July 30th, 2014

Time to dance

For the balletomane on your gift list (especially the young ballet student), this is pretty and rather clever:


A reader alerted me to the clock, which is designed by Meike Harde. It seems to be available right now only through this German site, though.

July 30th, 2014

Democratics vs. Republicans: the history of Jim Crow

Try sending this article on the history of Jim Crow to every liberal Democrat you know who claims that Republicans are the racist party:

Here is the heart of the issue, where the left has hijacked the true history of Jim Crow. The dividing line over Jim Crow was never liberals vs. conservatives; it’s far more accurate to describe it as Democrats versus Republicans. Not only in the 1800s, when the KKK served as the paramilitary arm of the Democratic Party, but right into the 1950s and 1960s. Bookman’s assertion that “conservatives in the Republican Party … fought against civil rights” is utterly false. As historian Dr. John Fonte noted on NRO in 2003, staunchly conservative Republicans led the fight for civil rights in the Senate…

Further contradicting the Left’s narrative, there was no sudden shift of segregationists from Democrat to Republican after the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The truth is, white Southerners continued to vote in large numbers for the Democratic Party until the advent of Ronald Reagan in 1980. The Democrats never “dispatched” segregationists from their party, as Benen claims. It’s more accurate to say Southern Democratic segregationists died off than that they switched parties. In any case, no Southerners shifted from the Democrats to the GOP because the GOP offered shelter to racism. Republicans never adopted racist policies, as Democrats had for more than a century…

Those sorts of arguments are all very well and good. But anyone who’s argued with a liberal about the topic (as I have) knows what the rejoinder will often be: that may have been true in the past, but the people who are Republicans now are the racists who would have been Democrats way back then, whether or not the actual Democrats switched at the time to become Republicans.

But anyone offering that argument is merely asserting a belief that today’s Republicans are yesterday’s Democrats. It becomes a mere article of faith, a claim that Republicans are racist because the South is racist, and the South is now Republican rather than Democrat, therefore Republicans must be racist. The “southern strategy,” which has often been cited to support that, has not only been debunked by the actual history of party voting in the South, and how slowly the shift to Republican control occurred, but by previous articles such as this fine one appearing in 2004 in The Claremont Review of Books as well as this one by Sean Trende.

And yet it has a long and active life. These days the racism of the right (and particularly of the Tea Party) is often asserted by the left. It is imputed by “dog whistles” which have virtually no relation to race at all but are supposedly secret signals to the racists who constitute the Republican Party. And if those can’t be found, they are alleged anyway, and/or pretend Republican racists are planted to “prove” the charges.

This continues to be done because the perception that Republicans are racist is one of the most important tactics of the left, liberals, and Democrats in general. It is probably responsible for a huge percentage of their votes, both among black people and among people who want to avoid being associated even for a moment with any group that could possibly be considered in sympathy with racists, lest they be suspected of racism themselves. It is a way to invalidate other opinions of the right, too—for example, the small-government message of the Tea Party—that otherwise might appeal to many more people.

The myth of the racist Republicans cannot be allowed to die because way too much depends on it.

[NOTE: Actual polls on racism are---as no less than Nate Silver writes---suspect. People differ in their willingness to admit racism to a pollster. But the differences in racism as admitted in polls between white Democrats and white Republicans (does anyone measure the racism of black people or Asians?) are miniscule, and the numbers of people who will admit to racist views in either party are small.]

July 30th, 2014

The press, the Israelis, and Gaza

Supposedly as a result of the recent action in Gaza by the Israelis, anti-Semitism is rising around the world—or at least, demonstrations of anti-Semitism are rising.

But Ron Fournier has been deeply asleep if he thinks the anti-Israel press is new. It was already very deeply entrenched when I started paying close attention after 2001. The Al Durah incident and its resultant worldwide anti-Israel propaganda occurred even before that, and was one of the worst offenses; Jenin was in 2002. I’ve written about both at great length on this blog.

The Palestinians and Islamic terrorists and their sympathizers around the world learned long ago that one of the best propaganda methods for reaching liberals of the west was the dead child and the grieving family. And so, not only are such civilians killed as the inevitable collateral damage of war exploited for propaganda purposes, but even if it is actually the Arab world causing the damage to its own people by accident, that is blamed on the Israelis and exploited, as well.

Did I say “by accident”? Surely that occurs sometimes. But somewhere along the line—and quite a long time ago, too—the Palestinians graduated to using techniques of asymmetrical warfare in order to purposely cause more casualties of that exact nature, in order to parade them before the world as fodder for propaganda. Chief among such cynically evil tactics are storing armaments among civilians, including (or perhaps especially) in family homes, schools, and hospitals, and then parading the victims before an Arab and western press willing and eager to spread the word. Thus, the press shares some of the culpability for these deaths.

Some of this was exposed many years ago, and more than once. But much of the MSM hasn’t cared that in the past so many Palestinian reports of civilian deaths at Israeli hands have turned out to be lies of one sort or another. They still all-too-often report without caveats what the Palestinians say during such conflicts, knowing that the corrections they so frequently have to offer (if they bother to acknowledge their errors at all) almost never filter down to the majority of the public. That’s why a great many in the MSM still consider these lies very much worth telling, because no matter what contradictory facts later reports may reveal, these lies have for the most part become the public’s perception of the truth.

Thus, in the recent fighting in Gaza, we have this correction of a false report of Israeli wrongdoing (also discussed at Powerline). Volokh writes:

The media has engaged in journalistic malpractice by reporting casualty figures for civilians coming from Gaza as gospel. The figures come from the Gazan Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas. The Ministry of Health counts everyone not in uniform as a civilian. Most Hamas fighters don’t wear uniforms. The UN is sometimes sourced for the figures, but the UN gets its figures from … the Gazan Ministry of Health. Contrary to early reports that 80% or so of the early casualties were civilians, Al-Jazeera published names and ages, and about 3/4 were men of fighting age (16-50), compared to a rough estimate of 20% of the Gazan population (40% to 50% of which is fourteen and under). Some of those men were undoubtedly civilians, but it strains credulity to believe that 80% of the casualties were civilian but just-so-happened to be overwhelmingly fighting-age men. (Here’s the most recent analysis from the IsraellyCool blog). For that matter, how do we know that the Minsitry of Health isn’t counting deaths from natural causes as deaths from Israeli actions? A simple “the Hamas-controlled Gaza Ministry of Health claims” before reciting casualty figures that the media has not itself verified would resolve the problem.

Remember Jenin?:

…the U.N. report said 52 Palestinian deaths had been confirmed by April 18—the same death toll reported by Israel. It called the Palestinian allegation that some 500 were killed “a figure that has not been substantiated in the light of evidence that has emerged.”

Seeing the mendacity of the reporting about that battle, and the paucity of meaningful retractions of the false reports, as well as the lies’ lasting influence, was one of many incidents in my political change experience.

With the continuation of similar events, one could ask the old “fool or knave?” question, this time as applied to the press. Whether or not a reporter on board with this is consciously lying or is unaware he/she has been duped and manipulated into telling lies, at this point every reporter should be aware of the entire process and how common it is. After Jenin, when even the Israel-hating UN substantiated the Israeli claims and unfounded the Palestinian ones, there is no excuse for not being extremely careful to make sure that the casualty figures are correct, and to be extremely suspicious of the initial Palestinian reports. One can only conclude that when that doesn’t occur, the press is either purposefully lying or acting with reckless disregard for the truth.

The UN is a player in Gaza, too. Just as the final UN report on Jenin exonerated the Israelis, long after lies accusing the Israelis of barbarism there had been successfully promulgated around the world, the UN periodically issues small announcements which implicate the Palestinians in Gaza now. For example, we have the third report of rockets found in Palestinian schools in Gaza administered by the UN. Now, how do you suppose they got there? The UN is mum on the subject:

The United Nations Relief & Works Agency For Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced Tuesday that another rocket stockpile has been found at one of its schools in Gaza. This instance marks the third time since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge that a weapons arsenal has been found at an UNRWA school in Gaza.

UNRWA has yet to place blame on any individuals or organizations for placing the weapons stockpile within a children’s school. The UN body refused to do so on the past two previous occasions as well.

The UN body, after both previous findings, has handed the rockets it had found back into the possession of “the local police,” otherwise known as the terrorist group Hamas.

Does anyone believe these rockets won’t go back more or less where they came from?

It’s no surprise that Israel does so poorly in the propaganda wars, with so much stacked against it. And yet ignoring those wars is not the answer, either. Israel itself and its spokespeople have been slow on the draw and fairly inept at dealing with it, too. I’ve noticed a slight improvement this time around from Israel—their disclaimers of responsibility seem to be coming faster, anyway.

July 29th, 2014

A tisket, a tasket…

…a family feud at Market Basket.

And what a feud it is.

First of all, it’s been going on for over forty years, in court and out. And it’s heated up even more, with the firing of company president Arthur T. Demoulas by a board of directors controlled by Arthur S. Demoulas.

Yes, you read that right: Arthur T. and Arthur S., at war. What a difference a consonant makes.

Read the article if you want to learn what the feud is about. It’s not exactly a strike—stores are open, but many distributors aren’t delivering food—it’s a slowdown with the goal of getting Arthur T. reinstated. It’s a very New England-y thing, idiosyncratic and stubborn, just as the Market Basket stores are, with their lack of a website or Facebook page or slick visuals.

Market Baskets are rather grungy. If you don’t live in New England and you went to one, you might wonder what all the fuss was about. Their first claim to fame is that they’re much cheaper than the competition, and not just a few items, but nearly everything, and not just a little cheaper, but significantly so. They may not look as big and well-stocked as many markets, but they’ve got everything, including all the organic grass-fed meats you could want in a store that has neither Whole Foods’ selection nor its crazy prices, and more Italian bakery goods than you can shake a stick at (the ricotta squares are as good as those of bakeries in Brooklyn). They’ve got the best tabouli at almost half the price of everywhere else, and the same for their stuffed grape leaves.

The only real drawback is that Market Baskets are not open as late as most supermarkets. But they’re open plenty late, certainly much later than the 5 PM grocery store closings of my youth. If Market Basket goes the way of the dodo or the way of slick Shaws, I will be very very sad.

July 29th, 2014

Kerry the Cargo Cultist

The kindest thing you can say about John Kerry’s behavior during the Gaza/Israel negotiations is that he is in way over his head. To believe that you’d have to believe he means well, which I don’t think is true.

But let’s say for the sake of argument that it is, as Ralph Peters said last night on Megyn Kelly’s show—I can’t find the quote, but I heard him say that Kerry is not malevolent, he’s just a “small man,” and that when he negotiates with representatives from Qatar and Turkey, he’s “not the smartest man in the room.”

It struck me that calling Kerry “small” is interesting, because one thing we can agree on about Kerry is that he’s a tall man: 6′ 4″. We make jokes about his almost agromegalish jaw (“why the long face, John?”) but that’s part of why, even as a young man newly come back from Vietnam, he always had a certain impressive gravitas.

And it struck me also that this might be the sum total of why he has risen to the heights he has, that and his ability to promote himself. He has never seemed especially bright or accomplished, and certainly never especially likeable. But he always looked like a senator, and so instead of playing one on TV he became one.

Politics isn’t the only thing Kerry ever did; he was a prosecutor for a while. But it’s the main thing he’s done, and although it’s hard to point to any specific accomplishments of his even in politics, he still managed to almost become president. I maintain that it’s because he’s the perfect cargo cult senator, presidential nominee, and now Secretary of State. He looks a certain way, and sounds a certain way, and our society has devolved to the point where looking like something is considered good enough. Why should skills be necessary, as well? The simulacrum of the thing is enough.

July 29th, 2014

Amnesty: the audaciousness of Obama

How long has Congress been mulling over some sort of amnesty plan for illegal immigrants?

A long time, certainly under several presidents, whether it’s called “amnesty” or whether euphemisms are used to substitute for the word. But there’s a reason Congress hasn’t done much about it in a long time, and that’s because the American people don’t want it and Congress is at least somewhat responsive to the people, despite the fact that for the most part politicians and those who give them money are more interested in amnesty than the general public is.

Presidents have understand that, too, and have also understood that it’s Congress that needs to deal with this for the most part. Until now.

Now we have a president who has the novel idea of completely ignoring the public during his lame duck years. Most presidents are hampered in their power during lame duck time, and they don’t want to do anything to hurt their party’s standing with the public and therefore their party’s election changes. Obama, again, has the novel idea to ignore the public and hurt his party in the short run for enormous gains in the longer run: a demographic that will be reliably Democratic and will insure the party’s hegemony (not to mention his “legacy” as a transformative president) . At least, that’s the calculation.

All the Democratic impeachment chatter (“watch out, the evil Republicans are planning to impeach me, aren’t they mean and aren’t they silly?”) is both an attempt to head outrage off at the pass and pre-characterize it as inappropriate and hateful, and an acknowledgement of the tyrannical nature of what Obama is contemplating.

I’m with Patterico here:

I think we’re at the point where Obama is actively doing things he knows he has no power to do — because he wants Republicans to mount an effort to impeach him. That would be a political winner, since Americans are generally rationally ignorant of constitutional processes, and impeachment polls badly as a result. They don’t really care whether Obama exceeds his lawful authority if they like what he’s doing, and they see impeachment, not as a necessary Constitutional corrective, but as an irritation brought about by those stupid politicians who can’t get along. And Big Media tells us that when the two sides don’t get along, it’s usually the Republicans’ fault, and who are we to argue?

We get the government we deserve. The idea that the Constitution restrains the branches is pretty much dead; its provisions don’t matter when the public is unwilling to back the side whose territory is being infringed.

Andrew Jackson is famous for saying: “John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it.” Well, Barack Obama is saying: “Congress may have the ability to rein me in. Let’s see them do it.”

They won’t. And there goes the system of checks and balances. And what will the public do about it?


And that’s the problem.

I would add that a Congress, and a Democratic Party, that doesn’t understand the dangers here to the republic and ultimately to themselves is also a huge part of the problem, as well as a cowardly GOP.

July 29th, 2014

Obamacare coverage report: you win some…

you lose some.

July 28th, 2014

John Kerry: treason then and now

I was going to write a post on John Kerry’s outrageous conduct in the negotiations over a Gaza ceasefire, but Bookworm has already written much of it for me, comparing Kerry’s current appeasement of Hamas with his long-ago attempts at cozying up to the North Vietnamese:

Looking at Kerry’s recent disgraceful performance in the Middle East, it’s clear that this is what Kerry does. He sides with murderous totalitarian regimes against his country and her allies. When it comes to Kerry’s embrace of Hamas, he is just acting true to form.

I will add a couple of things, though, to the points Bookworm made. John Kerry was treasonous then for his Paris meetings with our enemy while he was still in the US Naval Reserves:

…[H]e met on the trip with Nguyen Thi Binh, then foreign minister of the PRG and a top negotiator at the talks. Kerry acknowledged in that testimony that even going to the peace talks as a private citizen was at the “borderline” of what was permissible under U.S. law, which forbids citizens from negotiating treaties with foreign governments.

Now Kerry is acting similarly in helping our enemies and hurting our allies and the US—only this time he’s doing it as the agent of the US president in his capacity as Secretary of State, not as a rogue freelancer. That’s progress for you.

Israel is not the only ally he’s hurting here, either. There’s Jordan, Egypt, the Saudis, and the PA (which isn’t exactly an ally but is the group of somewhat more moderate Palestinians) who have been shut out of the negotiations by Kerry in favor of Hamas’ sponsors Qatar and Turkey.

Kerry and Obama seem to be a better and more naturally simpatico team than Obama and Hillary ever were. Kerry is even more supremely narcissistic than she, and although Hillary had little problem playing along with whatever Obama ordered her to do, every now and then her instincts probably chafed and wanted to defend our allies and take a harder stance against our enemies. For Kerry, doing the opposite comes naturally, and he was doing it even earlier than Obama and equally audaciously.

The Israeli newspapers are beside themselves at what Kerry has done. This Times of Israel piece is well worth reading in its entirety; it outlines the perniciousness of Kerry’s actions, and why they so stunned the nation. But the most shocking thing of all to me was when I saw that leftist Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, writing in the leftist peacenik Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, absolutely excoriated Kerry for his actions during the negotiations.http://neoneocon.com/wp-admin/profile.php

And remember that Ravid previously liked Kerry. But Ravid is so shocked at Kerry’s recent actions that he’s reeling. He cannot bring himself to imagine that Kerry did this with malice aforethought, and so he finds it necessary to ascribe Kerry’s actions to the “fool” rather than the “knave” category. Here’s some of the flavor of it:

The draft Kerry passed to Israel on Friday shocked the cabinet ministers not only because it was the opposite of what Kerry told them less than 24 hours earlier, but mostly because it might as well have been penned by [Hamas leader] Khaled Meshal. It was everything Hamas could have hoped for…

The secretary of state’s draft empowered the most radical and problematic elements in the region – Qatar, Turkey, and Hamas – and was a slap on the face to the rapidly forming camp of Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, who have many shared interests. What Kerry’s draft spells for the internal Palestinian political arena is even direr: It crowns Hamas and issues Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with a death warrant.

It’s not clear what Kerry was thinking when he presented this draft. It’s unclear what he had in mind when he convened the Paris summit. It can only be seen as surreal…

Kerry isn’t anti-Israeli; on the contrary, he’s a true friend to Israel. But his conduct in recent days over the Gaza cease-fire raises serious doubts over his judgment and perception of regional events. It’s as if he isn’t the foreign minister of the world’s most powerful nation, but an alien, who just disembarked his spaceship in the Mideast.

It is a big mistake to imagine that Kerry is acting on his own, either. Obama has not denounced what he said or did, and it is highly unlikely that he will fire him or ask him to resign. They are on the same page about this, although Kerry provides Obama with some cover to not be blamed directly. Whether Kerry is following Obama’s specific and detailed instructions it’s hard to say (Obama would have to be paying a lot of close attention to do that, and there’s no indication that he is). But there’s no reason to believe that the general and even some specific outlines and goals for the talks hadn’t been ironed out and clarified and agreed on between them before Kerry even left Washington.

July 28th, 2014

Obama’s next move on the border and deportations

For quite some time now we’ve been waiting for Obama’s other shoe to drop regarding amnesty. He’s been warning of us a big announcement, which most people (including me) have speculated will be to end the possibility of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants who are now still at least theoretically subject to it. Nothing has disabused me of the notion that this is his plan.

So what’s keeping him, besides his other pressing engagements (i.e. golf and fund-raising)? He is probably trying to figure out the approach least likely to raise legal challenges.

Obama is nothing if not audacious, but recent SCOTUS decisions (in particular, I would think NLRB v. Noel Canning, the case in which SCOTUS curbed one of his overreaches by a vote of 9-0) have made him a little more careful not to tread too heavily on the toes of even the liberal justices. And mock Boehner’s lawsuit if you will, but it signaled to Obama that the Republicans aren’t completely incapable of mounting some sort of energy, however pallid, for a legal challenge.

Meanwhile, it’s not as though many deportations are actually occurring at present. Au contraire:

“We release all detainees under 14 years of age without taking any biometric identification, including no fingerprints,” the Border Patrol agent explained to Stockman. “We are prevented by law from taking fingerprints or other biometric information on these kids.”

The Border Patrol supervisor could not identify for Stockman the law in question.

“Then how do you know who these children under 14 years old are?” Stockman asked. “How do you know if you are releasing these kids to people who are truly family members in the United States or to pedophiles or other criminals posing as family members?”

“We only know who these children are by what they tell us,” the Border Patrol supervisor admitted. “Truthfully, we don’t really have any idea who they might be or where they came from other than what we can observe from questioning them. You’re right. If they give us false information, we have no way to know it or to follow it up without biometrics.”

Stockman asked what information the Border Patrol has on the people in the United States who claim to be relatives.

“That’s not what our department handles,” the Border Patrol supervisor again admitted.

Rep. Stockman maintains that Obama wants to be impeached prior to the 2014 election, in order to gain sympathy and rally his base. I think Obama knows that any such impeachment prior to November 2014 would fail to win conviction in the Senate, so he’d be safe. But I don’t think he really wants an impeachment—he’d be very happy with the mere threat of one, so he wouldn’t have to waste time and energy defending against it but could claim the mantle of pitiful victim of the racist Republicans nonetheless. On the issue of amnesty, he’s far more frightened (although not frightened enough) of a Court challenge at this point, which could put him in the position of being in open defiance of even the liberal justices and some in his own party.

But why is Obama so keen on officially giving amnesty to the illegal arrivals? They already have de facto amnesty as long as he’s president; why do they need it de jure? Even with de jure amnesty, they almost certainly would not be able to vote yet by 2014 or even 2016, except illegally, which they already could do now just as well (or with just as much difficulty). They will almost certainly be working in the US under the table even without de jure amnesty, much as they do now, too. So what’s the point of raising a fuss and alerting even some of the low-information-voters as to what is going on by officially giving them amnesty? After all, isn’t it logical to think that a subsequent president could take it back by executive order, too, as long as it’s not been codified into law by Congress, and as long as the illegal immigrants granted amnesty haven’t yet become citizens?

The reason might be to throw a bunch of very public and visible fish to the so-called “immigration activists” on the left whom Obama needs in to get energized for the 2014 election. In addition, it might facilitate the granting of benefits to the arrivals, if Congress refuses to appropriate special funds.

Still another reason, I suppose, would be to thumb his nose at all of us and cause Republicans and conservatives—and really, anyone who considers this a sovereign nation with borders—to stomp their feet in impotent rage.

July 28th, 2014

Obama and the Christians of Iraq

The Christians of Iraq in the areas controlled by ISIS are being persecuted and either killed or driven from places they’ve occupied since the dawn of Christianity. Not that Obama could stop it at this point (although he probably could have nipped ISIS in the bud when it started to take strength), but as far as I can discern he has not even spoken out against it.

I guess those Christians don’t look like his imaginary sons, or something like that. Or perhaps he’s simply checked out of his job, as so many have suggested.

I don’t think it’s the latter, though; if he cares about an issue he’ll still rouse himself on it. I don’t think he ever cared a bit about the plight of any Christians vis-a-vis the Muslims who are persecuting them. And IMHO that’s not because he’s a closest Muslim, either. My reading on Obama is that he is not a religious man at all—either Christian nor Muslim—but that his pose of being a Christian was always for political purposes, even way back when he first joined Reverend Wright’s church.

Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf has accused Obama of not speaking up about the plight of the Christians in Iraq:

…[T]his meets the official test of genocide.”

Asked if President Barack Obama has spoken out against this atrocity, Wolf said he has not.

“No, the president hasn’t said anything, the State Department hasn’t said anything,” he lamented. “Frankly, nobody is saying anything.”

Asked what the United States could do about the situation in Mosul, Wolf listed several options.

“There is a lot we can do,” he said. “One, the President of the United States can urge the Kurdish government to continue to guard and protect the Christians.”

“Secondly, we can give some of the foreign aid that we are already giving, give it to a group like Catholic Relief or World Vision or a group like that, to provide relief – water, food, clothing,” he continued. “Thirdly, we can tell the Maliki government to start protecting the Christian sites and the Christian communities. [Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-]Maliki flew out – all the Shia were flown out of Mosul – and they left the Christians there to die.”

“And lastly,” Wolf concluded, “every person who is listening should call their congressman and their senator and insist that they insist the White House do something.”

Unfortunately, the White House, freed of its need to stand for election again, could not care less about public pressure on this or on any other topic. You might have better luck contacting your Congressional representatives, depending on who they are.

July 26th, 2014

How to scare a child

It’s not that hard to do. But still, it’s pretty cute. My husband shaved his mustache off when our son was about three, to similar effect:

I bet she would have been a whole lot more frightened if he’d been able to grow a beard in 30 seconds.

And now for something that is unlikely to scare anybody:

[Hat tip: CDR M at Ace's.]

July 26th, 2014

About those Gazan tunnels…

it’s even worse than you might think:

Using further eyewitness reports, the article describes how Hamas has integrated the tunnel network into the civilian infrastructure of Gaza, constructing entrances in homes and even mosques. “I have not entered one civilian home that did not have weapons, suicide belts, or booby traps in it,” the source told the Post, stressing the lengths to which the IDF goes to protect innocent civilians caught in the crossfire, regardless.

Much more from Powerline:

Hamas was apparently a few months away from conducting a mass attack on Israeli civilians during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, on September 24. The raid would have been like something out of a movie: hundreds of heavily-armed Hamas fighters would have emerged from over a dozen underground tunnels in the dead of night, jogged 10 minutes to their targets, and then infiltrated a set of lightly-populated and lightly-guarded Israeli communities. Casualties could have reached the thousands, and some of the victims would have been taken back alive as hostages.

The offensive attack tunnels seem to quite literally have been built for this kind of purpose. The IDF recently published a map of how they were dug to spill out on both sides of nearby communities (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BtYjL4mCAAAI6c6.png). Israeli soldiers have been reporting that just inside some of the tunnels were storage units filled with tranquilizers, handcuffs, ropes, and so on…

If the reports are confirmed, there are some immediate adjustments that analysts, journalists, and diplomats will all but certainly make:

(1) A ceasefire without at least the destruction of Hamas’s tunnel network would likely becomes a non-starter. It would be militarily untenable – and probably politically impossible – for Israeli leaders to accept anything less.

(2) The inevitable Israeli investigation into pre-conflict failures – and the Israelis always hold these, no matter how well things go – will have to take into account both how so many tunnels got built and why Israeli intelligence failed to crack the tunnel plot earlier. There’s a lot of focus right now on the former, but a lot of the digging and earth moving happened underground. It’s the latter debate, about sigint and humint, that has the potential to cost people careers.

(3) Confirmation of the plot would raise the stakes in the growing controversy over how human rights groups and diplomatic bodies pressured the Israelis into liberalizing restrictions on cement imports. Kilometers and kilometers of reinforced tunnels were being built deep into Israeli territory while Gaza-based offiicals railed against cement shortages

Given all of this, the objections to the Israeli offensive become more and more absurd. Some people will not rest until Israel is no more, and they would like to intimidate Israel into committing suicide.

About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.


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