Monday, July 31, 2006

You know, all those who think the Israelis are so awful and evil warmongers fail to notice a very simple fact: Israel has never bombed a country that hasn't bombed or invaded it first. You want peace with Israel? Just leave them alone, stop shooting at them, don't kidnap or murder their citizens, don't send suicide bombers at them, don't invade them, don't shoot rockets at random into their farms and villages. If you leave them alone, they won't bother you. Peace really isn't all that hard to achieve. Israel would really love to be at peace with everyone, but until those who attack them decide to stop attacking, peace simply isn't going to happen. Surprisingly, the nation of Israel is not willing to accept the peace of the grave.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

A depressing video about the nature of Islamic Extremism. It's long, over an hour.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Interesting article and pictures from NASA about Xanadu, a region on Titan. There's also a cool Quicktime movie about Xanadu.

Keep in mind that the rivers and lakes would not be filled with water, but perhaps with liquid methane. Titan is a very cold place.
There is an interesting summary and overview of the history of Islam's relationship with non Muslims at The Brussels Journal; I found out about it from Jerry Pournelle's website. It is a reminder of history that I already knew. A taste of the article:

“The conversion of the entire population to Islam and the extinction of every form of dissent is the ideal of the Muslim State. If any infidel is suffered to exist in the community, it is as a necessary evil, and for a transitional period only. Political and social disabilities must be imposed on him, and bribes offered to him from the public funds, to hasten the day of his spiritual enlightenment and the addition of his name to the roll of true believers.” “A non-Muslim therefore cannot be a citizen of the State; he is a member of a depressed class; his status is a modified form of slavery. He lives under a contract (zimma, or ‘dhimma’) with the State: for the life and property grudgingly spared to him by the commander of the faithful he must undergo political and social disabilities, and pay a commutation money. In short, his continued existence in the State after the conquest of his country by the Muslims is conditional upon his person and property made subservient to the cause of Islam.”

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oddly, I've noticed some criticism of Israel for hitting power plants, bridges, and the Beirut airport. It's called war. Israel is trying to isolate Hezbolah and keep Iran and Syria from doing anything to supply them. They're also trying to keep Hezbolah from being able to get away. Duh. Same reason Israel targeted such things in Gaza. They're trying to destroy the terrorists. What's so hard to figure out about this? They've even announced their intention.

Does no one in the news media read history? Or talk to military people? Or know any soldiers? Or even watch the History channel or maybe read a war novel or watch a war movie on occasion?

Friday, July 14, 2006

My wife is visiting in Europe at the moment. Tonight, she told me that someone there wondered if maybe things would be better if there simply were no Israel. "Then no one would be mad at the Jews."

Um, yeah. We'll just ignore the last 2000 years of anti-Semitism and the Holocaust--you know, stuff that happened when there was no Israel.

Are there really people out there that are that incredibly stupid? Obviously. And it makes me furious.

Let's see, Israel pulled out of Lebanon back in 2000. They gave Egypt back the Sinai around 1980, returning to Egypt the only oil wells they had. Then Israel pulled out of the Gaza entirely. And how is Israel treated as a consequence? Hezbollah shells them from the north, Hamas shells them from the south. On a daily basis. But Israel is just supposed to take it. I'm sure that Italy, for instance, would just quietly sit back if Switzerland started shooting rockets at farmers and townspeople along the border, then snuck across that border and kidnapped a few Italian soldiers and killed a few others. And they wouldn't mind at all if terrorists snuck in and started blowing themselves up in public places. Right? And the world would condemn Italy for being even the least annoyed about it.

Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO, when they talk about "occupied territory" they mean all of Israel: Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, the kibbutz I worked on. The PLO was founded in 1964, three years before Israel took the West Bank and Gaza and Sinai and Golan Heights in the 6 day war. Jordan and Egypt occupied the West Bank and Gaza up til then. No terrorists ever attacked the Jordanians and Egyptians. Only Israel is attacked.

And does the Vatican or the Europeans or the other jerks of the world ever issue condemnations of the anti-Semitism preached daily on the TV, radios, newspapers and mosques of the totalitarian Moslem world? Do they ever condemn the targeting of Israelis and Jews in their shopping centers and restaurants and homes? How often have those who so quickly condemn Israel, condemned Hamas or Hezbollah or anyone else for killing Jews? I don't recall hearing much. The UN seems to want to condemn Israel every chance it gets--in fact, Israel has been condemned by the UN more than anyone else--disproportionately so. But those who kill Jews, those who repress women, those who restrict the press and religious freedoms of millions, there's rarely a word spoken against them. The Europeans prefer to trade the Jews for oil. Peace at any price, especially if that price is only the Jews they hate anyhow.

It's all anti-Semitism in the UN and the capitals of the world, nothing more. And it's nothing new. For 2000 years the world has been condemning the Jews. It's not a surprise that they're still at it. They have lots of practice.

Hezbollah, Hamas, PLO, the jihadists, they are the bad guys. Not Israel. How many women do the Muslim extremists have to keep in burkas, how many wives do they have to beat, how many heads do they have to chop off, how much more do they have to restrict freedom of press, speach and religion before these morons figure out who the bad guys are and who the good guys are?

It's insane. I'd like to see some of the critics of Israel try opening a Bible in a Moslem country. See how far they get. And if the critic is a woman, let's see her try to drive a car in a Moslem country, or walk around unescorted there, or try wearing something comfortable and reasonable for hot summer weather.

How hard is this to understand? There are always two sides to every story. In this case, there's the bad side and the good side. Now pick. It's not so hard.
An interesting article at RealClear Politics begins this way:

WASHINGTON -- Next June will mark the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War. For four decades we have been told that the cause of the anger, violence and terror against Israel is its occupation of the territories seized in that war. End the occupation and the "cycle of violence'' ceases.

The problem with this claim was that before Israel came into possession of the West Bank and Gaza in the Six Day War, every Arab state had rejected Israel's right to exist and declared Israel's pre-1967 borders -- now deemed sacred -- to be nothing more than the armistice lines suspending, and not ending, the 1948-49 war to exterminate Israel.

But you don't have to be a historian to understand the intention of Israel's enemies. You only have to read today's newspapers.

Read the whole thing. Some imagine that there is moral equivalency between Israel and those who are at war with them now. That there is a "cycle of violence." I believe that those who think that simply don't understand what's actually going on. Those who are at war with Israel are the bad guys. Sometimes there really is a right side and a wrong side to a conflict. This is one of those times. You'd think the fact that those who are at war with Israel are anti-Semitic, purposely target civilians, think all Jews should die, believe the Holocaust never happened, and danced with glee on 911 would be enough of a clue that they are the bad guys. (Or maybe if we think about what these folks do to women, freedom of speach, freedom of the press and freedom of religion, that would help?) If it walks like a Nazi and talks like a Nazi...

Or maybe some people think that Israel should just continue accepting getting rockets shot into them on a daily basis from Gaza and Lebanon? Not to mention the kidnapping of the Israeli soldiers. But then, I'm not a pacifist and I believe that sometimes war is the answer.

Lincoln said that the best way to destroy our enemies is by turning them into our friends. I agree with that. Unfortunately, all too often, the best way is not possible in this sad world.

The current Dry Bones cartoon is also interesting as one thinks about these things.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bigelow's test module, the Genesis 1 is safely in orbit and functioning well. It was launched by the Russians with a Dnepr, which during the Cold War, was known as the SS-18 Intercontinental Balistic missle called Satan, designed to nuke us. Amazing how the world has changed. Now instead of wanting to nuke us, they are happy to sell us stuff.

For more details, visit the blog on or Bigelow Aerospace.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 sent out an email today:

Special Dispatch-Iran
July 13, 2006
No. 1204

Iran and the Recent Escalation on Israel's Borders

To view this Special Dispatch in HTML, visit: .

In statements published over the last few weeks, senior Iranian officials advocated an escalation of the violent activity against Israel and against "Zionists" around the world.

Additionally, in mid-June 2006, Syria and Iran signed a military cooperation agreement. The Syrian defense minister stated on that occasion that the two countries "are establishing a joint front against Israel... [since] Iran regards Syria's security as its own."

For the last few weeks, Iran has been constantly delaying its response to the ultimatum presented to it by 5+1 (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) regarding its nuclear program, since it has no intention of accepting the international community's terms and of suspending its uranium enrichment activities. Iran was required to respond to the ultimatum by July 12 (before the G8 summit in Saint Petersburg). So far, the international community has not yielded to Iran's attempts to evade the ultimatum, and has denied Iran's request to postpone the deadline to August 22, 2006.

Iranian National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani, who is in charge of Iran's nuclear dossier, made a surprise visit to Damascus after meeting with E.U. Council Secretary-General Javier Solana on July 11, 2006. Syrian Vice President Farouq Al-Shar' stated after the meeting that the resistance [movements] in Lebanon and in Palestine [i.e. Hizbullah and Hamas] would make their own decisions regarding their affairs.

It is possible that the escalation on Israel's borders, set off by elements supported by Iran - Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria - is meant to take the pressure off Iran by triggering a major military clash in the Middle East, which will divert international attention from Iran's nuclear program.

The following are excerpts from statements by top Iranian figures and details about the Syrian-Iranian military agreement:

Military Cooperation Agreement Between Iran and Syria

On June 16, 2006, the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported:(1) "Well-informed sources in Tehran have told Al-Sharq Al-Awsat that the talks held in Tehran between Syrian Defense Minister Hassan Turkmani and his Iranian counterpart Mustafa Mohammad Najjar did not only deal with military and security aspects of the strategic cooperation between the two countries, but also with the situation in Lebanon... [The talks also] dealt with the situation in Palestine, and with the ways of assisting the Hamas and the [Islamic] Jihad in their conflict with Fatah...

"In a meeting with reporters after the signing of the military cooperation agreement, the Syrian defense minister stated that 'the American threats against Iran and Syria are nothing new... We are examining ways of countering these threats, and are establishing a joint front against Israel's threats... [since] Iran regards Syria's security as its own.'"

The daily reported that the Syrian defense minister had visited Tehran at the head of a large delegation escorted by army and intelligence officers, and met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian Chief of Staff Hassan Fayrouz and Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Yahya Rahim Safavi.

It further reported that "Iran has agreed to finance Syrian military deals with Russia, China and Ukraine, to equip the Syrian army with cannon, warheads, army vehicles, and missiles manufactured by the Iranian Defense Industries, and to enable Syrian navy drills.

"Syria, on its part, has renewed its previous agreements with Iran which allow Iranian ammunition trucks to pass [through Syria] into Lebanon..."

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat added that the Syrian and Iranian defense ministers "had agreed to establish a 'consultation room' and maintain open communication channels between the two countries in security and military matters."

Threats by Iranian President Ahmadinejad

In a television program aired on July 11, 2006, Iranian President Ahmadinejad warned Western countries not to support Israel, because "the rage of the Muslim peoples will not be restricted to the boundaries of our region... The waves of the explosion... will reach the corrupt forces [i.e. the Western countries] which support this fake regime." The following is an excerpt from Ahmadinejad's statement on the program: (2)

"Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Today, it has been proven that the Zionists are not opposed only to Islam and the Muslims. They are opposed to humanity as a whole. They want to dominate the entire world. They would even sacrifice the Western regimes for their own sake. I have said in Tehran, and I say it again here - I say to the leaders of some Western countries: Stop supporting these corrupt people. Behold, the rage of the Muslim peoples is accumulating. The rage of the Muslim peoples may soon reach the point of explosion. If that day comes, they must know that the waves of this explosion will not be restricted to the boundaries of our region. They will definitely reach the corrupt forces that support this fake regime."

Editor of Iranian Daily Kayhan: No Zionist Should Feel Secure Anywhere in the World

On July 3, 2006, editor of the conservative Iranian daily Kayhan Hossein Shariatamadari, who is close to Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, wrote, "The reaction to Israel's crimes in Gaza should not be confined to the occupied territories. Why should the Zionists [feel] secure when there is no security for the Muslims?"

In an interview with the conservative Iranian news agency Mehr, Shariatamadari reiterated that the Muslim world should not limit its responses to the Zionist attacks only to the Gaza Strip, but should see to it that "no Zionist feels secure anywhere in the world." He added that the Zionist attack in Gaza does not reveal the Zionists' power, but [only] their fear.

According to Shariatamadari, the U.N. is useless since "all its rules are interpreted [in a way that] favors [the aggressors], and the Israeli attack in Gaza elicits a mere expression of sorrow on the part of the U.N."

Shariatamadari called on the Muslim countries that maintain economic ties with Israel to sever these ties, and also to minimize their ties with countries that support Israel and to recall their ambassadors to these countries.(3)

Threats by Hassan Nassrallah in Conservative Iranian Daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami

On the morning of July 12, concurrently with the Hizbullah attack on Israel's northern border, the conservative Iranian daily Jomhouri-ye Eslami, which is affiliated with the religious seminaries of Qom, published a speech given by Hizbullah Secretary-General Hassan Nassrallah on May 23, 2006 at a conference on "The Culture of Resistance." The following are excerpts from the speech:

"We can hit Israel's entire northern region with thousands of rockets... All of Israel is now within the range of our missiles. Its seaports, [military] bases, industrial plants and everything else are all within our range... I repeat and say that our stockpile of weapons is significant, both in quantity and in quality... Another advantage that I wish to mention is the geography of Lebanon and Palestine. Most of Israel's vital areas are concentrated in the northern [half] of occupied Palestine, while the south is uninhabited and desolate. More than two million Jews live in the north of occupied Palestine, which contains the recreation centers and [tourist] resorts, the industrial plants, the agricultural [areas] and the important military airports and bases. This is an advantage for us... Our presence in South Lebanon, in proximity to the north of occupied Palestine, is our greatest advantage..."(4)

Emphasis on Hizbullah's Importance to Iran

According to a May 11, 2006 Al-Sharq Al-Awsat report, a high-level Iranian official who held a closed meeting with a small group of Western diplomats in London emphasized Hizbullah's importance to Iran: "Hizbullah is one of the pillars of our security strategy, and forms Iran's first line of defense against Israel. We reject [the claim] that it must be disarmed..."(5)

(1) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 16, 2006.
(2) To view this clip at MEMRI TV, see .
(3) Kayhan (Iran), July 3, 2006.
(4) Jomhouri-ye Eslami (Iran), July 12, 2006, .
(5) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), May 11, 2006.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
Search previous MEMRI publications at

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Florida Today, a newspaper with an online presence, has a very cool video of the launch of Discovery taken from one of the solid rocket boosters; it is set to music and is a selection of clips from launch through the splashdown of the solid rocket booster into the Atlantic ocean, where it was recovered for reuse on a future flight.

Click Here for the video.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Time Magazine has a good article that puts the current war between Hamas and Israel in perspective:

The logic for those continued attacks is to be found in the so-called phase plan adopted in 1974 by the Palestine National Council in Cairo. Realizing that they would never be able to destroy Israel in one fell swoop, the Palestinians adopted a graduated plan to wipe out Israel. First, accept any territory given to them in any part of historic Palestine. Then, use that sanctuary to wage war until Israel is destroyed.

So in 2005 the Palestinians are given Gaza, free of any Jews. Do they begin building the state they say they want, constructing schools and roads and hospitals? No. They launch rockets at civilians and dig a 300-yard tunnel under the border to attack Israeli soldiers and bring back a hostage.

And this time the terrorism is carried out not by some shadowy group that the Palestinian leader can disavow, however disingenuously. This is Hamas in action--the group that was recently elected to lead the Palestinians. At least there is now truth in advertising: a Palestinian government openly committed to terrorism and to the destruction of a member state of the U.N. openly uses terrorism to carry on its war.

That is no cycle. That is an arrow. That is action with a purpose. The action began 59 years ago when the U.N. voted to solve the Palestine conundrum then ruled by Britain by creating a Jewish state and a Palestinian state side by side. The Jews accepted the compromise; the Palestinians rejected it and joined five outside Arab countries in a war to destroy the Jewish state and take all the territory for themselves.

Incidentally, the rocket attacks against Israel have been a nearly daily occurance since Israel left Gaza in 2005, something that continued throughout the so-called "truce." For some reason, it was a truce that only Israel was expected to keep.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Somewhen Obscurely is now available from Just click the link to go look at it. Last time I checked, a picture of the book cover, as yet, was not up, but at least when people type in my name or the title into the search box, the info on the book is there and it can be ordered.