Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jews Wake Up! by Caroline Glick

Guaranteeing our survival begins with each of us deciding that we are willing to fight to survive. And today the challenge facing us is clear.

When the history of our times is written, this week will be remembered as the week that Washington decided to let the Islamic Republic of Iran go nuclear. Hopefully it will also be remembered as the moment the Jews arose and refused to allow Iran to go nuclear.

With the publication of the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group chaired by former US secretary of state James Baker III and former congressman Lee Hamilton, the debate about the war in Iraq changed. From a war for victory against Islamofascism and for democracy and freedom, the war became reduced to a conflict to be managed by appeasing the US's sworn enemies in the interests of stability, and at the expense of America's allies.

Baker and his associates claim that the US cannot win the war in Iraq and so the US must negotiate with its primary enemies in Iraq and throughout the world -- Iran and Syria -- in the hopes that they will be persuaded to hold their fire for long enough to facilitate an "honorable" American retreat from the country.

Like his unsupported assertion that the US cannot win in Iraq, Baker also asserts -- in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary -- that Iran and Syria share America's "interest in avoiding chaos in Iraq." Because of this supposed shared interest, Baker maintains that with the proper incentives, Iran and Syria can be persuaded to cooperate with a US withdrawal from Iraq ahead of the 2008 presidential primaries.

The main incentive Baker advocates offering is Israel.

Baker believes that Iran will agree to temporarily hold its fire in Iraq in exchange for US acceptance of Iran as a nuclear power and an American pledge not to topple the regime. Syria will assist the US in exchange for US pressure on Israel to hand over the Golan Heights to Syria and Judea and Samaria to Hamas.

Obviously, if implemented, the Baker-Hamilton group's recommendations will be disastrous for Israel. Just the fact that they now form the basis for the public debate on the war is a great blow. But it isn't only Israel that is harmed by their actions. The US too, will be imperiled if their views become administration policy.

Although Baker -- and incoming Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who served on his commission until Bush announced his appointment last month -- believes that there is a deal to be done that will end Iranian and Syrian aggression against the US, its vital interests and its allies, the fact of the matter is that there is no such deal. Contrary to what the Baker report argues and what Gates said in his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, Iran is not analogous to the Soviet Union and the war against the global jihad is not a new cold war.

Even if the US were to somehow get them to agree to certain understandings about Iraq, there is no reason to believe that the Iranians and Syrians would keep their word. Not only would the US be approaching them as a supplicant and so emboldening them, but to date the US has never credibly threatened anything either Syria or Iran value. Indeed, through supporting negotiations between the EU and Iran, empowering the UN to deal with Iran's nuclear program, and forcing Israel to accept a cease-fire with Hizbullah last summer that effectively gave victory to the Syrian and Iranian proxy, the US has consistently rewarded the two countries' aggression.

Worse than that, from a US perspective, although Gates admitted Tuesday that he cannot guarantee that Iran will not attack Israel with nuclear weapons, he ignored the fact that Iran -- whose President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad daily calls for the destruction of the US -- may also attack the US with nuclear weapons.

Gates admitted in his Senate hearing that Iran is producing many bombs -- not just one.
Since it is possible to destroy Israel with just one bomb, the Americans should be asking themselves what Iran needs all those other bombs for. There are senior military sources in the US who have been warning the administration to take into consideration that the day that Iran attacks Israel with a nuclear bomb, 10 cities in the US and Europe are liable to also be attacked with nuclear weapons. Unfortunately, no one is listening to these voices today.

It is particularly upsetting that Washington has chosen now of all times to turn its back on the war. Ahmadinejad hinted Monday that Iran has completed the nuclear fuel cycle and so has passed the point of no return on its nuclear program. He also made a statement indicating that Iran will have its nuclear arsenal up and running by March - just four months away.

Serious disagreement exists in Washington over the status of the Iranian program. Some claim that Iran is four or five years away from nuclear weapons capabilities. Others maintain that Iran has recently experienced serious technical setbacks in their uranium enrichment activities and that the North Korean nuclear bomb test in October, in which Iranian officials participated, was a failure.

But there are also engaged officials who agree with Ahmadinejad's assessment of Iran's nuclear progress. Those officials maintain first that the North Korean-Iranian test in October was successful and should be taken as a sign that Iran already has a nuclear arsenal. Second, they warn that the US and Israel have six months to act against Iran's nuclear installations and to overthrow the regime or face the prospect of the annihilation of Israel and the destruction of several US cities as a result of an Iranian nuclear offensive.

Obviously, Israel cannot risk the possibility that the last group of officials is correct. And since Washington has decided to go to sleep, it is up to Israel alone to act.

What must Israel do? First, it must plan an attack against Iran's nuclear facilities and regime command and control centers. To pave the way for such an attack, the IDF must move now to neutralize second order threats like the Palestinian rocket squads and the Syrian ballistic missile arsenals in order to limit the public's exposure to attack during the course of or in the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran. Second, Israel must work to topple the Iranian regime. As the Defense Minister's advisor Uri Lubrani told Ha'aretz last week, the regime in Iran is far from stable today and ripe for overthrow.

The overwhelming majority of Iranians despise the regime. There are rebellious groups in every ethnic group and province in the country - Azeris, Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, Baluchis, Turkmen and even Persians - that are actively working to destabilize the regime. Every day there are strikes of workers, women and students. Every few weeks there are reports of violent clashes between anti-regime groups and regime forces.

Recently, oil pipelines were sabotaged in the oil-rich Khuzestan province in the south where the Ahwazi Arabs are systematically persecuted by the regime. Westerners who recently visited Iran claim that Israel operating alone could overthrow the regime by extending its assistance to these people.

Thirdly, in his testimony in the Senate on Tuesday, Gates casually mentioned that Israel has nuclear weapons. In so doing, he unceremoniously removed four decades of ambiguity over Israel's nuclear status. While his statement caused dismay in Jerusalem, perhaps Israel should see this as an opportunity.

With the threat of nuclear destruction hanging over us, it makes sense to conduct a debate about an Israeli second strike. While such a discussion will not dissuade Iran's fanatical leaders from attacking Israel with nuclear weapons, it could influence the Iranian nation to rise up against their leaders.

Moreover, such a debate could influence other regimes in the region like Saudi Arabia which today behave as if Israel's annihilation will have no adverse impact on them. Americans like Baker, Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and their European friends need to understand that as goes Israel so go the Persian Gulf's oil fields. Such an understanding may influence their willingness to enable Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.

Next Thursday, Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz, Vice Chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations Malcolm Hoenlein and former ambassador to the UN Dore Gold will hold a press conference in New York where they will call for the US to indict Ahmadinejad under the International Convention Against Genocide for his call to annihilate Israel. This is doubtlessly a welcome initiative. But it is insufficient.

In a few months, Iran may well be in possession of nuclear weapons which it will use to destroy the Jewish state. With the US withdrawing from the war and Israel in the hands of incompetents, the time has come for the Jewish people to rise up.

Guaranteeing our survival begins with each of us deciding that we are willing to fight to survive. And today the challenge facing us is clear.

Either the Iranian regime is toppled and its nuclear installations are destroyed or Israel will be annihilated. The Jews in the Diaspora must launch mass demonstrations and demand that their governments take real action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

The citizens of the State of Israel must also take to the streets. The government that led us to defeat in Lebanon this summer is leading us to a disaster of another order entirely. All citizens must demand that Olmert, his ministers and the generals in the IDF General Staff make an immediate decision. They now hold the responsibility for acting against Iran. They must either act or resign and make way for others who will.

America just abdicated its responsibility to defend itself against Iran and so left Israel high and dry. Nevertheless, the Jewish people is far from powerless. And the State of Israel also is capable of defending itself. But we must act and act immediately

(This article originally appeared in the Jerusalem Post.)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Why are Americans so unhappy?

(Author Unknown)

The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right? Thesame magazine that employs Michael (Qurans in the toilets at Gitmo) Isikoff. Here I promised myself this week I would be nice and I start off in this way.

The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the president. In essence 2/3's of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I starting thinking, ''What we are so unhappy about?''

Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all involved. Whether you are rich or poor they treat your wounds and even, if necessary, send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home, you may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of having a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes; an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents.

Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the Good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days; after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?

Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells. Just ask why they are going to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book and do a TV special about how he didn't kill his wife but if he did. . . .Insane!

Stop buying the negative venom you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad.

I close with one of my favorite quotes from B.C. Forbes! in 1953: ''What have Americans to be thankful for? More than any other people on the earth, we enjoy complete religious freedom, political freedom, social freedom. Our liberties are sacredly safeguarded by the Constitution of the United States, 'the most wonderful work ever struck off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man.' Yes, we Americans of today have been bequeathed a noble heritage. Let us pray that we may hand it down unsullied to our children and theirs.''

I suggest this Christmas we sit back and count our blessings for all we have. If we don't, what we have will be taken away. Then we will have to explain to future generations why we squandered such blessing and abundance. If we are not careful this generation will be known as the ''greediest and most ungrateful generation.'' A far cry from the proud Americans of the ''greatest generation'' who left us an untarnished legacy!

Monday, December 11, 2006


(From REAL NEWS 12/11/06)

By Jane Lampman, The Christian Science Monitor staff writer December 7, 2006--Who doesn't hanker for a return to a "real sense of Christmas" during the holiday season? Everyone, of course, has their own take on what that involves. Is it a happy, if rowdy, opening of presents on Christmas morning? A family tree-trimming tradition or favorite holiday concert? Perhaps it's a quiet pondering of the biblical Christmas story. Or a sharing of a meal with
the less fortunate. To some long distressed by the secularization of the holiday --and
particularly by the disappearance of the word "Christmas" and itsreligious symbols from the public domain -- there is reason for cheer in 2006.

Signs have appeared of a "return of Christmas" in the culture. Big-time retailers including Wal-Mart, Macy's, Target, and Kohl's have responded to demands to resurrect a "Merry Christmas" theme in their stores. More cities are approving the inclusion of nativity scenes inholiday displays on public property. And film studios are releasingmovies with a genuine biblical theme. "The Nativity Story," which opened in theaters across the US over the
past weekend, represents more than a follow-on to Mel Gibson's "ThePassion of the Christ," says Ted Baehr, chair of the Christian Film and Television Commission. With studios now marketing to a variety of groups,he adds, the biggest group is probably churchgoers. Dr. Baehr sees morefaith-related films in the works.

Yet the Christmas comeback goes beyond Hollywood. "We're seeing a sensitivity that was not there before to the factthat removing the Christian aspects of Christmas is offensive to themajority of Americans," says Erik Stanley, chief attorney for the LibertyCounsel, a conservative group that has taken the cause to the courts whenit deemed such action necessary. Just recently, the legal group helped Robert Wortock, a citizen of Racine, Wis., get a nativity display on the city's Monument Square afterofficials previously rejected it. Traditional Christmas decorations had disappeared from the streets, and Mr. Wortock wanted to change that. "This is a good example of how, in the last three years, we've seen agood return on this effort," says Mr. Stanley.

In recent years, several conservative Christian groups have claimed that a "war on Christmas" was being waged by secularists, and they marshaled their troops in response. The Liberty Counsel is in its fourth year of a "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign", pledging to be a friend to"entities which do not censor Christmas and a foe to those who do" --language that makes some Christians wince.

Groups they charge with fomenting the problem, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, counter that it is a "fictional war", that they are implying an anti-Christian hostility that doesn't exist. The clash centers on a disagreement over the propriety of religious symbols of any kind on public property. Both sides agree that part of the problem is misinformation, with cities and schools often unsure about what is constitutional. (Court shave ruled that nativity displays are allowable alongside other secularand religious symbols.)

What also raised the hackles of some religious folk was a growing retail practice of opting for "Happy Holidays" instead of "MerryChristmas" on signage around stores. Some managers instructed employees not to say "Merry Christmas" to customers. Some retailers say it just makes sense to be more inclusive during a season when Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are also celebrated. Best Buy, for example, is sticking with its "Happy Holidays" theme.

But Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has responded to the clamor in a vigorous way. "We learned our lesson, and this year more than ever 'Christmas' will dominate," says spokeswoman Jami Arms. Ticking off a list of pro-Christmas changes the chain has announced, she adds, "This is what Wal-Mart does -- listen to its employees and associates. We heard themsay they wanted Christmas to be more a part of our store."

Some suggest the pressure has been drummed up by Christian advocacygroups, which maintain "Grinch" or "Scrooge" lists on their websites and sell buttons and bumper stickers with such messages as "I helped save Christmas." These groups are also responding to individual concerns. Elizabeth Sither, a septuagenarian in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., noticed that her community's Fall Activities Calendar had secular holiday activities planned as well as a Hanukkah celebration, but no mention of Christmas. "Christmas is a national holiday and a very precious time for Christians," she says. "It doesn't make sense to take the Christ out of Christmas." So she wrote to city officials. When it appeared her request wouldn't be seriously considered for a display this year, she contacted the Thomas More Law Center of AnnArbor, Mich. who had helped others in similar cases. "Their attorney stepped in," Sither says. Palm Beach Gardens officials approved a nativity scene for display at the city recreation center along with a tree, snowman, and menorah. Now she is busy planninga public Christmas celebration with caroling at the center.


In the latest instance of decrying the "war on Christmas", Fox Newshost Bill O'Reilly claimed that "it's all part of the secular progressive agenda -- to get Christianity and spirituality and Judaism out of the public square." He then added: "Because if you look at what happened in WesternEurope and Canada, if you can get religion out, then you can pass secular progressive programs, like legalization of narcotics, euthanasia, abortion at will, gay marriage, because the objection to those things is religious-based, usually."


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