Perhaps Neville Chamberlain was simply ahead of his time

It seems that the backers of Hezbollah, Iran and Syria, have praised the brutal terrorists freedom fighters for their great victory over the “corrupt powers of the criminal U.S. and Britain and the Zionists.”

    Iran, Syrian leaders laud Hezbollah ‘victory’
    Bush administration dismisses claims as selfish bluster

    TEHRAN, Iran – A day after Hezbollah and Israel agreed and so far maintained a fragile cease-fire, leaders around the world found reasons to celebrate the outcome.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Tuesday that Hezbollah has “hoisted the banner of victory” over Israel and toppled U.S.-led plans for the Middle East.

    Hezbollah’s main backers — Iran and Syria — struck nearly identical notes: heaping praise on the guerrillas as perceived victors for the Islamic world and claiming that Western influence in the region was dealt a serious blow.

    “God’s promises have come true,” Ahmadinejad told a huge crowd in Arbadil in northwestern Iran. “On one side, it’s corrupt powers of the criminal U.S. and Britain and the Zionists … with modern bombs and planes. And on the other side is a group of pious youth relying on God.”

    The Bush administration, however, dismissed Iranian and Syrian claims of victory in Lebanon Tuesday as shameful blustering.

    “It is terrible that the president of Iran is trying to take advantage of this tragedy,” David Welch, a senior State Department official, said.

    Both Iran and Syria are “trying to pile on popular emotion and anger at a time of tragedy for their own selfish advantage,” the assistant secretary of state said at a news conference.

    “I think it is a sad situation when leaders of other countries can stand on this rubble” that is the aftermath of the war in Lebanon and proclaim their vision, Welch said.

    Israel’s Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, meanwhile, warned Syria not to intervene in Lebanese affairs or use the Hezbollah militia to influence the Beirut government.

    Livni, speaking in northern Israel shortly after the Syrian president’s remarks, said Syria must “understand that Lebanon is taking off, or is at least meant to take off, in a different direction without them.”

    She said Syria would no longer be able “to influence (Lebanon) through such groups like Hezbollah.

The real truth is that there were no winners: neither side was beaten into submission, which is the purpose of war. Neither side destroyed the ability of the other to make war, destroyed the military infrastructure of the other, or killed the bulk of their enemy’s fighting age men. As in the several other wars between the Arabs and the Israelis, neither side won, but both sides agreed to a cease fire — which means that either side is capable of resuming hostilities whenever it so chooses.

Our liberal friends are fond of telling us that violence never solved anything, something which shows an ignorance of history. Violence certainly did solve something in World War II. It solved it at a frightful cost, in millions of lives snuffed out, in whole countries having their infrastructure demolished, but it solved the problem of Nazi totalitarianism. Germany and Japan were beaten, thoroughly, completely, and occupied and compelled to become different countries, structured somewhat upon the will of the victorious Allies.

That was victory.

Has Hezbollah driven the Jews into the sea? Has Hezbollah ended the existence of the State of Israel? has Israel destroyed Hezbollah? Has Israel compelled its enemies to accept its existence and guarantee its security?

None of those things was accomplished, not a single one of them.

It may be that civilized Western nations are no longer capable, under the values and morés of their own people and the people of the Western democracies as a whole, to win wars, because winning a war involves killing people on a very large scale. (See Can we win wars today? and Can we win wars today? Part 2.) In the 1940s, Americans and Britons and Frenchmen saw little wrong with the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo or Kobe, nor with the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — because we were in an all-out war, and those terrible aerial attacks were part of it, a part that hastened the defeat of our enemies. Today, every single death, by car bomb, by sniper attack, by whatever means, in the war zone in Iraq is reported by The New York Times; every individual death is suffered by the American public, and events that would have been seen as a normal part of warfare in the 1940s are now taken as the argument against a war, regardless of the reasons for going to war. We have taken the conduct of war as the issue just as much as the reasons and goals for war — and in such a situation, it becomes difficult to see how countries in which that is the case can ever wage war with popular support.

An old college professor of mine, Ernest Yanarella at the University of Kentucky once said, concerning the Vietnam War and our Communist enemies:

They were more willing to die for their country than we were to keep killing them.

I don’t know if Dr Yanarella came up with that one on his own, or took it from someone else (a Googleâ„¢ search turned up nothing), but it was, in the end, essentially true. The Communists lost thousands of men in the Tet Offensive, and by every normal military measure it was a huge defeat for them — but it was a political victory. We lost about 58,000 men in Vietnam, a small fraction of the Communists killed, but we still lost that war, in that the Communists achieved their objective (taking over all of Viet Nam, and kicking us out) and we failed to achieve ours. And if the people in liberal Western democracies are unwilling to kill people, even to win a war, then war becomes an impossible endeavor for them, regardless of the provocation, irrespective of the reasons, no matter the causes.

Perhaps Neville Chamberlain was simply ahead of his time; with the standards of the Western democracies today, is not the surrender of the Sudetenland to a dictatorship without war a better choice than going to war and killing perhaps millions?

The Arabs certainly lost more people than did the Israelis in the recent fighting, and the Arabs achieved absolutely no military objectives: they captured no territory from Israel nor damaged Israel in any significant way. But they were also not defeated: the Israelis were unwilling to keep killing them until the bulk of the Hezbollah fighting age men were killed and they were unable to continue to fight, and Hezbollah lives on, probably to fight yet another day. Hezbollah and the Arabs accepted the cease-fire, because they were losing militarily; Israel accepted the cease-fire because it was unwilling to win militarily.

Nobody won.

Cross Posted on Red State.

Chamberlain

Neville was a early deficit hawk who believed that sound money was the key to victory.

Towards his last days in office, he made a big push for building up arms production. Carter did a similar thing when the dim light bulb started to flicker.

Hitler was no military genius and had a mindest stuck in 1918.

One should remember that many of the ‘beautiful people’ in England had vowed never again to fight for King and Country. How better to encourage aggression?

The Hitlerian bluff in re-militarizing the Rhineland could have been crushed by France all along. Grabbing the arms indstry of Czechoslovakia gave a big boost to Nazi warmaking potential.

Yet appeasement was politically advantageous. Churchill was relegated to the back bench and kept away from BBC microphones for fear of irritating ‘Herr Hitler’.

At least he’s honest

Tom Derby, who lives in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, has taught reading and English in Camden, New Jersey for 18 years, and he is appalled by the killing spree in Philadelphia and in Camden, the waste-case city across the Delaware River from Philly:

    Stuck in the 1700s
    By Tom Derby

    Two of my former students were shot dead in separate incidents – not in the streets but at parties, and not by drug dealers but by other students they knew.

    Another of my students was knifed to death in a dispute over ownership of a handgun. Wouldn’t it be nice if students had such a sense of ownership in their education?

    A few A-graded papers still in my files bring back my worst memory of all.

    A good athlete and an A student in ninth grade, Len used to express fascination with guns and gangs. His departure from school was not sudden but gradual. He would greet me politely at his locker in the morning even after, as I later learned, he was in deep trouble.

    I lost track of Len, and a colleague brought me the bad news before the papers got it: He had become a professional assassin, and his own gang killed him and set his body on fire in a football field in North Camden.

Mr Derby continues further, to blame the availability of guns and our right to own firearms, but I’ve got to ask: at what point does it penetrate Mr Derby’s thinking that his former student was “a professional assassin?” It seems to me that his former student chose a life of using guns to get ahead, yet Mr Derby blames not Len, but the guns he, and others, used!

    We cite the Second Amendment and see ourselves as proud individuals jealously defending our individual rights. The shotgun is still strapped to the door of the pickup. Bullets blaze through the streets.

    But let’s look at the context in which the Founding Fathers had to operate.

    When in 1791 James Madison led the adoption of 10 amendments to our Constitution, formally recognized today as our Bill of Rights, there were fresh memories of the brutality suffered by the first Americans as they tried to carve out a nation independent of a foreign king.

    They remembered the British and Hessian thugs who had roamed the countryside, ready to steal cows and pigs, quarter themselves in whatever homes they chose, violate women, and use their weapons at will.

    The Second Amendment reads, “A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    American farmers were the standing militia of the day. There were no police or National Guard, and only the beginnings of an army. These were the minutemen – brave, tough men and women ready to fight at a moment’s notice.

    The historical context of this part of the Bill of Rights – the recurring nightmare of Redcoat soldiers – shows that every American family needed a musket standing against the wall, ready to load and ready to kill.

    Not so today. The premise of the Second Amendment, the need for minutemen, no longer exists. In a free society we must rely on the police. We have more important rights to fight for than the right to bear arms.

Such as our right to live and defend ourselves?

    The Second Amendment will not go down easily, but go down it must. Marketing of weapons is too profitable an enterprise for attitudes to change overnight, but change they must.

    When wolves as well as human predators roamed freely in the Northeast, one was entitled to defend one’s family and property with firearms.

    Circumstances have changed; we need to reconsider that entitlement. Why do we want America to continue being the murder capital of the Western world?

What Mr Derby seems to have forgotten is that we still have “wolves as well as human predators roamed freely in the Northeast.” Is he unable to make the connection that one of those wolves and human predators was his own student?

I’ll give Mr Derby credit for honesty, in admitting that he wants to see the Second Amendment repealed; too few of the opponents of the right to keep and bear arms do that. But if our forefathers had to defend against violence from British soldiers and Indians and wild animals, the only thing that has changed is the source of the violence against which we must defend ourselves; the violent ones are still out there.

And what would the DarkSyde have us do? Surrender?

Just a couple of days after a Red State reader thanked me for checking out The Daily Kos, so that he wouldn’t have to, I found this oh-so-thoughtful article:

    Perspective: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Get a Grip
    by DarkSyde
    Mon Aug 14, 2006 at 03:55:37 AM PDT

    I know there are millions of brave, decent conservatives. My apologies to those folks for the following. But good grief, when did the Republican Party become infested with what sound like so many loud, whining cowardly pundits? One second Reagan is up there standing toe-to-toe with the Rooskis, negotiating cool as a cucumber with 20,000 nukes pointed at him, and the next thing I know, the likes of Limbaugh or the crew at Powerwhine and Freeperland, are all shrieking like a class full of tweaked-out, neurotic fifth-graders having a panic attack every time OBL pops up in a grainy video with a rusty AK in the background. What the hell happened to the GOP I once knew?

Being a charitable sort, I’ll pass on the assumption that, as a liberal, DarkSyde was probably one of those who didn’t have a lot of respect for the GOP when President Reagan was negotiating with the “Rooskis.” I will point out that President Reagan proposed and had deployed the MX ICBM, opposed by many of our liberal friends, and the Pershing II LR-IRBM in Europe, as a counterbalance to the Soviet SS-20, something also opposed by the left, and the beginning of the silly “nuclear freeze movement.”

    Death and injury are every bit as tragic as they are inevitable for human beings. Understandably, we worry about both, we all cry and mourn when either strike, especially with ourselves or those we love playing the starring role. And I have no desire to down play the loss that anyone feels when someone they love is struck down, be it by terrorism or leukemia. But …some perspective maybe?

    Heart disease and cancer will claim about 1.5 million American lives each and every year. As far as accidental deaths (~100,000/year), motor vehicle accidents far and away lead the pack (+40,000/year), with accidental poisoning and falls in place and show1. You can play with those stats all kinds of ways. But the bottom line is that over the course of a civilian lifetime, the odds of falling victim to Al Qaeda rank somewhere between falling off a ladder to your death and being struck by lightning inside your home.

Well, heck, we’re all going to die sometime, of something! Why worry about anything? Continue reading ‘And what would the DarkSyde have us do? Surrender?’ »

Gore blowing smoke — up liberals’ butts!

ALa, the very blonde, very lovely Philadelphia blogger, had a great column on former Vice President Albert Gore, Jr., he who is going to Save the World from the scourge of global warming:

    Gore & Dean: Do As We Say…Not As We Do

    “An Inconvenient Truth” about Gore’s lifestyle has been publicly released embarrassingly close to the release of his apocalyptic Global warning movie…

    It seems that he is not living the Green lifestyle he not only preaches about, but made an entire movie and speech fodder about.

    Gore’s advice to Americans:

    “…Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore’s example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a “carbon-neutral lifestyle.” (source)

    Yet, Gore used a private jet while making the Global Warming film (I’m sure he uses one often), owns three mansions:

    “…Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

    Then there is the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an alternative to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents. (*emphasis mine)

    But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore’s office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes.

    …The DNC has not signed up to pay an additional two pennies a kilowatt hour to go green. (*emphasis mine)” (source)

    Is this a case of the rich once again expecting the middle class to bear the burden of change –or maybe, not even Gore believes Gore’s message about global warming….?

Since I don’t have a category “liberal hypocrisy,” I used “Things that piss me off.” But really, what this really does is make me laugh.

My favorite part was:

    But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore’s office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes.

Kind of like Vice President Gore’s whopping $353 in charitable contributions on his 1997 income tax return. He donated much more subsequently — and subsequent to people having noticed.

Iranian Ambitions

While much is made of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the bloodiest recent war in the region was between an Arab nation – Iraq – and a non-Arab nation, Iran.

So why would Iran be so interested in insinuating and supporting its Hizbollah surrogates in Lebanon as a tool for goading Israel into attacking terrorists embedded amongst the Lebanese civilians? This tactic presents the Israelis with a choice between doing nothing and taking military action that assures substantial collateral damage. It is a lose-lose situation.

Surrogates have long been used in geopolitical struggles. The rebels in the English colonies served as French surrogates during our revolution. This assistance was not to support the cause of freedom, since Englishmen enjoyed liberties that were universally envied.

Germany attempted to tempt Mexico into war with the United States with the infamous Zimmerman Note. Muslims proved to be willing allies of the Third Reich but their military effectiveness was minimal.

Factions in Afghanistan were used as surrogates by the United States against the Soviet occupiers. Imperial Russia and the British Empire had struggled in the region as part of the Great Game and the process seems to have continued.

But what about Iran?

During World War II, Iran seemed to be a target of Nazi intrigue so there was a measure of Allied intervention. The Soviets seemed interested in staying there after the war and pressure had to be exerted. Oil had made Iran important during the First World War as warships abandoned coal as a fuel.

The local Communist party (Tudeh) seemed to be on the verge of takeover but with some assistance from a certain intelligence agency, the Mossadegh regime was tossed out and the Shah returned. A seemingly soft-hearted and soft-headed Carter Administration did little to support the Shah as radicals took over the country and treated our diplomatic personnel in a manner that justified war.

Is Iran motivated by any rational geopolitical goal or is the restoration of a long-dormant Imperial urge at work?

Nations may rise from subjugation. Poland is such an example. It had a long, proud, and sometimes foolish history. A Polish Army saved Europe from Muslim domination at the second siege of Vienna. Still, Austria, Prussia, and Russia partitioned that nation into oblivion. Yet a cultural heritage was preserved and the Nation reborn.

Crumbled empires have not done that well. Infantile dreams of a young Benito Mussolini may have been triggered by the defeat of Italian forces in Ethiopia. He seemed to view himself as a New Caesar but his military adventures got him nothing of permanent value.

Could it be that some in the ruling circles in Iran have il Duce style dreams of a restored Persian Empire or New Caliphate? Iran qualifies as a crumbled empire. Persian rulers had created a vast empire and longed to vanquish the troublesome Greeks. Intrigue and supposedly overwhelming force appeared likely to succeed against disunited city-states but the Hellenic spirit proved too robust.

Alexander conquered the region but the Hellenized Persia did not wear well. Dynasties came an went. The Parthians came and were the scourge of Rome. During a later dynasty, Ghengis Kahn sent some ambassadors to Persia and they were murdered. Naturally, Ghengis had to teach a painful lesson, one that was forgotten by the Ayaollah and Jimmy Carter.

Persia adopted the almost forgotten faith of Zoroaster. There was hostility towards Roman Catholics but not Nestorian Christians. Islam came in and there were struggles between Sunni and Shia sects.

Dynasties came and went and there were four (if you count the Mossasegh interruption) in the 20th centuries. The Shah was a bit authoritarian and he made short work of folks out to kill him. Under the triumverate of wimpery (Jimmy Carter. Cyrus Vance, and Stansfield Turner) the U S went soft and the late Shah appeared to have been discouraged from dealing vigorously with the Mad Mullahs. The United States endured an affront to our diplomats that demanded a harsh response. Carter and company got the boot.

So what are the strategic objectives of the new Persian rulers?

Why doesn’t the left, which is so supportive of multiculturalism, understand that there are cultural differences?

A Patterico reader styling himself Asinistra took exception to my statement on Patterico’s site:

    Islam today, in it’s Islamic fascist mode, is an aggressive ideology seeking to expand its influence by force and terror; those people need to be fought. An Islam which is not trying to expand by force and terror is perfectly acceptable, and doesn’t need to be fought, save perhaps on the intellectual level.

    Were we seeing two separate Islams, the peaceful Islam on one hand and the aggressively expansionist on the other, there’d be a real reason to differentiate between them. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case today: Islam today, as it is led by the Islamic fascist leaders, has enough of the Islamic world involved in the aggressive version that you might as well say, on a practical level, the fight is against Islam.

Asinistra wrote:

    Geeze, Dana, you mean they’re not showing you “two separate Islams” on FOX? Maybe that’s your effin’ trouble, booby. Surely I can’t be the only one who drifts through this cozy little crackhouse who actually has daily contact with Muslims who I get to see working, studying, playing, and out on the town with the wife and kids.

I replied:

    It’s always amusing to see our liberal friends assume that, if you disagree withe their worldview, you must get your news from Fox. :) ‘Fraid not, A; my usual source is The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Do I know any Muslims? Yeah, kind of do; a man with whom I worked for over a year is a Palestinian Arab, an immigrant from Jerusalem, who is married to an Israeli Jew. I’d trust him not to try to blow up anything, but I also know that he was smart enough to get out of that hell hole and start getting Westernized — as are the Muslims you “get to see working, studying, playing, and out on the town with the wife and kids.”

    There certainly are Arabs who aren’t the least bit interested in killing anybody, and there are plenty who don’t believe the words of the Hamas Covenant, which calls for the destruction of Israel. But even if they are not the numerical minority (and that isn’t a concession; it’s an acknowledgement that no one really knows), they are the political minority, their peaceful intentions completely lost in the cacophany of violence, violence caused by Arabs, in the Middle East.

One of my frequent e-mail correspondents (whose name I will not disclose, since she doesn’t post them publicly) has been adamant that if the Israelis just treat the Palestinians with respect, the Palestinians will respond very positively and that Israel and an independent Palestine can, working together, become the center of a flourishing region. As evidence, she has cited numerous social occasions in which she has met and spoken at length with Palestinians, and been bridge partners with them.

My friend, though she claims to speak several European languages, does not speak Arabic, nor was she ever in the Middle East. And that means she has, at best, dealt with Palestinians who were better educated than most (speaking a European language), wealthier than most (the fact that they were abroad means they had money), and more Westernized than most.

My correspondent, as well as Asinistra, have taken judgements on how Arabs would respond to things based on the Arabs they have met. But the Arabs they have met are, very specifically, as unrepresentative of Arabs in general as a sample of American expatriates living in Paris would be of Americans in general.

I noted this in A letter from an Arab moderate — which will be completely ignored by his Arab brethren. That which seems perfectly reasonable to us Westerners (a Levant partitioned between Israel and the Palestinians, on something close to the old “green line” borders of 1967, with the Arabs recognizing and guaranteeing peaceful coexistence with Israel) is simply not reasonable to the Arabs; to them, it would be an admission and acceptance of defeat.

What I really don’t understrand is how our liberal friends, the ones who tell us about multiculturalism and how we should understand and respect the differences between people, can be so ethnocentric in their political judgements concerning the Middle East. Our liberal friends, who are quick to point out the differences between Western and Arab cultures when the discussion is the war in Iraq, telling us why an occupation intended to be temporary and benevolent, resulting in a democratic Iraq cannot work, seem impossibly blind to Western and Arabic cultural differences when it comes to other issues dealing with Arabs, basing their views on how a Westerner would react, and seemingly unable to realize that an Arab might react differently.