Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Books Roundup

As I got more interested in foreign policy this year the best book I read is by Thomas P.M. Barnett. His The Pentagon's New Map is a must read if you want a foundation to talk intelligently about the world today and what political steps we can take to affect change. You should also read it because he's one of the grand strategists that is readable and this book is highly influential. (If you find yourself interested in this you can study it chapter-by-chapter with the author himself as he submitted to an hourly interview/discussion on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. Link is here.) Since discovering Vince Flynn's violent, muscular, patriot fiction last year I finished up all of his recent novels and then read his newest - Protect & Defend - a few weeks ago. All but his first are worth reading and show the simple tension between feckless politicians who see America's enemies as theoretical and a man whose talents are for ending the lives of those enemies. Politically savvy and fun to read. Lastly, I have to mention Jeffrey Overstreet's book Through A Screen Darkly. It is part film review, with some theory and a whole lot of anecdote and heart. Even while disagreeing with his conclusions you can't help but admire his infectious love of cinema and be drawn in with him.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007 Movie Picks

Theater Best:
The Kingdom
Spider-Man 3
No Country For Old Men

Theater Worst:

DVD Best:
Sophie Scholl
Amores Perros
The Painted Veil

DVD Worst:
The Visitation
An Inconvenient Truth
Flags Of Our Fathers
The Quiet

Monday, October 08, 2007

Updated: The Kingdom

Director: Peter Berg
Writer: Matthew Michael Carnahan
Cinematography: Mauro Fiore
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Chris Cooper, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

The Kingdom is a straightforward story of a terrorist incident in the American compound in the country of Saudi Arabia and the FBI response team that fights to enter the country and investigate the crime. It has some good dialogue, solid acting, and though it is not a perfect film (it's a Hollywood movie after all, not a documentary) it takes terrorism and the enemy that we face seriously and deserves our attention.

Update: Jeff Goldsmith of Creative Screenwriting devotes an hour interviewing the writer of this film in his latest podcast. You can listen to it here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Looming Tower

As I read this book by Lawrence Wright last year I was in the midst of a blog move and it got lost in the shuffle. But it bears repeating that this is an outstanding book and if you want to understand the world we live in this is a great place to start. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2007 it is a multi-biography of all the major players of al Qaeda as well as Islamofascism's intellectual leader Sayyid Qutb. There is no better place to start in understanding our enemy.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Serious Times

I am almost finished with James Emery White's book A Mind For God (one more sitting should do it for this thin volume) and while it so far has not distinguished itself from the Christian mind genre I am finding some good book recommendations, which makes it a worthwhile read. His website contains some fun reading lists and one that I might try is the One Year Reading program.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Osama: Man Of The People

Osama bin Laden's newest video rant was releaased last week and the blogs have some worthwhile analysis: Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs shows Osama as a Chomsky fan, while over at HotAir Allah continues that thought of Osama as socialist icon. And finally Hugh Hewitt read the entire transcript of Osama's letter on air and compiled links of reactions by the serious people.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Updated: First iPhone Review

I don't often write about technology, though I work in the computer industry, but Apple's new iPhone is worthy of a post. It is coming out this Friday at 6 PM and Walt Mossberg has posted the first review here. You can also see a video of him talking about his two weeks with this fabulously cool device below.

Update: David Pogue's New York Times Review.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

From Achilles To Christ

I've often been enamored by good writers that are also good teachers. The best of these draw your interest to the subject by their knowledge, passion, and insight. One of these is Louis Markos of Houston Baptist University, who wrote the wonderful Lewis Agonistes: How C.S. Lewis Can Train Us To Wrestle With The Modern and Postmodern World. In that book he shows us a Lewis at home in the halls of reason as well as the ether of the numinous. The Teaching Company has also released two courses by him that I recommend to anyone interested in C.S. Lewis and literature: The Life and Writings of C.S. Lewis and Plato to Postmodernism.

In August he has a new book coming out called From Achilles to Christ. You can read reviews and endorsements here and a chapter outline here. I will be reading it as soon as it is released.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Time 100: Peter Akinola

In Time magazine's newsstand issue they have listed their top one hundred influential people and on the list of leaders and revolutionaries is the Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter Akinola.

Akinola is known for being one of the conservative prelates who is providing alternative oversight for churches who are unhappy with the ECUSA's recent shifts towards liberalism. He recently installed an Anglican missionary bishop in the United States, flouting both the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The man he chose is Martyn Minns who led one of those churches that withdrew from the ECUSA and is now embroiled in a battle for its property and assets.

Good call, Time magazine. Akinola will be speaking out for orthodoxy for years to come.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Updated: Frank Beckwith: Catholic Evangelical?

I found out recently that the current Evangelical Theological Society president Frank Beckwith has converted to Catholicism. It first hit the blogosphere and then Dr. Beckwith wrote about his road back to Rome, followed today with a short note on Right Reason announcing his resignation as member and president of ETS. I greatly respect Peter Kreeft and Richard John Neuhaus and have read their conversion stories (Kreeft from Calvinist Protestantism and Neuhaus was a Lutheran pastor) and I'll be interested to hear Beckwith's story in more detail. As Doug Groothius wrote in the comments on RR I believe that Frank has embraced serious theological error and this will be a story that circulates in the arena of Christian scholarship for some time.

(HT: STR radio)

Update: The Evangelical Theological Society has released a statement regarding Frank's resignation.

Update 2: In an interview Frank Beckwith gave to Christianity Today he echoes two of the reasons that I left the charismatic Protestantism of my youth: liturgy and a sense of history.
"Looking at tradition would also help evangelicals learn about Christian liturgical traditions, like Eastern Orthodoxy and Catholicism, that many evangelicals reject because they say liturgy is unbiblical. When did these practices come to be? It turns out many of them came to be very early on in church history when people were close historically to the apostles themselves. There must be something to these practices that the early Christians thought was perfectly consistent with what they had received from the apostles."
Update 3: The man who was Vice President when Dr. Beckwith stepped down and became President of ETS, Bruce Ware, was a guest on Al Mohler's radio show. Podcast here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Linguistics and the Mohammedans

I first heard of Jim Guirard in a James Fallows article in the September '06 issue of The Atlantic. Guirard is an anti-terrorism strategist and recommends a fascinating approach concerning language and terrorism. He writes that
when we counterattack al Qaeda's pseudo-Islamic scam of so-called "Jihadi Martyrdom" in Western secular words only -- criminals, thugs, killers, bring to justice, etc. -- we are simply shooting with blanks. Worse yet, when we parrot the Terrorists' own words of self-sanctification, we even shoot ourselves by the perverse effects of "semantic infiltration," which the late great Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan defined thirty years in a Cold War context as follows:

"Semantic infiltration is the process whereby we come to adopt the language of our adversaries in describing political reality. The most brutal totalitarian regimes in the world call themselves 'liberation movements.' [Just as today's AQ-style Terrorists call themselves 'holy warriors']. It is perfectly predictable that they should misuse words to conceal their real nature. But must we aid them in that effort by repeating those words? Worse, do we begin to influence our own perceptions by using them?"
He proposes that we instead use an alternative lexicon: replace jihadis and mujahideen with irhabis (terrorists) and mufsiduun (evildoers, mortal sinners, corrupters), instead. No more Jihad (Holy War) but ungodly Hirabah (unholy war, war against society) and forbidden Irhab (Terrorism). Same goes for the Godly heroes of Jihadi martyrdom they falsely claim to be but as the Satanic perpetrators of Irhabi murderdom (terroristic genocide). Not destined for a virgin-filled Paradise for killing all of us so-called kuffar (infidels) but to a demon-filled Jahannam (Eternal Hellfire) for killing so many thousands of innocents, fellow Muslims, "People of the Book" and "Sons of Abraham." And finally, take away the abd'al-Allah (Servants of Allah) they falsely claim to be and insert the abd'al-Shaitan (Servants of Satan), the murtadduun (apostates) and the khawarij (outside-the-religion deviants) they really are.

I cannot find one major commentator on the war that has complied with the sensible and easy propaganda that Guirard proposes. Is it too much work?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Updated: Voight: Pro-America, Pro-War

Jon Voight, in an interview with Radar Online, shows that he understands the Jihadi threat we face. Money quote:

The war on terror is real. People would have you believe it's not real. This is not Vietnam. This particular situation is not the same wherein we can walk away and just leave destruction behind us. No, we can't. Anyone who has paid attention to what [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad is saying, what all the mullahs are saying in this country and in England, and in all of the Arab world, this is serious--they're calling for the destruction of America and all democracy and that's what's going on. We could lose this war.

Was the Iraq war part of the war on terror before we got there?

I'm interested in talking about this, but it's been so politicized, it's very disturbing, very dangerous. My view of it is this: they say our president lied to us. Well, he didn't lie to us, everybody else had the information he had, and they voted for that tactic. And the idea of weapons of mass destruction, whether they were in fact removed to other places, to Lebanon, to Syria, that's still in play, we don't know the full answer of where all that stuff went, because they had it, they have the pieces. Now, whether someone else has them or whether we're playing a careful game not to reveal that we know where things are, that's another big aspect of it. The Administration's in a tough spot, because if they say they know where these pieces are, and they can't get at them, they're alerting other energies to know where they are. . . .

We really just want a fair interview, nothing more. We try to talk to people in the public eye who are interesting and ask them about topics our readers care about. I think most people have strong opinions on this subject, and they might want to hear yours, considering who you are.

The question for me is: who are you and where are your sensibilities? If you're part of a left-wing bias and want to turn what I say in favor of someone on your agenda, I would say I don't want to talk about it with you. It's difficult for me ... because I see so many people go in the wrong direction. I see it all the time and it's very, very disturbing. What's being said in so many places in the country is just dangerous.

How many parties does he not get invited to with opinions like these?

(HT: Debbie Schlussel)

Update: Hot Air and Michelle Malkin include a video of Voight talking sense on FOXNews.

Update 2:: Voight did two hours on Hugh Hewitt's show promoting his new film September Dawn and talking politics .

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lifetime Reading List

Hugh Hewitt asked two notable academics to discuss the thirty books that everyone should have read, and especially college sophomores and freshman. Professor David Allen White teaches Literature to midshipman at the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis. He is a Catholic convert. Professor John Mark Reynolds heads up the Torrey honors program at Biola - an evangelical Christian university - and is a philosopher.

What resonates with me are the answers towards the end of the interview about the difficulty of difficult books, and how indispensible a good teacher is. So many of the classics are hard and seemingly unyielding yet with a good and patient guide they reveal themselves.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

We Are What We Read

Take a look at Al Mohler's blog entry We Are What We Read -- David McCullough on Reading and History. Excellent for those that love to read, and a good explanation for those that don't and who wonder about those that do.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Gandhi's Pacifism Gets A Beatdown

Mahatma Gandhi's belief in non-violence holds sway in the anti-war movement and Fred Thompson recently took on Gandhi's views:
I feel bad for Nancy Pelosi, AND her neighbors. Anti-war activists from the group Code Pink have been giving her the same treatment the president gets at his Crawford, Texas, ranch. Camping on her San Francisco lawn, they’re demanding she cut off funds to the troops in Iraq.

Besides coolers and mattresses, protesters have brought along a giant paper mache statue of Mahatma Gandhi, who is pretty much the symbol of the anti-war movement. Code Pink was founded on his birthday, and when Saddam Hussein was being given a last chance to open Iraq to U.N. weapons inspectors, posters appeared around America asking “What would Gandhi do?”

And that’s a pretty good question. At what point is it okay to fight dictators like Saddam or the al Qaeda terrorists who want to take his place?

It turns out that the answer, according to Gandhi, is NEVER. During World War II, Gandhi penned an open letter to the British people, urging them to surrender to the Nazis. Later, when the extent of the holocaust was known, he criticized Jews who had tried to escape or fight for their lives as they did in Warsaw and Treblinka. “The Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher’s knife,” he said. “They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs.” “Collective suicide,” he told his biographer, “would have been heroism.”

The so-called peace movement certainly has the right to make Gandhi’s way their way, but their efforts to make collective suicide American foreign policy just won’t cut it in this country. When American’s think of heroism, we think of the young American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, risking their lives to prevent another Adolph Hitler or Saddam Hussein.

Gandhi probably wouldn't approve, but I can live with that.

And this guy might be running for President. If he has press releases like this count me as a supporter.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Theophobe Reading

In the last few years there has been a spate of new books with old ideas about religion by atheist authors. Sam Harris (Letter To A Christian Nation, The End of Faith), Daniel Dennett (Breaking The Spell), Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion), and now Christopher Hitchens. Hitch's new book, out in May, is called God is Not Great and here is a quote on why he wrote the book:

I was quite young when I came to the unsurprising conclusion that there was no supreme being who had created the unknown universe and the known world, let alone a supreme being who took an interest in my doings or those of anyone else. I could be asked, I suppose, how I knew this. My first response would be that I learned it from those other humans who were making absurdly large claims that they could never in a billion years have even a slight chance of proving. My second response would be that we now have better explanations than “god” for everything that we do know about, and no sillier explanation than “god” for those numberless things that we cannot know about. Those who claim to “know” the mind of this indefinable entity are therefore wrong by definition and are arrogantly assuming an authority that no human can dare to claim.

In spite of the huge imbalance between the two sides, one resting its claims on reason and evidence and one insisting on “faith,” this ought to be a private dispute between two different mentalities. And I have spent many enjoyable evenings on just this point. The argument about god is the beginning of all intellectual arguments: it is how one works out how to think, which is always much more important than what one thinks. I hope to show in the book that I do understand the pulse that underlies belief.

So this has now become everybody’s business and bids fair to be the dominant subject for the rest of our lives. I thought it was time to re-state the traditional and hard-earned reasonings by which humanity emancipated itself from medieval rule and brought about the triumphs and advances of science and the Enlightenment. I also thought it might be a good moment to show that all the claims of established religion are bogus, and man-made, and undeserving of anything but contempt and ridicule. My hope is that the book will become a part of the long-overdue fight-back against superstition, sexual repression, political fanaticism, and all the other ways in which the “faith-based” have chosen to present themselves.

I'm unimpressed with Dawkins as a philosopher but I might give Hitchens a try and see if he brings anything new to the table. Hopefully he'll fare better than Dawkins at the hands of Plantinga: You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside), many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

VDH & 300

The film 300 took the box office its opening weekend and is connecting with American audiences. Classicist and military historian Victor Davis Hanson wrote the introduction to the picture book that accompanies the film. (Just last year Hanson wrote A War Like No Other: How Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War and it has sold surprisingly well.)

But is the movie something far more sinister? Maybe "part of a comprehensive U.S. psychological war aimed at Iranian culture"? That quote is from an art advisor to Ahmadinejad and is reported by People's Daily Online.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Updated: Leftist Schadenfreude

The AP is reporting that a homicide bomber attacked a military base in Afghanistan where Vice President Cheney is. From the story:

A purported Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, said Cheney was the target of the attack..."We knew that Dick Cheney would be staying inside the base," Ahmadi told AP telephone from an undisclosed location. "The attacker was trying to reach Cheney."

Just the thought of it resurrected assassination chic (Death Of A President mockudrama, a passage in Cindy Sheehan's Peace Mom about killing Bush as an infant, the Kill Bush t-shirts and postage stamps with a gun to his head) on the nutroots Left. Here are a few examples from the Huffington Post comments section to the story:

"Cheney's spokeswoman said he was fine"

They missed! Too bad.
You can't kill pure evil....
If at first you don't succeed ...
They missed?? Dammit. I hope they try again before he leaves.

And that's just the first page. Has HuffPo taken the mantle from DailyKos as the home for progressive hate and bile? With this new low they might have. The Kossacks will not be pleased.

Update: Arianna has taken down the comments section of the original report and there is a DailyKos diary out today entitled “We 100% Condemn the Attempted Assassination on Cheney.”

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Lenten Bookshelf

Today marks the beginning of the Christian holy season of Lent. Last year National Review Online asked around for some good spiritual reading suggestions for the next 40 days.

For the reading list click here.

Also from the same site, an interview with Frederica Mathewes-Green on her book First Fruits of Prayer: A Forty-Day Journey Through The Canon of St. Andrew. That interview is here.

For more information on the Christian season of Lent (starting with Ash Wednesday today and culminating on Easter) here is a page of links.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Democrat Hypocrisy on Iraq

Can the Democrats who made the following comments now defend their about face?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Gregory Wolfe and the Passion

I got my Passion of the Christ Definitive Edition DVD last week and going through the features I was surprised to see Greg Wolfe, editor of the IMAGE Journal, featured in a section on Christianity in art called Through The Ages. They didn't use many of his comments and while this section was a nice meditation on art history I would have loved to have seen Edward Knippers comment on this, particularly. Knippers's own work is raw, masculine and controversial. His grotesque Salome was inspiration for lyrics to the Vigilantes of Love song Welcome to Struggleville ("Salome she's undressed to the nines, Although a few pounds fatter. She's got Pavlov's bells on her ankles and wrists, She coming at you with her platter.") and his gigantic canvases of of a nude Jesus being whipped (above) or the crowning of thorns (below) could have been an inspiration for both scenes in the film, and a nice counterbalance to the pristine works of earlier times (and today's Christian bookstore art).

The short feature also included painter Alfonse Borysewicz, art historian Mitchell Merback, and artist Wayne Forte.

Ousting Ahmadinejad - An Endgame?

My previous post - touching on Iran and the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction - was originally posted to a discussion group, where someone commented that "one hopes that the Loon in a Windbreaker gets ousted by the big Mullah-thugs." This is my reply:

Unfortunately just ousting him won't do the trick as long as there are men in power who believe in ushering in the appearance of the 12th imam by creating chaos, injustice, and war. As I understand it there is a passive and an aggressive eschatology regarding the Mahdi and while both sides believe those conditions will bring about his return, the Hojjatieh believe that they can and should hasten his return by creating those conditions.

Ahmadinejad believes in ushering in this Christ-like figure who will bring peace, justice and an end to suffering; an end of history. His spiritual advisor is Mesbah Yazdi who is a patron of this school of thinking (but vehemently denies this since they are a banned organization) who has sought to be Supreme Leader in Iran. He sits on the Assembly of Experts which chooses the Supreme Leader and with reports that the current leader, Khamenei, is sick it is possible he could take over. Not likely, but possible.

Recent elections of the assembly seem to have seen a turn towards more moderate voices so there is reason for hope there. And Bill Roggio is reporting that the pressure on Iran is creating political discord in that country. A passage of note:

Saudi Arabia's actions with respect to Iran have been particularly of interest, as their influence on the price of oil has a direct impact on Iranian cash flow. "The Saudi oil minister has steadfastly refused calls for a special meeting of OPEC and announced that the nation is going to increase its production, which will send the price down even farther," reported NBC News. The belief is the Saudis have fired the first salvo in an oil price war with Iran.

The Saudis have directly warned the Iranians to keep out of "Arabs affairs." We speak with Iranian about Arabs affairs, said Saudi Arabias Foreign Affairs Minister Prince Saud al Faysal. We think that it is dangerous to interfere into our affairs. Therefore, we express to Iranians our concerns about their influence in the Arab world. It is logical. But when other countries speak to them about our problems, that confer legitimacy to the Iranian interferences in the Arab world. This is why we are not favorable. We hope that Iran will be a good neighbor, that the Iranians will be a part of the solution and not the problem. It is what we repeat to them: you do not interfere with our affairs.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Does multiculturalism lead to fanaticism?

The Daily Mail is reporting that multiculturalism is fueling fanaticism among British Muslims:
The poll exposes a fracture between the attitudes of Muslims aged 16 to 24, most of whom were born in Britain, and those of their parents’ generation, who are more likely to have been immigrants…

Academic Munira Mirza, lead author of the report, said: “The emergence of a strong Muslim identity in Britain is, in part, a result of multi-cultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasised difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines.”…

While only 17 per cent of over-55s said they would prefer to live under Sharia law, that increased to 37 per cent of those aged 16 to 24…

The poll found that just 19 per cent of Muslims over 55 would prefer to send their children to Islamic state schools. That increased to 37 per cent of those aged 16 to 24.

If a Muslim converts to another religion, 36 per cent of 16-to-24-year-olds thought this should be punished by death, compared with 19 per cent of 55s and over.
And now Bernard Lewis has weighed in at the Jerusalem Post that Muslims are "about to take over Europe":

The Muslims “seem to be about to take over Europe,” Lewis said at a special briefing with the editorial staff of The Jerusalem Post. Asked what this meant for the continent’s Jews, he responded, “The outlook for the Jewish communities of Europe is dim.” Soon, he warned, the only pertinent question regarding Europe’s future would be, “Will it be an Islamized Europe or Europeanized Islam?”…

Instead of fighting the threat, he elaborated, Europeans had given up.

“Europeans are losing their own loyalties and their own self-confidence,” he said. “They have no respect for their own culture.” Europeans had “surrendered” on every issue with regard to Islam in a mood of “self-abasement,” “political correctness” and “multi-culturalism,” said Lewis, who was born in London to middle-class Jewish parents but has long lived in the United States…

The Cold War philosophy of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), which prevented the former Soviet Union and the United States from using the nuclear weapons they had targeted at each other, would not apply to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Iran, said Lewis.

“For him, Mutual Assured Destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement,” said Lewis of Ahmadinejad.
It appears Bernard Lewis agrees with recent books by Claire Berlinski and Mark Steyn and Bruce Bawer that Europe has become soft and culturally relativistic.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oscar Noms

The Academy nominations are announced and they have decided not to pit Leonardo DiCaprio against himself, as the Hollywood Foreign Press did, but snubbed him for the wrong movie. Nominated for Blood Diamond they passed over his great performance in the otherwise dubious The Departed. One of the best big performances I've seen since Edward Norton in 1998's American History X.

Paul Greengrass's United 93 was nominated for Best Director (which he was no shot at) and the Academy continues to be prejudiced against comedy by failing to nominate Sacha Baron Cohen for his rude, crude, brilliant Borat. And no David Bowie nomination for The Prestige as he was the best thing about that movie, playing Nikola Tesla.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Books To Read

Here's my current list of what I want to read in '07:

QBQ - John G. Miller (and Flipping The Switch)
The Future of Warfare - Bevin Alexander
The Pentagon's New Map - Thomas Barnett (and Blueprint for Action)
First Fruits of Prayer - Frederica Mathewes-Green
Mark Steyn's Passing Parade
White Guilt - Shelby Steele
Original Intent - David Barton
Human Accomplishment - Charles Murray (and In Our Hands)
Fiasco - Tom Ricks (and Making the Corps)
History of English Speaking Peoples Since 1900 - Andrew Roberts (and Salisbury)
Guests of the Ayatollah - Mark Bowden
Third Option - Vince Flynn (and Memorial Day)
Just War Against Terror - Jean Bethke-Elshtain
Elect in the Son - Robert Shank
A Mind For God - James Emery White (and Serious Times)
Eurabia - Bat Ye'Or (and Islam and Dhimmitude)
Dogmatic Theology - William Shedd
Proper Confidence - Lesslie Newbigin
The Last Lion - William Manchester
Without Roots - Joseph Ratzinger
In The Fullness of Time - Paul Maier
The Swallows of Kabul - Yasmina Khandra
The Theory of Moral Sentiments - Adam Smith
The Universe Next Door - James Sire
Jihad Incorporated - Steve Emerson
Between War and Peace - Victor Davis Hanson

Quds Forces Detained

The President alluded to this in his address the other night but how many in the MSM are picking up on the Iranian Quds forces are that fueling the insurgency? That's right, almost none. If you aren't aware of them either don't feel alone. Neither is Dennis Kucinich. Thankfully Bill Roggio over at his fine blog The Fourth Rail is covering it and has a new article about this Iranian Revolutionary Guard detachment that is working to undermine American efforts at nation-building. Read his story here.

Zapatero Apologizes

Back in 2004 - in the days after the 3/11 bombing - Spaniards swept out the conservative Aznar government in favor of the Socialist Party's Jose Zapatero. He was elected in large part on the promise that he would pull Spain out of the coalition forces fighting in Iraq.

A few days ago the prime minister apologized for putting his faith in peace talks with a banned separatist group. Money quote:

"All Spaniards heard me say on December 29 that I had the conviction that things were better for us than five years ago and that in a year's time things would be even better," Mr Zapatero told a special session of the Spanish parliament.

"Although it is not frequent among public leaders, I want to recognize the clear mistake I made before all Spanish citizens."

Despite allegations that he had been "fooled" by Eta, he insisted that he had been right to seek negotiations with the terrorist group after they declared a permanent ceasefire last March. "I did what most Spaniards wanted - to try to use the truce to end the violence," he said.
How many people will attempt to bargain with terrorists before they realize it is futile?

(HT: Captain's Quarters)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Art of Counterinsurgency

Is Lt. Gen. David Petraeus the right man for the job in Iraq? Well, he quite literally wrote the book (the Army field manual on counterinsurgency) so he's well positioned by way of understanding what we face. A good biography of the General is available here and as troops are arriving as we speak I would like to see General Petraeus get out in front of the MSM on stories concerning the troops, negative or positive. We cannot fight a generational war without resolve and perseverance and for that we need confidence at home.

(HT: Worldwide Standard)