Tuesday, January 31, 2006

"We Stand On Guard For Thee"

Or not. Here's Mark Steyn:
At the Washington state/British Columbia border last week, two guys on the lam were hightailing it through Blaine heading for the 49th parallel with the cops in hot pursuit. Alerted to what was coming their way, Canada's (unarmed) border guards walked off the job. For a country whose national anthem lyrics are mostly endless reprises of the line "we stand on guard for thee," we could at least stand on guard. A few years back, I was chatting with a border guard at the Derby Line, Vt./Rock Island, Quebec, crossing. A beat-up sedan came hurtling northward and we jumped out of the way. She sounded a klaxon. By then the driver was halfway up the Trans-Quebecoise autoroute and, if he ever heard her stern warning, he declined to brake and reverse back to the post to show his papers. "Oh, well," she said to me, "it's probably nothing."
(via Jim Lindgren)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Problem With FISA

Judge Richard Posner pins it down:
So the problem with FISA is that the surveillance it authorizes is unusable to discover who is a terrorist, as distinct from eavesdropping on known terrorists--yet the former is the more urgent task. Even to conduct FISA-compliant surveillance of non-U.S. persons, you have to know beforehand whether they are agents of a terrorist group, when what you really want to know is who those agents are.

FISA's limitations are borrowed from law enforcement. When crimes are committed, there are usually suspects, and electronic surveillance can be used to nail them. In counterterrorist intelligence, you don't know whom to suspect–you need surveillance to find out. The recent leaks from within the FBI, expressing skepticism about the NSA program, reflect the FBI's continuing inability to internalize intelligence values. Criminal investigations are narrowly focused and usually fruitful. Intelligence is a search for the needle in the haystack. FBI agents don't like being asked to chase down clues gleaned from the NSA's interceptions, because 99 out of 100 (maybe even a higher percentage) turn out to lead nowhere. The agents think there are better uses of their time. Maybe so. But maybe we simply don't have enough intelligence officers working on domestic threats.

(via Instapundit)

Friday, January 27, 2006

Quick Thought on Munich

I have not seen "Munich" though I'm hardly boycotting the film. Frankly, after suffering through 3 hours of "King Kong", a movie that should not have been remade, especially twice, I don't have the stomach for three more hours anytime soon. What bothers me, and I think it's what bothers Milhouse, is that the film really ISN'T true. The book that was the primary source of the film has been discredited, and now two British documentaries have basically come out and said that Spielberg's film is mostly made up. Now, I can't comment on the moral equivalency aspects of the film because I haven't seen it. But I do remember that when "Hurricane" came out a few years ago, IT got hammered by the critics for taking some liberties with Rueben Carter's life. That torpedoed the films Oscar chances, and probably cost Denzel Washington an Oscar. Spielberg and Tony Kushner can talk about how the film is only "inspired" by true events, but it certainly wasn't sold that way. I'm not saying Munich doesn't deserve consideration as the Oscars, nor am I passing judgement on the film itself. I'm just wondering why playing fast and loose with the truth is OK in this film, but not OK in a "historical" film that dealt with much smaller a subject(though an important one, to be sure).

ETA: I have just read John O'Sullivan's excellent critique of Munich at National Review Online. It turns out that the book "Vengence" that the film is based on is not quite discredited, but is controversial in a way. He also lays out some strong arguments against Spielberg's take on the film. I'm going to see it and read the book, and O'Sullivan suggests. I recommend the article be read because it's one of the first ones I've seen that actually places the souce and themovie side by side.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Beds, and the people who lie in them

Dhimmi Carter wants the international community to continue to fund the new "Palestinian" government, directly or indirectly:
He added that if international law barred donor countries from directly funding a Hamas-led government than the US and the EU should bypass the Palestinian Authority and provide the "much-needed" money to the Palestinians via non-governmental channels such as UN agencies.

"Regardless of the government, I would hope that potential donors find alternative means to be generous to the Palestinian people [even] if the donor decides to bypass the Palestinian government completely," Carter said, stressing that his main concern was to avert the "suffering" of the Palestinian people, which he said could lead to a new cycle of violence.
Um, these would be the same people who just chose to be represented by Hamas, right? Why exactly should any decent person care to avert their suffering? This is not a helpless population being controlled against its will by a criminal minority. By electing criminals and terrorists to represent them, the people of the territories have established that they are themselves criminals and terrorists, and should be treated as such. They have made their beds; now they should be made to lie in them.

More Munich

An actual Mossad agent responds.
European intelligence agencies, angry at their own governments' temerity in the face of Arab intimidation, generally looked the other way when a Palestinian terrorist was eliminated on their soil [...]
I know of no case in which a Mossad operative had a crisis of conscience about these operations, which were understood to have the clear and immediate purpose of saving innocent lives. When I inquired, at an early stage, as to the nature of the quasi-judicial mechanism invoked back in Tel Aviv to determine the guilt of targets for assassination, I received a clear and convincing response. Needless to say, targets were determined and located through an extensive intelligence-gathering operation by Israelis, and not in the dubious way depicted in the film [...]
During the 1970s, none of us had qualms about "moral equivalency", an issue debated by the Israeli characters in Munich. Palestinian terrorists were killing innocent civilians; in response, Israel was targeting only terrorists and the terrorist infrastructure. When a single nonterrorist was killed by mistake [...], the entire operation was closed down.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Truth About Munich

From the Grauniad, of all places. Will wonders never cease?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

"Stolen" land

From time to time we hear about some Jewish community in Judea or Samaria or Benjamin (what the press like to call a "settlement"), that is alleged to have been established on land stolen from Arabs living nearby. Such claims should be treated with extreme skepticism. Here's an example of such a claim.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Rules

I've been meaning to write something about lobbying and Abramoff and political donations and all the goo-goo outrage that we've been seeing. But I got lazy, and it paid off, sort of. Instapundit points to Andrew Ferguson, who wrote pretty much what I was going to. Except for the bit about the Swift Boat Vets, who are in no way corrupt. I don't know what he means by "ideological corruption", but I can't see how witnesses to an event exposing an unpleasant truth about someone can be called corrupt.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Shadegg Endorsement

I can't speak for my fellow Neo Warmongers, but I'm happy to endorse John Shadegg for majority leader.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Danish Cartoons

The Arab riots in Denmark a few months ago were supposedly over some cartoons published in a Danish newspaper. Now Moslems are boycotting Denmark, a reward has been offered in Pakistan for the cartoonists' deaths, and Louise Arbour is investigating. If you were wondering what the whole brouhaha was about, you can see the original cartoons here.

UPDATE 3-Feb-06: that site seems to have been taken down, so here's another link.