Thursday, August 17, 2006

Pyrrhic Victory

Strategy Page argues that Hezbollah suffered a serious defeat in its month-long war with Israel:

The success of the ceasefire in Lebanon hinges on a condition that Lebanon and Hizbollah both insist will not happen. Hizbollah is supposed to disarm, but says bluntly that it will not do so. The Lebanese government says it will not force Hizbollah to disarm. So what's going to happen? It appears that Israel is going to hold the UN responsible for carrying out its peace deal, and disarm Hizbollah. To that end, Israel will withdraw its troops from Lebanon, and leave it to UN peacekeepers to do what they are obliged to do. But here's the catch, not enough nations are stepping forward to supply the initial 3,500 UN forces, much less the eventual 15,000 UN force. However, it is likely that, eventually, enough nations will supply troops. But many of those contingents may not be willing to fight Hizbollah. Israel says it will not completely withdraw from Lebanon until the UN force is in place.

The Israeli strategy appears to be to allow the UN deal to self-destruct. If the UN peacekeepers can disarm Hizbollah, fine. If not, Israeli ground troops will come back in and clear everyone out of southern Lebanon. At that point, it will be obvious that no one else is willing, or able, to deal with the outlaw "state-within-a-state" that Hizbollah represents. Hizbollah will still exist after being thrown out of southern Lebanon, and it will be up to the majority of Lebanese, and the rest of the Arab world, to deal with Hizbollah and radical Shias.

Hizbollah suffered a defeat. Their rocket attacks on Israel, while appearing spectacular (nearly 4,000 rockets launched), were unimpressive (39 Israelis killed, half of them Arabs). On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons. Israeli losses were far less.

While Hizbollah can declare this a victory, because it fought Israel without being destroyed, this is no more a victory than that of any other Arab force that has faced Israeli troops and failed.

Michael Ramirez is also a little skeptical of Hezbollah's claims to have won their confrontation with Israel:

Hezbollah's survival of the Israeli onslaught is indeed similar to the survival of other Arab nations whose militaries engaged the Israelis. That the governments of Syria, Jordan and Egypt withstood the Israeli military in the sixties and seventies could be claimed to be "proof" that these nations fought the Israelis to a draw, but that doesn't seem to be an interpretation supported by the fates of their respective armies.

The big question raised by SP's analysis is whether an Olmert government will have the will to reinitiate hostilities when it becomes clear that Hezbollah has no intention of disarming or being disarmed.

Darwinism on the Way Out?

The Guardian reports the shocking news that Darwinism is on the way out in England. Too many students are accepting the notion that God had something to do with their being here. Here are a couple of excerpts from the Guardian article:

In a survey last month, more than 12% questioned preferred creationism - the idea God created us within the past 10,000 years - to any other explanation of how we got here. Another 19% favoured the theory of intelligent design - that some features of living things are due to a supernatural being such as God. This means more than 30% believe our origins have more to do with God than with Darwin - evolution theory rang true for only 56%.

Opinionpanel Research's survey of more than 1,000 students found a third of those who said they were Muslims and more than a quarter of those who said they were Christians supported creationism. Nearly a third of Christians and 10% of those with no particular religion favoured intelligent design. Women were more likely to choose spiritual explanations: less than half chose evolution, with 14% preferring creationism and 22% intelligent design.

Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, who gave a public lecture on "Why evolution is right and creationism is wrong" at the time, has been talking about evolutionary biology in schools for 20 years. For the first 10 of those he was lucky to find one student in 1,000 expressing creationist beliefs. "Now in any school I go to I meet a student who says they are a creationist or delude themselves that they are."

He blames the influence of Christian fundamentalists in America and political correctness among teachers here who, he says, feel they have to give a reasonable hearing to beliefs held by people from other cultures, particularly Muslims.

Imagine. As soon as a teacher gives a "reasonable hearing" to non-Darwinian accounts, students abandon the Darwinian version. I wonder why that is. There's no wonder, though, why the Darwinians don't want ID taught in American public schools. If it were, within a generation or two Darwinians would be as scarce as passenger pigeons.

HT to Uncommon Descent.

State of Emergency

Tony Blankley has high praise for Pat Buchanan's latest book, State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America. Here are some excerpts from Blankley's column:

Most people will be familiar with Buchanan's view on immigration. But even those who have read his earlier books and read his columns, as I have, will not be prepared for the remorseless presentation of unimpeachable facts with which he makes his convincing case for the reality of his book's subtitle: "The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America."

Here he deepens his case against illegal immigration (and his case for a moratorium on even legal immigration) with statistic after statistic concerning, among many topics, the shockingly disproportionate degree of disease and crime that illegal Mexican and other immigrants are transmitting into the country.

For example, in Los Angeles, 95 percent of all outstanding warrants for homicide, which total 1,200-1,500, are for illegal aliens. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California now has almost 40,000 cases of tuberculosis (a disease only recently thought to be virtually extinct in America).

He presents compelling evidence that the "Reconquista" of southwestern United States is not merely the silly conceit of a few extremists but is widely desired by Mexicans (he cites a 2002 Zogby poll showing that by 58 percent to 28 percent of Mexicans believe the American Southwest belongs to Mexico).

Of course, there is nothing more dangerously controversial than trying to define the ethnic, language and cultural nature and desirability of America. But until we as a country come to terms publicly with what kind of a country we think America is and should be, we can never have a rational and full debate about what kind of immigration policy we should try to enforce.

Buchanan quotes the French poet Charles Peguy: "It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of looking insufficiently progressive."

By that standard, Buchanan, in this book, is positively fearless. He is also right. Americans, from whatever nation or ethnicity we originated, have formed a common culture worth preserving and a common history worth continuing.

I think I have just enough time to purchase it and get it read by Labor Day.