Sunday, February 26, 2006

When Democrats become more right wing than the right wing in order to score cheap political points

Ok the Democrats are spineless and not very smart. No surprise there. Their handling of the Dubai ports issue was particularly galling. Rather than discussing the issue rationally and coming up with realistic solutions they have decided to demagogue. Sen Hillary Clinton is sponsoring legislation to prevent any foreign firm from going after work in any of our ports. This is almost 10 years after the work was outsourced to companies controlled by the Goverment of China!!!

An icon of the Right admits Iraq is a failure

William F. Buckley admits our Iraq strategy is a failure

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed. One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom. The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence. This last did not happen. And the administration has, now, to cope with failure

Supporting brave Muslim journalists

Where is the support in the west for the brave Muslm journalists who have taken on the Mohammed cartoon issue? These journalists have risked life and limb and even their freedom exhorting their fellow countrymen to take a more rational, balanced and non violent response to the matter.

In Yemen - 3 journalists who advised a non violent response and the acceptance of an apology from the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten are now in prison. The local Imam thinks they should be executed for preaching reconciliation.

This whole issue has to be an embarassment to the Muslim world. No one can take them seriously after this. What is even more embarassing is that western main stream media have decided to follow the path of self censorship and not print the cartoons.

This is a type of behavior known as "Dhimmitude"

The following article in the LA Times is a scathing exposure on the complete lack of courage shown by the western media on this issue,1,1375343.column?coll=la-news-columns

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Port Issue - When the twin American obsessions of national security and outsourcing collide.

The Bush Administration is finding itself between a rock and a hard place. The Govt of Dubai controlled Dubai Ports World Corp. (DPW) is set to win the management contracts for 6 of the nations largest ports. The debate raging inside Washington is whether a govt. controlled entity (esp. an Arab controlled govt entity) such as DPW should be allowed to run the nations critical infrastructure. President Bush (who apparently was not consulted prior to this news breaking) seems ok with it. The ports were being run by P&O, a British firm prior to this.

The US has preached the mantra of foreign investment and a fair playing field. If it were to deny DPW from being a bidder they are going to look patently unfair and just feed the Arab belief that the US speaks out of both sides of its mouth.

But this is an election year and this subject resonates with everyday Americans. It feeds nicely into the twin American obsessions of national security and foreign outsourcing and therefore has the ability to unite both the right and the left. Sen. Frist has already threatened legislation to block the award (Did I mention that he considers himself a contender for 2008?). GOP Congressman and Senators from Florida, New Jersey and New York have all weighed in and are against doing this. Bush is therefore facing an open revolt in his ranks for the first time.

Should companies controlled by foreign governments (not just Arab governments) or more specifically should any foreign companies run our ports and airports? Where do we draw the line on outsourcing management of our critical infrastructure? Would we feel comfortable entrusting security at other critical infrastructure (eg. Lawrence Livermore Laboratories or Sandia) to a foreign company? I think this is a more cogent and intellectually honest question and deserves open debate.

Singaporean and Chinese companies already run many harbors in the US and have done so for more than 10 years. Bringing in legislation to prevent this is akin to closing the stable doors after the horses have bolted.

The other question that needs answering is just how important is the management company in the security equation. Many foreign countries and foreign companies already pre screen cargo that comes into this country. Similarly foreign airlines (which are usually owned by foreign governments) own and operate freight clearing facilities within the US. Ultimately regardless of which foreign company manages US ports security will always remain in the hands of the Customs, the INS, the Coast Guard and the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Therefore is this issue just plain old Washington politics?

The spiral of violence just keeps advancing....Civil War in Iraq?

So yesterday the Sunnis blew up the golden dome of the al-askariyya mosque in the city of Samarra.....this is probably the most audacious insurgent attack since the early days of the insurgency....

It seems like a full scale civil war is just around the corner. The only thing holding the Shia back despite much Sunni provocation is that the Shia leadership knows that they have the most to gain from the peace initiatives and are urging the Shia to stay home and not go out on the street and protest.

Either way the situation is is only a matter of time before the Sunnis attack the Imam Ali Mosque or even kill someone like Grand Ayaltollah Ali Sisitani. Once that happens it is unlikely that this slide into madness can be stopped.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sowing the seeds of Democracy

The winds of change are spreading in the Middle East as the Bush Freedom policies are all coming home to roost. We have Hamas democratically elected in Palestine and the Egyptian Brotherhood making significant gains in last months elections in Egypt. To top it all off democratcically elected Iranian President Ahamdinejad may actually be as crazy as he sounds. Seems like the US invaded the wrong country.
Freedom is a "gift from God" says the President....if thats the case it seems to me that God has been shopping at the Salvation Army thrift store based on the quality of his recent gifts to the middle east.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Much Ado about Mohammed

Ok so some Danish paper published some cartoons about the Prophet Mohammed. Who would have thought that it would result in this global furor? From the Gaza strip to London, Muslim protests have unfolded. A call for the boycott of European goods, the burning of two European embassies in Syria, the calling back of Ambassadors, the firing of a French editor have all taken place because Islamic sentiments have been offended by this (non) event.

Here are the cartoons. Look and decide for yourself. I don’t find any of them particularly offensive. Maybe one of them, i.e. the one of Mohammed with the dynamite strapped on his turban is over the top....but the rest look pretty harmless at least when viewed with non Muslim eyes.

Muslims need to get over the fact that in free societies it is ok to criticize a religion even if it is an unfair criticism. The general response to criticizing a religion is not to launch jihad

Many Muslim journalists have rightly stated that the fault for the negative view of Islam in the West lies with Muslims and the jihadist’s. If one looks at the history of the twentieth century - the activities most closely associated with the words Islam or Islamic have been hijacking, suicide bomber and terror. Ordinary Muslims have ceded the right to represent Islam to the crackpots and the crackpots have resulted in completely tarnishing the brand. This is just another manifestation of jihadist hysteria.