Israel’s Elections – Votes For War — Or Peace?

Israel’s Elections – Votes For War — Or Peace?
Vol: 16 Issue: 31 Friday, January 31, 2003

Ariel Sharon’s re-election received widespread global condemnation from Israel’s enemies, who say Sharon’s victory is proof positive that the Israeli people have rejected peace.

The defeat of the left wing Labor party wasn’t merely a defeat — it was a route. It was also a repudiation of the policy platform of Labor Party candidate Amram Mitzna.

Mitzna favored an immediate return to the negotiation table with Yasser Arafat, the dismantling of Israeli ‘settlements’ in areas under Palestinian control and an unconditional withdrawal and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Labor says that its policy was not rewarding terror, but was instead a ‘return to the spirit of Oslo’.

Israeli voters saw it differently — but not for the reasons being advanced by Israel’s detractors, who claim it is because Israel was never serious about peace.

The real reasons are only obvious to the people who will be most directly effected by Mitzna’s policies.

Mitzna and his Labor Party were not defeated for reasons of ideology, but for reasons of practicality.

They have lived with the consequences of compromise with the Palestinians already.

In 1996, Israel, under the leadership of Labor Prime Minister Shimon Peres (one of the architects of Oslo) had just pulled Israel’s army out of six of the seven West Bank cities and agreed to expand the year-old Palestinian Authority — against the advice of several security advisers.

The result was the bloodiest week in Israel’s history — to that time — when Palestinian terrorists killed fifty and wounded hundreds.

The ostensible reason for the resulting terror was the seventh West Bank city Israel had not withdrawn from.

More recently was when Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak fulfilled his campaign promise to pull Israel out of its security zone in South Lebanon. He offered major concessions to Palestinian negotiators at Camp David in exchange for a permanent peace.

The result was a Lebanese Hezbollah with rockets that can nearly reach Tel Aviv, and the greatest terror war the world has ever known.

Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians what amounted to 95% of what they had been demanding, including virtually all of the West Bank and Gaza and a Palestinian state.

Arafat rejected it because it did not included the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from lands held by Arabs and the right of return (to Israel, not to Palestinian controlled territory) of every Arab who claimed refugee status since 1948 and their descendents.

Had Barak agreed to that, Israeli Jews would immediately be outnumbered by Arabs. Israel, being a democracy, would immediately be voted out of existence by the new Arab majority (none of whom had lived there in a half century, if ever) and the Jewish state would cease to exist.

Incidentally, the only democracy in the Middle East would also cease to exist, unless anybody is prepared to argue that the Palestinian Authority of Yasser Arafat is a democracy.

Assessment:

Israeli rejection of the policies of Labor was not a rejection of peace. It was a rejection of failed policies based on practical lessons learned the hard way.

The Israeli army had abandoned Palestinian cities (on the eve of the Oslo War, more than 90 percent of West Bank Palestinians were living under partial or full Palestinian control), and has been subsequently forced to re-occupy them.

Tax credits due the Palestinian Authority have been withheld, as Israel refused to fund the murderous terror campaign being directed against it — but only after hundreds of millions of shekels were transferred to Yasser Arafat’s Tel Aviv bank account and suddenly, well-funded terrorists launched the current war that has claimed thousands of lives.

The lessons for Israel were clear: concession is interpreted as weakness, and land-for-peace quickly becomes land-for-blood. As a result, many Israelis have abandoned the traditional formula as articulated by Labor.

Those who interpret Sharon’s election as a vote against peace misunderstand the issue: Israel has rejected precisely the notion that peace can entail the wholesale murder of civilians.

Israelis equally reject the possibility of peace with Yasser Arafat, who most Israelis believe to be in direct control of many terrorist forces, such as the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, or at least tolerant of those forces not under his command, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

In the Middle East, actions speak louder than words, and the widely publicized acceptance of a “two-state solution” in 1998 has long been replaced by the threats and actions of Palestinian officials unable to reconcile themselves to peaceful co-existence with a Jewish state.

Diplomats and homicide-bombers alike have demonstrated they have not abandoned the terrorist ways they openly espoused for decades, and that the Oslo accords were, in the oft-repeated words of Yasser Arafat, comparable to the Koranic tale of the Prophet Muhammad’s deal with the Quraysh tribe — temporary.

Israel continues to seek a peaceful solution to the 4,000 year-old blood feud between the sons of Abraham.

But that peace continues to elude them. Peace won’t come to Israel until the Prince of Peace returns to restore it.

Hard words, but that is what the Bible says. Bible prophecy cannot be broken.

What is taking place today in Israel is a consequence of Israel’s disobedience going back to the days of Joshua, when the Israelis disobeyed God’s command to cleanse the land of idolatry.

“Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. ” (Joshua 2:3)

One Final Muse . . .

We made it home, safe and sound. Thank you for your prayers — the Lord granted us many journey mercies on the trip, keeping us safe despite the bad weather and the factory explosion in Kinston, NC (that occurred only minutes after we passed through town).

This morning, just as I was putting the finishing touches on your Omega Letter, tiny feet padded across the room from behind me.

“Gwanddad! The sun is up!”

The rest of the world is a mess. But for me, right here and right now, all is right in my world. “The sun is up!”

I pray the same for each of you.

A Tale of Two Unions

A Tale of Two Unions
Vol: 16 Issue: 30 Thursday, January 30, 2003

The Democrats have evidently decided to set up their own Executive Branch, since they can’t quite get used to the idea that they are no longer in power. Since Their Guy left office (well, actually, he took a lot of his office with him in his suitcases), they have taken to offering what they call an Alternative State of the Union that they have presented for each of the first three years of the Bush presidency.

It is a fascinating concept – an ‘alternative’ state of the union, but it makes one question how the Union can be in two different states simultaneously.

The State of the Union address is a report to the Congress from the President outlining America’s state of being. So there is much that can be learned simply from the fact that the Democrats are offering an alternative state of being. (I thought you had to smoke something to achieve that state, but who knows?)

The Alternative State of the Union this year is championed by California Representative Nancy Pelosi, who represents the most liberal district in California. Think about that for a second – how liberal would that be? Liberal enough to believe that America can exist on two levels in two different states of existence. At the same time.

In the one state, where the Republicans are in charge, everything is bad. Everything. But in their Union, everything is used to be perfect until the Republicans took control of the White House and both Houses of Congress, which they chalk up to the fact that they haven’t been liberal enough. That’s why Nancy Pelosi believes she got to be Democratic Minority Leader in the first place.

It isn’t because more people wanted the Republicans than wanted the Democrats. To a liberal, the obvious answer is always the least likely. And the crazier that alternative explanation, the better they like it.

In their altered state, more people voted for the Republicans because the Democrats aren’t liberal enough so they are going to liberal us to death.

Those in the Altered State call themselves ‘Progressive’ and the road to progress is easy to find.

Just look to see what road George Bush is on and take any other road. To the Progressives, a tax cut is a ‘giveaway’ because Progressive thinkers know that your tax dollars aren’t really yours – to them everything you earn belongs to the government.

You don’t pay taxes out of your income. Your income is really the part the government pays you by not taking it. To the Progressive in the Altered State, giving every American the same percentage of their taxes back is unfair, because it amounts to a tax break for the rich.

The mathematical principle that shows the percentage of a large income is more money than the percentage of a small income goes by the wayside in favor of the principle that earned income was never yours in the first place, as we’ve already seen.

So it is incumbent on the Progressives to ensure that those who earn more money than they think is reasonable have that income taken from them and distributed to those who earn less.

It is under this principle that in the old Soviet Union, the standard joke was “we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us.” Of course, we know that doesn’t work, since Communism as a viable political system has collapsed everywhere except North Korea and Cuba – two excellent examples of the effects of wealth redistribution by the state.

Which is why the principle of tax cuts drives them ballistic.

The Progressives in the Altered State believe that a fair system would be targeted tax cuts. What targeted tax cuts means is this. Only one segment of the population deserves a fair shake.

They scoff at the idea that giving the same percentage of taxes back to the ‘wealthy’ as to the ‘poor’ will do anything to stimulate the economy, since only the poor will spend it. The rich will just put it under their mattresses.

Assessment:

Several things are important to consider here. The first is the fact that the top five percent of income earners in the United States pay 95% of the taxes. The second thing to consider is who the Progressives in the Altered State identify as being ‘rich.’ For example, if you make as much money as a freshman Congressman, you are very rich. If you make less than $100K a year, you are pretty rich. If you make half that much, you are moderately rich. None of these categories are entitled to have the government give them any of their money back because they won’t spend it and stimulate the economy.

Because they already have all the money they can spend now, don’t you know.

If you are on welfare, you deserve a tax cut. If you work at McDonald’s, then the $300 you get back from the government will get spent and stimulate the economy.

If you are ‘rich’ and you invest your tax cut, it only benefits other ‘rich’ people who don’t deserve it. But let one of these rich guys lay off employees because he can’t afford to pay both the employee and the government and Pelosi can demonstrate that it is George Bush’s fault.

This probably doesn’t make very much sense to you if you make enough money to qualify as being ‘rich’. But don’t worry. Pelosi explains patiently that the reason it doesn’t make sense is because its really the Republicans engaging in class warfare.

All the Progressives in the Altered State want to do is make sure that the working class is told over and over again that the biggest tax cuts go to the richest Americans who don’t really need them – cause that isn’t class warfare.

Here’s what the Progressives in the Altered State of the Union think is the right prescription for America. (My translation in parentheses).

* Progressives believe that a war with Iraq is unjustified and the U.S. should halt the war preparations. Instead, the U.S. should strongly support the UN inspectors in Iraq. (Because Progressives believe the Altered State is not sovereign, but is instead subordinate to the UN. Forget all that outdated Constitutional stuff).

* Progressives believe that the national economy is in serious trouble and needs a genuine stimulus. The stimulus must be large, it must jump-start the economy immediately, it must create new jobs, it must be fair; it must put money in the pockets of the majority of Americans, and it should target neglected areas of society, such as housing, schools, and water systems. (The Bush tax cut doesn’t PUT money into the pockets of the majority of Americans – it LEAVES money in the pockets of ALL Americans – unfair to the Progressive mind)

* Progressives believe all Americans deserve a guarantee of high quality, affordable, health care. With the failure of the private market to deliver health care to 41 million Americans and affordable pharmaceuticals to senior citizens, Medicare should be improved and expanded to give high quality health care to every American and a prescription drug benefit to seniors. (Progressives don’t like the idea of anything being privately owned – the government can do a much better job. That’s why the government regularly shells out hundreds of dollars each for expensive equipment like screwdrivers and toilet seats.

* Progressives believe that jobs should pay living wages, that people be more easily able to form unions and bargain collectively with their employers and that the federal government should guarantee Social Security with the “full faith and credit of the United States.”

(Progressives don’t think the government should leave employers with enough money after taxes to do this, though. The progressives prefer collective ‘bargaining’ – which is one reason that the only working Americans who can afford a new car are autoworkers. Progressives believe that the government should guarantee Social Security — on credit, while at the same time, spending the Social Security surpluses to pay for things like Medicare)

* Progressives in Congress believe that Americans should be assured of strong civil rights and liberties, including reproductive choice. (Progressives believe in strong civil rights and liberties, unless one claims one of those rights is the ‘right to life’ – in which case the ‘right to choice’ is jeopardized. Progressives have yet to actually ask a baby if it minded being brutally murdered and ripped from the mother’s womb — so much for ‘choice’)

Here’s how the Progressives sum up the Altered State of the Union, rather than the cowardly, cold and unfeeling State of the Union presented by the President:

“America, gather up your courage. We can make America a better place. The future can be better than the past. There is an alternative to the Bush Administration.”

Someone should point out to the Progressives that their alternative sounds better when explained in the native Russian from which it was lifted.

Musing Right Along . . .

Well, it’s over. Almost. We stopped for the night in Hagerstown, Maryland on the trek home. (The Hagerstown area was our original destination, until we decided to keep going until we could see grass instead of snow) LOL! We ended up spending the coldest, snowiest week the North Carolina coast had seen in ten years.

The day we left was the first day the mercury was above freezing since we arrived. But we were able to walk the beach, pick up some seashells and do a few ‘touristy’ things. But staying in our hotel afforded us some time to make some wonderful new friends, and to really get a ‘feel’ for what the heartland genuinely feels about the war against terror.

Virtually everyone on the island is either in the Marines or is related to someone in the Marine Corps. And absolutely no one we met was without an INFORMED opinion. (That was refreshing in the extreme, even when that opinion was different than mine)

God was VERY good to us on this trip. He arranged things so that the entire trip was one of interaction and experience.

I am sorry it is over, although I can hardly wait to get home and see my grandson Bailey.

We have a rule at our house, since Bailey is only three. He can’t get up unless the sun is up. As I’ve mentioned previously, each morning, Bailey will pad up to my office, stand at my elbow (after I’ve been a work for hours in the absolute silence only found in the pre-dawn hours) and loudly announce, “Gwanddad! The sun is up!”

I peel myself from the ceiling, and Bailey and I go down and celebrate the birth of a new day.

I loved my vacation, but I’ve really missed that celebration.

I can hardly wait to get home and find out if the sun came up all those mornings when I wasn’t home.

God bless you all for your indulgence affording me the opportunity to indulge Gayle. (And me). And thank you.

From the bottom of my heart.

‘Free People Will Set the Course of History’

‘Free People Will Set the Course of History’
Vol: 16 Issue: 29 Wednesday, January 29, 2003

When President Bush began his 17 minute explanation of why America could not ignore Saddam Hussein in his State of the Union speech, a pin dropping in the well of the Senate would have sounded like a gunshot. “The course of this nation does not depend on the decisions of others” he said, reminding the UN and the rest of America that the US has NOT surrendered its sovereignty, even if Tom Daschle and Ted Kennedy believe it has.

“The world has waited 12 years for Iraq to disarm,” he said. “America will not accept a serious and mounting threat to our country, our friends and our allies. The United States will ask the U.N. Security Council to convene on February 5th to consider the facts of Iraq’s ongoing defiance of the world. Secretary of State (Colin) Powell will present information and intelligence about Iraq’s illegal weapons programs; its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors; and its links to terrorist groups. We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people, and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.”

The president’s approval numbers, which were hovering in the high 50’s during the speech, rocketed to 81% by the time he had finished laying out the game plan for the next 12 months to the people of America. The President was interrupted 77 times by applause.

Assessment:

I noted two things that were remarkable about this year’s State of the Union speech. The first was the half-hour Susan Sarandon bought (financed by Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream) just before the president’s speech to slam him before anybody even knew what he was going to say.

The second was the human sacrifice sent out by the Democrats to fall on his sword for the party afterwards.

Picking Governor Gary Locke of Washington state to deliver the party’s response to President Bush’s State of the Union address said much more than the lame effort at rebuttal. It said that nobody in the House or Senate had the courage to do it themselves. Except Ted Kennedy, who was clearly hoping everybody had turned off the TV after the President was done speaking.

Neither Locke’s rebuttal nor the Daschle-Pelosi “prebuttal” sounded like the sort of rip-roaring alternative that might energize opponents of the administration policies in Washington or beyond.

Musing Right Along . . .

This is a really short OL on a morning when it should be a long one. Forgive me. We’re on the road again, headed home. Gayle has everything packed and lined up near the front door to our hotel room.

Time for one lingering look at the Atlantic waves crashing on the beach. . . and we’re off.

Please pray for journey mercies for us as we start the long trek home. We’ll keep you posted.

What WOULD BE a Smoking Gun?

What WOULD BE a Smoking Gun?
Vol: 16 Issue: 28 Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Hans Blix has given what he calls his ‘update’ on the progress (or lack thereof) of the UNMOVIC inspection team following almost two months of an international game of cat and mouse.

Everybody has been waiting for the ‘smoking gun’ report from UNMOVIC head Hans Blix. While some might argue that no smoking gun was produced, when he finished, there was a definite whiff of cordite hanging over the Security Council chamber.

Blix issued a surprisingly tough assessment of Iraq’s performance in the two months since the inspections resumed after a four-year pause. Blix began by saying, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it.”

Among the findings of the Blix report was the refusal of Iraqi scientists to consent to private interviews. Not one interview guaranteed by Resolution 1441 has been granted.

According to Resolution 1441, any false statements or omissions in Iraq’s arms declaration, coupled with a failure to comply with and cooperate fully in the implementation of the resolution, would place Baghdad in material breach of its obligations.

Blix essentially told the Security Council the December Iraqi weapons declaration declared nothing.

Blix said, Iraq’s 12,000-page arms declaration was filled with inconsistencies, contradictions and old material.

Blix cited Iraqi non-compliance concerning surveillance flights mandated by 1441.

Blix said that more than 6500 bombs containing VX gas has not been accounted for.

Blix noted that Iraq’s denial it had weaponized VX was a lie.

Blix said there is no evidence that Iraq destroyed its declared stockpile of anthrax – some eight thousand five hundred liters of it.

Moreover, he said that there are indications Iraq produced more anthrax than it declared. Three thousand pages of documents discovered in a private home support the allegation Iraq is hiding its weapons programs in homes throughout Iraq.

Also among Blix’s findings: Iraq is not so far complying with our requests. I hope this attitude will change. He noted that inspectors, off duty and out of uniform, visited a Baghdad mosque. Blix noted the inspectors were welcomed, shown around and were invited to return. Shortly thereafter, official protests were lodged by the Iraqis saying the inspectors forced their way in to the mosque and desecrated it by their presence.

Blix had this to say of the incident. Demonstrations and outbursts of this kind are unlikely to occur in Iraq with initiative or encouragement from the authorities. We must ask ourselves what the motives may before these events. They do not facilitate an already difficult job, in which we try to be effective, professional, and at the same time correct. Where our Iraqi counter parties have some complaint, they can take it up in a calmer and less unpleasant manner.

Further, Blix reported, Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1441 states that this cooperation shall be, quote/unquote, active. It is not enough to open doors. Inspection is not a game of catch as catch can. Rather, as I noted, it is a process of verification for the purpose of creating confidence. It is not built upon the premise of trust. Rather, it is designed to lead to trust, if there is both openness to the inspectors and action to present them with items to destroy or credible evidence about the absence of any such items.

(Note that Blix reminded the Security Council (and the world) in no uncertain terms that Iraq does NOT enjoy the presumption of innocence. It is up to Iraq to prove it destroyed its WMD arsenal, not the other way around. Not that the Security Council was listening. )

Blix said, The discovery of chemical warheads prohibited under previous resolutions did not mean Iraq didn’t have more. According to Blix those discoveries were actually the tip of the iceberg. While Blix did not use the words material breach there is no other way to describe failure to comply with Resolution 1441. And Blix DID use the words Failure to comply to describe Iraq’s behavior so far.

Assessment:

Given all that information, the United Nations did not rise enmasse, indignant with the cavalier attitude exhibited by Iraq to the UN’s stern, ‘last chance to have a last chance’ but rather, argued that Iraq should have one more last, last, we-really-mean-it-this-time last chance.

El Baradei asked for several more months for the inspectors to do their work. He was joined by Canada, France, Germany, Russia, China etc., in his call to allow the inspectors more time.

Saddam must have been dancing in one of his palaces at the news.

Let’s try and boil it down, one more time. IF more time is granted, and the inspectors are unable to find where Saddam hid 6500 VX bombs or 8000 litres of anthrax, then Saddam is safe since we can’t find anything.

IF more time is granted and the inspectors DO find more evidence of weapons of mass destruction, then Saddam is safe since the inspection regime can be said to be working.

In either case, Saddam is safe to continue to do all the things he is doing right now. The fact the UN resolutions are rendered meaningless by this tactic somehow escapes the brilliant logicians at the UN who are advancing this bit of circular logic.

It isn’t a case of my being eager for war, lest anyone misunderstand. I am simply slowing down the spin cycle so we can see what is currently being tumbled at high fluff.

Because spinning reality doesn’t change it. It just makes it seem less real.

And therefore that much more dangerous.

Musing Right Along . . .

We were planning to pack up and head for home today, but for some reason, I was unable to sleep a wink all night. I tossed and turned, but sleep never came.

We don’t mind, although we were anxious to get home to see the kids. The Lord knows what He is doing. Somewhere along the road between here and home is an accident I won’t be in today.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

Even sleepless nights.

Bioterror Attack “Inevitable” Says US

Bioterror Attack “Inevitable” Says US
Vol: 16 Issue: 27 Monday, January 27, 2003

US Secretary of Health and Human Services warned on Sunday night that a bioweapon attack against America was ‘inevitable’. As I type these words, the impact of what that really means is starting to really sink in. A bioweapons attack against America is ‘inevitable’. Hoo-boy!

“There is going to be an attack. Whether it is in western Europe, the US, Africa, Asia or wherever, you have got to anticipate that there is going to be a bioterrorism attack and the only way to defend yourself is by getting prepared,” Thompson told reporters during an interview at the Davos economic summit.

We’ve already been subjected to bioterrorism. Remember the anthrax attacks? It was no picnic wondering if the mailman was delivering junk mail or death in an envelope.

Since then, the US has purchased enough smallpox vaccine for the entire population, stockpiled antibiotics and other drugs at 12 sites within seven hours’ reach of any community, and is seeking new vaccines for botulism, haemorrhagic fever viruses, plague and anthrax.

Thompson said an attack could come in the form of “a bioterrorism agent, a chemical dispersal or a radiological one”. Smallpox was the most devastating threat because of its contagious nature, he said, but poisoning of food with ricin was a great concern.

But with all of that, we aren’t ready. There are plenty of other bioweapons that could be used against us.

The feds have done plenty, including retrofitting environmental monitors in the hope they will provide early warning if smallpox, anthrax or other deadly germs are released into the air.

The system would retrofit many of the 3,000 existing environmental monitoring stations with new filters to detect biological agents, an administration official said Tuesday. The system will go online on Wednesday in New York City and is already operational in Washington DC.

Currently, the EPA’s air monitoring system tracks pollutants like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, sulfur dioxide, and lead. According to an EPA database, there are nine monitoring stations in New York City, 13 in Los Angeles County, two in Washington, D.C., and at least five within the city of Chicago.

The system was tested throughout 2002, including at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. But without an attack, whether or not it will work is still academic.

Nightmare scenarios envisioned by bioterrorism experts include a small plane flying above a community, releasing anthrax or other germs over a large gathering of people. Depending on the winds, thousands of people could become ill, yet it could take days to figure out what happened.

Assessment:

Those who argue that we should give the inspections in Iraq more time have yet to explain ‘more time for what?’ We know Iraq has stockpiles of hidden chemical and biological weapons.

A test tube could contain enough nerve agents or biological weapons to wipe out a small city. And we know that the ricin discovered in the UK traces back to a terrorist group operating out of northern Iraq under Saddam’s protection.

And we know that Saddam has used both chemical and biological weapons in the past against Iran during their 1980-88 war and against his own people.

These are not things we suspect, but things that are KNOWN to be true.

What else do we know? We know that these inspections have been going on since 1991, with a four year hiatus when Iraq kicked out the weapons inspectors in 1998. How much ‘more time’ will be enough?

This is a no-brainer. War is hard, nobody wants one, and it means that people are going to die. That is also something that we KNOW. We also know we have no choice. The die is already cast — Saddam is not going to ‘go gently into that good night’ whether the inspectors can win the game of hide and seek now ongoing, or not.

Here’s the only thing still up in the air. Is that war, with its attending hardship, destruction and death, going to play out in Iraq?

Or on Main Street, USA?

Musing Right Along . . .

I apologize for the lateness of your Omega Letter this morning. I picked a lousy time for a vacation — but who knows when there will be a good time? In a few moments, Hans Blix will be giving his report to the United Nations. Gayle and I will be packing up and heading for home in a couple of days. I only wish each of you could have been here with us. But thanks to the magic of email, we’ve been able to share as much of it with you as possible.

I cannot express how grateful we’ve been for your kind indulgence.

You are an amazing group of friends. We love you all.

We are living in perilous times. But don’t be afraid. We serve an awesome God. Pray for our people, our way of life and for God’s will to be done.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not on thine own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5)

A House Divided

A House Divided
Vol: 16 Issue: 26 Sunday, January 26, 2003

Secretary of State Colin Powell, widely seen as the calming ‘voice of reason’ within the Bush administration for his reticence in moving against Saddam Hussein, said yesterday at the Davos Conference that Saddam’s time is up.

Powell said that the United States will oppose giving more time to inspectors. More significantly, Powell said that HE opposes giving more time to inspectors. Powell has to this point, championed the development of a UN coalition and cautioned against going without one. This morning, Powell said in no uncertain terms that the United States will go it alone if necessary.

That sentiment was echoed by Britain’s Tony Blair, who told his government that there is no need to seek UN permission and no need to find the so-called ‘smoking gun’ first.

Like everything that involves the United Nations, what began as a straight-forward, cut-and-dried ultimatum has morphed into a kid’s game of hide and seek. The UN Security Council that started out setting down the terms has allowed Saddam Hussein to dictate UN policy toward Iraq from the moment the inspectors returned to the country following the passage of UN Res 1441.

The Americans ARE coming, together with the British, whether the United Nations agrees or not.

Assessment:

Iraq has been in the driver’s seat from the start. The Security Council demanded a ‘full and complete accounting’ of Iraq’s weapons program as the first step in the inspection process. The second step was to be ‘inspection and verification’.

When South Africa admitted several years ago that it possessed nuclear weapons, it provided the United Nations with a full and complete written declaration of its arsenal.

Granted, the South Africans did so voluntarily, since it decided on its own after the fall of the Botha government that it no longer wanted to BE nuclear.

But the protocol was the same as that envisioned for Iraq. First, the South Africans provided a list, and then UN inspectors came in, list in hand, inspected them to ensure that the list was full and complete and oversaw the destruction/dismantling operation.

Afterwards, it was able to issue a full report to the world body about how many weapons there were, and exactly what happened to them.

That is the way it is supposed to work. No ‘smoking gun’ was ever required. The inspectors are supposed to INSPECT the weapons on the list. Since the Iraqi list was incomplete, the inspection process was immediately null and void. Without weapons to inspect, there is no need for inspection.

Instead, the UN ignored its own mandate and revised it on the fly, turning the inspection regime into a game of ‘catch me if you can’ knowing full well that it could NOT catch Saddam by finding hidden weapons. The country is too big and the inspection team too small.

It would take hundreds of years to search all of Iraq and that search would, of necessity, have to be completed before ‘inspections’ could even BEGIN.

How could there be an inspection without knowing if they were inspecting everything?

For some reason unfathomable to me, the assemblage of the allegedly most brilliant diplomatic minds on Planet Earth are incapable of grasping that simple logic. It IS simple and it IS logical.

Even more unfathomable is the fact that most of the world’s population is no more astute that the UN, since they can’t see it either.

Iraq was in clear material breach of 1441 the moment it submitted an incomplete report, since at that moment, the inspection process became impossible. You can’t inspect what you can’t find.

What is doubly amazing is the difficulty the administration is having in making the case that Iraq is in violation. Recent polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe more time should be allowed for the inspectors to do their ‘work’ despite the fact that nobody can define what the inspector’s ‘work’ would actually be in the absence of having something to inspect.

UN Resolution 1441’s inspection regime wasn’t given a mandate to PROVE Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Nobody doubts that it does. It was supposed to verify that they were destroyed. So what is the nonsense about a smoking gun? Where did that come from?

The Democrats are floating some of the most ridiculous charges ever made by elected federal officials. To listen to them, George Bush is planning a war with Iraq to make his ‘daddy proud of him’ or he is planning a war with Iraq so America can seize control of the Iraqi oilfields.

I submit that being elected President of the United States has already made Bush’s daddy proud of him. Or else the Bushes are the most dysfunctional family since the Osbournes.

Insofar as seizing Iraq’s oil fields — if we don’t, Saddam has already made it clear that he’ll set them afire and begin dumping 1.5 billion gallons of oil per day into the North Arabian Sea. (Environmentalists haven’t yet finished cleaning up the oil slicks that remain from the last Gulf War).

In any case, accepting the argument that the war is about seizing Iraqi oilfields means checking your brain at the door. War costs billions and billions of dollars. Rebuilding what will be destroyed will cost billions and billions more. If we only wanted Iraqi oil, it would be a lot cheaper to buy it. Is this hard to figure out?

It would seem that it is in America’s interest to prevent the environmental catastrophe Saddam’s promised ‘scorched earth’ policy will create.

While on that subject, why would the Democrats NOT want to put America’s interests first? Isn’t that what they were elected to do? Did anybody vote for a Democratic candidate on the platform that the candidate would put United Nations or Iraqi interests ahead of America’s? Is anybody paying attention?

There are two wars going on simultaneously. One is against Saddam Hussein and his regime. Not against Iraq, but just against Saddam. Once Saddam is gone, America will do what it always does after a war.

Not conquer and occupy, but conquer, rebuild and restore order. Then move on.

The other war is against George W. Bush. Not against the United States, since those who have declared war on George Bush are also Americans, albeit Democrats.

But the casualties in both these wars will be Americans. On the battlefield in Iraq. Or, possibly, if we give Saddam time to prepare and deploy his suicide squads, on the streets of America.

There was a time when the United States was UNITED. Politics were secondary to victory.

Nobody was ashamed to admit that when we went to war, it was to win as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Something weird is going on here, and it does not bode well for America’s future. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

That’s not pessimism. Just logic.

“What Would You Do With A Brain if You Had One?”

“What Would You Do With A Brain if You Had One?”
Vol: 16 Issue: 25 Saturday, January 25, 2003

I was watching a news report from my hotel room when I heard a report of such incomprehensible stupidity that it took my breath away. Is there anybody in America who doesn’t remember the Van Damme case in which a six-year-old girl was abducted from her bedroom by her next-door neighbor? Her body was found in the California desert. She had been brutally beaten to death after having been raped.

Or of Elizabeth Smart, the pretty little girl in Utah who was abducted from her bedroom and has never been heard of since? Or Samantha Runyon, also six years old, abducted from her front yard, also brutally beaten, raped and murdered.

The list could go on and on and on. To it, we could have perhaps added the names of two children in Brooklyn, had the children’s father not had a gun. A gun he purchased legally in Florida and for which he had applied for a permit in New York.

A permit that would certainly have been granted.

When Ronald Dixon saw a burglar outside his bedroom in the hall, he told his wife to call 911. While Mrs. Dixon was on the phone to police, Dixon saw the burglar enter his two-year-old son’s bedroom. Dixon was faced with a terrible choice.

There is little doubt in my mind that Dixon was aware of Van Damme/Runyon/Smart/Klass etc., etc. and what could happen in the time it would take for the police to arrive to protect his family.

Dixon did what any responsible father would do — what the fathers of the now-dead children most likely agonize over not being able to do in time — confront the burglar before it was too late for the kids.

Dixon said the burglar — who had an extensive rap sheet — called out to somebody downstairs, doubling the danger facing Dixon’s family.

Ronald Dixon wasn’t some crackhead or drug dealer. He was a man who, according to his lawyers, worked 80 hours per week at two jobs to support his family. A man who played by the rules and did everything right.

He confronted the burglar. After the burglar called out to his alleged accomplice (police did not find a second man) he charged Dixon, who fired his weapon twice, wounding the burglar and possibly saving the lives of his wife and children.

He told the interviewer on Fox News, “I knew that if he was able to get me, there would be nobody standing between him and my family” — a statement of fact so simple and so profound that expanding it would do it disservice.

Put yourself in his position for a second. What would you have done? Allowed the burglar to enter your two-year-old’s bedroom while you hid in your bedroom waiting for police and hoping they’d arrive in time? Or put yourself at risk by confronting an intruder in your child’s bedroom, not knowing his intent or how well armed he might be?

A hero, right? A man who did what a man is supposed to do, right? This is a FATHER whose home had been invaded, his family put at risk, his TWO-YEAR-OLD SON in the same room as a burglar of unknown intent?

Wrong. After police arrested the wounded burglar, they arrested Ronald Dixon. The charge? Defending his home with an unregistered weapon.

Never mind that the gun was purchased legally for home defense. Never mind that he had submitted all the papers. Never mind that he would not have been denied the permit. Never mind that he had already called the police. Never mind that the burglar was IN HIS SON’S BEDROOM. The GUN was not yet entered into the system.

The Brooklyn District Attorney offered Dixon a deal. Plead guilty to a crime and he could get weekends in jail.

(Maybe even in the same cell as the burglar. They could reminisce about that night just before Christmas when they first met in Dixon’s hallway. Wouldn’t that be cozy.)

Accepting the plea bargain would give Dixon a criminal record. Among other things, it would mean he could never legally register a handgun in New York State. The next time, he’d have to hide under his covers until police arrived. Or charge the burglar and hope he could overpower him.

The weekend sentence would cost Dixon one of his two jobs for sure, and maybe both of them. His kids would know that their dad went to jail for protecting them. They’d also know that during the weekends, they are absolutely defenseless while their dad sat in jail.

His attorney rejected the deal and Dixon awaits trial for a ‘crime’ that could mean a whole year on Riker’s Island.

For defending his family with his own gun, legally purchased, bought and paid for with the money he worked 80 hours a week to earn.

Assessment:

This is what ‘politically correct’ means. A prime example of liberal fascism at work. It stems from the belief that guns kill people, rather than recognizing that guns are inanimate objects incapable of killing anyone without a person first deciding to make that choice.

One could fall into a dumpster filled with guns and not have a single one shoot him in retaliation. You can insult a gun’s heritage and parentage without fear the gun will get mad and shoot you. You can slap a gun around, and even take away its bullets and it won’t shoot you for it.

The gun control lobby points out that handguns were designed for only one purpose — to kill. Ok. Agreed. A squirt gun wouldn’t have served Ronald Dixon very well.

The burglar that entered Ronald Dixon’s home was taking a calculated risk that Dixon would NOT have a gun. If he had known for sure that Dixon was armed, it is unlikely he’d have chosen that home for his midnight visit.

There are two kinds of burglary, from the perspective of law enforcement. There are ‘cold’ burglaries like when a burglar enters an unoccupied home or business, and ‘hot’ burglaries, where the burglar enters an occupied home.

According to FBI statistics, the incidences of ‘hot burglaries’ are much lower in areas where most people have a ‘house gun’ (like in Texas). The number of ‘hot’ burglaries rises in urban areas that have much stricter gun control laws.

In Canada, where handguns are all but outlawed, or England, where they are totally outlawed, the incidences of hot burglaries is turned upside down. While 20% of US burglaries are ‘hot’ burglaries in Texas, in places like New York, or countries like Canada and Great Britain, the figure exceeds 80%.

The 2nd Amendment arguments about who ‘the people’ might be that have the ‘right to possess and bear arms’ has been taken to the outer extremes of insanity in attempting to interpret it to read exactly opposite to what it says. I won’t attempt to reinvent the wheel here — it says what it says and I don’t see any other way to interpret it.

It provides for a well-regulated militia AND the right of the people to bear arms. One does not cancel out the other.

So instead, let’s look at the logic, or lack thereof, of the gun control argument itself.

Passing laws against guns means Ronald Dixon is a criminal for possibly saving the lives of his children. But making guns illegal isn’t much of a deterrent to a career criminal like the burglar who victimized the Dixon family.

Surely the anti-gun lobby doesn’t believe that a criminal will discover his handgun is illegal and will therefore commit armed robberies using a baseball bat or a knife? If they do, then why haven’t we outlawed the possession of baseball bats and knives?

It’s so simple-minded it makes you wonder if those who hold to this idiotic view need someone to help them tie their shoes for them before they set off for work in the morning. How can somebody this stupid hold a job? It scares me to think they are allowed to drive a car.

It’s been said, and I’ve quoted it many times, that a ‘liberal is a conservative who hasn’t yet been mugged’ — and to my mind, this story proves the accuracy of that statement.

The left’s agenda is well-meaning, if incomprehensibly naive. It is the result of a systematic brainwashing over a period of decades in which every story in which the bad guys use guns gets banner headlines. And every story in which guns save innocent lives gets buried.

Do you remember the story of the high school principal in Pennsylvania who shot a would-be school shooter at a dance with his legally registered personal firearm? I thought not.

Or the shooting rampage in Killeen, Texas than ended when one of the potential victims shot the bad guy and ended the killing? Instead, all we heard about was the bad guy and what he did with HIS gun.

There is a bumper sticker that explains, “when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.”

I offer as evidence Ronald Dixon, breadwinner, family man, a guy who works two full time jobs to support his family — and an OUTLAW facing a year in jail — not for shooting a burglar — but simply for having the gun.

Musing Right Along . .

A beautiful morning along the Crystal Coast. Still cold, but sunny and clear. Gayle and I are continuing to enjoy our getaway, although we have just about broken our budget. We went to a local supermarket and picked up some frozen dinners and breakfast cereals (the room is generously furnished with a small fridge and microwave) so that we can extend our stay until Thursday, when the mercury is forecast to reach sixty degrees.

We’ve continued to mingle and listen as more and more Marines in the area are getting their deployment orders.

In Morehead City, the local paper reports the entire Army reserve unit there has been called to active duty and mobilized for service.

The classified ads are filled with ads like this one. “Got my orders – use my deposit and take over payments on my 1200 square foot home’ – these ads tugged at my heart.

I know what they mean, and what it is like. They mean young families being separated – wives and children being sent back home to live with the folks for the duration, incredible financial and emotional hardship ahead.

Many of these young defenders of our liberties will lose their lives, some, tragically, will lose their families, too many will forever lose the ability to sleep peacefully through the night. Pray for them. Love them for what they are.

For they are the best among us.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13