Friday, August 1, 2008

No Excuses

Another young Muslim woman is murdered by a family member, in this case her father, and the cable news outlets which can't give enough coverage to the murders of Caucasian women slain by relatives, can't be bothered to even report the news. John Avlon at the New York Post wonders why. He concludes that the media doesn't want to emphasize a story that discredits the multicultural narrative that the left has promoted for the last two decades.

Perhaps this is so, but I'm beginning to wonder. Could there not be a tincture of lower expectations among journalists when it comes to certain demographic groups? Might there be a feeling of well, that's just how these people are and one can't expect much better from them? Civilization is an achievement of white Europeans, and those others who have adopted their assumptions. Perhaps, buried in the psyches of a lot of journalists, is the assumption that a desert plant transplanted to a rain forest is still a desert plant and nothing will change it much.

Surely if a Caucasian American father murdered his daughter because she wanted out of an unhappy arranged marriage the media would be all over the story, especially if the father were a putative Christian. Perhaps the reason is that this is unusual behavior for white Christians, but when blacks in our cities kill each other by the tens of thousands every year, or Muslims kill their own daughters the media treat it as little more than a sad statistic. It's as if they think it would be somehow racist to call attention to the dysfunctionalities in these communities, and appearing racist is the very last thing a good liberal wants.

Yet isn't the real racism the refusal to hold people to the same standard as everyone else? Isn't the real racism the belief that some groups just can't be expected to behave in a civilized, moral manner? Isn't the real racism what President Bush has called the "soft bigotry of diminished expectations"?

Perhaps we do others no favors with all our talk of uneven playing fields, historical disadvantages, tolerating diversity and the equal value of all cultures. Perhaps the best thing we can do for other ethnic and racial groups in our society is to tell them that the standard white Americans are expected to meet is the standard that they are expected to meet, and that there are no excuses for failing to meet it.

As a society we need to adopt the same slogan that athletes live by: Excuses are for losers.


Taliban Tactics

Strategy Page has an interesting piece on how the Taliban are trying to adjust to offset the deadly capabilities of the NATO and Afghan forces along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border:

The Taliban have developed more effective tactics this year. After a disastrous outing last year, the Taliban were under a lot of pressure to reduce their casualties this year, and they have. The Afghans have always been adaptable, especially when it is a matter of life and death, and there have been many small changes in Taliban tactics to counter the greater lethality of NATO forces (who use UAVs, smart bombs and better trained troops). Taliban forces now operate in smaller groups, keeping weapons (which can be identified from the air by UAV or aircraft cameras) hidden, and concentrate forces just before an attack. Cell phones and walkie-talkies make this easier. Taliban will also break off an attack quickly, knowing that the smart bombs are on the way.

The Taliban will stay near the Pakistani border, because the Americans and NATO rarely pursue, although smart bombs are more frequently dropped on the Pakistani side. But once a group of armed Taliban have made it into Pakistan, they can melt into the civilian population. Which leads to another popular Taliban tactic, using civilians as human shields. It doesn't always work, and when it doesn't the Taliban are quick to claim another NATO atrocity. The Taliban have also been using a growing number of deceptions to try and get NATO smart bombs or artillery to hit friendly targets. A favorite one on the border is to fire mortar shells at NATO troops on one side of the border, and at nearby Pakistani border guards just across the frontier, to try and deceive NATO and Pakistani troops into believing they are firing at each other. NATO counter-fire radars have spotted the shells, and traced them all back to the same location. But such radars are not always available, and sometimes this trick works. Another deception is to feed bad intel to the followers, and try and trigger a missile or smart bomb attack on civilians.

There's more at the link.


Iran Practices Nuclear Strike

Kenneth Timmerman at reports that intelligence agencies believe that Iran is practicing a nuclear strike against the U.S. They appear to be planning a single strike that would be launched from a merchant ship off the coast. A nuclear warhead would be mounted on a Scud missile and sent into the upper atmosphere where it would be detonated creating an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would fry all of our electronics across the entire continent. In the worst case we would be instantly thrown back into the 19th century and the resulting chaos and starvation would eventually kill off over 70% of our population.

We've written about EMP before and there's some doubt as to how successful such an attack would be, but evidently the Iranians think it would work.

There are several measures we can take to prevent it. We can stop Iran from securing nuclear warheads. We can continue to develop our missile defense system. We can tell Iran that any such attack in which they are suspected will result in a total obliteration of their country. Of course, this last option depends on being able to demonstrate that the attack came from Iran, and if they sink the ship that launched the missile we might not be able to do that.

In any event, the last alternative is certainly the worst since if it fails to deter the Iranians a nuclear holocaust would ensue. The best way to prevent such a catastrophe is to prevent the Iranians from developing a nuclear weapon in the first place. The second best is to build a missile shield and create enough uncertainty of success in the minds of the Iranian mullahs that they wouldn't attempt the attack. Of the three options, guess which two Senator Obama and the Democrats are on record opposing.