The Third Rail

Saturday, April 27, 2002

Remember those reports from the seventies and eighties about Canada complaining about acid rain caused by American pollution? Our non-response to that concern wasn't our rgeatest moment. I wonder what our response is going to be from NE Asian pollution coming our way. No matter what the right wing thinks, we are going to have pay more and more attention to the global environment, and better to do it before there's a real crisis, or don't they remember that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure?

Two interesting pieces from my former hometown newspaper - the Chicago tribune. This one explains why Europe just doesn't understand the American position, and a fluff piece showing more solidarity with America than Europe's elite shows.

Bernard Lewis - one of the academia's foremost experts on Islamic society - has this interesting article on the war. I'm in complete agreement. A lot of my friends are confused when I praise the President's "ruthlessness" in prosecuting the war effort when I'm a severe critic of his adminstration in other ways. I think it is very important to let the world know we are steadfast in our resolution to destroy Al Qaeda and their supporters. This country has an unfortunate record since World War II in trying to fight wars while running our domestic life as if we're in peace. That's one reason popular support eroded in Korea and Vietnam, and why I posted earlier on the need for a home front.

Friday, April 26, 2002

Just read this awful story. Things like this should never happen, yet I am not surprised it did given the glorification of youth suicide bombers among Palestinians. Maybe people will finally start realizing what madness is going on.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

One of the things that botherd me about Dubya's handling of the war is that there seems to be no effort at home. Where are the war bond rallies? Propaganda posters? Why We Fight serials? This is literally underwhelming. Sure our cause is just and our indignation righteous, but wars are terrible things that sap morale and erode vigor. Since the Arabs are so keen on using oil as a weapon, why aren't we being urged to conserve energy? Don't think any of this might be because it'd frustrate the GOP's domestic agenda? I really miss FDR.

Live at Jenin
With the UN poised to investigate the battle at Jenin, it's time to review some facts - or at least some of them. Most of these links back up the Israeli side mainly because I can't find actual evidence to support Paletinian claims. Still, I'm looking for more info on stories of the Israeli military using Palestinians as shields during the first days of battle. However, from what stands now it appears Jenin was nothing more than a savage, but typical, city street battle.

That there's no massacre.

Aerial photos of the battle. This surprised me as I thought the entire city looked like the pictures on TV.

A defense of Israel from The New Republic.

Well at least people know not to come here for news. Maybe I should start a weekly column for one day to make up for the paucity of the updates.

Monday, April 22, 2002

Lots of news about Le Pen's 2nd place finish in France. It's a non-issue. Europe has suffered from years under a socio-economic-politcal conformity enforced by the Brussels crowd and the European press. What they need is good old fashioned debate. There's been a lot of signs over the years indicating that the common European does not like how the elites are pushing their EU agenda without concern. Their "referendums" on this treaty or that are intended as no more than a veneer. The fact they keep on getting rejected by more and more countries says its enough.

If France and other countries don't want the far right to win even more votes in the future, they have to allow REAL opposition between parties and not more of the same policy with different spins.

Remember Iraq? Saddam must've counted his stars when Arafat sacrificed himself to buy the guy a few months respite, but I think all it did was give the US time to stock up on all the bombs we needed after the Afghan campaign.

I'm going to start compiling a list of links on the situation and America's strategic options when it comes to Iraq. However, the main hurdle is diplomatic - the Bush administrations' weak point. I personally think we have casus belli enough when Hussein tried to assasinate former president HW Bush, but we'll do what we can. Big obstacles is the general loathing of Bush's cowboy diplomacy, and the non-existent link to Al-Qaeda. No matter what people complain though, I expect no problem with a war if we can finish it quickly - and we'll need the Kurds and the Iraqi exiles to do it.

News out of Israel is that Sharon plans on annexing half the West Bank. No doubt this will inflame tensions, but the Arab states have shown no will to militarily defy Israel. Once again the other Arabs have abandoned the Palestinians. Ever since Sharon unleashed his offensive, I've had a suspicion what his plans are.

Arafat obviously thought he could force the Israeli's to withdraw by escalting the conflict. Unfortunately, instead of producing a Vietnam syndrome of an unwinnable war in the minds of Israel, he scared them into a fight for national survival. With the population wanting extreme measures taken, Sharon knew he could fight this as a true war - and that what was Jenin was - a classic street battle. The PLO didn't expect that and were slaughtered as they're not equipped to fight a regular war.

Arafat gambled and lost. Sharon is pushing this towards a military conclusion. Expect final raids on Bethlehem and Ramallah relatively soon. Sharon will claim victory, annex half the West Bank, and unilaterally offer the Palestinians statehood over the rest. At this stage he can dictate the terms as the world won't do anything to help the Palestinians despite their complaints. Arafat's gamble failed. Then again, I could be wrong.