A dodged arrest, dogs in Moscow, Bwana Aid and meaning in war
After the Read More! An IDF general dodges a Palestinian arrest warrent -- in London. Wild dogs in Moscow. The "Global Poverty Act": a UN tax? George Packer looks meaning in the media and in Iraq.
Haaretz reports that Major General Doron Almog had to stay on an airplane behind with his bodyguards to keep from getting arrested at Heathrow. "Palestinian groups had pressed U.K. authorities to arrest Almog over his alleged role in the destruction of more than 50 homes in the Gaza Strip in 2002, prompting a British judge to issue an arrest warrant." The arrest didn't take place "because the British police feared a "shootout" with Israeli security officials.
My guess is that the British authorities weren't really enthusiastic about arresting him but had no choice but to comply with the warrant. By invoking the fear of a "shootout" the cops had an excuse not to serve the warrant. If the cops really wanted to arrest someone, they would have done whatever was necessary to do it. But this incident highlights the split-personality disorder that now afflicts many Western countries. We do things we don't want to because it's politically correct and then do what we want on the sly.
Sometimes I think the only way to understand the wiretap, interrogation and hate speech controversies is to realize that we're in a schizo situation.
There really are wild dogs in Moscow, as ABC News reports. "According to official statistics, last year there were about 20,000 cases of humans attacked by stray dogs; 8,000 of them serious enough to involve the police or requiring hospitalization. ... Commuters have to grapple with packs of unwanted strays on a daily basis."
HR 3605 or the "Global Poverty Act" will hold the US to a UN-set benchmark on the amount of foreign aid it must disburse. A reader quotes Rush Limbaugh:
Cliff Kincaid, in Accuracy in Media, has studied this, and has written it up. He says "[A] hugely expensive bill called the 'Global Poverty Act,' sponsored by ... Obama, was quickly passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday and could result in the imposition of a global tax on the United States. ... In a column [that Cliff] posted on the [Accuracy in Media] web site, Kincaid noted that Senator Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was trying to rush Obama's 'Global Poverty Act' (S. 2433) through his committee without hearings. The legislation would commit the US to spending 0.7 percent of gross national product on foreign aid, which amounts to a phenomenal 13-year total of $845 billion over and above what the US already spends," on foreign aid. "It was scheduled for a Thursday vote but was moved up a day, to Wednesday, and rushed through by voice vote. Kincaid learned, however, that conservative Senators have now put a 'hold' on the legislation, in order to prevent it from being rushed to the floor for a full Senate vote." Now, the House passed this bill in September. It's now getting rushed through the committee in the Senate, the Biden committee, to soak the US taxpayers again to fund global, liberal, feel-good garbage.
Speaking of "feel-good garbage", the City Journal has an article on the "trendy paternalism" that "is keeping Africa in chains".
Yet in one area, foreign aid, the paternalist spirit is far from dead. A new generation of economists and activists is calling for a “big push” in Africa to expand programs that in practice institutionalize poverty rather than end it. The Africrats’ enthusiasm for the failed policies of the past threatens to turn a struggling continent into a permanent ghetto—and to block the progress of ideas that really can liberate Africa’s oppressed populations.
Foreign aid should really be called "bwana AID". Most of the AID money really goes to AID workers or is skimmed off by corrupt bureaucrats. The thing to remember about official assistance to the Third World is that it is about poor people in rich countries giving money to rich people in poor countries.
Susan Sarandon just said she'll vote for Barack Obama and then added "I can't wait to see what he stands for." Start with HR 3605.
George Packer, the author of Assassin's Gate has a long and thoughtful essay on the complexities of right and wrong and the meaning of kindness and cruelty in war. More specifically, in Iraq.
So the lines were drawn from the start. To the pro-war side, criticism was animated by partisanship and defeatism, if not treason. This view, amplified on cable news, talk radio, and right-wing blogs, was tacitly encouraged by the White House. It kept a disastrous defense secretary in office long after it was obvious that he was losing the war, ensured that no senior officer was held accountable for military setbacks, and contributed to the repetition of disastrous errors by the war’s political architects. Meanwhile, the fact that the best and brightest Iraqis were being slaughtered by a ruthless insurgency never aroused much interest or sympathy among the war’s opponents. The kind of people who would ordinarily inspire solidarity campaigns among Western progressives—trade unionists, journalists, human rights advocates, women's rights activists, independent politicians, doctors, professors—were being systematically exterminated. But since the war shouldn’t have been fought in the first place, what began badly must also end badly.
Packer is especially interested by the way in which this polarized vision poisoned reporting, as it did with the New Republic's Scott Beauchamp. Packer goes on to say a complex thing: he says the War did some good. But he's against it anyway.
By then the war was not about nothing. No war ever is. I don’t know where Haithem and Muna and the others are today—some of them might well be among the Iraqis I know to be dead—but for them, the war had a meaning. It meant a chance to live a decent life, something that had never been remotely possible and remains a dream even today. The war began as folly; it became a tragedy when the hopes and lives of Iraqis and Americans began to be expended by the thousands.
A long time ago someone once told me that "the best is the enemy of the good". Somehow I think events will write the history of Iraq. We will read from that book and it will tell us what was tragic and what was meaningful.