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Perspective on Our War

Walter Williams:

During last week's commemoration of V-J day, I thought about American responses to loss of life in Iraq compared to yesteryear's American response to loss of life in the Pacific. Taking Iwo Jima cost 7,000 American lives and thousands wounded. Okinawa cost the lives of 5,000 sailors, 7,600 soldiers and thousands more wounded.

There were no calls to cut and run and no political attacks on Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Instead, those losses stiffened the backbone and resolve of the American people. But of course, back then, common sense prevailed.

Common sense is not very common.


New Zealand slaughtered Zimbabwe cricket by scoring 397 runs in 44 overs. That's a rate of 9.02 runs per over. Lou Vincent was the gladiator-in-chief. He scored 172 off only 120 balls. He hit 9, count 'em, 9 sixes. At one point it seemed that Zimbabwe would make less runs than Vincent. Though, in the end, they scored 205 runs.

Imagine what the Australians would have done to Zimbabwe. *shudder*

Big Blue Bullet

Carnival of the Vanities #153 is up at The Big Picture.

My post from last Sunday, Give War a Chance is linked. Berry berry good.

A small point
I wasn't very clear in the linked post earlier, so I've added some facts in the second paragraph -- I didn't attend a Saudi public school. I went to a private Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. Rest assured, that doesn't change any of the conclusions made in the post.

Dissimliar Cousins

Damian talks about the differences between two members of the Anglosphere: Canada and Australia. The best point:

... Canadians have reacted to the colossus next door by defining themselves almost exclusively in opposition to the uncouth, warmongering Yanks.

That, I think, is the key difference. Australia doesn't have the US next door for psychological pleasure. Instead, she is close to some very crazy Asian countries. I think the US-Canada situation is somewhat similar to the Australia-New Zealand one. The smaller country, in both cases, is kind of infantile and unhelpful.

Also, read the first comment by John B.

Oddly Enough


I am not a morning person myself. Just take note of the time stamp. I haven't been able to get much done during the day because of repairs in my building. New regulations came in effect which require "fixing" of all the balconies. So, at around 9 a.m. the sweet sounds of jackhammers make their intro. The pumped up bass stops at around 4 p.m. I can't concentrate during this time but strangely I can sleep through it. It's a bittersweet skill of mine. I can sleep through pounding jackhammers (good) and the fire alarm (bad).

I am also working on a website. I have planned the layout and the design of many fonts and it's gonna be all CSS. Muhahaha. Sorry. I find CSS very powerful. Sure, it's a pain in the ass in the beginning but in the long run, the design is kept very neat and tidy. I am not doing this work for a big or commercial site, so I've some wiggle room with the standards. I have a self-imposed deadline of two weeks.

So eerie.

The Wahabbi Horror Show


Then there are the people from Qassim, pronounced Gass-eem. A district centered round Burayda, 200 miles north of Riyadh. Where Wahabbi (who invented our really fun version of Islam) originally came from. Burayda is described in Lonely Planet or the Rough Guide as the "most unfriendly place in Saudi Arabia". And then some. Remember those old movies about creepy New England towns called Spookyburg or Witchville, where some innocent guy wanders in by mistake, it's all knee deep in mist and the silent locals just stare and don't say anything, the guy ends up next morning as a puddle of ectoplasm on the ground? Well Burayda makes those places look like New Orleans. In Mardi Gras.

Some of the stuff there is quite shocking. For example:

Imagine a husband and wife who have lived together as complete strangers for half a century.

Believe it or not, it actually happens here in Saudi Arabia. There are husbands, brothers and sons who have never seen the faces of their own wives, sisters and mothers let alone cousins and aunts. There are wives who never showed their faces to their husbands since they have tied the knot a long or short time ago.

I actually knew a family in Saudi Arabia who enforced gender apartheid in their home. It was not simply about different rooms for the two sexes. The girls in that family had to start covering themselves in their pre-teens all the time, even when they were indoors! I knew this kid who told me that he hadn't "seen" his sister in years. His voice was filled with tremendous sadness when he said that.

Measuring Academic Laziness

I once wrote a small, kinda amateurish, research paper in which I discussed teaching efficiency. I used four factors for "measuring" the efficiency of a teacher.

  1. The salary of the instructor.
  2. The average grade of the class.
  3. The student evaluations.
  4. Peer review.

I put the highest emphasis on the peer review since it's the other instructors / professors who can tell whether one is really and vigorously teaching or simply passing out high grades for the sake of peace and popularity. So, one could have a high average grade from their class and super student evaluations but be *less* efficient when compared to another instructor whose class got a lower average grade and okay student evaluations.

Joe Sabia, an assistant professor of consumer economics, also talks about this idea in a column at FrontPage.

The Condescension of the Left

Mark Steyn:

They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as "children." If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the broadloom in Bill Clinton's Oval Office, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee "child" who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing.

And remember, the Left "supports the troops."

The Poor and Pathetic Paul

The American Thinker:

The first is the most important:  what would have happened had the US Supreme Court not intervened, and stopped the manual recount of the undervote going on statewide?

Krugman's answer is that George Bush would have still been declared the winner. One really need not go any further than this. It is the only useful and completely truthful item in this column and by far the most important. For five years, the left and the Democratic Party have been screaming that the Supreme Court awarded the Presidency to George Bush. Here, the leader of the howling lefty pack, says this is not so.

Read further for more baloney.

Krugman and the NYTimes should take the advice offered by Neptunus Lex.

Herr Doofus

Suzanne Fields:

"Prior to the last German election," reports der Spiegel, the German newsmagazine, "Gerhard Schroder went on the offensive against U.S. military intervention in Iraq, and now — like the leopard who cannot change his spots — Schroder has pulled the same trick again, warning the U.S. against an invasion of Iran."

I don't think the German public will be tricked again. Not after the predictions of a minuscule 1% GDP growth rate for 2005 and an unemployment rate of over 11%.

Moving on to foreign affairs:

A foreign-policy spokesman for another dissenting party agrees: "The subject is too serious for it to be introduced into the German election campaign, in any form." At the moment, the leader of Germany, along with those of France and even Britain, is trying to wipe away the traces of Iranian egg. Only two years ago the foreign ministers of the three countries returned home, having persuaded Iran to suspend temporarily its uranium conversion and enrichment program, sounding a lot like Neville Chamberlain after Munich, declaring that their "soft diplomacy" worked. Now they're all decrying betrayal.

Sheesh. Do the Europeans ever learn? Stop appeasing evil! (But then you'll have to admit to the Iranian regime as being eeevil and we can't have that because that would be sooo...American. *gasp*)

Dark Times Lie Ahead

Gavriel nurtures the hope for more peaceful Palestinians.

There are certainly Palestinian individuals who're serene but that's not the issue. The important question is will the Palestinian society accept an Israeli (Jewish-majority) state?

No, they will not.

Let me elaborate. After reading about Israel and "the Occupied Territories" for years, I've come to the following depressing conclusion:

Any political leader of the Palestinians will not agree to the existence of Israel because
A. He agrees with the Islamist terrorists such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
- OR -
B. He is not of the terrorist mindset but risks losing political control, and his life, if he does go against the Islamist terrorists.

Either way, it's useless for the Israelis to actually negotiate with the top Palestinian politician. If its A., then he'll simply be lying for time and money.

If its B., then he won't be able to deliver on his security promises. Think about it, if you had the choice between the ire of the Israelis or the thugs of Hamas on your trail, which will you choose?

That's what life is like for millions of Muslims around the globe. They simply want to work, feed their families, and play soccer. They couldn't care less about the infidels. But the Islamists, who have the guns, want to impose Sharia and drag the entire society into Jihad. It's the Muslims, in absolute numbers, who suffer the most.

Even though, a Muslim guy won't agree with the Islamist goons, he most likely won't speak against them for fear of retaliation. The West is a highly individualistic society. However, the Muslim world is more tribal / family based. The consequences for simply speaking up against the Islamists can be dangerous for one's mother or nieces or sisters or daughters. It's often the family members who tell the lone liberal Rambo to shut up before he "hurts" someone close.

So, there are, no doubt, thousands of Palestinians who just want peace. But they won't dare oppose the Islamists hissing over them.

Deprave Old World

Read this and shudder:

New Delhi, August 18: A teacher stabbed a pencil into the head of a four-year-old after she caught him sleeping. An incision had to be made to remove a piece of lead from the boy’s head.

I found the story at this post. It might be shocking for Westerners to read the comments. Most of the commentators are relaying their experiences of abuse.

I have been hit countless times as well. I leave you with the worst that I've witnessed. I wasn't on the receiving end.

Our Urdu teacher was once talking to a few students in the front of the class. A few rows back, a student was causing a ruckus. The bearded teacher told him to shut up and he piped down for a few minutes. The teacher called him by name the second time and again he was quite for a short while.

Finally, the teacher had had enough. He got up. The entire class went silent. He went over to the student and started slapping him. The student covered his face. The teacher started to slap and punch him on the neck and the back with each hit more forceful than the last. The kid sitting next to the student got up from the desk. The teacher kept on brutally beating the student. The student started crying and fell to the ground within the desk. The teacher grabbed the front of the desk with his left hand and the back with his right. He now started to kick the bawling student. He kicked the student for about 20 seconds. He then went to his desk while swearing. No one said a word.

Tragedy, Again

Belmont Club:

Auden in his famous poem September 1, 1939 felt it necessary to apologize for Versailles even as the Panzers were rolling across Poland.

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

The return of Gaza to the Arabs, replete with UN funded banners proclaiming "Gaza Today. The West Bank and Jerusalem Tomorrow" underlines the historical parallel.

The comparison is most apt.

Give War a Chance

Pejman linked to this story in the LA Times [registration required; BugMeNot]. The article describes the teaching of hatred and Jihad in Pakistani public schools. You can think of them as madrassa-lite. The Quran and the various Islamic rulings are beaten into you at the madrassas whereas the public schools are slightly more geared towards languages, science, and arithmetic.

My curriculum in Saudi Arabia was heavily modeled after the books used in the Punjab province of Pakistan. This was because I went to a Pakistani school in Saudi Arabia. The full name of the school: Saudi Arabian International School - Pakistani Section. One goes to college after finishing their grade 10 education in Pakistan and such was the case at my school. So, for Pakistanis it's K-10 and then off to supposedly higher education. I "studied" through in those 10 years. Here, I'm going to comment on the kind of material taught in non-Islamic courses. Bonus: At the end, I'll talk about another lovely Pakistani policy.

Our Urdu textbooks always began with a combination of an Islamic poem and some odd story of Muhammad. Note, that's for a course in a language. Furthermore, I distinctly remember reading about the various Pakistani shaheed (read: martyrs) during the wars between India. There were eight men who had won the highest reward and thus we read about their, likely, sugar-coated endeavors.

We learned of the subcontinent's history through the Social Studies course. The arc of history was simple. The merciful Muslim Mughals ruled the richest country in the world. The English came over and took advantage of weak Muslims and Hindus to usurp power for themselves. Then followed over 100 years of Muslim misery. The Muslims during this era are portrayed as victims of both the Hindus and, the true overlords, the Brits.

The history of the 20th century is particularly warped. The wretchedness of the minority Muslims is well pronounced. The partition in 1947 is not pleasant. Kashmir is, of course, the big thorn. Though, once our Urdu teacher illuminated a certain type of thinking. "The English came to the subcontinent and took control from the Mughals. When the English left in 1947, they should have given control back to the Muslims. That would have been justice."

No, that would have been genocide.

Pakistanis never learn about "the other" who suffered the most during the 1930s and the 40s. History is shown as perpetually biased towards the Muslims. The Jewish - Christian - Infidel Axis is always keeping "the Muslim" down. This is openly taught in our Urdu and Social Studies courses.

The Arabic and Islamiyat classes pass along the same message with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. Good Muslims don't make friends with Jews and Christians since they're not trustworthy. Plus, the Jews and Christians have a long-standing -- and totally secret -- pact to be eternally against the Muslims. Tens, perhaps hundreds, of millions of Muslim kids are being nourished on this hatred around the globe.

This "way of thinking" works in insidious ways. For example, when Westerners recoil at such an education and demand a non-hate-filled curriculum, the many Muslims think, "Hmm, it's the wily infidels again. They're trying to change my pure and Islamic teaching with their dirty ways. Ergo, don't change the curriculum!" Just read this from the LA Times article:

A study of the public school curriculum and textbooks by 29 Pakistani academics in 2002 concluded that public school "textbooks tell lies, create hatred, inculcate militancy and much more."

The study by the independent Sustainable Development Policy Institute angered religious conservatives, and even a few liberals, who saw it as an attack on the country's Islamic values, or even a plot by Western governments and rival India to subvert the Islamic state.

It's simple, the Westerners, and by extension their stooges (Musharraf), are not to be trusted. But when someone like George Galloway slobbers all over the Islamists, the same Muslims think, "AHA, I knew it, the infidels are raping Afghanistan and Iraq for a gas pipeline and oil."

It's Monty Pythonish, think Life of Brian. Only this time, it's not a comedy.

Musharraf is not going to tackle this hatred. The hatred of Jews and the suffering of Muslims is at the center of popular thought in the country. Those who don't hate the Jews are the extremists. Those who don't think that becoming a martyr is THE BEST THING EVER are out of the mainstream in Pakistan.

The Pakistanis will simply write new editions of books with a few modified practice questions but the venom will still be there. Musharraf can be pressured to make a few thumping speeches but with no follow through. He cares about his neck more than the West's rhetorical ire. I don't think there is a peaceful solution. The West must use force to stop the conveyor belt of hatred and terrorism. Sooner or later, we'll have to de-Islamify the Pakistani political sphere.

Another Policy Exploding with Love
Ahmadis are Muslims who simply believe that Muhammad was not THE last Prophet of Allah. That is reason enough for every Pakistani government agency to openly discriminate against them. For instance, if a Pakistani needs a new passport in Canada, then he must be in agreement with the following section [pdf]:

I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last of the prophets. I do not recognize any person who claims to be a prophet in any sense of the word or of any description what so ever after Muhammad (peace be upon him) or recognize such a claimant as prophet or religious reformer as a Muslim. I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmed Qadiani to be an imposter nabi [Prophet] and also consider his followers, whether belonging to the Lahori or Qadiani group to be non Muslims.

Yup, you read that right. The Lahoris or the Qadianis or the Ahmadis are to be treated as non-Muslims in Pakistan. They have to reject their beliefs in order to escape Dhimmi treatment.

I bet that Musharraf is not going to change this Islamic practice either.

Speaking of medieval Islamic practices, Nasreen Bukhari is so very brave to stand up for herself. The MSM should showcase such personalities in the Muslim world.

Transportation to Paradise

A Saudi tells us of his unsuccessful attempt to get 72 virgins.

The man described the procedures as "primitive and arbitrary" and usually depend on luck and coincidences; men willing to become jihadists travel to town near the Iraqi borders where they are identified (from their looks) and spoken to by the recruiting agents who ask them what they they're doing here and so a deal is made.
For example this guy paid 5,000 Saudi Riyal (~1,700 $) just to be taken 30 miles beyond the Iraqi borders but his journey failed.

These type of businesses must be booming at the borders of Iraq. The only work one has to do is simply transport deluded -- and affluent -- Jihadists into Iraq and presto you've made more money in a day than most Iraqis make in a year.

So very sad.

The Noble Among Us

David Adesnik:

How could an actual Guardsman from Arksanas, just 23 years old, who suffered through twelve months in Iraq, feel that way about the war?

It is indeed odd that the Americans in Iraq are more optimistic and proud of the Iraq Battle than the Americans at home. The MSM is in large part responsible for such an outcome. The Hollywood war movies in the near future are not going to help the situation.

An American soldier in Iraq will never give up. However, the same can't be said of an American citizen in the US.

Inappropriate Public Service

Gene Weingarten provides valuable and much needed information about the Supreme Court Justices. For example:

The scrawny little Jewish lady. She is 3-foot-4 and weighs less than an adolescent Dalmatian. Unlike the black guy, she does speak in court, but is never actually seen. She is the most liberal member of the court, favoring mandatory abortions. I find her kind of hot.

That's just wrong.

The T-800 and The T-Rex

John Hawkins picks the 10 Greatest Action Sequences of All-Time.

I haven't watched two of them; Fist of Legend and The Killers.

I wouldn't have put Troy and The Matrix Revolutions on there. Instead, the two that should be on the list:

  1. Terminator 2. The greatest sequel in history in my humble opinion. I remember, at the age of 10, watching this movie numerous times in Saudi Arabia. The destruction of the SkyNet building and the many police cars with 0.0 casualties is totally awesome. The scattered T-1000 coming together is one of the finest action / CGI scenes ever. Trust me.
  2. Jurassic Park. This movie was sensational. I finally got to watch it five years ago. The first half introduces us to the various characters. After half the movie is over, Spielberg unleashes the T-Rex. The DTS audio still scares grown men. When the blood-sucking lawyer is scooped up, the reaction is instant: MY GOD, THE T-REX ATE HIM, HE ATE HIM! That's how real it felt.

The Iraqis are Not Alone


Iraq has reached its “Germany moment.” After tyranny, then war, then occupation, the country is about to stand — or fall — on its own, as West Germany did in 1948. It’s easy to forget how much nail-biting accompanied those first baby steps.

History offers a somewhat soothing perspective. I just wish the MSM could show some perspective instead of their sensational doom-and-gloom reporting.

The Yearning for Liberty

Peter Mork:

... I could also see that these people [the Cubans] were thirsty for ideas. They asked us many questions about life in the U.S., and with these conversations I could sense their discontent. Milton Friedman has made clear throughout his career that one cannot separate economic and political freedom. These discussions were living proof of that concept.

The U of C stealthily makes another appearance today.

The Destruction of Logic

The horror:

Tony Blair held a press conference in which he announced a clampdown on people with extreme opinions in response to last month’s terrorist attacks in London. He intends to prohibit the glorification or condonement of terrorist attacks here or abroad, to deport supporters of violence subject to some “memorandum of understanding” with the dictatorships of the middle east, close down mosques which are known for preaching violence, and ban Hizbut-Tahreer and al-Muhajiroun and its successor groups.

Pretty much every part of this announcement is disturbing. It’s yet another example of the authoritarian streak in New Labour and in Blair particularly, which has been in evidence since Blair took leadership of his party, and more so since the 1997 election. It appears to be not merely a “turning point in British postwar liberalism” but the end of British liberal democracy as we know it.

AT Webby brings the counterargument:

It never ceases to amaze me how many Muslims love to rile against British (and other Western) governments when it comes to issues of human rights and freedom of speech. Just the other day, the spokesman of HT was harping on about how this is a totalitarian move, and the death of democracy. You’ve now said that same on your blog.

I’m sorry, the hypocrisy is astounding. As if those same Muslims would allow anybody, non-Muslim or not, the same rights in their utopian khilafa. Khilafa is a benevolent dictatorship, and the rules of what you can and can’t do are well known.

It has been made very clear by numerous Muslim organizations in Britain that Sharia and the Caliphate, with the ruler known as Calipha or Khalifa, is not desired by only extremists. The mainstream Muslim themselves believe in, and want, this monstrosity. The main difference between the terrorists and "the moderates" is their means of achieving the Islamic utopia. They both sadly have the same evil goals.

The Chinese Nemesis

Gateway Pundit has some amazing photos of the long gas line-ups in China. Folks in the comments talk about the inefficiency of China's energy sector and the artificially low prices for energy. This comment from Paul Schlick caught my eye:

If I recall history correctly, one of Japan's main motivations for its aggression that promulgated WWII in the Pacific was grabbing oil and gas fields to meet the needs of its energy-starved nation. Today we have China's booming economy leading to energy demands that it cannot meet. ... There have been recent stories about China's dramatic military build-up, some of which apparently caught U.S. China-watchers by surprise. It makes you wonder what they're up to.

They're up to no good.

Patently Absurd

John Stossel on calories and suggested servings:

None of the food companies that used the deceptive labels would talk to me about this, which is too bad because I'd love to know how an olive company came up with 1.5 olives as its serving size. A jar of smaller olives, which lists 14 as a serving, seems a lot more honest. Who would ever eat 1.5 olives?