Monthly Archives: June 2006

Russian Resolve in the Era of Moral Equivalency

Via PowerLine, we learn of Vladimir Putin’s response to the Islamo-Fascist thugs that kidnapped and murdered, most gruesomely, 4 Russian Embassy employees in Baghdad.  His nuanced decision, no doubt arrived at after multilateral talks with most European, Far-Eastern, African nations, plus the UN, reveals the Russian response to terrorism in a post-modern World. UPI reports his intentions in this dispatch.  The gist of his reasoned announcement:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered the country’s secret service to locate and kill the Iraqis who executed four Russian diplomats.

We await the predictable howls of outrage from the usual suspects.  The absence of a response will reveal their hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy.

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Armageddon?

Near_mathilde2_2 Not enough on your plate to cause sleepless nights?  Well, let’s see if this will do the trick.  If we should be so fortunate to survive this pass, and the current world crises of our own making, we can look forward to Apophis.  See my earlier post on the subject here.  Have a great 4th of July holiday!

H/T It Shines for All

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Pushback on the Times Revelations

The utter contempt expressed by the NYT’s decision to publish stories revealing operational secrets of the GWOT is continuing to generate replies from the blogosphere (and, to be fair, some elements of the MSM).  Armed Liberal, writing at WindsofChange, offers his analysis here.  It’s long, but damning in its content.

Neptunus Lex, in his blog, writes about Naval Aviation and all of its parts in a very moving and insightful way.  The nature of the men and women that answer the call to service is lovingly captured in his blog.  This post, written several years ago, ought to be memorized by the elements of our national media that willingly put their political leanings before the safety of our miltary men and women.

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Cockroaches – Part II

Cockroach Some time ago, we put up a short post on news about cockroaches, their gregarious nature, and the uneasy truce that exists between the creatures and the Agricoli. In a story found in The Observer (UK) comes a new development that may tilt the war in favor of we crafty humans.

In a breakthrough for the battle against mankind’s most diehard enemy – the cockroach – European scientists have hoodwinked a group of them into congregating in a place where they can be stamped on easily.

The kick in the mandibles comes from a Belgian-led team who spent three years developing a mini robot that can convince cockroaches to creep out of dark holes and gather in light places. The InsBot looks more like a pencil sharpener than a household pest, but it smells like a cockroach. Most importantly, the InsBot can pass for a Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach).

This is welcome news indeed, and a significant development in a war that has been bitterly fought by both sides for thousands of years; not quite a quagmire, but certainly a long, hard slog through the mud.  In fact, this is one conflict that does not recognize any political affiliation, serving as a uniter of all men in a common cause.  Would that our other conflicts were so.

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The New York Times Changes its Mind

The New York Times position, as of June, 22, 2006, on the Government’s (not the administration’s) efforts to track the funding of terrorist related financing through international banking records is here.

Excerpts:

Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.

The program is limited, government officials say, to tracing transactions of people suspected of having ties to Al Qaeda by reviewing records from the nerve center of the global banking industry, a Belgian cooperative that routes about $6 trillion daily between banks, brokerages, stock exchanges and other institutions. The records mostly involve wire transfers and other methods of moving money overseas and into and out of the United States. Most routine financial transactions confined to this country are not in the database.

Viewed by the Bush administration as a vital tool, the program has played a hidden role in domestic and foreign terrorism investigations since 2001 and helped in the capture of the most wanted Qaeda figure in Southeast Asia, the officials said.

The Bush administration has made no secret of its campaign to disrupt terrorist financing, and President Bush, Treasury officials and others have spoken publicly about those efforts. Administration officials, however, asked The New York Times not to publish this article, saying that disclosure of the Swift program could jeopardize its effectiveness. They also enlisted several current and former officials, both Democrat and Republican, to vouch for its value.

Bill Keller, the newspaper’s executive editor, said: "We have listened closely to the administration’s arguments for withholding this information, and given them the most serious and respectful consideration. We remain convinced that the administration’s extraordinary access to this vast repository of international financial data, however carefully targeted use of it may be, is a matter of public interest."

The New York Times’ position as of September 24, 2001, excerpted:

Organizing the hijacking of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon took significant sums of money. The cost of these plots suggests that putting Osama bin Laden and other international terrorists out of business will require more than diplomatic coalitions and military action. Washington and its allies must also disable the financial networks used by terrorists.
The Bush administration is preparing new laws to help track terrorists through their money-laundering activity and is readying an executive order freezing the assets of known terrorists. Much more is needed, including stricter regulations, the recruitment of specialized investigators and greater cooperation with foreign banking authorities. There must also must be closer coordination among America’s law enforcement, national security and financial regulatory agencies.

Osama bin Laden originally rose to prominence because his inherited fortune allowed him to bankroll Arab volunteers fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Since then, he has acquired funds from a panoply of Islamic charities and illegal and legal businesses, including export-import and commodity trading firms, and is estimated to have as much as $300 million at his disposal.

Some of these businesses move funds through major commercial banks that lack the procedures to monitor such transactions properly. Locally, terrorists can utilize tiny unregulated storefront financial centers, including what are known as hawala banks, which people in South Asian immigrant communities in the United States and other Western countries use to transfer money abroad. Though some smaller financial transactions are likely to slip through undetected even after new rules are in place, much of the financing needed for major attacks could dry up.

Agricola asks, what has changed in the nearly 5 years since the NYT staked out its original position, which, to us, seemed eminently reasonable and entirely proper?  Dare we think that political goals of the NYT and its ownership trump the nation’s war with global terrorism?  Could a media giant be willing to sacrifice victory, in what is arguably our nation’s most important struggle in its history, to help the opposition party gain control of the White House and Congress?  Have our citizens sunk to such a level?

H/T Michelle Malkin

Update: H/T also to Captain Ed

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Sanders, Murchison, & Henninger

Recently, The State newspaper in Columbia, SC, published a letter to the Editors wherein the author, a respected former legislator and state judge named Alex Sanders, found inspiration from an article on the Episcopal Church and it’s travails.  To quote the learned scribe and jurist:

The world is at war over which religion has the one true path to God; women and children are being systematically raped, tortured, and murdered, notably in African nations where the Anglican Church is most prominent; 11 million children went to be hungry last night, not in Africa but right here in America, the weatlhiest nation in the history or the world; and the Epicscopal Church is mightily concerned about, of all things, boys kissing.  I can’t imagine a more profoundly trivial issue under the circumstances.

My advice: Boycott "Brokeback Mountain", raiser the terror alert to pink and call me when the culture war is over.  I am a conscientious objector.

Spoken as a true post-modern, secular, moral relativist, whose condescension towards another groups’ moral position is so typical of that weltanschauung.  He seems to be saying, if I may impose my understanding on his words (how current!), that hunger, crime, and homosexuality must trump any concern over the morality, values, and doctrines of a Church. To argue about fundamental issues of Church Doctrine when there is so much wrong in the world is "profoundly trivial".

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Sanders, Murchison, & Henninger

Recently, The State newspaper in Columbia, SC, published a letter to the Editors wherein the author, a respected former legislator and state judge named Alex Sanders, found inspiration from an article on the Episcopal Church and it’s travails.  To quote the learned scribe and jurist:

The world is at war over which religion has the one true path to God; women and children are being systematically raped, tortured, and murdered, notably in African nations where the Anglican Church is most prominent; 11 million children went to be hungry last night, not in Africa but right here in America, the weatlhiest nation in the history or the world; and the Epicscopal Church is mightily concerned about, of all things, boys kissing.  I can’t imagine a more profoundly trivial issue under the circumstances.

My advice: Boycott "Brokeback Mountain", raiser the terror alert to pink and call me when the culture war is over.  I am a conscientious objector.

Spoken as a true post-modern, secular, moral relativist, whose condescension towards another groups’ moral position is so typical of that weltanschauung.  He seems to be saying, if I may impose my understanding on his words (how current!), that hunger, crime, and homosexuality must trump any concern over the morality, values, and doctrines of a Church. To argue about fundamental issues of Church Doctrine when there is so much wrong in the world is "profoundly trivial".

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