Friday, November 19, 2004

<i>Carpe Diem</i>

Despite the impression one might glean from the distressingly large number of reports like this one that seem to fill our newspapers, most teachers really are sensible, responsible and intelligent people:

LONDON (AFP) - A British schoolteacher, attempting to motivate her pupils into making the most of each day, told them a meteorite was about to smash into the Earth and that they should all return home to say goodbye to their families, a report said.

The teacher at the high school in Manchester, northwest England, only realized her lecture was misjudged when many of the assembled teenagers started crying, the Sun newspaper said in its Friday edition.

According to the report, the unnamed female teacher made the announcement to around 250 pupils at St Matthew's Roman Catholic High School during their regular morning assembly. Saying she had bad news, the teacher announced that a meteor would strike the Earth in 10 days' time, and that they should return home and say their "final farewells" to their parents. After the crowd of 13- and 14-year-olds looked on in horror, and many burst into tears, the teacher swiftly explained that she was only trying to encourage them to "seize the day".

"Some of the children were 100 percent convinced they were going to die," the father of one child told the paper. "God only knows what this teacher thought she was doing."

Indeed. Perhaps this teacher will soon be starting a British chapter of the Dead Poets' Society in her school - that is, if she doesn't have her teaching credential pulled for gross numskullery. Thanks to Joanne Jacobs for the tip.

Tough Decision Time For Syria

Everybody who matters probably already knew this but now the rest of us have public confirmation - Syria is harboring the terrorists who are directing the insurgency in Iraq. The World Tribune.Com reports this:

BAGHDAD - Insurgents captured in Fallujah have told Iraqi military interrogators that most of those fighting in Fallujah were former security officers for the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The insurgents said Saddam organized special operations units, starting in 2001, to counter any foreign invasion in Iraq. Most of those units, the insurgents said, are still active in the Sunni Triangle.

Officials said the Sunni insurgency was being directed from Syria. They said Saddam loyalists were receiving funding and orders from senior aides of the former Saddam regime based in Damascus, including ex-Vice President Izzet Ibrahim Al Douri.

President Bush announced in his speech in the wake of 9/11 that nations which harbor terrorists will be dealt with as enemies. Will we demand that the Syrians turn these people over? Will we go in and get them? Quite possibly we will wind up doing both. We expect that the heat will be turned up on President Bashar al-Asad very soon and very high.

Building Momentum

Bill Roggio at The Fourth Rail keeps us updated on goings-on in Fallujah and other exotic resorts throughout the Sunni Triangle. His latest post concludes with this assessment:

The intelligence finds unearthed in Fallujah cannot be overestimated. In their haste to leave the city before the assault, hand written records, computers, and video were left behind and will assist with the identification of members of the insurgency as well as their contributers and sources of weapons and material. Ongoing operations and arrests throughout the country suggest the intelligence gathered in Fallujah is paying dividends. And the willingness to raid Sunni mosques outside of combat zones indicates the Iraqi government is confident in asserting its power. Operations such as these would have been unthought of as recently as last summer.

Expect the tempo of operations in western Iraq to increase. American troop levels will be boosted during the scheduled upcoming rotation of forces, and the return of some units have been delayed to exploit the increase in forces. American generals believe they have the insurgents on the run, and will want to exploit the intelligence gathered in Fallujah and the temporary influx of troops.

Roggio expects Mosul will be the next of the Aegean stables our forces will be tasked to clean out. There can be no doubt left in the mind of anyone not chin deep in the fever swamps of the Left that this is a humanitarian mission of unprecedented proportions. One need only to read what these pious Islamo-fascists did in the name of Allah to the woman whose body was found limbless and disemboweled on the streets of Fallujah, or to watch the video Buried in the Sand which visually documents the atrocities, the pure evil, perpetrated by the Baathists upon the Iraqi people, to realize that what our troops are doing in Iraq is a mission of mercy to those poor people.

The astonishing thing about this is not that America is attempting something good and wonderful for the oppressed people of the world, for this is not the first time for that. The astonishing thing is that the self-designated "champions" of the oppressed in the U.S. and Europe are so bitterly opposed to freeing these people from the cruel, bloodthirsty tyranny under which they groan and weep.

George Bush lifts the boot of the Taliban and the Baathists off the faces of fifty million people, and intellectually impaired non-entities like Linda Ronstadt call Bush another Hitler. This demonstrates either an inexcusable ignorance of, or an appalling indifference to, the plight of the Iraqi people and what we are trying to accomplish on their behalf. The Left is so blinded by hate, rage, and impotence that it can think no more clearly than it can see.

The Coming Confrontation With Iran

Chester has some good analysis of the coming conflict with Iran. This link takes you to part I, and this one takes you to part II.

From part I:

Before assumptions about the use of US force can be definitively stated, the critical question becomes the time horizon. What to make of this? How to define in time, the event that creates the deadline? Iran will eventually reach a point wherein it has completed the infrastructure and research necessary to manufacture a nuclear weapon. This is the point it must not be allowed to reach.

The Atlantic article gives the Iranians 3 years, with many backside-covering qualifications. A recent US News report states three to seven years. Other reports, including one referenced in the Belmont Club by Wretchard, state as little as 4-6 months before Iran has the break-out stage and can "construct nuclear bombs whenever it wishes."

As we all know from the re-election campaign, President Bush was criticized as "rushing to war" in Iraq. Agreeing with the characterization of this decision (that it was poor form to move so quickly) or not is irrelevant. Instead, assume that Bush prefers to err on the side of action, and move quickly. In this case, let us assume the time horizon for his decision is 12-18 months. In the next year and a half, the US, whether alone or with allies, must address the Iranian nuclear program once and for all, or grudgingly admit Iran into the fraternity of nuclear powers, and like it or not, live with its regime for an indefinite period of time.

[The objection that] the US military is too overstretched for an invasion of Iran at this point in time [is] more or less correct. An invasion of some size could be mounted, but the longer the invasion force stayed in Iran, the more force structure begins to catch up to it. A large-scale recall of reservists could increase the time US forces could operate in Iran, but such a move would make the United States vulnerable in other spheres of influence (Taiwan, South Korea).

As the time horizon moves further and further into the future though, this statement becomes less and less true. As Iraqi forces take more and more responsibility for Iraq's security, the forces available for an invasion of Iran increase dramatically.

President Bush has been roundly ridiculed for acknowledging that he seeks God's wisdom when confronted with decisions of great moment. Rather than criticizing him for this we should be thankful that he does, and we should be praying with him and for him that God shows him the proper course of action in the very difficult months ahead.