Peace through victory - the American way.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Striking Iran in 2006?

According to this report in The Jerusalem Post (here) the U.S. is preparing to attack Iran in 2006. It may only be an aerial attack to deal with Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions. Regime change would be nice but that may be hoping for too much.

Getting rid of the theocratic dictatorship that rules Iran is one of the things that has to happen before we can achieve victory in the War on Terror. So long as the mullahs rule in Iran it will be necessary for the United States to have a large military presence in the region. Having Iraq right next door is kind of convenient. Even if Iraq stabilizes it will be in the US interest to remain in Iraq, if only in the Kurdish area.

But if we've got to exit Iraq entirely, perhaps we should redeploy to Iran.



Happy New Year!

And peace on Earth to men and women of good will. To those of ill will, have a miserable, miserable year.



Who Would You Trust If You Were Unarmed: A Palestinian Cop Or An Israeli Soldier?

There is so much in this story (here) about the lawlessness in Gaza that the world needs to keep in mind. There's the kidnapping of aid workers by a Palestinian terrorist group, the wave of violent attacks on Palestinian government buildings by other Palestinians, and the armed takeover of a border crossing by Palestinian policemen. That's right, policemen, the ones who are supposed to obey the law and enforce it.

None of this bodes well for Gaza. And it says a lot about why Israel is unilaterally setting its own borders by withdrawing from Gaza and building a fence in the West Bank. Non-Israelis might want to keep this story in mind the next time they think about criticizing Israel's unilateral disengagement policy.

But the most telling part of the story is what happened at the border crossing. When the armed Palestinian police attacked, the unarmed European observers there to enforce the border agreement between Israel and Palestine, fled. And where did they find safe refuge? "[I]n a nearby Israeli military base."

That pretty much says it all. Palestinian police launch a lawless attack; Israeli soldiers provide safe refuge. Another something to keep in mind the next time charges of massacre, war crimes, or human rights violations are leveled at Israel.



Friday, December 30, 2005

Hope Rekindles For Chris Matthews' Head Exploding On TV

It looks like Ahmed al-Chalabi can't be counted as down and out just yet. According to the blog, Iraq the Model, (here) "Chalabi has been asked to run the oil ministry after the minister Mohammed Bahr al-Iloom was forced to take a whole month off!" The change apparently came in a dipute over gas price increases. Iraq the Model goes on to say this about Chalabi:
"It’s worth mentioning that Chalabi is the head of the “energy committee” in the cabinet which apparently qualified him to replace the overthrown minister and makes one think that Chalabi will be the UIA’s candidate for the same post in the new government. I don’t want to talk about Chalabi Now but from what we see it seems that although Chalabi separated from the UIA, he is still considered as a loyal ally for the religious Shia parties."
Iraq the Model is a blog run by an Iraqi that is very informative about the political workings inside Iraq now. His posts confirm Mister Americano's outside impression of Iraqi politics that all the important stuff happens behind the scenes after the elections when the parties and the players start their negotiating. His posts also provide a look at Iraqi politics that is nowhere seen in American media, whether it be TV, radio, or print. American media coverage of Iraq's politics is shameful in its ignorance and simplicity.


PS: As for Chris Matthews, as anybody who has watched his MSNBC show, Hardball, knows, Chalabi is one of his bogeymen. It's no stretch to imagine Matthews' head exploding at the prospect of Chalabi emerging in a position of power in Iraq despite losing a seat in the new parliament.


Wednesday, December 28, 2005

ANWR And The Tyranny Of Either-Or Thinking.

The San Diego Union-Tribune published a display of statistics regarding American oil usage. (Here.) The statistics are pretty interesting in their own right but a couple of them are interesting for political reasons.

There's an ongoing controversy over the amount of oil the United States uses every year. The issue is so controversial there is no consensus on what the dispute is about. Is it about reducing American dependence on foreign oil? Is it about producing more oil domestically? Is it about reducing pollution? Is it about conservation to delay depletion of the world's oil reserves? Is it an environmental issue or a national security issue?

The latest round in this controversy led to a defeat for the President's effort to open a tiny portion of the Arctic wasteland to oil production. The Union-Tribune published this statistic about the amount of oil that the wasteland would produce.
"At full production in 2020 or beyond, proposed drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) is estimated to produce 800,000 barrels of oil daily, 0.7 percent of global production."
Put this way, the benefit of drilling in the wasteland seems insignificant. It's too bad this was the comparison they made because it's clearly designed to create the impression that ANWR drilling is not worthwhile. But a different number emerges if the wasteland's production is compared to America's daily production of oil.

According to the UT's display, we produce 7.5 million barrels of oil per day. Adding ANWR's production would increase daily production to 8.3 million barrels per day, an increase of 10.7 percent. Adding 10 percent to America's daily production of oil is a pretty substantial increase.

But how does the increased production from the Arctic wasteland compare to the amount of oil that would be saved from conservation?

According to the UT's display,
"Almost 300 million barrels of oil could be saved each year by raising U.S. auto-efficiency standards by 2.75 miles per gallon."
That sounds like an enormous savings, which is perhaps one reason why wasteland drilling opponents always tout increased gas mileage standards over drilling in ANWR. But a straight-up comparison shows that conservation and ANWR drilling are about equally beneficial. Arctic wasteland drilling's production of 800,000 barrels per day computes to 292 million barrels per year, which is "almost 300 million barrels of oil."

These numbers are why Mister Americano is in favor of drilling for oil in the Arctic wasteland and for improving gas mileage standards on American cars. Doing both would be a national security benefit to the United States by reducing our dependence on foreign oil by "almost" 600 million barrels per year. One of the problems of American politics today is that so many issues are stuck in the tyranny of either-or thinking. The left's position on oil is to promote conservation and thwart more production. The right's position is exactly opposite. The left views the issue as solely an environmental one. The right views it as either a free-market or a national security issue. A more sensible approach would be to think in terms of "both-and" rather than "either-or." The question of oil usage in America is an environmental issue, a marketplace issue, and a national security issue. A sensible policy would try to balance those issues by promoting conservation and production.

Is that too much to ask?



Alas, Poor Ahmed.

UPI reports (here) that Ahmed Chalabi is unlikely to get enough votes for a seat in the new Iraqi Assembly. But hope remains. The real action in Iraqi politics seems to be in the inevitable post-election negotiations. Perhaps Chalabi will talk his way into an appointment. Please let it happen. Mister Americano is looking forward to seeing Chris Matthews' head explode on TV.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Happy Holy Days Everybody!

Today is a holy day for two important religious groups in America: Christians and Jews. It's Christmas, the day when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, who was born either in 6 BC or 4 BC or in the year Zero, died and came back to life some 33 years later and was the inspiration for a religion that has grown to dominate Earth.

Jews today begin the celebration of lights, Chanukkah. This site (here) has an interesting take on the bitter irony of that holiday's importance for American Jews.
"Many non-Jews (and even many assimilated Jews!) think of this holiday as the Jewish Christmas, adopting many of the Christmas customs, such as elaborate gift-giving and decoration. It is bitterly ironic that this holiday, which has its roots in a revolution against assimilation and the suppression of Jewish religion, has become the most assimilated, secular holiday on our calendar."

Many American Christians would relate. To them, Christmas is the most assimilated, secular holiday on the calendar. They have a point. For today is one of American Secularism's holy days. It's X-Mas (or "holiday" as it's known now), the day when Americans praise the demigod of family and commerce, Santa Claus, by exchanging purchased gifts with family and close friends thereby strengthening two pillars of American society: business and family.

Whatever your faith, enjoy your December 25th.


PS: About the title of this post. Mister Americano is sympathetic to those who are annoyed by the replacement of "Merry Christmas" with "Happy Holidays." On the other hand, Christmas is not the only holy day this month and not every American is a Christian. But "Happy Holidays" doesn't convey the religious nature of the holiday season, whether it's Christmas, or Chanukkah, or the Winter Solstice, or Ramadan, when it occurs in December, or whatever. "Happy Holy Days" does. It's also a greeting that is inclusive of other faiths. The greeting may offend atheists but that is a bonus. Atheists are hands down the angriest most easily offended group of people in our country. So Happy Holy Days!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Combatting Terrorism At Home And Abroad Update.

Fellow San Diego blog, The Right Coast, has this analysis on the legality or not of the President's NSA wiretap decisions. (Here.)



Monday, December 19, 2005

Combatting Terrorism At Home And Abroad.

Whether the President's NSA wiretap orders were legal or constitutional is an arguable point. This post by Orin Kerr (here), while not defending the President, presents a tentative analysis that the decisions were constitutional and arguably legal. Others vociferously disagree.

Whatever the legality, the present controversy over the wiretaps has revealed the divide that exists between those who believe we are fighting a real war against terrorism and those who don't. Those who don't believe we're fighting a real war find more resonance with this Cold War tagline from the recent movie, Good Night and Good Luck, "We cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home."

Today we are locked in combat with fighters for another totalitarian ideaology. But unlike the Nazis and the Communists of the past the Islamist jihadis we are fighting today have already struck our homeland. Our war against them truly is worldwide. As lefties constantly remind us the USA is part of the world. Since that is the case, if we're going to fight terrorists around the world, we're going to have to be wiling to fight them at home as well as abroad. Those who believe we are in a real war against terrorism, not a metaphorical one, might find more resonance with this phrase. "We cannot win the global war on terrorism, if we are unwilling to fight it at home."