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Saturday, August 19, 2006
The Week's Excellent Readings

The Middle East and terrorist capers nearer the US are very prominent in this week's list, but Elmo -- yes, the whiny Sesame Street thing -- makes an appearance, too.


Suzanne Fields explains how anti-Semitism is self-destructive.

Burt Prelutsky says the decline of America began with the rise of the euphemism.

Jack Kelly explains how the Middle East cease-fire is only temporary and may not, in fact, have been completely stupid. His analysis of the Israeli political leadership's recipe for failure is plausible.

In a subsequent article, Jack Kelly tallies the wins, losses, gains, and failures.

Charles Krauthammer writes of the UN's impotence and some recent developments on the ground in Lebanon.

Michael Medved writes very intelligently of radical Islam's causes and suggests an antidote one doesn't hear every day -- one which would be completely unacceptable to the Left, of course. But they don't think we're at war, anyway.

Walter Williams reports Richard Pipes' thoughts on communists and anti-anti-communists in academia. Sound thoughts, they are, too, as not as outdated as the word communist might suggest.

"Elmo is an Evildoer"? Somewhere in the hilarity, Joel Stein has a point.

Islamamok I: The Cease-Fire, the UN, and Implications

See also "Favorites" above.

Caroline B. Glick explains why the recent cease-fire agreement constitutes near-total victory for Hezbollah.

Clear thinker that he is, Thomas Sowell is no fan of Middle East cease-fires.

Why do these phony cease-fire scenarios keep getting repeated? Because there are too many people, including many in the media, who take the corrupt windbags at the U.N. seriously -- so our political leaders have to act as if they take the U.N. seriously as well.

This is a costly charade. Among its costs are human lives. U.N. cease-fires are the ultimate in feel-good decisions made by people who pay no price for the repercussions.

Jonah Goldberg says the enemy is not going away anytime soon, even if we are in denial.

Michael Barone quotes some interesting thoughts by Michael Freund on the harm the current (recent?) war has done to Iran -- among other interesting matter.

Niall Ferguson defends the UN to a point, but wonders about its suitability to address aggressors which are not nation-states.

Michelle Malkin adds some fairly damning information to the "fauxtography" scandal.

I ought to quote Mona Charen's entire article . . . but here's an excerpt.

How do you fight people who are not afraid to die? Well, certainly not by letting them believe that such tactics succeed. Iran, the font of so much misery in the world right now, has no reason to believe that defiance of the United Nations, Nazi-like belligerence toward the U.S. and Israel, funding and training of suicide bombers, and the pursuit of nuclear weapons have brought them anything but gain. Hezbollah was their cat's paw. Had it been crippled, they would have felt the pain. The psychic blow would have been enormous. The psychological war is every bit as important as the one fought with bullets (it has always been so). It's one thing to blow yourself up for a great cause that is everywhere on the march. It's quite another to sacrifice your life for futility.

At this moment, Israel has done the most dangerous thing we in the West can do: It has withdrawn from a fight without victory. The U.S. has offered some wobbly signals as well. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute reports that after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced that the U.S. would "engage" Iran, a top Iranian official jeered, "Why don't you just admit that you are weak and your razor is blunt?" A few days later, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards boat unfurled a banner as it passed a U.S. Navy ship in the Persian Gulf. It read: "The U.S. cannot do a damn thing."

A Hamas columnist has predicted that Hezbollah's "victory" will open the door to a "third intifada."

We await the consequences elsewhere around the world -- from London to New York to Baghdad to Bali to Calcutta -- of jihadists who feel the wind at their backs.

Islamamok II: The Liquid Bomb Plot, Profiling, Etc.

According to Terence Jeffrey, one of the lessons of the Liquid Bomb Plot is that terrorists can be produced in an open, democratic, prosperous society.

Michael Barone writes of cognitive dissonance on the Left, caused by last week's breakup of a plot to blow up airliners. Maybe there really is a war going on? (Duh!)

Linda Chavez says there is a war, and we're losing it.

Unless we learn to see our enemies for who they are, we cannot hope to win this war. We've got to stop treating our own government as the enemy. We have to quit worrying about whether the rest of the world will love us when we take actions to protect ourselves. We have to give up the illusion that if we just retreat from the world or abandon Israel the Islamist fanatics will leave us alone.

Jonah Goldberg describes the extraordinary measures the US seems willing to take instead of admitting that most terrorists fit a certain age, gender, religious, and racial profile.

Kathleen Parker argues for profiling.

So does Paul Weyrich.

Debra J. Saunders says profiling is actually dangerous, and also suggests we learn to distinguish between nuisances and hardships.

John Yoo discusses data mining as an anti-terrorist weapon.

Islamamok III: Pollyanna, Policy, Etc.

See also "Favorites" above.

Diana West calls Secretary of State Rice "Pollyanna" and US Middle East policy increasingly "reality challenged."

And here, "Pollyanna" (Secretary Rice) herself writes.

George Will ponders realism and its opposite in the US approach to the war . . . and Peter Wehner rebuts Will with Will's own past words.

Islamamok IV: The Mike Wallace Interview

Dennis Prager has some questions for Iran's chief kook that Mike Wallace did not ask in his interview.

Jeff Jacoby reports on some of the questions Wallace did ask.

Bernard Goldberg says tyrants have learned how to manipulate and use the BMA.

Even at age 88, Mike is still Mike, which is another way of saying he's still the best out there. But after watching his "60 Minutes" interview, I came away thinking that Mr. Ahmadinejad understands us a lot better than we understand him. Over the years, dangerous men like him have learned how to play the media game. They have gotten quite sophisticated. I'm afraid we haven't. Unfortunately, "Mike Wallace on line one" doesn't scare anybody in Tehran.

National Politics: The Independent Lieberman

Michael Barone writes that Senator Joe Lieberman is at odds with his party about more than his support for the war in Iraq.

Robert Novak says Joe Lieberman isn't such a great loss, after all. (Note to Mr. Novak: It's not just about the votes.)

Paul Greenberg says the Democratic Party is headed over a cliff.

The New Republic's Jason Zengerle has that publication's typical left-skewed political spectrum -- Ned Lamont is allegedly "mainstream" -- but his analysis of Senator Lieberman's new campaign as an independent is nonetheless interesting.

National Politics: Miscellany

The people keep voting for term limits, but their elected representatives, John Fund writes, keep trying to overturn those votes.

Ten years after the 1996 welfare reform, Clarence Page evaluates its effects.

Kathryn Lopez says Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold may be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008.

Jonathan V. Last recounts the backlash in many states in the first year after the Supreme Court's Kelo decision (related to eminent domain).

John Stossel begins,

These are tough days for political satirists. Any satire about government boondoggles is soon upstaged by an actual government program that's more inane than anything comedians could invent.

Rich Karlgaard discusses the "Democrats' War on Wal-Mart."

The Culture

Thomas Sowell analyzes claims to discrimination in the wake of courts' decicisions opposing gay marriage.

Tom Purcell is having a nightmare -- or is he?

Paul Greenberg heard something stunning -- and hopeful -- on NPR.

Rebecca Hagelin says that parents are ultimately at fault if their children are exposed to Internet sleaze at home.

"I wasn't aborted," writes Julia Gorin -- who, statistically speaking, should have been. There's a dismal picture here of Soviet Russia, among other things.

Miscellany (John Leo Gets the Category to Himself)

John Leo's farewell column includes this paragraph:

The trait that admirers mostly accuse me of possessing is common sense. This is a mildly deflating compliment, but I understand it. What readers mean by this is that we now live in a national asylum run by buffoons, but at least a few minds still function normally, and mine seems to be one of them. I unabashedly agree with this assessment.

American Fork and Environs

This Amy Choate-Nielsen story in the Deseret News touts the success of American Fork's most prominent commercial development, "The Meadows."

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