Thursday, January 31, 2008


A fair amount of buzz has been generated this month by a manifesto (linked below) released by five retired NATO military leaders. The stated goal of the manifesto is to revive the troubled trans-atlantic alliance. Most commentary has focused on their statement that the "... first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation..."

The manifesto laments the loss of "certainty" One wonders how they define "certainty", perhaps the good old days with the West on top of the heap and the wogs and beurs in their place... 

General (ret.) Dr. Klaus Naumann, KBE
Former Chief of the Defence Staff Germany
Former Chairman Military Committee NATO

General (ret.) John Shalikashvili
Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of
the United States of America
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander in Europe
Field Marshal The Lord Inge, KG, GCB, PC
Former Chief of the Defence Staff United Kingdom
Admiral (ret.) Jacques Lanxade
Former Chief of the Defence Staff France
Former Ambassador
General (ret.) Henk van den Breemen
Former Chief of the Defence Staff the Netherlands

A Question for John McCain

Now that the presidential race on the Republican side is essentially down to John McCain and Mitt Romney, a question for McCain:

Given past comments of yours, for example in November 2006 you said "I believe that al-Sadr has to be taken out", is it your position that we should be free to assasinate Iraqi leaders? If 'yes' for al-Sadr, how about al-Hakim, al-Sistani, etc.? Where do you draw the line?

Video: McCain on ... - scroll down and run video

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Pakistan & Benazir Bhutto... (Jan 2nd repost)

 Apparently shot, or perhaps killed by shrapnel from a suicide bomber.... Much is unknown e.g. re who is responsible. Of some things we can be sure:

  • The other people killed in the blast (21?) will be consigned to oblivion, mourned only by their relatives. After all, they are merely minor cogs compared to Benazir, scion of a landowning family in a feudal society, and 'great white hope' for the future... Similarly, in 1980 when Sanjay Gandhi died at the controls of his Pitts Special stunt plane, the sycophants surrounding and living off the family like so many pilot fish not only ignored the death of his co-pilot but actively blamed him for Sanjay's death (after all, how could the 'demi-god' have made a mistake himself?)
  • Let the hagiography commence! It's part of eco-system for the aforementioned pilot fish. For the movers and shakers of "the West" it's more likely to be a manifestation of ethnocentrism. As a Harvard- and Oxford-educated, English-speaking, "charming", glib, persuasive, "articulate", "charismatic", woman, no doubt (they think) she surely thinks like we do and is 'one of us.' Easy to overlook numerous 'small' foibles, such as her corruption; the fact that she did very little for her people; her husband "Mr. Ten Percent"; her role in the rise of the Taliban; etc.
  • As such, it is relatively easy to either optimistically project good intentions on her, or cynically use her death to reinforce one's pre-existing ideas... For example, per Walid Phares "By jihadi standards it was unbearable to see Lady Benazir seizing the premiership of the executive power. A staunch modernist and a genuine Muslim, she would have been their worst nightmare. With her in power, forget about the Talibanization: There would be no suppression of women and no brutalization of minorities. There would be fierce empowerment of civil society..." despite little evidence of improved conditions for women after Benazir's two stints as Prime Minister ('88-'90 & '93-'96). Having a woman in power does not automatically equate to improvements in the lot of women, viz. Indira Gandhi's fifteen years in power did not empower or substantively improve the lot of women in neighboring India...

How Bhutto Won Washington
Face-to-face with Benazir Bhutto
Final thoughts on Benazhir Bhutto
Murtaza Bhutto's Murder
The Jihadi preemptive strike against Bhutto's war of ideas