Israel Fixing Last Year's Mistake?

So, it appears that Israel may have to fix last year’s mistake with an “invasion” of the Gaza strip. (This is roughly comparable in geographic and logistics scope to an invasion of Rhode Island by the Massachusetts state police, hence the quotation marks.)

Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, said he had told the Israeli army “to prepare for a broad and ongoing military operation to strike the terrorist leaders and all those involved”.

He said: “It should be clear. There will be immunity for no one.”

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Israeli troops gather at Gaza borders as Palestinians try to find hostage

To be clear last year’s mistake wasn’t Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip. Removing soldiers and settlers from a strategically unimportant piece of land, leaving the Palestinians to fend for themselves (which they are clearly incapable of on a community wide scale) was the right move. This is doubly true given that Israel clearly has the capacity to take back even firmer control any time it likes and the Palestinian escalation of violence clearly gives Israel the political cover to do so. No, the mistake was and continues to be negotiating as though the Palestinians are a victorious army and not the perpetual losers of this conflict. Lasting peace will require lots of things, but one of the most important is going to be the realization by Palestinians and Israelis that any Israeli concessions are gifts granted by a magnanimous victor and not spoils won in a Palestinian victory. Whether Palestinians or Israelis will get that message and which group will get it first remains to be seen.

Middle East,Israel,Palestine

Trivial Announcements

A few quick notes.

We’ve been doing a do-it-yourself remodeling job on the house the last two weeks, with lots of help from friends. (It simply wouldn’t have happened without them.) Since I was at home with computer access, I didn’t post the standard “light posting ahead” warning. Unfortunately between continuing to work a full schedule, doing the remodeling and the failure of the news to really inspire any opinions worth sharing I haven’t written much for a couple of weeks. I should be back in the swing of things now, though it may still be a bit light as the cleanup and trimwork aren’t finished.

And thanks to the remodeling about 2/3 of my book collection bit the dust – stored outside and not well enough protected from the rain. Anyone with suggestions for drying out books that aren’t worth doing one page at a time with a hair dryer?

If you’d like to help a bibliophile out of a funk feel free to make your next Amazon purchase through this link – I’m 4 sales short of getting a higher commission rate, but I need them by June 30.

In any case, thanks for reading and for your attention to this commercial interruption.

Thanks Again, Ronnie

Thanks are in order again to Ronald Reagan for policies he started in the early 80s that are paying huge dividends today.

The wisdom of Reagan’s economic policy of investing in a strong, sound economy by cutting taxes and resisting calls for counterproductive tax hikes proved out in the inflation free growth of the 1980s and the incredible growth of the 1990s. Once again the wisdom of Ronald Reagan’s policies is showing as North Korea prepares to test a missile capable of hitting the mainland US (and easily capable of hitting Hawaii, Guam, the Marianas, etc.).

A Navy Standard Missile-3 shot down the warhead portion of a two-stage target rocket fired Thursday from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on West Kauai. It was the seventh actual hit in eight tries for the sea-based anti-ballistic missile defense program.

The experiment used “hit to kill” technology, in which the target is destroyed by the energy of the interceptor missile’s impact.

“We are continuing to see great success with the very challenging technology of hit-to-kill, a technology that is used for all of our missile defense ground- and sea-based interceptor missiles,” said Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry “Trey” Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency.

Navy Times – Take two: Missile defense test a success

Thanks are also in order on both counts to a man who is in many ways Reagan’s philosophical heir, George W. Bush. Certainly there are points of disagreement between Bush and conservatives, but on the most important aspects of the Reagan Revolution – securing the nation with a common sense defense and foreign policy and solid, noninflationary growth through tax cuts, free trade and reducing regulation – Bush is building on the Reagan legacy. It is unfortunate that Congress, and a Republican Congress this time, is repeating almost play for play the mistakes that dampened the best effects of Reagan’s legacy in their drunken pork barrel spending binges, but the policies were successful for Reagan and showing success for Bush as well.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the folks on the National Security Council and in the Defense Department are either the students and intellectual heirs of the Reagan appointees or the actual Reagan appointees. Thanks again, Ronnie.

Reagan,North Korea,missile defense

McCain, Frist, Reid – Conservatives Can Filibuster, Too!

Senator Frist got a wakeup call this morning with a letter from Senators George Allen, Sam Brownback, Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Michael Enzi, John Sununu and David Vitter warning that they would support “extended debate” (hopefully involving reading the D.C. telephone directory like the good ole days) on any bill that contains “the anti-free speech provisions of H.R. 513”. Their position is principled:

The First Amendment’s dictates are a model of clarity: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” Yet the House of Representatives approved a bill (H.R. 513) that proposes new restrictions on speech about politicians and policies to be enforced under the threat of criminal penalties. The House then added the provisions of H.R. 513 to the Senate’s lobbying reform bill.

One of the four pillars of a free and just society is freedom of speech. As George Washington once said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

As so often happens when one supports liberty on grounds of principle, the result is also politically pragmatic for the Republican Party:

Republicans do not need, and should not attempt, to muzzle their opponents. The increase in free speech over the last two decades made possible by the growth of talk radio, cable TV and the Internet has benefited our Party, which allowed us to promote individual freedom and opportunity that has led to unprecedented prosperity for our nation.

Via Club for Growth where they also have a PDF version of the full signed letter.

First Amendment,McCain-Feingold,527,liberty,freedom of speech