Tuesday, February 28, 2006
I laughed out loud yesterday at news reports from the Teamster rally at the port of Newark yesterday where Democratic politicians railed at the UAE port deal. Senator Menendez warned darkly of the prospect of "radiological attacks" and Governor Corzine painted the terrifying picture for us:
the UAE has supported the Taliban government in Afghanistan and has allowed nuclear materials to be transported through its territory on the way to rogue nations.
Oh my, now that is serious. Nuclear materials! Wow.
So, being the concerned citizen I am, I looked up the background of this claim, and, sure enough, I found, among other stories, this two-year-old USA Today piece that linked Dubai with the AQ Khan nuclear technology transfer story. And who was the Khan network's first customer? Surprise, surprise: It was Saddam's Iraq.
Khan apparently came across a blueprint for an atomic bomb when working with the CERN project in Switzerland and Germany in the mid-80s. Fresh investigations reveal that "the same blueprint was available with Iraq months after it was known to have come in Khan’s possession", a senior MEA official said.
A "nuclear trigger" device also surfaced in Iraq soon after it was officially known that Khan had picked it up from CERN and returned to Pakistan. "The technological similarity of the blueprint and trigger possessed by Iraq and the ones picked up by Khan is overwhelming," a MEA expert said. He reasons that “Since no Western country shared or sold them to Iraq at any point of time, Khan seems to the only possible source for Iraq."
So let's get our story straight: Bush lied about Iraq seeking or having WMDs, except when the UAE is involved, in which case they're all going to end up in Newark.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Kenan Kolat, the head of Germany's Turkish community, insisted that a ban on the film would make matters worse. "If it is withdrawn, it will raise levels of identification with the film," he said. "A democracy must be able to endure films that it doesn't approve of."
Alin Sahin, the film's distributor in Germany, argued: "When a cartoonist insults two billion Muslims it is considered freedom of opinion, but when an action film takes on the Americans it is considered demagoguery. Something is wrong."
Well, yeah, something is very wrong, starting with the contemptible Muslim tendency to play the helpless victim card while simultaneously preaching (and committing) violence. Churchill had a famous quote about the Germans that they were "either at your feet or at your throat." Today's Muslim community manages both positions simultaneously.
This is something else the Islamists learned from the Left: Moral equivalency. In this case, essentially they're saying: You make Muhammad cartoons, we make cinematic calls for genocide; if you object to our genocidal movies, then your free-speech defenses of the cartoons are hypocritical.
Of course the comparison is absurd. For one thing, Western objections to Valley of the Wolves aren't accompanied by death threats and riots, as in
'You will see your own blood as an answer, and that is revenge from our prophet,'
The truest line in the article:
Bernd Neumann, the culture minister in Chancellor Angela Merkel's government complained last week that the reaction to the film "raises serious questions about the values of our society and our ability to instil them".
Sunday, February 12, 2006
As I get older, I often match my behavior against the last verse of Bob Dylan's song "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest." Like so:
Well, the moral of the story,
The moral of this song,
Is simply that one should never be
Where one does not belong.
So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin',
Help him with his load,
And don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road.
I was thinking of this during my endless morning/afternoon shoveling snow out of my and my neighbors' driveways. It's endless because you understand (as a middle-aged man, which is what I am) that once you stop your muscles will tighten up and won't let you start again.
Part of it was medical. I treat the annual ritual of snow shoveling as a sort of free cardiac stress test. Those of us who are uninsured have to take our medical tests when we can, and I always figure that if six hours of uninterrupted anaerobic exercise doesn't kill me, then I'm good for another year.
Part of it was genuine altruism, and here I had my Andre Gide problem. Gide, of course, is strongly identified with the belief that there is no such thing as a gratuitous act, that all behavior is informed by self-interest.
So, Gide be damned, I shoveled my driveway, and six neighbors', making sure I got the old people who can't do it anymore. My preference would be that they didn't see my doing that at all, but that wasn't happening. I got a dinner out of it, and a bunch of money thrust at me that I wouldn't accept. All in all, it wasn't total altruism--there is definitely a bit of truth in that sullen old bastard Gide--but it was good enough for another year.