One of Glenn Beck’s best

January 29, 2010

I rarely watch or listen to Glenn Beck. He’s too out in left field for me most of the time, but occasionally he does something I find interesting and informative. He skewered Joe Kline of Time Magazine a few days ago over his criticism of Americans’ dislike of the 2009 $787 billion “stimulus” package. Aside from the first couple minutes, where he bashed old-time progressives (unfortunately I found this to be rather incoherent. I got the part about the Treaty of Versailles, but I couldn’t understand why he brought it up), Beck does an excellent job satirizing the arrogance of progressive elites. Check it out.

The virulence of hatred, and its uses

January 18, 2010

I just watched this excellent PBS show on anti-semitism, called “Anti-Semitism in the 21st Century: The Resurgence.” It gives a historical sweep, showing that the violent prejudice that we see against jewish people in the Middle East today came historically from European attitudes about Jews, and that though it’s easy to get distracted by the complaints that Islamic radicals spout on about the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, the real problem is the oppression of Islamic peoples by despotic rulers.

The sense I get from this is that some Muslims place Israel in their minds as a proxy for the oppression that they feel in their own lives, wherever they are. The show focused particular attention on a document called The Protocols of the Wise Elders of Zion, which has been shown to be a forgery based on several theatrical plays. Yet one gets the impression from this show that it carries legitimacy in much of the Islamic world. I don’t entirely blame them for being convinced by it. I read “The Protocols” once many years ago, and with the exception of the slurs that were used, it seemed convincing, mainly because it referred to behaviors on the part of certain officials in modern society that matched what I heard on the news sometimes. But then I learned a bit about the document’s history, and gave it no credence.

I am not excusing the policy decisions of Israel. I’m not trying to say that Israel is always right. However I am saying that some Muslims exaggerate the power that Israel has over their lives, and/or the magnitude of the injustices they commit. In the Middle East, governments, or radical imams that are allowed on television, focus the attentions of their people on the Israeli-Palestinian situation so that they don’t direct their anger and frustration at their own government. Israel became the scapegoat that groups of Jews used to be. It has served as a useful distraction that the leaders of many Middle Eastern countries have used to protect their power.

The show doesn’t talk about it, but this “setup” has created a fertile environment for terrorist groups. Since Middle Eastern leaders have allowed Israel (and the U.S.) to be blamed for the injustices in their world, jihadist leaders have been able to come along and convert that anger into action.

This was one reason the invasion of Iraq was important. The hope was that one of the benefits would be a thriving democracy in the midst of the Middle East, which would stand as an example, and focus people’s attention back on their own governments. The gamble was that people would say, “They have democracy, and they are doing well. We don’t have democracy, and we are not. Let’s change our situation so that we can have what they have.” It would seem that Iraq has been having that effect. We can see it in the democratic movement that sprouted in Lebanon several years ago, which last I checked did not succeed (though I hope I’m wrong about that). We can see it in the unrest in Iran today. It was a gamble, and from my analysis of history, it was one in which we grossly underestimated the odds of success. Thankfully we have managed some amount of success in Iraq, but we cannot declare victory there yet.

Haiti: A disaster and a distraction

January 17, 2010

If you’ve been watching any news you’ve seen the wall-to-wall coverage of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti, and the humanitarian disaster this has caused. I feel sympathetic to their plight. However, Pat_S over at has pointed to a disaster in the making that is currently being ignored by our news organs: the fact that Iran is continuing its progress towards a nuclear weapon, and that the Obama Administration’s efforts to stop their progress is failing (continuing President Bush’s failure to do the same). This is something we should be concerned about as well. When Iran gains a nuclear weapon (and it looks like it’s a matter of when, not if) it will change the balance of power in the world, not unlike what happened when the Chinese and the Soviets gained the bomb in the 1950s. We’re looking at a new worldwide conflict arising.

I fear that people are under the mistaken impression that the Iranian leadership, the people who actually run Iran’s government, care about our nuclear deterrent capability. From listening to people who know the Middle East, I’m not so sure. They will be in a position to threaten India, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, not to mention Israel. This has severe implications. Prepare for oil prices to go through the roof. But hey, it will help the Obama Admin. promote wind power and solar, so that’s okay, right? It will promote a new national wartime unity in our country not unlike what FDR enjoyed in WW II. Repeal the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, and we can run that movie all over again. Won’t that be great?

Israel is a huge “ground zero” flashpoint in this scenario. Military analysts have long predicted that if Israel is attacked like this, it will be World War III. Like the Nazis in Germany, Iran might be punchy enough and self-destructive enough to start it with reckless abandon. They could become one giant suicide bomber, destroying themselves and taking the peoples of many other nations down with them.

We also seem to be foolish enough to believe that once they have nuclear capability that we will be out of reach of that weaponry. Au contraire! They may not get a fission bomb over here. Their missile technology can’t make the trip, and making suitcase nukes takes sophisticated engineering. It’s not sufficient to have rudimentary nuclear weapons technology to make one. However dirty bombs delivered by terrorists are not out of the question.

9/11/2001, and our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were just the first act. More is yet to come, unfortunately.