Saturday, February 16, 2008

Daily Roundup Feb 16, 2008

After the Read More! British troops killed 'by lack of basic equipment' in Afghanistan. A Whitehall study blames 'multiculturalism' in the UK for weakness against terrorism. A Canadian Anglican congregation who voted to leave the church is told it can't take the church property with it. President Bush says the US is less safe against terrorism because Congress failed to extend a domestic wiretapping law. A home belonging to an Islamic Jihad 'militant' blows up in Gaza. Saudi Arabia adds the threat of terrorism to its business negotiating arsenal. Plus, a doctor looks at the World War 2 generation: "soon to be gone, soon to be forgotten".

A coroner's report investigating 2 British Army combat deaths in Afghanistan cited the lack of equipment as a contributory factor. The Telegraph noted troops were "forced to share three Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) between at least 20 men before being ambushed in June 2006."

The British Armed Forces have been shrinking continuously over the years. The Telegraph claims "defence spending as a proportion of the UK's gross domestic product is at its lowest since 1930, before the UK recognised the rising threat of Nazi Germany."

Service 1951 1975 1985 1993 1997 2005/2006
Overall 489,600 338,400 326,200 274,800 210,800 195,900
Naval 131,000 76,200 70,400 59,400 45,100 39,400
Army 209,700 167,100 162,400 134,600 108,800 107,700
Air Force 148,900 95,000 93,400 80,900 56,900 48,700

The IHT summarizes a report by the Royal United Services Institute.

Britain could reduce its vulnerability to terrorist attacks if it stopped its Muslim minority from retreating to ghettos that become breeding grounds for Islamic extremists, a think tank said Friday.

The report, published by the Royal United Services Institute, said Britain allows such isolated communities to form out of the mistaken belief that it is promoting humanism and multiculturalism.

"One reason that the United States does not suffer from homegrown terrorism is that it is the world's melting pot, where immigrants are Americans, salute the flag, and obey the constitution and the law," Gwyn Prins, one of the report's authors, told The Associated Press.

"The U.K. should have the self-confidence to do the same, but we don't," said Prins, a specialist on international security at the London School of Economics. "We don't insist they learn English, that they fully and properly integrate into our society as a whole. So we have these ghetto societies where Islamist extremists can create a narrative of resentment and recruitment."

It's hard to imagine that 64 years ago this song was in vogue. It evokes not just a vanished place but a community of feeling; of things shared and worth cherishing. Are there still angels dining at the Ritz? And does a nightingale still sing in Berkeley Square?

The controversies now rocking the Anglican church are descending into the sordid realm of money. CBC news reports:

On Feb. 13, the congregation of St. John's Shaughnessy in Vancouver voted more than 90 per cent in favour of leaving the church over doctrinal issues, including the blessing of same-sex marriages. The same day, the head of the church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, warned in a letter that Anglicans who leave the church must give up any claim to church property or assets. A copy of the letter was posted Friday on the church's website. "Individuals who choose to leave the church over contentious issues cannot take property and other assets with them," Hiltz wrote.

In other but related developments, "Leaders from five Anglican provinces said Friday they will boycott a once-a-decade world Anglican summit because the U.S. Episcopal Church ordained a gay bishop. The five leaders from Africa and South America said they could not share communion with Episcopal bishops who in 2003 consecrated V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire."

Though you can describe the problems of the Anglican church in terms of conservative versus liberal it is also valid to characterize it as north versus south. Thus Rowan Williams has his own Sharia law problem, but not the one he thinks. The Third World members of his own flock are demanding to live by the old rules within the Anglican Communion and may find that they cannot. Lambeth now faces the problem of how to reconcile those tendencies within the framework of church authority. Rowan Williams may discover that 'shared' and 'compelementary' rites, far from creating 'social cohesion' can lead to a loss of common culture and finally schism. Fortunately for the Anglican communion, the Christian traditions mean that any split will be amicable. Decapitation is off the table. But in the case of wider British social conflicts, they are not.

Although President Bush says the lack of authority to wiretap will endanger national security the LA Times says Democrats argued otherwise:

Temporary provisions in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are set to expire this weekend, but Democrats -- dismissing Bush's offer to delay a six-day trip to Africa in hopes of winning a legislative compromise -- argued that the basic law remained in effect.

Ironically the very successes at preventing a repetition of 9/11 attack has removed the edge of urgency that was felt in those days. Mark Steyn touches on this phenomenon in his article The Big Question. The Big Question? He goes on to remind us what the Big Question should be: 'Who would you like to be in the White House if Pakistan fell to al Qaeda and the Islamists gained control of its nuclear arsenal?' But in fact the question Americans are asking themselves who can make it all "go away". And the best man to sell you that dream is ... well you guessed it. But it only takes one catastrophe to remember that dreams can become a nightmare.

The militant's home in Gaza apparently blew up from a mishandling of stored weapons. According to the AP, "witnesses reported seeing fragments of what looked like locally produced rockets at the scene, suggesting the house may have been used to store arms. Islamic Jihad said Fayed was among the dead, and that the group would carry out reprisal attacks against Israel."

Islamic Jihad's policy of carrying out reprisal attacks against Israel even if their 'militants' died from their own stupidity is counterproductive. Since it's always the Jews' fault there is no incentive for Israelis to negotiate. One day the Jews may realize that and it will be a dark day for Islamic Jihad.

British court documents show "Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted," according to a report by the Guardian (Hat tip: Jihad Watch).

Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.

He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family. ...

Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have "rolled over" after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was "just as if a gun had been held to the head" of the government.

Without oil, terrorism and Islam -- Saudi Arabia and several other places too well known to mention -- would be complete nonentities. Therefore control over the tap which controls the flow of these exports becomes not only the source of riches, but of power. Petroleum and the Jihad become the natural levers of their foreign and business dealings.

Prince Bandar was the former Saudi Ambassador to America and was widely described as urbane, Westernized and sympathetic. Yet his actions, if the British court documents are to be believed, would qualify him for persona non grata status all over the Western world. If he's the best, how are the worst? But it's academic. Prince Bander will not be considered persona non grata; not in Britain or anywhere else. The reasons? Oil, terrorism and Islam.

Dr. Stephen Ellison describes the World War 2 veterans he sees clinically. Injured or fading from old age. He was there when Roy Benavizdez came into the emergency room.

It has become my personal endeavor to make the nurses and young enlisted medics aware of these amazing individuals when I encounter them in our Emergency Dept. Their response to these particular citizens has made me think that perhaps all is not lost in the next generation.

My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must "Earn this."



Blogger hdgreene said...

Sixty-four years ago?

A nightingale sang in Berkeley Square / While the flying bombs hummed along. / Angels dinned at the Ritz / As the SS romped through Belarus. / Stars were springled on the damp streets -- no, that's incoming!

2/16/2008 04:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mike H. said...

Excellent format Wretchard.

Per CPT. Ellison's article I lost my father four years ago and my mother this month. My father went to war as a radioman/gunner on a TBF at Iwo Jima and I had an uncle who was in the death march as a Navy man. We need more of them and less of the Murthas and Kerrys.

2/16/2008 11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Utopia Parkway said...

I find the reports that Prince Bandar threatened Tony Blair and that Blair caved in to the threats flabbergasting. How the mighty have fallen. And it's all over a billion dollars (or pounds or whatever).

I thought that Blair had some backbone.

2/16/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

"My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing. Our uncaring government and ungrateful civilian populace should all take note. We should all remember that we must "Earn this.""

Dr. Ellison's fears are well founded, I am afraid. I do not wish the suffering like that of the lady from "Auschwitz" on anyone, but unless we can somehow appreciate there efforts for us, we will certainly have to "earn this" the hard way, or lose it.

The guys engaged fighting the jihadi's are earning it, yet so many will not recognize the effort or worse don't believe the effort is necessary. I don't think they have the capacity to hear a Nightingale in Barkley Square or anywhere, much less appreciate the significance.

2/16/2008 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

"...troops were "forced to share three Night Vision Goggles (NVGs) between at least 20 men...."

Contrast this with the news that British NVGs were found in the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanaon, part of a shipment that was sent to Iran by the UN as part of a program to fight drug smugglers.

I believe it was Solsinetzsen that said of the Soviets "You don't sell people shovels who have said they will bury you - and you in the West sell the Communists Steam Shovels."

2/16/2008 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

In the West, there has been a perpetual adolescence. The idea that fighting is passe and talking real fast and important will be the key to defeating adversaries who are mere shadows of ourselves.

No wonder Blair caved. What was he going to do? He's not a man he's a boy. And like a boy he was bullied by the harder man.

A real Western leader would have seized Bandar and had him shot. Then nuked Riyadh and seized the oil fields, pumped them dry.

Leaving the Saudis poor, destitute, and adrift.

And a real Western leader would have done this not for cruelty's sake, or macho-ness, or any other idiocy, but to prevent WORSE measures from coming to pass in desperation.

2/16/2008 02:20:00 PM  
Blogger LifeoftheMind said...

The Republican's have suffered because of two holes in their platform.

1) Something they stand for that means more than "Conservatism" to the voters. Eight years ago after Clinton "Maturity" was the theme, as in "Isn't it time to let the adults take charge?" The pork barrel politicing that cost them the Congress two years ago made that a tough theme to run on. My suggestion is that they run on the theme of "Civilization." We are for it and it is worth defending. A good politician can make this an inclusive and uplifting approach. Reagan did this brilliantly.

2) We do need something to run against. It better not be seen as running against the woman or the black guy. Running against "Liberalism" is as tired and empty to the average voter as running for "Conservatism." At one time Republicans were very successful in running against Tip O'Neill. He became the poster boy for the old corrupt sounding insider politics we didn't want to be identified with. My suggestion is that Republicans run against the Trial Lawyers Association. Dan Quayle was unsuccessful in attempting this but the problem may have been the messenger more than the message.

The failure of the Democrats to pass the intelligence bill could be best attacked not on narrow legal or policy grounds. If we go down in those weeds the Democrats will flood Jim Lehrer's News Hour and other shows with windy explorations of the procedures of the FISA courts until America goes to sleep. In fact they have already started. If we attack it as a full employment gift to Trial Lawyers then we can build a band wagon.

The Democratic party rests financially on four interlocking pillars. One is the public service employees unions, especially teachers. Second is the inherited wealth of trust fund babies. That includes the management of the Foundations that have effectively inherited much of the great wealth of the Industrial Age, such as the Ford Foundation. Third is a very narrow self referential Arts and Culture elite. Finally there are the Trial Lawyers. Anything that redistributes power away from these four groups is good for America and good for the Republican Party.

2/16/2008 04:02:00 PM  
Blogger Jake said...

"My experiences have solidified my belief that we are losing an incredible generation, and this nation knows not what it is losing..."

I grew up under the watchful eyes of these men and miss their quite manliness. No moaning or groaning, just "get the job done". These are the guys that gave Hitler the home field advantage and still got the job done.
God Bless them all, they were MEN.

2/16/2008 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

Prince Bandar threatened...

You know, as the days pass, I'm tiring of small men in possession of great wealth... particularly those who use such wealth to threaten better men than themselves.

Will the time eventually come where enough American voters see leaving Muslims in control of the oil fields to be so dangerous that future office holders will be able to run on a platform of seizing them?

We hope that our govt has plans to seize Paki nukes before they fall in the hands of unaccountable terrorists... has the time come to consider mideast oil in a similar fashion, seeing as it has funded so much action against us already?

I, for one, am ready to support such a policy.

Grab the oil, freeze their assets, then funnel the lot through American-run soup kitchens throughout the peninsula... if they squawlk, cut off the food.

Sorry, but hard times demand hard measures... and this just might prevent the deaths of millions of arabs (and Westerners) in the long run.

The moral choice, no?

2/16/2008 04:51:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Triton: We hope that our govt has plans to seize Paki nukes before they fall in the hands of unaccountable terrorists... has the time come to consider mideast oil in a similar fashion, seeing as it has funded so much action against us already?


... if they squawk, cut off the food.


2/16/2008 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

If they squawk, cut off the air conditioning.

2/17/2008 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

There's a great quote attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli that seems acutely appropriate to this moment in the history of the World, of Europe, of the Middle East, and of the U.S.:

"When small men cast long shadows...

It's a sure sign the sun is setting."

I hope it is setting on the barbarians, but if we don't watch our asses, it could be a very long time before the sun rises on civilization again.

A lot of our problem is the sense that every age seems to have, that their culture is the APEX of human development. That sort of cultural myopia allows us to believe that people from long ago --- or people from "faroffistan" --- must be only fractionally as smart as *WE.*

That complacency leads us to leave our guard down--- no defense against a "sucker punch."

Do we have enough people whose brains have not been rotted by the U.S. public school system? Or the Telly?

God help us, please.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes on the Islamic Jihadists and their Western whores.

2/19/2008 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Hi, I am the person who posted "...Berkeley Square" on youtube.

It's such a lovely song, and I don't know if there is a better version than Vera Lynn's? I am sure someone can drag out an Ella version and say by definition her's must be the best, but it's my humble opinion that on this and a few others, Vera did the trick! Glad you all enjoyed the song.

3/08/2008 09:59:00 PM  

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