Thursday, March 13, 2008

Karl's Weekend Reading

Communism, and the repression of people, we understand. We can point to it when we see it. We can understand what it feels like to live in fear. And, we remember how Reagan brought the main players to their knees.

So too we understand the need to retaliate with superior firepower against aggressive and violent ideologies like Nazism, Islamo-Facism, the Japanese of WWII, and to pre-empt the future threats.

But when it comes to Israel, we scratch our heads. We watch and wonder. Why do they not eliminate the threat? Why is it tit for tat there - the terrorists kill X innocent citizens, the victims then kill X militants? This self-defense hesitancy is frustrating, and we think we should feel less sympathy for Israel - although we cannot. We see a political structure that limits defense. We understand the dilemma: Do you just go after the militants, or the mothers that encouraged their children to blow themselves up? Many more considerations exist - which is, in essence, the problem. This has been over-analyzed.

This is why we are posting Daniel Doron's WSJ editorial, Israel's No-Win Strategy. He reviews some of those considerations that have led to this stalemate, but concludes, as we do, "History has shown time and again that military confrontation does work." Some other selected lines from his article:

More than in most countries, Israeli politicians are preoccupied with political machinations designed to buy support from powerful interest groups by distributing government largesse. This causes not only the factionalization of politics and growing corruption, but consumes time and energy that leadership should use to address life and death issues.
Israeli governments have done little to stop the massive rearmament of Hamas in Gaza with Iranian weapons, bought with Saudi money and transported into Gaza with the connivance of Egypt.
But the worst failures stem from adoption of a no-win strategy. Many in Israel's top political and military echelons have convinced themselves that terrorism cannot be defeated by force, that to stop it one must compromise and accept some of its demands.
Amazingly, Israel keeps supplying Hamas, for "humanitarian reasons," with subsidized electricity and materiel including the steel and chemicals needed to produce the rockets that attack it. It keeps providing money and weapons to prop up the hopelessly corrupt Palestinian Authority.

A short and funny piece from Victor Davis Hanson at NRO comparing Obama-mania to the pet rock of the 70's:

And now, as some people wake up from their pet rock purchase, they are seeing they've de facto nominated someone rated about the Senate's most liberal senator based on three years of experience there. The Democrats have boxed them into a situation of running a candidate that has out-sourced all negative attacks to the New York Times, political junkies and columnists, in order to remain above the fray and loyal to the "new" politics of change and hope.

Wednesday's WSJ ran a story about the increase in cyber attacks from China - Military Networks Increasingly Are Under Attack [$$]

We'd like to think the untold story is that the US can go on the cyber offensive if the need arises.

In a report released earlier this month, the Pentagon said that the Chinese People's Liberation Army was expanding its military power from "the land, air and sea dimensions of the traditional battlefield into the space and cyber-space domains."

"The PLA has established information-warfare units to develop viruses to attack enemy computer systems and networks, and tactics and measures to protect friendly computer systems and network," the report noted.

China reacted angrily to the Pentagon report, with a spokesman for the Chinese foreign ministry labeling it a "serious distortion of facts." Speaking to reporters last week, the spokesman, Qin Gang, also urged the U.S. "to drop its Cold War mentality."

U.S. officials have specifically linked China to several successful cyber attacks against military networks.

Ken Blackwell and Sandy Froman write in part 2 of a 2-part Townhall article, The Roe v. Wade of Gun Rights. They argue that gun rights may be the primary issue of the 2008 election depending on the Supreme Court's ruling of the DC gun ban case, D.C. v. Heller.

The short-term political impact of Heller might turn the 2008 presidential election. Either Senators Clinton or Obama would the most anti-gun Democrat nominee in American history. The Second Amendment is a pivotal issue in a half-dozen swing states, and other swing states have smaller gun votes, but gun owners could easily tip those states in a close election.

Heller will heat up twice during the presidential campaign, first when the case is argued in March and second when the Court hands down its decision, most likely in June. Gun owners will either be emboldened, pressing forward for policies recognizing their rights, or outraged that an activist Court has denied them their cherished right, holding rallies, and taking to the streets. Either way, gun rights could dominate the news.