This week the UN Security Council is supposed to pass a resolution giving Iran until August 31 to end its nuclear programs. The obvious meaning of the new deadline is that until then, in spite of Iran’s direction of Hizbullah’s war against Israel – a state which Iran daily threatens to destroy – no action will be taken against Teheran.

Indeed, in all the talk of Security Council resolutions regarding the war that Iran’s proxy force Hizbullah is waging against Israel, no one has mentioned the possibility of condemning Iran, or Syria, for their sponsorship of Hizbullah.

AS THE STAKES of the war against Israel rise by the day, we find the international community, led by the US, and willingly followed by the Olmert government, scope-locked on a diplomatic agenda that is irrelevant to the imminent dangers Israel and the world now face in the midst of this Iranian sponsored jihad.

Global Jihad: “Make Yourself Martyrs”

From Cox and Forum:

From CNN: Al Qaeda: War with Israel is ‘jihad’.

Al Qaeda’s No. 2 leader issued a worldwide call Thursday for Muslims to rise up in a holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from “Spain to Iraq.” In a taped message broadcast by Al-Jazeera television, Ayman al-Zawahiri said the terrorist organization would not stand idly by while “these (Israeli) shells burn our brothers. “All the world is a battlefield open in front of us,” said the Egyptian-born al-Zawahiri, second-in-command to Osama bin Laden. “The war with Israel does not depend on cease-fires … . It is a Jihad for the sake of God and will last until (our) religion prevails … from Spain to Iraq,” al-Zawahiri said. “We will attack everywhere.” Spain was controlled by Arab Muslims until they were driven from the country at the turn of the 16th century.

Al-Zawahiri declared that Arab regimes were complicit in Israeli fighting against Hezbollah and the Palestinians. “My fellow Muslims, it is obvious that Arab and Islamic governments are not only impotent but also complicit…and you are alone on the battlefield. Rely on God and fight your enemies…make yourselves martyrs.”

From AP: Iranian volunteers set off for Lebanon.

Surrounded by yellow Hezbollah flags, more than 60 Iranian volunteers set off Wednesday to join what they called a holy war against Israeli forces in Lebanon. …

Iran says it will not send regular forces to aid Hezbollah, but apparently it will not attempt to stop volunteer guerrillas. Iran and Syria are Hezbollah’s main sponsors. …

“We are just the first wave of Islamic warriors from Iran,” said Amir Jalilinejad, chairman of the Student Justice Movement, a nongovernment group that helped recruit the fighters. “More will come from here and other Muslim nations around the world. Hezbollah needs our help.” Military service is mandatory in Iran and nearly every man has at least some basic training. Some hard-liners have more extensive drills as members of the Basiji corps, a paramilitary network linked to the powerful Revolutionary Guard.

Other volunteers, such as 72-year-old Hasan Honavi, have combat experience from the 1980-88 war with Iraq. “God made this decision for me,” said Honavi, a grandfather and one of the oldest volunteers. “I still have fight left in me for a holy war.” The group, chanting and marching in military-style formation, assembled Wednesday in a part of Tehran’s main cemetery that is reserved for war dead and other “martyrs.” They prayed on Persian carpets and linked hands, with their shoes and bags piled alongside. Few had any battle-type gear and some arrived in dress shoes or plastic sandals. Some bowed before a memorial to Hezbollah-linked suicide bombers who carried out the 1983 blast at Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. servicemen. An almost simultaneous bombing killed 56 French peacekeepers. …

“We cannot stand by and watch out Hezbollah brothers fight alone,” said Komeil Baradaran, a 21-year-old Basiji member. “If we are to die in Lebanon, then we will go to heaven. It is our duty as Muslims to fight.”

From the New York Sun: An Explicit Debt by Daniel Johnson.

A second key similarity between today’s Islamists and past Arab nationalists relates less to ideology than to geopolitics. Both movements are more or less openly imperialist. As the historian Efraim Karsh convincingly shows in his new book “Islamic Imperialism,” the pursuit of empire has been a constant theme since the time of Muhammad.

Both Islamists and Arab nationalists, however, deploy anti-imperialist rhetoric against Israel and the West. Ayatollah Khomeini notoriously denounced America as “the Great Satan” while attempting to annex his neighbor, Iraq. The purpose of Osama bin Laden’s jihad on behalf of “oppressed Muslims” is to subject them to a universal Caliphate. Even as Nasser dreamt of what John Dulles called “an empire stretching from the Persian Gulf to the Atlantic Ocean,” the Egyptian dictator posed as the champion of the “non-aligned” nations, struggling against European colonialism and superpower hegemony.

Cowardly Blending

From Cox and Forum:

The U.N. official quoted below has been spouting the typical moral equivalence about the Israel/Hezbollah war, but his specific criticism of Hezbollah is surprisingly frank and accurate. From FoxNews: U.N. Chief Accuses Hezbollah of ‘Cowardly Blending’ Among Refugees.

The U.N. humanitarian chief accused Hezbollah on Monday of “cowardly blending” among Lebanese civilians and causing the deaths of hundreds during two weeks of cross-border violence with Israel. The militant group has built bunkers and tunnels near the Israeli border to shelter weapons and fighters, and its members easily blend in among civilians. Jan Egeland spoke with reporters at the Larnaca airport in Cyprus late Monday after a visit to Lebanon on his mission to coordinate an international aid effort. On Sunday he had toured the rubble of Beirut’s southern suburbs, a once-teeming Shiite district where Hezbollah had its headquarters.

During that visit he condemned the killing and wounding of civilians by both sides, and called Israel’s offensive “disproportionate” and “a violation of international humanitarian law.” On Monday he had strong words for Hezbollah, which crossed into Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers on July 12, triggering fierce fighting from both sides. “Consistently, from the Hezbollah heartland, my message was that Hezbollah must stop this cowardly blending … among women and children,” he said. “I heard they were proud because they lost very few fighters and that it was the civilians bearing the brunt of this. I don’t think anyone should be proud of having many more children and women dead than armed men.”

Americans SupportingThe Murderers of 241 of Their Countrymen

From Cox and Forum:

From the Arlington National Cemetery: The Bombing of the Marine Barracks, Beirut Lebanon.

On October 23, 1983 at 6:22 a.m., a large delivery truck drove to the Beirut International Airport where the Marine Barracks was located. After turning onto an access road leading to the compound, the driver rushed through a barbed-wire fence, passed between two sentry posts, crashed through the gate, and slammed into the lobby of the barracks. The driver detonated explosives with the power equal to more than 12,000 pounds of TNT. The explosion crumbled the four-story building, crushing service members to death while they were sleeping. The terrorist attack killed 220 Marines and 21 other U.S. service members who were stationed there to help keep the peace in a nation torn by war. It was the bloodiest day in the Corps’ history since World War II, when Marines fought to secure Iwo Jima.

From CNN: Iran responsible for 1983 Marine barracks bombing, judge rules.

Iran is responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 American servicemen, a U.S. District Court judge ruled Friday [May 30, 2003]. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said the suicide truck bombing was carried out by the group Hezbollah with the approval and funding of Iran’s senior government officials.

From TimesOnline: God’s army has plans to run the whole Middle East by Amir Taheri.

Terror has been its principal weapon. Throughout the 1980s Hezbollah kidnapped more than 200 foreign nationals in Lebanon, most of them Americans or western Europeans (including Terry Waite, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy). It organised the hijacking of civilian aircraft and more or less pioneered the idea of suicide bombings against American and French targets, killing almost 1,000 people, including 241 US marines in Beirut and 58 French paratroopers.

Charles Johnson is doing a excellent job of rounding up photos and reports of anti-Israel demonstrations around the world. The fact that a pro-Hezbollah sentiment has been repeatedly witnessed is disgusting, especially in America. Below are links to his posts but be sure to click on the links within the posts for many more photos.

In America:
Mayhem at the Defend Hizballah Rally, Boston
Terror Supporters in New York City
Terror Supporters in Los Angeles
Terror Supporters in Chicago
Hizballah/Hamas supporters in San Francisco

Terror Supporters in Moscow
Terror Supporters in Montreal
Thousands of Terror Supporters in Sydney
London Muslims: “We Are All Hizballah”
Terror Supporters in Switzerland
Terror Supporters in Copenhagen
Thousands of Terror Supporters March in Berlin

Faith Freedom Intl. has posted pictures and video from a demonstration in Ottawa, Canada. Craig Eisenberg has a few more NYC pics.

Helter Skelter: Lebanon as a Shield for “The Party of God”

From Cox and Forum:

From After the Cedar Revolution, the Lebanese managed to eject Syria from their nest, but Hezbollah was allowed to stay, whether out of fear or sympathy or some combination of both. The Lebanese were supposed to disarm Hezbollah, but the “Party of God,” supported by Iran’s Islamic theocracy and Syria’s regime, has become a lethally armed “state within a state.” Hezbollah is not only responsible for terrorist attacks against Israelis; Americans have died at theirs hands too, most notably the 1983 Beirut attack in which 241 U.S. Marines were killed. There should be no doubt who is the enemy here.

As Lebanon is being used as a shield for Hezbollah, both politically and literally, some Lebanese have cried for help in the fight against Hezbollah’s presence in their country.

But some Lebanese officials have been more conciliatory toward Hezbollah. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora has expressed sympathy with Hezbollah claims against Israel. Lebanese President Emile Lahoud formally thanked Iran for its support during the Israeli attacks, knowing that Hezbollah is using missiles made in Iran. And though its been reported that the Lebanese army is too weak to take on Hezbollah, this report says the Lebanese army may join forces with the “Party of God” to take on Israel.

As criticism of Israel rises with the Lebanese deathtoll, it is paramount to remember: Hezbollah initiated this war by crossing Israel’s border from Lebanon to kill eight Israeli soldiers and kidnap two. Hezbollah then returned to take refuge in Lebanon where the terrorist group enjoys a safe haven behind Lebanese human shields. The civilian casualties in Lebanon will continue to rise so long as Lebanon continues to harbor Hezbollah. Every single Lebanese victim should be laid at the feet of Hezbollah and any Lebanese who have supported Hezbollah’s home in Lebanon.

Disproportionate Response

From Cox and Forum:

The criticism that Israel is using a “disproportionate response” to the kidnappings of its soldiers is an attempt to morally disarm Israel and make Israel out to be a bully. This notion is ludicrous when considered in the full context: Hezbollah and Hamas initiated the current crisis in an ongoing war against Israel’s right to exist. Notice that no one cried “disproportionate response” when Hamas demanded 1,200 prisoners in exchange for one Israeli hostage. Hamas and Hezbollah aren’t playing a game of proportions, why should Israel?

Israel, an outpost of freedom in the Middle East, has every right to use whatever means necessary for her long-term interests to defeat those who are warring against her. All the “disproportionate response” critics are accomplishing is to empower Israel’s enemies to wage more war, harm more Israeli citizens and escalate the violence. They are kicking Israel when she is down, when she needs our support the most.

From The Jerusalem Post: Chirac: Israel has gone too far.

French President Jacques Chirac castigated Israel for its military offensive in Lebanon on Friday, calling it “totally disproportionate,” while he and other European leaders expressed fears of a widening Middle East conflict that could spiral out of control.

Referring to Israel’s attacks Friday on Lebanon’s international airport and other transport links, the latest in a three-day offensive, Chirac asked aloud whether Lebanon’s destruction was not the ultimate goal.

“One could ask if today there is not a sort of will to destroy Lebanon, its equipment, its roads, its communication,” Chirac said during an interview in the garden of the presidential Elysee Palace to mark Bastille Day, the French national holiday.

From Russia to Spain, leaders voiced concern at the escalation of the conflict, with Lebanon now drawn into the spiral of violence that has long been the mark of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin called on all sides to stand down.

“All the sides that are involved in the conflict must immediately cease military action,” he said before a G-8 summit this weekend in St. Peterburg. …

In Spain, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero warned Israel that it was “making a mistake” to attack Lebanon and said that both the EU and the United Nations must secure “an immediate cessation of the hostilities.”

“One thing is defense, which is legitimate, and another is a counteroffensive of widespread attack,” Zapatero told Punto Radio. “It won’t bring anything other than an escalation of violence.”

The Vatican, the seat of the Roman Catholic church, echoed that remark – and the fear of a widening conflict.

“In fact, the right to defense on the part of a country does not exempt it from respecting norms of international law above all for that which concerns the safety of the civilian population,” said a statement by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican’s No. 2 official.

Pope Benedict XVI was following the situation, the statement said, warning that it risks “degenerating into a conflict with international repercussions.”

From FoxNews: G8 Leaders Agree on Statement About Mideast Fighting.

Leaders of the world’s wealthiest nations agreed Sunday that three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by terror groups must be returned as a first order of business, and that all sides must put down their arms to resolve a conflict that is tearing up both Lebanon and Israel’s northern region.

Members of the Group of Eight, the world’s industrialized nations and Russia, issued a consensus statement that they say sends a “strong message” on the Mideast crisis.

Bush is still ridiculously urging “restraint” from Israel, but at least we’re sending them jet fuel for their warplanes.

Some critics of our inclusion of the Pope in this cartoon are trying to distance the Pope from the comments of Cardinal Sodano. But this news report quotes the Pope as follows:

“In recent days the news from the Holy Land is a reason for new and grave concern for all, in particular because of the spread of warlike actions also in Lebanon, and because of the numerous victims among the civilian population.”

A very relevant observation at Tigerhawk that I think also applies Israeli strikes in Lebanon. (via Alan Fang)

There has been some complaint about Israel’s reactions in Gaza as “asymmetrical.” Those complaints are, frankly, silly. Military actions in war are meant to be asymmetrical and lead to victory. They are not meant to be measured to achieve a stalemate.

More from Pope Benedict XVI: Pope makes new appeal for peace in Middle East.

“In reality, the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis the right to live in peace in their State, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland,” a message from Pope Benedict read, as released by the Vatican Information Services on Thursday.

The Lebanese surrendered their sovereignty when they continued allowing a terrorist state to exist within their borders. Palestinians leadership has never demonstrated that they would create anything but a terrorist state, and they have no right to that.

Hezbollah Hostage Exchange

From Cox and Forum:

We’re hoping that Israel continues to vigorously defend herself and refuse negotiations with Hezbollah and Hamas for the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. In our cartoon “Non-negotiable” we celebrated such an aggressive response. But it should be remembered that the terrorists’ tactics have worked for them in the past. A FoxNews article yesterday noted this fact in passing:

Israel has carried out several prisoner swaps with Hezbollah in the past to obtain freedom for captures Israelis. These include a January 2004 swap in which an Israeli civilian and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers were exchanged for 436 Arab prisoners and the bodies of 59 Lebanese fighters. In 1985, three Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon in 1982 were traded for 1,150 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

The Jewish Virtual Library has more on the issue: Israel-Hizbollah Prisoner Exchange (2004):

In exchange for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers, missing since October 2000, and one Israeli businessman, abducted in October 2000 under questionable circumstances, Israel released more than 430 Arab prisoners on January 29, 2004. Those released by Israel included 400 Palestinian prisoners who were released to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Another 29 prisoners from Arab nations, and a German-citizen who worked with Hizbollah, were flown to Germany and then most went to Lebanon. In addition, the bodies of approximately 60 Lebanese terrorists were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross at the Israel-Lebanon border near Rosh Hanikra.

The prisoner exchange was the latest example of Israel’s determination to bring its soldiers home, dead or alive. In 1985, Israel freed 1,150 prisoners in exchange for three Israeli soldiers kidnapped in Lebanon by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)-General Command. Many of the Arabs who were freed became leaders in the first Palestinian intifada. …

In the wake of the morning rush hour bus bombing in Jerusalem’s upscale Rehavia neighborhood, some last minute voices were heard urging the government to stop the prisoner swap. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) told Maariv, “Yesterday this murderous organization promised us a ‘surprise,’ so we must stop the release of 400 terrorists before we discover that they’ve put us in a death trap.” According to Dr. Shmuel Bar, a senior research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, the message this swap sends to the Palestinians is that “the only way in which anyone can succeed in freeing prisoners is Hezbollah’s way of abducting Israeli soldiers and citizens … We’re going to be sorry for this.”

The Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center has more information on Hezbollah’s ongoing war against Israel.

The Multiculturalist Ghetto vs. The American Melting Pot

Writes Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe:

…the burning immigration problem of our time isn’t that too many people are breaking the rules to get in. It is what they are finding when they get here.

Instead of a national commitment to assimilation, a cynical multiculturalism sends the message that our culture is no better than any other, so there is no particular reason to embrace the American experience. ”Bilingual” education and foreign-language ballots accelerate the loss of a common English tongue, making it easier than ever for newcomers to cluster in linguistic ghettoes. Identity politics erodes the national identity, encouraging immigrants to see themselves first and foremost as members of racial or ethnic groups, and only secondarily as individuals and Americans.

From the day he got off the boat from Europe, my father lived up to the code that expected immigrants to go to work, learn the language, obey the laws, and become an American. My immigrant son, I hope, will live up to it too. The melting pot, it used to be called, before political correctness intervened. That political correctness is what has caused the present crisis. The crisis won’t be solved by blaming the immigrants.

For more on multiculturalism, read Diversity and Multiculturalism: The New Racism and Multiculturalism’s War on Education. For more on immigration read The Moral and Practical Case for Open Immigration.

The “Inner Jihad” and Islamic Totalitarianism

This talk confronts claims that the real meaning of jihad is a benign “inner struggle,” and not war for the expansion of Islamic rule. Such claims are contrary to history; even mystical orthodox philosophers such as Al-Ghazali confirmed the meaning of jihad as war. Claims that jihad is an “inner struggle” are best seen either as the apologetics of those who do not want to face the fact that jihad means war, or who wish to cover up this fact in order to achieve the ends of Islamic rule. What the claimants call an “inner jihad” is a process of internal intellectual evasion, in which facts and conclusions contrary to support for Islam are suppressed. The outward political manifestations of such deception are censorship and propaganda, which are used to further Islamic rule. Islamic totalitarianism remains an active, and dangerous, force in the world, which must be confronted intellectually and defeated militarily.

Dr. John Lewis, Senior Research Scholar in History and Classics, Social Philosophy and Policy Center

What: A talk explaining the real meaning of jihad: a war for the expansion of Islamic rule. A Q & A will follow.

Where: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies,  Tel Aviv University , Israel

When: June 2, 2008, from 6 to 8 PM

Admission is FREE. The lecture will be open to the public and the media. 

Dr. John Lewis is a research scholar in history and classics at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center , Bowling Green State University , and a visiting scholar for the year 2007-2008. He has been an associate professor of history at Ashland University . He holds a PhD in classics from the University of Cambridge , a BA in history from the University of Rhode Island  He has taught at the University of London , and was a visiting scholar at Rice University. Dr. Lewis has published in classical journals such as Polis and Dikç . He is consulting editor of The Objective Standard, and writes for Capitalism Magazine. He is the author of Solon the Thinker: Political Thought in Archaic Athens and Early Greek Lawgivers. His book on military history, Nothing Less Than Victory: Military Offense and the Lessons of History, is in production with Princeton University Press.

Fighting Terrorism Creates Terrorism?

Here’s Madeleine Albright joining the chorus of those who, apparently, think it’s better for us just to roll over and die:

The Bush administration’s decision to detain hundreds of people in Guantanamo, Cuba, may be helping the al-Qaeda network recruit terrorists, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said today. “It is possible and perhaps probable that anger over these detentions has helped (Osama) bin Laden succeed in recruiting more new operatives,” Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration, said in prepared testimony.

James Taranto comments: “Just about any antiterror measure can be expected to make terrorists or terrorist wannabes angry. Albright’s appeasement approach would lead to complete paralysis and, no doubt, to more terrorist attacks.”

Here’s Hillel Halkin on the same argument, applied to Palestinian terrorists:

The fear that Israel is now in for a worse wave of terrorist attacks than ever rests on the assumption that Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations have so far been showing restraint and will henceforth begin to get serious. This assumption is highly dubious, both because these organizations have already given every indication of doing their utmost to kill Israelis, and because it is unclear what possible motive they might have had for holding back until now.

Fueling Our Hate? Who Do You Blame For 9/11?

James Taranto notices a double-standard, though he doesn’t go so far as to explain the reason for it:

How come no one ever points out that the terrorists are fueling our hate by attacking us…? How often did we hear last week that Israel had merely “fueled the hate” of Palestinians by killing Ahmed Yassin, who had already directed the murders of hundreds of Israelis…? How come no one ever points out that such belligerence–and the barbarity it incites–only prolongs the cycle of violence and leads to more dead Arabs?

James Taranto also found this one:

The Seattle Times has a Sunday section for kids called “Next,” and the current edition features an online poll that asks “Who do you blame for 9/11?” Three choices are offered: “Bush,” “Clinton” and “CIA.” There isn’t even a write-in category for those who blame the actual culprits, Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. And people say it’s crazy to think Saddam Hussein might have been involved?

 The following day, Taranto noted:

The Seattle Times has canceled its online poll…. A notice on the page now says: “Because too few options were presented, this week’s pulse question has been changed.” The new question is completely unrelated.

Regress in the War on Terror?

Michael Ledeen writes in the NYSun on how the war is going wrong:

[T]hose who expect to see dramatically greater tranquility in Iraq and Afghanistan in the near future will surely be proven wrong….

Afghanistan and Iraq were battles in the war, not ends in themselves, and we cannot consolidate our victories in those places, let alone proclaim a broader victory, without winning the war in the region….

The keystone of the terror network–the fanatical Shiite regime in Iran that has been home to most top Al Qaeda leaders since their flight from Afghanistan two years ago–remains in place, along with its Sunni bosom buddy, the Assad regime in Syria. Both are allied with powerful elements of the Saudi royal family. Because they all know that they cannot survive the success of democratic revolutions in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are funding, training and arming the terrorists in those two countries, just as they have long provided crucial support for Al Qaeda, Islamic Jihad, Ansar al Islam, Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other components of the terrorist universe. Those who believe that the anti-American “insurgency” relies solely, or even primarily, on the shattered remnants of Saddam’s Baathist regime are living in a fool’s paradise….

We can only win, as President Bush has said ever since September 12, by changing the regimes that support them, and we must not await another September 11 to do it. But the president is not calling for regime change in Damascus or Tehran, and continues to speak as if he believed Saudi Arabia is an ally.

Recommended Reading:

Bush: Make Tax Cuts Permanent

From the Washington Times:

President Bush yesterday called for making his tax cuts permanent for the first time since signing a major tax-cut package in May that was touted as temporary in order to keep the price tag low. Critics saw the move as an attempt at yet another tax cut “costing more than $1 trillion over the next decade” at a time when Democratic presidential candidates are demanding that Mr. Bush repeal even his earlier, temporary cuts.

Cost whom? Blank out.

Tax cuts cost the government nothing, because government officials did nothing to produce the wealth that is taxed, to begin with.

Taxes cost taxpayers wealth because it is they, and not bureaucrats like Dean, Gephardt, Rangel – and even President Bush -who in their positions as government officials produce no wealth (as least George W. Bush has the decency to allow all taxpayers to keep more of their money).

It is taxpayers who had to work for and earn that wealth that is taxed–and the cost of that tax is the physical and mental effort they had to expend to produce that wealth that is involuntarily taken from them. All government has to do to get wealth is to point a machine gun at a disarmed citizen and threaten them with fines and imprisonment.

… “Some critics, who opposed tax relief to start with, are still opposing it,” [Bush] said. “They argue we should return to the way things were in 2001. What they’re really saying is they want to raise taxes.”

“People are more likely to find work if businesses and their workers can be certain that the lower tax rates of the last years will stay in place,” Mr. Bush said. “Today, you don’t have that confidence. That’s because at the end of next year, the $1,000 child tax credit will shrink to $700. In 2008, capital-gains taxes are scheduled to rise by a third. In 2011, the ‘death tax’ on estates will reappear just one year after being phased out. That doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Bush told the business owners, who interrupted him with numerous standing ovations during the 42-minute speech. “We’re going to phase out the death tax — which is a bad tax to begin with — and then let it pop back to life. But that’s reality.”

But, unlike death, it doesn’t have to be.

Kerry the Hip-Hop President

Mark Steyn on John Kerry:

… All over the planet, men in late middle age are pretending to like stuff just ’cause it’s what the likes of Maureen Dowd tell them people want to hear. John Kerry pretends to like gangsta rap. Russia pretends it supports the Kyoto Accord. The European Union pretends Yasser Arafat is committed to peace with Israel. The Security Council pretends its resolutions mean something. Kofi Annan pretends the Oil-for-Fraud program is a humanitarian aid effort for the Iraqi people. The International Atomic Energy Authority pretends the mullahs in Tehran are good-faith negotiators on the matter of Iranian nukes.

It’s easy to pander to fashion–whether on pop music, the environment, the Middle East “peace process” or sentimental transnationalism.

From Cox and Forkum:

The Fruits of Bush’s “Unilateralism”: Libyan Leader Muammar al-Qaddafi Afraid of Suffering Saddam’s Fate

From FoxNews [Hat Tip: B. Harburg-Thomson]:

Libya has agreed to end its pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and allow international inspectors to enter the country and search for such weapons, President Bush announced Friday…Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi has admitted trying to develop weapons of mass destruction and now plans to halt all such programs, Bush said…Bush said the United States and Britain, wary of Libyan promises, would watch closely to make sure al-Qaddafi keeps his word. And he said Libya’s promises on weapons aren’t enough; it must “fully engage in the war against terror” as well. If Libya “takes these essential steps and demonstrates its seriousness,” Bush held out the promise of helping Libya build “a more free and prosperous country.”

…The U.N. Security Council ended sanctions against Libya on Sept. 12 after al-Qaddafi’s government took responsibility for the [1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, that killed 270 people] and agreed to pay $2.7 billion to the victims’ families.

Observe that the best that the U.N. could offer Libya for their 1988 bombing of a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland was to give Libya chairmanship of the so-called U.N. Commission on Human Rights (while kicking the U.S. off the council). See Another United Nations Sham: Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi to Head the U.N. Human Rights Commission for details of the “U.N. Human Rights” sham. “Multilateralists” and advocates of the “international community” must be wondering how did the U.S. and Britain achieve such a concession without the “assistance” of the United Nations?

…But the United States has kept its own 17-year embargo in place.

If you are an admirer of “Old Europe” foreign policy you must be thinking: Doesn’t the U.S. know that such a policy does not “work”? All it does is to create “resentment.” How does one “build bridges” with such an “unilateral” foreign policy, clearly not approved by Howard Dean, Kofi-Annan, and his merry band of U.N. approved dictators? Dictators must be cuddled, kissed, and appeased.

…Libya had relied heavily on foreign assistance for its weapons programs. It had already made overtures suggesting it would slow or halt its programs to improve its international standing.

Foreign “assistance” from whom? Anyone from the “Axis of Weasels”? The report does not say.

The U.S. intelligence statements on Libya’s alleged weapons programs suggest efforts in that country were not as advanced as Iraq’s were before the U.S.-led invasion. At the White House, Bush said the war in Iraq and efforts to stop North Korea’s nuclear program had sent a clear message to countries such as Libya that they must abandon weapons programs.

“In word and in action, we have clarified the choices left to potential adversaries,” Bush said. That was an apparent reference to Iran and North Korea, two other countries that the United States contends are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. Without naming them, Bush added: “I hope other leaders will find an example” in Libya’s action.  [“Libya to Allow Weapons Inspections”, FoxNews, December 20, 2003]

To quote from a previous Dollars and Crosses new item from the The London Telegraph (September 13, 2003) that quoted an interview of Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi:

“I said, given the enormous and paradoxical success of fundamentalism, why don’t we reform the UN? Let us say to Mr X or Y in this or that dictatorship, you must recognise human rights in your country and we give you six to 12 months to do so, or else we intervene. “We can do this now because there is no countervailing power,” he said referring to the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union.

“…Yes! By force if necessary, because that is the only way to show it is not a joke. We said to Saddam, do it or we come. And we came and we did it.” A spokesman for Mr Berlusconi said the prime minister had been telephoned recently by Col Gaddafi of Libya, who said: “I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid.

Thanks to America’s words and deeds the world is, in fact, a safer place. America must not stop until it End States That Sponsor Terrorism.


From Cox and Forkum:

Recommended Reading:

Thinking it Alone: U.S. Must Reject the Evil Doctrine of “Multilateralism” by Alex Epstein
Military decisions are decisions about life and death–about what should be done to protect us from enemies who seek our destruction. If our leaders are to fulfill their obligation to defend our country, they must–starting with Iraq–reject the poison of “multilateralism” and replace it with the virtue of independent, rational judgment.

Libya Gets Away With Terrorist Acts Against the United States by Alexander Marriott
At a time when the United States of America are fighting a war against International Terrorism and Terrorist States, the last thing the country needs is the appearance of weakness or appeasement. But the settlement that is looking more and more likely between the families of those who perished in Pam Am flight 103 and the Libyan government, that had that plane destroyed, is just such an act of appeasement and weakness that, if it comes to fruition, will only embolden clandestine acts of terror by states hostile to the United States.

Another United Nations Sham: Libyan leader Colonel Gadaffi to Head the U.N. Human Rights Commission by Brett Schaefer
Even the most creative scriptwriter couldn’t top the real-life plot twist the U.N. Commission on Human Rights will have concocted when Libya becomes its chairman.

“Multilateralism’s” One-Way Street by Robert W. Tracinski
The past week has shown us that “multilateralism” is really a one-way street–a street that consistently runs against American interests.

Lockerbie Verdict Vindicates Continued Sanctions Against Libya by James Phillips
The outcome of the Lockerbie bombing trial underscores the need for a firm U.S. policy toward Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi.

The UN Human Rights Agenda: A Strategy of Diversion by Anne Bayefsky
UN intergovernmental human rights machinery is not keen on specifics. Its members include some of the most notorious human rights violators in the world today: China, Cuba, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. Those countries prefer devoting UN funds, (22% of which are from the United States), to criticizing Israel – lest attention wander too close to home.

The United Nations Against Individual Rights by Jeff Jacoby
If the UN ‘Human Rights’ Commission were really concerned with human rights, the accession of a ghoulish regime like Libya’s to the chair would indeed be a scandal. But the commission’s true purposes are to give Third World bullies a venue for grandstanding, to harangue Western democracies, to ensure that the world’s cruelest rulers escape condemnation, and, of course, to bash Israel. There’s nothing in that agenda to disqualify Libya. Or, for that matter, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, China, Syria, Sudan, or Zimbabwe — each a notorious human-rights violator and each a commission member in good standing.

UN Confidence Games: Libya as the Chairman of the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission? by Ken Adelman
With the official representatives of Libya and Syria having control over key United Nations agencies, you wonder just how much wisdom the UN can impart to guide American foreign policy.