Anasazi Ruins, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

Monday, March 26, 2012

From a Blog Post on Islam in Norway

“In March 2011, the renowned Harvard lawyer Alan Dershowitz came to Oslo. He offered to lecture at three Norwegian universities without payment. They all turned him down. Thereafter, Dershowitz wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal where he conveyed how anti-Semitic Norwegian academics let him know that he was persona non grata. This affair made me ashamed to be Norwegian. I am looking forward to the day when the present government will be defeated. Then hopefully, an end will come to their propaganda and the misleading image of Israel which they continuously portray to the Norwegian public.”

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The New York Times on Egypt and Palestine

The New York Times really thinks that brokering a closer relationship between Hamas and Fatah is a move towards stability in the Middle East? Yes, according to the first few paragraphs from an online article:

CAIRO — As it prepares to take power in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is overhauling its relations with the two main Palestinian factions in an effort to put new pressure on Israel for an independent Palestinian state.

Officials of the Brotherhood, Egypt’s dominant Islamist movement, are pressing its militant Palestinian offshoot, Hamas, which controls Gaza, to make new compromises with Fatah, the Western-backed Palestinian leadership that has committed to peace with Israel and runs the West Bank.

The intervention in the Palestinian issue is the clearest indication yet that as it moves into a position of authority, the Brotherhood, the largest vote getter in Egypt’s parliamentary elections, intends to both moderate its positions on foreign policy and reconfigure Egypt’s.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Copy of an e-mail I sent to Tom Palaima this Morning

Professor of Classics at UT Austin had yet another anti-American column in the American Statesman this morning. His twisted wording managed to imply that the United States is uniquely evil in the way it wages war. As a classical scholar Dr. Palaima know this is not true. Obviously he does this to further his agenda amongst less educated. He shows great contempt for his readers many who will not see though his false arguments.

Still, I suspect most American veterans themselves would dislike the article, no matter what they felt about our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is the e-mail:


Tom Palaima

I read you guest editorial in the American Statesman
this morning. I was bother by it because you seem
to indicate that the insane action of one American
soldier was indicative of the unique way we wage war.

You certainly did not mention that killing of otherwise
innocent civilians and captured soldiers has been a fact
of war since the beginning of history. The Romans
sacked cities that did not surrender, killing among others
Archimedes during the capture of Syracuse during the 2nd
Punic War.

I have on my shelves books with eye-witness accounts of
American killing captured German soldiers during WW2.

Of course we both know I could go on and on.

I and everyone I know is for leaving Afghanistan and
everywhere else in the Middle East today.

But you as a classical scholar should offer you readers
more information about long history of crimes committed
during wars since, well, since forever.

I am sure that most reading of you article do not have
the deep knowledge that you, and I, and even my wife share.

I am truly disappointed. Any thought of going to Thursday's
evening talk which I knew about before reading your column
just ended.

Steven Zoraster
3329 Perry Lane
Austin, Texas 7831

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cyrenaica Still Wants to be Independent

16 March 2012 BBC

Libya rally on Cyrenaica autonomy plan ends in violence

Vehicle belonging to pro-federalism supporters damaged by youths in Benghazi. Anti-federalism protesters drove the rally from Freedom Square, Benghazi, witnesses said.

Clashes at a rally calling for a semi-autonomous territory to be created in eastern Libya have left one person dead in the city of Benghazi, reports say.

Witnesses said a crowd demanding a semi-autonomous region of Cyrenaica was attacked by armed men.

The plan calls for a regional parliament with control over the police but stops short of dividing Libya.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Karzai is at the End of Whose Rope?

From today's The New York Times

KABUL, Afghanistan — President Hamid Karzai chastised the United States on Friday, saying he was at “the end of the rope” over what he termed America’s lack of cooperation in investigating the American soldier who went on a rampage earlier this month and killed 16 civilians in southern Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai had previously dispatched a delegation to investigate the killings in Panjwai district of Kandahar Province, and he said on Friday that American officials did not cooperate with the Afghan inquiry. He made the comments after meeting at the presidential palace in Kabul with relatives of those killed.

The Afghan leader also questioned whether only a single American soldier was involved in the massacre, which took place on March 11. He said the accounts of villagers — many of whom have claimed multiple soldiers took part in the shootings — did not match the American assertion that the killings were the work of a lone, rogue soldier.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Did We Just Win the War In Afghanistan?

One American soldier goes crazy, murdering many innocent civilians. Instead of rioting most Afghans keep a low profile. Heads down.

Another irrational rampage by an American and maybe the Afghan Army (such as it is) AND the Taliban will surrender? To us?

I have read a different take on this event and the fact that rioting has not occurred because of it. That is that killing civilians over some trivial feud is not a big deal in Afghanistan, but burning the Koran is RELIGION which these savages take seriously and are willing to riot and kill over.

Our experience there shows that according to civilized standards these people cannot be tamed.

Certainly the particular American who committed the crime in question deserves to be punished by our military. I have read he is already out of Afghanistan. The rest of our people there can not leave soon enough. Tomorrow would be a good day to start.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Review of "Camp of the Saints"

Camp of the Saints is a novel written in 1973 predicting the fall of Western Civilization to a wave of foreign immigrants which sets off internal rebellions by the immigrant underclass already in Europe and the United States.

That this book make such a prediction so long ago is why it is respected today, when waves of immigrants are changing the ethnic and cultural makeup of much of Europe (Muslim) and many parts of the United States (Hispanic). Otherwise it is not a well written book.

Problems include:

1) The point of view chances suddenly, so that the reader has trouble knowing whether the time is before the immigration, during it, or after it.

2) The author manages to distance the reader from most events with elaborate writing.

3) The characters are not well developed.

Many reviewers on complained that the book is racist. They are right, but that did not bother me because I found it just another way the author was using to beat me over the head with his dramatic predictions.

I more or less enjoyed reading the book but will not read it again.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Cyrenaica Independent?

From the National Post, a Canadian Newspaper:

TRIPOLI — Civic leaders from Libya’s eastern Cyrenaica province will on Tuesday launch a push for regional autonomy, posing a new challenge to the country’s fragile cohesion after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Five thousand people are due to attend an inaugural “Congress of the People of Cyrenaica” near the eastern city of Benghazi where they will set out a proposal for Libya to be transformed into a federal state, one of the organizers said.

“We would like in Cyrenaica to take care of housing, education and other things and would delegate national security, defence … to the central government,” said Mohammed Buisier, a Libyan-American who is helping organize the congress.

“We believe in one Libya,” he told Reuters by telephone from Benghazi, cradle of the revolution against Gaddafi last year.

“People in Cyrenaica have for 40 years suffered from negligence … If we keep this negligence towards the east, I cannot guarantee that Libya will be united in 25 years time.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

Heck, a Direct Quote from the LA Times on Afghanistan

REPORTING FROM KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- Reflecting continuing tensions over the burning of Korans at Bagram air base, a suicide bomber tried Monday to breach an outer gate of the giant U.S.-run installation north of Afghanistan's capital.

The attack killed two Afghan laborers who were leaving the base, the provincial governor said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility in a text message sent to journalists, but the claim could not be immediately verified. The Taliban have claimed responsibility for a number of violent incidents that took place as riots rocked the country last month over what U.S. officials have called the inadvertent burning of copies of the Muslim holy book at Bagram.

Monday's bombing took place about 6 p.m. as many workers were leaving the base. Abdul Basir Salangi, the governor of Parwan province, where the base is located, said the bomber ran toward a gate manned by Afghan security forces and detonated his explosives there. Four Afghan workers were wounded, he said.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Man and Water in Austin

Texas Sage

As I walk and drive around the Highland Park, Balconnes area of Austin, I note how nature and man have combined to adapt to the recent water scarcity. Lawns are usually in poor shape, if not actually dying. Plants that are doing well are things like Crape Myrtle, Rosemary, Sage, Pyracantha and many different cacti. Roses bushes are few, and those I looked closely at are doing poorly. Those yards that look best often have as much space covered by well laid out rock paving as by plants.

I started looking at other people's property because I was worried that our yard would look bad compared to those of my neighbors. Well, not a problem. Ours is no worse than many others. In fact, a brief period of thought sent me to the nearby Nursery to buy mountain laurel, Sage, and cacti to plant in my own front yard.

But I will never plant Pyracantha. I took out a 50 linear foot hedge of Pyracantha when I was 14, and today recoil in fear when I see just one of those horrible plants.

Friday, March 2, 2012

They Hate Us

Just read yet another article in the Austin newspaper about the killing of 2 more Americans in Afghanistan. One was "a civilian literacy instructor hired to teach Afghan soldiers how to read".

Who cares if they can read? They hate us. They hate all foreigners. They always have and always will.

Let's think about the reading part. If they can read they can understand the instructions on the weapons they capture from us? This is a good thing? Or just unimportant because you do not have to read to use an AK-47?

We must leave. Now. I hold Obama responsible for failing to respond to these and previous outrages by pulling out of Afghanistan

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Afghanistan Again. Two Americans Shot While Training

KABUL, Afghanistan — NATO said two American soldiers were killed on Thursday when at least one Afghan turned his gun on them in southern Afghanistan, raising further questions about the Afghan security forces.